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Post-Sovereign Hardtail Options

MikeD

Leader and Demogogue of the Ridemonkey Satinists
Oct 26, 2001
11,729
1,792
chez moi
So, group:

My Sovereign hardtail is feeling way weird and awkward after a year or three of riding more updated geometry F/S bikes. I used it as everything from a techy descender to a fully-rigid singlespeed.

Considering a successor, but wondering what's on the market in an all-round capable hardtail with the same convertibility; needs to accommodate singlespeed without a tensioner. (I mean, maybe I'd reconsider, but that's my starting criterion...) Open to all wheel sizes and/or mullet; I actually kinda wouldn't mind having interchangeability for Boost 27.5 wheels with my F/S...

Lightish weight is good but not the most critical thing, and durability is a factor because I will beat on it. I don't need ultra-slack/progressive...just long-ish with 66-65ish HA and shortish stays.

Specifically want a very low BB, however. Maybe just put 27.5 on a 29er frame?

-Chameleon
-Nimble 9
-Esker Hayduke/Japhy
-Kona Honzo (Wish they still had the Ti version, though prob wouldn't pay for that either...)

Other options?
 

MikeD

Leader and Demogogue of the Ridemonkey Satinists
Oct 26, 2001
11,729
1,792
chez moi
No care on AL or steel, both make good bikes. I mean, I'd take Ti, too...carbon likely not in my field of view but could consider if there's some fantastic option.

Chromags look great but the single-speedability is limited to one of their most expensive frames, no?

Reeb looks magnificent but $2400 for the frame is pretty eye-watering...
 
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MikeD

Leader and Demogogue of the Ridemonkey Satinists
Oct 26, 2001
11,729
1,792
chez moi
Esker Japhy is my current "likely win" column...hmmmm. Mulleting it might make it an even better prospect, or at least option to mullet it when running a rigid fork.
 

Adventurous

Starshine Bro
Mar 19, 2014
10,486
9,181
Crawlorado
Esker Japhy is my current "likely win" column...hmmmm. Mulleting it might make it an even better prospect, or at least option to mullet it when running a rigid fork.
Looks like a nice frame, and all the options you want are there. Certainly would make the short list.

You have a suspension fork or travel number in mind?
 

4xBoy

Turbo Monkey
Jun 20, 2006
7,086
2,989
Minneapolis
Had two Marino frames, great but not light.

CRC has Ragley which look good for the price.

Love my Яeeb but yeah, price.

Canfield looks good..

Bunch of friends have Esker, but I think because they got a deal.
 

MikeD

Leader and Demogogue of the Ridemonkey Satinists
Oct 26, 2001
11,729
1,792
chez moi
Had two Marino frames, great but not light.
Thought about them for custom, esp as I'm in the region (but would prob still ship thru the US, sadly enough) still considering...Carver does relatively inexpensive custom Ti too, but once you add on the options you're near/at $2k and it's far more realistic to get the $8-900 range of the esker or Canfield...
 

Westy

the teste
Nov 22, 2002
54,829
20,691
Sleazattle
I have an RSD Middle child and it is a very capable and good all around hardtail. It has an aggressive head angle that allows it to handle some pretty steep shit yet a short enough wheelbase to be agile and playful. BB height should work with both 29 or 27.5" wheels.

Actually I prefer the chain stays in the longest position but I think I actually prefer my more aggressive Chromag for most of the trails I ride.
 

MikeD

Leader and Demogogue of the Ridemonkey Satinists
Oct 26, 2001
11,729
1,792
chez moi
Wow, didn't know about those...that's basically Sovereign MkIII right there...
 

HardtailHack

used an iron once
Jan 20, 2009
6,919
5,883
Cotic, sliding dropouts are shit, I much rather use a chainguide with a bottom roller to do the tensioning.
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Cotic up until pretty recently made bikes with seriously horrendous geo, but they have come 'round and make some pretty sweet looking stuff now.

My Marino still works, it is one of the worst quality frames I have had but it is still my favourite.
 

dump

Turbo Monkey
Oct 12, 2001
8,288
4,635
There is also the ESD version:
 

HardtailHack

used an iron once
Jan 20, 2009
6,919
5,883
The Kona has a really short back end, my last bike was 415-430mm and it always stayed at 430, it was a bit harder to keep the hoofs on the pedals at the short setting. The geo seems off one either the Kona or the Cotic, stack heights don't seem to add up, Kona looks to have its geo based around something like a 140mm 36, when you select 140mm on the Cotic it should have slightly more stack height than the Kona, meh it's late, I must be missing something.

My last bike was 26/27.5, current one is 27.5/29, if I was fitter and less shit I'd go back to running two 27.5" wheels as it was more fun than the current mullet setup.

The Ragley Piglet may also suit but it doesn't have sliding DO's
 

MikeD

Leader and Demogogue of the Ridemonkey Satinists
Oct 26, 2001
11,729
1,792
chez moi
Everyone's doing green frames these days. I thought my Sovereign used to be such a standout...
 

MikeD

Leader and Demogogue of the Ridemonkey Satinists
Oct 26, 2001
11,729
1,792
chez moi
Norco torrent and Production Privee Shan's are worth a look.
The Shan in particular is bomb proof.
Looks like a cool couple bikes...both lack the native singlespeed capacity I'd like, Torrent BB seems a bit higher than I'd want...
 

MikeD

Leader and Demogogue of the Ridemonkey Satinists
Oct 26, 2001
11,729
1,792
chez moi
My last bike was 26/27.5, current one is 27.5/29, if I was fitter and less shit I'd go back to running two 27.5" wheels as it was more fun than the current mullet setup.

The Ragley Piglet may also suit but it doesn't have sliding DO's
Mine is currently 26/26 with suspension or 29/26 without...
 

Westy

the teste
Nov 22, 2002
54,829
20,691
Sleazattle
Wow, didn't know about those...that's basically Sovereign MkIII right there...

They are really neat bikes and IMO really do offer a 'do it all' capability. In addition you get to pick between Aluminum/steel/titanium. Slap some lightweight tires on it and it would be a decent XC bike. Throw on some beefy tires and get all enduro with it. Obviously a dedicated XC or Enduro hardtail would better in those conditions but it is more than capable of fighting in each weight class with just minor configuration changes.
 

jstuhlman

bagpipe wanker
Dec 3, 2009
16,836
13,272
Cackalacka du Nord
came here to say cotic, rsd, chromag, or production privee

others beat me to it.

more power to anyone riding a hardtail by choice! ain't for me fo shizzle.
 

Shizzon

Monkey
Jun 25, 2015
112
290
I just rode with a friend over the weekend that sold off his Yeti FS for a Pipedream Moxie Ti and is loving it. He started with a CrMo Moxie (still has it) and he figured that the limited edition Ti version was worthy of replacing his FS steed. He is a very fast rider and was for the most part keeping up with me on my Smash on all but the roughest sections of trail.

The Moxie might be a bit much in terms of travel (my friend was running a Fox 38 @ 170mm) and geometry, but perhaps the Sirius S5 is more in line with your goals:


The ultimate do-it-all CrMo hardtail frame.
Optimised for 100-120mm 29er forks.
Fits 29 x 2.6 or 27.5 x 2.8 wheels.

Other than that, I can highly recommend a GG Pedalhead, I have the first gen (fixed dropout) and love the frame; I just wish that I had opted for the S4 frame size so that it better matched my S4 Smash.
 

MikeD

Leader and Demogogue of the Ridemonkey Satinists
Oct 26, 2001
11,729
1,792
chez moi
Siriusly looks like a good choice. Moxie as well.

The Moxie might be a bit much in terms of travel (my friend was running a Fox 38 @ 170mm) and geometry, but perhaps the Sirius S5 is more in line with your goals:
 

DaveW

Space Monkey
Jul 2, 2001
11,332
2,875
The bunker at parliament
Siriusly looks like a good choice. Moxie as well.
Former employee has the pipedream ti.
I tried it and was not a fan.
it's more towards the gravity sled end of handling, not playful but long and stable at speed.
You do need to be more of an aggressive rider with it I found.
If you back off it doesn't handle too great in the corners front end tends to push out, cornering wise you needed to be more weight forward and aggressive to get it to play nice.
It was also not easy to manual, compaired to the same size in Honzo or Shan both of which loved to get the front up or be launched off drops in tech sections.
That Sirus looks pretty damn nice though!
 

DaveW

Space Monkey
Jul 2, 2001
11,332
2,875
The bunker at parliament
Yep that's a keeper, as I expect will be the new ti Shan when I finally get it built up (waiting for the front hub from Hadley).
The 2016 honzo AL frame that I've single speeded maybe not.....
 

MikeD

Leader and Demogogue of the Ridemonkey Satinists
Oct 26, 2001
11,729
1,792
chez moi
That Sirius S5 is on my mind now. It's a better fit than the Esker, I think, a touch shorter on the seat tube, without being in the ultra-aggro range, and lighter than the RSD cromo. 27.5" with my Lyrik up front at 120mm, or mullet with my cromo rigid fork, singlespeed or an NX drivetrain as needed.
 

Westy

the teste
Nov 22, 2002
54,829
20,691
Sleazattle
That Sirius S5 is on my mind now. It's a better fit than the Esker, I think, a touch shorter on the seat tube, without being in the ultra-aggro range, and lighter than the RSD cromo. 27.5" with my Lyrik up front at 120mm, or mullet with my cromo rigid fork, singlespeed or an NX drivetrain as needed.

I'm not going to be so pedantic as to calculate the geometry but something seems off with those wheelbase numbers considering the steep SA and the CS/Reach/TT numbers, that should be a long-ass bike. Could be the dogleg in the seat tube but something still doesn't make sense to me.

Maybe those numbers are for a 120mm fork? YMMV but I don't see much penalty in a longer travel fork and a "do it all" hardtail should be at least in the 140mm range. With slack head angles and longer front centers of modern bikes it lets you put a lot more weight on the front end and kind of ride the fork through rougher technical sections making a hardtail nearly as capable as a FS bike when ridden properly.
 

MikeD

Leader and Demogogue of the Ridemonkey Satinists
Oct 26, 2001
11,729
1,792
chez moi
You're not wrong...maybe a Moxie would be a better fit...but with the fork length I wanted something that could run a rigid without being all weird, too. I should check the ac height on my chromo 29 fork.
 

Adventurous

Starshine Bro
Mar 19, 2014
10,486
9,181
Crawlorado
You're not wrong...maybe a Moxie would be a better fit...but with the fork length I wanted something that could run a rigid without being all weird, too. I should check the ac height on my chromo 29 fork.
How frequently do you alternate between these configurations? It would be a real bummer to make compromises to handle all of these varied setups only to find that it's not optimal for any of them.
 

MikeD

Leader and Demogogue of the Ridemonkey Satinists
Oct 26, 2001
11,729
1,792
chez moi
Depends, but here, it's been seasonal, esp the rigid/suspension change. I go between singlespeed and gears when I feel like it. Prob 2x-3x a year.

On the Sovereign, I liked my fork pretty low, like 125mm or so, when I ran the Marzo 66 SL which had variable travel; I also ran a Vanilla 36 160mm with a lot of sag because I had it hanging around too. And I actually ran my 26" front wheel with a 29" rigid fork, because it fit and the AC was good...likewise ran a rigid 26" fork with a 29" wheel that kept things around the same geometry.
 

MikeD

Leader and Demogogue of the Ridemonkey Satinists
Oct 26, 2001
11,729
1,792
chez moi
Man, rigid forks are all ~495mmish max, it looks like. With the Sovereign it seemed to work, but that's pretty short even compared to a 100mm 29er fork...