Hammered: Super Sweet Superco
Last year this fully pimped Superco Charger turned up on our doorstep and we pretty much all fell in love with it, but sadly none of us really felt like we had the skills to do it justice, so instead we ended up sending it on to our resident dirt jumper Elliot Eveson. The result…he fell in love with it so much that when it came to having to send it back he just got his wallet out and said ‘how much do you want for it, cos I’m not giving it back’, and now he wants to share the love with you…
As you can see from the spec list Doc and Terry (Superco) have obviously chosen some very high–end components that will keep the bike light without compromising its strength. This seems to be something Doc has set out to achieve from scratch with the frame, and so it would almost be sacrilege to go to this much effort on the frame and then weigh it down with a load of junk. Pikes save weight over the usual Argyles, and yet they’ve proved to be just as reliable, and then the Profile Cranks with a Ti axle weigh in at less than Shimano Saint, but outperform when it comes to strength and reliability, and also allow you to run a micro-drive system. Anyway, onto the most important bit, the frame…
It’s made from True Temper Supertherm and OX heat treated tubing. The Supertherm tubing is traditionally used in high–end BMX production and the smaller diameter and thinner walled OX is usually used in cross country and road bike production. These are high tech blends of 4130, which are air hardened and have twice the strength of regular 4130. The tubes are all butted which also saves some weight, and the air–hardening feature makes the heat–affected zone around the welds actually gain strength during cooling after welding. The overall frame weight is only a fraction over 5.1 lbs, which is incredibly low for this type of frame.
This is Doc’s ninth generation hardtail, although not all have gone into production. Most were never intended to, they have all been important experiments that increase the size of steps of the process of evolution. As Doc puts it, “these bikes have more influence on what not to do, than what to do.” He has designed a mountain bike with very close geometry to that of a BMX. If you check wheelbase, BB height, head tube angle, and chainstay length they all look pretty similar, but to achieve this with bigger wheels takes careful design.
The head angle is around 70 degrees, which helps the bike fit and react quicker in tighter and steeper jumps. The steeper headtube and low fork also shortens the centre of gravity a little, so the top tube has been lengthened just a bit to compensate. The lower bottom bracket gives the bike lots of leverage for pump and snap out of corners, the downside to this though is that it lowers your centre of gravity when riding park… but who cares? The lower bottom bracket also reacts against the super short rear end, meaning this bike manuals like a dream and probably a third of the people who have tried this bike have looped out.
Once you’re aware of this you can compensate, but it enables you to be able to aggressively apply power without the front coming up excessively. With the combination of this and the steep head angle you get a very short wheelbase, which makes the bike feel incredibly manoeuvrable, and not as sluggish as most other 26” wheeled bikes. Doc has also gone for some ‘Nu–Skool’ options like the mid size bottom bracket. This is because larger and more durable BMX size bearings could be used, and it ends up being lighter than a conventional threaded MTB shell.
The integrated headset was chosen mainly to reduce overall stack height whilst also allowing the headtube to remain a decent length, which gives a more secure hold on the fork and more room for the main tubes to join on to, but it also helps save yet more weight. I also like the clean look of the integrated seat clamp, and on a DJ oriented frame the seat height is rarely moved, so since a QR is not needed it was a good match. Again it saves a bit of weight on the complete build as well. There is a bit of a risk of breaking the binder bolt and having it stuck in the frame, whereas a separate seat clamp could be just tossed and replaced if the bolt breaks. But again, since the seat height is not fiddled with too much, the risk is small.
As you can probably tell I really like this bike. It has changed the way that I ride, so much so that I had to buy it. It feels smooth, really smooth. It feels light and flickable, but also incredibly stable. This blend of qualities will give anyone more confidence to go bigger. It’s also made me go back to 26” wheels, although I would love to try out their 24” version, the Satellite, which features similar geometry and is made in the same beautiful manner. If you can afford a high end bike then I’d urge you to go and help a small under–dog company like Superco.
They may be small, but they’re definitely pushing innovation more than most. Go buy one.
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