We pause on a ride to fondle the new Stooge MK4, a rigid framed steel bike.
In case you’re not already aware, Singletrack Towers is based in what is probably the greatest valley in England: the Calder Valley. Steep climbs and descents, rolling moorland and miles and miles of bridleway make it a fantastic place for a mountain biker. It also has a vibrant life away from bikes, with a whole bunch of community activities, independent businesses, and local festivals.
This week saw all of those come together in the form of ‘PrideDrinkPie’ – a Pride Week version of a regular ‘RideDrinkPie’ low-gnar mountain bike and gravel ride group that leaves local bottle shop and bar Drink? every Tuesday evening and returns a while later for beer and pie. Thanks to Drink? owner Martin, participants were treated to a free trail beer in the form of a special rainbow edition of ‘Pride and Joy’ from local brewery Vocation.
The Calder Valley being such a great place, we get plenty of visitors. Lured by the scenery and the riding – or possibly the presence of Charlie the ExBikemonger – Andy from Stooge came to visit, and joined the pie riders. Since he was aboard his rather lovely new Stooge MK4, we stopped for a rest in the warm evening sunshine to grab some pictures.
Stooge Cycles – yes, named after that band – has been making rigid steel framed bikes since 2013. This latest bike is the Stooge MK4, and the frame is made in Taiwan – which probably helps make this quite an affordable niche option, at £550 for a frame and fork.
Andy eschews suspension in favour of steel, purpose-built-for-rigid-riding geometry and natural cushioning through the tyres. The MK4 is designed to get the rider’s weight behind the front axle, keeping it under control even without suspension on technical trails. This is no beach cruiser.
If you fancied dressing it up for a bit of town or commuter action you could fit a 2.35in slick tyre as a minimum, but with no mudguard mounts, you’ll need to dress up in full waterproofs come winter.
The 66 degree head angle and 80mm offset keep the trail figure fairly low for light and quick steering and reduced flop, and this model is longer in the top tube than previous Stooges, giving you more room to move about within the bike. It’s designed to have a 29+ tyre up front. The bars you see here are the new Junker bars, built from 4130 steel with a 20 degree sweep and 820mm width. They’re specifically designed to compliment this frameset, but Andy says they’re ‘also just a badass modern klunker bar’.
This frameset is available in ‘Duster Blue’, Red, or this ‘Moss Green’, but only one size. It has a 625mm effective top tube, and a 18in seat tube so you can add a nice big long dropper – or have your saddle really low. Stealth dropper routing is there, as are triple cage mounts on the downtube and fork legs.
Steel tubing, twin top tube, moto/klunker bars… you’ll either love it or hate it. If you doubt its capability, don’t: we introduced Andy to local classic ‘Blue Pig’ descent without incident. Hannah had a very brief play on it as the group rolled back into town, and now she wants one so badly it hurts a bit.
All frames are in stock and have a 2-3 day delivery time. For more information or to press the ‘buy’ button, head over to Stooge Cycles.
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