Readers’ Rides: Hailey’s Bearclaw Ti Hardtail MTB


Readers’ Rides: Hailey’s Bearclaw Ti Hardtail MTB

This week’s Readers’ Rides comes from within our editorial team. Hailey has been kickin’ ass over here at The Radavist for a while now and today, we’re featuring the bike she’ll be kickin’ ass on during the North South Colorado race this weekend, her Bearclaw Hardtail. Let’s check out her build, intent, and a full spec below!

In the spirit of the typical Readers’ Ride format, I’m going to keep this short and sweet! For my Radavist Readers’ feature, I submit to you my Bearclaw Ti Hardtail MTB—and yes, that’s the actual model name, says so right on the top tube. While this frame has proved to be a bit of a strange bird, geometrically speaking, it’s been a fun challenge dialing in the build over the past 18 months and finding the best use case for this bike. After spending time with it as a rigid flat bar 29er, drop bar rigid 29er with the Surly Corner Bar, 120mm-of-squish hardtail, and—finally—as the monster-cross drop bar 29er tourer you see today, I think this latest incarnation is where it really shines.

I was gifted this bike by my partner for Christmas in 2021 (incidentally, he bought the frame from TPC before I had any real working relationship with The Radavist) as an entrée into mountain biking. He had also ordered a suspension fork (RockShox SID Ultimate) to go with it but late 2021 was still very much peak pandemic distribution disaster, so it would be a good six months until the SID arrived. Meantime, it was an insightful journey going from underbiking on my gravel bikes to incrementally understanding how a hardtail’s geometry (independent of front suspension) contributes to the riding experience.

I rode the bike a ton in its initial form in winter and spring of 2022: first, touring the Stagecoach 400 route in southern California, taking it to the loose and punchy hills of northeastern Nebraska, to Moab for a WRIAD lap, and even dipping a toe in the Colorado Trail with a day ride of sections 1 and 2 from Waterton Canyon. By the time the SID arrived, I felt like I’d tested its limits as a rigid MTB and was very curious to see if a little squish would give more confidence to my, admittedly, timid MTB mindset.

I was a bit dismayed to find that adding a modicum of front travel to the setup didn’t really change the game in the way I’d been hoping. Sure, descending tech and chunk felt nicer but I didn’t see that much of a leveling up in other areas on the trail. If anything, the bike got heavier (obvs) and I found the front end hard to control when climbing at slow speeds and even more so if presented with any obstacle to ride over. Of course, this had a lot to do with my relative lack of experience, but as I was presented the opportunity to test ride other hardtails for The Radavist (notably, Otso’s Ti Fenrir and Neuhaus’ Hummingbird) I started to dive into geo comparisons. While it’s not always productive to take certain numbers in isolation, I do think the relatively slack seat tube (73-degrees) results in one feeling too planted over the back wheel, leaving the front end to wander on steeper terrain. To put it in skiing terms, I always felt like I was in the backseat.

During said testing period for the aforementioned bikes, I kind of tabled the Bearclaw for a time. This is definitely a #bikeindustryproblems complaint but the more bikes you have in rotation, the more maintenance you have to do such that getting out for daily rides can become kind of annoying if a bike is always needing some kind of little adjustment. With a few review bikes in the queue, I just let the Bearclaw lay fallow. This spring though, I came to a crossroads with the Bearclaw, realizing I either needed to find a way to love it, or get it out of the house. The Rapha Yomp Rally actually proved to be a critical turning point in my appreciation for this bike.

Intel from the Yomp organizer warned that (at least half of) the 385-mile route would be pretty rough. With the help of my partner, Tony, turning the Bearclaw back into its former rigid drop bar 29er state seemed the perfect Yomp setup. What I haven’t mentioned thus far is: this bike has the smoothest ride quality I’ve experienced over any bike I’ve ridden—steel or Ti—and it was this specific characteristic that had made me hesitant to let it go. I don’t know the exact downtube diameter, but it looks pretty robust, but it also transitions into a flattened ellipse close to the BB junction, which I attribute the plush frame feel to. The Bearclaw build had also been my first experience putting significant miles on a White Industry crankset and BB, and every time I threw a leg over, I was re-impressed with the butter-smooth pedal stroke.

I don’t run a wireless drivetrain, so we used a 31.8 clamp to mount the SRAM trigger shift inboard on the Ritchey Venturemax bars I ran and—over the course of the Yomp—I gradually developed the muscle memory to reach up and in to shift (so much so that upon returning to my other bikes, it took a few miles to remember that I didn’t have the leave the hoods to shift!). It wasn’t ideal for out of the saddle riding but for a touring pace, it worked just fine. I found the Bearclaw felt even smoother while loaded and the frame specs handle better on blown up roads than on techy singletrack—my monster tourer was born!

Now, I’m about to put it to the real test as a bikepacking race rig. By the time of publication, I’ll have started the North South Colorado Bikepacking race, a full traverse of Colorado’s Front Range. I completed the inaugural edition of the event in 2021 on my Rodeo Labs and am excited to revisit the updated course with a more comfortable and capable long-distance steed. I realized during the Yomp that I actually don’t love the Venturemax’s ergo bump, and, with the unconventional shifter location, I wouldn’t have room for everything I wanted in the cockpit. Fortunately, Beast’s Hybrid Bars (that I will be reviewing in the near future) helped free up some space in that crowded area. The rest of the build is equal-parts curated, equal-parts necessity driven. For instance, the mismatched wheels are simply because I’m borrowing the dynamo front wheel from Tony’s hardtail and the Redshift tape (while not as preferred as my beloved Brooks tape) was laying around (used) so I decided to recycle it here. Take a look at the full spec list below!

Build Spec:

  • Frame: Bearclaw Ti Hardtail Mountain Bike
  • Fork: Whisky No. 9 MTN Boost LT Fork
  • Stem: Whisky 60mm
  • Bars: Beast Carbon Hybrid Bar
  • Headset: Wolf Tooth
  • Brake Levers: SRAM Level
  • Brake Calipers: SRAM Level
  • Bar Tape: Redshift
  • Grips: ESI
  • Seatpost: Thomson
  • Seat Clamp: Wolf Tooth
  • Saddle: Brooks B17 Carved
  • Cranks: White Industry
  • Chainring: White Industry 34t
  • BB: White Industry
  • Pedals: Shimano PD M-520
  • Cassette: GX Eagle 10-52
  • Hubs: S.O.N Dynamo (front), DT Swiss 350 (rear)
  • Rims: Knight Composites (front), Whisky No. 9 36W (rear)
  • Tires: Rene Herse Fleecer Ridge 700c x 55 Endurance casing
  • Bags: Swift Industries Kestrel (bar bag), Gibby (x 2, stem bags), Olliepack (seatbag); Revelate Designs (top tube bag); Oveja Negra Framebag
  • Sleeping System: Ultimate Direction FKT Bivy, Patagonia Down Pants, Rapha Down Jacket, cut-down foam pad
  • Clothes: Goretex Rain Jacket, La Sportiva Rain Pants, Smartwool Merino Longsleeve and Merino Tights, Pearl Izumi Rain Jacket, Pearl Izumi Sun Sleeves, Rapa Merino Knee Warmers, REI Rain Mittens, La Sportiva Insulated Over Mittens, Pearl Izumi fingerless gel pad gloves, Wild Rye lightweight gloves, Rapha Synthetic Neck Gaiter
  • Electronics – Garmin InReach Mini, Garmin Edge 1040 Solar, phone, battery bank, charging cables, Petzl Bindi headlamp, Fenix flashlight (mounted on helmet)
  • Other: Water Filter/ Flask, Wallet, Earbuds, 2L Bottles
  • Toiletries

If you’re keen to follow the race, you can do so here!



We’d like to thank all of you who submitted Readers Rides builds to be shared here at The Radavist. The response has been incredible and we have so many to share over the next few months. Feel free to submit your bike, listing details, components, and other information. You can also include a portrait of yourself with your bike and your Instagram account! Please, shoot landscape-orientation photos, not portrait. Thanks!