Introducing the Fairlight Holt: A Modern and Well-Equipped XC Bike

This morning, we have Dom from Fairlight offering up an explanation of their new MTB, the Holt. While it’s labeled as an XC MTB, bikes like this can be so much more, so continue reading for Dom’s explanation of this new platform…

Mountain bikes were my first love in cycling. From cross-country to trail riding to downhill racing, I worked my way through the various disciplines over the years. Ultimately, I ended up where I started, riding an XC hardtail. For the best part of the last decade that was a steel (853) 29er, swapping out between a 100mm xc fork and a rigid fork, depending on the season and the terrain. It was a bike that fitted into my life, making the most of the local terrain and being able to ride from the door. It made local riding fun and engaging, it was perfect for a two-hour blast in the woods on a summer evening, but it was also ideal for the occasional XC race or marathon and bivvying out with friends on an overnighter. And, thus, our new Fairlight Holt was born.

The reason I went back to riding an xc hardtail was that I felt ‘over tooled’ riding a full suspension trail bike, it numbed out the terrain and the technology & complexity was too often a distraction for me. I enjoyed riding fast, being in an efficient position, picking lines through trails while trying to maintain flow and momentum, knowing the bike wasn’t doing all the work. Reliability and simplicity were also important factors, there was simply less to go wrong and it felt like a purer riding experience.

In my opinion steel can excel when making a short travel hardtail. The word ‘short’ is an important one because as fork travel gets longer you have to use larger diameter tubes (usually with thicker walls) to deal with the increased forces. As the tubes get larger, the frame becomes stiffer, compliance decreases and the advantage of steel (vs other frame materials) becomes less. By opting to make a short travel frame you can reduce tube diameters and focus on maintaining the “quality of the material,” to deliver a ride feel that can only be steel. Compliance, traction, agility, zip, snap, grip, flow – these are the feels I want from a steel XC frame.

The Holt is unashamedly XC and we are delighted with the finished product. It’s fast and lively, while purposely not being overbuilt. We’ve taken all our learnings from previous models and applied them to an xc bike. As always we’ve collaborated with Reynolds Technology and Bentley Components, who respectively bring their specific tubing and CNC knowledge to the project. We are making this frame in our European factory and the quality of the fabrication is testament to their experience and craft.

Spec shown is:
Holt frame – medium Moss.
Enve Boost fork
King headset and the new King carbon wheels
Mezcal 2.6″ tyres
Thomson stem & Ti post
XTR groupset

We put a lot of work into the rear end, especially the chainstays which are a pig to make but the correct and right shape for the application. The flattened shape allows the chainstays are to encourage movement under forces from the ground/rider weight and thus add comfort. The unique Utility dropouts, which are illustrated in this gif, are interchangeable between post mount 160 and flat mount 160. Beautifully simple and beautifully elegant. For a deep dive into our design methodology, take a look at our product overview notes here.

The frames are made in the EU and the machined parts in the UK. The 853 is formed in the UK also.

Pricing for US:
Frame = £832.50
Fork add on: Sid ultimate 110 = £665.83

We also offer some dropper post options as well as King and Hope headsets.

Frames are fully reamed, faced, tapped etc and come with the parts needed.

It isn’t necessarily a box ticker, but instead, it’s well-considered for the sort of riding it is meant for.