Forme Blackrocks 1.0 - First ride £1099

Good value trail bike

BikeRadar score3/5

Designed in Derbyshire’s Peak District, the Blackrocks 1.0 is just one of Forme’s aluminium trail tamers. 

For a more conventional cross-country race bike you’d need their slimline Winscar in alloy or carbon, but it’s the chunky alloy lines of the Blackrocks we’re interested in. The spec, geometry and ‘trail’ decal on the top tube suggest the makings of a sorted trail bike; the question is: can the Blackrocks deliver the goods?

Ride & handling: Not the fastest, but assured and fun 

The Blackrocks 1.0 actually felt like the trail bike the top tube decal says it is. We felt happy letting it run into long railing corner ruts made by downhill bikes on the local DH track. It bumps about like hardtails do if your timing isn’t spot on, but retained a sense of direction, which feeds back confidence to the rider, ultimately resulting in you going faster.

The bike enjoys slow-speed ‘pick and poke’ singletrack, where it showed comforting poise. Sure, it’s a bit portly and reluctant to change speed when the trail opens out or climbs, so if you’re hoping to set a new fastest lap, go for Forme’s lithe Winscar. 

But for off-road adventurers and adrenaline addicts who simply want a fun, dependable way to access trails less travelled and absorb the elemental thrills of riding a mountain bike fast across broken ground, the Blackrocks 1.0 is as good a place to start as any. 

Good upgrade potential could unleash some hidden speed too.

Frame & equipment: Standard functionality but own-brand finishing kit

Large diameter triple-butted 7005 series alloy tubes create a sturdy front triangle that’s plenty stiff. Forme add a small gusset at the head tube/down tube junction for strength and durability. Tyre clearance is good, with space for winter mud and wider 2.35in tyres – clearly designed for British trails, then. Two sets of bottle bosses, a breakaway rear mech hanger and clip-on brake hose mounts all help with functionality. It’s by-the-book stuff.

Forme chose the basic but competent 120mm (4.7in) travel RockShox Recon Gold TK fork in a taper steerer/15mm axle format, making it plush and resistant to front wheel wander.

Kenda Blue Groove/Nevegal rubber is quick in dry to intermediate conditions, though not so good in the wet. The brakes are basic Avid Elixir 3s but both run on 180mm rotors for oodles of power and fine balance from gentle feathering to a full anchors-on, trail shredding stop.

A 30-speed Shimano transmission with Deore derailleurs and a triple-ring FSA Comet crankset provide suitable ratios for climbing the unclimbable, and if you can truly spin out the 42x11 tooth top gear on a UK descent then you need to apply for a spot on the national team. The shortcut here is the own-brand Forme kit, all of which is comfortable if a bit weighty.

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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