Is it just us or do all mountain bikers pine for the love of a good hardtail come the winter months?
Being able to thrash it out on a sloppy hillside, or careen down a boulder-filled trail without a care in the world, safe in the knowledge that after months of abuse you won’t have a rear shock to service or a bunch of worn out bearings to replace. It’s the stuff of dreams, isn’t it?
The cherry on top of the icing on the cake though is that most modern hardtails benefit from clever geometry and proper sizing so you can still hit the same lines you would on your full-suspension bike, and still come out the other side with a smile on your face.
Here are 5 of the newest hardcore hardtails to hit the market, all with progressive geometry, attractive pricing, and they’re all designed in the UK, so should have proper mud-clearance too.
- From: Pace
- Price: £575 frame only
We’re not ashamed to admit that we might have gotten slightly over excited when the specs of the 2019 Pace RC529 arrived in our inbox, it is 70mm longer than the previous version after all! Ok ok, so the XL model is 70mm longer, but all sizes of the frame have been given generous length enhancements (insert Sid James laugh).
The RC529 is a full steel frame, designed to run 29in wheels and optimised for 140mm travel forks. If you’re a chubby lover, then you’ll be happy to learn the new Pace will take 27.5 Plus wheels too with 2.8in wide tyres.
External hoses, adjustable sliding dropouts, a threaded BB and ISCG-O5 chain guide tabs finish off the features of this £575 hardtail.
Bird Zero Twenty Nine
- From: Bird Cycleworks
- Price: £475 frame only
The latest hardtail to be released is the Bird Zero Twenty Nine. This all alloy 6061 T6 frame is designed around a 120-140mm travel fork and as you can tell by the name, rolls on 29er wheels with room for 2.6in wide tyres. Bird Cycleworks is already quite well known for its value for money pricing, and at £475 for the frame only, the Zero Twenty Nine is one of the more affordable here.
Bird has also done a number on the geometry with a 63.9° head angle, and reach figures ranging from 436-507mm. Bird will sell you the Zero Twenty Nine as a frame only or as a complete bike from only £1585.
Orange Crush 29
- From: Orange
- Price: £1500 complete bike
The Crush has been a popular hardtail choice in the Orange range for a good few years already, and for 2019 the standard Crush is joined by the new Crush 29. We originally spotted the Crush 29 at Eurobike in the summer, then Ross managed to see it again at the FOD during the 2019 Orange launch.
Orange has the Crush manufactured from aluminium with a 65° head angle, and reach from 428-462mm. Orange is only offering the Crush 29 in sizes M, L and XL, so if you need/want a smaller frame you’ll also have to opt for smaller 27.5in wheels too. Like the bikes above, the Crush 29 is designed around a 140mm(ish) fork, has a threaded BB and ample tyre clearance.
Orange Clockwork EVO 29
- From: Orange
- Price: From £1250 complete bike
Not everyone wants their 29er agro hardtail to have a mega slack front end, that’s why Orange also offers the Clockwork Evo 29 with 67° head angle and designed to have a 120mm travel fork plugged into the front.
The steeper and shorter travel Clockwork Evo 29 though is longer in the reach department than its slacker brother the Crush 29, with the all-important reach figure ranging from 445-483mm. Again, the alloy 29er is only available sizes M, L, and XL, but a smaller wheeled Clockwork Evo is also available. Complete bike pricing ranges from just £1250 to £1700, making it a bit of a bargain.
- From: Cotic
- Price: £649 frame only
While the rest of the bikes on this list are so new that we haven’t seen them all in the flesh, the Cotic SolarisMAX launched a little earlier in the year and we’ve already reviewed it. Wil was lucky enough to have spent the most time on the steel SolarisMAX, and he described it as one of the fastest hardtails he has ever tested!
This latest version of the Cotic SolarisMAX makes use of Cotic’s own Longshot geometry giving a medium size frame a reach of 463.3mm when fitted with a 120mm fork. The SolarisMAX is manufactured from Reynolds 853 tubing and will accept either 29in wheels or 27.5 Plus.
So there we have it. 5 hardcore hardtails that we would love to own this winter, all designed in the UK and all with 29er wheels. Which would you choose? Which bikes have we forgotten to mention? Let us know in the comments section below.