Choosing a bike used to be easy. If you wanted a hardtail, you would have a good idea of the sort of bike you would be getting. But over the past few years even hardtails have split into different camps as riding styles have evolved and what people expect from a hardtail has changed.
The UK has spawned the hardcore hardtail. Frames designed with slacker geometry around a long travel fork with a bombproof build kit for aggressive riding have become increasingly popular, and there’s now more choice than ever before.
Below we pick six of the best such choices.
The new Charge Cleaver has been engineered to meet the requirements of the all-round rider. It sits between the two established Duster and Blender bikes in terms of geometry and weight.
The bike uses a Tange Infinity double butted tube set with the geometry designed to accept a longer travel fork than the Duster. Further punishing tracks can now be ridden which perhaps the Duster could not. However although the bike may be different to the Blender in terms of it being longer, taller and lighter due to the lighter tubing, it still has the same wild feeling yet with a side to it which allows the calm riding style to be uncovered.
Furthermore the Charge Cleaver is a bike for everyone and everything, from the toughest all-mountain routes, to the calmest of rides, the Cleaver does it all.
The BfE uses similar geometry to that of a trail bike, yet with a touch of brilliance which allows aggression to prosper due to the thick-walled Reynolds 613 tubes. The bike therefore is an aggressor which bombs through every type of track it encounters, from 4X to the mega avalanche.
Beyond the aggression however, the Reynolds 613 oval top tube allows bike handling to be personified to become smooth through rough sections and to minimise vertical harshness.
This frame comes in at £375 which includes a seat QR, neoprene chain-stay protector and UK delivery, which is excellent value for your money.
Ragley Bagger 288
This hardtail bike has taken this type of riding to an all new level in the chain of evolution which is definitely exciting for anyone who is involved in riding; reviewing the product you get an idea of why this bike is so successful in achieving its purpose.
The main feature is the slack 67 degree head angle and longer front centre which accounts for increased stability and control – a combination of words which is rarely heard when associated with hardtails especially when it feels naturally elegant with a sense of belonging.
DMR licensed “Swopout Dropouts” allow you to run QR (standard) or Maxle rear dropouts for the ultimate ride in terms of big hits and security in doing so. Therefore representing the bike as a big hitter which can be taken to a trail centre, where the heart and soul of the bike lies; upon judging the geometry we can see that it belongs there too.
£350 for the frameset is once again excellent value for your money, especially when dealing with a bike as practical as this.
The Orange Crush effectively takes bikes back to basics, and who to know basics better than anyone else than Orange themselves. Therefore knowledge through experience and expertise is exerted into this bike, creating a bike with perfect geometry to allow riding to be taken to the next level.
Inducing a 140mm fork and a new tapered head tube, the Crush’s burly 6061-T6 aluminium frameset is reinforced in all the right places, allowing the rider and the grin included to ride anywhere and anything, safe in the knowledge that the bike can take the hits because it has been made with an in-built belonging.
Surprisingly more and more hardtails are becoming renowned for being smooth and stable over bumps, and the Orange Crush is definitely included in this mix with a hydro formed down-tube and 30.9 seat-tube delivering massive rigidity.
£1,399.99 for a full bike including a whole array of incredible components such as: Shimano, Avid and Raceface. Not to forget the guaranteed grin.
Transition Bikes Trans Am
Versatility is the main aim for Transition with this product as it has been designed to tame XC trails as well as aggressive all mountain lines, therefore the transition begs for rides whenever available.
Along with the ability to ride single speed or gears, the transition TransAm is one of the most versatile and practical bikes in the market.
The TransAm costs £350.
Genesis Bikes Alpitude
Genesis Bikes developed the Alptitude with a Reynolds 853 tubeset and 66.5 degree headangle, making it ideal for comfortably blasting through steeper and technical sections with added stability.
Along with the longer top tube, the bike has been crafted to handle impeccably – which in a word, sums up the bike perfectly.
£399 for the frame marks it out as good value too.