Barracuda's Colt certainly wins the 'my frame's got more going on than your frame' game, with extensive working of almost every tube. Disc-specific design means a clean rear end and a seat quick release makes saddle height adjustment easy.
It doesn't take long to realise that the idea of a long touring ride on the Barracuda isn't a good one. While actual dimensions and basic handling are fine, all the shaping in the frame squeezes out any shock absorption or subtlety from it. Even the smallest rocks and roots feel like they're swinging a lump hammer straight into the base of your spine. The fork also recoils back with a vicious clank from bigger hits, and despite the listed 75mm, the greasy tidemark never got pushed beyond 60mm of actual travel.
There are some great aspects if you can grit your teeth and hang on though.
There's certainly no loss of power through flex, and while the Barracuda definitely comes with slow tyres, it's not too heavy so it accelerates pretty well. There are some kit highlights, too.
The fork spring rate is actually okay for comfortable cruising, and despite the single piston design, the hydraulic brakes still feel impressively responsive and totally squish-free compared to cable anchors. The offside thumbwheel means you can take up pad wear without tools, too.
Finishing kit is generally okay too, although the steel handlebar certainly needs changing, as it's a big part of the bone jarring ride feel.
On-trail performance definitely lets the Barracuda down. While brakes and gears are great, the stiff frame - with loose cannon fork and steel handlebar - create a ride that's endured rather than enjoyed.
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