Stanton Slackline - First ride £1769

Snappy steel hardtail

BikeRadar score 4/5

Fed up with never quite having the bike he desired, Dan Stanton threw caution to the wind and created Stanton Bikes. After almost two years of design and prototyping in the UK comes the Slackline, reeking of steel aggression and ready to attack climbs, punish descents, boost jumps and manual rollers.

Ride & handling: Steel doesn’t mean a heavy feel

We felt the twang of the steel immediately – the raw and natural feeling of the material was certainly evident. When the saddle was raised and the climb was getting technical, the Slackline’s well proportioned geometry kept us powering along with those large diameter chainstays helping to make it as efficient as possible.

At 12.6kg (27.8lb) the Slackline is at the lighter end of the aggressive hardtail market and we really felt it when grinding up long climbs. Once the saddle was lowered and the trail was dropping away from us like an inviting piece of brown ribbon though, we could definitely feel the 4X/dirt jump influence. 

The frame sat low and poised beneath us, the wide PRO Koryak bars made us feel in control of the front wheel.

We found ourselves popping off little rises and exposed roots, criss-crossing the trail finding the smoothest line possible, but when the options ran out and we had to go headlong into the rough, the Slackline wasn’t scared at all. Jumps, rollers and berms were a lot of fun on this bike, and rounded off the Stanton’s ‘do everything’ skillset. 

Frame & equipment: Brave steel machine with Shimano SLX

That steel aggression comes in the form of a Reynolds 853 front triangle backed up by Reynolds 525 chainstays and seatstays. Instead of going the cheaper, more common route of a chromoly rear end, Stanton used 525 steel for its superior vibration absorbing qualities. They also opted for large 22mm vertically ovalised chainstays to improve power transfer, so all your pedal strength is converted into motion.

And now for the numbers – the 68-degree head angle is steeper than some of the aggro hardtails available but it helps make climbing efficient and opens up dirt jumping potential. The short 16.3in (414mm) chainstays and 12.4in (315mm) bottom bracket height make for a short and snappy-feeling rear end.

The fully built Slackline, based around Shimano’s SLX groupset, is good for £1,769. A full Shimano SLX groupset effectively gives you shifting and braking perfection at your fingertips. A Gamut P20 chain device attaches to ISCG 05 tabs and the bashring keeps the single front chainring safe from stray rocks.

The 150mm (5.9in) RockShox Sektor RL Solo Air fork suspends the front end magnificently. The stout 32mm stanchions give stiffness when you need it most, and whatever the trail happens to throw at you it remains unfazed. 

Mavic Crosstrail wheels encased in tubeless Continental X-King 2.4in tubeless tyres keep the rolling resistance low-ish and the high volume tyres take the sting out of rougher trails.

For an exclusive first look at the Stanton Slackline, check out the video below:

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

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