It’s obvious straight away that the second litter of Ragley’s Piglets share the radical ride focus of the originals.
The 65.5-degree unloaded head angle throws the high grip, soft compound, tubeless-as-standard WTB Vigilante 27.5in tyre way out front for serious stability on the steepest slopes.
Burly at the business end
Even with travel chopped to 130mm, the Manitou Mattoc Comp is still an impressively smooth fork that’ll take serious hits in its stride while sucking the tyre onto the ground to maximise grip. The wide Ragley Wiser Riser bars and stubby Stubbing stem add powerful leverage for fighting the bike onto tighter lines or resisting the bullying of random rocks and roots.
The 44mm flared-end head tube is reinforced with a massive box-section throat gusset. The 38mm diameter down tube, and 35mm down tube and seat tube create a very muscular, clearly communicative frame that you can really put your shoulders and hips into without feeling it warp or distort.
The burly front end is up there with the toughest
In other words, the Piglet’s front end is very well set up to be thrown down the sketchiest, steepest slopes as fast as you dare and then casually suggest you could probably have gone a lot quicker.
Game of two halves
Given how burly the front end is we’re a bit surprised by the presence of an open dropout quick-release rather than a screw-thru rear axle. The IS mount brake is a throwback on an otherwise fresh frame too.
Even with skinny rear stays, the large-diameter main tubes give the Piglet a jarringly hard rather than forgiving ride over rougher terrain. It’s certainly not the edge-smoothing float you’d expect from a classic triple-butted 4130 Chromoly steel frame and the rear tyre is too fragile to drop pressure enough to offset it.
Fighting your way up hills can be something of a chore
Despite its relatively low cost, we were still slightly surprised to find a shifter on both sides of the bars and a twin-ring crankset rather than a single-ring setup. The gains are higher top and lower bottom gears, but at over 14kg the Piglet is already a chore on climbs no matter how many gears you have to turn to.
While it’s nice to get a dropper post for the price, the externally routed Nukeproof design is a paint-rubbing pain on a frame that’s fully ready for an internally routed post. Hopefully the new air-charged OKLO design will be more reliable than the previous one though.
All in all there's a lot to like about the Ragley Piglet, especially if you like to live not just on the edge, but ride off the far side of it on the sketchiest, slipperiest trails possible. It’s an unforgiving ride though and componentry choices add to an already hefty weight.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.