Kavenz VHP 16 | Blister

The VHP 16 can be run as a full 29er or with a mullet (29’’ front, 27.5’’ rear) combination by way of a replaceable shock mount that keeps the geometry the same apart from a change in chainstay length — the 29er gets 425 mm static chainstays, and the mullet arrangement drops them to 419 mm. Both of those are very short by modern standards, but Kavenz notes that the high pivot layout means that the chainstays are about 11 mm (29er) or 15 mm (MX) longer at sag. They’re also working on an optional rear triangle with longer chainstays for folks who would prefer that, but the exact details aren’t available yet. And finally, the VHP 16 can also be converted to a VHP 18 — Kavenz’s 180mm-travel Freeride / Park bike — by swapping the lower shock mount and installing a longer 225 mm shock.

Regardless of which wheel size combination you’re running, the VHP16 has a 64° headtube angle, 77.5° effective / 75.5° actual seat tube angle, and a fairly low 343 mm estimated bottom bracket height (34 mm drop on 29’’ wheels). The VHP 16 isn’t wildly long or slack for a modern Enduro bike, but the numbers make a lot of sense given what Kavenz says about aiming for a balance between being fairly stable and capable in steep terrain and at speed, while also being a bit more nimble and playful than the most aggressive, game-on Enduro race bikes out there. The thing I’m most curious to see is just how short the 425 mm static chainstay length feels on trail — on one hand, that’s super short, but they do get substantially longer at sag, and the quite-steep seat tube seems like it should help mitigate some of the downsides of super short chainstays when it comes to traction and keeping the front wheel planted on steeper climbs. We’ve got a VHP 16 in for review, so we’ll have a lot more to say on that subject soon — and Blister Members can check out our Flash Review of the VHP 16 right now to hear our initial thoughts.

And speaking of our test bike, Kavenz recommended a 480 mm reach for me (6’ / 183 cm tall), and left the seat tube and headtube choice to me. I went with the 450 mm seat tube and 125 mm head tube, and while I think I could have made pretty much any combination with the 480 mm reach work, my early take is that this one feels great. Stay tuned for a lot more on that in the full review.