7 Hardtails from Ard Rock 2021

Aug 8, 2021
by Tristan Tinn  
We had a good sniff around the pits at The Santa Cruz Ard Rock Festival, supported by Maxxis to fish out some hardtails. Six of them British!


Cotic BFE Max in Gun Metal and Copper Finished with Hope Delights

Whyte 905 V3

A not before seen Starling Roost in stainless steel



18 Bikes No9 Handmade in Sheffield UK

Pace RC627

A painted (sacrilege) Stanton Sherpa Ti - inspired by BMX M-Sport


Kona Honzo ESD





88 Comments

  • 125 2
 Ardtails
  • 17 1
 thats ardcore
  • 6 0
 Fink it frew bruv, meanest of machines! Ard as a bard
  • 48 3
 I do love a mucky hard tail but, a painted ti frame? Maaaaaaaate come on that can only have been done to troll comment sections and forums, you know the rules.
  • 16 1
 Trolling the comment section without actually engaging in the comment section is more than enough reason to paint a Ti frame. Personally I prefer the 18 bikes. Low top tube bikes are the best.
  • 15 1
 I love aligned seat stays and top tube, so 18Bikes and Kona for me.
  • 2 2
 @vinay: looks a lot like a Trillion Prime, but I don't know if you can buy those anymore.
  • 2 0
 @tremeer023: They’re sold under the Shand brand name now. Same owners.
  • 4 0
 @Tasso75: oh wow. I din't know that was a thing till you typed it. What is your zodiac?
  • 2 0
 @Tasso75: I am a firm believer in seat stay and top tubes lining up.
  • 3 0
 Not to mention it’s a ti frame equipped with SX shite from sram
  • 2 0
 @a100steaksauce: Capricorn lol
  • 2 0
 They need paint but they don't need a dropper.
  • 13 1
 As a 44 Yr old dad, who doesn't live near the mountains, has a mortgage and no freetime, I know that a Honzo with bombers up front is not for me But I'm still tempted
  • 27 0
 As a 47yo dad with a mortgage, does not live near the mountains, and gets up at 4:30am to get in my rides, my Honzo ESD frame should arrive this week.
  • 15 0
 It's for everyone. A steel hardtail with a Z1 is the people bike
  • 7 0
 As a 49 year old non-dad with no mortgage and free weekends I'm still bloody waiting for my Honzo ESD to arrive sometime next year.
  • 2 0
 @TheBrosCloset: amen brother. That's my ride. From another 44 Yr old with no mountains nearby.
  • 3 0
 As a 44 year old non parent,with no mountains ,a steel ht is da bomb. Not to mention second hand market
  • 3 0
 @Offrhodes: 30 year old dad checking in rode at 6 am this morn note quote to 430 am yet lol
  • 4 0
 As a 50 year old dad with a mortgage and no mountains it's a Pole Taival for me because the were in stock and I've been riding mine all year.
  • 2 0
 41yr old dad, two kids, typically leaves home for short blasts at 6:30AM. Steel hardtail with 120mm travel fork is perfect. If your rides are short and you're not riding just below the snowline kinda rubble, you don't need stuff that helps you preserve energy.
  • 5 0
 Cotic BFeMax is such a beast. It looks even better dirty. I've been impressed with everything I've read about Cy's philosophy and think he gets far too little credit for what they're doing in Sheffield. While I don't have nearly as much Hope on mine, I'll say it was more than worth the five month wait to get my frame and I can do more on it than I was ever able to on a previous short travel full suspension bike.
  • 7 3
 Only canadian an brittish bike brands seem to get what is needed for riding in our muddy conditions.
Clearance
Quality, easily serviceable bearings (or none)

American (californian?), German (mtb on autobahn) or French (sunny south) brands still don't seem to get this (or they are not interested).

I dont mind painting a ti frame.
  • 2 1
 Which french brands do hardtails yet ? Sunn ? Not anymore (speaking about enduro hardtails).

All I can think about are Production Privée and Commençal, which are both Andorran. Your point is valid anyway : sunny south.
  • 8 2
 Despite being american the guys at Surly know a thing or two about clearance.
  • 4 5
 What about the Canadian brand Chromag?
  • 5 0
 @brass-munky: second word in their comment dude
  • 2 0
 @vweb: You can get a hardtail from Egérie. Custom but not too expensive.
  • 2 0
 @vweb: Caminade, based near Perpignan, also sunny south.
caminade.eu/en/simpletrack-572100-21.php
  • 2 0
 @vweb: RIP Sunn Revolt.
  • 1 0
 @vweb: Commençal and Production Privée are based in Andorra but both are french.
  • 1 0
 @danstonQ: so from your point of view, Forestal being based in Andorra but owned by russian, Forestal is russian ?
  • 1 0
 Hum... none answer is OK from my point of view. Probably the best answer is "we don't care".
  • 1 0
 @danstonQ: everything but saying "yeah, you're right" hey ^^
  • 5 0
 Why isn’t there a hardtail category for EWS? Maybe make the tracks a little less burley and add some climbing sections? Seems like it would draw quite a few riders for new event classes.
  • 9 0
 Why would they make them less burly? My Rootdown and take anything my Slayer can. A proper hardtail is a monster in the right hands.
  • 2 0
 @TheBrosCloset: 100% agreed. I have ridden my Honzo exclusively for the past 3 weeks. Like you, it goes everywhere my Druid goes. If I had to only have one bike in the quiver, it would be my Honzo.
  • 1 0
 @TheBrosCloset: well said
  • 5 1
 If you want less burley tracks and more climbing sections just enter XC races.
  • 1 0
 Barely missed the podium at the last Rockhopper Enduro (40-50 y.o.) on my 1st gen Chromag Rootdown in a field of Nomads, Enduros, Hightowers and Yeti SBs. A guy with an NS hardtail took the win in the 30-40 y.o. category.
  • 6 0
 As a hardtail rider.... I approve of this content.
  • 4 0
 No Stooge Cycles seen? But you should run into Tamarin‘s purple Stooge - please meet and greet and post this wicked rigid enduro sled. Thx!
  • 2 0
 he only came 2nd this year! Mental.
  • 3 1
 1. I would totally have the 18 bikes No.9 - it looks awesome. The stainless Starling too - lovely bike!

2. I’m glad I didn’t get into the Ard Rock. It’s lashing down here.
  • 5 2
 Why on earth would you paint a Ti frame?!?

I've got a Shepra Ti and it's so beautiful in raw I can't comprehend the idea that you'd ever consider painting it.
  • 6 1
 "BMX" M Sport
  • 2 1
 @timbud: took me a while to figure that one out
  • 1 0
 @blackthorne: It took me a while too. That is one subtle paint scheme for a tribute.
  • 5 1
 Got any more shots of the chainstay/BB/seat tube junction on that Starling? Looks interesting?
  • 2 0
 Got a whyte 905 v4 on order. Bit of a dark horse, I’ve had the 901 for a few years and it’s a far more capable bike than I could ever imagine! Plus it’s possibly the only sub £2k bike up there
  • 4 0
 Nobody giving any love to the Cotic? I've got a BFEMax with a Manitou Mezzer Pro on it that CRUSHES
  • 5 1
 Starling Roost looks proper. Won the hardtail category too!
  • 4 2
 The Pace gets my vote. Bloody Nice! Clean simple effective lines though, I'd want the cables away from the mud trap underside.
  • 2 1
 Switching up plans for my Sunday ride after reading this - even though it is supposedly the middle of summer, going to hit some muddy trails on my hardtail (Orange Clockwork Evo)!
  • 3 1
 I recently changed jobs so I could get my weekends back, and its rained almost every single one.
Think I'll ask if I can go back. My weekdays off were never as wet (iirc lol )

And buy a hardtail so I don't have to give shit
  • 1 0
 @timbud: Are linkages and rear shocks such a hassle to keep going in wet conditions? It thought it always were the drivetrain parts that receive most wear (and maybe brake pads, depending on how and where you ride).

Either way, I wouldn't mind to live in a miserable cold and wet place where it is ok to ride in the wet instead of a place where it is wet 25% of the time and it is immoral to ride then because of trail erosion.
  • 2 0
 @timbud: Since when did UK riders not ride in rain and mud?

Has to be something pretty bad for me not to have my Sunday ride.
  • 1 0
 @Allen82: No one said that!
I only commented that since i got my weekends back, they’ve been wetter than I remember.

@vinay the more parts you have the more maintenance you have to do. Regardless of whether its drivetrain or suspension
  • 4 0
 Either everyone else is over forked, or that Stanton owner has skills.
  • 4 1
 what happened to all the pedals?
  • 6 5
 probably demo bikes, they all raced on 29" high pivot bikes, it´t 2021 so on what else could someone have fun on that the latest high pivot bikes? The Hardtail is dead! I'm off, takin my gravel bike for a ride...
  • 5 1
 Unable to find any to buy, so resorted to just using cable ties to attach the feet to the crank arms
  • 2 0
 Cable routing on the roost looks like it’s been overlooked. Sharp bends and bad lines. Too bad looks sweet otherwise
  • 2 0
 Forgot to mention - prototype cable routing, will be amended on the final version
  • 2 0
 @tris400d: fingers crossed it ends up going up the seat stays and under the top tube, always the neatest way and keeps the gear cable up away from the shite
  • 1 0
 Rode a Cannondale Cujo at Whistler Friday. Wide bars and Pikes on it. Had to keep up to my fast friend on a Demo 29r. Did it all day successfully!
  • 3 1
 Starling Roost, what a beauty!
  • 1 0
 Is anyone else bothered by the big bend in the brake hose out of the Magura caliper?
  • 1 0
 I'm pretty sure it is to clear the brake rotor. I have a bike that requires a loop because of tight clearance at the seatstay.
  • 2 1
 Ah, yeah, where can I get my hands on one of those Starling Roost frames?
  • 2 1
 Need more info on the Starling!
  • 7 1
 Coming soon, Joe didn't want to let any more out just yet
  • 2 1
 @tris400d: interesting chainstay / bb junction.
  • 1 0
 18 Bikes No9 is pure foopiness. Love it
  • 1 0
 Beautiful bikes, but I will stick with my Marino custom frame. Smile
  • 1 0
 Where's the BTR's? The hardest of hardcore hardtails
  • 1 0
 What about the Kingdom Vendetta, I mean seriously
  • 2 1
 18bikes, what a stunner
  • 2 2
 Moxie Mx3. 150 Pike on mix wheel setup.. ALL DAY!
  • 1 0
 looks like a session
  • 1 1
 That Kona is gonna be hard to ride
  • 3 0
 @dkendy1: Why do you say that? That bike is a great all round hardtail. A few people I know have them, and rip on them in a variety of terrain. Everything from new school flowy bermy stuff, to double black old school jank. The adjustable dropouts add to its versatility. Kona's geo is always spot on. The ESD is no exception.
  • 1 1
 Sherpa, nice name !
  • 2 3
 Inspired by BMX!
  • 1 0
 Back in ‘89 was BMXing and saw a Rocky Mountain with a sloping top tube and immediately got an mtb!
  • 1 0
 Pretty sure they meant inspired by BMW M-Sport because those are the colors of the M-Sport logo.

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