The Privateer Bikes 161 is built to shred at a surprisingly affordable price point

Hunt's in-house MTB brand, Privateer Bikes, has a new bike that should appeal to hardcore enduro riders

Privateer Bikes 161 enduro mountain bike

UK-based Hunt Bike Wheels – famed for making high-end and affordable wheels for road, cyclocross, gravel and mountain bikes – also owns Privateer Bikes, and has today announced pricing for its first complete bike and frameset.

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Privateer is founded on the principle of making bikes that have got race-ready geometry and features that are developed around the specific needs of racers that are able to stand up to a season’s worth of racing abuse.

To top off that rather demanding brief, it also wanted to produce bikes that privateer racers could afford, and it has delivered with the 161, coming in at £2,989 for a very tasty looking build.

Privateer Bikes 161 frame details

Privateer Bikes 161 enduro mountain bike
Simplicity is king. The single port by the head tube allows the dropper post cable to enter the frame.
Privateer Bikes

First seen between the tapes of the Enduro World Series in 2019, ridden by British pinner Matt Stuttard, the bike had been in the prototype stage for around 18 months prior to its first top-level competition appearance.

Alastair Beckett – most famous as one of the guys behind Nukeproof’s hugely successful Mega enduro bike – helped develop the 161’s visual design, geometry and suspension.

Privateer says that rider feedback was crucial during the bike’s development, with the brand focusing on creating an enduro rig that can descend as fast as possible while maintaining low-effort climbing prowess.

It claims that by reducing stress and fatigue on the body from climbing, more energy can be spent on the downhills. With that in mind, the 161 is truly aimed at gravity-orientated riders.

The frame is built from 6066 T-6 aluminium tubes in Taiwan by “industry-renowned” welders, and has a simple yet fairly sleek aesthetic, complemented by a raw brushed aluminium or matt black finish.

Privateer Bikes 161 enduro mountain bike
The extra cable guides at the head tube should reduce cable rattle and rub.
Privateer Bikes

It has externally-routed brake and gear cables to help simplify cables changes and brake bleeds or swaps. The dropper post cable is internally routed, entering the down tube just behind the head tube.

The main pivot features three bearings: two on the driveside and one single bearing on the non-driveside.

Privateer Bikes 161 enduro mountain bike
The main pivot is offset to help with the chainline.
Privateer Bikes

The rocker link that compresses the metric-sized Trunnion shock from above is made from one piece of material that, Privateer Bikes claims, should improve frame alignment and bearing life while increasing stiffness and strength.

The bike features a standard 73mm threaded bottom bracket and ISCG05 chain guide mounts. It has a 52mm chainline with a 3mm offset and can run up to a 34-tooth chainring. The Q-factor is 168mm.

Privateer Bikes 161 enduro mountain bike
The main pivot has three bearings with two on the driveside.
Privateer Bikes

The 12mm rear axle has Boost 148mm spacing, there’s a tapered head tube and a 31.6mm seat tube diameter.

Privateer Bikes claims the P3-sized frame weighs 3kg without shock.

Back to the drawing board

During the development process, the industry’s increasing appetite for longer travel dropper posts became a concern for Privateer Bikes.

With its linkage pivot placement, it wasn’t possible to insert a long-travel dropper post far enough into the seat tube to make it practical to use.

Instead of carrying on with the production of the bike and asking customers to compromise with shorter travel droppers, Privateer Bikes decided to revisit the 161’s seat tube, bottom bracket and down tube design to see how it could allow for deeper dropper insertion, while retaining its desired suspension kinematic.

Privateer Bikes 161 enduro mountain bike
There are loads of neat details that should make this one top-performing bike.
Privateer Bikes

After a redesign of the BB and lower shock mount area, and thanks to some clever CNC machining, it managed to increase dropper post insertion by 50mm on its smallest ‘P1’ size bike and 80mm on its larger P2, P3 and P4 bikes.

This change nods to an overall rider-first design philosophy that we can really get behind.

Privateer Bikes 161 suspension details and performance

Built with 161mm of rear-wheel travel, the Privateer Bikes 161 uses a 205mm eye to eye Trunnion rear shock with a 65mm stroke.

The suspension’s kinematic is designed with both coil- and air-sprung shocks, although the frameset is specced with RockShox’ SuperDeluxe Ultimate DebonAir air-sprung shock.

Privateer Bikes 161 enduro mountain bikePrivateer Bikes 161 enduro mountain bike
The shock’s linkage is made from one piece of material to help improve alignment, stiffness and bearing life.
Privateer Bikes

The 161 uses a Horst-link style suspension system seen on other bikes such as Specialized’s Enduro, Nukeproof’s Mega and Whyte’s G-170, plus plenty of others.

Like other Horst-link bikes, the 161 has a low anti-rise figure peaking at just below 50 per cent around 70mm into the bike’s travel, where the suspension’s ability to resist compression is greater than the compression forces created during braking.

Privateer Bikes 161 enduro mountain bike anti-rise
Privateer Bikes 161 anti-rise graph.
Privateer Bikes

It’s got high anti-squat figures sitting between 142 per cent and 132 per cent at sag point, dropping to 82 per cent at bottom out. This, in theory, means the bike should pedal well.

Privateer Bikes 161 enduro mountain bike anti-squat
Privateer Bikes 161 anti-squat graph.
Privateer Bikes

Finally, its leverage ratio is progressive overall with a small hump at the start of the travel.

This means the very initial part of the travel will be slightly harder compared to when it’s between five and 20mm into its suspension. From then on it gets linearly harder to bottom out, giving an overall progression to the curve.

Privateer Bikes 161 enduro mountain bike leverage ratio
Privateer Bikes 161 leverage ratio graph.
Privateer Bikes

The rear wheel’s axle path features a short rearward 3mm arc from full extension up to 50mm into its travel, then curving forwards from -3mm to +13mm until bottom out.

It’s generally considered that the more reward a bike’s axle path is, the better it is at absorbing bumps.

Privateer Bikes 161 enduro mountain bike axle path
Privateer Bikes 161 axle path graph.
Privateer Bikes

Privateer Bikes 161 geometry and sizing

The 161 comes in four sizes and is claimed to fit people from just below 160cm tall up to people well over 190cm.

The smallest size bike is designed around 27.5in wheels, while the next three bigger sizes are built around 29in wheels.

Like an increasing number of brands, the four sizes are focused around increases in reach measurements rather than seat tube lengths. The reach figure grows from 445mm for the smallest bike up to 515mm for the largest.

The seat tube length only changes by 80mm across sizes, starting at 400mm and finishing at 480mm.

Privateer Bikes 161 enduro mountain bike
Designed for privateer racers, it’s got 161mm of travel.
Privateer Bikes

Each size has its own chainstay length, once again growing as the bike’s overall size increases. This is a popular move that many other brands tend to ignore, keeping their chainstay figure static across size ranges.

The head tube angle sits at 64 degrees across the sizes, as does the effective seat tube angle that’s a mind-bendingly steep 80 degrees. Actual seat tube angles hover around the 75-degree mark across sizes.

Privateer Bikes recommends the 27.5in wheeled bike runs a 37mm fork offset, while the 29in wheeled bike should run either a 42mm or 44mm offset.

Size P1 P2 P3 P4
Reach (mm) 445 470 490 515
Stack (mm) 613.36 633.99 642.97 651.96
Head tube angle (degrees) 64 64 64 64
Seat tube length (mm) 400 420 450 480
BB drop (mm) 15 30 30 30
Wheelbase (mm) 1221.75 1250.29 1278.69 1316.08
Chainstay length (mm) 434 440 446 452
Head tube length (mm) 120 110 120 130
Top tube length 553.15 581.79 603.37 629.96
Actual seat tube angle (degrees) 75.31 75.44 75.49 75.53
Effective seat tube angle (degrees) 80 80 80 80

Privateer Bikes 161 models and specs

The 161 is available as a frame with shock for £1,489 or as a full bike that retails for £2,989.

Privateer Bikes 161 frame only

Privateer Bikes 161 enduro mountain bike
A threaded bottom bracket is a good idea.
Privateer Bikes
  • Frame: 6066 T-6 aluminium, 161mm travel, 27.5in (P1) or 29in (P2,3 and 4) wheels
  • Shock: RockShox SuperDeluxe DebonAir
  • Sizes: P1, P2, P3, P4
  • Price: £1,489

Privateer Bikes 161 Enduro Race Bike

Privateer Bikes 161 enduro mountain bike
The full bike retails for £2,989.
Privateer Bikes
  • Frame: 6066 T-6 aluminium, 161mm travel, 27.5in (P1) or 29in (P2,3 and 4) wheels
  • Fork: RockShox Lyrik Ultimate RC2, 170mm travel
  • Shock: RockShox SuperDeluxe DebonAir M/L tube
  • Groupset: Shimano SLX M7100/XT M8100 (1×12) mix
  • Crankset: Shimano SLX M7100 170mm length, 32-tooth chainring (1×12)
  • Brakes: Magura MT5
  • Wheels: Hunt Enduro Wide, 33mm internal width 6069 T-6 alloy rim.
  • Tyres: Michelin Wild Enduro Front 2.4in Magi-X (f), Michelin Wild Enduro Front 2.4in Gum-X (r)
  • Bar and stem: Race Face Atlas 820mm wide, 20mm rise, 35mm clamp bars, Race Face Aeffect R 40mm long, 35mm clamp stem
  • Saddle: Fabric Scoop Elite Radius
  • Seatpost: OneUp V2 dropper post
  • Sizes: P1, P2, P3, P4
  • Price: £2,989
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Technical writer Seb Stott has just got his grubby mitts on a Privateer Bikes 161 to test for the coming year, and as soon as we’ve got some ride impression to report we’ll publish a review on this hotly-anticipated bike.