Heller's Shagamaw GX1 represents a new breed of nicely capable, non-race focused bikes. With a carbon frame, 130mm fork, and most importantly some big 27.5+ tires, this hardtail brings some not-so-serious, rowdy fun to the dirt.
Heller Shagamaw GX1 spec overview
- Lightweight carbon fiber frame with dialed geometry
- Internal cable routing for a clean look
- Internally routed dropper post
- Powerful 4-piston hydraulic disc brakes for more control
- 148x12 Boost spacing
- WTB Bridger 27.5+ x 3.0 tubeless ready tires
- WTB tubeless compatible rims
- RockShox Yari 130mm suspension fork
- SRAM GX1 1x11 drivetrain
Heller Shagamaw GX1 ride impression
My first ride impression of the Shagamaw was that this thing is sweet. I was as shocked as anyone having ridden a few 27.5+ bikes before and coming away with mixed feelings on the handling and performance.
The 67.6 degree head angle is on the steep side for all-mountain, but works well with the 130mm RockShox Yari fork. The fork is a bit of a budget item to keep costs in line, but it works well and is plenty stiff.
The stem could be a tad shorter and wider bars would be welcome. But all that stuff is personal preference, what matters is the frame and the ride and that's where the Shagamaw surprised me.
The carbon frame felt stiff and quick to respond to inputs on the bars. The chainstay length isn't all that short at 17.3in, but it sure tosses the front end up when called upon. Leaning the bike over was met with solid tracking and getting back on the gas was rewarded with zesty acceleration. Good, fun riding, it's a playful rig that seemed to encourage goofing around on the mountain side.
I kept thinking about how plus-size tires really open up the door for hardtails. It's a whole new world for hardtails again thanks to the huge grip, uphill traction, downhill cornering, and braking power. And oh, the braking power, it's just insane when you load those big tires by pressing all your weight down through the grips and through the pedals with dropped heels. Plus tires bite, and bite hard.
On the Shagamaw, not knowing the trails, I came into some switchbacks way too hot and panic squeezed the four-piston TRP disc brakes. Thankfully (luckily) instead of skidding on the loose rocks, the 3.0in WTB Bridger tires grabbed and hauled my speed down.