I might as well say now, I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for Foes. Whilst some of the big players in the industry have mottos like ‘innovate or die’, I actually reckon that Foes are one of the most innovative companies that we’ve ever seen, and without question they must also be one of the smallest. Size isn’t always everything, innovation can often just be down to one unblinkered person, and in this case that person is Brent Foes…
From Dirt Issue 121 – March 2012
Words by Ed Haythornthwaite. Photos by Ed Haythornthwaite.
To this day I still remember the first time I saw a Foes bike, and it’s not surprising really. It was in a certain other mountain bike magazine and it was part of what was really their first big full suspension group test. There were the likes of the GT RTS, Cannondale Delta V, Specialized S–Works FSR, Manitou FS (complete with suspension fork legs as seatstays), Mountain Cycle San Andreas, an even a Raleigh Activator. The year must have been 1993 and it’s fair to say that apart from possibly the Mountain Cycle with its futuristic looks, nothing was too different. You got about 2” of shoddy travel, maybe pushing on towards 3” if you were really lucky…and then there was the Foes LTS. That thing was in a league of its own with a full 6” of travel and an equally forward thinking monocoque frame that more closely resembled a Gibson Flying V guitar than any bike I’d seen. To say it blew me away was an understatement. I had recently been severely bitten by the DH bug and this thing had my name written all over it, even if the price didn’t.
There was a problem though, the LTS (Long Travel System) was so ahead of its time that it was kind of sat out on a limb. The DH World Cup series had only just started and with every other bike manufacturer thinking that 3” of travel was verging on crazy there was a distinct lack of suitable forks and rear shocks for the Foes. I should say now though that the LTS was even more visionary than you might think, as it wasn’t really designed as a DH bike, it was simply a mountain bike. It was designed so that you could run a triple chainset, the very beginnings of an ‘all–mountain’ bike. Within a few years other companies were making dedicated DH bikes with 6” of travel, but it’s only in relatively recent times that we’ve seen a huge surge in the kind of bikes that the LTS was all those years ago.>>