The Mason RAW – New Steel Hardtail On The Block, Ridden

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Mason RAW
A blank-slate hardtail design from veteran frame designer, Dom Mason’s company

The new Mason RAW hardtail. View and First Ride Review

Today, those achingly-cool folks at Mason Cycles are launching the Mason RAW, a steel hardtail. If you’re surprised that Mason hasn’t already got a mountain bike in its range, then join the club. However, it’s not a completely new direction for founder and designer, Dom Mason. Dom cut his designing teeth making some great hardtails for Kinesis, before setting out on his own to start Mason Cycles.

The Mason RAW has been long in the development and this look-and-see approach has seen Mason avoid the worst of the geometry growing-pains of recent years so the new hardtail comes out looking pretty on-spec for how riders today want their hardtails. I was lucky enough to get a pre-launch invite to try a new Mason RAW on some of the trails around some Lakeland trails. My first ride impressions are below, but first, let’s look at what the new RAW is (and isn’t…)

The Frame

The Mason RAW is a steel hardtail, handmade and built-up in Europe. The tubing is from Dedacciai in Italy and Reynolds in the UK. The tubes are welded in small batches by Five Land Bikes in Scotland, which also handles the beautiful wet paint job. (As in, paint is sprayed on rather than being powder-coated. This gives a much glossier finish, aided by a top coat of hi-gloss lacquer to protect the paint layer. Frames have eCoat corrosion treatment, inside and out to stop and nasty rust worms. Despite the shiny looks, Mason intends the RAW to be used hard and often.

As well as Dom’s Kinesis pedigree, Mason Cycles also has off-road roots in its ISO (In Search Of) drop-handlebar adventure bike, which has been used by team rider (and all round long-distance honch) Josh Ibbett. It was Josh’s push for a bike to race events like the Highland Trail 550 and Great British Divide that helped form the basis for the direction Mason RAW.

What the RAW isn’t, is a low-slung, woodsy jump bike. Instead, the Mason RAW has been designed to take big 29in tyres, as much (or little) luggage as you want, thanks to a more level top tube for bag room, and many, many fixing points for bags. There are semi-custom options too, for riders wanting top tube bag mounts, or external-fit, male bottle bosses and nuts on the seat tube, to allow full dropper (or dropped) seat post insertion on the smaller sizes. Dropper routing is internal.

Internal cabling ‘where it makes sense’ and room for all sorts of bags.

As Mason says: “All bottle/bag/accessory eyelets and convertible internal routing is standard within frame price. No hidden costs. Cable/hose routing internal where it makes sense.”

About now, you’d be asking for some geometry, so, for a Medium (with a 430mm seat tube) you’d get a roomy 451mm reach (471mm on the Large), and angles of 66°/75° (virtual seat tube). The bike is designed for a 120mm fork, with a SID Ultimate being specced (assuming they can get any). The frame will come in four sizes – S to XL, to fit riders from 5ft 3in up to 6ft 6in.

Smaller seat tubes can have this external bottle cage bolt/nut instead of an internal boss to allow dropper post insertion.

Colours: Vela (which is the stone colour), Filter Yellow, Sensor Blue

Prices: The Mason RAW comes in several specs. The base frame and accessories is £1695, the RAW with RockShox SID Ultimate is £2,395. An SLX build is £3795 with the range-topping XT Launch build coming in at £4195. All frames and bikes come with Deda Elementi headset, Mason seat clamp, a beautiful Mason head badge, full ‘black stainless’ bolt sets, all frame inserts and a natty 3D printed Mason chainstay protector. There’s also the cost-free option of male threaded seat tube bottle mounts (above) and a top tube mount or not.

FULL SPEC HIGHLIGHTS (expected specification and pricing depending on parts availability!)

Mason RAW XT Launch bike build: £4195

  • Rockshox SID Ultimate fork
  • Full XT M8100 drivetrain (chainring/cassette size as per customer request)
  • XT M8100 brakes
  • 29” Hunt Trailwide V2 Wheelset
  • Renthal Fatbar
  • Deda EC/ZS44mm sealed bearing headset
  • Ergon GA2 lock on grips
  • Ritchey WCS trail stem (Length as per customer request) Fizik Terra Argo X3 Kium railed saddle
  • Xfusion Manic 31.6 dropper post (length as per customer request)
  • Choice of Maxxis or Vittoria 29” tyres in various widths and tread patterns
  • MASON Element chainstay protector

SLX bike build: £3795

  • Rockshox SID Ultimate fork
  • Full SLX M7100 drivetrain (chainring/cassette size as per customer request)
  • SLX M7100 brakes
  • 29” Hunt Trailwide V2 Wheelset
  • Pro Koryak handlebar
  • Deda EC/ZS44mm sealed bearing headset
  • Ergon GA2 lock on grips
  • Pro Koryak stem (Length as per customer request)
  • Fizik Terra Argo X5 saddle
  • Xfusion Manic 31.6 dropper post (length as per customer request)
  • WTB ranger 29×2.4” tyres.
  • ‘MASON Element’ chainstay protector

RAW Frame with Rockshox SID Ultimate fork £2,395
Including: DedaElementi Headset, MASON Macro clamp, MASON SwitchLever Thru-Axle, Full Black-Stainless bolt set, all fittings and MultiPort inserts, MASON Element chainstay protector. Prepped, faced and chased, ready to build.
Standard price includes 15 bottle/bag/accessory mounts, all internal routing and options for male threaded or eyeletted cage/accessory mounts on seat tube and with/without top tube pack mounts.

RAW Frame only £1,695
Includes all above parts and accessories.

The Mason RAW first ride

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Chipps Chippendale

Singletrackworld's Editor At Large

With 22 years as Editor of Singletrack World Magazine, Chipps is the longest-running cycling magazine editor in the world. He started in the bike trade in 1990 and became a full time mountain bike journalist at the start of 1994. Over the last 30 years as a bike writer and photographer, he has seen mountain bike culture flourish, strengthen and diversify and bike technology go from rigid steel frames to fully suspended carbon fibre (and sometimes back to rigid steel as well.)

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Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
  • The Mason RAW – New Steel Hardtail On The Block, Ridden
  • Del
    Full Member

    undoubtedly beautiful but i feel vindicated suggesting the chameleon’s recent price hike wouldn’t be out of the way.

    Full Member

    I could buy a Yeti for that 😀

    Full Member

    Paint job does look stunning…

    At 5ft 9in/175cm,

    Also, have you shrunk? Could have sworn you were taller than me…

    Full Member

    I’m definitely 175cm and I used to be 5ft 9in as far as I remember from the imperial days (cue some sort of Star Wars joke…) – but I do live in that ‘very average’ world between medium and large which, like I imagine many, many people at the top of that bell curve do – which makes the whole frame sizing thing a bit odd anyway. Shouldn’t I be in the middle of medium? I do like that Trek does a M/L size that sits between the two.

    Full Member

    Looks nice.

    Out of interest how does it feel compared to the Curtis AM7 you had a few years ago? Both are expensive handmade in UK steel hardtail’s. Which would you prefer for trail riding?

    I know it had more travel than this but I think if you’re someone who’s looking at this Mason then a Curtis is probably in your radar as well

    Free Member

    Odd choice to use RAW, when I saw this I immediately thought that RAAW had a new hardtail out.

    A bit like Patrol bikes, but this is a bit closer to the brand – especially the all-caps for RAW.

    Full Member

    but I do live in that ‘very average’ world between medium and large
    Otherwise known as Marge 🙂

    Full Member

    “but I do live in that ‘very average’ world between medium and large”
    Otherwise known as Marge 🙂

    Full Member

    That is a pretty bike and the geometry sounds spot on for all round trail riding, not too long, low and slack plus fun. But the price – well wow.

    Weight wise I dont think that is too bad when you comnpare it to Nordest, Pipedream & Sonder steel hardtails at 6lbs plus but for three times the price it should be lighter!

    Full Member

    Smaller seat tubes can have this external bottle cage bolt/nut instead of an internal boss to allow dropper post insertion.

    Never mind the rest of it, that is genius for those of us on the shorter end of the height range. Hockey stick seat tubes are the business, but when a cheap rivnut limits how far you can put a dropper down them, they’re entirely wasted. Well done Mason.

    Full Member

    @bent udder You are so right about this. They’re genius.

    Full Member

    Looks great. I’m not sure you should expect a lighter bike for the price if the bike has been built to a spec that says it needs to stay solid with a load on board. The weight will pay for itself when riding loaded.

    75 degree SA seems a bit steep for old guys like me to be comfortable all day on mixed or non technical riding… but maybe I’d get used to it.

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