De Kerf Implant Ti £2135

This is the most expensive hardtail frame we've ever tested. If you choose the Charge Duster instead, you could put together a very nicely equipped complete bike for less money.

BikeRadar score 4.5/5

This is the most expensive hardtail frame we've ever tested. If you choose the Charge Duster instead, you could put together a very nicely equipped complete bike for less money.

But hand-built craftsmanship comes at a price, and Vancouver-based Canadian Chris DeKerf has spent a couple of decades building a reputation as one of the world's best.

While this is a pre-production version of DeKerf's 2007 Ti Implant, the finishing detail is superb. Particular highlights are the cowled dropouts, the fat wishbone seat stays and the bridging gusset between the head tube, the top tube and the seat tube. But what you're really paying for here is the fact that DeKerf meticulously hand-builds each one himself.

We built our 16in test frame into a hard-riding 24.2lb rig with the new Fox Talas RLC fork, Cane Creek Zonos wheels and an eclectic mix of light but tough top end parts - the geometry is intended for 130mm fork travel.

As with most top Ti frames, the tubes are 3/2.5 Ti and the dropouts are super-tough 6/4 Ti. The rear stays are tapered and fittings are from Paragon Machineworks. The ride? Amazing; tight, comfy, lively and point 'n' pedal stiff all at the same time. Spending this sort of cash on a "you could get a car for that!" dream frame isn't too hard if you consider that most cars depreciate by more than this in a year.

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