BTR Ranger Tam Edition review

Handcrafted hardtail, built around shorter fork travel

Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
GBP £3,100.00 RRP
BTR Ranger Tam Edition

Our review

Beautifully crafted and silky-smooth, the BTR balances precision and pace with pure agility
Pros: Deeply customisable, repairable and could last you for years if you look after it; low-slung BB gives maximum control through the turns
Cons: A UK-made, one-off frame costs a hell of a lot of money and there’s no way around this fact
Skip to view product specifications

From its base in Somerset, BTR has built a reputation for quality craftsmanship and pushing the boundaries of hardtail geometry.

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The Ranger is pretty slack – it has a 63.8-degree head angle with the 130mm fork fitted here – but it’s pitched as one of the brand’s all-rounders.

BTR Ranger Tam Edition frame

The neatness of the welding and the elegance of the frame shape are striking on the Ranger. It’s a lovely bit of kit, but that quality is reflected in the price tag.

The tubing is a mixture of Reynolds 853 and 631 in the front triangle, and designed around a 120mm or 130mm fork. Dedacciai steel is used in the rear stays, with the seatstays being welded directly to the seat tube without bracing and the chainstays using a small, perforated bridge plate as support. This is tidy, but acts as a bit of a crud-magnet.

The frame is hugely customisable – chain guide mounts, extra bottle bosses, an integrated seat clamp and additional internal routing are all offered for extra cash.

I like how BTR is specific about the Ranger’s fork length, given how hardtails can ride differently with the 20 to 30mm difference in travel that plenty of brands are happy to recommend.

BTR Ranger Tam Edition
The frame detailing and finish are stunning, with super-neat welds and tidy gussets and reinforcements.
Mick Kirkman

BTR Ranger Tam Edition kit

Built loosely around BTR’s ‘Tam’ spec, there’s decent kit here, but the high frame price results in some cut corners.

The Shimano SLX brakes and drivetrain are lower-tier gear for this price, while the Maxxis Minion tyres aren’t the fatter, Wide Trail versions and use cheaper rubber that reduces lean-over grip.

You get a Cane Creek Helm fork, but it’s coil-sprung with 130mm of travel. I swapped out the stock 2kg spring for a firmer one, but this just underlined how much more difficult it is to get the perfect spring rate on a coil fork than on an air one.

The harder spring was less active than it should’ve been for my weight, leaving the fork feeling somewhat primitive and clunky.

BTR uses a CushCore insert in the rear tyre, which helps absorb heavy landings and hard impacts, but adds weight and reduces rolling speed.

The Renthal grips have an annoying outboard lock-on collar, but use a super-soft rubber that kills vibration and adds comfort. Their Apex stem feels a bit soft though – a sensation that’s possibly amplified here by the BTR’s ultra-solid head tube junction.

BTR Ranger Tam Edition ride impressions

BTR Ranger Tam Edition
More money in the frame means less cash to spend on parts, although the SLX-level kit does perform solidly.
Mick Kirkman

The Ranger is a class act that grows on you the more time you spend on it. It has a refined ride, which is both stiff and precise, but smooth and damped, and a great frame shape and rider position.

With 54mm of bottom bracket drop (and a subsequent 300mm BB height), your feet are kept lower to the ground for slicing through corners quickly, and you also feel closer to the terrain for more stability in the techiest zones.

The short 415mm chainstays make it easier to flick the trailing wheel through turns, manual and play, boosting the fun-factor.

With its shorter-travel fork, the Ranger rewards a precise style, but has the significant benefit of feeling more neutral everywhere, since the bike retains a similar rider position whether you’re cranking through singletrack or pointing down death chutes.

The back end tracks nicely and is smooth without feeling soft when controlling the bike with your feet. I’d have been able to push even harder on the Ranger if the crude-feeling coil fork had played more nicely.

There’s real solidity and muscle through the front triangle, and the rear stays give a smooth ride down beaten-up chutes and through root webs into steep corners.

The ride quality does veer more towards chuckability than stability though, and the BTR is so stiff sideways that things can get very lively in and out of ruts and edges if you make a mistake.

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BTR Ranger Tam Edition
A steep seat angle, the lowest BB on test and short stays all add up to a winning recipe.
Mick Kirkman

BTR Ranger Tam Edition geometry (L)

  • Seat angle: 74.4 degrees
  • Head angle: 63.8 degrees
  • Chainstay: 16.34in / 41.5cm
  • Seat tube: 17.32in / 44cm
  • Top tube: 24.8in / 63cm
  • Head tube: 5.51cm / 14cm
  • Fork offset: 1.65in / 4.2cm
  • Bottom bracket height: 11.81in / 30cm
  • Bottom bracket drop: 2.13in / 5.42cm
  • Wheelbase: 47.64in / 1,210mm
  • Stack: 24.93in / 63.33cm
  • Reach: 18.11in / 46cm

Product Specifications

Product

Price GBP £3100.00
Weight 13.9kg (L) – (without pedals)
Brand Btr

Features

Available sizes XXS, XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL + custom
Headset Hope
Tyres Maxxis Minion DHR II 3C EXO TR 27.5x2.3in w/ CushCore rear insert
Stem Renthal Apex, 40mm
Shifter Shimano SLX
Seatpost Fox Transfer Performance, 150mm
Saddle Ergon SMA 3
Rear derailleur Shimano SLX (1x11)
Handlebar Renthal FatBar Lite, 760mm
Bottom bracket Shimano
Grips/Tape Renthal Kevlar
Frame Reynolds 853 and 631 front end, Dedacciai stays
Fork Cane Creek Helm Coil, 130mm (5.1in) travel
Cranks Shimano SLX, 34t
Chain Shimano
Cassette Shimano SLX, 11-46t
Brakes Shimano SLX, 203mm/180mm rotors
Wheels Hope Tech Enduro rims on Hope Pro 4 hubs