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Bikes Buying Guide Featured Mountain Mountain Bikes News Reviews

The Santa Cruz Bronson is back and it’s rocking a new haircut…

Santa Cruz are a firm favourite amongst our customers as well as the team here at Hargroves Cycles. Just seeing those letters on any downtube envokes child-like giddiness from even our most seasoned members of staff. Their Bronson is a particular favourite thanks to the breadth of versatility it enjoys. Don’t put Bronson in the corner, chances are it’ll ride out of it and whoever’s onboard is bound to grinning ear-to-ear. With news of the 2022 4th generation Santa Cruz Bronson’s arrival you’ll be in no doubt of the buzz around the place when we realised we were going to be lucky enough to get our hands on one for release day. Here we take a look at the all-new bike in a bit more detail and what makes it so special, other than that glorious ‘Paydirt Gold and Grey’ paintwork.

When the Santa Cruz Bronson arrived back in 2013 along with it’s trademark 150mm travel it signaled the start of Santa Cruz’s 27.5″ wheeled journey. Fast-forward eight years and they’ve gone all business at the front, party at the back (don’t call it mullet though) with a mixed wheel size set up. Keep things fun and stylish in the rear thanks to the 27.5″ wheel while the now 29″ front wheel helps you roll into and over everything. The 160mm fork might assist with that a little bit too. That means roosting mad loam for the ‘gram with all-new levels of confidence has never been easier. The new Bronson promises to be super responsive at the back for turning and lifting while giving more traction and stability upfront than ever before.

To match the new wheel setup Santa Cruz has introduced all-new geometry for the Bronson meaning there’s enough room to run any coil or air shock. The 150mm VPP travel is more than enough travel to handle any situation while the design ensures no energy is wasted while you’re climbing. Clearance for up to a 2.6″ rear tyre and 223mm rear brake disc rotor takes care of the traction and stopping. All this equates to a bike that you can roll out of the shed without worrying about the type of riding you’ll be doing, it’s the best of all worlds!

The carbon frame is not only stunning but also supported by a lifetime warranty so you can ride safe in the knowledge Santa Cruz will repair or replace determined to be defective in materials or workmanship. Oh there’s crash replacement support too! Santa Cruz’s push for sustainability is real and we certainly admire that “Why scrap a frame when a simple bearing service can make one last a lifetime?” We couldn’t agree more. All of this paired with some super trick details such as mud flap to protect the rear shock, internal cable routing, rubberized DT protectors to handle knocks and threaded BB keep things super serviceable.

The 2022 Santa Cruz Bronson sits well placed within their range of bikes as a solid longer travel all-rounder. Available in a range of well-equipped guises and two striking colour options in the form of Paydirt Gold or Gloss Moss you’ll certainly get some admiring glances on the trail whether it be going full send on the way down or pedaling up as you cruise past the energy-sapping Enduro rig riding crew!

Shop our range of Santa Cruz Bikes available online and in any of our Hargroves Cycles stores to see what we have in-stock. Whether it’s a massive travel downhill machine, enduro, all mountain full-suspension, hardtail cross country mountain bike or gravel/cx bike you’re after, Santa Cruz have you covered.

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Bikes Buying Guide Electric Bikes Featured Hot Products Mountain Bikes News

Specialized Kenevo SL

“No e-MTB is lighter and more capable.”

A bold claim indeed from Specialized. Following up on the arrival of last years’ Levo SL, Specialized have released the all-new Kenevo SL and we had our hands on one of the Expert models for release day.

At the time of release the Levo SL was a stand-out bike, being one of the lightest electric mountain bikes available, based around the Stumpjumper and weighing just 38 pounds. Building on this technology Specialized has gone one better, taking the ever-popular Enduro and electrifying it with their 240 Watt Turbo Super Light system to create the Kenevo SL. Weighing in at just 40.9 lb (for the size S4 S-works model) this thing is super light (get it) and only 8 pounds heavier than a standard, non-electric Enduro, or 12 lb less than the Turbo Kenevo.

While the S-Works Kenevo SL is the range-topping model, we got our hands on the Kenevo SL Expert version, which still packs one mighty punch, especially in the Gloss Brassy Yellow colourway! The frameset at a glance is frighteningly recognisable, you’d be forgiven for mistaking it for the current Enduro, the Kenevo SL boasts a few tricks up it’s sleeve however in comparison with its fully pedal-powered equivalent.

The Turbo Super Light motor and 320Wh battery are fully integrated in the chassis to improve handling responsiveness while allowing for up to 4.5 hours of rider support, which makes for some serious shred time. Allowing for a pedaling cadence of 75 RPM or more you can seamlessly control the power delivery via the Handlebar remote while keeping a close eye on things thanks to the MasterMind TCU display perfectly placed on the top tube, with customisable display fields.

Specialized equipped the Kenevo SL with adjustable Geometry too, six distinct settings allow you to tune the bike to handle just how you like it. This thing really is built to be ridden over or down pretty much anything. With 170mm of fully usable travel mean elevated ride quality on the trail. Specialized put it quite simply, they’ve never made a more adjustable and adaptable trail bike. Let alone one that essentially doubles your pedaling output! Frame sizes are based around Specialized’s S-Sizing system which accounts for rider size and style rather than inseam. When selecting which size to go for you can choose that which best suits your individual style, smaller sizes are more nimble and playful while bigger account for a roomier, more stable ride. All sizes have fairly short seat tubes which make it easier for riders to size up or down depending on which they prefer.

The Kenevo SL Expert model is well equipped, there’s not a single component that hasn’t been carefully selected and well thought out. SRAM’s superb X01 Eagle 12-speed groupset with 10-52T cassette gives a 520% gear range ensuring efficiency on even the most brutal climbs. 1x components mean Eagle is lighter, more durable and easier to use than ever. You could even upgrade to wireless shifting using one of SRAM’s GX Eagle AXS wireless upgrade kits should you want an even more simplistic approach.

FOX Float X Performance 170mm forks paired with a FOX Float X Performance shock ensure travel is supple on small bumps while remaining super capable when the trail gets tough. 29″ Wheels front and rear still deliver a ride that’s nimble while optimizing traction and control. The Specialized Butcher GRID TRAIL front and Eliminator GRID TRAIL rear 29×2.6″ tyres make sure of this. SRAM Code RS 4-piston brakes keep everything well under control when descending and the 220/200mm rotors certainly help. The X-Fusion manic dropper post allows for extra room in that area as and when it’s required. Specialized really did pour some serious hours into developing this bike and it shows!

Specialized’s Kenevo SL Expert is available now, in extremely limited numbers. You can also shop our full range of Specialized Turbo E-Bikes here!

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Bikes Buying Guide Electric Electric Bikes Featured Hot Products Road Bikes

Cannondale Topstone Neo SL E-Gravel Bike

When Cannondale told us about their Topstone Neo SL e-bike we thought it sounded great. An e-bike built for roads, lanes, byways, gravel trails or just about anything you can point it in the direction of with an ultra discrete, lightweight Mahle ebikemotion X35+ drive system. No we’ve had a chance to get our hands on the bike we’re even more impressed than we had anticipated.

When you first see the Topstone Neo SL you realise just how far e-bikes have come. You’d be forgiven for asking the question ‘Where’s the motor?” The simple answer is that this clever hub-based motor really does hide in plain sight. Despite its subtle appearance, the assistance achieved by this lightweight motor is far from it. 250W power with a 250Wh battery provide three levels of support ensuring assistance is always there when you need it. A maximum range of 47 miles is achieved when used conservatively so you really can go the distance.

Controlled by the integrated top tube controller, assistance is always within reach. You can turn the system on, select your assist level and see your battery charge, all at the touch of a button leaving plenty of space on the bars for any other accessories you decide to take along for the ride. Charging is simple thanks to the easy access charging port. This also allows for an optional range extender for a total battery capacity of 450Wh allowing you to ride even further!

The lightweight aluminum frame and full carbon fork provide a smooth and stable ride. The geometry is perfectly balanced to allow you to munch miles in a back-friendly position without being too slack. You can still get pretty aero in the drops! Clearance for 700x42c tyres provide all the cushioning and grip you’ll need on the more technical trails, tubeless compatibility means you can get the pressures nice and low too.

Functionality is catered for with multiple mounts for water bottles, racks and storage. Fit a set of fenders to keep the grime off in the damper months and you’ll have a year-round companion if you don’t mind facing the elements making it the perfect companion for commuting in style.

Available in two differing builds, the Topstone Neo SL1 comes equipped with Shimano’s GRX600 1×11 Speed groupset, the Topstone Neo SL2 has Shimano GRX400 2×10 Speed, providing reliable functionality you’d expect from a Shimano hydraulic disc brake groupset in both cases. The SL1 even has some fine finishing kit like the Fabric Scoop saddle, Promax carbon seatpost both of which aid in soaking up any buzz. WTB Resolute TCS, 700 x 42c, tubeless-ready tyres and Cannondale 16 degree flared handlebars round up a really well-thought-out build.

Available in-store and online the Cannondale Topstone Neo SL1 and Cannondale Topstone Neo SL2 form part of our huge range of electric road and gravel bikes.

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Bikes Buying Guide News Road Bikes

Gravel Bikes, the perfect 4 season UK bike?

Living in the UK our bikes need to be versatile, after all the weather in the UK can be grim at the best of times. Let’s face it we get about 3 months of sun every year, the rest of the time we spend battling the elements.

When it comes to cycling, especially road riding the best way to combat the inclement weather, protecting yourself and your bike from the relentless road spray is often to fit a set of mudguards. Wider tyres tend to favourable with those who like to ride right through the very worst of the weather. While modern endurance-orientated road bikes do tend to allow for this, sportier bikes certainly don’t. That’s where a winter bike comes into its own and we’ve found that Gravel Bikes make a perfect year-round bike here in the UK for training and generally enjoying the great outdoors. Hear me out…

Tyre Clearance
One of the key features of a gravel bike is the clearance for large volume tyres, typically 40mm and above in width on a 700c wheel. While this is ideal for gravel riding when it comes to pounding miles on the road you might want something a little narrower. The beauty is though while you may not need the tyre clearance it allows you to fit full mudguards in place and still a nice wide tyre.

Disc Brakes
Disc brakes offer far more consistent braking regardless of conditions, that paired without having to worry about wearing rims out lend towards all season riding. Come rain or shine you’re not likely to notice a dip in braking performance. Hydraulic discs offer superb modulation which can be crucial on slippy lanes and you don’t have to worry about them clogging up with mud.

Mounts
One thing that gravel bikes tend to feature is mounting points. This opens up a range of possibilities for attaching all manner of accessories from mudguards to extra bottle cages or even pannier racks. It’s always handy to carry a few spares, there’s no harm in being over-prepared.

Geometry
While gravel bikes may look to the eye to essentially be a road bike with bigger tyres, they typically have a more relaxed riding position. A slightly slacker front ends helps to aid stability which can prove hugely beneficial in ferocious winter crosswinds. This can also help with reducing the change of toe overlap when you’ve fitted mudguards! With a shorter reach than your typical road race bike, gravel bikes are more akin to endurance bikes, so you can ride all day in comfort.

So if you’re considering a gravel bike but aren’t quite convinced yet, we certainly think they’re worth their while. Even if you won’t be riding miles of unpaved tracks, they’re equally at home on the road with a few minor adjustments and might just make the ideal winter training bike. That being said, they’re certainly no replacement for an out and out road bike but do provide a huge level of versatility.

Shop our range of in-stock Gravel Bikes.

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Bikes Buying Guide Featured Mountain Bikes News

Specialized Epic Hardtail Comp Review

For 20 years Specialized Epic’s have been putting racers on top of podiums. One of the most successful Cross Country Mountain Bikes available, with renowned athletes piloting the bike around World Cup circuits. Utilising the experience gained by racing at the very top tier, Specialized make race-ready bikes available to buy off the shelf. The Epic Hardtail Comp is a perfect example of this.

What’s new?
The lightest production hardtail on earth is also the most capable and comfortable racing machine they have ever created. Specialized have used their featherweight FACT 11m carbon to create a dropper-post friendly frame which is only 140 grams heavier than the elite level, S-Works equivalent. The handling is more confident thanks to a slackened head angle, reduced fork offset and increased reach. Paired with Rockshox‘s Reba RL fork to soak up the bumps with a steady hand.

The full Shimano SLX M7100 series groupset ensures the Epic Hardtail Comp strikes a perfect balance between performance and reliability, all at an accessible price point.

Epic good looks
Dressed in the iconic Specialized Flo Red that has adorned Specialized bikes for so many years, the Epic Hardtail Comp comes to life in the sun thanks to a special ghost pearl addition to the paintwork. This thing really needs to be seen to be appreciated properly.

Epic in name, epic in nature
The Specialized Epic Hardtail Comp is a thoroughbred race bike, every turn of the pedals catapults you forward at a rate more akin to a gravel bike, this thing is seriously quick! Thanks to the pedalling efficiency of a hardtail, the Epic really feels like it’s going to take off when you get on the gas, even in the heaviest of slop, synonyms with the classic British Winter we’ve grown so accustomed to. Nimble over roots, the Specialized Fast Track CONTROL tyres provide ample grip when required while carrying the necessary speed to rip uphill and on the flats. You’ll spend most of your time in the saddle dropping a cog and finding ways to go faster.

The Specialized Epic Hardtail Comp is a carbon XC mountain bike that makes you want to ride all the time. It’s a straight forward no-nonsense bike that’s going to prove to a reliable and hassle-free partner for miles to come, owing to the carefully selected equipment that it’s specced with. We’re a huge fan of the Specialized Epic here at Hargroves Cycles and we’re certain you will be too.

Shop Specialized Mountain Bikes at Hargroves Cycles available with finance and delivery.

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Bikes Buying Guide Electric Bikes Featured

E-Bike Buyers Guide

Common questions asked when buying an e-bike.

Electricity is the future of transport, that’s a fact. It’s clean, affordable, efficient and reliable. E-bikes are the perfect example of this and with a range on offer that’s bigger than ever, at Hargroves Cycles we thought it would be useful to try and cover some of the basic questions people tend to have when considering stepping into the world of electrically assisted bicycles.

With motors becoming more discreet the chances are you’ll have seen an E-bike whizzing past you and not even realised. We think it’s great as it’s giving more people than ever confidence to get on a bike without the worry they might not be able to manage. It’s not to be mistaken for a free ride though, the best part is you still have to pedal. This means you can go further and do more than ever before on a bicycle while staying healthy.

How do E-bikes work?

The answer is a fairly simple one, they work exactly like a typical pedal-powered bicycle, but the electric motor powered by a battery assists as and when it is needed. This reduces the effort required and making your journey quicker and more efficient.

The UK has strict laws that currently govern exactly how much assistance the motor can deliver. The current law means any bike can have an additional 250W up to a maximum speed of 15.5mph. After that point the motor would cut out and traditional pedal power is required to go any faster.

Which e-bike is best for me?

Electric bikes are more diverse than ever, you can find just about every type of bicycle imaginable available with an electrical assist motor. Our current range includes road, MTB, gravel, city, hybrid and compact. When it comes to what might be the right fit for you it really comes down to the type of riding you’re likely to be doing and just how much assistance you might need.

Are there different Motor Types?

Frame: A frame-mounted motor is the more common higher-end e-bikes. These tend to be smarter as they can measure how hard you’re pedaling with each stroke. With this information, the motor can give a more accurate amount of assistance based on your effort. This means that the motor won’t deliver assistance when it’s not required, extending battery life and making sure everything is running as efficiently as possible.

Hub: A hub-mounted motor is more often found in bikes where a slightly more discrete approach is needed. These tend to be used in an e-road bike or city e-bike to keep things stylish.

What about the Batteries?

Battery technology is getting better all the time with some batteries now small and powerful enough to fit within the frame of the bike! Battery capacity tends to be the most important factor to consider when buying an e-bike. Especially if you intend to complete longer journeys in more hilly areas, in that case, bigger is definitely better. Capacity tends to be measured in amp-hours with the bigger the number meaning larger capacity and in turn, range.

How far can I ride it?

Just like your trusty mobile phone, the range of an e-bike is governed by battery life. The bike, however, will still be rideable long after the battery runs out however just without the battery assist. Factors such as which mode is selected and the terrain will run the battery down much faster so you should always account for this when looking at manufacturers quoted range.

What if the bike gets wet?

The electronic items on all of our e-bikes tend to be sealed units, including the motor, battery and head unit. They are designed for all-purpose use such as mountain biking, where occasionally there are deep puddles and rain. The bike will handle this without any issues. If possible, try not to completely submerge your e-bike but if you fall into a puddle for example, make sure the bike and yourself get out as quickly as possible. This would go for a normal bike too, water ingress can cause problems with more than just electronics! If you can, allow the bike to dry off before turning it back on.

How Heavy is it?
One of the most common questions we have about electric bicycles is “How heavy is it?” The truth is the weight can vary massively from bike to bike. Some modern e-bikes can weigh as little as 10-11kg and can range up to 25-26kg for some of the larger city e-bikes. This can lead to them being difficult to transport when not being ridden.

Cube Compact Hybrid Electric Bike

While buying an E-bike might seem like a big investment at Hargroves Cycles we certainly think it’s one worth making. With electric bikes to suit most riding styles and needs, you could certainly find a way of offsetting it against your current travel costs. Not to mention the health and environmental benefits.

Bergamont E-Revox 4 Electric MTB

Shop our range of e-bikes today and feel free to get in touch with us if you have any further questions!

Orbea Keram 10 29 Electric Bike