THE BIKE TEST

ild mannered but inherently evil, there's a disturbingly alluring new brood of hard hitting hardtai

THIS MONTH WE ARE TESTING FOUR HARDHITTING HARDTAILS FOR AROUND A GRAND.
Mild mannered but inherently evil, there's a disturbingly alluring new brood of hard hitting hardtails out there threatening to bridge gaps in all the best possible ways. This month we are testing:

STEPPENWOLF Twixter, £1090 (Frame £258).
CANNONDALE Chase II, £899
PLANET-X ARMADILLO, £999 (Frame £399)
IDENTITI Mr Hyde FRX, £1100ish (Frame £299)

We tested a group of low budget big hitters a couple of issues back. Now it's the turn of four rigs that'll damage your wallet to the tune of a grand, or thereabouts.

First up, we have the STEPPENWOLF Twixter. It's a wolf at the door hammer rig with custom options. It boasts a very nicely finished one size frame, loads of upgrade options and comes with a hard hitting but relatively light parts built-up.

Next, better late than never, Cannondale > enters the hardnut foray with the Chase II.It looks like a top value version of the bike their freeride/jump star Aaron Chase rides. It has a strong dirt jump/urban freeride identity and has Truvativ's Hussefelt cranks with a Rock Guard, a Marzocchi Dirt Jumper III fork and hydraulic disc brakes.

Third, and looking very unusual straight from the box, comes a speedy freeride hardtail with apparently wreckless trail ability, the PLANET-X Armadillo, Its tank like looks and tank like roll through anything behaviour are intended for up to 125mm of fork travel, but you could opt for a frame alone or a top value frame/fork package with Planet X or On-One top up components.

Last, but certainly not least, comes a UK-spawned wolf in a mountain goat's clothing, the IDENTITI Mr Hyde FRX. It looks the part, comes in two sizes, 17in & 19in, and it promises everything we've come to expect from this hard new breed of tough-nut feature-packed freeride hardtails. Distributors Ison offer it with a big choice of parts, including a White Brothers 80-125mm travel fork.

So what did we think as riding got underway? Watch this space.
This article was published by BikeRadar, the world's leading source of bike reviews, gear reviews, riding advice and route information
  • Discipline: Road, Mountain, Urban, Womens
  • Location: UK, USA, Australia
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