Like many others, the maker of the Howler Frameworks Fenrir hasn’t had time to even ride his creation yet, “I’m itching to ride it now, I didn’t want to crash it before the show!”
Our pick of the best mountain bikes at the Bespoked show ranges from (mostly) flavour-de-jour, full-on enduro weapons to svelte XC whippits, and covers a wide range of manufacturing pedigrees.
We continue the showcase with the relatively new-to-the-game Howler Frameworks who displayed a build and finish quality belying the brand’s age, thanks to a ton of experience in fabrication before their respective ventures.
Howler Frameworks Fenrir
Based in London, Howler’s Billy Dye first started making frames in 2018 after a Bicycle Academy frame building course. His sophisticated full suspension Fenrir bike sat proudly on the SRAM stand at Bespoked, and you can see how far Howler has come since thanks to non-stop fabrication and weld practice at the home workshop with a lengthy lockdown furlough session.
The Wolf on the headtube hints how Fenrir is named after the beast in Norse mythology, but there’s nothing iron age about this steel high pivot machine with it’s very ‘2021’ idler wheel. Billy has developed the suspension concept and linkages through a partnership with design consultant Alex Desmond (who also helped tune the Coal 84 here). Working for Orange and others, Alex designed the ingenious Orange Phase AD3 adaptive bike featured here at MBR recently.
The pair designed the 27.5in bike specifically for a coil so it’s a straight progressive curve through 150 or 160m dependant on shcok stroke. The Fenrir claim lots of cool properties including 138% anti-squat, a 27mm rearward axle path and lowered pedal kickback. Geometry is ‘middle ground’ rather than ‘out there’ with a 64.5 degree head tube, 75 seat tube angle and this Medium equivalent has 410mm seattube and 446mm reach. The 6mm BB drop is higher than most, but Billy says this should avoid crank strikes and the bike settling too low when seated climbing.
This Howler Frameworks Fenrir prototype concept was first born in summer 2020 and has taken a year to get this far. Made from 4130 Chromoly, it uses shaped Tange chainstays, but the finished version will likely use Reynolds butted top and downtubes to save weight when it launches next year after testing.