Yorkshire-based, UK company, Carbon Wasp, have been hand-building niche carbon bike components (such as track/time trial racing aero bars and cranks for Pinion gear boxes and limited run personal and project bike frames) for 15 years. They've been a carbon frame repair shop for over a decade too. They've finally put that experience and third party lesson learning into a frame that's ready to take on the best XC/downcountry mountain bikes in the world.
Handmade in Yorkshire
Carbon Wasp started as a garage hobby (the name comes from a joke that got out of hand about one of the first frames founder Adrian Smith built for himself and painted yellow in honor of Rune Hoydahl's 1995 Giant MCM race bike). As the team refined their skills through experimentation and experience though, they started picking up carbon repair work and subcontracting work. This included custom extensions and arm rests for track and time trial bars that have gone on to win Olympic gold medals and World Championships. Over time, messy wet lay-up construction was switched to more accurate bladder and mold methods using laser printed formers. Carbon Wasp are now using locally made CNC machined alloy molds for longer production runs.
As well as building several mountain bike frames for himself over the years, Smith has also contract built Pinion gearbox frames for Olsen bikes as well as some very interesting prototypes for the likes of Rotec.
The Truffle is their first commercially available frame and it's taken three years of refining design, carbon lay up and sorting supply to get it ready. It's still on the progressive end of numbers for fast trail riding/racing though with 120mm travel front and rear.
In terms of geometry head angle is 65.5 degree, seat angle 76 degree and reach 480mm on a large. Chainstay lengths are 435mm for S and M frames, and 440mm on L and XL sizes with a 33mm BB drop on all bikes. Like most bikes in the category, it uses a flex-stay rear end (also molded and bladder blown in their Leeds workshop, with a molded carbon single piece rocker. It uses a custom tuned Cane Creek Inline Air shock as standard although you can buy the frame without a shock and fit whatever 190 x 50mm damper you want.There's also the potential to use interchangeable shock mount bridges to alter geometry slightly.
The frame has tube-guided internal control routing, a BSA threaded bottom bracket with ISCG tabs and internal storage as standard. There's 'Yorkshire winter proof' amounts of room around a 29 x 2.4in tire and seat tube diameter is 30.9mm with a neat twin bolt clamp for security. Claimed weight for frame without shock is 2100g with the complete SRAM XX1 and RockShox SID Ultimate fork equipped complete bike we tested weighing 12.6kg.
Having had some terrifying experiences on homegrown bikes and even big brand machines where long reaches and low weights have been combined I was apprehensive as I headed from the Carbon Wasp workshop to the local woods. We'll post a full first ride very soon but I'm very happy to say the Truffle not only survived but properly thrived on the rough, twisty singletrack. Power delivery is excellent and tracking precise even when rallying at the limits of the Racing Ralph tires. Once we'd tweaked the Cane Creek shock settings, it was a great blend of positive pedal kick and composed control on rocky and rooty descents with decent sends and sudden turns to spice things up.
Unlike a lot of bikes where availability is still a real issue, Carbon Wasp can make you a frame to order in around three weeks, complete with single color custom paint job. More complex custom paints and other customer requests are available if you ask nicely and pay a bit more than the standard £2800 with shock and £2400 without.
See the Carbon Wasp website for more details.