Ragley’s Blue Pig was one of the first slacked-out hardtails, designed for ripping and downhill capability as much as all-day riding and adventures.
It’s been around for 10 years now, but the latest version is significantly tweaked, with fresh angles and different tubing profiles to improve rear-end compliance.
Ragley Blue Pig Custom frame
The Blue Pig frame is available in four sizes and built from 4130 chromoly throughout. Ragley uses its own blend of triple-butted tubing to tune stiffness and flex in different zones, and warranty the frame for five years.
The 160mm fork fitted here (the standard build comes with a 150mm fork) gives a slack 63.2-degree head angle and Boost 148mm axle spacing out back increases tyre clearance.
ISCG-05 chain guide tabs allow use of an MRP upper guide to help stabilise the chain over the rough stuff. The bottom bracket shell they’re mounted to sits a healthy 45mm below the wheel axles, keeping your feet lower to the ground. Ragley uses a small seat tower strut and down tube gusset to reinforce against loads and impacts.
The Ragley’s 425mm chainstays are long and may contribute to the Pig’s less snappy feel in turns. Mick Kirkman
Ragley Blue Pig Custom kit
My custom build had a tidy spec, built around excellent DT Swiss E 1800 wheels and a Shimano XT groupset.
The DT wheels are a cut above, not only rolling fast but also feeling smooth. I’m not a huge fan of Michelin’s Wild Enduro tyres in the wet, but that was less of a concern during my mostly-dry testing.
The 800mm Nukeproof bar is a good shape and fitted with well-damped Sam Hill grips, although the 50mm Nukeproof Horizon stem felt alien compared to shorter 35mm and 40mm stems on other bikes that were also on test, so I swapped it out for snappier steering.
This had a drastic impact on the handling, and is something I’d highly recommend if you haven’t experienced a super-stubby stem yet.
RockShox’ older-style Reverb dropper remote is clunky and the hydraulic hose doesn’t look well-placed on this frame, looping under the bottom bracket, where it’s directly in line of potential rock strikes.
Ragley Blue Pig Custom ride impressions
From the off, the Ragley feels dialled. The rider position is solid, your feet sit nice and low to the ground, and the seated climbing position feels comfortable, with your hips aligned and pedals in the perfect place.
There’s a lot of room in the chassis to shift about, and even though the head angle is slack, the steering feels balanced, whether you’re carving longer arcs or slapping back and forth through super-steep switchback turns.
Across a series of eroded rock slabs, the Ragley shone, and was noticeably smooth and quiet. And when things got really hectic through the trickiest, flat-out rock garden section, heads and helmets were shaken about way less than on other similar bikes, so vision remained clear and the whole ride experience was calmer and more controlled.
In the steeps, the rear end follows the bumps and edges as well as you’d reasonably expect any hardtail to, and the frame also has a good dullness on surfaces flecked with small rocks or stones at higher speeds.
With its longer-travel (160mm) Fox 36 fork and higher bottom bracket, the Pig feels taller than something like the BTR Ranger Tam Edition and, with 10mm longer chainstays (425mm), less chuckable.
Its dynamic geometry shifts quite a bit while riding too, which can lead to a ‘tiptoeing’ sensation, where your hands feel lower relative to your feet. This isn’t a deal-breaker, and is a trait that affects all hardtails with more than around 140mm of bounce up front, but when the fork is deep in its travel, your weight does get noticeably pitched forward.
Possibly due to its long chainstays, the Pig doesn’t schralp and square-off bermed corners that aggressively either, but the flipside is more suppleness and stability. A smaller frame will likely add more agility if that’s your bag, but this longer one does feel very confident on faster, more open trails.
Fox’s 36 fork with GRIP2 damper is a class act with a super-smooth and controlled ride in a stiff chassis. Mick Kirkman
Ragley Blue Pig geometry (L)
Seat angle: 73.4 degrees
Head angle: 63.2 degrees
Seat tube: 46cm
Top tube: 64.1cm
Bottom bracket height: 30.8