Review: 2019 Swarf Contour 29 - A Hard-Charging Short Travel Fully

May 6, 2019
by David Arthur  

I’m not sure whether you can call something a resurgence if it never went away in the first place, but one thing is clear, steel mountain bikes are a viable alternative to carbon and aluminum, and here in the UK there’s a thriving band of small bike brands working with the material.

Nestled in the beautiful Tweed Valley is Swarf Cycles, run by ex-aerospace design engineer Adrian Bedford. He started building his own bikes in 2011, and after a few years making a name for himself with custom steel hardtails turned his attention to a full-suspension bike perfectly suited to UK riding. The Contour 29er was born.

Contour Swarf 29er Details
Intended use: XC/trail
Travel: 115mm rear / 130mm front
Wheel size: 29"
Frame construction: Reynolds 853
Head angle: 66.5º
Sizes: S, M, L, XL
Weight: 32 lbs / 14.5 kg (size large, without pedals)
Price: £1,950 UK frame only
More info:
The Contour 29er frame is made from Reynolds 853 tubing, has a linkage driven single pivot suspension providing 115mm matched to 130mm up front, and obviously rolls on 29in wheels. Swarf only provides frames, so for this test Adrian kindly loaned me his personal bike, a size large which fit me perfectly. Frames are made to order and cost £1,950 with a RockShox Monarch RT shock, or £2,150 with the Cane Creek DBairIL, with a choice of four sizes and three colours.

Unfortunately, the company says it’s unable to ship to the US and Canada due to insurance reasons, but it is something it is working to change so watch this space!

bigquotesSimply put, anytime the trail pitches down the Swarf 29er rolls up its sleeves and shows you how a hard-charging short travel steel frame can operate on technical trails. Perfect." David Arthur


Swarf Contour 29er

Construction and Features

Looks are subjective, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say the Contour is a bloody good looking bike. I’m a sucker for a steel frame, which probably helps; there's something about the simplicity and skinniness of the steel tubes, and I always like a straight line from the dropout to the head tube through the rear stays and top tube. It just looks right. It’s well proportioned and elegant to my eyes.

The level of workmanship is very high, the frame is extraordinarily nicely made and packed with lovely details, showing a clear passion by Adrian for producing the finest possible product. The frame is TIG-welded, using Reynolds 853 for the down tube and top tube, and Reynolds 631 for the head tube and seat tube, while Dedacciai 25CrMo4 and 4130 CrMo plain gauge tubing are used for the chainstays and seatstays. The main pivot and linkage are made from aluminum and all the pivot hardware is stainless steel with 5mm hex bolts.

Swarf Contour 29er
Oh so very neat.
Swarf Contour 29er
Minimalist dropouts.

Steel is of course known for its natural flex, which is one of the reasons why it’s still a popular choice for making bikes in the face of lighter and stiffer alternatives. Swarf has utilised this flex in the seat stays, flattened slightly along their length, to allow a small degree of vertical flex which eradicates the necessity for a dropout pivot, thus saving weight, cost and complexity.

There are lots of sensible details. The bottom bracket is threaded and all cable routing is external apart from the stealth dropper port. The 44mm head tube is reinforced and the seat tube slot faces forward to minimize the ingress of mud. The rear dropout on this test bike is old-school 142x12mm, but production bikes will feature the wider 148x12mm Boost configuration, and there’s clearance for a 2.5” tire. The IS brake mount accommodates up to a 180mm disc rotor and up front, it’s designed around 1x only with a 32 or 34t chainring recommended. Frame weight is a claimed 3.2kg (7.0lb) without a shock.

And most importantly of all in this era of hydration pack less riding, there’s space for one water bottle inside the main triangle.

Swarf Contour 29er
Skinny steel tubes and aluminum linkage.
Swarf Contour 29er
Quality tubing.

Geometry & Sizing

Swarf GEO

Progressive is the overused buzzword when it comes to describing geometry on mountain bikes these days, and the Swarf 29er certainly has modern numbers without being outlandish. The size large tested has a reach of 465mm, a 66.5-degree head angle with a 130mm fork and the effective seat angle is 75.43-degrees on this size large. Chainstays are 445mm across the four sizes, wheelbase is 1220mm and bottom bracket drop is 41mm. The deliberately short seat tube means you could size up if you wanted.

Swarf Contour 29er
Simple but effective suspension design

Suspension Design

The Swarf 29er uses a link-driven shock single pivot suspension design, with flex seatstays in place of a small pivot out near the dropout. It’s been two years in development and it really shows; it’s extremely nicely packaged, with the horizontally mounted shock and compact aluminum linkage and neatly bent seat tube. It provides a progressive leverage ratio to make the most of the 115mm rear wheel travel, which also makes it possible to run a coil shock if you prefer.

Test Bike Setup

It didn’t take me long to get the bike dialled to my liking, with the stock settings as supplied by Adrian not requiring any major changes. There’s good support on the Cane Creek website and app, and with 30% sag the rear suspension felt stable and composed without excessive bob on pedalling sections, and delivered a smooth performance throughout.

The Double Barrel shock does provide plenty of tuning options which can appear pretty intimidating at first, but provided you make small changes at a time, you can easily get a good setup that works well for you. The climb switch is useful for longer grinds, but I rarely used it for anything other than long fire road climbs.

Swarf Contour 29er
David Arthur // Technical Editor
Age: 37
Location: Gloucestershire, UK
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 144 lbs
Industry affiliations / sponsors: None
Instagram: @davidjarthur

Swarf Contour 29er


The most obvious downside with the Contour’s choice of steel tubing is the weight. Steel is never going to be as light as aluminum or carbon, but at 32lb it’s comparable to the similarly specced Cotic FlareMAX I tested last year. As with that bike, you notice the weight when you lift it off the car rack or over a gate, and it doesn’t speed up climbs with the same verve as lighter bikes, but it’s no slouch, and once you’re rolling it carries its weight very well. Maintaining momentum is key here, rather than the point-and-squirt nature of some lighter bikes. It's worth mentioning that the supplied demo bike has quite a sturdy build, so weight could be saved if you built it up with a lighter set of parts for a bit more focus on climbing efficiency.

When it comes to going up, the very stable suspension helps progress hugely. There's enough anti-squat to ensure that the shock isn't heavily influenced by manic pedalling or excessive body movements, and it remained composed on long climbs. The climb switch on the shock is useful just for firming it up a bit more. On nadgery climbs with lots of step-ups and obstacles, the geometry and suspension come together nicely to ensure you can weave the bike through, over and around technical hurdles.

You do feel the weight start to work against you when you’re heart rate is getting up into the upper echelons of your capabilities, and you’re never going to keep up with your mate on a carbon race bike (I tried; I failed) but adopt a more relaxed climbing approach and the Swarf is more in its element. On undulating trails the Swarf allows you to make speedy progress with a good deal of agility for twisting through tree-lined trails. There’s no issue getting the big wheels around tight bends and switchbacks, it’s pleasantly easy to maneuver and shuffle along a twisting trail.

Over rough ground, the Swarf feels a little more forgiving than some super stiff carbon bikes with a similar amount of travel that I’ve ridden, which I put down to that small amount of flex in the frame. I had to be careful of pedal strikes on some trails with exposed roots and pointy rocks but it never became a major issue.

Swarf Contour 29er


It’s a good time to be in the market for a short travel bike as there are some really good choices, and the Contour is a shining example of a bike that is hugely entertaining and highly capable for trail riding and bossing the descents. It’s a proper little trail ripper that isn’t fazed on the sort of technical terrain where you might imagine or expect a 115mm bike to struggle.

The stance and shape of the bike give you bags of control, and the suspension is well controlled and nicely progressive for muscling down the techiest trails and over the biggest rocks you can muster the courage to tackle. The geometry isn’t super slack, but I reckon it’s right on the money for a short travel bike. The numbers give a superb level of nimbleness, it’s easy to shift the bike about the trail and manual the front wheel over ruts and lumps.

Proving that you should never judge a bike by the amount of travel it packs, the Swarf 29er is thoroughly capable any time you’ve got gravity on your side. It constantly blew away my expectations, proving to be hugely adept at dealing with any sort of terrain from wild and hairy to smooth and flowy. While it doesn’t quite hoover up bigger trail obstacles in the way a long travel bike does, it isn’t bucked easily off line and the balance provided by the geometry lets you take on the rough. The suspension provides good support throughout its stroke, never bottomed out harshly and was always ready for the next big impact. There’s also something about the inherent flex in the frame that provides another layer of damping feel when smashing into root gardens, yet without every feeling waywardly noodly and vague.

Simply put, anytime the trail pitches down the Swarf 29er rolls up its sleeves and shows you how a hard-charging short travel steel frame can operate on technical trails. It’s a really good match for typical UK trails as well, no surprise given this is a bike born on these trails. I enjoyed how nimble the Swarf felt at speed, with an easy-handling manner that just made it really good fun to ride on your fave singletrack. It’s a case of just enough suspension, just the right geometry numbers, just the right side of not too heavy, to come together to create a bike you simply don’t want to stop riding. Not all bikes put a smile on your face but the Swarf did every time.

Swarf Contour 29er

bigquotesDon't judge a bike by its travel, the Swarf is more than capable in the rough. David Arthur

Cotic Flaremax
Cotic FlareMAX
Starling Murmur Review Hero image
Starling Mumur 29”

How does it compare?

“Steel is real” is the oft-overused quote when talking about steel bikes. On the evidence put forward by the likes of the Cotic FlareMAX I tested last year and the Swarf Contour 29er, and a whole host of other small bike makers, the future of steel never looked so bright. Granted, it’ll never end up on top when it comes to matters like weight, but on all over fronts there’s a lot to like. We’re not all obsessed by weight, right?

Comparisons to the Cotic FlareMAX seem obvious and fitting since I’ve ridden both. They’re both designed around 29” wheels, have a steel frame with around 115-120mm rear wheel travel and sport contemporary trail bike geometry.

The Swarf gets an extra bonus point straightaway for easily accommodating a water bottle - it’s a bit tight on the Cotic. But what about the handling and performance? The Swarf feels the better all-rounder with a more efficient suspension that benefits climbing, despite their similar weight. Get onto a choppy descent and the longer Cotic edges ahead with more sheer speed potential and noticeably more stable. The Swarf is that bit more nimble though and is more fun through flatter turns.

They are both incredibly close, however; don’t ask me to choose one over the other because, to be honest with you, I can’t decide. No bike is an XC whippet but the Cotic sits closer to DH fun.

Swarf Contour 29er
Swarf Contour 29er

Technical Report

Cane Creek DB Air IL shock: I’ve spent quite a lot of time on this shock this year and have grown to really like its wide range of customisation and relatively easy setup, once you get your head around the dials. The climb switch is less useful due to how efficient this bike is, so I rarely needed it even on the draggiest climbs.

Shimano SLX gears and brakes: The trickle-down effect has really benefited cheaper groupsets and the SLX setup works a treat, you get most of the tech of higher-end groupset with a lower price tag. Crisp gear changes, solid brakes and good reliability sum up SLX. It’s only outclassed when it comes to the gear range offered by SRAM’s GX.

Maxxis Minion DHR/DHF tires: I think we can all agree the Minion is a top-class tire so I was delighted when I pulled the Swarf out of its box to see this tire combo fitted. Stacks of grip in most conditions and letting you fully exploit the potential of the bike, what’s not to like?


+ Looks great.
+ Modern geometry.
+ Stable and progressive suspension.

- Heavy.
- Low bottom bracket can lead to extra pedal strikes
- Not available in US or Canada yet

Is this the bike for you?

If you crave a solid and stable short travel bike that can rip with the best of them on any technical trail, and love the idea of a steel frame because, well, it’s a really nice alternative to the more mainstream choices, then the Swarf is easy to recommend. It’ll help if you’re not overly fussed about weight and the idea of buying from an independent frame builder doing it for the passion of building bikes rather than chasing commercial sales targets.

Pinkbike's Take
bigquotesA really classy steel frame packed with lovely details and sporting modern geometry and tightly focused suspension, the Swarf shines as a really good all-rounder that is more than able of keeping up on technical trails. It might not win the race to the summit, but everywhere else it’s a real hoot. David Arthur

Author Info:
davidarthur avatar

Member since Apr 12, 2015
73 articles

  • 164 12
 I think it's time that Pinkbike should update with the international system and add the weights in kilograms.
  • 67 7
 I think the time for that was their first ever bike review
  • 21 2
 Thank you for keeping external cables
  • 2 2
  • 19 57
flag vinay (May 6, 2019 at 2:17) (Below Threshold)
 Really, how hard is it to read and understand weights in the imperial system? Just do the conversion for yourself and soon enough you develop a feel for the imperial system too. Just like you don't need to have Pinkbike translated to Flemmish, French or German. I still measure air pressure in bar but just doing an approximate of 30psi=2bar goes a long way. But accepting psi but moaning about pounds and inches comes across as a bit odd.
  • 30 1
 @vinay: I for one can't be f*cked, Just put both ...Canada uses the Metric System officially! (Insert Deity of choice) gave us 10 fingers FOR A REASON!
  • 10 0
 @vinay: I don't want to accept psi but I kind of have to:
  • 7 32
flag fartymarty (May 6, 2019 at 3:16) (Below Threshold)
 @vinay: exactly. Some things just work better in imperial. Weight and psi are good examples.
  • 8 25
flag vinay (May 6, 2019 at 3:20) (Below Threshold)
 @Worm-Burner: I do realize Pinkbike is originally a Canadian website but they currently have a good couple of contributors from all over the world. David Arthur is from the UK. He writes in English, he does measurements in the imperial system. Anyone can do the conversions or has the gadgets to do so. Heck, my six year old Nokia 108 cellphone has the tool built in. If you have a computer or a phone at least as advanced, chances are you can do so too. If you have a computer that runs linux or OSX, you can use the "units" command in the terminal. If you "can't be f*cked" then I don't want to know how much spoonfeeding you need to make it through the day.

@colincolin: If you don't want to accept psi then just ask your mom to do the conversion, make you a new label and stick over the old one. You indeed really don't have to accept this. Stay strong.
  • 11 0
 A simple solution for Pinkbike to implement would be to show the weight both in Kg and lbs in their reviews (Or any other relevant metric/imperial units such as air pressure in tires), it would keep everyone happy.
  • 15 0
 Yeah, they have created trailforks but cannot embed a little js to enable metrics conversion. A typical day in the IT.
  • 3 14
flag vinay (May 6, 2019 at 4:43) (Below Threshold)
 @lkubica: They cannot? Like you asked for the feature and their reaction was "No sorry we really don't know how to do that" or was it "we'll put it on the to-do list but it currently isn't a priority"? I'm sure you did have the decency to actually ask the Trailforks development team for the feature before you posted a comment like this, didn't you?
  • 11 3
 @Worm-Burner: 'He' may have given you 10 fingers, but the majority of the world has 8 fingers and 2 thumbs. Simple physiology...

  • 4 0
 This conversation's getting a bit heavy.
  • 4 4
 if you can't think imperial use this trick; a reference weight for a trail bike could be 30 pounds (13.5 kg, rounding). Usually full sus bikes weight +/- 2 pounds. Rounding again, 1 pound=0.5 kg.
That gives you an aproximation.
(Don't do that for people, you'd be kilos off)
  • 2 1
 @BenPea: What, now you're going to weigh in too? The pressure was unbearable already. Allow me to pound you squarely in your face for getting massively off topic.
  • 4 0
 @vinay: I kilo you!
  • 2 0
 @vinay: ist your name yaniv backwards? Because that's the best card game in existence.
  • 3 3
 @BenPea: As they say, what doesn't kilo you makes you wronger. So ehrm... this makes me very right.

@colincolin: Not familiar with that game but considering the kind of reasoning we have in this discussion, that would make vinay a horrible card game Wink .
  • 1 0
 @vinay: true. let's stop this battle and give Peas a try.
  • 2 0
 @colincolin: Yeah, Peas sell, but who's buying?
  • 1 0
 @ismasan: I like it, although dividing by 454 is not that big of a deal. Wink
  • 15 0
 @frix182 we do usually try to have both in there but that got missed on this one. Through the magic of the internet I'm updating our review templates to actually require both metric and imperial weights.
  • 1 2
 @brianpark: also, from a ‘Murica point of view, I appreciate metric in many scenarios, but I think both should just be used everywhere. The one that always gets me is when a reviewer says their weight in kilograms. Then I take a trip over to the calculator.
  • 12 5
 There are two types of countries in the world: those that use the metric system and those that have been to the moon.
  • 3 1
 @vinay: the imperial system sucks.
  • 9 0
 @whydomylegshurt: I think you'll find that by having over 400 types of cheese, we have brought more pleasure to the world than you did by landing on an uninhabitable rock that turned out not to be made of cheese. Waste of time if you ask moi.
  • 2 3
 God forbid you use your brain to figure it out...
  • 5 0
 @whydomylegshurt: Liberia have been to the moon?
  • 2 1
 @CustardCountry: Sure, for me having grown up using the metric system, using the imperial system always felt a bit more inconvenient for the more complex stuff. But that doesn't mean it is impossible to work with, especially if you stay consistent within one single system (hence why it is so odd to stick to psi but insist on metric for weight and dimension). But really, moaning about a bicycle weight being given in imperial (in an article written by a British author) is moaning for moaning's sake. If we would really pick the most convenient unit system in our discussions, why are we measuring angles in degrees? Why not in radians? Divide fork travel by wheelbase and you have the (approximate) change in (head-/seat-) angle the hardtail goes through as it moves through its travel. Why are we using degrees? 360 degrees in a full circle, 60 minutes in a degree, 60 seconds in a minute. Go defend that with your ten finger system. You'd expect those would prefer to work with a quarter turn is a quadrant = 100grad. Still, after all this reasoning and voting, no one proposed to ditch degrees and work with the arguably "better" radians or grad. My point is, unit systems are like languages. They're fairly consistent within the same system and you're going to find some oddities and inconveniences when going from the one to the other. But it is by no means impossible and especially a one-on one translation (linearly from one unit to the other, in this case) really shouldn't be an issue for a crowd that measures wheels in imperial, hubs in metric, pressures in imperial, angles in degrees and is trained to decipher censored swear words.

@whydomylegshurt : Are you sure those German aerospace engineers at NACA/NASA actually did the required calculations in imperial?
  • 3 0
 @whydomylegshurt: NASA went full metric in 07. They lost a mars probe because of a conversion mistake!
  • 1 0
 @Worm-Burner: Yes we "Officially" use the metric system. But really the only time that matters is when I drive, or if I go to the corner store to buy a beverage. I couldnt come close to telling you what i weigh in kilograms or how tall i am in centimeters.... and pretty much everything else. The metric system is great because it's easy to break down differant units of measurement from one to another... but I'm not a fan to be honest.
  • 1 0
 @whydomylegshurt: those whose use of a hybrid metric non metric system causes rockets to explode accidentally on occasion, and those who haven't had that pleasure.
  • 1 1
 @Worm-Burner: America uses the metric system too, officially. All their Imperial units are now specifically defined in mm, rather than grains of wheat.
  • 1 0
 @Worm-Burner: Weird. I got 8 fingers and two thumbs.
  • 1 0
 @DarrellW: No, a decent engineer is able to work fairly well with both systems. Just like you are able to express yourself fairly well in a few different languages. Just because a similar word has different meanings in different languages doesn't mean that you are bound to mix them up. During my study aerospace engineering we got tests with some questions in imperial units, others in metric. This was mostly the case with aerodynamics tests, maybe not so much with space engineering stuff. Then again, one could call "lightyears" (which may be more of an astrology or deep space thing) an imperial unit too, isn't it? And it makes absolute sense to use different unit systems for different purposes. I can imagine astrologists' life gets a whole lot easier if they get to work with lightyears. Basically, as I mentioned above the distinction and feel for superiority is daft. The metric system includes the second as a measure of time. 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day. For which they haven't chosen a siderial day but a regular day instead which largely depends on how fast our planet travels around the sun.

Basically, pick a unit system a be dick about it. Doesn't make one any less of a dick.
  • 59 7
 the saying used to go “cheap, light, strong. pick two.” now it goes “expensive, heavy, and handmade in the uk” we can finally have our cake and eat it to.
  • 10 4
 For a custom frame it is relatively cheap. Also since when does weight matter when you aren't racing.
  • 11 7
 @fartymarty: i'm not racing, but i like to go downhill with my bike so i have to carry it up to the summit somehow and helicopter is not an option.
  • 14 4
 Why are people so obsessed with weight?
1kg (of frame weight) wont make a big difference- If youre that weak go and get your strenght up.

Also its as expensive as most Alu frames which are made in way bigger quantities.
  • 5 0
 You mean you can have your Slice of British Pie and eat it too.
  • 3 0
 Question- everyone says you can 'tune' carbon by how you engineer the layup, wall thickness, tube thickness, etc. Since carbon is essentially a hand-made, additive manufacturing process you can make the shapes pretty much any way you want. Doesn't this mean you can design and construct a carbon frame that has similar compliance to a steel frame, but dropping 2-3 pounds? And maybe firm up the lateral flex to make it climb a bit sportier without being a stiff ride?

I know some people who have PR'ed on enduro runs on that Starling, which as a super basic single pivot, but was still faster than their carbon uber bike with complex patents hanging all over the suspension design.
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez: The answer to your question is that yes, carbon does allow varying compliances/stiffnesses throughout a frame while saving weight. The most noticeable examples are found in road bikes, where you can actually tell the difference in power transfer and ride characteristics.

Your comment may also go to show just how much the rider and the rider's comfort on a bicycle matters, and maybe—just maybe—how much a lot of technological changes don't make much of a difference.
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez: Short answer is yes. Longer answer is yes, but to get the same degree of flex will require large areas with very thin layup, which is just asking to get a hole punched through it in a crash. Road bikes use that kind of construction a lot, but MTB frames tend to be overbuilt to survive the inevitable trips across the rocks. Trek's Isospeed hardtails with the pivot at the seatsay/seatube junction are the only carbon MTB's I can think of that really exploit that kind of layup.
  • 2 1
 @NotNamed: 1kg in bike weight can be the difference between being on the podium or not in an XC race times wise. It's not insignificant. If it matters to you or not is another question.
  • 22 1
 I mean, 32 lbs is 14.5 kg. My carbon Canyon Spectral sure has more travel and weights 500g less but I'm sure if I go to the toilets before riding I could make up that weight difference. Smile

I'm all for new technologies and carbon is cool but these steel bikes are sexy.
  • 7 1
 and when you have a steel bike you can tell everyone "steel is real".
  • 2 4
 Anywhere where 115 mm of travel is enough ,is a place I need to move from.
  • 1 0
 idk, a 7+ pound frame for a 4 1/2 inch travel bike is tough.
  • 1 0
 @scary1: Well I've seen riders much better than me fly over terrain with a 120mm travel bike where I was bouncing all over the place with my 140mm. S
  • 1 1
 @EvilGarfield: that's funny, that never happened with my 160/180. Seriously, not even close.
I wouldn't even mtn bike if that's what I had to ride.
  • 17 0
 A chainstay protector that says nevermind the bollocks. Quality looking bike.
  • 2 8
flag Kramz (May 6, 2019 at 1:32) (Below Threshold)
 I will NEVER understand the bike industry. Where's the Toyota, or the General Motors putting everyone out of business with good product they can't compete with?
  • 6 0
 @Kramz: They're called Giant and Merida, there's a good chance you've ridden a frame built by one of those two in your life, even if it didn't have their name on the head tube.
  • 10 0
 5'11" 140lbs? Damn.

Pinkbike, it would be nice if we got testers that weighed more than a roadie for some of these reviews. I think Levy is the biggest at like 160. Give us some big boys! Or at least average sized boys!
  • 2 0
 Have to agree, I'm 1.88 m and 190lbs. Most riders I know are at least 170lbs or more.
  • 11 0
 Horizontally mounted shock? Nope, it definitely isn't.
  • 21 0
 It is when doing manuals haha
  • 10 0
 So... no comparison to the Starling....?
  • 1 0
 different class of bike- it was more to show the resurgence of steel.
  • 9 0
 "Not all bikes put a smile on your face but the Swarf did every time."

Not a single picture where you're smiling.
  • 3 0
 my man has a very serious face
  • 5 0
 It would be interesting to see comparative reviews of bikes from different weight riders. Someone who is 5’ 11” and weighs 144lbs and someone who weighs 190lbs will probably have very different views on the flex of the same frame.
  • 8 1
 So elegant compared to some of the recent carbon-car-crashes.
  • 6 0
 Hands down the best looking steel FS out there. I love my Swarf HT, the quality of Adrians' work is amazing.
  • 5 0
 I'd love to get that yellow frame, then build it up with as much chrome and plain black components as possible and then ride it dressed in tweed.
  • 4 1
 I am American and I use both imperial and metric as needed. I like the metric system much better. Groups of 10 etc make more sense than odd ball conversions. The obvious one for bikes are travel and geo numbers. I don't do math. I just memorize conversions. Ex: my bike has 140mm of travel or 5.5 inches rounded to the nearest 10th place. 150mm = 5.9" 160mm = 6.3" 170mm = 6.7" etc.

25.4mm = 1 inch fyi. So 140mm ÷ 25.4mm = 5.5118110236 according my calculator app. Round to 5.5. PITA. We should teach both systems in US schools if they don't already.
  • 2 2
 Hi, I'm an American and I use the Imperial system. It started with a simple lesson in my second year of government schooling, but quickly progressed to me using the Imperial system outside of school for all sorts of crazy things. I was weighing my complete bike, then each component individually. I knew I had a problem when I tried to measure the volume of my bike. Don't ask me how that went. Anyways, I'd been free of the Imperial system for 2 days until I visited and...
  • 1 0
 But that's space in my head I can use for useless facts about bikes though. IMO us yanks should adopt metric across the board, except for temperature.
  • 1 0
And pressure. Bar is way to big to be useful at all.
  • 1 0
 @Chris97a: Have you met my friend Pascal?
  • 1 0
Do you mean millibar?

Yes, me and Pascal have been introduced, he is pretty hard to see however being so incredibly small.

Kilopascal could be a useful way to talk about pressure I guess, but no one uses it currently. It is pretty small though too. I can see the discussions
"You are going to pinch flat for sure at 158 kPa, you got to be at 172 kPa at least on this trail."

Decibar is the closest to avoid talking decimals with bar, we all know how much decimals set people off here.
  • 1 0
 @sspiff: Where you should use Kelvin.
  • 1 0
 @Chris97a: "Kilopascal could be a useful way to talk about pressure I guess, but no one uses it currently".

Sure, PSI is more useful for bike tyres, but kPa is really widely used through science and industry. I used it in school from age 11 up.

I'm totally for the American units for measuring height though, i.e. 224 Michael Jordans = 1 Empire State Building is easy to work with. Our 94.5 Peter Crouchs = 1 BT Tower is clunky by comparison.
  • 1 0
I am all for measurements like your talking about. On our racing team we spoke of Todd force as a unit. I also like discussing distance in Chevrolet Suburbans(1980's Suburbans obviously).
  • 1 0
 @DarrellW: Nah... Kelvin makes sense if you're an electron, Celcius makes sense if you're a water molecule, Fahrenheit actually makes pretty good sense if you're a human.
  • 1 0
 @Chris97a: I think atm is a nice way to talk about pressure. 15 psi~1 atm is reasonable since we get numbers between 1-10 for most everyday pressures we deal with, and it's normalized to something pretty much universal as long as we're on Earth.
  • 1 0
It just always seems funny though to be dealing in tenths and hundredths of a measuring system for everyday usage.

I know that in reality it is the same but, I would rather say 27 than 2.7 if someone asks me how much pressure I am running.
  • 1 0
1.8 ish
It just seems weird to give up fidelity with these kinds of measurements.

I like imperial weight and pressure but inches and feet can go suckit.
  • 1 0

The real elephant in the room is why we don't ditch base 10 for base 12. Well, the elephant* in my room anyway.

1 elephant = 1.67 Michael Jordans (h) x 1.35 Chevy Suburbans (l)
  • 1 0
Base 12 up to 60 are easy to count on your hands that is kinda nice. It is why time uses the units it does I believe. Something to do with Sumerians.
  • 1 0
 @MonkeyPuzzle: Is an elephant 1.35 Suburbans? Wow they are pretty long.
  • 3 0
 It's a burly short travel 29er. How about comparing it to an aluminum bike with the same overall intended purpose that's available frame only (and often gets grief for being porky), the Transition Smuggler? Build up a Smuggler and one of these with identical parts (and btw, I totally agree, it's really hard to argue with the bang for buck you get out of SLX). That would be a rather worthwhile review.
  • 11 9
 Low bottom bracket a con? I’d say thats a positive!

I’m only intersted in bikes with a low BB (or can be modified to be low). Peddle strikes - just train yourself to peddle inbetween the rocks!

My biggest criticism of 29ers is that I feel too high up - lower that BB down ;-)
  • 11 1
  • 2 14
flag rich-2000 (May 6, 2019 at 1:29) (Below Threshold)
 @chainspotting: ha ha! Just woken up.
At least use the correct syntax to correct someone...

Its *pedal, not #pedal
  • 6 1
 @Richt2000: *Just woke up.
  • 8 2
 @Richt2000: I don't think there is a right or wrong way to correct someone's ignorance via a forum. I purposefully used the hashtag rather than the commonly used asterisk simply for fashion. An asterisk is traditionally used to indicate a footnote. This wasn't the case.
If you can point me to an accurate, accepted, established and reliable source that will inform me on how to correct someone's spelling mistakes on the Pinkbike internet message forum then I'd be delighted.

If not, just learn how to spell.
  • 1 0
 29ers have the same bb height or lower than any 27” bike, and it feels lower because of the extra bb drop.
  • 1 0
 @zyoungson: that solely depends on the BB drop. The Stumpjumper has a really high BB drop- the YT Capra literally none
  • 1 1
Are you not confusing bb drop with bb height?
  • 1 1

You must have a pretty boring life to feel the need to trawl internet comments correcting people’s spelling. Bet you’re a right laugh to be around :-).

Look up the definition of *. One of its uses is a correction since the internet came along.
  • 1 1
Woken, woke - both correct ;-)
  • 6 0
 I like the replecable hanger on a steel frame - good thinking Wink
  • 3 0
 “Swarf has utilised this flex in the seat stays, flattened slightly along their length, to allow a small degree of vertical flex which eradicates the necessity for a dropout pivot”

Say what?!?!
  • 1 0
 @meathooker Cannonadale and Scott have boon doing it on their hard tails for a while. Works pretty good imo, and could easily be implemented into a full sus. And since they are using steel, the fatigue life of the swingarm is gonna outlast anyone alive today.

*EDIT* Assuming it is engineered properly!
  • 1 0
 flex stays have seen limited implementation on xc and light trail FS bikes for a good while now. Giant and salsa have done it before as far as I know. Those were aluminum and way lighter use bikes though and steel probably makes this option much more attractive.
  • 1 0
 @Deoratwo: curved seatstays have flexed on steel hardtails since the dawn of time.
  • 1 0
 @BenPea: You're technically correct, the best kind of correct!
  • 2 1
 @Deoratwo: just about every major XC bike on the market has flex stays to get rid of the rear pivots, and just about every hardtail has a few mm of compliance built in. Hardly "limited implementation".
  • 1 0
 @clink83: Guess I haven't been paying attention to XC that much then. That's pretty neat!
  • 1 0
 @Deoratwo: most pink bikers aren't obsessing over which 100mm race bike to buy like me haha. It's spooky riding my Scott Scale on pavement, you can actually feel the chainstays flex.
  • 2 0
 The Contour piqued my interest when it was first announced, and when I got the chance I demo'd one. After that I pretty much had no choice but to buy it. Handles so well down steep, techy, natural trails, and the suspension design and steel build provides an amazing amount of traction and comfort without bottoming out hard or wallowing all over the place. Just come back from a week in Finale and never felt like I was underbiked. If you like how a hardtail handles but want to ride harder and faster basically everywhere, this is the bike. The only other bike I think I'd consider in the price range is the Giant, but I think you could push this a lot further, and it actually worked out cheaper too. Not to mention it actually looks good...
  • 4 0
 Swarf eager, anyone remember that? Anyway, loving the steel bikes showing up frequently of late, this one very much.
  • 3 0
 Swarfega? I don't think it's possible to forget it, once you've smelt it.
  • 7 2
 I steel feel that this should win The Sexiest Bike Alive for 2019.
  • 1 0
 "There’s good support on the Cane Creek website and app..."
When I read this, I thought, "Oh goody, CC finally updated the Dialed app..." [opens app... still no 2019 Stumpjumper...]
Don't get me wrong. I love my Cane Creek suspension, and the website is great, but their app... meh. Hasn't been updated since its release in 2016.
  • 2 0
 Just manually enter the bike using the "+" button on the bottom. Hard to figure out but ended up getting my bike in there no problem.
  • 4 2
 Fucking so nice. God fuck the bike industry for being weight weenies. Steel has zero downsides other than a few extra ounces. But Na only Alu or carbon allowed.
  • 9 4
  • 1 0
 @yzedf: Aluminium also corrodes.
  • 1 0
Aluminum will also definitely break one day.

In materials classes the saying is "Don't ask if, aluminum will break, but when."
  • 1 0
 It's not just weight weenies but also "stiff weenies". The idea that we have to have the absolute lightest and stiffest frame is something I've been questioning a lot lately.
  • 3 0
 It should be british racing green with only silver parts. This frame is even beautiful in yellow tough.
  • 2 0
  • 2 0
 I think it's cool to see PB test bike with SLX on it! Usually they've got a $10k build that is quite irrelevant to anything I'd be buying.
  • 2 0
 32lbs really isn't heavy though is it. Plenty of carbon bikes push that number. Plus as said, it could be lighter with different parts.
  • 1 0
 @Naturel: I'm guessing 32lbs somewhat flatters it, seeing a carbon handlebar and no pedals specced. When comparing frames it doesn't stack up in steel's favour very well very often.

Not that it would concern me - if it rides well and you want a steel bike, those extra couple of pounds shouldn't even factor into your decision IMO.
  • 1 0
 I was totally hooked until the 445mm chainstays, figures, single pivots don't leave much room for tall tires. Maybe a higher tech suspension and shortening up those chainstays would do the trick.
  • 1 0
 Ok - I know it's a sealed bearing - but is that actually a pivot bearing on a British-built bike without any form of dust cap, or do my eyes deceive me?

That niggle aside, I love almost everything about this.
  • 1 0
 Adrian's reasoning is that an additional seal would only serve to trap water and hasten the demise of the bearing, and they last extremely well exposed like that. Despite having had a particularly wet Welsh weekend kill a new bottom bracket for precisely that reason, my pivot bearings are so far as smooth as butter with zero care, so I'm inclined to agree.
  • 1 0
 @TomvanHalen: I guess I see the logic, we stopped fitting fork gators decades ago. It's just not what I'm used to seeing! I never felt like bearing durability was generally a problem behind dust seals either, but give me a straight choice between with and without and it's only spare grams. That said, I ran my last set for three years before they were done for - it'll be interesting to see how these fair.
  • 1 0
 I thought Swarf started out making full suspension frames. The first frame of theirs I saw was high pivot frame with an idler pulley.
  • 2 0
 32 lbs is considered heavy? Damn, that's a solid 3.5 lbs lighter than my Fugitive...
  • 2 0
 steel looks pretty awesome. Carbon is great and all but it's so bulky. If only for aesthetic I'd take steel
  • 1 0
 One thing that most of the good British steel frame builders have in common is their use of Reynolds tubes. Gotta love one my local contributions to the cycling industry.
  • 2 0
 External cable routing, threaded bb and a short seat tube to fit a long dropper. At least some companies listen.
  • 6 7
 No sale in Canada & USA because how many people will pay ~$4k for a steel frame + shock. Funny how they put a Reynolds 853 sticker on it, but only use it for 2 tubes.

I appreciate the craftsmanship, but am not fooled.
  • 3 2
 What the f*ck is up with your maths? £1750 minus VAT is about $2150 (or $2850 Canadian). It's an absolute bargain compared to most frame only options, before you even consider the workmanship and how well it rides
  • 2 1
  • 2 0
 @TomvanHalen: i think you're the one with the math trouble. 1950 pounds is over 3400 canadian.
  • 1 0
 @Powderface: you're not taking into account that we pay 20% VAT here
  • 1 0
 Better deal than $4k for a plastic one.
  • 2 0
 @Naturel: *citation needed
  • 1 0
 1950£ - 20% VAT = 1625£
1625£ = 2861.16$ CAD (conversion as of today May 6th 2019 14h52)

2861.16$ CAD + 5% GST = 3004,22$ CAD

I didn't take into account the shipping cost but I guess it would add at least 150$ CAD to the total.

There are plenty of options cheaper. But there are also plenty that cost more.
  • 1 0
 Steel hardtails are easy to own because they are timeless. Steel suspension is tough because the category evolves so fast.
  • 1 1
 Wish people would stop saying steel has 'natural flex' steel is stiffer than aluminium or titanium. It's about the 'I' value of the cross see section.
  • 2 0
 Amazing looking bike. Damn good job.
  • 1 0
 Countor LT 130back-150front in the works? Would be interesting.
  • 3 2
 The latest Giant Trance 29. Available everywhere. Same travel. Same HTA.
  • 1 0
 Let me get it in rust color for my steampunk cosplay.
  • 1 0
 32 lbs is about 67 Big Mac, which all in all isn't bad for this bike.
  • 1 0
 Looks like that can easily hold 2 water bottles instead of just one
  • 2 1
 Lovely bike, that
  • 1 0
 Pls do a long travel one
  • 4 4
 The price is ridiculous. Maybe after brexit it'll be better.
  • 1 1
  • 1 1
 Nice hardtail?
  • 2 3
 Looks flexy. Wink
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