AM Craftworks ENR

jenk0s

Likes Dirt
On seeing a coupe of these builds floating round I figured I'd have a crack at it too. Hopefully it'll shed some light on a bike and brand that gets a bit of attention on here but has very little actual info. Besides, who can't get behind an Aussie bike company?

So I've had this frame for a week or two now and have gradually been collecting parts to build it up. I guess the rain Sydney's been pummelled with for the past couple weeks has been a blessing in disguise - if the sun was out I'd be very frustrated having this sitting in pieces.

After taking the bike out on their Sydney demo, I really couldn't help myself. It was miles ahead of my Slash 29 and putting down competitive times on the first run on proper trails, even after a month or so MTB hiatus. Craftworks is a small company and the guys there are super down to earth and very switched on. I got the impression that they were very performance driven, which is refreshing when so many brands are caught up in being fashionable for the sake of fashion.

Hugh, the engineer and mastermind behind the bike has come up with something nothing short of magnificent with the I-Track suspension. There's a lot of hype these days around high single pivot bikes due to their success on the world cup circuit and it's totally justified, when the trails get chunky. Rearward axle paths are far more efficient at absorbing bumps in those situations, period. The downside to those single pivot designs is that they tend to suffer under power with a heap of pedal bob. The Craftworks on the other hand is a high virtual pivot bike with an idler to minimise pedal kickback and tune anti squat. That means it gets the benefits of the high single pivot bike in rough sections, but the pedal efficiency of a well engineered four bar.

On the trail it was bloody awesome. It maintained speed really well and was super stable in techy sections. Confusingly, it was also very manoeuvrable - probably due to the short static chain stay yet effective chain stay length increasing during suspension compression. This meant I could tip the bike into a sharp turn very quickly then track through the radius with a lot of confidence and grip. Needless to say I was stoked and hence this thread exists...

So, the build as planned:

Frame Craftworks ENR
Rear shock Cane Creek DB IL Air
Front shock/fork 160mm Manitou Mattoc Pro 2 (I'm a sucker for an underdog, and these forks get rave reviews from their owners. Plus they seem to be very user tuneable in terms of shim stacks etc... Should be fun to play around with)
Handlebars Spank Spike Vibrocore 35mm 810mm wide (wide bars are enduro right?)
Stem Bontrager 60mm
Headset Works Components +5mm reach
Grips Lizard Skins Northshore
Saddle Specialised Toupe Ti (I ride road bikes, a good saddle is important)
Seatpost X Fusion Manic 150mm
Brakeset Magura MT5 w/single finger lever (Having ridden Sram, Shimano and Hope, I've settled on these, there amazing, they have the modulation of sram (consistently) and the outright power of hope/Shimano)
Cranks TBA
Chainguide Craftworks custom chain guide
Drivetrain Sram GX Eagle
Wheelset Syntace W35
Tyres Bontrager XR5 27.5 x 2.6"

Right now the bike's only partially mocked up (excuse the cardboard headset). Having worked on it so far I'm pretty damn impressed with the build quality, the paint is tough, welds are clean and the pivot points are stress free (attributes that a lot of big name manufactures for some reason struggle to hit). The cable routing was also super easy as the cable ports were the perfect diameter for the Park Tools internal routing magnet. Whether or not this was intentional I'm not sure, but kudos. Will post more picks and a more comprehensive ride report when the bike's built and the rain clears...
 

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Tubbsy

quadragenarian
Staff member
Very cool.

What frame size and how tall are you? 60mm stem isn’t very #endurobro but I take it they don’t make an XL.
 

jenk0s

Likes Dirt
Very cool.

What frame size and how tall are you? 60mm stem isn’t very #endurobro but I take it they don’t make an XL.
I’m 186cm... so a large frame + 60mm + the reach adjust headset and wide bars should make make for comfy setup
 

slider_phil

Likes Bikes and Dirt
I'm just happy Craftworks is still about. Was always one of those companies you saw in old MTB magazines and drooled over. Keen to see this one built up!
 

beeb

Likes Dirt
Look forward to seeing this build progress. Here's hoping they make an XL frame soon, I'd love one after a brief spin on a size L.
 

jenk0s

Likes Dirt
There is a heap of debate about reach these days, and I won't lie, it's definitely important... But I think that front to back balance should be prioritised over hitting a 'trendy' reach target. I've had the luxury of riding a few bikes, and balance has been a far more decisive factor on performance than reach has, in my experience at least...
 
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smitho

Likes Dirt
I wish I could quantify it. But no just the feeling front to back
I demoed the ENR at the You Yangs and got that particular feeling on it, it’s a very balanced bike. I’m 5’11 and felt immediately comfortable on the large.

Lends a feeling of stability without it being monstrously long. It’s a fun, playful bike.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

beeb

Likes Dirt
I demoed the ENR at the You Yangs and got that particular feeling on it, it’s a very balanced bike. I’m 5’11 and felt immediately comfortable on the large.

Lends a feeling of stability without it being monstrously long. It’s a fun, playful bike.
Yep, that's why I don't reckon this bike needs massive reach. Keep it nippy and responsive, then it's got the 'wheelbase on demand' effect from the rear axle path on bigger hits. I'm a few inches taller than you though, which is why I'd still like a size up from the L.

Look forward to seeing how the OP finds it long-term. Should be rad IMO.
 

jenk0s

Likes Dirt
Alrighty, after far too long of a wait the bike is built! Initial car park tests don't say much but it certainly doesn't feel AS short as people make it out to be... And it'll still pop a manual with its axle path, so no complaints there. Only negative comment so far is that while the works headset does offer a 5mm gain in reach, it adds about 30mm of stack (just eyeballing it) which sort of negates the horizontal real estate gained. Will post a ride report ASAP.
 

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smitho

Likes Dirt
Wow - interesting with the mismatched wheel size
I had a spin on that particular bike at the demo day. It’s definitely not a bike that you finesse down the trail, so much as plow through everything in your path. Between the wagon wheel and the rearward axle path, it monstered it’s way through the chunder.

I didn’t love it with that set up, it lost a bit of the balanced playfulness of the 27.5/27.5 setup.


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Halo1

Likes Dirt
Alrighty, after far too long of a wait the bike is built! Initial car park tests don't say much but it certainly doesn't feel AS short as people make it out to be... And it'll still pop a manual with its axle path, so no complaints there. Only negative comment so far is that while the works headset does offer a 5mm gain in reach, it adds about 30mm of stack (just eyeballing it) which sort of negates the horizontal real estate gained. Will post a ride report ASAP.
I am very interested in a ride report. Please call in sick for work and/or any family commitments and ride this bike now!! :)
Any chance you can share some close up pics of the headset setup?
I found the large demo bike was too small for me being 6'3 with long legs. The bars felt a bit low so the 30mm of stack you mentioned would probably be a good thing for me. I think the seat post height is my issue. Ideally I would also like a bit longer chain stay length, but I think the plan for craftworks was to look at a bigger front triangle if they were to do an XL.
 
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