Last summer we got a tease of Rock Machine’s adaptable Whizz concept mountain bike – a vision of a bulletproof aluminum shared bike AND eMTB platform that can be set at 140mm, 160mm, or 180mm of rear wheel travel, whatever wheel sizes you want, and with future-proof adjustable geometry. Whiz… one bike to rule them all.
Rock Machine Whiz modular alloy all-mountain bike
The idea of a single bike to adapt across multiple travel disciplines isn’t exactly a new concept. A number of XC bikes already have a longer travel TR trail version, as well as plenty of enduro bikes with shorter, lighter all-mountain builds. In fact, Czech bikemaker Rock Machine’s new Whiz is built as the successor to their popular Blizzard family – already an affordable alloy range of 120mm light trail, 140mm all-mountain, and 160-170mm enduro bikes that share the same general design.
But this one takes adaptability to a next level – a more progressive, more capable platform & more adjustable platform designed to be ridden hard for years to come.
What Rock Machine really does best is build affordable bikes that are fun to ride and built to last.
140, 160, or 180mm and all the adjustability
Their new short-link floating-pivot Whiz aims to up the fun factor by bumping up travel over their Blizzard family – now to 140mm for trail riding, 160mm for enduro, and 180mm as a park bike. As our riding gets more aggressive, the do-it-all MTB platform has to get more progressive and more capable of keeping up!
Three travel settings are interchangeable via 3 possible rear shock stroke lengths mounted in one of three flip-chip positions at the upper shock mount inside the split toptube – coil or air shocks. The open toptube also includes a forward mounting point (not so dissimilar to the recent Canyon Torque:ON) that can be used for a tool mount or some other future bag or hydration accessory.
Presumably, there’s more suspension curve & geometry adjustability available through linkage tweaks, too. The lower pivot mount on this prototype also includes another flip-chip. Modern long, low & slack geometry carries through for each setting, with the longer forks slackening out the front end a bit.
But there is also a hugely oversized headtube to fit a headset that can be adjusted either for headtube angle or frame Reach depending on rider need. Another reason for that massive headtube is structural… Rock Machine has designed a front rack that will attach with 4-bolts on the front of the bike or ebike and be able to haul a crate of beer! And for when the bolts are not it use, those bolts be hidden with a big ol’ head badge.
Out back a single one-piece rear triangle suits all travel and frame sizes, while bolt-on dropouts allow Rock Machine to customize chainstay length as needed, and also means they can create different dropouts to stay on top of every changing standards. This one doesn’t have a UDH mount for SRAM transmissions, but that obviously will be possible on the production bike.
And of course with all that adjustability also comes all the wheelsize options too. Rock Machine says the Whiz is designed to accommodate 27.5″, mullet, or full 29er wheel combos depending on rider preference and riding style. No word exactly how the bike will adapt to that – different short links, more flip-chip adjustments, or separate dropouts – but the options will be there.
A few last details… Rock Machine has built the Whiz to be durable, that means big user-serviceable bearings across all the pivots, plus a threaded BB & ISCG mounts. It also means the bike can be set up with external cable routing through modular mounts down the side of the downtube, or there are conventional internal routing ports if you prefer a more tidy bike build. Lastly, an integrated mount for a mid-body kickstand – it doesn’t really add much weight apparently and will be helpful when you’ve parked with your SUV build bike with a bunch of beers on the front rack.
One bike to rule them all.
One of the driving factors of the Whiz project was to make Rock Machine’s new bike a more efficient platform too – both environmentally and from a production standpoint. That dramatically shaped split top tube is a big part of that efficiency. Reimagined from Rock Machine’s Adrenaline DH bike in the early 2000s, the open/split top tube helps lower the bike’s center of gravity, while also improving standover clearance. That last bit combined with 200mm dropper posts means that more riders can fit on one bike. Paired with Reach adjustability in the headset, Rock Machine figures they can fit more riders on two sizes of the new Whiz than typically fit on conventional 3-size offerings.
With that, Rock Machine will have to just hydroform one single open toptube, just one headtube, and build just one single rear triangle, that can all be shared across all frame sizes of both bikes and ebikes, and at all travel levels. There are only the seat & down tubes will differ, reducing waste.
Plus, one ebike too, a Whiz eMTB
The ebike version of the Whiz is coming a bit later than the pedal-powered one. Rock Machine hinted that some of the tech that will propel this one forward is MY25 gear, so it will wait until at least the end of next summer for a more official roll-out. Interestingly of note, a German ebike motor maker asked to hide its name & future battery capacity from Rock Machine’s Eurobike booth, which left Shimano compatibility shown. Rock Machine says they designed the modular eWhizz to be able to work with multiple ebike motor systems so they wouldn’t need to be locked into one supplier – a feature pretty unique in the eMTB market.
And in the meantime before that future motor & battery model are ready to test, Rock Machine is already out dialing in geometry, suspension & setup on the eWhizz ebike prototype with dummy ballast providing the same weight & weight balance as the final eMTB, just using bikepark uplifts until the engine is available to test in the new ebike.
Rock Machine Whiz – Options, potential pricing & availability
Technically the Rock Machine Whiz is still a prototype, even though it’s in the functional ridable prototype stage – a big step up from the 3D-printed mock-up we saw last summer. And Rock Machine doesn’t officially do standard model-year bikes, so anticipating a real availability date in shops is guesswork. We’ve been told the pedal-powered one is pretty much dialed in, and Rock Machine are working on industrializing the bike – that means setting up production for the final hydroformed tube shaping and getting ready for sample bikes to iron out manufacturing kinks. My guess is that means a Whiz could be available as early as the middle of 2024.
We’ll be keeping an eye out for sure, and I’ll likely head to Rock Machine’s HQ and assembly factory this fall to get a closer look, and to give some pre-production Whiz bikes a first ride test or two.