I am looking for a good technical climber (rocky, rooty) with balanced downhill manners. I'd mate it with a 100mm Manitou Minute ABS+ 478mm axle-crown. I would prioritize climbing, technical climbing, and twisty single track over bombing downhill.
My current reference is an old school custom hard tail 71.5 HA/73 SA/ 16.3 Chain stay/22.3 ETT built around a 70mm fork. I currently have an 80mm fork to slow it down a hair. My FS is an Iron Horse Azure with 70.5HA /73 SA 22.5 effective top tube, 100mm fork.
The Cotic soul and Chromag Sakura are my ideal choices given their geometries and light weight. I am 140lbs and am just doing XC in mid Atlantic and don't need it to be overbuilt like most AM hard tails. Also these two have 420mm chain stays and most others in the class have 425mm CS. I'm not sure how much the 5mm shorter chain stay affects handling compared to others.
Given the affordability and availability of On-One's and Ragley (from CRC shipped to US) I'm considering the Inbred 26" , 456EVOII, and Ragley Piglet. The piglet is rated for a 120mm fork, but was told that if I absolutely had to use a 100mm that I should use an external cup head set to add 10mm to help raise it up.
It is hard to compare geometries from the published charts. I've read somewhere that the 456EVOII is similar to the inbred at 100mm, and other places that it has steeper SA and shorter top tube The Piglet seems to have a steep SA compared to most with very slack Seat tube angle.
I believe I'd prefer a steeper seat tube for better climbing and am also in the short stem /wide bars camp. Compliance is important and value that springiness of butted high end steel.
Other bikes on my list include Dialed Prince Albert, NS surge, Stanton.
Any thoughts would be appreciated
Mtbr's 2016 Winter Biking GearReviews and Roundups
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