Ragley designer Brant Richards flew this frame halfway across the world and then rode it halfway up Swaledale in the Yorkshire Dales to meet us mid-ride so we could get on it ASAP.
After a month of hard hammer we can confirm that it’s a standout ride even in the fast evolving hardcore hardtail category.
Rather than just templating the same design across all three materials (titanium, steel and alloy), Brant has tweaked each to accentuate the advantages to the maximum.
In the case of the Ragley that means sub-4lb frame weight but massive strength and stiffness. The big barrel head tube is 1.5in, 1.125in or tapered steerer compatible with the appropriate headset, and the main tubes are similarly stout.
Big tapered seatstays mean there’s no need for a rear bridge (besides a small web gusset), and the innovative ‘3 finger’ chainstay plate design means equally huge tyre clearance behind the bottom bracket, so you can run the fattest tyres you’ve got without worry.
The chainstay mounted brakes reduce seatstay stress, while multiple bolt-on cable and hose clip options let you route brakes and gears however you want. Frames will be supplied in plain painted finish with sticker kits so you can be similarly individual with your final look.
In terms of ride the mmmBop – named after an infamous Calderdale descent – is as uncompromising as it looks. The whole frame and oversized Nuke Proof seatpost is seriously stiff so it’s not a bike you’ll want to stay in the saddle over cobbles on.
What this translates to in technical situations though is pinpoint precision from the RockShox Revelation fork with Maxle and maximum feedback through the Super Tacky Maxxis Minion tyres. As long as you’re fluid enough to keep the rear wheel connected, power delivery is phenomenally direct for surging up the steepest slopes like a Saturn V.
The geometry is designed to be at home in the most extreme situations too. A slack 67.5-degree head angle (with 140mm forks) and long top tube are designed to work with a super-short 50-70mm stem and wide bar (the Nuke Proof Warhead kit here is ideal) without constricting breathing or pushing you too far over the front.
The frame stiffness really helps in tight, turning-in-on-the-brakes situations where flexier bikes can stumble and tuck under. The 16.75in chainstays keep the rear end stable when you let go of the Hayes brakes and let the landscape get hazy instead.
Ragley have definitely delivered an outstandingly direct, top value assault on the hardcore technical trail bike market with the mmmBop. We’ll have a full first ride report plus more reviews on the expanded Nuke Proof range in print and online form soon. RRP is £275.99.