Review: Onza Jackpot

by
September 6, 2016

onza jackpot 27.5 steel trail hardtail rockshox mud winter

Have Onza hit the Jackpot with their latest 27.5in steel hardtail? We put one to the test. See our full review within of this British mud-plugger.

Brand:
Onza
Product:
Jackpot
From:
Onza (www.todayscyclist.co.uk)
Price:
£1700
Tested:
by Jason Miles for two months

Rewind to Issue #104 of Singletrack Magazine for our review of the Onza Jackpot from the Hardcore Hardtails grouptest.

The Onza name is now 25 years old. That means it was around practically all the way back at the beginning of the sport and probably makes the old guys among us get all dewy-eyed and start digging out old pairs of grips, purple bar ends or tyres. The name disappeared for a bit, but now it’s back with a pair of new bikes – a 29er called the Payoff and this one, the 27.5in-wheeled Jackpot.

onza jackpot 27.5 steel trail hardtail rockshox mud winter
Ask any old school mountain biker, and they’ll surely have fond memories of the Onza name.

The brand is curated by the folk at Moore Large these days and the bike has been designed from the ground up by British trail riders who know what we look for in a bike to use for 90% of UK riding, whether winter woods riding or epic Lakeland slogs.

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onza jackpot 27.5 steel trail hardtail rockshox mud winter
But this ain’t no old school mountain bike. The Jackpot is Mr Modern, and it’s wildly fun on the trail too.

The frame is a double-butted 4130 cromoly steel job with “progressive geometry” (which I think means ‘lots of fun’), a tapered headtube, 12mm thru-axle rear dropouts which are modular so you can swap for 135mm or replace if needed, a PF30 press-fit BB shell, a rather serious-looking forged chainstay yoke that looks very roomy, even with 2.35in tyres fitted and stealth routing for a dropper post.

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onza jackpot 27.5 steel trail hardtail rockshox mud winter
Perss-fit 30 bottom bracket shell is unusual on a steel hardtail. Large diameter bearings and the ability to fit a BB30 crankset do offer additional stiffness over a regular 24mm setup.

The frame is also electroplated internally in order to resist rust, which could be a handy feature in the UK where it seems to rain every day. There’s also rumoured to be an eccentric BB in the pipeline in case you want to run the bike as a singlespeed. I’m not convinced a 150mm travel fork on a singlespeed is a particularly good idea, but each to their own.

onza jackpot 27.5 steel trail hardtail rockshox mud winter
Beautifully neat dropouts that can be configured between geared, singlespeed and 142x12mm setups.
onza jackpot 27.5 steel trail hardtail rockshox mud winter
Direct-mount brake tabs are also a little unusual on steel hardtail frames. But they’re very neat and skip any need to run adapters with a 160mm rotor.

You can have this bike in a nice shade of subtle black or a sparkly bronze colour like this one – or if you’re after a frame-only you can have any colour you like, as long as it’s ‘tank green’. The frame detailing and finish is perfect.

onza jackpot 27.5 steel trail hardtail rockshox mud winter
The Onza Jackpot test bike came equipped with a RockShox Reverb dropper post, and it’s paramount to getting the most out of this fun hardtail frame.
onza jackpot 27.5 steel trail hardtail rockshox mud winter
Fizik Gobi saddle is a winner.

Incidentally, this is the only bike in the Hardcore Hardtails group test that was supplied with a dropper post (a Reverb) and it made a big difference to the fun factor, as you can probably imagine. Sat atop the Reverb is a ‘so comfortable I might go out and buy one’ Fizik Gobi.

Plenty of tyre clearance and a super clean 1×10 drivetrain makes the Jackpot a mud-happy workhorse.

Up front, there’s the almost-always-brilliant 150mm travel RockShox Revelation air fork – tapered steerer and 15mm thru-axle, naturally.

onza jackpot 27.5 steel trail hardtail rockshox mud winter
The underrated Revelation fork from RockShox is smooth, easy to adjust and simple to service too.

As well as frames, Onza has a range of components that are showcased here. The own-brand bars, Ules grips and stem are wide, comfy and short respectively, but the most interesting bit is the Onza chainset – a nice black pair of arms with a 32-tooth thick/thin chainring.

onza jackpot 27.5 steel trail hardtail rockshox mud winter
Onza’s own alloy crankset features on the Jackpot complete bike, with a narrow-wide chainring keeping everything in place when the trail gets bouncy.
onza jackpot 27.5 steel trail hardtail rockshox mud winter
Simple, durable and highly effective. 10-speed shifting from Shimano SLX.

Gears are 1×10 with Deore shifter, cassette and chain and an SLX clutch rear mech – all dependable, no-nonsense kit that works well, won’t break in a hurry and helps keep the overall cost of the bike down. It also means that if (when) you break something gear-related while getting all rad and stuff, you won’t be too upset.

onza jackpot 27.5 steel trail hardtail rockshox mud winter
Onza have been careful to put the cash where it counts. Shimano Deore brakes may not be bling, but they’re plenty powerful, and offer cost savings that have made it easier for Onza to spec a dropper post on the Jackpot.

Brakes are the quite frankly brilliant Shimano Deores with a nice big rotor at the front. Great brakes make you go faster, remember?
This is the least-expensive bike here, but it’s in no way a cheap ride. Granted it’s not super light – the weighty, unbranded (Weinmann XC180) wheels might be your first upgrade for a start – and the front end gets a bit wandery on steep climbs, but the fast-rolling and more than capable Kenda tyres are perfect for this bike, the fork is brilliant and the rear end is more than composed when things start to get bumpy.

onza jackpot 27.5 steel trail hardtail rockshox mud winter
Rocks, mud and slippery roots: the natural habitat for a hardcore hardtail like the Jackpot.

As mentioned earlier, the inclusion of a dropper post in the standard ‘off the peg’ spec shows that Onza is thinking about the things that really contribute most to the amount of fun you can have on this bike without really trying. In spite of the weight (it’s about 30lbs) it doesn’t feel like a lump of dead weight that’s been hampered by budget parts and it responds brilliantly to rider input. It encourages yobbish behaviour, and trail obstacles that might normally be ridden around get launched off.

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onza jackpot 27.5 steel trail hardtail rockshox mud winter
3D headbadge on the front of the Onza Jackpot is a lovely touch.

Overall

Onza has taken a great deal of care over the build quality of this bike’s frame and the specification of the parts attached to it so that it can offer a bike that’s great value and a barrel-load of laughs straight out of the box. The inclusion of a truly great fork, good tyres and a good quality dropper post as standard means that you wouldn’t really need to swap anything immediately, and unless you were after a money-no-object, dream-spec bike, the only thing that could possibly make this bike much better than it is already is would be to upgrade the wheels. Perhaps upgrading the fork to a model that lets you reduce the travel to combat some of the wandery-ness on steep climbs would also help, but maybe you should just shift your bum to the nose of the saddle instead.

onza jackpot 27.5 steel trail hardtail rockshox mud winter
A proper tapered headtube with a zero-stack headset offers super clean lines and a lower cockpit height despite the 150mm travel RockShox fork.
  • Frame // Onza double butted flawless Cro-Mo 4130
  • Fork // Rock Shox Revelation Solo Air 150mm
  • Hubs // Weinmann XC180 Disc
  • Rims // Weinmann
  • Tyres // Kenda Honey Badger/Nevegal X Sport 27.5 x 2.35
  • Chainset // Onza 1x with Buzz Saw thick/thin ring
  • Rear Mech // Shimano SLX Shadow
  • Shifters // SLX
  • Brakes // Shimano BR447
  • Stem // Onza 60mm
  • Bars // Onza 760mm
  • Grips // Onza Ules Lock-on
  • Seatpost // RockShox Reverb
  • Saddle // Fizik Gobi
  • Size Tested // 17in
  • Sizes available // 17in, 19in
  • Weight // 30.5lb


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