Best Bike Over £2500: Singletrack Reader Awards 2017

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Ranging from real-world builds to superbikes, this is a price bracket that heads to infinity and beyond. This year’s nominees feature three British or British-designed bikes whose prices are certainly spendy, but not quite in the ‘I could get a new car for that’ category:

Cotic Flare Max

  • Price: £2949 – £4449
  • From: Cotic
The 120mm travel FlareMAX gets a nomination as Best Bike Over £2500.

Thanks to its Peak District roots and no-nonsense approach to working with steel, Cotic’s bikes have been a popular option with UK mountain bikers for a long time. With a growing range of hardtail and full suspension frames and complete bike options, Cotic was a favourite to receive a nomination for the Singletrack Reader Awards. The nomination goes to the new FlareMAX – a full suspension trail bike with 120mm of travel and the ability to run 29in or 27.5+ wheels. The droplink suspension design is based on the longer travel Rocket, but as we’ve found from our testing, the FlareMAX is a wildly capable bike for its given travel.

Hope HB160

hope hb160 launch
Hope HB160

Stepping up the bling factor is one of the most lustworthy UK-made mountain bikes going right now: the HB160 from Hope. Made in Hope’s Barnoldswick factory with a full carbon mainframe and 160mm of travel, the new HB160 has only just become publicly available after we had the chance to test ride it last month. At £7,500 the HB160 is unashamedly high-end, and its use of a proprietary bottom bracket and rear hub (which Hope makes especially for the frame) will irk some. But with Hope’s meticulous engineering approach governing every little detail on the HB160, this is one machine that is worthy of the ‘Hyper Bike’ label.

Orange Stage 5

  • Price: £4300 – £5500
  • From: Orange
Orange Stage 5
Orange Stage 5

The Orange Stage 5 rounds out our British trio of bikes, and like the Hope HB160, this one is made right here in the UK. Taking design cues from the venerable Five, the Stage 5 slots 29in wheels into its chunky monocoque alloy frameset to increase straight-line speed and stability. The classic single pivot suspension design and elevated swingarm design remains, but travel has been shortened over the Five to come in at 135mm on the rear and 140mm up front. Despite the simplicity, Orange have crafted an absolute monster in the Stage 5. We first received our Stage 5 test bike earlier this year, and it was tested and reviewed in Issue 113, where we discovered the bike’s penchant for going very fast over very rough things. The geometry on the Stage 5 is absolutely bob-on, and proves that complex suspension designs and carbon fibre ain’t always what they’re cracked up to be.

Hannah Dobson

Hannah came to Singletrack having decided there must be more to life than meetings. Having worked in policy and project management roles at the Scottish Parliament and in local government, Hannah had organisational skills that SIngletrack needed. She also likes bikes, and likes to write.

Hannah likes all bikes, but especially unusual ones. If it’s a bit odd, or a bit niche, or made of metal, she’s probably going to get excited. If it gets her down some steep stuff, all the better. She’ll give most things a go once, she tries not to say no to anything on a bike, unless she really thinks it’s going to hurt. She’s pretty good with steri-strips.

More than bikes, Hannah likes what bikes do. She thinks that they link people and places; that cycling creates a connection between us and our environment; bikes create communities; deliver freedom; bring joy; and improve fitness. They're environmentally friendly and create friendly environments.

Hannah tries to write about all these things in the hope that others might discover the joy of bikes too.

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