Possibly the most talked-about bike from our 18 hardtails of the Southern Enduro article
, this fully rigid enduro bike had to have a bike check all of its own. Matt's Stooge MK4 is pretty special and Matt is so passionate about his bike we could have sat and chatted all day about bike setups and features of this unique bike.
I asked Matt about how the bike was to ride at Milland in the mud and he replied:
"The full 29er worked well in the slop and bogs this weekend. The sweet handling had me railing the ruts and carrying speed on through the tight trees and rough chutes - I got bucked offline once during the race. The bottom line is this thing makes me smile so much... Whether I'm looking at it, riding it, or beating my mates riding their 'beer cans' and 'fantastic plastics' with it!"
The Mk4 is one size only and that frame comes in at:
Head Angle: 66° (Fork Offset/Rake: 80mm giving approx. effective HA: 63.5°)
Seat Tube Angle: 74°
Reach: 446mm (Effective TT: 625mm)
Chainstay Length: 445mm
BB Drop: 60mm +/-15mm depending on the EBB position which allows for both chain tensioning and geometry adjustment (Matt has his at 12 o'clock to help with hoppin' & poppin')
So where do we start? I think really it has to be with the stunning frame and fork combo from Stooge Cycles in Shropshire. I say frame and fork combo because this is an all-or-nothing, go-big-or-go-home deal and the Stooge Cycles MK4 frame's geometry only works with these rigid forks. The frame is double-butted aircraft grade 4130 Chromoly steel, with the forks being made triple-butted 4130. The Andrew-Stevenson-designed frame really is a head turner with the twin top tube that flows seamlessly into the seat stays, which then drop to the rear axle together with the biplane raked-out rigid forks.
Despite its classic look and steel construction, the bike is imbued with very modern geometry and I think that just adds to the beauty of this bike. It is a bit of a sleeper, an unexpected giant killer of a bike, something that Matt has backed up with his race results. For example at Round 3 of the Southern Enduro series Matt was only 17 seconds behind a World Cup downhill racer
after the five mud infested stages. Still think you need a 10K carbon 180mm full suspension bike to go fast?
The Stooge MK4's slack and low geometry is designed around an 80mm offset, non-boost, rigid fork. This bi-plane fork gives a classic, retro vibe but it's far from style over substance. Manufactured from triple-butted aircraft grade 4130 Chromoly steel, the fork puts the 29" wheel way out in front for confidence and stability. For all you bottle cage addicts out there, it also has triple cage mounts on the fork legs for all of your hydration needs.
Matt has added a much needed front fender to his MK4 as well as the all-important "NO SHOX" decals. Just one of the many personal touches made to this truly one of a kind bike.
It's worth saying this bike has some of the neatest cable routings I have seen, along with some colour coordinated red frame protectors in the places the cables come in to contact with the Stooge MK4 red powder coat paintwork.
Carrying on the unique Stooge theme of this bike, Matt runs the Stooge Moto Bars, which are made from heat-treated 7050 aluminium. These come stock at 800mm wide with a 38mm rise and a 17-degree sweep but Matt has cut his downs to 780mm. The large back sweep of this bar helps with a more comfortable wrist position and aids handling. It also in Matt's words "the Moto bars help the bike ooze menace. Like it's bristling for a scrap with the nearest singletrack. Such a badass bike to look at." I have to agree with him on that.
Matt runs Shimano XT brakes front and rear with 180mm discs. Although after an unscheduled trip to the dirt on a ride recently the rear lever is now a Shimano Deore lever. One of the most useful things about the Shimano brake line up is the ability to use any lever with any calliper making repairs a little cheaper and quicker.
29er Spank Oozy Trail 395+ non-boost wheelset is a perfect fit for this bike like so many of the other components Matt has selected for this build. He calls them a no-nonsense part and likes that they just work with minimal fuss.
On an otherwise tidy build, here is the moment the pedants may want to look away. Matt runs two different tyre brands on this build: the front is a WTB Vigilante 29x2.5"Tritec Light/High Grip. This was chosen because it was just so much more lively and considerably lighter than they 3" Double Down tyre that Matt originally ran. At the rear, there is a Maxxis Minion DHF 3C Max Terra 29x2.5". Matt runs tubeless front and rear but with no inserts. Matt also runs a Lezyne bottle cage with tool and pump fitted, after all this is an enduro race bike.
Drivetrain wise we find the workhorse Shimano SLX 11 speed groupset with a KMC chain. Along with the SLX mech, cassette, threaded bottom bracket and shifter, there is a set of 165mm Saint cranks.
Matt also runs clips with his pedal of choice being the CrankBrothers Mallet-E pedals. For added insurance on a bike with no suspension at all, there is the classic Oneup chainguide, giving the poor Shimano clutch a helping hand in keeping the KMC chain where it should be when Matt is charging down Enduro stages.
Matt's Stooge MK4 is finished off with a KS dropper, which is internally routed. On top of the dropper is a Fabric saddle described by Matt as the "sit up and beg model". I'm not sure there is anything sit up and beg about this bike.
I can't thank Matt enough for his time and the detail he gave me on his bike. It's always amazing to speak to people who are so passionate about their bikes. If you fancy something a little different why not check out Stooge Cycles
/ Stooge Cycles
/ Steel is Real