This year at Grinduro, eight frame builders presented bikes in partnership with Maxxis, Sram/Zipp, Columbus, and Hope Tech. The theme? What is your ideal Grinduro bike? Cody Leuck brought this Plimsoll Buckshot, a Tomac homage hardtail, with unique seat and chain stay yokes…
After sharing the Mystic Alluvium earlier this month, we’ve received a lot of emails requesting the geo sheet. While numbers and degrees aren’t exactly intellectual property, initially I felt a little weird posting them for the entire internet to see. Adam and I put a lot of time in designing the geometry for this bike and I didn’t want to just give away all that work. Later I realized it really doesn’t matter and we only dialed in the geo for the size large and size medium anyway.
I thought it would be fun to just open source the sheets for other people to hand them off to a builder of their choice. Even if no one follows through with that, it’s still a neat project to share. I’ve been riding this bike as a 29er with a 150mm fork over the past few weeks and it’s even better now!
See the full spread below.
With a complete build starting at $2,199, the Norco Torrent looks to be a contender for riders looking for a new hardtail to take on their local trails. With a 64º head tube angle, a 76º seat tube angle, a 150mm RockShox fork and 29’r wheels, it will gobble up mountain chunder for breakfast. Head to Norco to see all the specs and other pricing options.
Cotic’s BFe is their veritable do-it-all hardtail trail shredder. The BFe can be built with a 120-160mm fork, 26″x3″ or 27.5″ x 2.6″ tires, with completes starting at £1799 or £549 with 148mm Syntace X-12 thru-axle, Seat QR, chainstay protector, and all your hose clips and parts. The BFe is the UK brand’s answer for a versatile hardtail. See more at Cotic.
Over the years, I’ve had the honor to throw my leg over many bikes, try them out, write a review, and then send them back. While the bikes return to their companies, the experience stays with me, and in the time I’ve been running this website, I’ve developed my own belief for what the perfect geometry for a hardtail mountain bike is. About a year ago, I began talking with Adam Sklar and Colin Frazer, who were about to launch a new production, US-made frame company called Mystic. We wanted to test the waters with a Radavist edition frame, dubbed the Alluvium. After chatting about numbers and branding, we felt like we were getting closer to releasing this frame. Then the reality of such an undertaking took hold and we killed the project.
During the ENVE Open House framebuilder exhibit, one builder traveled further than the others: Mark from Prova Cycles in Melbourne, Australia. I’d never seen a Prova in person. Instead, I’ve had to check out his work via the lens of FYXO and the Prova Instagram. Mark learned at the Bicycle Academy in the UK and has been really putting in work on his brand. Let me tell you. It shows.
Hardtails. Antiquated examples of mountain bike technology to some but to others, they’re liberated and simplified machines. Each year, I plan on riding a full suspension in Downieville, yet I always end up bringing my hardtail for one reason or another so this year, I took a look at just some of the bikes that were rolling around this Gold Rush town.
Downieville is a sleepy little town in the Lost Sierra. It was first known as “the Forks” due to its geographical location at the confluence of the Yuba and Downie rivers. Like many towns in the area, Downieville was founded in 1849 during the Gold Rush. Later, it was named after the town’s founder, Major William Downie. As you might imagine, this place has a sordid history during the lawless heyday of gold mining, including being the location for the only hanging of a woman in California history. Josefa Segovia was a pregnant Californio resident of the town and was lynched by an angry mob, accusing her of killing a miner in July 1851.
Nearby, in the Sierra Buttes, the largest gold nugget in California history was found in 1869. It weighed a whopping 109.2 pounds. Gold has always been on the lips of those who flocked to Downieville. Still, to this day, don’t be surprised to see active mining claims and people panning for gold at the confluence of the Yuba and Downie rivers.
Since 1995, the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship has thrown a special little event in this town. The Downieville Classic features an XC race on Saturday and a Downhill on Sunday. The terrain is rocky, steep, and silty, making for a tough day on the bike no matter what you’re riding. While they’re by no means rare, seeing people riding and racing hardtails always causes a stir. So this year, I set out to photograph some of these bikes, including Curtis Inglis from Retrotec‘s own Funduro, a shining, gold nugget of a bike.
That’s right. It can be done and it’s a lot of fun. We’re heading to the Downieville Classic this weekend and while I’ll be out on the course shooting photos of the race, I’d love to feature a gallery of all the hardtails that are being ridden at the Classic. Each year, it’s the bike I bring with me and I am always amazed at how many people are there racing on their steel hardtails as well. So, if you’re at the Classic, make sure you flag me down with your bike because this should be a great gallery!
Bozeman, Montana is a magical place to mountain bike in the summertime. Last year’s trip was epic, so this year we wanted to re-visit this quaint little mountain town. While we were there last month, I was able to shoot Adam Sklar’s latest project, the Sweet Spot 29er MTB. While Adam usually takes on custom bikes, the Sweet Spot will be the brand’s first production model. The Sweet Spot is made in Bozeman, Montana, just like all Sklar Bikes. The aim here is to lower wait times, while not sacrificing quality. It also enables Adam to sell a model that is in-line with his philosophy on mountain bikes.
Ringing in a new era for Ribble Cycles is their HT TI titanium hardtail. With a 64° head angle and 150mm of travel up front, this 27.5 x 2.6″ hardtail is designed to compete in a world dominated by full suspension designs. Fully-built completes start at $2,815.06. See more at Ribble.
Words by Locke Hassett and photos by John Watson
Some bikes are just too good to get rid of. Or too sentimental, or broken, or otherwise a purely “eye of the be(er)holder” sort of thing. This Soma B-Side is that bike for me. It has lived its life as many different bikes. For a long time, it was built up as a new/old school Montana singletrack shredder, with a 2x drivetrain (gasp!), 660mm bars (double gasp!), a short fork and no dropper. It lived a few months as a 26+ singlespeed when I found a pair of Nokian Gazzalodi tires in some back room of Free Cycles.
Kona Big Honzo CR/DL Carbon: Good Hardtails will Never Die
Words and bike photos by Locke Hassett, action photos by Spencer Harding
Blurred lines seem to be all the rage in the bike industry these days, and with every season, a new category seems to evolve. Gravel, Adventure, Downcountry, trail…yadda yadda. While this constant categorization is overwhelming, it also means that bikes are simply getting better. Then over here in the corner, sipping scotch while the kids play beer pong and try to “find themselves”, is the humble hardtail MTB. This has been elaborated on to a great extent on this site, so I’ll spare you the poetic wax. Sure, a few folks out there are pushing the boundaries of what to expect with hardtail geometry, with huge forks and headtube angles more suited for plowing a field than climbing a fire road, but for the most part, we can look to the hardtail for consistency.
So, what happens when a company known for rowdiness and generally not caring too much about the status quo takes their tried and true hardtail model and releases a version with boxes checked for the modern consumer (read: big tires and carbon?) That’s what I wanted to find out by spending a few months with the Big Honzo CR/DL.
I think they nailed the opening text from the new Doctakawk page when they say “Longer, lower, slacker, faster, stronger, slacker, etc etc, did we say slacker?” The new Chromag Doctahawk is a 27.5+ or 29’r mountain bike with 180mm of front travel, a 62º head angle, and a 77º seat tube angle, making it a veritable shreddy hardtail! While it looks bonkers at the side profile, I hope to one day throw my leg over this monster! See more at Chromag.
What say you, Bicycle Pubes?
The Karate Monkey has seen many permutations over the years, with various wheelsizes and build kits, but the latest might be my favorite. The most obvious change is on the front. That squishy thing is a RockShox Sektor RL, 27.5+ 140mm travel. This iteration of the KM is also 27.5+, to offer some extra cushion for all the hardtail buckin’ you’ll do. Check out more info at Surly and see one in person at your local dealer.
We love seeing videos where people straight up huck their hardtails!
The Bike Hub in Spokane, Washington looks at the feasibility of hardtail mountain bikes as both XC race-ready machines and trail shredders. Are they the future? I dunno, but I can say those bottles look slick on that bike!