• This topic has 22 replies, 17 voices, and was last updated 8 months ago by tdog.
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  • What fastish steel XC hardtail frame?
  • Premier Icon colin9
    Full Member

    I might upgrade my 26er with a new bike for fastish XC duties. I’m not into racing but I do like a good all dayer over the moors. Something modernish but not full LLS.

    I only really like UK designed steel frames, so I’m thinking a steel 29er built fairly lightly with 100-120mm forks with probably Hunt wheels and probably singlespeed (maybe a converter on vertical dropouts).

    Solaris Max was on the list, but some of the reviews suggest it might be a bit too focussed on downhill and not lively enough on the ups and alongs.

    What else should I be looking at?

    Premier Icon Normal Man
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    Stanton Sherpa?

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Full Member

    Look for a secondhand original SolarisMAX?

    Or the mk2 version, which was QR rear with a 68deg HA. Might have to go up a size to get more length though (I did).

    Premier Icon colin9
    Full Member

    I’ll have a look at the Sherpa.

    I’m keeping a close eye on the Classifieds too, there’s a nice looking Ritchey but it’d be too small for me!

    Premier Icon swanny853
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    Might be worth trying to get a test ride on a SolarisMax and see if they’ll bring it in the lightest build of demo kit they’ve got. I’ve a mk1 which I use for a little of everything, but mostly long days out with a mix of crossing country and playing on the slippery slopes of the north downs. I generally think ‘would I want to do the sdw on it’ is the test for me. I’m planning on replacing it with a new one when they get my size back in stock and building it up with the kit that’s on the current one- 120mm sids, light wheels etc but reasonable size tyres and a decent dropper.

    The demo I did felt like it was quite capable of building up as a long distance machine that can do the fun stuff too- I think a lot of the builds I’ve seen are built up a touch burlier. It’s great that way (a friend has one) and mine might end up reverting to that, but I’m going to be interested to see how it builds up ‘flighty’.

    Premier Icon qwerty
    Free Member

    Ritchey P29 ?

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Full Member

    be interested to see how it builds up ‘flighty’.

    I have a Fox 34 on mine, which is pretty light, along with XT-level kit and light-ish Mavic XA wheels with EXO tyres.

    It’s alright for long rides but definitely feels a bit less sprightly than the mk2 it replaced – and which had a very similar build.

    Premier Icon shortbread_fanylion
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    I’ve ran my Sherpa with 34mm 120mm forks and solid wheels. Now got 100mm rebas on and lighter wheels and I really like it. Great on fast singletrack although the forks are a little twangy.

    Premier Icon fatbikedog
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    If you can manage rigid _ stooge

    Premier Icon argee
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    If you want fastish XC then carbon would be a better bet, steel is just going to add weight with little benefit on an XC hardtail?

    Premier Icon kerley
    Free Member

    Tend to agree but “I only really like UK designed steel frames”

    Premier Icon colin9
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    Sure carbon would be lighter, an One One Whippet looks like a bargain, but I know if it’s not a little bit niche I’m likely to lose interest in it quicker! Stooge might be a step too far though,  although I know they’re good bikes.

    Premier Icon pnik
    Full Member

    FWIW I’ve recently replaced a mk1 Solaris with a Sherpa, both great, the Solaris I’d say was more ‘XC’ than the Sherpa. Certainly lighter. The Solaris was a bit small and they only went up to large back then. Didn’t fancy a solarismax as seemed a bit too lls for my wants. But didn’t ride one to be fair. I’ve got 120mm pikes on an xl so not exactly a light build up but happy to do trail day rides on it.

    Premier Icon batman11
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    Nordest britango or britango TR gotta be worth a look. Not ridden but looks very nice.

    BRITANGO XC FRAME

    Premier Icon didnthurt
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    That Ritchey is very nice but not a great colour IMO is a bit expensive for an off the shelf frame, spend a bit more and you could get something a touch more special like this….

    Curtis XC9

    British made too.

    Premier Icon didnthurt
    Full Member

    And who doesn’t want a bike named after your bottom….

    Bahookie : British made 29er steel hardtail MTB – Shand Cycles

    Premier Icon milfordvet
    Free Member

    Singular Swift. EBB for ss, it also gives a nice stiff bb area for uphill. Or run it geared, alfine etc. Long chainstays and big tyre clearances. Run mine 100 sids or rigid. Front triangle not small, so you can get a frame bag and two water bottles in. On a Brooks, holding Geoff bars with sids, mudhuggers, and light wheels and tyres its comfy and fast and dry cross country. If you want to try something different alfine/ 29+ front etc its flexible to whims.

    I’d like to try a Sherpa, Jones or Ritchey P29 though…a Pegasus would be lovely in titanium. Prob 68-69 ha is about optimum compromise for xc all day and keeping it still engaging going along.

    New Swifts due this year. For throwing a bike over a gate though, a carbon frame and fork is much better throw. That oo whippet would be ace geared.

    For true xc all day, from uphill steep offroad to onroad you cant gear a ss for thst range without suffering at one end. Gears make a better day out if you’re including road sections or you’ll be going slow.

    Premier Icon ibnchris
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    I circled the Curtis frames for ages before going for a ti frame (secondhand). Kind of wish I’d got the Curtis to be honest!

    Premier Icon kcal
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    Swift, newer ones should be with tapered headset, would tick all the boxes — depends on setup of course as to how fast is fast. I’ve run mine with 29r sis forks but just swapped back to rigid, plenty enough for me.

    Premier Icon kerley
    Free Member

    Good call with the Curtis. I remember them from back in the days of BMX race and they were also good back then.

    Premier Icon andykirk
    Free Member

    A Solaris Max is not a frame I would choose for XC. Way too long and slack.

    Premier Icon colin9
    Full Member

    Some good pointers in here, thanks for your input.

    A Curtis is never far away from my dream list, I saw a lovely blue one the other month.

    Premier Icon tdog
    Free Member

    @argee – hardly! At least a nice steel xc frame would be repairable like all things in steel flavour hence it’s universally practical use

    I would highly recommend a Curtis as they are truly jaw dropping to ride, look at ride then gawp some more

    Not heavy at all for what they are
    Now all you got to decide on is raw lacquered or a paint colour… 👍🎅

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