The Zealous Division is the bike that was waiting to happen! We’ve been riding 29ers since they first came on the scene around 2002, and we’re big fans of the monster-truck rolling ability of the bigger wheels – and they made a lot of sense for the type of all-round trail riding we were doing. There was a problem though – the handling wasn’t exactly as pin sharp as we were used to on our 26″ bikes. The development of equipment, especially forks, has made 29ers become way more established, but still no-one had managed to make the back end of the bikes short enough to encourage playful handling.
To accommodate those big, fast rolling wheels the frames became long which in-turn produced bikes with ponderous handling. Like a battleship. So, the solution was to shorten the chainstay allowing the wheelbase to be tightened and relocate the rider’s centre of gravity between the wheels. To achieve this we had to come up with something unique…
Firstly, the front mech had to go. A lot of 29er frames out there now have the rear tyre painfully close to the front mech and this limits how short the rear wheel can be brought forward. With the emergence of 1 x 10 drivechains (and now 1 x 11) and the popularity of singlespeed 29ers, this seemed like a logical sacrifice, considering the benefits. Secondly, we didn’t want a seattube angle that was cranked outwards or offset (resulting in a super short toptube) to accommodate the rear wheel being brought forward – this enables a ‘proper’ seating position giving a neutral pedalling action – essential if this was to become the all-day-do-it-all bike we wanted. The solution is the unique, patent pending ‘Eclipse Seattube’ which allows the rear wheel to partially pass through it, reducing the chainstay length without altering the seattube angle or toptube length. We think this is such a good idea we have filed a patent for it!
The result is a 29er frame that has sharp handling characteristics akin to those small wheel 26inch wheel bikes but with the added big wheel benefits.
There are plenty of great 29er hardtails out there that are fast in a straight line, but what we tried to achieve with the design of the Division was a frame that was good in the corners and had some genuine all-mountain characteristics in its sturdy build. The Division is not an xc whippet, but a genuine trail bike for all occasions – all day comfort coupled with all mountain fun!
- Patent Pending ‘Eclipse’ split seat-tube design, allowing us to achieve one of the industry’s shortest 29er chainstay lengths at 415mm, coupled with a ‘normal’ seat tube angle.
- 31.6mm dropper post compatible, includes TT & DT hose routing and Reverb Stealth capability. Triple slotted clamp area to avoid point loading and give a more secure clamp force.
- Infinite mud clearance – there’s nowhere for mud to get trapped – genuinely this frame will not clog!
- Clearance for up to 29 x 2.4 tyres (tested with Maxxis Ardent 2.4) though we recommend 2.3 to be it’s ‘sweet spot’.
- DMR Swopout Dropouts – interchangeable dropouts allow any type of rear wheel to be used – 135mm QR, 142 bolt-thru and even horizontals if you want to singlespeed action! (Supplied as standard with 135mm QR dropouts)
- IS slotted rear discmounts, mounted on the chainstay for maximum braking response and clean looks.
- CNC BB shell – Shimano PF BB91 – for super wide and stiff BB area.
- Single ring specific design.
- ISCG 05 chain guide mounts.
- 44mm Headtube gives the ability to run any type of fork steerer (tapered, 1 1/8″ or 1.5″), or an Angleset if you like.
- Designed for 110-130mm 29er forks. Running with a 120mm fork produces a 68 degree head angle.
- 2 year warranty and crash replacement scheme.
- RRP £499.99 (includes seatclamp, hose/cable guide kit and 135mm QR dropouts).
The Division is a very unique frame, and benefits from some specific kit choices when building up. Here a few recommendations from us on what kind of gear to spec your Division with:
- Stem: The Division has a long top tube designed to run with a short stem – this gives high speed stability and confidence over rough terrain, but retains razor sharp handling. We suggest using either a 50mm or 40mm stem.
- Handlebars: We designed in a short headtube to enable customers to be able to use riser bars without having the front end too high – no need to use flat bars to achieve your ideal body position with the Division! To take advantage of the great handling characteristics of the Division, we suggest using a low rise bar – around 10-20mm, with a width somewhere in the region of 740mm – 760mm.
- Headset: Division has a 44mm headtube, which is capable of accepting all fork steerer options available on the market right now. We suggest going for a tapered steerer fork and using a zero stack top cup, and external lower cup. Using the Cane Creek SHIS naming convention, this would be a ZS44/28.6 top cup and an EC44/40 lower cup.
- Fork: The original design criteria called for a 120mm 29er fork – but we would happily recommend that a 130mm travel fork works well in the Division too. Anything shorter than 120mm will result in too low a bottom bracket, and forks running at 140mm will result in very lazy & unpredictable steering. We also suggest running a tapered steerer fork with a bolt through axle, to take advantage of the extra stiffness and therefore front end precision.
- Seatpost: Division takes a 31.6mm diameter seatpost, and we recommend using some brand of dropper post to fully benefit from the killer tech handling we have built into this frame. Both external routed hoses and ‘Stealth’ type internal hoeses are supported, and fittings supplied with the frame to mount both hose route options.
- Drivetrain: The Division is single chainring compatible only – you cannot run a front mech. ISCG 05 mounts are provided to enable you to run a chainguide, but we are massive fans of the new Narrow/Wide chainrings. Match this up to a clutch type mech to give a super clean and quiet drivetrain. Chainring size will be determined by the terrain you ride, but with most crank set ups you will be limited to a 36T maximum. We have found that either single ring specific or double specific (with only one ring!) cranks work best – triple cranks may need the inner ring mounts removed to clear the BB shell. Any cassette can be used, but super wide range versions will give you the greatest flexibility.
- Brakes: Your front rotor size will depend on any restrictions your fork brand quotes, but we would suggest using a 180mm up front, and either a 160mm or 180mm out back. The Divison is not compatible with a rear 203mm rotor.
- Bottom Bracket: The Division uses the BB92 press fit standard. All major drive train brands produce bottom brackets to enable their cranks to be used with this standard, and also many brands such as Chris King & Nukeproof produce high quality BBs for BB92.
- Wheels & Tyres: The rear end of the Division frame is obviously very unique, and whilst it offers great performance and handling benefits, it does dictate to some extent what wheel and tyre combo can easily be used. To be able to use the widest range of tyres in the Division, we recommend that the wheels used have no greater than a 23mm internal rim width. This width is a great balance of strength, durability and weight – the ideal trail rim! This also means that you will happily be able to use tyres of around 2.3″ width from most brands. We have used 2.4″ tyres in there from some brands also. Remember though – mud clearance will never be an issue whatever tyre you use! We would also suggest that your front wheel is of the bolt through variety, and we also think the Division performs best when using the bolt through rear set up – though obviously with the Swopout system, you can run 135×10 QR, 135 horzontal/SS or 142×12 bolt through.