Based on the Dr Jekyll 4 Cross frame, Mr Hyde is longer, slightly slacker and lighter to create a super tough hardcore hardtail. Unique transmission and even wheel size adjustability make it a truly 'do anything' rig, too.
It might be their 'XC' frame but Identiti have always built heavy duty bikes. Mr Hyde's headset is ring reinforced with a big throat gusset underneath and another 'flow' gusset between the extended seatstays. It also has an ISCG mount and a big forged chainstay yoke for tyre clearance. Large diameter top and down tubes are double butted to save weight though, and it loses the 'con' cheek gussets of Dr Jekyll.
The ADS dropouts are a real bonus, though. These twin bolted, screw adjusted pieces have easy single cog chain tensioning, with alternative dropouts for 24in wheels, conventional derailleur gears or the Rohloff here. In sizing terms, a long, relatively horizontal top tube means less standover but you can get a 'proper' saddle height easily, though.
The whole bike feels more conventional too, with a full XC length top tube stretch at odds with the other stumpy trio here. Add the lightest weight on test and a semi-slick rear tyre and it picks up speed comparatively easily and smoothly. Despite the overbuilt structure, the double butted tubing makes it the least jarring of the alloy bikes here, with the back end smoothing off steps and edges almost as well as the Charge. Handling angles are much closer
to standard XC numbers, too. This gives a steady, balanced feel that swoops very nicely through fast, rolling singletrack.
It's still 30 per cent heavier than a race hardtail at the same price and that's very obvious on the climbs. The extra length and rearward weight bias of the hub gears cuts into its close combat agility, too. You'll soon get used to the extra heft needed to get the back wheel up steps or lips and its 'kite tail' effect on stability, but you'll be better off with the 16in size for hop, skip and jumpability.
Mr Hyde comes with a distinctly different outfit on board. Rohloff's Speedhub means almost zero maintenance and total chain security, but it's at the expense of rearwards weight balance and obvious grind in lower gears for the first few months. A 105 road mech/ Deore, close ratio block and double chainset version is £1199.
The stiff and light White Brothers fork needs patience too, as it's an evil, jarring, spiky wrist breaker when new. From experience, smoothing out takes a while too, so the optional Pike U-Turn for £150 less is a no-brainer switch.
But the rest of the ID-sourced kit is excellent, underlying the bombproof intent of the bike. And while Diatech brakes aren't bling, they perform perfectly well. You can choose either full knobbly Choir Master Lite or recessed slick Twin Rail street/dirt tyres when you order. Bare frame for custom build up is well priced at £299.
Just like its namesake, Mr Hyde is a deceptively normal, mild mannered character, but it's got the strength and versatility to go monster at
any moment. Our test build up has some love/hate aspects, but
the basic bike is probably the most versatile vehicle around - especially for big riders, or those who like to XCeed the normal definition of XC.