13 bikes that may see an update in 2023

Every two or three years, you can expect prototype bikes in development to run through races and fairs, but that timeline seems to have slowed down if we recall what kind of bikes we expected to update now. There may be several reasons for this, but the ones that I notice the most are the rate of change in geometry and, of course, covid supply constraints. Take a look at our latest off-road test from Bellingham, packed with the latest and greatest enduro bikes. I wouldn’t say the geometry was the same as there were one or two outliers, but the numbers in the motorcycle tests were very, very close.

Second, the worldwide pandemic has slowed the production of components, mainly drivetrain parts, putting bicycle brands into a stalemate. They sat impatiently, waiting for the parts to catch up in order to get the new bike started.

Santa Cruz V10

Whether it was planned or not, Santa Cruz broke into 2022, uncorking the bottleneck of new bike versions: Heckler, Megatower, Nomad, Hightower, 5010, and most recently Tallboy, all received updates. One bike not on this list is the V10. The 29-inch version was officially launched in December 2018, and the mixed-wheel version was launched in July 2020.

Apart from a few kinematics and geometry tweaks with machined alloy parts, the carbon frame parts have not undergone any changes since then. It is not, however, that any of the bikes slowed their riders, and Jackson Goldstone won many first places. Still, don’t be surprised when Santa Cruz releases the new V10 soon.

Commencal Meta P003.1 and Flame (?)

This one seems like a dead gift. Comencal appears to be rebuilding its full range of suspension to mimic what they learned from the success of their latest downhill bike. They’ve already caught us with bait for the new Finish, but we’ve seen Commencal’s mate, Cecile Ravanel, also rocking a shorter-journey whip, leading Pauline Ferrand-Prevot through the race lines on the Cross-Country World Cup tracks.

Given that Comencal has just released the Mixed Wheels Meta SX, it is unclear how this line will evolve as no prototype stats have been made available. The Andorran brand only builds its frames from aluminum tubing, meaning their paper-to-production lead times can be significantly shorter than carbon fiber competitors, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see both on the 2023 agenda.

Specialized Demo, Enduro and Kenevo

Another behemoth in the gravity world of mountain bikes is Specialized, which has yet to fully unveil its prototype of a downhill bike. Finn Iles achieved his first World Cup victory aboard a prototype at the Mont St. Anne 2022 while his teammate Loic Bruni closed his fifth World Cup victory using the current Demo. The new platform is significantly different from the current 4-beam FSR design that arrived on the scene in 2020.

Likewise, their Enduro model may also be lined up for an update. We don’t expect too many changes there, however, as it uses a finely tuned suspension system and already has a SWAT box but can take more geometry adjustments like its engine brother Kenevo SL.

Speaking of eMTB, Kenevo has also been in full force since 2019. A carbon version of this monster ebike with an updated motor and battery system would definitely shed some weight.

Devinci Wilson

Devinci released the Spartan HP last year and we spotted an aluminum mule at Crankworx under the freerider, the Cam Zink, which probably has over 160mm of travel. They were also not afraid to show the Wilson prototype with a idler wheel by the end of 2019.

The Canadian brand currently produces Wilson’s aluminum frame parts at its Quebec plant, but this 29-inch-only bike hasn’t had a product change since its launch in 2019.

Norco Aurum and Sight

Another Canadian brand that is still investing in downhill bikes and is not afraid to build aluminum prototypes. We have seen two-time Canadian national champion and Norco engineer Kirk McDowall pilot exactly one of these design bikes to three World Cup finals in the Top 40 this season. It’s likely this is the new Aurum, a dedicated Norco downhill bike that differs from the reconfigured range their team has been rocking at the World Cup over the past two seasons.

The popular 150mm Norco sight can also hit under the knife to see some changes. The capabilities of a mid-travel enduro bike are hard to miss, but had it received and upgraded, it’s not hard to imagine it undergoing a high-cane transformation like Range did.

Scott Gambler and the ransom

I liked when Scott had the infamous “looks like a session” comment, referring to the similarities between their Gambler and Trek downhill bike, and then turned it into a bike contest. It was impressive, but so was the 35lb weight of the bike.

Where are you going from there? Gambler already has two sets of flip-chips that allow you to ride any size of the rear wheel and vary the progression of the suspension. We saw Scott play with pulleys and tall pivots at the start of this trend, but it’s doubtful that much more weight can be shed.

Another notable model that hasn’t changed since 2020 is their 170mm Ransom travel. One of the ways this slim, long-travel enduro bike could change is if it is more integrated. Scott made the move on his Spark cross bike by hiding the rear shock in the seat tube / bottom bracket joint – fellow Pinkbike tech editor and PBR mechanic Henry Quinney wouldn’t want anything else.

Phoenix Pivot

We now know the Grim Donut V2 has to be the fastest and most capable bike in the world, but could it really be the new Pivot Phoenix in disguise? Absolutely not. Would the new Phoenix have a vertically mounted shock absorber and stretch the geometry a bit more? Most probably.

In its current form, the Pivot downhill platform is the last one in its family to receive a new suspension system. Sizes also reach 485mm on very large ones, which is now in line with the large frames of most manufacturers.

Yeti SB150

August 2018 is a long time ago, but Yeti was on the pulse and the SB150 is still on the podium at the Enduro World Series events. It took roughly four years to spot a new iteration of the iconic turquoise enduro bike, but this version floated the Crans-Montana EWS. It will definitely be looser and longer, but how much more expensive can it be?

I would have guessed that the second version of the SB150 would use the impressive 6 bar suspension found on the 160E eMTB, but I was wrong before that. Whatever the moniker is in this new Yeti, it still uses the Switch Infinity system.

Great Glory

The largest bicycle manufacturer in the world seems to be gently pushing for the new Glory downhill bike. We have spotted many prototype models at the World Cup in the past few years, but have not produced an updated version as of 2018. There was a time when the 27.5 ”front wheels were still used at the World Cup.

With standout, seasoned veterans like Rémi Thirion, the Giant doesn’t sit still – he just takes his time. Downhill is just a drop in the ocean compared to the number of units sold in other segments, so I wouldn’t expect an investment in a carbon frame. Apparently, the prototypes Thirion is racing against have been updated since this 2018 model and 2023 could bring a new kind of Glory.

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