As 29ers have proved they’re here to stay, there’s been a rush of new models introduced in recent weeks, with a particular focus on the £800-£1000 bikes that will entice new mountain bikers into the big wheel fold.
Charge Cooker Hi 29er £999.99
Somerset-based bicycle company Charge has added two 29er hardtails to its 2012 range, and the Hi pictured here is the most expensive model of the two, priced at a penny under a grand.
At its heart is a seamless welded Tange Infinity double-butted steel frame. Geometry is designed around the 100mm RockShox XC-28 fork, and it’s fitted with a SRAM X5 drivetrain for reliable gear changes and Avid Elixir 1 disc brakes to scrub off speed.
Specialized Carve Comp 29er £999
Using a fully butted and smooth welded M4SL aluminium frame based on the same geometry as the more expensive Stumpjumper, the new Carve range is Specialized’s lower priced offering.
Expect all the usual attention to detail and high workmanship from Specialized, including a decent spec for the asking price. A RockShox XC32 29er specific fork features lockout and rebound adjustment with a tapered steerer tube stiffening the front of the bike. Specialized spec its own tubeless-ready The Captain Control tyres along with a Shimano groupset and 180mm front disc rotor to bring the bike to a speedy stop.
Cannondale Trail SL 29’ER 3 £799.99
Pitched as the company’s ideal first step onto the 29er platform, the Trail SL uses relaxed race geometry with a slightly longer wheelbase to inspire confidence through its stability when chucking it down the trail.
The frame is made from aluminium with a 1.5in headtube and SAVE seatstays – which afford a little more trail comfort – and is built with an RST Deuce Coil 80mm fork and a Shimano Deore/Alivio groupset and parts from the Cannondale catalogue for the bars, stem, saddle and seatpost.
Scott Scale comp 29er £849.99
Scott has a range of five Scale 29 hardtails to choose from, proving (as if proof were needed) that 29ers are here to stay. We’ve picked the cheapest of the bunch, the decent looking Scale 29 Comp.
For someone looking to make a tentative first step into 29ers or for the racer on a budget, this has to be a good choice. A lightweight package with a hydroformed 6061 aluminum frame and the same geometry as the expensive carbon fibre offerings means the ride will impress, and is a good platform to start upgrading.
Gary Fisher Cobia £800
Where would the 29er movement be without Gary Fisher. A big believer in the benefits of larger wheels, Gary Fisher now solely concentrates on 29ers, with its entire range devoted to them.
The Cobia is the firms entry-level hardtail but there’s nothing entry-level looking about it. A smartly decaled Platinum Series 6066 butted and hydroformed frame features Fisher’s G2 geometry for sorted handling. It’s specced out with SARM X5, Avid mechanical disc brakes, RockShox’s Tora SL 80mm fork and Bontrager Ranger Disc wheels.
Fuji Tahoe 2.0 29er £1099
Big in America for years and now with Evans Cycles at the helm the Fuji brand might make an impact on the UK scene. The Tahoe is a pick of the bunch at a smidgen over a grand.
The A2-SL frame is made from aluminium with custom butting and a Power Curve downtube and profiled top tube along with an oversize seat tube. Up front is a tapered headtube accepting an integrated headset and at the opposite end of the frame Edge S-bend seat stays with forged dropouts.
For a little over £1000 the Fuji is impressively built, a Shimano Deore groupset married with Tektro Aurigo Comp discs and WTB Prowler SL Race 2.1in tyres.
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