Just over a year ago we published an article about whether or not a single bottle cage inside the frame was deal-breaker or not. It was one of our most read articles of 2020 and it generated a lot of discussion. As we move into a new year, and are negotiating a hot summer, we figured it’s time to update the list of bikes that can carry two bottles inside the main frame.
By Sean Badenhorst
In the past 13 months since we ran that article, there have been three major brand updates in terms of marathon model design. SCOTT launched its new Spark, Giant revealed its new Anthem and Santa Cruz unveiled its new Blur.
Giant’s new Anthem updated its long-serving Maestro suspension with FlexPoint Pro, which is more efficient and responsive than its predecessor. The frame was also made stronger, stiffer and lighter to produce a svelte racing machine (full reveal here). What Giant didn’t change was that the Anthem can still accommodate one bottle in the frame.
Santa Cruz did away with its proprietary – and somewhat legendary – Virtual Pivot Point (VPP) suspension design in favour of the widely used linkage-driven single-pivot suspension with flexstays on the Blur SL (Super Light). This helped create a leaner rear triangle, which in turn allowed space for a second bottle cage against the seat tube inside the frame. More on the Blur SL here.
SCOTT’s new Spark was revolutionary in that is introduced a niche design concept of an internal rear shock into a first-tier, global brand. According to SCOTT, the new design allows for a stiffer, stronger frame with no weight penalty and a lower centre of gravity. More details here.
It’s worth knowing that a vertically orientated rear shock delivers better suspension performance over a shock positioned horizontally/beneath the top tube. This has been confirmed by a number of brands that have done all the relevant scientific testing on both positions. But a light, lean marathon/XCO racer generally prioritises a lighter weight bike over super rear suspension performance, which is why there’s a bigger lean towards this design in this bike category.
We’re talking tens of grams here, like the weight of the liquid of a cold post-ride beer. The average South African mountain biker wouldn’t even notice the weight difference, but for riders that invest most of their waking hours to becoming faster bike racers, that weight makes both a physical and psychological difference.
Here’s an updated list of full-suspension marathon/XCO bikes, popular in South Africa that accommodate one bottle and two bottles inside the frame:
SCOTT Spark (new)
Santa Cruz Blur (new)
Pyga Stage/Stage Max
Momsen Vipa Ultra
Merida Ninety Six
Note: Not all bikes listed above will take two large bottles inside the frame. Some may take one large and one small, depending on frame size.
Trek Top Fuel
The original article on this topic is here.