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History of the 456

History of the 456

We've been looking back, and it's a LONG time since we started work on the 456. Through the wonders of iPhoto, I've traced its lineage back to this final prototype which has a date of May 1st 2004. Though, that model really was an evolution of the work we did on the Planet X Armadillo, which itself was an evolution of the Planet X Compo.

 The 456 was a funny one for us, because structurally there are a lot of good reasons to make long travel frames in aluminium (or titanium, or carbon, but we'll come to that later) rather than steel, but those two frames never really took off. Probably something to do with the crazy high BB on the Compo, and the "love or hate, but mostly hate" looks of the Armadillo. 

The 456 geometry is a crazy thing. The original drawings actually show a 435mm length fork, with a 74.5deg seat angle and a 71deg head angle. The reasons for this, at the time, was that I wanted the bike to work when compressed, in a g-out situation. And my factory were getting fed up of doing revisions. Testing consisted of me riding up steep hills with Toby on the back, and also lending to a big boned chap called Darren who bent a regular inbred frame.

We revised a few things as we changed from the original manufacturer to a new one, not for structural reasons (the change of welders) but just business ones... and modified cable routing and such like. But the geometry has remained the same for all this time.

And so we evolved... The fantastic partnership with Titanium builders Lynskey and then the groundbreaking, ball busting, bank breaking Carbon 456, which showed on-one to be a fearless innovator - a frame still unmatched for performance and value. 

But we're moving on. Readers of my blog will have read about the 456Evo.

Why the 456Evo? Why change a winning formula? What does that mean to our current C456 stocks? 

Well - the reason is in the past too. Our Summer Season started our design team moving towards slacker head angles for more "general" riding. Having a bike that's more stable is great. And when properly designed a slack forked bike doesn't have to climb badly. Climbing performance is about weight distribution - put that in the right place and it's all fine. Fit wider bars to control the front end when going down, and also when going up. 

The Slackset was our first move as a company towards slacker head angles on our alloy and carbon bikes. It retrofits into the C456 and transforms it. It slackens the head angle. It steepens the seat angle (because of the internal lower cup, and the fact that it kicks the forks and front wheel forwards). It lowers the bottom bracket similarly, to give more stable high speed performance. It's a great value UK made upgrade for anyone that wants progressive geometry on their C456 frame. 

The 456Evo gives "C456 with Slackset" alike geometry at a steel frame pricepoint, but we've moved things on too. We've lengthened the chainstays on the larger models to stop people pulling wheelies. We've done similar things on other bikes before, but this time, by moving the rear wheel back, just a little - the larger frames have 4mm longer chainstays than the smaller ones - it keeps your weight forward without meaning you have to ride a more forward saddle position. 

All this means that, yes, the Summer Season is canned. Gone. Dead. We loved it, but it was always meant to be a short-run project that got misunderstood and confused. So long. But it lives on, with the Slackset and the 456Evo.

It's coming soon. Frames and bikes. We can't wait






15 February 2012


  • Mikelmtb

    And what slackset turns the C456 into 456Evo, 1º or 2º? Could you tell what angles has the C456 with a 2º slackset and 150 fork sagged? You could put more of information like this on the webpage.

  • Jim

    Sounds awesome. Will it have a 44mm head tube?

  • Sebastian

    Looks great - although I love my 456SS and I do not see a reason to change :-) However ... what are your plans for a 456EVO ti??? Loosing some weight in comparison to steel and getting this incredible look would be very tempting!

  • inkonstantmotion

    Great work! Are we going to see 456 carbon frames with the fully enclosed cables?