We’ve been seeing brands integrate direct-to-consumer sales models for years. Others have gone beyond integrating and now shun middle-men altogether. But very few were dyed in the wool as online-only. San Diego-based Eminent Cycles is one of those few, and it just made its plans known to the world.
For now, the one and only Eminent Cycles production model is a 160-millimeter rear, 170 front travel carbon fiber enduro bike, but the line will be expanding soon enough. The Eminent Haste uses a unique four-bar linkage design that, of course, has an acronym. The Active Float System, or AFS combines a floating rear shock mount with a proper floating rear brake caliper. The caliper anchors to the chainstay, but pivots around the axle. Eminent’s system does much the same thing that the long-armed floating disc mounts did on downhill bikes of yesterdecade, but in a much cleaner, more compact package. The floating shock allows for another dimension of tunability for designers to work with, and the intermediate link they use to attach it to the chainstays addresses an oft-forgotten issue. That intermediate link is essentially a universal joint on the Haste, which means that no matter what direction the frame flexes, it won’t twist the rear shock into binding or sticking.
The design itself is unorthodox, but not unprecedented. The Mert Lawwill-inspired linkage is essentially similar to bikes from the distant past by Yeti and Schwinn. The concept combines the axle-path tunability of Horst link and dual-link platforms with the straighter leverage curves made possible by long (really long) rocker plates. It also makes Eminent’s floating brake caliper possible. More efficient, more predictable, better traction, better braking, in theory. Until we get a hold of one for a long-term test, theory is just what we’ll call it.
One of Eminent’s theories we don’t need to prove is the benefit of customization. On the company’s site, you can build your Haste from scratch. Color, suspension, wheels, brakes, and drivetrain are all up to you. If you don’t see a part you want on the list, Eminent may be able to custom order it for you. The business model applies the cost-savings of consumer-direct sales to the boutique custom bike market. You can pick stem size, bar length, and saddle width. To start, you can build one with a Lyric RCT3 fork, Super Deluxe RCT shock, DT M1700 wheels, X01 cranks and a GX Eagle drivetrain for a hair over $5,000.
The frame itself has a few talking points aside from the linkage. While on the topic of spec, the Haste uses a press-in bottom bracket, a trend we’re hoping will eventually fade. But every build on the Haste comes with a thread-together Wheels Manufacturing bottom bracket, which is a unique choice out of the box. Also unique is the pierced seat tube. To mount the shock where they wanted (which happens to leave room for a bottle cage within the front triangle), Eminent had to block off the bottom of the seat tube in a way that made it impossible to run an internally-routed seat dropper. Every build comes with an externally-routed Fox Transfer post, which comes in a maximum of 150 millimeters of travel.
The bike’s geometry could best be described as moderately progressive. 65.5-degree head angle, 463-millimeter reach for a large, 442-millimeter chainstay and a pretty lengthy 1230-millimeter wheelbase. Moderately outdated is the 73-degree seat angle, but as with the linkage, we will withhold judgment until we ride it.