Pinnacle are the house brand of Evans Cycles, and while we were going to test their Ramin 2 29er, it wasn’t available in time. However, the long-forked, hard-hitting Jarrah 4 26er comes with very similar componentry and is excellent value for money.
Ride & handling: Beautifully nimble but tyres aren’t too corner-confident
It’s surprising what a difference a degree or so on a bike’s head angle makes. The steering is livelier than some other similarly priced hardtails: the head angle is relatively steep, plus the RockShox fork has a softer spring than some, which lets it steepen further.
You tend to adapt during the first ride, but the Jarrah is not quite the hard-hitting trail bike the 120mm fork may imply. Some budget 29ers are more stoical and stable in their handling, while the Jarrah’s steep front and smaller wheels make it lively.
This keeps it surprisingly nimble on even the rootiest, rockiest and twistiest stretches, and the 29.6lb (65.3lb) weight helps with that too, but there’s no doubt it can feel nervous on descents when the fork is hitting stuff hard and diving through its travel.
Pinnacle jarrah 4 hardtail: Russell Burton/Future Publishing
Frame & equipment: XC32 fork stanchions make a difference on this 26er
Evans have an excellent range of 26ers and 29ers to each side of the Jarrah 4. The Ramin 1 looks like one of the best-equipped £500 29ers we’ve seen, and the next down-range 26er is the £550 Jarrah 3. Both have Suntour XCR forks, which are not as controlled as the Jarrah 4’s RockShox XC32s. The lockout, preload and rebound damping dials on the XC32 are very effective too, and compression and rebound are plush and well controlled.
We’ve focused on fork performance, because it’s as crucial as the frame and wheels to gauge overall ride feel. The Jarrah frame, designed in the UK, is nicely built. The head tube juncture is reinforced, the QR seat clamp faces forward, and there’s one set of bottle bosses and mudguard bosses under the down tube. Standover room is generous.
The seatpost and saddle are fairly basic and the drivetrain is a 3×9 Shimano Deore/Alivio mix. Shimano brakes, with a 180mm rotor up front, are excellent, and the wheelset is impressive – Shimano hubs laced to lightweight Alex XD Comp rims, shod with Continental Mountain King 2.2in tyres that roll fast, have a big enough profile to boost comfort but can be skittish on corners.
This is a lively cross-country trail bike with a decent 120mm fork, and it offers a bit more cushioning than the average 100mm-forked XC bike. The fact it’s slightly better equipped than most £700 bikes gives it extra appeal, but new or aggressive riders will prefer the more stoical handling of a big-wheeler.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.