Bombtrack Hook 2 review£1,600.00

Not quite hook, line and sinker from this jack-of-all-trades ride

BikeRadar score3/5

Since entering the market, Bombtrack has diversified somewhat from its achingly cool fixie roots. Its range now includes everything from conventional road bikes to a sort of 29er BMX thing.

All-rounder aspirations

The Hook 2 is pitched as a jack of all trades: part winter bike, part light tourer, and part cyclocross or gravel machine. It's based around a slick steel frame, made from decent quality Columbus Cromor tubing.

Related: Bombtrack Hook - in brief

Aesthetically, the bike is a blend of old and new. The skinny steel frame with its near-horizontal top tube tends towards the former, while the beer-can head tube and press-fit bottom bracket are very much of the latter, as are the substantial carbon-legged fork and the disc brakes of course.

Though the single-ring setup works well it limits the gear range slightly

Look a little closer and, oh hey, what's wrong with the left shifter? Well, there isn't one, because the Hook has a one-by-11 SRAM Rival 1 drivetrain, the left lever being for braking, and braking alone.

One-by setups are all the rage in 'cross circles, and SRAM is pushing them for the road too now. We can certainly see the appeal – with no front derailleur, fettling gears is a cinch, and the fancy X-Sync chainring and clutch rear derailleur do an excellent job of keeping the chain in check.

Shifting across the wide 11-32t cassette is no different to any other SRAM DoubleTap groupset, with just a little extra noise in the biggest cog, where the chain is at its most extreme angle.

Having said that, we can't help feeling that a more conventional two-ring setup would be more in keeping with the spirit of the Hook. It's a design predicated on versatility, and although the gear range is reasonably generous, it doesn't extend low enough for proper off-road climbing, or for carrying any significant load. You could fit a smaller chainring, but then you'd be limiting the top end to an extent that could be irritating.

Thoughtful spec

Back to the frame, the stylishly bowed seatstays add some spring out back, and they, along with the fork, sport bosses for mudguards or a rack of some sort – hurrah!

Overall, the spec is a thoughtful one. The DT Swiss R23 Spline wheels aren't especially flashy apart from their silver hubs, but they're a solid choice with moderately wide rims, tubeless compatibility (with an appropriate rim tape), and a respectable weight in the 1600g range. TRP's Spyre disc brakes are outshone by full-on hydraulic calipers, but their dual piston design puts them at the very top of the mechanical tree – there really is no better option if you're sticking to cables.

The hook is a capable enough off-road companion, preferring to cruise rather than cane it: the hook is a capable enough off-road companion, preferring to cruise rather than cane it
The hook is a capable enough off-road companion, preferring to cruise rather than cane it: the hook is a capable enough off-road companion, preferring to cruise rather than cane it

The Hook is a capable enough off-road companion, preferring to cruise rather than cane it

Being all things to all men does carry certain risks. The Hook ships with Continental 'cross treads that are adequate for most purposes, but not optimal for any. On tarmac and dry dirt we'd rather just have a fat, fast-rolling slick, and for actual mud more specialised rubber would do a better job.

That said, the bike is quite content cruising on or off-road. It doesn't particularly appreciate being hustled – the frame isn't laterally stiff enough for that – but settle into a rhythm and the miles will tick by happily. The tyre volume on offer means comfort need not be a concern, and the option to run fairly low pressures for bridleway excursions is always there.

The Hook is a good looking, pleasant riding bike with a somewhat premium price tag. Against stiff competition, that makes it a hard sell.

It would be simple enough to switch tyres to suit your riding discipline, but the choice of gearing means its not as versatile as it should be, and for our money it could be lighter too.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Matthew Allen

Senior Technical Writer, UK
Former bike mechanic, builder of wheels, hub fetishist and lover of shiny things. Likes climbing a lot, but not as good at it as he looks.
  • Age: 27
  • Height: 174cm / 5'8"
  • Weight: 53kg / 117lb
  • Waist: 71cm / 28in
  • Chest: 84cm / 33in
  • Discipline: Road, with occasional MTB dalliances
  • Preferred Terrain: Long mountain climbs followed by high-speed descents (that he doesn't get to do nearly often enough), plus scaring himself off-road when he outruns his skill set.
  • Current Bikes: Scott Addict R3 2014, Focus Cayo Disc 2015, Niner RLT 9
  • Dream Bike: Something hideously expensive and custom with external cables and a threaded bottom bracket because screw you bike industry.
  • Beer of Choice: Cider, please. Thistly Cross from Scotland
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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