Ragley Trig

Ragley Trig review

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First introduced to the line-up in 2019, the Ragley Trig has proved to be extremely popular from the word go.

This review first appeared in Singletrack World Magazine issue 140

Ragley Trig

Ragley is a small UK-based brand that designs and tests its bikes right here, in UK weather, on UK trails. From day one the Ragley ethos has been to make quality, reliable, performance hardtails, and to this day they continue to focus on steel hardtails.

The Bike

Working on the theory ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, like many of the hardtail frames available from the brand, the geometry works so it has been kept it the same.

Though the frame hasn’t needed updating, the build has developed since the original 2019 models. Previously the Trig has come in an Adventure build and a Gravel build, with wheel size and drivetrain being the main differences between the two. For 2021 Ragley is offering a One Trig Fits All. The addition of carbon forks was made from 2020, as was the change in wheel size from 700C to 650B. The 2020 and 2021 Ragley Trig both come with 650B as standard, but can still accommodate 700C wheelsets. Another notable change this year is the groupset switching from SRAM to Shimano.

Full GRX 1x transmission

Going back to the frame, the triple butted 4130 Cro-Mo steel tubing on my size small is set with a slack (for a drop bar bike) 69.5° head angle and a steep 74° seat angle. When the bike arrived, it soon took on the nickname ‘Drop-bar jump bike’ for its old-school mountain bike geometry and its willingness to leave the ground, but we’ll get to that soon.

It has incredibly neat welds to compliment the clean and simple looking bike, the head badge is the signature Ragley crest and the branding is subtle. This bike is almost like a blank canvas for you to add your own styling to, as seems to be quite popular in the gravel market.

The 650B wheelset consists of Nukeproof Neutron hubs on WTB STi25 rims. The hubs are predominantly a mountain bike hub, suitable for aggressive trail riding thanks to the five sealed bearings sharing the load of your pedal force, and the lightweight yet tough aluminium body. The WTB rims come tubeless-ready, and are incredibly easy to convert to tubeless. I may have been having a lucky day, but they tyres went up and stayed up first time, despite me using my absolute last choice of sealant due to stock levels.

Lots of space for gadgets and bar bags

The bike comes with WTB Senduro 47mm tyres. Clearance, even with the 47mm tyres, is generous, and tyre options on 700c wheels are only reduced to 40mm, meaning you can still have quite an aggressive choice with the bigger wheels. I found the Senduros easy to set up tubeless initially, but for the following week or so, the sealant was oozing out of the sidewalls. The sidewalls have 120TPI casing so should retain air and avoid seeping, but the sealant I used was so bad it’s almost criminal to sell it as ‘sealant’. When Stan’s No Tubes sealant came back in stock I soon solved that problem and haven’t had any issues since.

The Shimano GRX RX600 drivetrain and brakes was actually one of the main selling points for me. Having tested a few gravel bikes with SRAM and Shimano, the biggest standout to me is how great Shimano brakes are from the hoods. I can confidently travel at speed on the hoods, knowing I’ll be able to use the full range of the brake levers without moving to the drops. I haven’t found this on SRAM drop-bar brakes. It’s not a total dealbreaker, but I generally find myself more comfortable on the hoods unless it’s very fast/steep.

The gearing is ideal for my needs. The 40T chainring with an 11-42 cassette offers a generous off-road range, and I’ve found the drivetrain to be really reliable. I rarely have it skipping gears, despite me not taking very good care of this bike.

The carbon forks are specced for weight saving and compliance. The first Trig bikes featured steel forks, and though I haven’t ridden one I can almost guarantee the 2020 and 2021 models offer better dampening. Given that the Trig is on the adventure, off-road end of the gravel spectrum, carbon forks are the obvious choice to suit the aggressive behaviour it demands.

This is my first drop-bar bike that I have owned, but I do have several points of reference for bar tape, having tried out many gravel bikes from all price ranges. The cork tape on the Trig is one of my least favourites. It’s comfortable, it looks OK (I mean, it’s just black tape so how good could it look?), but it is so easy to tear. I’ve caught the bars on walls or fences when stopping for a break, and damaged it many times. I also find it disintegrates into my hands on longer rides, though in terms of durability I’ve ridden over 2,500km on the Trig and only just got round to replacing the tape.

The Ride

In order to talk about the ride, first we should look at the sizing. I’m riding a size small, recommended for riders between 165-172cm. At 173cm, I initially ordered a medium prior to looking a bit closer at the numbers. The effective top tube length on the small is 543mm, which I certainly don’t want more than on a bike I plan to travel longer, upright distances on. If I did need a bit more space, I’d rather be adding a longer stem to a small frame than putting a shorter one on a medium frame, as it’s the type of bike you want stability on.

Slick centre stripe for speedy progress

A typical ride on this bike will often include a stint of tarmac, and to my surprise the chunky knobbled WTB tyres are great on the road. They obviously offer more resistance than something like a Pathfinder, with a slick middle section, but the dual compound tyre has a stiffer midsection for fast rolling, and the knobbles space out towards the sides for corner grip. The 650B wheels make technical sections a fun challenge as you pick your way through, though the wheel and tyre combo do allow for you to roll over a lot of rough stuff. The volume is a treat, having ridden some very flimsy narrow tyres on a gravel bike previously I think the comfort offered from a thicker tyre is almost essential for my kind of off-road riding.

Climbing on the Trig was a shock at first, coming from mountain bike gearing. On anything over about 12%, I’m standing up churning my way up hills, but it gets easier in time. I think I’ve built up a great deal of fitness from riding this bike, without feeling much suffering in the process because I always know there’s a fun descent to follow. When it comes to the descent, I continue to be amazed at how capable a small, steel, rigid bike can be. It soaks up a lot of textbook ‘gravel’, ideal for well-maintained bridleways and tow paths. On rougher trails, it’s a lot of fun. I can ride this bike down really technical sections with control, the only restriction being the seatpost up my arse. A fun bonus to the Trig is that it seems to jump really well. From popping over roots and rocks to intentionally hitting smaller jumps, it’s always a lively and playful ride.

I’ve ridden this bike a lot, and the only discomfort I have found was about 195km into the Dirty Reiver. The bar tape was crumbling, the saddle was trying to enter me, and I finally felt like I wanted front suspension. So for any normal scale ride, I’d struggle to find a complaint.

Updated for winter commuting: bigger wheels and less chunky tyres

Overall

The frame doesn’t allow for you to overload it with bikepacking gear, there’s simply not enough space with the dropped top tube. The wheels want to take you further off-road than you’d plan to on a gravel bike. The geometry makes the bike more playful than you’d believe. It’s a drop-bar jump bike! Capable of fast rolling on the road, hammering through gravel, tackling mountain bike trails if you feel the need, and always keen to pop and jump over the bits you want to avoid. So the market for the Ragley Trig, in my opinion, is a mountain biker that wants something to travel longer distances on, maybe build up fitness whilst still having fun. That’s exactly what it did for me, and I continue to get excited about riding it. You can put bigger wheels on if you want a more efficient ride, but for now I’m having too much fun on my little wheels with beefy tyres.

Ragley Trig Specification

  • Frame: Ragley Trig 4130 Chromoly (CrMo)
  • Fork: Ragley Carbon Disc Fork, 12mm x 100mm, Flat Mount
  • Headset: FSA NO.9M,1 1/8-1.5 Tapered
  • Handlebar: Ragley Alloy, 31.8mm, 48cm-400mm Wide
  • Stem: Ragley, 31.8mm Clamp, 7°//DEG// Rise, 70mm fitted
  • Bar Tape: Ragley Black cork cushion tape
  • Front Wheel: Nukeproof Neutron Hub, 12mm x 100mm, Sealed bearings, 32h, 6-bolt disc on a WTB ST i25 TCS 2.0 Rim 650b (taped for tubeless)
  • Rear Wheel: Nukeproof Neutron Hub, 650B 142mm x 12mm, 32H, WTB ST i25 TCS 2.0 Rim
  • Tyres: WTB Sendero 650b x 47C Tan Sidewall, Dual DNA Compound, Lightweight Tubeless Casing, TCS Aramid Bead
  • Crankset: Shimano RX600, GRX 11-speed, 170mm, 40T
  • Bottom Bracket: Shimano Hollowtech II 73mm BSA
  • Brakes: Shimano GRX RX600 lever with RX400 calliper, 160mm RT66 rotor, Resin pads with fin
  • Rear Derailleur: Shimano GRX RX812 11-Speed, Shadow Plus
  • Rear Shifter: Shimano RX600 11 speed
  • Cassette: Shimano SLX M7000, 11-Speed, 11-42T
  • Saddle: Ragley Tracker (swapped for a Nukeproof Sam Hill Enduro)
  • Seatpost: Ragley 27.2mm x 400mm
  • Sizes Available: Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large
  • Size Tested: Small
  • Weight: 10.5kg (23.2lb with the 700c wheelset)

This review first appeared in Singletrack World Magazine issue 140

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Viewing 2 posts - 1 through 2 (of 2 total)
  • Ragley Trig review
  • cokie
    Full Member

    This really appeals to me.. I’ve never spent any meaningful time on drop bars, but the descriptions sounds spot on.
    It makes sense for me to get a gravel bike for the ridgeway alongside my other bikes.
    Question is if I can get a demo on one of these.

    umop3pisdn
    Free Member

    I really like mine – just that as a long-legged individual I wish the TT was a bit higher as I’ve got a daft amount of seatpost on an XL.

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