The Strangest Bike? Structure Cycleworks founder, Loni Hull (Ep.38)

Structure Cycleworks founder, Loni Hull, goes on Blister's Bikes & Big Ideas Podcast to discuss his brand, linkage forks, suspension designs, & much more
Structure Cycleworks SCW 1


Structure Cycleworks arguably makes the coolest bikes out there — or the ugliest bikes out there. So we talked to Structure Cycleworks founder, Loni Hull, about why he introduced a front-linkage suspension design; why rear-linkage designs are everywhere, while front-linkage designs are utterly uncommon; and the pros and cons of bringing such an unorthodox bike to market. So whether you are a true bike dork or you just appreciate outside-the-box thinking and design, consider this is a ‘Must-Listen.’

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TOPICS & TIMES:

  • Your background (8:42)
  • When & why did you start Structure? (13:53)
  • Learning curve? (27:32)
  • First racers on the bike (31:05)
  • Geometry & hard tails (31:58)
  • Benefits of Structure’s design (38:38)
  • Wheel sizing (45:22)
  • Durability (46:57)
  • Warranty (50:59)
  • Trajectory of the bike industry (53:08)
  • Market acceptance & adoption (55:45)
  • Loni’s Big Idea (1:00:53)

4 comments on “The Strangest Bike? Structure Cycleworks founder, Loni Hull (Ep.38)”

  1. A paradigm shift or a short term fad? Time will tell. Beauty is a fickle thing when it comes to function. If it works better than what’s out there, that’s beautiful for many. The innovation itself is cool. The fact that it looks like a huge mantis trying to eat a tire is what is most cool to me.

  2. I had the chance to bounce around on the SW1 last year and the highest compliment I can give it is that it felt like a normal bike.

    I’d buy one if I had the $$

  3. Keep up the good work Loni & crew! My respects for challenging the status quo. It’s so important to keep doing that.
    I’d think the MTB world was not that traditional and thus interested in new innovative designs and technologies. In my opinion it has been a proving ground for tech to trickle down to road racing and others. Heck I see Shimano Zee brakes being used on bakfietsen (cargo bikes).

  4. Controlling dive in the front suspension is not a fad it is physics and engineering and it is absolutely necessary for a suspension bike that exhibits controlled behaviour under braking. Good quality telescopic forks attempt to control dive through heavy damping in the ‘low speed’ damping circuit or in rare cases using an inertial damper but overall telescopic forks fail the basic test of conserving suspension travel to deal with compressive forces imparted by bumps/terrain and instead dive excessively under deceleration, i.e. braking, leaving less travel available to deal with and help the bike successfully track through rough terrain.

    This is all a matter of degree – Structure uses deliberate front suspension kinematic design to reduce pro-dive (negative percentages of anti-dive) to around 0% anti-dive and that means the forks will still compress during and as a result of deceleration as weight transfers onto the front wheel under braking (whether you use the front or the rear brake or both). Pulling up fast especially will result in a lot of dive although less than a bike with a telescopic fork (without a heavily damped low speed damping circuit). Still, Structure’s kinematic design gives its bike a better floor for deceleration response – there isn’t the same degree of need for such a heavy low speed damping tune (to resist dive). A heavy damping tune has the negative consequence of reducing responsiveness to small bumps. To repeat this is a matter of degree. Structure’s bike still needs a great shock and a great leverage curve to outdo telescopic forks.

    One area of concern with Structure’s front linkage is the cyclical compressing/bobbing of the front suspension during hill climbing without the brake being applied. Now, this is only occurring because Structure’s linkage is largely free of stiction and a lighter than average low speed damping tune is probably also contributing to this strange behaviour (which a no stiction fork would also exhibit if there were such a thing). Still, Structure needs to give this careful consideration. Perhaps, there is a variation on Canyon’s Shape Shifter or Cane Creek’s Climb Switch that might serve nicely in this scenario.

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