We wrote an article on Jeff Soncrant, the founder of Eminent Cycles, a couple of years ago where he laid out the challenges of starting a new bike company. Since then, he has been busy in San Diego, developing more bikes under the Eminent name, including the Haste MT, which we are testing here. A true enduro bike built for speed and the thrill of the send, this capable and unique machine is ready for just about everything.
Eminent uses unidirectional carbon fiber to construct both the front and rear triangles of the 29-inch-wheeled Haste MT. The rear rocker links, as well as the center suspension linkage, are all alloy. Rubberized frame protection is present on a majority of the downtube and chainstays to help protect the carbon frame from impact damage. To maximize dropper post-length compatibility, Eminent has designed the Haste with a continuous seat tube that fits a 34.9mm-diameter post. There are two frame storage mounts in the front triangle for a bottle cage and repair kits. They’ve also decided to go with a super Boost setup for enhanced lateral stiffness, as well as an improved dropout design to increase torsional stiffness.
Geometry is adjustable via a flip chip in the rocker link that toggles between a 63.5- and 64-degree seat tube angle and 77.5- or 78-degree seat tube angle. Reach on our size large comes in at a roomy 490mm long, while chainstays are also on the lengthy side at 440mm and are the same throughout the size range. Speaking of size range, the Haste is only offered in medium through extra large.
Our test build was the Haste MT Comp, which is the more budget-friendly of the three build options that range in price from $5,999 to $9,399. This Comp build includes a Shimano SLX 12-speed shifter and derailleur paired with a Deore M6100 cassette, chain and crankset with a 32T chainring. TRP’s Slate four-piston brakes with 203mm rotors were chosen to work alongside Sun Ringle Duroc SD37 Expert Alloy wheels with a Maxxis Minion DHF 29x2.5-inch front tire and Minion DHR II 29x2.4-inch rear. Its cockpit consists of a KS Rage dropper with 170mm of drop, a WTB Volt Comp saddle, ProTaper aluminum bars, a Race Face Turbine 40mm stem, and Lizard Skins Charger EVO grips.
If we were to discuss unique suspension systems, we would have no choice but to include Eminent’s High Pivot AFS system. The AFS acronym stands for “Active Float System.” Its rocker arm is insanely long and connects to what would be seatstays on other four-link designs but becomes more of a floating, long dropout link; this is where the brake caliper is attached. The lower shock mount is floating and driven by a pair of links that are connected to the chainstays.
The High Pivot version of AFS on the Haste has 15mm of rearward axle path whereas the shorter-travel, trail-focused Onset’s design has just 2.5mm. As a result of this rearward axle path, Eminent claims that the wheel deflects backwards instead of upwards, making it less likely to get hung up on bumps. This helps forward momentum and optimizes traction. They also suggest that its 120-percent anti-squat helps in climbing and delivers a firm platform that should keep traction more consistent.
In cooperation with Eminent’s High Pivot AFS suspension system, there is an idler pulley set over the lower pivot on the chainstay that has an integrated chain guide keeping the chain from falling off. This design allows the suspension to cycle without significant chain growth or pedal kickback.
The Haste MT has 160mm of rear travel damped by a Marzocchi Bomber Air rear shock on our test bike or a Fox Float X as listed on their website. A Marzocchi Z1 Bomber with the Grip damper with 170mm of travel oversees bump and steering control in the front.
Climbing is one thing the Haste MT does very well, even considering it has 160mm of rear travel. On steep and loose sections of trail, however, the Haste had a small shortcoming while ascending. The rear suspension feels like it has a lot of anti-squat and was not active feeling while under power, so the rear wheel tended to wander, searching for traction a little more than we are used to. This made us feel like we were navigating a hardtail up these climbs, which isn’t all bad but not what we would expect from a bike in this category. We never had a problem where we had to actually step off the bike and walk, but it was definitely a noticeable trait. Aside from those steep sections, the Haste MT performed very well on most climbs. Even with a few pedal strikes here and there and the general length of the bike making tight switchbacks a challenge, we were very impressed with the overall efficiency we were able to achieve while climbing this beast. Our body position while climbing was very comfortable, which made it a nice experience when the trail turned upward. Road climbs were a breeze, and the bike, though a little heavy, carried its weight well up long, sustained sections.
This bike was built to be a performer on the descents and has all the numbers to prove it. In the slack mode, the front end tended to wander a little bit when entering tight, slow corners. It was a little harder to shift our weight back enough to get the front end up quickly compared to other bikes. Manuals were hard to pop into and took more effort to hold than usual, but that wasn’t much of an issue when it came down to the overall performance of the bike. We also felt the 40mm-long stem put us a little bit too far forward, so we replaced it with a shorter one, which helped a lot with centering us on the bike.
In certain situations, specifically in flat technical sections, the bike felt bulky, and maneuverability was fairly slow. It took a sustained, relatively steep descent for us to feel at home on the Haste MT. This is a bike that craves speed. As long as gravity was feeding our progression, we could point and shoot at anything, and the faster we went, the better the bike handled. Pedaling on the descents was a little bit awkward at times because the anti-squat caused the rear suspension to almost stop working under power, even while we were standing to pedal, so it was best to resort to pumping whenever possible to keep the suspension active.
We wouldn’t want to take this bike to any steep dirt jumps where precision is key, but its keen stability and point-and-shoot capabilities made large step-down gaps and big tabletops a breeze to float over. It feels extremely stable in the air, which makes whips and tables a little more difficult but not impossible. Overall, the Haste MT doesn’t have a plush feel to it. We’re not going to say it is harsh, but it doesn’t hug every small imperfection on the ground like some bikes in its category (e.g., the Revel Rail we tested in our last issue). That said, it’s incredible on square edges and big hits, especially at speed. The stability was good, and any chatter we received from the trail was easily smoothed out with no loss of traction. It was easier on more wide-open trails to let off the brakes and let the bike eat up the bumps.
WHAT DID WE HATE?
The Idler pulley, though functional in the design on the ascents, was loud and caused vibrations to be transferred directly through the cranks. It’s one of the better idlers we’ve tested in this regard, but it still makes noise and can be felt. There is a little bit of resistance as well, but it’s more of a mental thing than an actual loss in efficiency. Though this wasn’t a huge deal, we all noticed the idler, especially coming straight off another bike without it. Some riders were bothered by it more than others.
The dropper post became a sore spot, as we had to unweight the dropper to press the button to put it down, making it more difficult to put it down while at speed on a technical trail. The bolts for the water bottle tabs were too short for most bottle cages, and we had to clean up the threads in the bosses with a tap to install longer ones. Although it offers very clean lines, the cable routing from the front triangle to the swingarm was a cause for concern for some, because the cable and hose are not anchored and slide within their ports as the suspension cycles. There was always a coating of dust, presumably from the frame or housing, from these surfaces sliding against each other.
WHAT DID WE LOVE?
We were very appreciative of the TRP brakes spec’d with this build, as they provided consistent power and needed little adjustment once set up. As always, the Maxxis Minion tires worked very well for the entire duration of our test. Test riders absolutely adored the way the high-pivot suspension ate square edges and chunk at speed.
The world of high-performance enduro bikes is heavily saturated, so it’s hard for smaller companies like Eminent to get a foothold and make a unique bike that performs well. The Haste is a bike well suited for big mountain or bike park riding where the trails are wide open and fast. It’s not as well suited as other enduro bikes at slower speeds or popping off of trail features, but it thrives at speed. Since the Haste pedals well overall, it is worthy of consideration for epic days in the mountains. ❏