Manufactured in: Taiwan
Size tested: 18
The Dartmoor Hornet is the latest revamp to the Dartmoor lineup for 2013 having changed its design from the previous years with a new BB shell and better paintwork. Dartmoor proclaims this frame to slot into the Freeride/All mountain category, which follows suit of their other frames as each fits into a different section of bike disciplines. The hornet comes in at a phenomenal £189 which compared to it’s competitors is a no brainer, seriously good price frontier that caps the competition completely. If you’re looking to build a pro spec bike at a budget price, look no further than the Dartmoor Hornet.
We tested the 18” version of the frame, which has a much higher standover height than the other sizes, making our model more suited to XC/trail use. We used a 170mm X-Fusion vengeance fork on ours instead of changing the cockpit which included the Dartmoor Funky stem and Dartmoor Swing-Lo bars, originally we used a 150mm Revelation fork but found it was not suited to our needs.
The build quality of the frame is unreal for the price you pay. Dartmoor has focused upon minor details such as the rear wishbones and the rear dropouts, making them differentiate from the other frames found on the market whilst remaining at a high quality level, especially within the welds on the tubing’s joints. The hydroformed downtube and shapes of the tubing in the rear end also define what Dartmoor are about, innovation and new designs. Paint wise the Hornet comes in three colours; Black, Blue, Red, each with a solid layer of paint, we’ve had no issues with paint chips or wear, despite not even using a chainstay guard to prevent chain slap.
As an aluminium frame, we expected this to be stiff and rigid, which it is. There’s no noticeable flex within the frame and holds well when climbing hills. The ride was used as a recovery bike whilst our test rider was out with a ruptured ACL and torn cartilage, we fully recommend one if you’re looking for a traditional MTB and suffer from getting back on the bike too early. Alongside the insane build quality, as a hardtail its hassle-free maintenance following our favorite motto of ‘Fit it, forget it’. Not once have we had any issues with the frame at all over the 4-month test period. As a ride it’s extremely fast making it perfect for XC competitions.
Despite the benefit of not featuring a shock, we would have liked to see Dartmoor venture into this route of an All-mountain/XC/Enduro frame as we feel the basis of the Hornet could provide this opportunity. When cycling on the roads of Britain, it took a while to get used to the bumps, as there wasn’t a ‘give’ as much as we were used to.
Out of the full time of owning the Hornet, we feel that is the only point to mention; yet if you’re a hardcore hardtail fan this is the frame for you. Out in the street/trails it turns eyes and stands out within a crowd of cyclists. We’ve seen an increase in popularity of these frames this year, and urge you to purchase one from you’re local dealer (Voidbikeshop/Slam69 in the UK). The price point, build quality and geometry make this frame a must have.http://www.voidbikeshop.co.uk/http://www.dartmoor-bikes.com/Tested by VoidBikeshop team rider Tom Parker