CLASSY MID-PRICED HARDTAILSIn the world of the conservative medium spender, the hardtail still appears to be king. So what sort of hardtail can you score at a price where the full sussers start to rear their pretty heads?
Steve Worland writes: for September we are testing:
The ROCKY MOUNTAIN TRAILHEAD - £770
A pedigree Canadian all-rounder with an excellent sub 4lb frame, a 100mm Rock Shox Pilot fork and a slick Deore based drivetrain.
The CUBE LTD - £750
A comfy and unusually specced race-ready bike from Germany, boasting a top value feature- laden frame, way better than average componentry specification and a top of the range Rock Shox Pilot 100m fork.
The SINTESI MOAB - £679
A superbly equipped Italian thoroughbred with an unusual hard-hitting frame design, a 105mm Marzocchi Bomber MX Comp fork and some great finishing kit for the price.
The SCOTT BOULDER - £700
A good-looker which boasts a well sorted frame, excellent geometry, a surprisingly comfy and well controlled ride feel and the best drivetrain on test.
As we start to push things a bit, initial reservations on a couple of the bikes quickly fade to insignificance, while the bike that impressed us most on paper is the least comfortable to ride. The feel of the forks is turning out to characterise the bikes more than the frames or the componentry. Geometry configurations vary quite radically on these four bikes even though they're obviously aimed at similar rider types. As the test progresses, it's these geometry variations that begin to further characterise the bikes... far more than the variations in componentry.