Claud Butler often turn in well specced, well priced mid-range offerings and the Olympus is no exception. This tough trail hardtail ate up the terrain we threw it at with ease.
Ride & handling: Fun on the descents but sluggish on the flat
With the fork set to its full 130mm travel the Olympus is rather good fun. We were pleasantly surprised by how sprightly it was on descents given the sluggishness elsewhere, and with the saddle jammed down it hoons downhill happily enough and will amiably tackle most terrain.
However, on the flat its high weight is a drag and, with the fork wound down to 90mm for climbing, the already steep front end becomes terrifyingly vertiginous.
Size is an issue too: the Olympus is only available in 18in and 20in frames, which excludes a swathe of possible owners.
Frame: Won't win any awards for looks or originality, and head angle is unusually steep
The Olympus lags behind in the bike porn stakes. Battleship grey tubes with garish decals are far from the prettiest we’ve seen.
The frame is a tidy enough attempt at a long-travel hardtail, although the steep 71.5° head angle is far from conventional.
A hydroformed top tube is ordinary but nice touches like S-shaped seatstays and a healthy gulf of clearance around the rear end will swallow mud, big tyres or any combination of the two.
Equipment: Adjustable fork plus decent drivetrain and tyres, but bar is an acquired taste
The Olympus sports an adjustable travel RockShox Tora fork. With a single air spring, setup is quick and simple, so you’ll be out on the trail with a minimum of faff. The U-Turn travel adjust takes you from a painfully steep 85mm right up to 130mm, and we rarely found ourselves running below 100mm.
A Shimano Deore/LX drivechain makes the most of the budget and the Rapid Rise rear mech is a pleasant surprise, although we’d happily lose the clunky Octalink chainset for a more up-to-date Hollowtech system.
The 2.1in Schwalbe Nobby Nic tyres are amusingly toothy on tarmac but highly effective on loose kipple and loam. The Truvativ bar is an acquired shape and lacks the sweet spot where it feels right for us.
It’s a small quibble but a bike like this which encourages low-slung, off-piste adventures really should have a quick-release seat clamp to aid swift saddle drops.