The Spirit Comp is Dutch brand BeOne's cheapest hardtail but the frame would be at home on a more costly bike. The level of componentry is better than most of the bigger name bikes we’ve seen at this price but the RST fork’s performance is a limiting factor across rough terrain and there are no mudguard or rack bosses, limiting its versatility.
Ride & handling: Fast tyres, springy fork and reasonable weight make the Spirit feel lively
The ﬁrst thing you notice about the BeOne is that it feels a bit nervous. The narrow ﬂat bar and bouncy fork are ﬁne across steady terrain but don’t offer any ride conﬁdence favours when the going gets rough. The fork feel is less clunky on the rebound than average for a £500 bike but its over-springy compression and rebound starts to become a handful if you need to tackle a series of bumps.
The Schwalbe Smart Sam tyres are fast rolling and a good choice if most of your rides are road commutes or dry trails, but they’re skittish on the rocks and roots in wet conditions. That’s when you’ll probably be wishing for a wider handlebar with a rise and back sweep too.
While steering control is generally conﬁdent, the slightly more nervous feel of a ﬂat 24in handlebar compared to a wider riser bar is offputting when trails become wet, rough and twisty. The other offputting factor is that the Shimano Deore rear mech constantly bangs on the underside of the chainstay when freewheeling over bumpy ground.
The overall ride feel of the BeOne Spirit Comp is conﬁdent, well balanced and more lively than many at this price, partly because it’s slightly lighter than a lot of others and partly because it has faster rolling tyres. It offers a better parts package than most of the opposition too, more in common with better-known brand bikes costing £50-100 more.
Frame & equipment: Excellent chassis plus good wheels, brakes and drivetrain
The BeOne’s 7005 aluminium frame is nicely built, ﬁnished with a smart and tough grey overcoat with white and orange graphic highlights. A big bi-axially ovalised down tube is reinforced behind the head tube, with all the other tubes shaped to boost stiffness and strength. The fat oval chainstays are ﬂattened for extra heel clearance and the rear mech has a full outer cable from the shifters.
The RST fork is slightly better controlled than some of the SR Suntour offerings we’ve tried on bikes at this price. Compression and rebound are undamped but you don’t get a vicious clunk when the fork returns to full extension. A lockout lever on top of the left leg can only be used reliably with the fork extended, although we got it to work on the ﬂy a few times.
The drivetrain is based around a Shimano Deore mech and non-groupset Shimano shifters, front gear mech and cranks. It has 24 rather than 27 gears but everything worked superbly. Shimano hydraulic disc brakes are excellent after a short initial pad bedding-in period. You won’t ﬁnd many Shimano hubs on £500 bikes either: the bearings are more durable and easier to service than almost any other budget hubs and the BeOne’s wheels are well built with 32 spokes on tough eyeletted rims.
A soft but slimline Selle saddle is a better than average offering on a £500 bike but some riders will prefer a wider riser bar to the 24in ﬂat bar ﬁtted. While there’s an inch or so of washer height for stem adjustment, a riser bar will usually offer more width for precise control and the option of changing the back and upsweep for wrist position.