by Wil Barrett
December 24, 2016
If you’re a regular reader of stories on Singletrack, you’ll be familiar with the BTR Ranger. Handmade in the UK, the Ranger is a hardcore steel hardtail made by the folks at BTR Fabrications, and it’s captured many riders attention thanks to its dramatically slack geometry and collection of burly steel tubes. We featured the BTR Ranger in Fresh Goods Friday, and you’ll have also read about that incredible 100th frame that BTR built earlier this year.
Looking to push those limits even further, BTR has just sent us through some info about the latest evolution of the Ranger hardtail. Available in 26in, 27.5in and 29in options, the new Ranger frame has a couple of key updates, and gets even slacker for 2017. Read on for all the deets on this absolute bruiser of a hardtail!
“BTR is proud to announce an updated Ranger for 2017 – the original and best enduro hardtail just got better! This update is the culmination of a lot of development work, from refining our build process to listening to customer feedback. We’re really happy with the real-world improvements we’ve made to a bike which was already arguably one of the world’s best hardtails.” – BTR Fabrications.
The 2017 BTR Ranger features:
- Steel trail hardtail
- Reynolds 631 front end, Dedacciai stays
- Available in 26in, 27.5in and 29in options
- Designed around 120mm fork travel
- 44mm head tube
- 31.6mm seat tube
- 142x12mm or 148x12mm dropouts
- Integrated seat clamp
- 73mm threaded BB
- Internal cable routing
- Stealth dropper post cable routing
- Clear lacquer finish with integrated graphics
- Options: ISCG05 chainguide mounts, bottle cage mounts, front derailleur cable routing, custom head tube badge
- Sizes: X-Small (26in only), Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
- RRP: From £1000 (frame only)
Compared to the current Ranger, the 2017 Ranger features updated geometry that is both longer and slacker. The head angle has been backed off by a full degree across all variations, and the reach has been extended by 10mm. The effective chainstay length remains short for snappy handling, though BTR has lengthened the chainstays on the larger 26in and 27.5in frame sizes to keep everything in proportion.
Recommended fork travel remains at 120mm for the 26in and 27.5in (650B) Ranger frames, but the Ranger 29in has been bumped up to 120mm to match. BTR also cites currently popular fork options as being another reason for the change from 100mm to 120mm. Indeed options like the Fox 34 and RockShox Pike have redefined expectations of fork chassis stiffness for big wheelers, and given the highly capable frame geometry, the update makes 100% sense.
There have been a few other updates for the new BTR Ranger. That includes the option of Boost spacing, so riders can choose whether they want 142x12mm or 148x12mm rear hub spacing. BTR Fabrications says that it has done this more for wheel compatibility reasons rather than for any need to shorten the chainstays, as they were already quite short. Tyre clearance has been opened up marginally, but still remains at about 2.4in max for the Ranger frame.
Also new, and quite a visually striking feature of the new BTR Ranger frame, is the internal cable routing. Sweet exhaust ports on the top of the downtube present the opening required to thread the cables inside the tube, and BTR claims that a lot of time and effort has gone into ensuring this is a clean, well-sealed, and user-friendly system. Inside the downtube you’ll find thin stainless steel guide tubes that allow the frame to remain sealed against the elements, while also making it a metric shit-tonne easier to thread the cables through. Massive thumbs up from us on that one BTR!
There are plenty of features that carry over from the original BTR Ranger, including the large diameter 31.6mm seat tube, a chunky 44mm head tube, and a good ol’ regular threaded 73mm bottom bracket shell. You can get ISCG05 tabs welded on as an optional extra, and BTR also offers the ability to add more bottle cage bosses if you so desire.
The 2017 BTR Ranger will be offered as both a frame and with full build kits. The build kits are centred around 1x drivetrains, but the Ranger will take a front mech if you want to go 2x – just make sure you specify that in the order process so that the necessary front derailleur cable routing can be added to the frame.
While there are plenty of new updates on the BTR Ranger, it seems that some customers have been asking about fatter tyres, and the response from BTR would suggest that it didn’t want to compromise the Ranger geometry just to make it plus compatible;
“There was mention of 650B+, and no doubt this option being denied on the Ranger is a disappointment to some. There are plans though; there isn’t a 650B+ Ranger because 650B+ bikes ride differently. They are more capable in some situations and less in others, so it only seems right that they get their own frame” – BTR Fabrications.
We shall wait and see then… In the meantime, get over to the BTR Fabrications website to find out all you need to know about this metal marauder.