Will it fly?
Part 3: Testing
In parts one and two, we outlined the what and why of Kingdom Void — the name for a new bike and its test process. Now, we will underline what the process of testing these new ideas will entail. It’s a whole lot simpler than the state-of-the-art science behind the bikes.
We are using additive manufacturing to create bike designs that would be otherwise impossibly intricate, prohibitively expensive or excessively wasteful with traditional manufacturing or CNC techniques.

While we could pretend it will be a highly classified and phased process, the reality is this: We will ride and ride and ride until the wheels fall off.

To ensure our new bikes are robust and versatile, we will do what we’ve always done and run every prototype through all sorts of real-world testing: Pedalling, jumping, crashing, dropping 2m to flat from our loading bay, leaning it stupidly against a lamppost. That sort of thing. And repeatedly washing it, taking it apart, finding spares for it, and maintaining it.

In other words, steps many companies seem to skip in their haste to meet the requirements of the corporate machine.

As this method of fabrication is new to us, on top of the usual testing (disguised as work rides), we'll be regularly monitoring wear and stress on the specific AM parts with a focus on the main pivot and chainstay yoke assemblies. This is to gauge their long-term fatigue vs the rest of the frame.


Helping us get it right.

In February, we'll make a further fourteen VOID frames across all sizes and travel, then invite a select number of riders to form an extended test team. We will task these riders to do their best to break, smash and destroy the VOID while doing the usual stuff. Then report back — not just on the ride and handling, but also detailing any wear on those all-important AM parts.

Finally, to finish the process off, before we bring this bike to market — if we bring it to market — we'll be sending the frame to be tested to EU ISO standards.


So the Void test has no set end date, you can't buy it and when and how will we know it’s finished?

That depends on its success or failure, but we are aiming for the start of Summer if everything goes as planned, but If something goes wrong and we can’t design our way around it, we’ll simply side-line the project.

It’s an experiment — and, by definition, no one knows what the result will be. The plan is to document the test’s progression. We want to be transparent at every stage of the process. We’ll show you the highs and inevitable lows. The jumps and turns and the bearing changes and punctures.

For the time-being, we hope you like the incentive and our drive to make things better.

Our engineer, Dean, has been riding the Void at home in Australia. and here's some of his initial thoughts after a first few rides.

"My first impressions were pretty spot on, the VOID rides like a hard tail without the knee pain.

It sits and stays high in its travel which is really noticeable when dropping it in holes and such, and doesn't dive in the ass when hanging off the back.

The VOID climbs well, I did all my testing with the climb switch wide open and while there is a little bob, you won’t notice unless you look at it; I couldn’t feel it at all.

That linearity is good, keeps the same feel throughout the travel range, even with the regressive bottom end I didn’t feel any harshness but if you were shooting for the stars a couple volume reducers would probably be a good idea.

It’s like the other side of the coin to the Hex, you can feel the hex working under you, the VOID kind of just absorbs it all no fuss. I’ve caught myself checking the climb switch a few times because it rides that stable.

Kingdom friend, XFS lover and classical musician Jim is also spending some time on the VOID Trail and these are his thoughts.

"In comparison to the XFS, the VOID encouraged a more active riding style and compliments the Vendetta’s handling very nicely. Whether it be the shock choice or other factors but it didn’t bob excessively on climbs and certainly wasn’t energy sapping. The simplicity of the single pivot platform coupled with ti made for a super light weight and refreshingly spritely ride which was a hoot."