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Radon Cragger 8.0 review

Well-specced direct-sale trail sled

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
GBP £1,847.00 RRP | EUR €1,950.00
Pack shot of the Radon Cragger 8.0 hardtail mountain bike

Our review

Speed-focused hardtail with good handling and a great spec that’s best for harder-charging riders
Pros: Excellent spec throughout, with seemingly no compromises; fast on both the ups and downs
Cons: Not the smoothest bike (the ride feel is best described as ‘taut’); the seat tube is too long, reducing standover height and how far you can drop the saddle
Skip to view product specifications

Radon’s direct-to-consumer sales model means the Cragger boasts a full house of branded parts that you’d expect to see on a bike costing a grand more, but is its geometry equally impressive?

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Unless you inspected the Cragger’s sleek aluminium tubes and found the smooth welds, you’d think it was carbon fibre. Cables can be routed externally or internally, and you get a press-fit bottom bracket (BB) shell, front mech mount and two sets of bottle bosses.

The large size sports a 464mm reach, 1,218mm wheelbase and short 433mm chainstays. At 326mm the BB is fairly high, while the 646mm top tube and 461mm seat tube are pretty long.

The head angle sits at 65 degrees, while the seat angle is 74 degrees. Overall, the geometry is quite progressive, but the long seat tube seems a bit at odds with the rest of the figures.

Radon Cragger 8.0 geometry

 S M L
Seat angle (degrees) 74 74 74
Head angle (degrees) 65 65 65
Chainstay (cm) 43.3 43.3 43.3
Seat tube (cm) 39.1 42.6 46.1
Top tube (cm) 59.3 61.7 64.6
Head tube (cm) 11 12 13
Bottom bracket drop (cm) 5 5 5
Bottom bracket height (cm) 32.6 32.6 32.6
Wheelbase (mm) 1,161 1,186 1,218
Stack (cm) 59.3 62.9 63.4
Reach (cm) 41.6 43.8 46.4

Radon Cragger 8.0 kit

Pack shot of the Radon Cragger 8.0 hardtail mountain bike
I like externally-routed cables, but the Cragger has ports for internal routing too, should you prefer.
Ian Linton / Immediate Media

For the price, the Cragger’s spec isn’t far off perfect. The DVO Sapphire fork is a boutique offering with 130mm of travel and plenty of adjustment (high- and low-speed compression damping, rebound and OTT negative-spring preload).

SRAM’s mid-range 12-speed GX Eagle drivetrain is a notable step up in quality from the NX Eagle kit on the Ragley and Saracen, and you get a Race Face bar and stem, and SDG saddle and grips.

The 150mm-travel SDG Tellis dropper feels premium, with a really smooth action. Excellent DT Swiss M 1700 Spline wheels are wrapped in a Maxxis Minion DHF/DHR II combo, both in the 3C MaxxTerra compound with EXO+ casings. These came set up tubeless on my test bike, so there was slightly less heft to get rolling.

The Magura MT Trail Custom brakes mix a four-piston caliper on the front with a two-pot one on the rear. My front brake’s piston seals failed on the first descent, evacuating its oil onto the rotor. Radon says that if this were to happen to a customer, they’d have three options, all at no cost: get it fixed by one of Radon’s service partners, have a new brake fitted at the bike shop of their choice or send the whole bike back to Radon to be mended.

It’s likely this was a one-off issue because the rear brake performed impressively for the duration of the test.

Radon Cragger 8.0 ride impressions

Those long top and seat tubes force a stretched-out climbing position that’s great for putting the power down but puts more relaxed ascending off the cards.

This is amplified by the 800mm bar. On paper, the large size’s 464mm reach sits at the shorter end of my comfort zone, but on the trail the bike felt big. Its geometry seems a little confused, mixing elements from cross-country race bikes and hardcore trail bikes. However, the aggressive position and low weight enable sprightly progress with little perceptible power loss.

Cyclist in black top riding a Radon Cragger 8.0 hardtail mountain bike over rough terrain
The Radon feels taut rather than clattery over uneven ground.
Ian Linton / Immediate Media

The Radon feels taut rather than clattery over uneven ground, and the 29in wheels improve rollover, but going fast over harsh terrain isn’t the most comfortable experience.

On the descents, the Cragger is a real bruiser. While not the smoothest bike I had on test, it’s a capable and confident descender that’s fairly easy to control, despite giving me a bit of a beating at high speeds.

That control is helped by the fantastic DVO fork, with its host of easy-to-tune adjustments. The OTT feature lets you tune in and improve front-end grip without compromising bottom-out resistance and support, reducing weight transfer and loading onto the fork when braking in steep sections.

Unfortunately, the long seat tube meant I struggled to get the seatpost low enough to stop it brushing my backside on the descents. Because the tube is straight, I see no reason why it couldn’t be shortened.

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The Cragger is a hard-charging hardtail with fairly progressive geometry and a spec that’d be at home on a bike costing £1,000 more. But it’s not without its faults, and if you’ve got short legs or prefer cruising the climbs, it may not fit the bill.

How we tested

We put four of the latest sub-£2,000 aggro hardtail mountain bikes to the test to see if front suspension is really all you need to tackle hardcore trails. Terrain ranged from trail centre loops to hairy enduro descents.

Also tested

Product Specifications

Product

Price EUR €1950.00GBP £1847.00
Weight 12.57kg (L) – without pedals
Brand Radon

Features

Available sizes S, M, L
Headset FSA
Tyres Maxxis Minion DHF 3C Maxx Terra EXO+ TR 29x2.5in (f), Maxxis Minion DHR II 3C Maxx Terra EXO+ TR 27.5x2.4in (r)
Stem Race Face Æffect, 40mm
Shifter SRAM GX Eagle
Seatpost SDG Tellis 150mm dropper
Saddle SDG Radar
Rear derailleur SRAM GX Eagle (1x12)
Handlebar Race Face Atlas, 800mm
Bottom bracket SRAM PF92
Grips/Tape SDG Slater
Frame Aluminium alloy
Fork DVO Sapphire 34 D1, 130mm (5.1in) travel
Cranks Truvativ Stylo Eagle, 32t
Chain SRAM GX Eagle
Cassette SRAM GX Eagle, 10-50t
Brakes Magura MT Trail Custom, 180mm rotors
Wheels DT Swiss M 1700 Spline 29 rims on DT Swiss 350 hubs; DT Competition straight-pull spokes