With 140mm of travel at each end, the Trail Hunter 9.6 is Spanish brand BH's entry in the competitive all-mountain market.
Ride and handling: Good weight and forgiving suspension, but handling's a little blunted
First impressions of the Trail Hunter are good, with a pleasingly compliant back end and a carvy feel in the turns. Start pressing on, though, and some limitations become apparent.
That comfy suspension starts to pitch and wallow, and the BH doesn’t like to be hurried in corners, tending to run wide as speeds increase. A switch to a shorter stem would help a lot.
Frame: Contemporary details mixed with old-school looks
With Specialized controlling the chainstay pivot patent in the US, European manufacturers are the biggest users of four-bar back ends. But perhaps with an eye on the US market, BH have opted to stick the rear pivot on the seatstay.
Chainstays are asymmetric, with the left-hand one taking a direct route to the forged pivot/shock mount at the bottom bracket. While the frame features some very contemporary details like the press-fit bottom bracket bearings and direct mount front mech, you’ll find a conventional 1.125in headset up front.
Top and down tubes feature neat open-ended gussets at the head tube joints. There’s little of the tube shaping that we’ve grown used to, lending the Trail Hunter a fairly conservative appearance.
Equipment: Quick-release fork feels outgunned and we'd switch to a shorter stem
With QR15 through-axle forks common on bikes in this category, it’s a slight surprise to see a conventional quick-release on the BH’s 140mm-travel Fox Float RL fork. The rest of the spec is quite a varied one. A Shimano XT Shadow rear mech draws attention away from the Deore shifters and non-series Shimano M452 crankset.
Wheels are Mavic Crossrides, which are strong on name-brand appeal but aren’t particularly light and have narrower rims than we’d like for the tyre sizes that you’d expect to use on a 140mm bike. Unusually, BH have specced a 2.4in Continental Mountain King tyre up front but a 2.2 at the back for a bit of extra mud clearance.