Astrix Sports from Colorado, USA, aren't short of testing terrain, and they have a great looking range of bikes that reflect this. The Huckster is the DH/freeride frame in the range, but there are also dedicated downhill (Havoc), allmountain (Stryke), cross-country (Solo) and dirt/street (Union) frames.
At first glance, the Huckster looks like a single-pivot Santa Cruz Bullit, but closer inspection reveals a whole lot more...
By using a high forward pivot, a low pivot behind the bottom bracket and links joining the shock and dropouts to the frame, an effective parallelogram is created, enabling suspension movement without chain growth. The front link is designed to make the travel progressively ramp up throughout the stroke.
The chassis itself is made from 7005 aluminium and the geometry sits in the middle of that found on most freeride bikes and DH rigs, making it the perfect machine for thrashing around the woods or hitting up UK downhills.
The Huckster is only available as a frame, but our test bike came with a huge variety of components you could consider. These included a Manitou Dorado fork, Truvativ crank and chainsets guide, SRAM X.9 gearing, Mavic rims, Maxxis tyres and the great Hayes El Camino hydraulic disc brakes.
Not noticing a suspension system working is a good thing in terms of pedalling and braking, so getting on a bike where just that happens is always welcome; it means that we can pay attention to exactly how the bike feels.
The suspension action is plush, predictable and there's no noticeable feedback, although the rear end isn't the cleanest looking we've seen. That said, it does serve a purpose, and retains that industrial look - much like the Specialized Demo frames. The bottom bracket is a little higher than on most downhill rigs, making for easier ground clearance, and the head angle is steeper, making for great all-round thrashing on all things British...