Handmade in Yorkshire, UK, the Carbon Wasp Truffle is a short-travel 29er that boasts bags of individuality and impressive trail performance

Product Overview

Carbon Wasp Truffle


  • Excellent geometry, precisely delivered in a neat package, race light but with rowdy ready enthusiasm, custom detailing options, like cable routing, downtube storage and finish


  • Prototype detailing was rough in places, taut rather than supple suspension won’t suit everyone


Carbon Wasp Truffle review


Price as reviewed:

£2,800.00 (Frame & shock)

Unless you’ve had a carbon frame repaired or you’re also into time-trialling or track racing, you’ve likely not heard of Carbon Wasp. However, it only took a few metres of their local Leeds trails to put them on my ‘persons of interest’ list. They should be on yours too, especially if you’re after a uniquely individual and impressively well sorted lightweight trail/down country frame that’s on its way to being one of the best mountain bikes on the market.

Carbon Wasp Truffle need to know:

  • Carbon fibre down country/trail frame that’s handmade in Yorkshire
  • Efficiency focused 120mm travel flex stay suspension layout
  • Excellent speed and geometry with impressive frame stiffness
  • BSA threaded bottom bracket
  • Optional internal downtube storage 
  • Custom paint options
Photo of mountain biker riding the yellow Carbon Wasp Truffle bike

Put through its paces in Stainburn forest trails

By way of background, the Leeds based duo at Carbon Wasp have been working with carbon fibre for over 15 years. In that time they’ve brought tons of broken frames back to life, produced some limited edition frames for other brands and when I visited they were making £800 aero handlebars. And despite starting off by making his own hardtail in his back bedroom, it’s taken this long for Adrian Smith to finalise a production mountain bike frame. 

And it’s not a hardtail. The Truffle (something to do with rooting around in woods) is bang on the current XC/fast trail trend. It’s got 120mm of rear travel from a flexstay design and delivers a 65.5º head angle when matched with the same fork travel. It is strong enough to take up to a 140mm fork if you want to go slacker though, and the 76º seat angle means that you won’t be looping out on climbs if you do. 

Detail photo of headtube and cable routing on yellow Carbon Wasp Truffle mountain bike

Reach is a stability boosting, reaction time buying 480mm on the size L and production swingarms will have plenty of room for both a 29 x 2.4in tyre and a 38t chainring, “just in case Nino calls”. And while Adrian is joking when he says that, those Carbon Wasp track bikes and time trial bars have won Olympic Gold medals and every level of championship, so this is no amateur operation. 

A decade and a half of seeing where other bikes fail and developing their own composite expertise in the process is clearly woven into the Truffle. Specifically, that’s why Carbon Wasp uses more impact resistant cross ply sheets in its lay up than most brands.

Photo of rubber chainstay protector on Carbon Wasp Truffle MY22

“Outside of obvious design weak spots, it’s random impact damage or loadings that you’d never put into an FEA simulation that are the main causes of the broken frames we see. Cross ply isn’t as strength-efficient as unidirectional sheets which is why our frames weigh a bit more than the lightest options (claimed weight is 2.1kg without shock). They should be a lot tougher in terms of everyday accident survival than a pure race rig though, and we like the damped, precise feel you get from this layup too.”

How it rides

As a result, despite slender, gently curved tubes and that long reach measurement the Truffle is a very precise, resolutely stiff and surefooted bike.

Front wheel placement is impeccable, and there’s no bow or bend from the front end if you really bury the nose into a high G turn, cross threaded with roots or a random rock pile. I had a proper opportunity to test that as Adrian led me a right dance through the trails a few 100m away from the Leeds workshop/lab where they design and machine all the initial moulds – the engineering block sample moulds and alloy production pieces are 3rd party made locally.

Photo of mountain biker riding yellow Carbon Wasp Truffle bike

It’s also where Adrian and Chris lay up the different carbon plys by hand and the short punchy climbs confirmed that the 440mm chain stays (S and M get 435mm chain stays) deliver power extremely effectively to the rear wheel too. 

Subsequent testing on my local singletrack and the brutal slap rocks and trials-like sections of Stainburn forest underlined the steering and stomp stiffness. In fact, I was able to load up the rear wheel so extremely that I actually snapped a carbon rim in half rearranging a corner for the camera.

Carbon shock suspension pivot on Carbon Wasp Truffle mountain bike

Pushing ‘enduro hard’ not only highlighted the hench frame vibe, but it also proved that the Truffle is as good at rooting control out of high speed tech and flowing trails as its geometry suggests. Its taut feel means it loves to pop and tap off any fun feature you spot too, and even testers used to 170mm travel Megatowers, synced with it and started grinning immediately.

It’s still handy enough to pick its way through walking speed trails and climb cruxes too, although the length for a 120mm bike means it inevitably needs more wide line management than a shorter, steeper layout. 

Detail photo showing Cane Creek shock on yellow Carbon Wasp Truffle mountain bike

The RockShox SID Ultimate fork was as impressive as always, but the Cane Creek DB Inline shock needs a bit more time spent on its external high and low speed compression and rebound adjusters to find a sweet spot. That’s mainly because the flex stay swingarm and pivot position are engineered to be tautly efficient rather than easy flowing. That can make the rear wheel more likely to catch and stall compared to a more neutral kinematic like that of the Scott Spark or a more flexible overall frame like Santa Cruz’s Blur.

Shock mounting detail photo of Carbon Wasp Truffle

However, both those bikes rely on a remote for a taut kick, and I never felt the need to reach for the climb switch on the Carbon Wasp, even on smooth fire road sprints, so old school racers are going to love it.  Switching to a bearing mounted trunnion version of Cane Creek’s DB Inline shock will likely increase sensitivity on production bikes, which should be freshly baked by the time you’re reading this.

Sure, the prototype I rode definitely had some rough edges to smooth out in terms of detail and frame finish, but because each frame is made to order it has several advantages, not least being able to have ‘any finish you want as long as you can point to a car in that colour’.

Detail photo of headtube and cable routing on yellow Carbon Wasp Truffle mountain bike

Carbon Wasp’s ‘Swearbox’ internal cable routing is standard issue, and pain free with no cussing, but you can also specify a wireless version with just rear brake routing. The internal storage trap door on the downtube is also optional. You can also specify an oversize upper headset bearing so you can use an Angleset or even an internal cable routing headset top cap.

Possibly the biggest advantage of the personalised hands on process is that production moulds will be finished by the time you read this so you should be able to get a frame within a couple of weeks, which is definitely not the case with a lot of short travel race/trail bikes right now. 

Detail photo of chainstay on yellow Carbon Wasp Truffle mountain bike

For me, being handmade in Yorkshire is definitely a big part of the appeal of the Carbon Wasp Truffle. What’s most important though is that the Leeds lads have built a bike that’s so sorted it can go shoulder to shoulder with the best in the world. Particularly if you’re after a distinctively stiff, precise, hard driving, aggressive geometry bike for blasting up, down and along tech trails as fast as possible.

Review by Guy Kesteven. 


Frame:Carbon, 120mm travel
Shock:Cane Creek DB Inline 190 x 50mm
Fork:RockShox SID Ultimate, 120mm travel
Wheels:Novatec hubs, unbranded carbon rims, Schwalbe Rocket Ron AddixSpeed 29 x 2.25in tyres
Drivetrain:SRAM XX1 32t chainset, SRAM GX Eagle AXS derailleur and shifter, 10-50t cassette
Brakes:Shimano XT, 200/180mm rotors
Components:Truvativ Noir Carbon 780mm bar, Nukeproof Horizon 50mm stem, RockShox Reverb 150mm post, Selle Italia Flite saddle
Sizes:S, M, L XL
Weight:12.45kg (27.44lb)
Size tested:L
Rider height:5ft 11in (180cm)
Head angle:65.5º
Seat angle:NAº
Effective seat angle:76º (@760mm)
Bottom bracket height:330mm
Chainstay length:440mm
Front centre:790mm
Seat tube:460mm
Top tube:626mm