At the Sea Otter Classic, Raleigh professional rider Jamie Driscoll raced the cross-country event on a new prototype full-suspension bike. The machine will enter the market in 2015 as the Raleigh Skarn.
The Skarn is constructed using a butted and hydroformed 6061 alloy frame. The front triangle starts with a tapered 1.125 to 1.5-inch head tube with integrated headset. The head tube is then mated to an oversized down tube and top tube. The top tube slopes downward with upper shock mount placed roughly two-thirds the way down. The top tube and seat tube junction is reinforced by a brace that extends upward to provide extra support of the extended and rearward arching seat tube. The seat tube is also home to the shock’s swing link pivot mount. The front triangle attaches the rear triangle via a FOX Float CTD shock.
The aluminum rear triangle is integral to the Skarn’s suspension. The chain stays are oversized with a vertically ovailzed profile. They are connected behind the bottom bracket by a bridge and taper slightly to the 12x142mm rear dropouts. The rear pivots are placed above and front of the rear axle. The pivot location is critical for the suspension to remain active under braking, yet isolate pedal input.
The oversized seat stays feature a chain stay bridge above the rear wheel to increase stiffness before the attaching to the clamped suspension link on either side of the seat tube. The seat stays conclude at the forged and machined alloy lower shock mount. The clamped design of the lower shock mount increases stiffness by 15-percent and isolates the shock from torsional loads. By better isolating the shock, Raleigh is able to run lower air pressure for better initial impact compliance. The entire system moves on sealed cartridge bearing at the main pivots.
The Skarn’s four-bar suspension system is designed to isolate chain loads from suspension, allowing it to compress and rebound as needed to react to the trail surface. Because the rear brake in mounted on the seat stay, the suspension remains active under braking forces.
Production specifications, and price points have not been finalized.