Ragley Piglet X9 review£1,499.00

Fun steel hardtail

BikeRadar score4.5/5

Ragley specialise in bikes that make you look twice – not because they’re particularly unusual in appearance, but because they’re ferrous-framed proof that the devil really is in the details.

Ride & handling: Chuckable and comfy fun in the rough

The Piglet does ask that you rethink some of your expectations. For starters, the sizing isn’t what you probably expect. Our test bike was the 16in size, which would normally be too small. 

But it’s got a massively stretched 24in top tube (combined with a stubby stem to put the bars where they ought to be), giving it the cockpit setup of a ‘normal’ 18in bike, only with a lot more room between the top tube and rider’s family jewels. For a bike that loves to encourage adventurous lines, that’s a good thing.

The big 710mm bar and dinky 50mm stem create a direct, dependable steering feel that leaves no doubt that this is a bike that wants to be thrashed.  

The Piglet’s design manages to combine this confidence-inspiring burliness with a surprisingly comfortable feel. It doesn’t use posh, name-brand tubing and its design is functional rather than beautiful, but despite its hard, rough-and-tumble capability this isn’t a bike that beats you up.

The Piglet would benefit from bigger tyres and could make use of a better fork. But its blend of can-do attitude and surprising comfort makes it a fun proposition for trail riders who appreciate a bike that can be really thrown around whenever the chance arises.

Ragley piglet x9:

Frame & equipment: Epic mud clearance but a plusher fork would be better

Ragley tell us that there’ll be a revised Piglet for 2013, though so far have declined to say what the geometry and detail tweaks might be. The 2012 Piglet’s most obvious feature is that box at the head and down tube junctions. It isn’t subtle, elegant, or as up-to-date as the tapered head tubes of some of the competition, but hints at the abuse Ragley thinks this frame is capable of taking.

There’s nothing more to see up front – the down tube even lacks Crud Catcher bosses, which is surprising for a northern-bred UK bike. The tubes don’t claim to be anything metallurgically exciting either, although triple butting and a svelte bike weight hint at some slender walls under that furious paint. Thin walls usually translate into a lively, comfortable ride.

Things get more interesting at the rear. Gargantuan mud clearance – enough to run 2.5in tyres – comes courtesy of bridgeless seatstays and Ragley’s proprietary ‘three finger’ chainstay bridge. The socket dropouts are tidy and minimalist, though lack the easy singlespeed convertability of a sliding arrangement.

Our test bike is the Piglet X9 with a SRAM X9 2x10 transmission. Finishing kit is from Ragley, brakes are Avid Elixir 5s and 130mm of air sprung – but not especially adjustable – travel is provided by a RockShox Sektor fork. The only significant spec niggle we have the choice of 2.1in tyres, which give a skittish ride at the kind of pressures needed to stave off pinch flats.

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

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