This One Goes to 12: SRAM Eagle and the Stinner Prototype Hardtail MTB

Who gets the reference? It’s from the following: “These go to 11” – the hilarious excerpt from Spinaltap? Why not just make ten louder?

When SRAM’s new Eagle drivetrain was announced, it received mixed impressions. 12 speed on a mountain bike seems excessive and the pricepoint is pretty alienating. Needless to say, “the internet’s” opinion was divided. Personally, I find new tech when it comes to drivetrains the most interesting and relevant. Anything that can bring more versatility to my current rides is ok by me and hopefully, as we’ve seen in SRAM’s other products over the years, the tech will trickle down into more affordable groups like GX and NX.

So what does it have to do with a Stinner Frameworks mountain bike?

Stinner Prototype 27.5 MTB

Aaron Stinner is a lifelong roadie, and I don’t mean that negatively. He just spent a large majority of his life on a road bike. Sure, he rides mountain bikes, but prefers to be on the road. Consequently, Stinner Frameworks is known for their road bikes. Sure, they’ve made some pretty sweet off-road bikes, but Aaron wants to step his brand’s game up in terms of their offerings. He began working on a hardtail mountain bike design, a continuation on his previous efforts, with hopes of one day offering stock, off-the-shelf sizes. He hollered at a few of his friends who ride mountain bikes, set them up with frames and a few parts to see how the bike rides with its different wheel options. The idea is the frame could take 27.5, 29r or 27.5+ wheels.

What you see here is an iteration of that. It’s a Prototype and the team at Stinner are working on a few design opportunities. The frame itself is meant for 27.5+ tires and a long travel fork. Currently, this frame currently utilizes a Paragon yoke to ensure crank and chainring clearance, which will clear a 3″ 27.5 tire. Yet, even when you put a 2.2″ tire on the new SRAM Roam 60 wheels, with their wide internal width of 30mm, they plump out to a 2.4″. A size many considered to be acceptable for a hardtail just a few months ago.

Back to Eagle.

Eagle setup

Duncan Riffle handles PR for SRAM’s MTB division. It’s his job to ensure that Eagle is setup correctly for “media” or “press” (aka blogger’s bikes) during press launches or other events. I’ve known Duncan for a while and when he had the idea to do something different with Eagle, he hollered at me. He really wanted to install Eagle on a hardtail and not just any hardtail, a frame made in his hometown of Santa Barbara. That’s where Stinner comes into play. You see, Eagle sets up easily on a hardtail MTB because you don’t have to worry about chain growth like you do on a full suspension. The calculations are just easier.

Eagle setup

We met in Santa Barbara last week, shot some setup photos and then some photos of the bike. My shoulder is still sore from a wreck a few weeks ago, so I took it on a short spin afterwards, not wanting to further injure my shoulder. As I heal, I’ll continue to ride this frame, shoot Aaron some input and hopefully within the next few months, Stinner will launch their new bike lineup with a new hardtail model in the roster. For now, we’ll be tweaking a few things in terms of build kit, throw some plus-sized tires on it and put Eagle through the ringer.

Golden hour glow!

For the amount of money you drop on that group, it better live up to its expectations. Personally, I think it will and I can’t wait to take this bike on a bikepacking trip. That’s where that 50t would really come in handy.