Fork: RockShox Yari RC Solo Air, 160mm (6.3in) travel
Shock: RockShox Deluxe RT3
Drivetrain: SRAM GX Eagle (1×12)
Wheelset: Halo Vapour 35 wheels
Tyres: Schwalbe Magic Mary TrailStar (f) and Schwalbe Nobby Nic TrailStar (r) 27.5×2.35in
Brakes: SRAM Level TL, 180mm rotors
Bar: Gusset Slade, 780mm
Stem: Gusset Magnum, 50mm
Seatpost: KS LEV Integra 150mm dropper
Saddle: Gusset R-Series Black Jack
Weight: 14.48kg (31.9lb), small size without pedals
Effective top tube: 601mm
Seat tube: 413mm
Head tube: 115mm
Head tube angle: 65-degree
Seat tube angle: 75-degree
Available sizes: S, M, L (small tested)
Identiti Mettle SRAM GX frame and kit
Identiti has hit the nail right on the head when it comes to its numbers. At 5ft 8in I rode the small Mettle, which offers up a reach of 440mm, making it closer to many brands’ medium frames in terms of length. This, coupled with the 435mm chainstays, helps to provide a nicely neutral rider position, but the stays are still short enough to make it easy to get the front wheel airborne.
While the 65-degree head angle isn’t crazy slack it still gives a confident feel when the going gets steep, and the 75-degree seat angle is a bonus when climbing.
Identiti’s smart decision to spec a Schwalbe Magic Mary tyre up front further bolsters the Mettle’s downhill credentials
Delivering the 160mm of rear wheel travel is a solidly-built four-bar Horst Link back end, while a metric RockShox Deluxe shock takes care of damping duties.
Boost axle spacing and some clever design features mean there’s plenty of mud clearance.
It’s a nice touch that all of the pivot hardware on the Mettle requires the same 5mm Allen key for ease of maintenance.
While SRAM’s GX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain is a real highlight, the rest of the kit, though well-considered, is decent rather than drool-worthy.
The dual-piston SRAM Level brakes feel a little undergunned for the job, and while the Gusset saddle is comfortable, its cover has a tendency to snag your shorts when you’re moving around on the bike.
The Mettle is a heavy-hitter built to lastSteve Behr / Immediate Media
Identiti Mettle SRAM GX ride impressions
It took me a little bit of experimenting to get the rear end feeling just right. I found that running just under 35 percent sag, with two volume spacers fitted in the Deluxe shock, gave me decent grip through loose turns but meant the bike still handled the big thumps when I really opened things up, which is exactly where the Mettle thrives.
Climbing is a relatively painless affair too, thanks to the easy-to-reach lever on the shock which firms the suspension up.
While RockShox’s Yari fork lacks the ‘Charger 2’ damper found in the more refined and smoother, but pricier, Lyrik, it still soaks up the worst hits without transferring too much chatter or buzz through to your hands and arms.
Identiti’s smart decision to spec a Schwalbe Magic Mary tyre up front further bolsters the Mettle’s downhill credentials and ensures steering accuracy when dealing with muddy conditions.
I found that the SRAM Level brakes lacked the punch and power required on particularly long or steep brake-dragging descents. Fitting larger rotors would help, but SRAM’s more powerful four-piston Guides or Codes would be a better choice, though they’d no doubt bump the price up a touch.
There’s a surefooted robustness to the feel of the Mettle. The stiffness of the chassis gives an urgency to split-second changes of direction, but thankfully doesn’t rattle you about when tackling seriously bumpy trails. It also underlines the solid, built-to-last feel, which gives you peace of mind when you’re throwing nothing but abuse at the bike.
Identiti Mettle SRAM GX early verdict
Surefooted heavy-hitter that’s built to last, but could do with more powerful brakes.