Spot Launches New Hardtail That Can be Run With a Belt Drive Singlespeed or Geared

Aug 4, 2020
by James Smurthwaite  

Hot on the heels of its new Mayhem 130 and 150 trail bikes, Spot has today announced a purist's dream with its new hardtail.

The Rocker hardtail takes Spot back to its roots and is designed for "fast and light XC hot laps" or "long adventures deep into the mountains". There's a standard geared spec of this bike but the one that caught our eye was the singlespeed that comes as stock with a limited edition red Gates carbon belt drive. The bike is also modular so it can be switched between the two setups as the rider desires.


Although this frame may be a bit of a throwback, there are plenty of modern touches here too. These include the option to run 29 or 27.5+ wheels, downcountry geometry, and dropper posts on all builds. Spot CEO, Andrew Lumpkin, said: "Hardtail riding and singlespeeding are where many of us found our love for mountain biking. We decided to re-launch our beloved Rockers in carbon to amplify and modernize the pure and simple qualities we love about hardtailing.”
Details

Frame: Carbon
Gearing: Gates drive SS or 12 speed
Wheelsize: 29 or 27.5+
Travel: 100 - 130mm fork recommended
Head Tube Angle: 67°
Seat Tube Angle: 75.5°
Sizes: S, M, L, XL
Frame Weight: From 2.8lbs
Price: From $3,299 USD
More info: spotbikes.com


The frame itself is carbon throughout the range with weights starting at 2.8lbs for a small. The frame also features modular dropouts that include a split chainstay to allow for the fitment of the belt drive. The dropout is also adjustable so that the belt drive or chain can be properly tensioned.

Geometry-wise, the Rocker is on the more progressive side of things when you consider its primary function is as a bike to cover ground quickly. Yes, it's 67° head angle isn't going to do it much good on Trespasser but compare it to some the bikes in our XC Field Test and it's on par with modern cross country and downcountry bikes. This is combined with a 75.5° seat tube angle and reach numbers that top out at 500mm for a modern XC bike. It's worth noting that these numbers are measured with the bike unsagged so will be steeper when you're actually on the bike.

a 31.6mm seat tube allows for internally routed droppers.


There's plenty of adjustment on the dropouts to accommodate the many guises of the Rocker.

Including the options to run a traditional hanger and derailleur set up.

There are 3 builds of the single speed version available with prices starting at $3,299 and weights and 19.7lbs for full builds then a further 4 builds of geared versions of the bike starting at $3,499 and 21.3lbs. The bikes are available for pre-order now with the first deliveries coming in October. From Jan 1, 2020, all Spot bikes and frames offer a lifetime warranty.


85 Comments

  • 59 3
 Bravo Spot, I'm stoked for this new rocker. A few things I love:
- companies still considering singlespeeders (I now ride singlespeed 90% of the time)
- external brake routing! THANK YOU!
- not having to retention chains/belts when you remove the rear wheel
- nice, roomy front triangle
  • 98 20
 I have heard, but can't confirm, that the only reason people ride single speed is to be able to say "I ride a singlespeed". Anyone have additional insight?
  • 34 3
 @Chadimac22: Some people think the same thing about hardtails. Don't knock it 'til ya try it.

To me, SS makes riding more exciting. I REALLY enjoy it. I like the simplicity. I like the challenge. I like the workout. It makes me feel like a kid again on my bike. SS is not the right choice for all trails or locations, but I have 200+ miles of local singletrack out my front door, and the SS can ride it all.

I let me buddy borrow my SS for a ride last week and he said "Why did I waste my money on a $3k full suspension when I could have ridden a SS hardtail and had even more fun."

It's not for everyone, and I'm not here to convince you that it's better, but don't knock it 'till you try it a few times. My geared bikes get ridden about once every two weeks. My SS bikes get ridden 5x a week.
  • 13 23
flag Altron5000 (Aug 4, 2020 at 14:37) (Below Threshold)
 @Chadimac22: That’s the main reason obviously...it’s also a helpful excuse when your friends with gears are able to (a) go faster than you or (b) pedal up things you can’t, at this point it’s your friends‘ fault for choosing a terrible route.
  • 16 3
 @Altron5000: Where I live, the SS riders smoke the geared riders. I suck at both, so I'm not fast regardless. A lot of the local KOMs where I ride were made on SS bikes.
  • 6 0
 @hardtailparty: touché mon frère! I can totally see the appeal if the trails are right. Horses for courses, and if in doubt have more than one horse!
  • 5 0
 @hardtailparty: hey, lovin your channel man. Especially the SS content.
  • 2 0
 @SilasLoki: Thanks Silas. More coming soon...
  • 5 0
 @Chadimac22: That's because they realise first hand how great Singlespeeds are, how counterintuitive that is given all the marketing for more complex and exotic bikes, and are trying to share the love.
  • 11 0
 @Chadimac22: Single speeders gets off more.
  • 4 0
 @hardtailparty: Love the videos, man. I live in Houston, TX and have been riding for about 10 years. I’ve owned 5 mountain bikes and 3 have been hardtails (including the latest gen Cotic Soul). I’ve got a Kingdom Vendetta with sliders on the way and it will be my first single speed ever! I’m super excited and I’m enjoying the SS content you’ve put out recently. Love the analytical perspective and keep up the good work.
  • 2 0
 @Russ86: congrats on the killer bike. I've always been curious how a vendetta rode. Have a blast with singlespeed. Give it 3-4 rides before you judge it. It's amazing how fast your fitness improves in a few rides. Im now riding faster than ever, up and down. It's a blast.
  • 3 0
 Nice. What tooth count / gear ratio are you running?

Having a BMX background I tried gears and full suspension but have recently gone to single speed for the simplicity. Less to think about and worry about bending or cleaning as much.
  • 2 0
 @Chadimac22: some places don’t require gears, southeast riding for example, and probably a fair bit in the Midwest.

I never ran gears when I lived in East TN, single speed 29er and muni.

Now I live in the Eastern Sierras, where climbing for days is the standard, so I run gears and full suspension.
  • 1 0
 @hardtailparty: it’s a real problem for those of us who may find ourselves on singlespeeds and not be amazing riders.

When I “got back into biking” a decade or so ago, I did it on a single speed. It was a great way to get back into the sport, maintenance was simple and it forced me to be a better rider. But, every time I’d go on a group ride, every time we’d get to the first hard climb everyone would be like, “Make way for the single speeders!”

Then the truth would come out.

I miss that bike though.
  • 3 0
 @Chadimac22: my hardtail has been singlespeed since January because I snapped my mech off and have been waiting for a hanger.

My additional insight is that it's rubbish. In Scotland it means I have to pick and choose my routes- I can't go the most obvious way up many of our steeper hills. I have to leave my riding partners behind on certain gradients and while they soon away having a nice chat I am bursting my lungs out on my own up the trail just to keep pedalling. The alternative is I walk and get left behind.

I used to ride SS a lot when I was a teenager riding alone but it's not a fun way to ride normally.
  • 1 0
 @Chadimac22: I grew up riding bmx and got into mtb in my early 20's. Had various mtb's (suss and ht) over the years and have always flipped between ss and geared (had both for a long time). I now ride a ss ht for everything as I don't tend to travel more than an hour to ride these days and it's flat and smooth where I live. Plus, it makes me feel like a teenager again.
Also, not to be a dick or anything but I took great pleasure in overtaking 2 e-bikers on a climb at the weekend :-)
  • 1 0
 @Chadimac22 I live in Florida
  • 1 0
 @atourgates: You bring up some great points. Singlespeeding isn't great for new riders. In fact, it'd be downright frustrating. You need a certain level of bike handling skill, line choice, reading the trail, and fitness to be able to get the most out of singlespeeding. It's an intense workout, not a relaxing spin. Depending on terrain, you have to carry more speed through the climbs. No sitting and spinning. For me, I love it, but I'm glad I have a geared bike too for when I'm riding out of town or on rides with crazy amounts of elevation.

Singlepseeding also sucks if you're the only singlespeed in the group and everyone else is on gears. If you can ride with even one or two other singlespeeders, it makes it a lot more fun. Luckily, 5 of our 15 local riders that I ride with opt for singlespeeds, and we all hang together on rides. We're able to ride with the geared group for 90% of the ride, but on the climbs (the other 10%) we sprint ahead to attack the climbs with momentum while they spin up.

For solo rides, I always grab the SS.
  • 25 1
 Hold my Yeti
  • 7 0
 It's funny, where are all the "dentist" comments, this is more expensive for just the frame than the Yeti Arc
  • 17 0
 @bsavery: They're all still about 3-4 hardtail press releases back battling it out in the comments.
  • 7 0
 Yetis are for the lower order dentists and lawyers. Spots are for partners and tech start up CTOs.
  • 4 0
 You NEED a carbon hardtail. You NEED a carbon hardtail. You NEED a carbon hardtail. Obey.
  • 2 0
 @Altron5000: I think you are going to need inception for that one. Idk if hypnotism is going to cut it
  • 1 0
 @DaFreerider44: An idea is like a virus. Resilient. Highly contagious. And even the smallest seed of an idea can grow. It can grow to define or destroy you.
  • 3 0
 @bsavery: 3299 is the starting price for a complete. They don't have the frame only price listed in this article, it's $1,999.
  • 2 0
 @bsavery: everyone knows that a $5k yeti costs way more and is way more elitist than a $5k Spot.
  • 2 0
 @matmattmatthew: ARC frame price is $1900.
  • 2 0
 @bsavery: dentists don’t ride single speed, come in now, that’s just not enough bling to attract the eye Wink
  • 9 0
 Their 360* visualizer tool on their website is pretty trick. I was curious if it had water bottle bolts on the downtube, and I played around with that tool. Super cool to see it from all angles.
  • 4 0
 So... does it..?
  • 8 0
 It’s a Spot hardtail. Of course it takes a belt drive - it would be strange if it didn’t. Am I crazy here?
  • 6 0
 Ya belt drive and Spot are synonymous to me but I'm apparently behind the times because I also associated steel and Ti hardtails with Spot and they don't seem to make any anymore. I remember back in the late 2000s when Boulder/Golden was overrun with belt driven steel and ti Spots. The times they are a changin.
  • 6 0
 @freestyIAM: now it's sb130 riders dragging the brakes down every descent in town.
  • 3 0
 What are y'alls opinions on the gates belt drive? I had one, and when it was working, it was fantastic, but I think mine was worn out and I kept dropping the belt no matter what tension I was using. Too expensive to replace so I switched to a chain. Plus it munched my OEM singlespeed freehub with the tension.
  • 3 1
 I have one. Benefit: being able to ride it in the winter, wearing trousers. Against: feels pretty draggy, pretty pricey, lack of spare part availability. I wouldn't consider it for anything other than a commuter
  • 4 0
 Do they require bigger cogs? I'm wondering why they aren't closer to traditional gears (32t front, for example). Do tight bends wear them out more?

I'm not going to lie, the idea of no greasy chain is super appeling.
  • 2 0
 @hardtailparty: I ride the steel Rocker with the belt drive. I love it. Tension has be right and alignment spot on (no pun intended) or it would squeek a little, but overall would do it again.
  • 2 0
 @hardtailparty: tight bends would cause more strain on the belt as you guessed.
  • 2 0
 @jkinchsular: Awesome, thanks for the feedback. I can't wait to try one.
  • 3 0
 I rode a Spot Honey Badger for a few years w/ the Belt. Overall it worked well and lasted a long time. It did need to be adjusted from time to time, and once in a while it would develop a squeak that silicone spray solved... but compared to a chain it was lower maintenance and very smooth / quiet. I ran a DT 350 hub and had zero issues with wear.
  • 1 0
 Belt drives are great for bikes that don't get ridden much. I'm not being snarky - ex wife had one on a bike she rode perhaps 1-2x/year. Belts don't need grease, don't rust etc. That belt drive is still going strong after like a decade.
  • 3 0
 Curious - If I shift my geared bike with a 32 front ring to a rear cog of 18 (so 32x18, a fairly typical SS gearing... and simply don't shift - do I have a SS? Seems I could ride a few laps like this and it would be same-same as a SS?
Just kidding - I have the Spot Ryve and it is the best handling MTB I have had in 25 years of riding. I would be interested in this Rocker - just don't know enough about belt drive in the real world... thought it was quieter but comments here suggest the opposite.
  • 4 0
 I had a spot singlespeed years ago, but I can’t justify spending $3200 on a hardtail at this point in time. Beautiful bikes!
  • 2 0
 Nice to see a great 'race worthy' SS with modern Geo and a light carbon frame. I owned a Spot Honey Badger for a few years, and it was a great bike. It's kind of sad to see no more Steel option in Spot's lineup, but this bike looks rad.

For the SS doubters here - if you live in an area with hills / small mountains with lots of blue and blue/black trails, a SS can be the most fun you will have on a mountain bike. I'm in NW Arkansas, and the majority of our XC trails are perfect for SS riding.
  • 1 0
 Just to make the head tube angle number a bit more useful, it is base on a 530mm axle-to-crown (or an unsaged 120mm 29 fork, like the complete builds). Info is a bit buried on their website.

Nice bike though, happy to see more manufacturers see the merit of a carbon trail hardtail. Such versatile bikes.
  • 1 0
 I have been searching for a solid (not heavy) HT SS with this ego for some time. Is it available as a frame kit only, or no? And if not, what would be a good equivalent these days? I would like to build the frame up myself, with the stuff I like on it...
  • 4 0
 2020 - Year of the Hardtail. So fitting.
  • 4 0
 Man I miss riding singly. So good.
  • 3 0
 Looks sweet, Hardtail rule!
  • 3 0
 how do belt driven bikes hold up in wet and muddy conditions?
  • 3 0
 I had one, it performed equally well in wet and dry, but made a good amount of noise when it got muddy.
  • 4 0
 That S looks like a G.
  • 3 0
 This looks more like a new ARC than the new ARC
  • 3 2
 What's up with Pinkbike? The Specialized Status seems to be more or less officially launched and Kona has the Process X and new Honzo online, yet no press here?
  • 2 3
 Status has been out for a week or so.
Process X looks interesting, but the Honzo ESD is absurd. Geo and price of a Chromag but... its not a Chromag - so why buy it? I mean when you're trying to sell a Asian welded steel frame for the same price as the new Yeti, you gotta ask questions (also looking at you Norco...)
  • 2 0
 @ratedgg13: completely neutral comment on my part, just find it odd that these releases haven't been mentioned by Pinkbike
  • 5 0
 @ratedgg13:

Umm complete Honzo is 2600 k.

Yeti ARC is 3k for frame.

Honzo has sliding drop outs, if you single speed Chromamag is a non starter.
  • 2 0
 @JoshMatta: Honzo ESD (steel) not the regular Honzo.
  • 3 0
 @ratedgg13: Not to mention half of Chromag's frames are made in asia as well. I think Kona is going to sell a boatload of those ESDs. I'd love to try one out.
  • 1 2
 @hardtailparty: Sure, but the new ESD is basically an Asia made shorter travel doctahawk (made in Canada) for a few hundred cheaper. Also - 63 degree HTA on a hardtail is absurd.
  • 2 3
 who cares?
  • 2 0
 @ratedgg13:

ESD has sliding drop outs as well....Its $2600 complete, DL is $2300 complete both have sliders.
  • 4 0
 @ratedgg13: why is a 63° HA absurd on a hardtail?
At most, hardtails need slacker static HAs than equivalent FSs to achieve a similar dynamic geometry
  • 5 0
 @ratedgg13: I see this as completely different from a Doctahawk. The Doctahawk has a 63* hta with a 180mm fork. 180mm is insane for a hardtail, but there are parts of BC where I suppose it could be pushed to that limit. The Kona has a 63* hta with a 150mm fork. There's a huge difference between a 180 and 150mm fork on a hardtail. I'd love to try a 130mm fork on the Kona. 64* hta, and more usable travel for where I live.

A complete Kona ESD is $1000 cheaper than the cheapest DoctaHawk. That's a significant price difference. $2700 for a hardcore hardtail specced like that is really great. It fits in a lot of people's budgets.

The ESD has sliding dropouts. This isn't needed for lots of people, but I sure appreciate it. If you singlespeed, that's a game-changer.

Kona's dealer network is far more extensive than Chromag's. I've got nothing against chromag, they make beautiful bikes. But this bike is a welcome addition in the hardtail world. It's going to make aggressive hardtails more available to a bigger group of people. That's always a good thing.

Chromag makes beautiful bikes, but atitude that chromags are the only hardtails worth owning is all too prevalant here.
  • 2 0
 @hardtailparty: I had really hoped for more from the new Honzo. I'm in the market for a new hardtail, but not a hardcore style. Just a nice trail ht to supplement my enduro bike. Modern trail hardtails with good build kits are hard to find these days (at least in Canada) - I was thinking of the old Spot Rocker but don't fancy throwing down for a carbon frame, and getting an Esker Hayduke in Canada is a pain.
  • 2 0
 @ratedgg13: check out the Canfield nimble 9 or aluminum chameleon. I also love the banshee paradox, but it's a frame only.
  • 2 0
 @JoshMatta: Yeti ARC frameset is $1900.
  • 1 0
 @ratedgg13: no love for the new non esd steel honzo? 66 hta 75.5sta if i remember correctly. 66.5 if paired with a 130 fork. they said they reworked the rear end to add a little more compliance - could be a solid option for ya!
  • 1 0
 @frigofff: not so much. Not sure about pricing elsewhere but I can get a Specialized Fuse for $500 less and a much better build kit or wait for my LBS to order in an orbea Lauffey which is even better still. The days of kona having well priced bikes sure seems to be over.
  • 1 0
 @hardtailparty: with a 67 HTA this would not be considered an aggro hardtail correct?
  • 1 0
 @Rponticelli: Spot's marketing material says it's " the ultimate no-nonsense grab-and-go bike for after-work fitness rides or weekend races." When they say weekend races, they mean XC races. I would classify this as a marathon, xc, trail bike. This isn't what I would classify as an "aggro" hardtail, whatever that means. 67* is pretty on-par for xc/trail hardtails these days. That said, the Spot Ryve I rode had a 67* hta, and it never felt twitchy or sketchy. If you're looking for an aggro hardtail, I wouldn't look for a lightweight carbon frame.
  • 1 0
 @ratedgg13: Don't feel bad. I live in the U.S. and was on a waiting list almost six months waiting for my Hayduke to become available. They finally shipped one last week. Woohoo!
  • 3 0
 I have the steel version of this bike. It's badass and my favorite bike.
  • 1 0
 Is 27.5+ the same as 650b?
  • 6 0
 The bead seat diameter is the same. The "+" typically indicates that the tire width is wider than 2.6"
  • 4 4
 Damn- came looking for belt driven multi speed drivetrain. Disappointed by another misleading title.
  • 1 0
 Anyone remember the Jericho "Red October"?
  • 2 0
 Beautiful bike
  • 1 0
 It's beautiful, but damn quite the pricetag!
  • 3 3
 Or you could buy my xtc
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