The Smash

Don’t be scared of anything that stands in your way aboard this 29er – the punk rock spirit of Joe Strummer lives on in The Smash, inspiring riders to assail anything in their path. The combination of GG-style geometry and approach to suspension design creates the “surface to surface missile” that is ready for smashing rocks and goin’ fast–up and down. 
With The Smash, Guerrilla Gravity (GG) has introduced their long travel 29er option. The frame has 140 mm of travel, can accept up to a 160 mm fork and has room for true 29×2.5 tires. For those waiting on a 29er version of the Megatrail, here it is.

Approach to Geometry & Suspension

When designing The Smash there was a concerted effort to avoid common compromises found on long travel 29ers–namely long chainstays, excessively tall BB heights, and slack actual seat tube angles. 
To accomplish this, travel was set to 140 mm and efforts were focused on tuning the kinematics, instead of increasing travel. Compared to our other models, The Smash’s leverage curve is tuned to be softer off the top, where most of “the smashing” occurs, and then have more ramp up for hard hits. 
It’s also notable that after riding and testing various 29er setups and comparing them to their 27.5 counterparts, a 29er performs as if it has 10 mm of additional travel vs the 27.5 wheels. This is due to the larger wheels’ ability to smooth out the trail by reducing vertical accelerations, hence allowing the rider to carry additional speed. 
The Smash utilizes the same steep actual seat tube angle geometry found on GG’s other models. It’s important to note that the actual seat tube angle, as effective seat tube angles can be misleading. A steep actual seat tube angle allows for an upright, efficient climbing position at any saddle height. Back-to-back tests have shown that this geometry is 10% faster on climbs compared to their previous geometry, which used a 71o actual seat tube angle. Want to get GG folks fired up? Ask them about the proliferation of quoting effective seat tube angles, a number.

Steep seat tube angles are all the rage right now, but most companies are only providing effective seat tube angles and not the actual angle. The problem with effective numbers is that they are measured at the height of the top of the head tube and are only valid for one point in space. That point is usually closer to the saddle height used during descending than climbing, and hence, by itself, does not tell the full story. Typically, the steep effective angles use a slack actual angle with significant offset in front of the BB. This can mean even with a steep effective seat tube angle, when the saddle is at climbing height, it is still too far behind the BB. Then, on rolling terrain, lowering the saddle an inch or two makes for a noticeable change in cockpit length.

In contrast, GG bikes have steep actual seat tube angles, which puts the saddle in an efficient upright position throughout a wide range of saddle heights. Additionally, on rolling terrain, the cockpit length has minimal change as the post is lowered. Back-to-back tests have shown that this geometry is 10% faster on climbs compared to their previous geometry, which used a 71 degree actual seat tube angle.

Crush Mode and Plush Mode

As with all Guerrilla Gravity bikes, The Smash was designed with versatility in mind. Riders can choose between Crush Mode and Plush Mode to dial in the suspension platform that’s ideal for their local terrain. Crush Mode has a more supportive mid-stroke for flow trails and all day trail rides, while Plush Mode is softest off the top, making it the go-to for plowing into rocks at mach-chicken.

Riders can also choose between an air shock and coil shock. Designing a platform that works well with a coil shock was a priority given the bike’s intended use: smashing whatever’s in front of you. As a general guideline, GG recommends running an air shock for a lighter weight trail setup and for those that don’t have exceptionally rocky or loose terrain, while a coil shock is ideal for those that prioritize small bump compliance and traction over weight.

While pedalling will be most efficient with an air shock in Crush Mode, The Smash will impress with its climbing ability in either mode and either shock, even without the aid of a climb aid on the shock. This is due to the well refined kinematics and efficient geometry designed into the frame.

Frame Layout

Taking inspiration from the Megatrail, The Smash uses their custom tubeset that reduces weight, increases strength, and improves aesthetics. It also includes the frame storage system to carry a water bottle and flat-change supplies with the NUTS bracket (Necessities Under The Saddle). The team at GG are big fans of reducing the need for a backpack on the average ride and frame storage goes a long way to making that happen.

Made in America

The Smash, like all of their frames, was designed and manufactured in-house at their Denver, Colorado facility. This holistic structure allows them to maintain tight quality controls, have a short and efficient supply chain, and offer riders extensive customization options.

A quick Q&A with the Guerrilla Gravity Pack:

How long has The Smash been in development?

We’ve had the idea for The Smash for about a year, but didn’t actually initiate the launch sequence until about four months ago. We found a lot of our riders were asking for a either 29er version of the Megatrail or a longer travel version of the Trail Pistol. One of the great things about designing and manufacturing in-house is that we control so much of our supply chain and can make things happen quickly.

 

What separates Guerrilla Gravity from other bike brands? Why are you guys different?

When we started GG we knew the bike game was a tough space–and it’s only gotten tougher. Therefore we try to make each aspect of the GG brand, bike buying experience, and products something a bit different. The mission of the company is to “make mountain biking more awesome.” And this starts with the riders. We support the “local Joes/Janes” who support their scenes (as opposed to high profile athletes), host events like the Camping Weekend and Mega-Cookout, and provide support to individuals and organizations who build, maintain, and advocate for their local trails. When riders purchase a bike from us they’re able to get something that’s made in the US and is exactly what they want out-of-the-box — picking their frame color, decal color, and the build kit spec they want — for the same price point as a big box brand. To boot, the bikes ride awesome. Our engineer and co-founder, Matt, comes from auto racing, so knows how to optimize vehicles for speed and efficiency. His design philosophy is one that focuses on a high level of refinement and eschews complication. That’s why you won’t find any marketing-driven “performance enhancing” gimmicks on our bikes. They’re refined machines, made for goin’ fast – up and down.

Would you say your bike design is dictated more by science, feel or a delicate balance of both?

1, 2, 3… Nerd Time: Science. Suspension kinematics are directly derived from the laws of physics and are what dictate the feel of the platform. Preferences in regards to feel vary from rider to rider and trail to trail. For this reason, all of our bikes have a suspension adjustment (Trail Mode/Gravity Mode or Plush Mode/Crush Mode) that allows riders to tune for a wide range of trails out-of-the-box. Additionally, our base shock tunes are designed to be in the middle of the dampers’ adjustable range. This means we’re able to work with riders one-on-one to guide them in tuning their suspension to what will best suit their riding style and local terrain when it falls outside of the normal distribution.

 

What inspired you guys to make a long travel 29er? What would you say to customers trying to decide between the Megatrail and the new Smash?

It’s a bike we knew we’ve wanted to make for awhile, but it was the riders asking for it that moved it up in our priority. If a rider is trying to decide between the two models, it really comes down to wheel-size preference. There’s not a “right” answer for which wheel size a rider should get, just guidelines to help them decide. In general, 29ers are fastest in a straight line, while 27.5 wheels are more nimble… I wrote out a lengthy “if this/than this” section, but it was exhaustive, so I’ll just leave it at that. Most riders will already have their preference, but if they are interested in additional advice on which model to get, send us an email! We are always helping riders decide based on their specific riding style and local terrain.

 

Why does Guerrilla Gravity prefer to work with aluminum instead of carbon?

We view current carbon designs as something that adds significant additional costs, yet yields a very minor weight savings (our frames range from 0-1 pound heavier than carbon counterparts) and creates a product that is actually more fragile. Although, there’s no denying carbon is great for marketing.

 

Want more info?

Head over to the Guerrilla Gravity website for full geo charts, a factory tour and more.

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