Riding MTB hardtails in Poland? It’s so popular that we could easily say it’s almost our national tradition. This goes also for gravity riding in the tough terrain. In the past, hardtails were usually chosen because of their lower price and lower maintenance costs. And Dartmoor was always one of the pioneers in designing modern gravity hardtails that kept up with all the new standards and riding styles.
Anyway it has been changed recently. Popularity of trail and enduro riding generated increased demand for gravity hardtails and they definitely evolved. There are a lot of riders who would rather spend less on a hardtail frame than on a full suspension one, and instead equip their bikes with better forks, wheels or more reliable brakes. What’s more, hardtails are usually more durable and more trouble free than full suspension frames for similar type of riding. Hardtails will always be lighter as well and designers can position BB lower for more stable riding.
Even so many brands entered this niche in the past few years - Dartmoor Hornet is definitely a true legend of gravity hardtails, and the 4th generation of this frame is one of the most hardcore hardtails ever made. We developed it to ride the gnarliest trails, with big drops and huge jumps. The frame was designed to use a 160mm travel but you can match it even with 180mm freeride forks and we’ve even seen some Hornets with dual crown forks riding downhill tracks! Hornet has a modern progressive geometry with the same low standover for all sizes and it is often the first choice for the most aggressive hardtail riders.
Hornet’s evolution towards more and more aggressive riding started to move it away from the riders looking for more versatility in hardtails. And so, for those who are looking for something lighter and more uphilling friendly that would still be capable enough on the descents… the Primal appeared. The frame also evolved in the last 4 years and the latest generation which was launched in 2018 is available in two wheel size options - one for 27.5" wheels and one for 29-ers. New Primal is now one of the best all-purpose gravity frames. It has fans among long distance travellers craving for dozens of kilometres of mountain riding per day, but also among the more aggressive riders that would rather choose enduro paths. It will also bring a lot of joy while riding on smooth flow trails, or jumping and cornering on local, natural trails.
Primal is lighter than the Hornet, and it’s dedicated for the forks with around 140mm travel. Seat tubes are slightly longer than in Hornet but the standover height is still low. Both frames in the 27.5” versions are compatible with the large volume tires of up to 2.8” which offer more riding comfort while Primal 29 has enough clearance to fit 29x2.4” and can ride really fast!
Like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, both of these frames have a lot in common but same time they are also totally different. If you need to make a decision which of these two frames will be your new one - first ask yourself what is making you really excited - freeriding, drops and jumps or maybe riding longer distances in the mountains with demanding uphills and steep descents boosting your adrenaline? If you choose the former, then the Hornet is for you, if you opt for the latter - you are meant to ride the Primal.