Built in Scotland and still small-scale, Shand switched to building production bikes in 2011 after eight years making one-off custom frames. The Columbus steel-boned Bahookie is its do-it-all trail bike.
Frame and equipment: premium setup with limitless scope for switching
The spec, as you might hope given the price, is lovely. Shimano XT brakes, Chris King headset, Middleburn cranks, Thomson bars... it’s top quality componentry that will last, and its high-end Niobium steel chassis will make you smile. (Until, perhaps, you look at that frame-only price.) Indeed, provided you can afford it the Bahookie has the style, character and ability to keep you smiling whenever you get on it.
Thomson bars are among the top-grade componentry
Rear rack mounts and three sets of bottle mounts make it long-trip friendly. Meanwhile the Rohloff hub gearing keeps all those delicate moving parts beyond the reach of mud, water or collisions. The twin-cabled gripshift takes more effort and movement than trigger shifters, but the 14 ratios offer a good range and shifts are mostly silent and very rapid.
This gearbox-toting version we tested is, however, one of three options. It’s also available as a carbon-forked singlespeed or conventionally-geared hardtail – but with interchangeable dropouts, an eccentric bottom bracket and even a split rear triangle, the scope for drivetrain and fork tweaking is unlimited.
The 44mm head tube means it takes any fork steerer you care to poke at it, and it even has internal routing for Stealth-style dropper posts.
Ride and handling: a comfortable yet playful partner
The last point is good news. That's because despite its utilitarian aspects the Bahookie is a fun bike with a playful feel.
Ours had a 27.2mm post shimmed to fit the 31.6mm seat tube. Its inherent extra flex – combined with chunky 2.25in back tyre, a pliant rear triangle and Shand’s own Charge Spoon-like saddle – made the Bahookie a surprisingly comfy place to be.
That shim and bolted seat collar made dropping and raising the saddle awkward though. It’s a misfit with this spec, whose well-damped 100mm RockShox Reba fork and aggressively treaded Schwalbes encourage descending silliness.
We found the Bahookie an engagingly playful companion
The 2.25in rear Nobby Nic is a bit toothier than necessary, though it’s Schwalbe’s harder Pacestar rubber so rolling speed and wear rates are at least maximised. You’d struggle to get anything bigger than this in anyway, as clearance is already noticeably tight at the back.
The Hans Dampf on the front is specced in the softer Trailstar compound for great all-round grip, and to be fair it’s not just this and suspension egging you on, the frame does too. That’s despite the Rohloff Speedhub giving the bike a very rearwards weight balance that detracts from techy-trail popping and hopping.
Even though its head angle is a steep 70 degrees, the Bahookie is pretty stable even at speed. The longish front (624mm top tube) and fairly tight 442mm chainstays also put you in a good place when the treads start to slide. It drifts through corners predictably, showing little desire to tuck that big 29in front wheel under itself.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.