The AKA is Identiti’s replacement for their Mr Hyde frame. Lightweight yet hardcore, this versatile trail/all-mountain hardtail sounds too good to be true but doesn’t disappoint out on the trails.
Ride & handling: Tough, capable and lightweight too
Hop onto the AKA and you instantly feel at ease. The 760mm wide bar feels great and the 50mm stem puts you in just the right position for hammering the trails. Once you’re riding, things continue to just feel right. The 68-degree head angle keeps the bike stable over the rough stuff, and the 50mm stem quickens the handling when things get tight.
The Fox 32 fork behaves really well and remained composed in everything we’ve thrown at it, from rocks to fast corners. Meanwhile, the 15mm axle stiffens things up but the fork still offers some compliance, which helps smooth out the trail.
The wheelset is fantastic – the thin rims provide a great tyre proﬁle and have a bit of ﬂex. This is a bonus feature, since the frame has the potential for a harsh ride if it’s ﬁtted with super-stiff wheels. Gusset’s Chute brakes are awesome – powerful with a reassuring on-off lever feel.
The bike is great on the BMX track too. The short chainstays come into play here, making it a doddle to get the front end up to manual. We reckon the bike could only really have performed slightly better if it had a shorter travel – or adjustable travel – fork in there.
It would just drop the front end and steepen the head angle ever so slightly. The biggest surprise about this hardcore, capable hardtail is the weight – the full build comes in at just 11.8kg (26lb)! And we’re not looking at a case of super-light components either.
Frame & equipment: Sorted chassis that deserves some decent kit
The 15in AKA has a claimed weight of 2.1kg (4.6lb) – that’s pretty light for such a hardcore model. The 68-degree head angle – with a 150mm-travel (5.9in) fork – keeps the handing predictable.
The tapered head tube ensures that the frame is compatible with the latest conehead forks, which add front-end stiffness. A nicely machined chainstay yoke and the adjustable dropout system combine to keep the frame weight low and decidedly singlespeed-friendly.
The guys over at Ison Distribution built up our test frame with the perfect spec, keeping it both light and capable. The Fox 32 Float fork, QR15 axle and tapered steerer take care of the front end, while the Shimano SLX shifter and XT rear mech run a 1×9 setup through MRP’s 1X guide to keep the gears in check.
The Halo wheelset proves itself to be super-reliable as well as light, and even the Halo tyres are good intermediates. Gusset provide most of the ﬁnishing kit – their Slim Jim pedals, new Chute brakes and TAF-24 cranks, as well as a comfortable bar and stiff stem. All have been nothing short of great on our test trails.