Is there anything more to a hardtail frame than tubes and welds? Do hardtails have any character or are they all just the same? And is there any differentiation between various brands’ hardtail offerings?
We think that there is a huge amount of variation amongst hardtail frames, and for that reason we at Bike Magic Towers have two very different beasts to test: the Ragley Blue Pig and the Pipedream Sirius Ti.Pipedream Sirius Ti.
Photo © Ben Winder Why?
We’ve spoken to several people recently who are of the opinion that a “rigid frame is pointless”, that for the price of a quality hardtail you could buy a full-suspension trail bike which will get you around all the trail centres and more.
This is true of course. For example, a full-build Trek Fuel EX 5 costs only £1,400, which is a complete bargain considering how much bike you get, and there are plenty of hardtail frames that cost similar (although at this price point they are mostly handcrafted works of art).
But there’s something more to hardtails than those spoilt for full-suspension choice take into consideration. Each frame has its own story, character and purpose. A hardtail can spice up your local singletrack or it can be your weapon of choice for a thrashing around the woods. They can add excitement to an otherwise dull ride and every bump can be pumped, every corner ‘worked’.Here are some more reasons for owning a hardtail:
- Cheaper than an equivalent quality full-suss
- Less to break/maintain
- You simply like to be ‘different’
- Make boring trails exciting
- You want to improve your skills/learn to ride off-road with grace
- Accelerate faster than any full-susser
- You enjoy punishment so full-suspension is out of the question
- You can ‘work’ the terrain and feel what’s happening beneath
- You can ride ‘on the edge’ at lower speed, with lower consequence
- Because your mates are all rubbish, you’re a riding god and you need to be brought down to nearer their speed so they can watch and learn
- You want a sensation of speed, even if your trails/abilities don’t necessarily provide it
Above all though, they’re simply fun to ride. Even if they aren’t as fast or forgiving as a full-suss, who cares? Some of us aren’t in it to win it anyway.Pipedream Sirius Ti – very nicely constructed in the Far East.
Photo © Ben Winder
There are countless reasons for people buying hardtail bikes and there are endless applications for the rigid frame, even in modern mountain biking terms. We want to prove this by comparing two bikes that serve entirely different purposes and then to show that they even have a place alongside full-suspension bikes.The experiment – order of proceedings
We’ve got these two hardtails in to compare their ride characters and see just how much difference there can be between two different rigid frames.
We’ll introduce you to both, starting with the Sirius, then we’ll compare the two and we’ll finish by making a comparison against a full-suspension trail bike of similar price.Pipedream Sirius Ti – the introduction What is it?
Singletrack destroying XC/All-mountain orientated hardtail frameWho’d ride it?
This is a bike aimed at singletrack riding, all-mountain adventure and those with a taste for something a little custom. Pipedream even offer custom geometries if you say “please”. It isn’t a ‘rad’ hardcore hardtail, more of a XC machine that wants to accelerate fast, duck-and-dive between tight trees, fly around flat turns and forgive its rider when thrown into a technical rooty or rocky section.It’s a nice frame, to say the least. The ride’s also pretty inspiring, especially on flatter singletracks.
Photo © Ben Winder
It’s no jump bike, nor is it for downhill runs. But if you live somewhere with reasonably flat trails that require self-propulsion and the ability to tackle the tech then you’ll be happy on the Sirius. It’s also one sexy looking beast with clean lines, beautiful welds and the added allure of titanium tubing.The best bits
- It’s super light
- It’s seriously fast on flatter trails
- It’s forgiving across the rough stuff thanks to the compliant titanium tubing
- Power is direct to the pedals thanks to aggressive riding position
- It’s designed by a British company and made in a well-known factory in the Far East. Good customer service, maximum value and quality construction guaranteed
Photo © Ben Winder
Price: £989.00 (frame only)
Made of: Titanium
Recommended fork travel: 130mm
Made in: The Far East
Three sizes: 16.5″, 18.0″ & 19.5″
Geometry vitals: 69º head angle, 317.5mm BB height, 1076.9mm wheelbase (size medium)
More information: Pipedream Sirius Ti
What Pipedream say about the Sirius Ti
“The Classic Do-It-All Hardtail – simple, yet refined.
Made from 3A1/2.5V Titanium tubing, this frame will exceed your expectation of what a Ti frame can do. Fast technical singletrack, all-mountain, enduro or XC: this frame will tackle the lot and entice you to push your limits.”
In part 2 we’ll take a look at the 2013 Ragley Blue Pig, a very different beast…