UPDATE – TEST IN PROGRESS

(MBUK Bike Test July - on sale June 18th) For July we are testing: SARACEN ZEN XTREME £799 KO

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Hardcore hardtails – mass market model or one-off special?

(MBUK Bike Test July – on sale June 18th)

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For July we are testing:

SARACEN ZEN XTREME £799

KONA STUFF £800

COVE STIFFEE 69ER £1895

ELLSWORTH SPECIALIST (frame only) £899

Thinking of splashing out on a new hardtail and need something a bit tougher than your run-of-the-mill XC racing whippet? Then you’d better check out today’s bike test, in which Seb Rogers reveals which of this batch of four burly hardtails takes top honours.

“It’s been a lot of fun riding these four bikes”, writes Seb, “and three weeks of testing has really highlighted their differences. There’s the whole gamut of hardcore hardtail weaponry on test here, from a bike that’s best suited to big jumps and drops, to a potential BSX race-winner. But what’s interesting is how versatile they all are – enough to win over a lot of riders looking for something more durable than the average hardtail.

Which one is best for your riding partly depends on what you like to do, with the three runners-up all boasting desirable qualities. The overall winner, though, is something a bit special, and fully deserves its position at the top of the pile.”

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Main picture: Saracen
Picture 1: Cove
Picture 2: Ellsworth
Picture 3: Kona