TomvanHalen's MTB allsorts - drop bars are dead

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  • So after the Trans Am debacle, I'm in a bit of a pickle choosing a frame.

    The aim is to have a fun, reliable hardtail, suitable for general XC and trail riding, but also for occasionally throwing down the odd mountainside as my skills improve. To that end, I want something that's capable of handling a 150mm fork, but rides well at 120-140 most of the time; not so burly and overbuilt that it feels like shit bombing around the woods and geometry that's happy getting the front end up while still climbing any hills that 1x gearing will let me. But maybe that's too big an ask.

    Things I have:
    Rockshox Lyrik RC2L U-Turn for adjustable coil-sprung good times
    26" Stan's Arch EX rims on Hope Pro II hubs shod with Bontrager XR4 tyres, for pretty light general-purpose rotational joy
    Saint/Zee 1x10 shift gubbins with SRAM XO cranks, for getting up hills and that
    XT M785 brakes for going down hills and that
    Giant Contact SL Switch dropper post for schralping gnar and railing berms and whatever

    I just need a frame. Which being as I'm determined to stick with 26" is proving a harder task than I'd hoped.

  • Y u no Slackline?

  • The shortlist so far:

    Cotic BFe mk3. Great write-up, available widely for £200-250, but kinda short and really looks most comfortable at 120

    Cotic BFe mk4. The favourite so far. Geometry looks better suited to longer forks, but the BB is still really high and it's only really available new (yay warranty, boo price) and in kinda meh colours.

    Cotic BFe 275. Longer, lower, slacker. Being designed for longer a-c forks means the Lyrik is right at home, and the chainstays and bb drop are perfectly suitable for 26" tyres, but also future-proof. Industrial grey colour scheme is awesome. But fuck me that seat tube angle. So. Slack. I think I need to ride one before I'm convinced it'll be comfortable.

    On-One 456 Evo2. Geometry looks spot-on, Limited edition yellow colour scheme is appealing and it's dirt cheap. But it's heavy, and the external headset means my fork is too short for the 20" version, so I'd have to decide if I could get on with the 18". But it would make a good stop-gap

  • Other candidates:

    Genesis Alpitude - literally perfect, except for the 27.2 seatpost. I'd have to love it, and be willing to buy a Thomson
    Stanton Slackline - newer ones are rad, but very 650b. Oldest ones are rad and supposed to be amazing, but 27.2 post. In between ones are said to be too stiff and extreme. All are expensive. Ugh.
    Bird Zero - looks pretty amaze, but aluminium (ugh) and pricey.
    Orange P7 - Haven't heard much and kind of hard to get hold of. Hmm???
    NS Eccentric - Looks like a good bet but I've not seen any for sale nor anyone riding them

    Cromags - overbuilt
    Dialled Alpine - gothic lettering >>>>>>>>>

    What else is out there? Should I get a 456 while they're cheap and then look to upgrade? Should I chuck in the towel on 26" and get a Honzo? Just buy a Nukeproof Mega?

    This MTB thing is a minefield.

    Halp

  • $$$

    But seriously I'd love to try one. They just seem kind of expensive and I don't know which generation to look at

  • Soul! Cheap, fun and most imporantly chuckble! >> @BareNecessities BFE is just the gnarlier version non? Massively regret selling the Soul. You're stuck with 130mm max though. Tried it with a mates 140 and it didn't like it at all.
    The old 853 Latitudes were great as well, if a bit of a pain with 27.2 post as well.

    456 felt a bit dead in comparison to Cotic's offerings. Didn't keep it for long.

    Also, stuff is on its way to you.

  • Curse you small people and your manoeuvrability..

  • Cheers man! Yeah, I only hear good things about the Soul but I'm not keen to commit to short travel, which is why the BFe is appealing. I'm likely to run it at 130ish most of the time, and while I would like to wind it up to 160 now and again I'm wondering if I'm overthinking the seat tube angle thing in that case

  • Curse you small people and your manoeuvrability..

    Chuckability you mean....

  • Reported for bullying

  • @BareNecessities is being a bad friend and luring me away from steel https://www.stif.co.uk/mtb/product/santa­-cruz-chameleon--frame-matte-black-silve­r/13262

    Can't argue with that geo though. Very tempted, though I hear it's a pretty brutal ride


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  • Production Privee Shan? Or Ragley Blue Pig? I think the current ones are 27.5", but older ones were 26". And suitably rowdy.

  • Have you looked at the NS surge evo?
    Fits a lot of your criteria 120mm-160mm fork, 26" or 27.5" and sliding dropouts for gears or SS
    and a 30.9 seatpost so should fit your post I think?

    Ive run mine with various set ups, currently 26", 140mm fork and fast rolling tyres and I love it! 2.7kg though so maybe a little on the weighty side!

  • The Shan looks pretty great, I must say. That and the NS Eccentric are possibly leading the charge, but with either I'd have to want to run the fork at 150-160 full time. Those are the closest to the Slackline in terms of geometry though, and both are very 26" friendly

    Ragleys are just too off-putting

  • I owned a Ragley, so am biased, but it was an incredibly versatile bike. But at the same time, I don't think you could go too wrong with most of the options.


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  • Ti. slackline, obvs.

    That said, I hadn't realised they've revamped the steel versions to be a 140mm 27.5 frame.

  • Only slightly above my unofficial £400 budget...

  • I'm seriously considering the PP Oka, even tho it looks a bit Sci Fi and has a press-fit BB. That, the NS Eccentric and the BFe are top of the list at the moment. I need to contrive to test ride something or other soon to get a handle on what it is I want...

  • What size frame are you after... for the right price I could be tempted to part with my Alpitude...

  • Spooky Metalhead... if you can get one?

  • @Crothotic The largest. 19.5", I think?

    @Johnnyw75 \m/ extreme \m/

  • Have you looked at the Ragley blue pig. I have one and its an awesome bike!

  • I have, but just not a big fan of the Ragley aesthetic. The detailing and dropouts don't really do it for me

  • Well maybe a little, I had one years ago and tried in vain to get it back off the current owner

  • So far I'm umming and ahh-ing between the Soul and Oka. Waiting on pictures of the Oka to come through.

    The Oka seems the superior bike; people properly rave about the Shan, and it can be had for cheaper than the Soul. But it's hard to tear myself away from the 853 goodness and overwhelming popularity of Cotic.

    Have ordered in an XL Pinnacle Iroko in to the local Evans to have a play on, as it's very similar in geo to the Oka (just taller stack). They didn't have anything else close in at the time, so I just borrowed a Mondraker Foxy for 15 minutes and chucked it down some stairs.

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TomvanHalen's MTB allsorts - drop bars are dead

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