Years ago, Last adorned the pages of Dirt Magazine, with superlative things written about the performance of their Herb bike. More recently, the brand has seen a little rebirth with its semi-rigid steel Fastforward. Lots of industry members have grabbed one of these beautiful frames, I was one of them.The German brand is coming out with incredibly well designed full suspension aluminum frames that are below 3 kg for several years. But with the launch of their new bike, the Tarvo, Last sought to significantly reduce this weight to improve their already proven performance while keeping a reliable and easy-to-ride bike. In doing so, they may have just made one of the lightest enduro frames in the world.
• 170 mm fork travel
• Frame weight of 2.08 kg
• Geometry and suspension adjusted by size
• 5 year warranty approved by Bike Park
• Developed and manufactured in Germany
More information: Latest bikes
Construction and details
One of the Tarvo’s biggest titles is the incredible low frame weight. Last already felt that their current bikes had a high level of suspension performance, and therefore looked at the weight to improve the overall performance of the bike. But that couldn’t hurt the reliability of the bike or the ease of riding, as Last also wanted to create a quick and easy to control bike. It tilts the scale at 2.08 kg, which includes all mounting hardware for the pivot and shock absorber, as well as the cable routing and frame protection on the down tube and chain support.
The Tarvo is a composite carbon fiber construction with a machined aluminum link. The front triangle and the rear triangle are molded in one piece to avoid the increase in material and glue needed when gluing separately molded parts. This lack of joints also provides a slightly better final control of the fibers around the frame structure without the need to transmit forces through the joints. Their composite also uses a resin with increased impact resistance and is UV stable, which means that the raw carbon frame would not react or degrade when exposed to the sun.
Also aware of their responsibility for sustainable and ethical sourcing and manufacturing, the raw fibers come from Japan where they are then processed into prepregs in Italy, with stratification carried out in Germany at All Ahead. The frame is painted in Germany, as is the frame and the complete assembly of the bike. This localization of the supply chain also lends itself very well to an increased level of quality control available to Last as well as the ability to react more quickly to any problems that may have arisen during development or production.
To lose weight, and to take advantage of the engineer’s ability to flex in the structure, Last removed the rear pivot on the seat stay. Instead, the seat itself remains flexed to provide the movement necessary to go through the suspension travel. This is not something new, as other shorter travel bikes use this method, but not something so common on longer travel bikes.
There is an optional upgrade to a down tube storage compartment, at a cost of € 199, which sees a modified layout to accommodate the hole but apparently does not compromise the rigidity of the frame. So if you want additional storage of the frame, you are covered with the accompanying bag to go inside the down tube. The frames use internal cable routing with molded tubes inside which actually act to stiffen the down tube.
The frames use the SRAM UDH and use a threaded BB for reliability and to keep the optional ISCG tab if necessary. There is even captive shock material at the link to prevent the washers from falling out when you remove the shock. The frames are tested at EFBe in Germany according to the ASTM 5 standard, which allows Last not only to mark the Tarvo as being approved for the bicycle park, but also to offer a 5-year warranty which extends after the first owner to all subsequent owners. There is even another 3 year crash replacement program and Last also wants to say that he is able to repair composite damage if possible. Spare parts are of course available and include the front and rear triangles. And all the composite parts that need to be replaced can be taken over by Last and recycled into fiber-reinforced thermoplastic parts.
The Tarvo is designed as a long-race bike for aggressive riding and, as such, uses a head angle of 64 degrees combined with good range numbers for each of the four sizes ranging from 429mm to 518mm. The sizing is based on the typical jumper sizes of 165, 175, 185 and 195 cm in height.
Last change not only the length of the bases by size, to have a good front-back balance, but also the seat angle. Larger frames have a stiffer seat angle to adjust the weight of the cyclist between the contact plates while seated. The height BB for the smallest size 165 is 5 mm lower than the others. This was done because Last used a shorter crank length for the small pilots and saw that they could take advantage of the increased ground clearance on this frame.
The lengths of the seatposts should play well with the long suspension rods and the lengths of the head tube are generous enough to put the bars in the right position for aggressive riding without the need for a mountain of rod spacers.
Last’s Flex Pivot takes advantage of the ability to flex in the carbon structure and provide a pivot at the rear of the bike. The kinematic design minimizes the amount of deflection needed in the seat stays in order to keep stress and deformation low.
The latter have always used very progressive leverage ratios on their bikes, which they say contributes to those glowing reviews of the grass throughout the day. The Tarvo keeps this same philosophy and has an overall progression of 55% (by looking at how much percentage is the final report from the starting report), but Last tends to use its percentage of progression from the point of subsidence, which in this case is 34%. So be aware of this when comparing bikes on paper.
Finally, it is recommended to use and specify dampers with damping adjustment rather than with a latching switch. This gives Last and the user more adjustment options to compose the bike according to its weight and handling.
Last not only adjusted the geometry of the frame according to the size, but it also changed the kinematics. The leverage ratio remains the same but the anti-squat and anti-climb are adjusted to approximate the acceleration and deceleration responses of the bike, giving a more consistent riding feeling between sizes and adapting to heights of changing CoG from different cyclists.
Last’s anti-squat graph compares sagging bikes changing through the cassette gears. In the largest climbing equipment, all frame sizes share the same anti-squat values and are even very close when you are moving towards a 24-tooth medium cassette gear. It is only at the extreme 10 teeth that there is a little more variation in the frame sizes. For comparison, the gray lines on the graph show the anti-squat values if Last had not adapted each frame size and show a much larger distribution of the values between the frames.
The same goes for the anti-climb, where all the frame sizes display the same values and will therefore share the same characteristics. Few brands change their geometry, such as chain support and seat angle, by size, and even fewer change their suspension characteristics. So for Last, to do both is to show how focused they were on each part of the Tarvo in its role in the performance of the bike.
The MX option is also available. Using only a different link, the Tarvo can be converted to a rear wheel bike of 170 mm and 27.5 inches. The MX link adjusts suspension and geometry for smaller wheels, increased travel, and dynamic sag change. Inside, they found that the larger drivers prefer the larger rear wheel and the smaller ones prefer the smaller rear wheel, but it was also an option they wanted to offer everyone to give freedom of movement offered by the small rear wheel.
Buildings, prices and availability
The Tarvo is available in a raw carbon finish with the upgrade to painted metallic blue matt available for € 399. Custom colors are also available with an upgrade of € 799.
The frames cost between € 4,038 and € 4,158 depending on the choice of Fox X2 coil or air shock absorbers or Superdeluxe Ultimate RCT coil or air shock absorbers. You can also buy the frame without shock if you have your own shock absorber 205 x 65 mm for 3599 €.
Complete bikes are available with customer-to-customer dialogue to determine the best parts for your needs based on the many options you have. Complete bikes start at € 5,799 and can be built as light as 12.4 kg.
International shipping is available, but if you can visit Last in Dortmund, Germany, they will offer a first route configured and guided to fine-tune the bike settings. Test sessions are also available to try out the Tarvo and other latest bikes with details are available on their website.
185 and 175 frame sizes are available now with 165 and 195 available in August.