What Has Changed?

The Essential

The original Essential was the bike that got ARC8 started, so we have an emotional connection to it. Even though still many people love this bike, we thought we could do better, and it was time for an overhaul. So what did we change?

A Bike Designed for Our Customers

As you may know by now, we started ARC8 after we developed our first frames as white label products. This means the original Essential had to appeal to a very wide range of brands and riders. This resulted in it being an incredibly versatile bike, but one that lacked a bit of character. As we learned during the first years with ARC8, our customers demand bikes with a sharp profile that meets the expectations of enthusiast riders. Now being in the position to design bikes exclusive to ARC8, we could do exactly that.

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A Shift in Focus

The original Essential covered a wide range of riding, starting from XC all the way to Trail. But it left quite a big gap to the Extra. We closed that gap with the Extra ST, a bike that was much more popular than we anticipated. Now with having the Evolve in the range, we could reposition the Essential as a trail to all mountain bike.

Range of use

Two Bikes in One Frame

The Essential now can accept 230x60 or 230x65 shocks, resulting in 120 or 130 mm of travel. Pair it with a 140 mm travel, 34 mm stanchion fork and you get a bike that is very similar to the original. A light and agile bike that is surprisingly capable in the downhills, but will be ready for the occasional XC or marathon race. Or use a burlier 150 mm fork in combination with 130 mm rear travel, and you will get a bruiser of a bike, ready for any mischief in the woods.

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Jonas' Essential built with a 36 and Float X has seen some bike park use already.

Fitting a Wider Range of Components

The new Essential fits wider tires (up to 2.6), shocks with external reservoirs and longer travel dropper posts. These were all requests we got in the past and we were able to incorporate in the new design. It also enables you now to carry spares and tools on the bike.

Technology Transfer

We were able to to transfer a lot of the technology used on the Evolve onto the Essential. It is benefitting from the slider suspension that opened up space, reduced weight and the number of parts. So it got even lighter, now being below 2000 g for the frame including shock.

A Modernized Geometry

The new Essential has a steeper seat tube angle, and more importantly a steeper actual seat tube angle. Like this the effective seat tube angle is not much affected by seat height. The BB is lower and the head tube angle slacker for a boost in confidence in turns and steep terrain. Reach has grown moderately.

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How Does It Compare?

If you are an owner of the original Essential and rode it in trail specification (with a 140 mm fork), then chances are high the new one is your ideal next bike. It has grow in descending capability without giving up any of its light-footedness. If you used your Essential as an XC race bike, the Evolve will speed up your climbs while you will still benefit from a better geometry in the descends.

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