Ragley is a British brand who specializes in hardtails, with a range of five steel and aluminium frames. Ragley's key defining feature is a solid value for money and modern geometry that, in the case of the Bigwig we review here, closely replicates a modern, full-suspension trail/AM design. According to Ragley, the Bigwig is aimed squarely at riders who want a simple, fuss-free and highly capable trail bike.
About the Bigwig Bigwig Details:
• Intended use: trail / enduro
• Wheel size: 29"
• Frame material: 4130 triple-butted steel
• Fork: RockShox Yari, 130mm
• Head angle: 65-degree
• Shimano SLX 11-speed drivetrain
• Brand-X Ascend dropper
• Boost hub spacing
• Weight: 31lb / 14.1kg (large size)
• MSRP: £1,750
• Contact: Ragley Bikes @ragleybikes
It certainly looks to tick all the right boxes. Ragley takes its geometry seriously, it is, after all, the most important aspect of a bike, regardless of the suspension or lack thereof, and for 2017 the Bigwig 29er grows a longer reach and stand-over increases but retains the same low bottom bracket, 65-degree head angle and short, 435mm chainstays. The simple yet detail-laden steel frame is designed specifically for one-by drivetrains, and the rear axle has been widened to Boost 148mm to provide 27.5+ tire compatibility.
Ragley will sell you the frame on its own for £549.99, or offer the choice of one complete build, as pictured, for £1,749.99. The equipment looks on point for the sort of aggressive riding the Bigwig is intended for. A 130mm RockShox Yari RC fork delivers 130mm of travel. There’s a Shimano 1x11 drivetrain, WTB Vigilante and Trail Boss tires, and a short stem and wide handlebar from Ragley’s house-brand parts.Construction
Ragley builds the Bigwig with a 4130 steel, triple-butted tube set to save some weight. There’s not much complexity to a suspension-free frame, but this one bristles with smart details. There’s a stout, 44mm diameter head tube and, new for 2017: a Boost 12x148mm rear axle is used to provide extra clearance and rear-end stiffness The Bigwig is also 27.5”+ compatible, with space for up to three inch tires. It’s a smart looking bike, with a simple paint job and tidy decal treatment.
One very neat detail is the "Three-Finger" chainstay bridge which joins the drive-side chainstay to the bottom bracket. It’s designed to provide necessary tire and chainring clearance - something that is no doubt enhanced by the lack of front mech provision. We’ve seen this sort of detail on other hardtails and it’s a nice solution to the issues faced when packaging short chainstays with big tire clearance while maintaining a proper chain line. There are also ISCG 05 tabs around the bottom bracket shell if you want more security than its wide/narrow chainring and clutch-type rear mech provide.
Both the brake hose and gear cables are routed externally, Ragley opting to sling them along the underside of the down tube. The dropper cable though is routed inside the frame. It’s all cleanly done, I’m a fan of external routing for easy maintenance, but I know some people are more concerned by the impact on the aesthetics of the bike. Ragley provides a five-year warranty and a lifetime crash replacement with each frame for some extra peace of mind.
Geometry has been a defining feature of previous Ragley bikes, and for 2017 it has updated the Bigwig's numbers to reflect the constantly moving goalposts of mountain bike geometry. The key detail is the increased reach, with Ragley adding 15 to 20mm across the size range. Our size-large test bike had a 465mm reach. That makes for a very roomy cockpit. Ragley has also shortened the seat tube length by 25mm, giving the rider more size choices along with longer dropper-post options. (Ragley only spec'ed a 120mm post on the test bike.)
Other shape-defining numbers including a 65-degree head angle, a 74-degree effective seat angle, and a long, 637.5mm top tube. Ragley specs a 50mm stem on the complete bike, and there’s enough length in the frame that you could probably go shorter. The chainstays are kept reasonably short, at 435mm.