Propain is a direct to consumer bike brand based in Germany. A lot of you will know the Propain name from the World Cup DH circuit, where the likes of Phil Atwill and David Trummer have piloted the Rage downhill bikes at the highest level of the sport.
With a history of making bikes that were more toward the aggressive end of the scale, in April last year Propain launched its first 29in wheeled bike – the Hugene.
Propain’s 29in-Wheeled Hugene
Squarely aimed at the trail market, the Hugene uses an evolution of Propain’s PRO10 suspension system to deliver 130mm of rear end bounce. That’s paired to either a 140mm or 150mm travel fork up front, depending on model and spec.
With fairly conservative geometry by modern standards, the Hugene has been designed as an all rounder. From fast flowing singletrack, to all day expeditions, the Hugene has been designed to take it all in its stride.
The Hugene is available in three pre-specced models – Start, Performance, or Highend – Propain also lets you pick and choose components to get your dream build. From upgrading the suspension, to changing the colour of the decals, there are plenty of options to chop and change the spec to get exactly what you want.
Our test bike is a Highend build, with top drawer components and dripping with carbon fibre and Kashima.
The Hugene comes in four sizes – S, M, L, XL – and will suit riders from around 156cm up to 201cm. I’m around 183cm which puts me slap bang in the middle of Propain’s recommended height range for a size large, so that’s exactly what I’ve been testing here. From looking at the geo charts I was initially unsure about choosing between a L or XL bike, but after chatting with the good people at Propain I decided to stick with the L.
Now, I’ve generally always preferred gravity assisted riding to spinning away for miles. After a couple of rides that didn’t involve the usual steep, steep and more steep style of tracks, but instead consisted of flowy singletrack where momentum and quick turns were the order of the day, I started thinking about geometry – again. I couldn’t help thinking that maybe the ‘slacker and longer’ vibe isn’t always better, and this is exactly where the Hugene comes in.
One look at the Hugene and you can tell that the frame is a full carbon affair, with swoopy lines and a mega low standover height. This top end model also benefits from carbon rims and carbon bars which, with all this added black stuff, helps keep the weight to a more than respectable 28.6lbs (12.97kg) for a size large.
The frame features internal routing for all cables and hoses, keeping things nice and neat, and the addition of internal foam sleeves stops the cables from rattling around inside the frame. There are also nice moulded down tube and chainstay protectors to ward off rock strikes and chain slap when things start to get rowdy.
Where a lot brands have been really pushing the geometry boundaries in recent times, the Hugene by comparison could be considered relatively conservative. With sub-65° head angles and super long reach figures becoming common place on ‘trail’ bikes, the Hugene has a relatively modest reach of 457mm on a size large (with the 150mm fork) and a not-so-slack 67° head angle.
Although it may not be longest bike in terms of reach measurements, the Hugene has decent 445mm long chainstays giving it a reasonable overall wheelbase. The other figure of interest is the 74.5° seat angle. Although this is not the steepest of angles nowadays, combined with the reach it gives a comfortable seated riding position.
The Hugene uses an iteration of Propain’s PRO10 suspension system to deliver 130mm of rear travel. Since the Hugene is designed as an all-round trail bike to be pedalled up as much as down, climbing has been taken into account as much as descending. As such, Propain has designed the system to deliver 100% anti squat for efficient pedalling.
Once gravity takes over though, the suspension is designed to have a progressive nature to allow for good small-bump sensitivity, but with a good amount of ramp at the end of the stroke to combat harsh bottom outs.
Suspension on the Hugene is a full Fox Factory affair with Kashima everywhere you look.
The shock is a Float DPX2 unit with a 45mm stroke. It offers three positions of compression adjustment – open, medium and firm – and the fully open mode also has a further 10-clicks of low speed compression adjustment for fine tuning.
Up front is a stout stanchioned Factory 36 giving a mismatched 150mm of confidence-inspiring suspension. The Factory Series 36 features Fox’s amazing GRIP2 damper and has all the adjustment anyone could need. On top of individual high and low-speed compression adjustment, you also get individual high and low-speed rebound control in order to get the fork set up exactly how you want, and for what you ride.
With this being the ‘Highend’ build kit, the wheels are a suitably high end set of Reynolds Blacklabel Enduro 29 featuring 28mm internal asymmetric carbon rims laced to Industry Nine hubs, with 28 spokes both front and rear.
Both front and rear wheels come shod with British winter approved Schwalbe Magic Marys in the Addix Soft compound for plenty of wet weather grip.
Other spec highlights include a Fox Transfer 150mm dropper post in Kashima flavour and a full SRAM XX1 Eagle 12-speed drivetrain. Stopping is taken of by a set of Magura MT7 Pro brakes with four-pot callipers at both ends, with a 203mm rotor up front and 180mm out back for plenty of power. The cockpit is provided by Sixpack racing with a Sixpack Millenium 785mm wide carbon bar and a 50mm Sixpack Leader stem, finished off with a set of own brand Propain grips.
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2019 Propain Hugene Highend Specifications
- Frame // Full Carbon Fibre, 130mm Travel
- Fork // Fox 36 Float Factory Series, GRIP2, 150mm Travel
- Shock // Fox Float DPX2 Factory Series, 190x45mm
- Hubs // Reynolds x Industry Nine, 6-Pawl Freehub, 110x15mm Front & 148x12mm Rear
- Rims // Reynolds Black Label Carbon 29 Enduro, 28mm Internal Width
- Tyres // Schwalbe Hans Dampf Addix Soft 2.35in Front & Rear
- Crankset // SRAM XX1 Carbon Eagle 175 mm w/32t Chainring
- Rear Mech // SRAM XX1 Eagle 12-Speed
- Cassette // SRAM XG1295 10-50t 12-Speed
- Brakes // Magura MT7, 203mm Front & 180mm Rotors
- Stem // Sixpack Leader, 50mm Length
- Bars // Sixpack Millenium Carbon, 785mm Width
- Seatpost // Fox Transfer Factory Series, 150mm Travel
- Saddle // Selle Italia XR
- Size Tested // Large
- Sizes available // S, M, L, & XL
- Weight // 12.97 kg / 28.6 lbs
- RRP // €6,470
|Tested:||by Rosss Demain for 3 months|