Propain overhauls the Hugene trail bike for 2021

Increased travel and updated geometry should improve one of our favourite trail bikes

Propain Hugene 21

Hot on the heels of winning BikeRadar’s 2020 Trail Bike of the Year test, Propain has given its 29er Hugene trail bike a refresh for 2021, bumping up the travel to 140mm at the back and giving the bike a lighter, longer and slacker frameset.

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The frame sees a new silhouette, with straighter tubes to ensure stresses are kept to a minimum, along with the weight savings.

The layup of the frames has been optimised to boost this strength to weight ratio, with this generation of frame receiving a higher proportion of very high-tensile strength carbon fibres. A carbon swing-link can be seen dropping form the top tube too, shaving a few extra grams.

Propain Hugene 21
The Hugene is Propain’s 140mm carbon trail bike.
Tom Marvin / Immediate Media

With the use of fewer layers of carbon, while still apparently retaining the same frame stiffness, Propain has dropped 200g from the frame weight, bringing it down to around 2.2kg.

Propain PRO10 suspension

While the previous Hugene had 130mm of travel at the back, the team in Germany has boosted it to 140mm this year, to give a more balanced feel to the bike when running the 140 or 150mm forks the bike is designed to work with.

Propain has also lowered the leverage ratio of the suspension design as a result. This means it’s able to run a longer stroke shock in the frame, which reduces stresses on the shock and linkage, and in our experience should make it a little easier to set up.

Propain Hugene 21
An air shock nestles inside an asymmetric rear triangle and new carbon linkage design.
Tom Marvin / Immediate Media

With pedalling characteristics so important on a trail-focused bike, the anti-squat is kept high enough within its ‘PRO10’ asymmetric suspension linkage to keep a stable pedalling platform, with the kinematic’s progression gradually increasing through the stroke to assure small bump sensitivity and big-hit control.

Propain Hugene 21
The shock floats between two small links.
Tom Marvin / Immediate Media

Propain claims that it shouldn’t suck up your energy, but should still remain active throughout. Anti-squat at the sag point sits around 110 per cent, so should remain fairly stable.

New year, new shape

As you might expect, the Hugene gets bang up-to-date geometry. This has been done to boost both uphill and downhill capabilities, with a focus on pedalling position and stability at speed.

The seat angle has been steepened to 76.5 degrees. This isn’t the most extreme we’ve seen on a bike, and is slacker than Propain’s Tyee enduro bike, however, with less travel on offer, and thus less sag when sat on the bike, the dynamic seat angle should remain pretty pedalling friendly.

Propain Hugene 21
Propain has kept the Hugene’s frame very tidy looking.
Tom Marvin / Immediate Media

Depending on fork length (both axle to crown, and whether you choose 140 or 150mm of travel) the head angle sits at 65 to 65.5 degrees – again, not the most extreme out there, but still pretty slack for a trail bike in our eyes.

This lengthens the wheelbase and calms handling on steep and fast terrain. Reach figures have grown by 20mm over the previous generation, while the chainstays sit at 445mm across the range of sizes.

140mm Hugene, Large150mm Hugene, Large
Reach480476
Seat Tube450450
Top Tube631632
Head Angle65.565.1
Seat Angle76.576.1
Wheelbase12421246
BB Drop3430
Stack630634
Chainstay Length445445

The new frame receives a number of smart touches.

SRAM’s universal derailleur hanger (UDH) is used to hold the mech, while there’s a removable ISCG mount to keep the chain in place around the threaded bottom-bracket shell.

Inside the frame are two sets of bosses for bottle cages and tool/pump straps. Cables run fully guided in the frame, while there’s extra sealing for the Acros bearings.

There’s also a range of frame and decal colours, and Propain is offering a five-year warranty and crash-replacement scheme.

Propain Hugene 2021 models

One of the facets of Propain’s business model, which we particularly like, is the customisable spec.

Three basic spec levels exist, from which customers are able to chop and change bits to suit personal preferences and budgets. The basic builds are listed below.

Propain Hugene Start

  • Fork: RockShox Pike Select 140mm
  • Shock: RockShox Deluxe Select+ RT
  • Drivetrain: SRAM GX Eagle
  • Brakes: SRAM G2 R
  • Wheels / tyres: Propain ZTR Flow S1 / Schwalbe
  • Finishing kit: SIXPACK
  • Price: From €3,399
Propain Hugene 21 Schwalbe Big Betty
Propain allows customers to modify the spec of their bike – ours came with chunky Schwalbe rubber.
Tom Marvin / Immediate Media

Propain Hugene Performance

  • Fork: RockShox Pike Ultimate 140mm
  • Shock: RockShox Deluxe Ultimate
  • Drivetrain: SRAM X01 Eagle
  • Brakes: SRAM G2 RSC
  • Wheels / tyres: Stan’s Flow MK3 Team / Schwalbe
  • Finishing kit: SIXPACK
  • Price: TBC
Propain Hugene 21 Fox 34
Performance Elite level Fox suspension props the front end of our test bike up.
Tom Marvin / Immediate Media

Propain Hugene Highend

  • Fork: Fox 34 Factory 140mm
  • Shock: Fox Float DPX2 Factory
  • Drivetrain: SRAM XX1 AXS Eagle
  • Brakes: SRAM G2 Ultimate Carbon
  • Wheels / tyres: Newmen Advanced SL A 30 wheels / Schwalbe
  • Finishing kit: SIXPACK
  • Price: From €7,164

Kit options across the models include equipment from the likes of Magura, Fox, BikeYoke and Formula. Should you want a slightly burlier feel, a Fox 36 with 150mm travel can also be fitted.

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The new Propain Hugene is available to purchase now.