Ragley Bigwig - Review

Dec 26, 2016
by David Arthur  


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.


Ragley Big Wig
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


About the Bigwig

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.

Ragley Big Wig
Lots of detailed machining in the integrated rear dropout/brake-caliper mount.

Ragley Big Wig
Tapered head tube reinforced by a down tube gusset
Ragley Big Wig
Internal dropper routing and a steeply angled top tube.


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.

Ragley Big Wig
To provide maximum tire and crank clearance, Ragley uses this unique-looking "Three-Finger" chainstay bridge


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

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.)
Ragley Big Wig

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.





bigquotesAs a package, it all comes together well. You can forget about the fact you have no rear suspension and just crack on with roosting trails and sessioning your favorite descents.

If your last experience of a hardtail was a race bike with very steep and short geometry, the Ragley Bigwig is going to blow your preconceptions away. The Bigwig is aimed at someone who wants the shape and reach of a modern trail full-susser but values the simplicity and affordability of a hardtail - either as a complete alternative, or n+1. Other than the lack of rear suspension travel, everything about the geometry and poise of the Bigwig combines to deliver a thoroughly entertaining and highly capable ride that excels in rough and technical sections.

It can take a couple of rides to get familiar with a hardtail if you’ve not thrown a leg over one in a while, but that period is drastically reduced on the Bigwig because the shape just feels right and familiar. With the geometry measuring up very similarly to that of a modern AM/trail bike, I instantly felt at home, the bars were a reassuring distance in front of me, the reach on the size-large felt spot on, and I wasn’t cramped or overstretched. It’s a big, but not massive feeling bike.

Ragley Big Wig


The good sensations flow through into the handling of the Bigwig when you hit the trail. The 29er wheels ensure good rolling speed, and it’s certainly a rapid bike - not in a cross-country race style - it builds up speed cleanly and maintains good pace through rolling terrain. The acceleration is tempered a little bit by the frame not providing the level of smoothness of some higher-quality steel frames I've ridden. And, while the WTB Vigilante 2.3” and Trail Boss 2.25” tire combo delivers a reasonable amount of cushioning, it’s not enough to mask the stiffness of the Bigwig's frame. After having tested the Merida Big Trail 27.5+ bike recently, I am convinced that switching to 2.8” tires would go a long way to reducing the jarring and ragged feedback that can often make a hardtail a punishing ride.

You pay a price in the weight department. At 31 pounds, the Bigwig is rather heavy, especially considering that it lacks rear suspension, and while it never feels sluggish on the climbs, it’s really not a bike for ripping up KOMs. It’s no slouch, but above a certain level of effort, you don’t get as much in return as you obviously would from a lighter bike or build. It never really felt like a bike that was suited for attacking climbs, and steady as she goes was the right approach for the Bigwig.

That said, the stiffness of the frame and the short chainstays were a big help on steep and technical ascents. There also was a nice amount of maneuverability apparent in the tight stuff. The tires dished out plenty of traction, and the 30-tooth chainring, paired with a 10-42 tooth cassette, helped when the trail pointed skywards.

Ragley Big Wig


Technical Riding

Make no mistake, this is no flexy or marshmallowy steel frame - it’s direct, taut and very responsive. While it didn’t exactly shine on the climbs, the descents, rolling terrain, and undulating trails, are where the Bigwig is really in its element. The updated geometry puts you in a commanding position for absolutely attacking trails. Yes, there’s a limit to how hard and fast you can push a hardtail, but there are plenty of good videos that show that, in the right hands, hardtails can be blisteringly fast.

The Bigwig need make no apology for its lack of rear suspension. It’s stable at high speed, and it is nimble in low-speed technical sections. The WTB tires provide stacks of traction and the 29" wheels provide good rollover speed. You can hold some pretty reckless lines and get away with it (most of the time), but the margin for error is smaller than when you have a couple of inches of rear-suspension travel to cover your arse. The Bigwig keeps you on your toes!

Ragley made a smart choice spec'ing the RockShox Yari fork. It has same chassis dimensions as the up-scale Lyrik, so you can really work the front wheel. It feels precise and well damped. Point the front wheel and just let the back wheel deal with the hits that follow. Granted, 130mm of travel suggests the bike is closer to cross-country, but there were only a handful of occasions when I was pleading for morel. Most of the time it was just right.

As a package, it all comes together well. You can forget about the fact you have no rear suspension and just crack on with roosting the trails and sessioning your favorite descents. Its highly capable if you’re willing to push to its limits. Yes, the ride can be overwhelmingly stiff at times, and the weight limits its climbing pace, but those are small grumbles once you get into the bike's happy place - fast, challenging, technical descents, with lots of flowing turns, berms and drops to deal with. The Bigwig puts a big smile on your face.

Ragley Big Wig


Component Check

RockShox Yari fork: This is an excellent fork for the money, and for the Bigwig. It’s easy to set up and the Motion Control damper provides excellent performance. A stronger negative spring, compared to the Pike, means you can run the fork at a higher pressure but still get smooth ride on the initial stroke - I didn’t need to fettle with Tokens because the spring felt good.

Shimano M7000 SLX: The Japanese giant nails it once again with its latest SLX group. There’s trickle-down tech from XTR with the Dynamic Chain Engagement (DCE) tooth profile on the single chainring and, combined with the clutch-style rear mech, the chain never dropped once. The brakes too, with 180/160mm rotors, provided familiar Shimano stopping power with the benefit of tool-free reach adjustment.

Ragley Big Wig
Ragley Big Wig

Ragley Stubbing stem and Wiser Riser handlebar: To get the most out of the bike it's always good to get a short stem and wide handlebar as standard. My default handlebar width has become 780mm in recent years, but I got on well with Ragley's 760mm option.

Brand-X Ascend dropper post: This affordable dropper post is produced by the parent company of Ragley, and while it’s not as posh as the more expensive droppers on the market, it did work reliably and smoothly throughout the test. The travel is infinitely adjustable and the handlebar remote is ergonomic.



Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotes Hardtails have been going through something of a renaissance in recent years, with geometry that mimics the numbers you'd typically find on an enduro racing bike. There's a good reason why hardtails still have their fans, and Ragley's new Bigwig offers a thoroughly enjoyable ride that leans towards downhill thrills rather than cross-country performance. - David Arthur



Visit the feature gallery for high resolution and additional images.




About the Reviewer David Arthur is a freelance mountain biker writer based in the UK. Stats: Age: 34 • Height: 5'11:” • Weight: 154lb • Industry affiliations / sponsors: None



Thanks to 417 Project for letting us use its awesome trails to test and photograph the bike.


170 Comments

  • + 91
 I feel like 10 years ago you could get almost the same thing for half the price. Didn't have as steep of a head angle, but still were/are fun bikes. I don't understand this $2500+ steel AM hardtail market.
  • + 74
 I used to buy chocolate bars for $0.25. Inflation is a bitch!
  • + 58
 If I'm buying a 31lb HT for $2k^ it had better have 11lbs of platinum stashed in the down tube
  • + 20
 Couldn't agree more. Spending that much money on a hardtail is something that just does not make sense to me and it never will. A heavy, low spec hardtail at that. I guess there must be some people out there who enjoy spending a lot of money and going slow everywhere though. Sorry to seem negative but I think if reviews for these things really aimed to help people considering a bike like this it would say "take £1500 to the buy/ sell and get yourself a nice second hand full suspension bike from 2014/15 then spend the £250 you've got left on entering some races next summer".
  • + 23
 despite what everyone thinks, we're all cattle to the bike industry
  • + 4
 The Freeride hardtails of ten years ago have been remarketed as todays trail/am bikes, with the only difference being that people said they did'nt peddle well. If you compare the geometry,there really isn't that much difference with the exception of reach and standover. My son rides my 07 Norco Rampage and can climb anything I can with my new hardtail.
  • + 12
 Is it made in the UK? If so, I can totally understand the price, but if not, ehhhhhhhhhhhh
  • + 16
 @ThomDawson: There are a lot of people out there not concerned with full sus or racing!Just riding a bike.
  • + 6
 @mnorris122: Definitely not made in the UK,it's an expensive frame for what it is.
  • - 1
 @rideonjon: while I think reviewers could go further to help potential buyers out, having them ask all the people who just like to 'ride a bike' to consider going in to decathlon to buy a £250 b twin at the end of every review is going a bit far.
  • + 1
 For this price, you'd think it would be equipped with Asymmetric spoked rims for big wheel stability!
  • + 10
 @mnorris122: As per the writing on the Ragely website; "Designed and tested in the UK since 2008"...

Meaning, "they are designed and tested in the UK", 'not welded there'. Most likely Ragely contracts manufacturing with an Asian company like the other 85% of "designers"!
  • + 30
 For that price I thought the frames would be welded by lawyers in the U.K.
  • + 4
 @DJ-24: you're looking at about £1k for a UK made frame.
  • + 13
 Mtb companies just take the piss when it comes to pricing.How can you ask 550 quid for a Taiwanese 4130 frame when you can have a two bmx frames for the same price? Brakemounts and extra materials go some way expaining the difference but not twice the price..

Source (har har..):

www.sourcebmx.com/en/Frames/c-548.aspx
  • + 5
 @fartymarty: Hopefully that price is from a custom small frame builder, if so, that price is on par with North American prices give or take. However,Ragley's prices are high considering the lower quality 4130 they must be using, as their frames are a full pound heavier than an equivalent NS Bikes frame that costs 150 CAD less.
  • + 11
 @DJ-24: Yeah if it was welded by lawyers, and your frame snaps, good luck suing the company!
  • + 4
 @DJ-24: yep, they were cheap a few years back when they came out £220 - £270 per frame. Then they've turned the prices up ridiculously since. Steel prices have risen sharply of late as I'm in the industry, but 550 quid for a heap of gash? No thanks....
  • + 4
 @preach: Dont worry in the States this bike will sale for about $1500, MSRP is $1800 USD, btw.
  • + 1
 @preach: it's almost $900/Oz. Tone it down over there with your $50000 bike. Wink
  • + 23
 Jefsy Al is £1300 band new. Delivered. And weighs nearly a kg less. And has a Pike. Mental.
  • + 0
 @rideonjon: those are the same people riding the $600 to $800 suntour special bikes not $3000 steel bikes lol
  • + 3
 AGREE!! The price of a Taiwanese chromo HT has shot up the last few years!! I blame brands like Stantonan Chromag. They do put out a high quality product but, a lot of mass produced manufacturers try an emulate with gimmicky frames that are nowhere near as nice
Also
Bear in mind you can pick up an Alu HT frame for £2-300.....
  • + 3
 @bonkywonky:

yup, very overpriced

its generic 4130 as well, not even heat treated True Temper, Reynolds or Columbus?


spend £350-400 on a BMX frame and its very nice tubing with heat treating

hell, my last bmx frame was heat treated tubing and retail £299!

We were buying DMR's taiwanese made 4130 cromo DJ frames 15 years ago for £220..
  • + 2
 @preach: or 10'pounds of weed in the downtube
  • + 2
 @nojzilla: at least with a Stanton or Chromag you are getting some quality tubing and a nice ride for about £5-600 which is reasonable.
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: yeah stantons look pretty decent.
Nearly bought one. My mate has had about 3 & he loves them.
  • + 6
 Built a big wig up as a winter bike. Stuck 140 pikes up the front. While it is heavy ( pretty much the same as my carbon Divinci Spartan) which we can agree is a big Enduro rig, it rides like a dream.
I never seem to get out gunned when everyone bar me is riding high end full sussers as it is so capable.
I would agree that the frame price is a little in the tasty side but that's industry wide at the moment.
This is literally my go to bike and a have and have had a few decent ones.
Yes it's heavy and pricey but it is such a fun ride. Being from Ireland and riding schlomp for 11 months if the year you kinda want a decent hard tail just so you can keep your carbon race whip alive for more than a season or so
  • + 2
 Yeah, well, a hand job used to cost 5 bucks. Inflation sucks... or blows, as it were.
  • + 4
 @cunning-linguist: Steel Price Forecast 2017... gensteel.com/steel-building-prices/forecast

"Steel building pricing is more complicated than you might assume. Steel is a global commodity, and that means the price of steel varies on a daily basis. Prices can be influenced by several factors, including natural disasters, the strength of the American dollar, and the general condition of the world economy. All of which equate to one of the most basic economic rules: supply and demand – the single most important factor in determining the current price of a commodity like steel."

On that; steel prices are dropping out, depending on country and shipping. Steel in the US is mostly Russian steel and in the last three years, the cost trend of steel has been decreasing, yet, while the steel industry cost decrease, the cost of steel frame mountain bikes have not only increased over the last five years, but in the last three years has doubled in consumer cost, in the US anyways.

And with that, if US business who produce steel frames want my money, they are going to have to make it worth my while. So at least with that in mind, there are awesome aggressive steel geo US frames for roughly $500usd that come with 5 and 10 year warranties. Which is nice... As you wont get a 5 year warranty on an aggressive Aluminum geo bike, unless it's some big named DJ brand.

And that's my observation.
  • + 2
 @XCMark: yeah things are a little different on our island nation, with Tata down the swanny, most of ours is either sourced from China, Turkey, or the Middle East for example these days. I like your point on the US handmade frames though, cheers for that insight, much appreciated. I hope it'll assist some people on here too.

I'd never buy an aluminium hardtail, never have, never will. It's just a horrible material to use. Full sus, no troubles, but for a hardtail it's steel or Ti only.
  • + 2
 You forgot the new metric rear sag numbers though. There's a lot of r&d to account for this
  • - 2
 @ThomDawson: Sorry but endorsing the 'take a new bike value and spend it on a used bike' is a really tired argument.
  • + 5
 @Andy-ap: not really, it's all
Horses for courses. And a lot of the time you'll get better longer lasting and better performing kit for less money. Sometimes even unused to boot. How does that not equate? I buy new mainly but lightly used if it suits. So long as you're not a total dinlow and buy a complete shed you're doing alright. Plus a lot of people don't have the cash to wave around at new stuff, especially when they know it'll be 40% less in 6 months time when the manufacturer may have added an extra 3mm to it for f*ck all good reason...
  • + 2
 @rideonjon: Considering I bought last years piglet frame brand new for £250 (and this years can be had for £400) it does seem very expensive.
  • + 4
 @petehaddock: As the showing trend of the GBP continues to slowly fall the cost of steel will seem to slowly go up. And then you will know what it feels like to buy a steel frame in the states, made with steel from the states. Regarding you Pound, will know what it's like to pay the high price for local steel.

Buying UK based Reynolds steel, while sitting in the United Kingdom, would cost a bit more than having Tange shipped. A person in the UK could get Columbus(Italy) steel or Nova steel(Chicago USA) cheaper than a person in the US, as the Pound is stronger than the dollar; while just being slightly higher in cost than Tange steel. US buyers pay big for Reynolds, though, Tange steel has shown to be just as strong and stiff.

Many of the US frame builders like using US steel, as such, many UK builders like using their local steel. Same with Taiwan and Japan. Unfortunately, withing the last 18 years, the pick of US produced steel bicycle tubing has dwindled, and as the demand has outgrown the supply, prices increase. Typically, many mass-manufacturers buy Tange steel as it generally cost less but performs close to Reynolds. Though, some mass-manufacturers and smaller shops that build frames buy Reynolds xxx exclusively. --Tange Champion #4(similar to 531CS) or #5(similar to 653ATB), or Tange Prestige(similar to properties of 725). Anyone, anywhere, who wants True Temper will pay more than any of the other available metals.

www.henryjames.com/about-henry-james.html --Current owners of True Temper

www.cycle-frames.com/bicycle-frame-tubing --Similar quality compared to True Temper, Reynolds and Tange[Nova tubes], but can be heavier.

www.handbuiltbicyclenews.com/c33-tubing/142-true-temper-to-discontinue-bicycle-tubing-line

I don't build frames, I've needed metals for other projects so I learned about some of the differences, inadvertently I learned a little about the economics of metals.
  • + 2
 @XCMark: who are the US manufacturers selling aggro $500+/- steel frames with 5 & 10 year warranties? I'm in the market for a new hardtail. Thanks.
  • + 3
 @cunning-linguist: It's catch 22. Someone has to buy the new stuff for there to be second hand stuff. I dabble a bit in both due to budget. Constantly changing standards do help devalue perfectly good products but also make perfectly good parts worthless.
  • + 1
 @mnorris122: I've got OnOne 45650B frame for $165, designed in Sheffield UK but it is made only in taiwan
  • + 0
 @fartymarty: too right. But I'm more of a car man these days, still buy good bike gear (XTR and the like) but would rather someone else stumped up the big bucks first time around. Used to be the other way around before I was so into classics so it really is whatever suits. Variety is the spice of life!
  • + 3
 you can buy a complete giant reign 2 for the same price in NZ it is ridiculous
  • + 3
 @pijong77: to be fair though on-one haven't done any R&D in the last 10 years judging by their frame geometries. my mate had a 20" 45650, was probably shorter than my Bigwig (the slightly shorter 2016 model)
  • + 2
 I bought the alloy mmmbop 2016 for less that half the price, its 27.5 has all the new geometry and in my opinion the alloy performs fine. I built it myself with much better spec and for considerably less money than their build price. Its just about riding bikes tho at the end of the day, prices reflect demand and people like what they like. Individualism comes at a cost but i dont think it should stem from an elitist attitude.
  • + 1
 @pijong77: In five years that company has gone through 3 different welders due to manufacturing errors that should have never left the fab.
  • + 67
 'A 130mm rockshox yari fork with 130mm travel'
Do 130mm forks normally come with more or less?
Sorry for being today's troll but it made me chuckle a bit
  • + 50
 Also, "the chain never dropped once".
Because you know, a few times it dropped twice!
  • - 7
flag passwordpinkbike (Dec 26, 2016 at 10:50) (Below Threshold)
 @Uuno: That's trying too hard.
  • + 4
 @Uuno: Its an idiom- you know, because heavily inflected languages always need more inflection. You could say its an...

Infleception.
  • + 31
 "British-made steel hardtail with all-mountain numbers and an appetite for downhill."

Can we have a fact check on the "British-made" part of this sub heading please? Ta.
  • + 0
 "Designed and tested in the UK since 2008", as per the websites "About" page.
  • + 3
 No chance at £500ish for the frame.
  • + 17
 @XCMark: "Designed and tested" - not MADE.
  • + 2
 Couldn't help but think of this:

i.imgur.com/15cEwVQ.jpg
  • + 0
 @KeithReeder: No shit! Really!
  • + 23
 The head tube badge is well cool
  • + 6
 The headbadge looks so regal that it should also say underneath it, '' By special appointment to her royal highness''.
  • + 9
 That's where your money goes,. I reckon...
  • + 3
 @irideinplymotuh that explains the price for sure haha .. or not!
  • + 17
 I have the 2016 model and the frame is around $400, you can build it up with 27.5x3.0 tires for less than $1400us and it's an absolute steal....pun intended

I prefer this bike over many of the 3-4k bikes I have in my garage. It flat out gets it and the geo is spot on. So if you can build your own steed, this is one of the best riding and one of the most fun bikes I've ever owned, and that's about 100+ and counting, yes i'm an addict.
  • + 3
 Good call. I would never buy a full bike when you can build your own. Ebay / PB buy sell are your friends.
  • + 3
 lord @jamadas your buy/sell is pretty wild. one day i aspire to reach your reckless mtb spending levels
  • + 14
 "If your last experience of a hardtail was a race bike with very steep and short geometry, the Ragley Bigwig is going to blow your preconceptions away."

Having ridden a modern geo aggressive hardtail earlier in the year I can 100% agree with this. I'm really hoping for a resurgence in simple ,CHEAP modern hardtails to allow more people to get into riding bikes down rough hills.

"there are plenty of good videos that show that, in the right hands, hardtails can be blisteringly fast. "

Also check out some of the Fod DH hardtail race times also the British Enduro Series times, often the hardtails are only a couple of seconds behind the full suss times.
  • + 3
 Check out on one deedar
  • + 2
 @conv3rt: yeah I've got a deedar for half the price of this and its awesome.
  • + 14
 I know it's nit-picky, but those orange safety stickers left on the rotors bother me dearly. It says a lot to take them off, meaning not only has the bike been assembled, but all everything has been given a thorough twice over. Seeing them makes me think the build was rushed or done by a lesser-experience mechanic. And they look awful in photos.
  • + 4
 Judging by how the cables looks I can tell the mechanic that assembled the bike likes long walks on the beach watching the sunset.
  • + 2
 Nice to see I'm not he only one disturbed by the rotors stickers.
  • + 17
 made in Taiwan.
  • + 17
 Priced in Dubai.
  • + 10
 "A 130mm RockShox Yari RC fork delivers 130mm of travel."

Who would have thought!
  • + 2
 I was like seYARISly?
  • + 7
 Judging by the photos it looks like this has been tested at flyup 417. Not sure how you can do a proper review of a bike at a place that comprises of manmade fireroad style tracks without a single natural feature. They could have just saved a lot of time and effort and just rode the bike around the car park for 5 mins and they would have got the same result.
  • + 4
 If that's the case, it calls bullshit on this part:

Yes, the ride can be overwhelmingly stiff at times, and the weight limits its climbing pace, but those are small grumbles once you get into the bike's happy place - fast, challenging, technical descents, with lots of flowing turns, berms and drops to deal with.
  • + 4
 Both these points assume the few photos included in the post are from the only place the author tested the bike.
  • + 2
 @VtVolk: Seriously, I can't imagine they have the photographer out for every ride of the test
  • + 8
 Note to Manufacturers, please stop attaching the word Enduro to bikes that they don't apply to. This is a nice trail bike, but Enduro- NO!
  • + 5
 Or maybe we need Hardtail only enduro races?
  • + 0
 Enduro is not defined by type of bike but how you ride.... easy up, fast down.
  • + 2
 @XCMark: there us a hardtail class at most British Enduro races and they are so fast! Always embarrassing to get beaten by a guy without rear suspension.
  • + 13
 @fartymarty: Twenty years ago, that was just called "mountain biking" - what changed?
  • + 3
 @KeithReeder: nowt has changed, the marketers just found out they could slap a buzz word on it and sell it for more.
  • + 6
 Oh my got!! For this price you can get 15 years old Ford Focus or 20 years old S-class mers, or 45 crapy rusty dutch bikes. Common!!! This bulshit comments like ... fir this price i can get second hand bla bla bla is just f%*%%ng tiring
  • + 5
 I've had mine for some years now! Updated to the newer frame this summer and I love it! Out can handle some serious abuse & the guys over at Ragley are great if you need fast help!
  • + 6
 £550? Something wrong here when BTR fabrications can knock out proper hand made frames for not much more.
  • + 2
 Valid point. Not a Ragley fan, but BTR for near that same value is a total win.
  • + 3
 I don't know what prices you're looking at but BTR is almost twice as much.
  • + 3
 @Buggyr333: You'd need to add 450, but would still be easier to justify.
  • + 3
 @dirtydog11: The BTR prices are absolutely rock bottom. They're building for the lowest possible price hoping they'll build a name for themselves and eventually ask a little more to have more of a sustainable business. Those guys are doing it with a passion but can't keep going like that for long. I wouldn't call that the "right" price for a UK made frame.

Yes hardtail prices have gone up. A modern DMR hardtail is twice as expensive as what I've got (about ten years old indeed). Why? I don't know. Then again, full sus frame prices have gone up as well, even for aluminium frames. We don't question that, do we?

I wouldn't moan about frame prices really. If the prices for 9sp cassettes and chains went up considerably, well that would be reason for concern as that's what people need to keep their old bike running. But as for frame prices, it is more take it or leave it. The alternatives are there. If you need a proper cheap steel hardtail, get something from On-One (DeeDar or 456). If you're willing to spend more, there are other options.
  • + 2
 @vinay: don't forget cotic. The BFe especially is a great price and I can't fault it as a bike. I love mine.
  • + 2
 @samfr1000: Oh yeah, I'd never forget about Cotic. I currently ride a DMR Switchback, but if I'd have to replace it, it'd probably be a Cotic BFe 26. I mentioned these other bikes because they're in the same ballpark as the bike mentioned. That is, they can run 27.5+ wheels.
  • + 2
 @vinay: Yeah I jumped ship from DMR to Cotic and it's awesome, great decision. I'm still a DMR fan boy but at 6'2" my trailstar just didn't fit well enough - made the jump before the new trailstar came out. You won't be disappointed.
  • + 1
 @samfr1000: Ha, yeah it is always difficult to find out what is going to work best for you. From what I understand about bike geometry now, a longer bike would probably be better for me. Until a few years ago I was only looking for the lowest frame I could get for a certain minimal length. Above all I want the top tube low to be able to move around, which typically meant that my bike was short as well. But from what I understand now, the longer bike would be more balanced. My fork manufacturer recommends I run about 4 - 4.5 bar in the forks, I run about 7 bar. And I get more than enough grip from the front, but the rear is always flying around. Which is fun, but it slows me down as well. Apparently I have my weight too far over the front when charging (with the 50mm stem and 780mm handlebar). The BFe (26", 16" frame) could sort that but then again, if I'm going to spend money anyway I could step up to a Stanton Switchback (16.5", long) and potentially run plus size tires when I hit some more rough terrain. And sticking to 26" wheels for my regular rides, if the Stanton works half decent on those. Oh these difficult choices!
  • + 1
 @Buggyr333:
yeah Curtis, bikes are about the same Shand also. Production Privee, are similarly priced as the Ragley.
There GT looks like a bike.
  • + 1
 @chris1scouser: Didn't Curtis shift (part of) the production to the far east as well?
  • + 1
 @vinay: the last time I looked, they were still brazed here. By the founder.
I could be incorrect though.
  • + 1
 @vinay: Yeah I think your right, relative to the rest of the market BTR should cost more than they actually do, never thought I'd say that, but they are inexpensive for what you get.
  • + 3
 Would I be correct in thinking you'd be better buying a commencal meta hardtail over this for cheaper if you were dead set on picking a hardtail over a full sus for light bike park abuse and trails (not that I'd pick either) seems heavily overpriced and over weight
  • + 2
 Spend the difference on a good 27+ wheel and tire kit, then laugh all the way back to the trailhead. Yes, that's what I would do.
  • + 6
 Just built up a Kona Honzo Ti as a single speed and I'm on it right now more than my full suspension.
  • - 2
 If only I were a dentist.
  • + 4
 If it's really that stiff, why not make it out of alu and save some weight and cash? I though compliance was the argument for steel frames.
  • + 3
 Making these steel frames so stiff seems like a missed opportunity. But people will buy a 7 lb steel hardtail frame with a jarring ride over a 4.5 lb alloy hardtail frame with the same ride characteristics because, like, steel is real.
  • + 4
 There is still a difference in high frequency vibration dampening between steel and aluminum frames that are built to similar flex characteristics, but it's really only noticeable in road and bmx bikes. I think the large volume tires and coarse terrain of mountain biking cancels a lot of that high frequency vibration out. Modern aluminum frames are generally much more supple than they were back when the whole "Aluminum frames ride stiff and rough. Steel frames ride flexy but smooth." statement was valid. Many modern steel frames are now stiffer, in terms of lateral flex, than modern aluminum frames as well.

It would be interesting to see a "blind" test between steel and aluminum frames. Like maybe send testers out on different bikes with the frames covered up with foam packing protectors.
  • + 2
 @mecabeat: I'd love to see the results of a blind test.
  • + 2
 It would have been nice if PB went past "hey this is a hardtail but you can ride it properly" in their reviews and instead place it in proper context like they do with the full sus bikes. Compare it to some other far away welded 27.5+ compatible frames for similar money (DMR Trailstar, Stanton Switchback/Slackline) and see how it fares.
  • + 2
 Never heard of Stanton till your comment looked em up and found this for £3500!!!! www.stantonbikes.com/product/slackline-853-next-gen-elite-complete very nice hardtail but 3.5k!!!!!! What the f*ck you must be drinking a lot of buckfast to overlook a canyon sender or yt Tues for less cash???? Is there really a market for these over priced hardtails?
  • + 2
 @sellcrackcocainetofundhobby: The price for the frame of the mentioned steel hardtails is comparable, hence the mention. Of course the "elite complete" you refer to is a much higher spec'd bike than the hardtail reviewed here, hence the price difference. I think the price is fair if this is what you're after. If you need more money for that, I guess you have your ways. Just don't get high on your own supply.

As for the bikes you recommended, yes indeed for someone looking for a full on downhill bike, that is a much better choice. Thanks for pointing that out.
  • + 1
 @vinay: fair comment I did look at full complete elite setup so if you choose frame only and built yourself this would be similar price to bike mentioned here. If I was advising anyone with £1500 who wanted to ride bike park and downhill I'd advise them to buy second hand 2015 Scott gambler or 2014 carbon kona operator and have miles more fun
  • + 4
 I rode my Big Wig for 3000km great bike fore fast & technichal riding. Ride it moore than my full suss bikes.
Short movie
"https://youtu.be/g7KZza_rS5M"
  • + 3
 If it was in the 28lb range I would like one. Just make it out of aluminum. My 2008 size large full sus weighs in at 30.2 with tubed tires, dropper post and triple chain ring.
  • + 4
 I've just got myself a Genesis tarn 20, steel, Yari same gears but 27.5 x 2.8 tyres.
It's really nice and I got 20% off ! It shreds single track, highly recommended.
  • + 1
 Genesis. Probably the best British bike brand these days. Good move!
  • + 1
 I've built an onone deedar (also designed in the UK) wich looks nearly the same but with 27,5" wheels for 199€ frame with included FSA Headset.
Some Companies Charge ridicoulus high prices for what the sell...Like Specialized, intense or Ibis. Especially in Europe. I think there is a different in international Tax and how big the Companies wants to grow in the countries they sell theyr stuff.
  • + 1
 The seat stay, and chain stay look thin, and I don't like the seat mast extension above the plane of the top tube, or the connection at the head tube. I want to like it, but it's pretty frail looking, and the seat tubes start at 17" which is 2" too long in my opinion. I want to build my own bike so I'm not so butt hurt about other people's.
  • + 1
 My friend had a .243 racing frame as a teen, and it was close to ideal. ep3.pinkbike.org/p3pb115090/p3pb115090.jpg
  • + 3
 Seat and chainstay are thin to allow for some flex in the back end - large diameter 4130 in those areas would mean a heavy and harsh ride. We also don't know the wall thickness of the tube there - it may be quite thick, either way I am sure it is more than strong enough.
  • + 1
 they are scary skinny bit i've not noticed any actual flex in mine!
the seat tube extension means a low top tube, i personally much prefer it oer older style high top tube bikes.
as for their length, i'm actually a perfect fit on a medium, 150mm dropper with 28/29" inside leg.
I do run 165 cranks though, Mega BB drop on these!
  • + 1
 I was deciding between KONA Honzo and Explosif, and then ended up buying 2015 Explosif for half the price.... and love it, I never owned a fs bike ( i was out of biking for few years) so so buying the hardtail, was like getting back to my roots of riding a mtb, except this bike has thru axles on the front and rear, slack head and its a beast. Went to ride local trails with my buddy and his SC Bronson.... and after we made it down, he called me crazy Big Grin
  • + 1
 29ers don't jump good lol maybe I'm not as good at jumping as the armchair pros but don't think so, I have an old 29 ER hardtail not a slack modern one and I have a 275 fs fairly new angles when I jump that I don't feel like I need the toilet the twenty nine is different matter maybe I needed a go on a mega 290 or something ,oh if I was rich
  • + 5
 "A 130mm RockShox Yari RC fork delivers 130mm of travel."

No shit!
  • + 3
 i dont visit PB as much as I used too, but is the rider on the pictures Brian Lopes? if is the author @davidarthur sorry man my bad
  • + 0
 I got last year's jekyll for £1359 serviced the dyad this year £120 cos if you don't it'll f*ck up but it's got pikes SLX gears and brakes tubeless tyres and rims scwalbe evolution trails target up front pace at back know some people hate cannondale but I think its bouncy and has round wheels .good bike I think and cheaper than this one .c'mon £1750 for hard tail with yari's.wakey wakey if you want it that bad wait a year .and a bit.
  • + 5
 what?
  • + 3
 Could be my next bike that.
  • + 0
 you should buy it, I recently bought a ragley piglet steel frame it's amazing! the best bike ever owned. It looks like to ride a mini-full suspended bike on technical trails, it can hit jumps and roosting every berm, I recommend it!
  • + 2
 Check out the bird Zero first
  • + 1
 @daviebin:
I am leaving my options open, though. Cotic Solaris, Stanton Switchback and the PP Shan GT are being perused too.
29er with plus is my preference you see.
  • + 2
 stick the 27.5+ wheels on, and it'd be a near perfect bike for british riding.
  • + 1
 This one got nice looks, angles, wheels seems like a fun bike sad I'm to lazy and broken to ride hard tails in the woods...
  • + 1
 I got down marked for, what riding a cannondale or this twenty 9er being to much .happy Christmas lol
  • + 4
 Think you got down voted because nobody understood what you were trying to say
  • + 1
 4130 is good for touring bikes or commuters. It is such a dull ride. Cheap aluminum frames ride better than cheap steel.
  • + 2
 You realise 90 per cent of bmx frames are made of 4130, right?
  • + 1
 If you build a 4130 frame and expensive Reynolds frame from indentical tube diameter and thickness material it would weigh and ride exactly the same. This is one huge misconception people have about steel frames - that the more expensive material is 'springier' when its stiffness is almost identical in terms of its material properties. All more expensive steels allow for is thinner wall tubing due to increased strength - It is manipulation of tube shape and thickness that makes a frame 'dull' or 'springy' - If you designed a frame badly you could still make your expensive Reynolds tubed frame ride like crap.
  • + 1
 @Racer951: this is absolutely correct design is so important.
  • + 1
 @thenotoriousmic:
agreed too. Mechanical properties are very similar. The mix in the alloy cannot differ that greatly.
  • + 1
 Ragley are awesome. Love my Blue Pig www.pinkbike.com/photo/13064189
  • + 2
 I paid 1300 new for my blue pig. Best bike ive had , love it
  • + 1
 That bike is screaming for fatter tires. Cool "three-finger" chainstay bridge.
  • + 1
 3" in the rear never felt better.
Plus is the shit on a hardtail, made so much difference once i finally got a proper setup.
Came from a Trailblazer on a Parkwood, this was a revelation
  • + 1
 as soon as i read 29" i got stoked. this thing with those angle must be faaaaaaaaaaaaast!
  • + 1
 29ers jump bad in my experience .Maybe a slack head angle will stop all that .
  • + 1
 They're rubbish at low speed hops, and have noticeable gyroscopic effects at speed, but they will fly with aplomb if given velocity and commitment. That is basically the only thing modern geometry wagon wheel bikes don't excel at
  • + 1
 Why is there such a thing as a 130mm yari? That chassis is way to over built for 130mm of travel.
  • + 1
 A fox 34 would be optimal, but that would probably mean an even higher price. The Yari was made for OEM sales, burly fork, cheaper than a pike/lyric. Most people buying a trail/am ht would probably opt for overbuilt rather than flexy and honestly, 29ers need all the help they can get when it comes to stiffness.

I have a 27.5 130mm boost version and it's not perfect, but the extra 200gr are not really a problem. I'd rather have that than a revelation. A fox 34 would probably be best in terms of stiffness/weight, not to mention damping.
  • + 1
 @justwan-naride: I've got a revelation on the hardtail and it's more than enough to handle 140mm.
  • + 1
 Because 100 kilo riders exist. Plain and simple, that's what that fork was designed around principally, but it works really well for other stuff too.
  • + 3
 Chromag FTW
  • + 2
 Wonder how they found a set of nonuplets for that 8th picture?
  • + 2
 It is a rig
  • + 1
 "A 130mm RockShox Yari RC fork delivers 130mm of travel."
  • - 3
 I've never even heard of this brand. How do some of these companies even stay in business? There are so many of these higher end bike companies, but realistically only a very tiny segment of cyclists spend more than $500 on a bike. Us Pink Bike guys make up less than 1% of cyclists world wide.
  • + 10
 Get back under your rock!
  • + 2
 This is not a high end company. The UK has a massive thing for steel hardtails. There are loads of companies putting out well thought out frames for the £500 mark. Stanton, Cotic, Genesis, DMR, Dialled, Stiff, On One, etc. Some of those are much better than others. Some are also much much cheaper.
A lot of riders go to trail centres which are often fun but slightly dull and steel rides are perfect for them.
Funnily, a lot of these frames are designed by the same person - well Ragley, On One and Stif anyway.
As long as it rains and the ground remains gritty and shitty, there will be a market for them. I ride my Stanton Switchback more than my carbon Enduro rig
  • + 1
 @ilovedust: I wonder what Stanton, Chromag, Kona, or Canfield designers would think of the reviewer's vaguely mindless claim that the Bigwig's chainstays are short, though I might want longer ones if I were riding downhill truly rapidly on a hardtail. Short stay pro: bike changes direction quickly. Con: bike changes direction quickly! Stanton has the most unique geo of all, an oversized BMX but with slack head tube and modest reach--compare to Chromag Stylus. Something like 10cm of wheelbase difference versus Bigwig.... We won't get much from Pinkbike reviewers by way of comparison though, as these reviews are close to press releases, or companies wouldn't send the bikes out for test. With all the commercial pressure it's difficult to get considered comparisons. At least you take the trouble to mention the other makes.
  • + 1
 I know"what"
Sad but true
  • + 1
 Looks like an old Melvinstar rigid with some forks chucked on...
  • + 1
 lots of space for when that chain drops in
  • + 1
 Is that a Watership Down reference?
  • + 1
 man bike.....
  • + 1
 That S though
  • + 0
 Ragley? Sounds like RALEIGH...
  • - 2
 BOOST!!
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