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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 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 Mountain Bikes News

Buying​ ​Your​ ​First​ ​Mountain​ ​Bike:​ ​Priorities,​ ​Prices​ ​and​ ​Pitfalls

With​ ​so​ ​many​ ​options,​ ​investing​ ​in​ ​your​ ​first​ ​mountain​ ​bike​ ​can​ ​be​ ​confusing.​ ​At​ ​Hargroves Cycles​ ​we’re​ ​confident​ ​we​ ​have​ ​the​ ​MTB​ ​for​ ​you​ ​–​ ​but​ ​how​ ​do​ ​you​ ​know​ ​which​ ​is​ ​right?​ ​In​ ​the  simplest​ ​terms,​ ​the​ ​‘right’​ ​bike​ ​is​ ​the​ ​one​ ​that​ ​best​ ​matches​ ​your​ ​intended​ ​use.​ ​Crucially,​ ​it​ ​will  also​ ​be​ ​the​ ​correct​ ​size​ ​for​ ​your​ ​body​ ​(see​ ​here​ ​for​ ​our​ ​sizing​ ​guide).​ ​Get​ ​these​ ​two  things​ ​right​ ​and​ ​all​ ​the​ ​other​ ​details​ ​–​ ​suspension​ ​travel,​ ​geometry,​ ​wheel​ ​size​ ​and​ ​more​ ​–​ ​will  flow​ ​from​ ​how​ ​and​ ​where​ ​you​ ​ride,​ ​and​ ​your​ ​budget.​ ​Here’s​ ​what​ ​to​ ​consider…

PRICE​ ​–​ ​HOW​ ​MUCH​ ​SHOULD​ ​I​ ​SPEND?

Mountain​ ​bikes​ ​suitable​ ​for​ ​light​ ​off-road​ ​use​ ​start​ ​at​ ​around £300,​ ​and​ ​are​ ​great​ ​for​ ​occasional  adventures​ ​on​ ​loose​ ​but​ ​maintained​ ​surfaces​ ​such​ ​as​ ​towpaths​ ​and​ ​bridleways.​ 

However,​ ​for​ ​more​ ​dedicated​ ​trail​ ​use​ ​and​ ​longer​ ​days​ ​in​ ​the​ ​hills,​ ​it’s​ ​best​ ​to​ ​look​ ​at​ ​‘entry  level’​ ​machines​ ​with​ ​tougher,​ ​more​ ​specialist​ ​features.​ ​Hardtails​ ​(rigid​ ​at​ ​the​ ​rear,​ ​suspension  fork)​ ​typically​ ​between​ ​£400​ ​and​ ​£600,​ ​have​ ​aluminium​ ​frames​ ​with​ ​modern​ ​geometry​ ​and  design,​ ​and​ ​naturally,​ ​the​ ​further​ ​up​ ​that​ ​price​ ​bracket​ ​you​ ​go,​ ​the​ ​higher​ ​specification​ ​their  components.​ ​Check​ ​out​ ​the​ Specialized​ ​Pitch​​family,​ ​which​ ​includes​ ​Sport  and​ ​women-specific​ ​options.

At​ ​the​ ​upper​ ​end​ ​you​ ​can​ ​expect​ ​hydraulic​ ​disc​ ​brakes​ ​(more​ ​powerful​ ​and​ ​reliable​ ​than  cables,​ ​especially​ ​in​ ​the​ ​wet),​ ​air-sprung​ ​forks​ ​(lighter​ ​and​ ​easier​ ​to​ ​adjust​ ​than​ ​coil),​ ​and​ ​a  superior​ ​spread​ ​of​ ​gears​ ​that​ ​can​ ​cope​ ​across​ ​a​ ​wide​ ​range​ ​of​ ​gradients,​ ​conditions​ ​and  fitness​ ​levels.

At​ ​£1000​ ​and​ ​over,​ ​steel​ ​and​ ​carbon​ ​hardtail​ ​frames​ ​appear,​ ​along​ ​with​ ​high-level componentry​ ​from​ ​big​ ​names​ ​such​ ​as​ ​Shimano,​ ​SRAM,​ ​Fox​ ​and​ ​RockShox.​ ​These​ ​are  seriously​ ​capable​ ​bikes,​ ​with​ ​plenty​ ​of​ ​lightweight​ ​cross-country​ ​and​ ​harder-hitting​ ​trail  options​ ​to​ ​choose​ ​from.​ ​Check​ ​out​ ​the​ ​Scott​ ​Scale​ ​900​ ​range​ ​for​ ​the​ ​kind​ ​of quality​ ​design​ ​and​ ​equipment​ ​to​ ​expect​ ​–​ ​it’s​ ​a​ ​great​ ​example​ ​of​ ​high​ ​quality​ ​hardtails,  including​ ​aluminium,​ ​carbon​ ​and​ ​women’s-specific​ ​frames,​ ​and​ ​is​ ​representative​ ​of​ ​what​ ​we  see​ ​across​ ​the​ ​whole​ ​Scott​ ​MTB​ ​family.

Entry-level​ ​full-suspension​ ​bikes​ ​start​ ​at​ ​around​ ​£1,400​ ​and​ ​go​ ​to​ ​around​ ​£1,800​ ​– you’ll​ ​see  some​ ​in​ ​this​ ​guide​. ​The​ ​extra​ ​cost​ ​of​ ​that​ ​rear​ ​shock​ ​means​ ​other  components​ ​are​ ​necessarily​ ​lower-spec​ ​than​ ​an​ ​equivalent​ ​hardtail,​ ​but​ ​rear​ ​suspension​ ​is  less​ ​about​ ​extra​ ​comfort​ ​and​ ​more​ ​about​ ​grip,​ ​stability​ ​and​ ​speed,​ ​both​ ​while​ ​climbing​ ​and  descending.​ ​You​ ​can​ ​buy​ ​cheaper​ ​full-suss​ ​bikes,​ ​but​ ​weight​ ​and​ ​suspension​ ​control​ ​tend​ ​to  create​ ​a​ ​significant​ ​compromise.

At​ ​£2,000​ ​and​ ​above,​ ​expect​ ​quality​ ​air​ ​suspension​ ​with​ ​external​ ​adjustment,​ ​10​ ​or​ ​11-speed  drivetrains,​ ​accomplished​ ​hydraulic​ ​discs​ ​and​ ​frame​ ​geometry​ ​that’s​ ​well-tuned​ ​for​ ​your​ ​riding  (long,​ ​slack​ ​and​ ​low​ ​for​ ​aggressive​ ​trails,​ ​taller,​ ​steeper​ ​and​ ​tighter​ ​for​ ​XC).​ ​Also​ ​look​ ​for valuable​ ​elements​ ​such​ ​as​ ​remote​ ​dropper​ ​posts​ ​and​ ​Tubeless​ ​Ready​ ​wheels/tyres.​ ​Bikes​ ​in this​ ​category​ ​tend​ ​to​ ​have​ ​frames​ ​that​ ​are​ ​well​ ​worth​ ​keeping,​ ​and​ ​adding​ ​upgraded  components​ ​to​ ​as​ ​time​ ​goes​ ​by.

From​ ​£2,500​ ​more​ ​carbon​ ​fibre​ ​framed​ ​MTBs​ ​are​ ​available,​ ​offering​ ​blends​ ​of​ ​stiffness,  buzz-filtering​ ​compliance​ ​and​ ​low​ ​weight.​ ​From​ ​here​ ​to​ ​£3,500​ ​you’ll​ ​find​ ​a​ ​host​ ​of​ ​light,  strong,​ ​highly​ ​capable,​ ​up-to-the-minute​ ​full-suspension​ ​bikes​ ​covered​ ​in​ ​above-average componentry.​

SUSPENSION​ ​–​ ​HOW​ ​MUCH​ ​DO​ ​I​ ​NEED?

If​ ​you’re​ ​riding​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​towpaths,​ ​cyclepaths,​ ​bridleways,​ ​backroads​ ​and​ ​even​ ​gentle​ ​trail  centres,​ ​you​ ​don’t​ ​need​ ​much​ ​suspension​ ​travel:​ ​think​ ​100mm.​ ​These​ ​bikes​ ​sit​ ​at​ ​the  cross-country​ ​(XC)​ ​end​ ​of​ ​the​ ​spectrum.

A​ ​hardtail​is​ ​good​ ​for​ ​less​ ​aggressive​ ​riders,​ ​as​ ​simpler​ ​construction​ ​means  it​ ​will​ ​be​ ​lighter​ ​and​ ​fitted​ ​with​ ​better​ ​parts​ ​than​ ​a​ ​full-suspension​ ​bike​ ​at​ ​the​ ​same​ ​price.  Today’s​ ​27.5in​ ​Plus​ ​wheel​ ​sizes​ ​are​ ​a​ ​big​ ​benefit,​ ​as​ ​their​ ​balloon-like  2.8-3in​ ​tyres​ ​add​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​comfort​ ​and​ ​grip,​ ​without​ ​the​ ​extra​ ​weight​ ​and​ ​cost​ ​of​ ​rear  suspension.

If​ ​you​ ​plan​ ​to​ ​attack​ ​the​ ​harder​ ​trail​ ​centre​ ​routes,​ ​head​ ​into​ ​the​ ​woods​ ​looking​ ​for​ ​trickier  terrain,​ ​or​ ​hit​ ​the​ ​steepest,​ ​roughest​ ​stuff,​ ​you’ll​ ​appreciate​ ​some​ ​extra​ ​travel​ ​–​ ​and​ ​the​ ​longer  frames​ ​that​ ​come​ ​with​ ​it.​ ​Longer​ ​frames​ ​with​ ​slacker​ ​head​ ​angles​ ​(67​ ​degrees​ ​or​ ​less)​ ​are  more​ ​forgiving​ ​and​ ​controllable​ ​on​ ​fast,​ ​slippery​ ​or​ ​rough​ ​descents,​ ​at​ ​the​ ​expense​ ​of​ ​some  climbing​ ​agility.​ ​Look​ ​for​ ​‘trail’​ ​bikes​ ​with​ ​120-140mm​ ​travel​ ​on​ ​a​ ​hardtail,​ ​or​ ​up​ ​to  150mm-160mm​ ​on​ ​full​ ​suspension.

Note​ ​these​ ​are​ ​only​ ​guides,​ ​not​ ​rules!​ ​You​ ​can​ ​only​ ​really​ ​get​ ​it​ ​wrong​ ​at​ ​the​ ​extremes.  There’s​ ​no​ ​point​ ​pedalling​ ​around​ ​lots​ ​of​ ​extra​ ​weight​ ​if​ ​you​ ​never​ ​need​ ​the​ ​extra​ ​travel​ ​or  frame​ ​strength,​ ​after​ ​all​ ​–​ ​and​ ​you​ ​certainly​ ​won’t​ ​enjoy​ ​a​ ​flighty,​ ​twitchy​ ​XC​ ​machine​ ​if​ ​it’s​ ​out  of​ ​its​ ​depth​ ​on​ ​your​ ​favourite​ ​descents,​ ​no​ ​matter​ ​how​ ​easy​ ​it​ ​was​ ​to​ ​pedal​ ​up.

WHEEL​ ​SIZE​ ​–​ ​WHICH​ ​ONE​ ​IS​ ​RIGHT?

Bikes​ ​have​ ​generally​ ​settled​ ​into​ ​27.5in​ ​(650b)​ ​for​ ​aggressive​ ​trail,​ ​and​ ​29in​ ​for​ ​everything  else.​ ​It’s​ ​down​ ​to​ ​simple​ ​physics:​ ​smaller​ ​wheels​ ​are​ ​inherently​ ​stiffer​ ​for​ ​a​ ​given​ ​weight,​ ​and change​ direction​ ​more​ ​snappily​ ​too.​ ​It’s​ ​also​ ​easier​ ​to​ ​fit​ ​smaller​ ​wheels​ ​into​ ​a​ ​long-travel​ ​bike  without​ ​making​ ​it​ ​too​ ​long​ ​and​ ​tall.

While​ ​there’s​ ​a​ ​noticeable​ ​difference​ ​in​ ​feel​ ​between​ ​27.5in​ ​and​ ​29in,​ ​it’s​ ​another​ ​thing​ ​you  can’t​ ​really​ ​get​ ​wrong.​ ​So​ ​long​ ​as​ ​the​ ​bike​ ​itself​ ​is​ ​as​ ​XC​ ​or​ ​trail-oriented​ ​as​ ​you,​ ​wheel​ ​size​ ​is  personal​ ​preference.​ ​Aggressive​ ​29ers​ ​are​ ​also​ ​emerging.

Whatever​ ​your​ ​ultimate​ ​decision,​ ​you’ll​ ​find​ ​your​ ​ideal​ ​bike​ ​somewhere​ ​in​ ​the​ ​huge​ ​range​ ​at  Hargroves.​ ​So​ ​take​ ​a​ ​look​ ​now​ ​–​ ​and​ ​have​ ​fun!

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Bikes Buying Guide Mountain Bikes News

Plus​ ​Bike​ ​or​ ​Fat​ ​Bike?​ ​What​ ​Are​ ​They,​ ​and​ ​What’s​ ​The​ ​Difference? 

After​ ​years​ ​of​ ​unchanging​ ​sizes,​ ​mountain​ ​bike​ ​wheels​ ​have​ ​recently​ ​undergone​ ​–​ ​if​ ​you’ll  pardon​ ​the​ ​pun​ ​–​ ​a​ ​revolution.​ ​The​ ​options​ ​now​ ​are​ ​vast.​ ​But​ ​what​ ​does​ ​it​ ​all​ ​mean?​ ​What’s​ ​a fat​ ​bike,​ ​and​ ​what’s​ ​a​ ​Plus​ ​bike?​ ​And​ ​where​ ​does​ ​Boost,​ ​27.5in​ ​and​ ​29in​ ​fit​ ​in?​ ​Here’s​ ​the Hargroves​ ​Cycles​ ​guide…

Both​ ​fat​ ​bikes​ ​and​ ​Plus​ ​bikes​ ​are​ ​judged​ ​in​ ​relation​ ​to​ ​‘regular’​ ​bikes,​ ​so​ ​first​ ​let’s​ ​define​ ​them.  For​ ​many​ ​years,​ ​off-road​ ​tyres​ ​stayed​ ​between​ ​2.1in​ ​and​ ​2.3in​ ​wide,​ ​while​ ​rim​ ​widths​ ​slowly  crept​ ​from​ ​17-19mm​ ​to​ ​21-26mm.​ ​Although​ ​‘regular’​ ​rims​ ​have​ ​recently​ ​spread​ ​up​ ​to​ ​30mm  (thanks​ ​largely​ ​to​ ​the​ ​emergence​ ​of​ ​fat​ ​bikes),​ ​2.3in​ ​tyres​ ​are​ ​still​ ​the​ ​norm.

Fat​ ​bikes,​ ​by​ ​contrast,​ ​have​ ​massive​ ​4in-5in​ ​tyres​ ​sitting​ ​on​ ​80-100mm​ ​wide​ ​rims.​ ​This​ ​means they​ ​need​ ​special​ ​extra-wide​ ​cranks,​ ​hubs​ ​and​ ​frames.

Plus​ ​bike​ ​sit​ ​between​ ​‘regular’​ ​bikes​ ​and​ ​full-on​ ​fat​ ​bikes,​ ​featuring​ ​2.8in-3in​ ​tyres​ ​and  40-50mm​ ​rims.​ ​They​ ​fit​ ​into​ ​regular​ ​frames,​ ​so​ ​all​ ​the​ ​other​ ​components​ ​can​ ​remain​ ​standard.

Don’t​ ​get​ ​this​ ​expansion​ ​confused​ ​with​ ​wheel​ ​diameters,​ ​which​ ​have​ ​followed​ ​a​ ​similar  trajectory​ ​of​ ​late.​ ​After​ ​many​ ​years​ ​of​ ​nothing​ ​but​ ​26in​ ​wheels,​ ​a​ ​sudden​ ​rise​ ​in​ ​popularity​ ​for  29ers​ ​was​ ​rapidly​ ​followed​ ​by​ ​the​ ​midway​ ​option​ ​of​ ​27.5in​ ​(650b).​ ​Plus​ ​bikes​ ​almost  exclusively​ ​use​ ​27.5in,​ ​while​ ​fat​ ​bikes​ ​actually​ ​have​ ​26in​ ​wheels​ ​because​ ​their​ ​huge,​ ​tall​ ​tyres  have​ ​an​ ​effective​ ​29in​ ​anyway.

The​ ​Boost​ ​wheel​ ​standard,​ ​meanwhile,​ ​purely​ ​concerns​ ​the​ ​width​ ​of​ ​the​ ​axle.​ ​Boost​ ​is​ ​wider  (110mm​ ​front​ ​and​ ​148mm​ ​rear,​ ​instead​ ​of​ ​100mm/142mm)​ ​and​ ​found​ ​on​ ​‘regular’​ ​bikes​ ​too,​ ​for the​ ​extra​ ​wheel​ ​stiffness​ ​it​ ​gives.​ ​Many​ ​Plus​ ​bikes​ ​use​ ​it​ ​for​ ​the​ ​extra​ ​tyre​ ​clearance.

WHO​ ​ARE​ ​FAT​ ​BIKES​ ​FOR?

Originally​ ​created​ ​for​ ​snow,​ ​and​ ​also​ ​fantastic​ ​on​ ​sand,​ ​fat​ ​bikes​ ​are​ ​great​ ​for​ ​anyone​ ​looking  for​ ​the​ ​ultimate​ ​in​ ​comfort​ ​and​ ​grip.​ ​Fat​ ​bikes​ ​tend​ ​to​ ​be​ ​simple​ ​and​ ​very​ ​rugged,​ ​and​ ​will  tractor​ ​their​ ​way​ ​up​ ​seriously​ ​tricky​ ​climbs​ ​that​ ​leave​ ​regular​ ​bikes​ ​spinning​ ​and​ ​stalling​ ​out.

If​ ​you​ ​value​ ​fast-trail​ ​precision​ ​and​ ​zippy​ ​climbing​ ​on​ ​smoother​ ​surfaces,​ ​however,​ ​you​ ​may  find​ ​the​ ​huge​ ​amount​ ​of​ ​rubber​ ​at​ ​very​ ​low​ ​pressures​ ​a​ ​little​ ​cumbersome​ ​and​ ​draggy.  Upgrades​ ​and​ ​repairs​ ​can​ ​be​ ​trickier​ ​too,​ ​thanks​ ​to​ ​the​ ​less​ ​common​ ​sizes​ ​of​ ​some​ ​parts.​ ​The  payoff​ ​is​ ​huge​ ​fun​ ​everywhere​ ​else.

DO​ ​I​ ​NEED​ ​A​ ​PLUS​ ​BIKE?

Plus​ ​bikes​ ​offer​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​the​ ​benefits​ ​that​ ​fat​ ​bikes​ ​do,​ ​but​ ​without​ ​most​ ​of​ ​the​ ​downsides.​ ​Their  2.8in-3in​ ​tyres​ ​don’t​ ​create​ ​much​ ​more​ ​drag​ ​than​ ​a​ ​standard​ ​tyre,​ ​thanks​ ​to​ ​generally  shallower​ ​treads​ ​–​ ​they​ ​can​ ​get​ ​away​ ​with​ ​that​ ​because​ ​they​ ​have​ ​much​ ​larger​ ​contact  patches.​ ​Rubber​ ​compounds​ ​can​ ​also​ ​be​ ​softer​ ​and​ ​stickier​ ​for​ ​great​ ​grip​ ​on​ ​rocks​ ​and​ ​roots,  without​ ​slowing​ ​things​ ​down.

A​ ​40-50mm​ ​wheel​ ​rim​ ​means​ ​they’re​ ​much​ ​wider​ ​at​ ​the​ ​base​ ​than​ ​‘normal’​ ​tyres,​ ​creating​ ​a huge​ ​air​ ​volume​ ​for​ ​a​ ​comfy,​ ​compliant​ ​and​ ​generally​ ​very​ ​forgiving​ ​ride.​ ​This​ ​makes​ ​them​ ​an  especially​ ​excellent​ ​choice​ ​on​ ​hardtails,​ ​where​ ​they​ ​give​ ​noticeable​ ​extra​ ​grip​ ​and​ ​comfort,  and​ ​great​ ​for​ ​beginners​ ​too.

Sure,​ ​Plus​ ​tyres​ ​are​ ​heavier​ ​than​ ​standard​ ​sizes​ ​–​ ​though​ ​not​ ​massively​ ​so,​ ​as​ ​their​ ​carcasses  are​ ​generally​ ​thinner​ ​–​ ​but​ ​they’re​ ​far​ ​lighter​ ​than​ ​a​ ​full-on​ ​fat​ ​bike​ ​tyre.​ ​That’s​ ​important​ ​if​ ​you  do​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​climbing​ ​and​ ​stop-start​ ​accelerating,​ ​as​ ​rotating​ ​weight​ ​has​ ​a​ ​big​ ​effect​ ​on​ ​your efforts.

PLUS​ ​BIKES​ ​FOR​ ​ALL

The​ ​Plus​ ​bike​ ​range​ ​at​ ​Hargroves​ ​is​ ​carefully​ ​selected​ ​to​ ​offer​ ​our​ ​favourite​ ​selection​ ​of high-value​ ​hardtails​ ​and​ ​cutting-edge​ ​full​ ​suspension​ ​bikes​ ​that​ ​can​ ​nail​ ​any​ ​trail​ ​or​ ​climb.

For​ ​a​ ​recommended​ ​reliable​ ​performer,​ ​the​ ​2018​ ​Specialized​ ​Fuze​ ​Expert​ ​Carbon​ ​6Fattie (£3,250),​ ​​is​ ​a​ ​neat​ ​update​ ​to​ ​a​ ​proven​ ​carbon​ ​hardtail​ ​frame​ ​with​ ​Fox​ ​Rhythm  Float​ ​34s​ ​providing​ ​120mm​ ​of​ ​smooth​ ​travel​ ​up​ ​front.​ ​The​ ​spec​ ​list​ ​includes​ ​SRAM’s​ ​matchless  X1​ ​transmission​ ​and​ ​huge​ ​Guide​ ​R​ ​hydraulic​ ​brakes,​ ​and​ ​27.5in​ ​wheels​ ​shod​ ​with  Specialized’s​ ​own​ ​3.0in​ ​wide​ ​Purgatory​ ​and​ ​Ground​ ​Control​ ​tyres​ ​–​ ​blending​ ​exotic​ ​style​ ​with  a​ ​ride​ ​that​ ​won’t​ ​let​ ​you​ ​down.

Specialized Fuze Expert Carbon 6Fattie

Don’t​ ​think​ ​Plus​ ​is​ ​just​ ​about​ ​making​ ​hardtails​ ​comfier​ ​and​ ​faster.​ ​Take​ ​a​ ​look​ ​at​ ​the sensational​ ​spec​ ​of​ ​Scott’s​ ​Genius​ ​700​ ​Tuned​ ​2018 ​(£6,999)​​ ​and​ ​you’ll​ ​see that​ ​Plus​ ​tyres​ ​sit​ ​at​ ​the​ ​cutting​ ​edge​ ​of​ ​mountain​ ​bike​ ​technology.

Scott Genius 700 Tuned

Categories
Bikes Buying Guide Mountain Bikes News

Best Women’s Mountain Bikes

With​ ​female​ ​participation​ ​in​ ​mountain​ ​biking​ ​growing​ ​in​ ​the​ ​UK​ ​as​ ​it​ ​is​ ​worldwide,​ ​there’s​ ​an ever-increasing​ ​demand​ ​for​ ​specifically-designed​ ​gear​ ​that​ ​fits​ ​the​ ​bill:​ ​clothing,​ ​accessories and ​especially​ ​bikes.​ ​From​ ​trips​ ​along​ ​the​ ​towpath​ ​and​ ​pedaling​ ​the​ ​local​ ​trails​ ​to​ ​tackling  climbs​ ​in​ ​our​ ​national​ ​parks​ ​–​ ​whatever​ ​terrain​ ​takes​ ​your​ ​fancy,​ ​there’s​ ​a​ ​women’s​ ​MTB​ ​to suit.​ ​But​ ​where​ ​to​ ​begin​ ​with​ ​all​ ​that​ ​choice?​ ​Look​ ​no​ ​further​ ​–​ ​the​ ​Hargroves​ ​Cycles​ ​guide​ ​is here.

PERFECT​ ​FOR​ ​PURPOSE

Women’s​ ​mountain​ ​bikes​ ​are​ ​designed​ ​on​ ​the​ ​basis​ ​that,​ ​on​ ​average,​ ​women​ ​have proportionally​ ​longer​ ​limbs,​ ​shorter​ ​torsos,​ ​a​ ​smaller​ ​frame​ ​and​ ​lighter​ ​weight​ ​than​ ​a​ ​man​ ​of the​ ​same​ ​height.​ ​So​ ​some​ ​key​ ​bike​ ​features​ ​such​ ​as​ ​handlebar​ ​length​ ​and​ ​suspension​ ​travel are​ ​adjusted​ ​accordingly. Fundamentally,​ ​finding​ ​a​ ​bike​ ​that​ ​fits​ ​​you​ ​​is​ ​your​ ​ticket​ ​to​ ​comfort,​ ​handling​ ​confidence​ ​and  ultimately,​ ​maximum​ ​MTB​ ​enjoyment.​ ​But​ ​with​ ​a​ ​number​ ​of​ ​options​ ​to​ ​suit​ ​different​ ​terrains, like​ ​trail​ ​and​ ​cross-country,​ ​it’s​ ​not​ ​​just​ ​a​ ​case​ ​of​ ​size​ ​–​ ​but​ ​also​ ​which​ ​bike​ ​will​ ​best​ ​suit​ ​your intended​ ​riding​ ​styles.

SINGLETRACK​ ​STARS

For​ ​hitting​ ​the​ ​trails​ ​you​ ​need​ ​comfort,​ ​efficiency​ ​and​ ​technical​ ​handling​ ​on​ ​your​ ​side​ ​–​ ​and​ ​a  hardtail​ ​(front-only​ ​suspension)​ ​is​ ​ideal​ ​thanks​ ​to​ ​their​ ​fantastic​ ​versatility.​ ​While​ ​full suspension​ ​(which​ ​offers​ ​front​ ​and​ ​–​ ​you​ ​guessed​ ​it​ ​–​ ​rear​ ​suspension)​ ​delivers​ ​better efficiency​ ​over​ ​more​ ​aggressive​ ​terrain,​ ​the​ ​additional​ ​engineering​ ​and​ ​parts​ ​impact​ ​both  wallet​ ​and​ ​weight​ ​so,​ ​unless​ ​you’re​ ​expecting​ ​to​ ​smash​ ​through​ ​or​ ​over​ ​sizeable​ ​bumps, rocks​ ​and​ ​roots,​ ​a​ ​hardtail​ ​will​ ​suit​ ​your​ ​needs​ ​–​ ​delivering​ ​off-road​ ​efficiency​ ​and​ ​making lighter​ ​work​ ​of​ ​the​ ​climbs.

Specialized’s​ ​Women’s​ ​Pitch​ ​Comp​ ​650b​ ​is​ ​a​ ​great​ ​singletrack​ ​starter​ ​with​ ​a low-slung​ ​top​ ​tube​ ​for​ ​plenty​ ​of​ ​standover.​ ​It’s​ ​an​ ​alloy​ ​trail-ready​ ​choice​ ​for​ ​just​ ​£550; equipped​ ​with​ ​size-specific​ ​80mm/100mm​ ​travel​ ​‘Women’s​ ​RX​ ​Tune’​ ​Suntour​ ​fork​ ​and Shimano​ ​hydraulic​ ​disc​ ​brakes​ ​to​ ​deliver​ ​stopping​ ​power​ ​confidence.​ ​Its​ ​27.5​ ​in​ ​(650b)  wheels​ ​provide​ ​agility​ ​and​ ​they’re​ ​tougher​ ​yet​ ​lighter​ ​than​ ​29ers.​ ​Its​ ​Shimano​ ​27-speed​ ​range  makes​ ​the​ ​Pitch​ ​ready​ ​to​ ​climb​ ​just​ ​as​ ​smoothly​ ​as​ ​it​ ​rolls​ ​on​ ​the​ ​flat.     

Specialized Pitch Comp

Scott’s​ ​Contessa​ ​Scale​ ​20,​ ​£899,​ ​steps​ ​up​ ​the​ ​components​ ​to​ ​a​ ​Shimano Deore​ ​groupset​ ​and​ ​an​ ​air-sprung​ ​100mm​ ​RockShox​ ​fork​ ​offering​ ​tailored​ ​settings​ ​through​ ​its  PopLoc​ ​lockout,​ ​while​ ​internal​ ​cable​ ​routing​ ​minimises​ ​mid-ride​ ​snags.

Scott Contessa Scale 20

CROSS-COUNTRY​ ​COMFORT

27.5in​ ​wheels​ ​feel​ ​playful,​ ​but​ ​for​ ​maximum​ ​comfort​ ​when​ ​terrain​ ​gets​ ​rough,​ ​or​ ​for​ ​faster rolling​ ​over​ ​longer​ ​journeys,​ ​the​ ​29er​ ​is​ ​your​ ​ally.​ ​That​ ​said,​ ​while​ ​you’re​ ​considering​ ​whether a​ ​27.5​ ​or​ ​29er​ ​wheelset​ ​is​ ​best​ ​for​ ​you,​ ​remember​ ​that​ ​getting​ ​the​ ​right​ ​size​ ​bike​ ​is paramount,​ ​and​ ​note​ ​that​ ​some​ ​MTB​ ​models​ ​match​ ​wheel​ ​size​ ​to​ ​the​ ​frame​ ​to​ ​help​ ​with​ ​fit, Cube’s​ ​Access​ ​WS​ ​Race, ​being​ ​one.​ ​This​ ​£799​ ​alloy​ ​30-speed​ ​has​ ​27.5in wheels​ ​on​ ​its​ ​13.5/16in​ ​frame​ ​options,​ ​and​ ​29ers​ ​on​ ​the​ ​17/19in​ ​versions.​ ​Kitted​ ​out​ ​with​ ​a female-specific​ ​saddle​ ​and​ ​air​ ​sprung​ ​fork​ ​with​ ​100mm​ ​travel​ ​and​ ​remote​ ​lockout,​ ​this​ ​is​ ​a bike​ ​to​ ​provide​ ​not​ ​only​ ​fit,​ ​but​ ​also​ ​comfort.

Cube Access WS Race

Its​ ​carbon​ ​sister,​ Cube​ ​Access​ ​WS​ ​C:62​Pro,​ ​£1,399​​ ​raises​ ​the​ ​game​ ​with  Shimano​ ​SLX​ ​components​ ​and​ ​stiff​ ​frame​ ​for​ ​incredible​ ​efficiency.​ ​Both​ ​models​ ​feature Shimano​ ​hydraulic​ ​disc​ ​brakes​ ​for​ ​stopping​ ​power​ ​in​ ​any​ ​condition.

Cube Access WS CL62 Pro

Specialized’s​ ​Women’s​ ​Rockhopper​ ​Pro​ ​is​ ​a​ ​quality​ ​29er​ ​for​ ​£950.​ ​The frame’s​ ​butted​ ​alloy​ ​tubes​ ​save​ ​weight,​ ​while​ ​build​ ​and​ ​geometry​ ​inspire​ ​confidence​ ​–​ ​a​ ​low bottom​ ​bracket​ ​gives​ ​a​ ​settled​ ​feel​ ​on​ ​challenging​ ​terrains,​ ​and​ ​the​ ​air-sprung​ ​Manitou Markhor​ ​fork​ ​is​ ​frame-size​ ​tailored​ ​from​ ​80-100mm.​ ​This,​ ​together​ ​with​ ​its​ ​capable​ ​Shimano  2×10​ ​SLX​ ​and​ ​Deore​ ​components​ ​makes​ ​the​ ​Rockhopper​ ​bang-on​ ​for​ ​a​ ​smooth,​ ​fast​ ​ride​ ​you can​ ​rely​ ​on.

Specialized Rockhopper Pro

THE​ ​MOUNTAINS​ ​ARE​ ​CALLING

If​ ​your​ ​heart’s​ ​set​ ​on​ ​conquering​ ​super-steep​ ​and​ ​technical​ ​conditions,​ ​you​ ​need​ ​a​ ​bike​ ​that  tackles​ ​obstacles​ ​and​ ​delivers​ ​grip,​ ​traction​ ​and​ ​control​ ​on​ ​the​ ​descents​ ​–​ ​and​ ​full-suspension bikes​ ​deliver.​ ​The​ ​alloy​ ​full-sus​Specialized​ ​Women’s​ ​Camber​ ​650b,  £1,700,​ ​serves​ ​up​ ​130mm​ ​of​ ​travel​ ​–​ ​pairing​ ​an​ ​X-Fusion​ ​02​ ​Pro​ ​RL​ ​shock  with​ ​a​ ​Women’s​ ​RX​ ​Trail​ ​Tuned​ ​RockShox​ ​Recon​ ​fork​ ​–​ ​for​ ​more​ ​control​ ​in​ ​extreme conditions,​ ​bolstered​ ​further​ ​by​ ​the​ ​hydraulic​ ​disc​ ​brakes.​ ​For​ ​climbing​ ​agility​ ​the​ ​Camber​ ​is equipped​ ​with​ ​front​ ​and​ ​rear​ ​lockout,​ ​while​ ​its​ ​SRAM​ ​1x​ ​(10-speed)​ ​drivetrain​ ​serves​ ​up effortless​ ​shifting​ ​with​ ​less​ ​weight.

Specialized Women's Camber 650b

Scott’s​ ​full​ ​suspension​ ​Contessa​ ​Spark​ ​930​,​ ​£1,999,​ ​features​ ​a​ ​lightweight alloy​ ​frame​ ​and​ ​20-speed​ ​Shimano​ ​Deore​ ​components.​ ​Up​ ​front​ ​the​ ​air-sprung​ ​RockShox Judy​ ​fork​ ​provides​ ​120mm​ ​of​ ​plush​ ​travel​ ​matched​ ​out​ ​back​ ​by​ ​the​ ​X-Fusion​ ​shock​ ​which features​ ​three​ ​modes:​ ​lockout,​ ​traction​ ​control​ ​and​ ​descend​ ​for​ ​cross-terrain​ ​versatility,​ ​while the​ ​Syncros​ ​remote​ ​dropper​ ​post​ ​enables​ ​you​ ​to​ ​quickly​ ​switch​ ​saddle​ ​height​ ​from​ ​speedy ascents​ ​to​ ​control​ ​on​ ​the​ ​downs​ ​at​ ​the​ ​press​ ​of​ ​a​ ​button.

Scott Contessa Spark 930

We​ ​can​ ​all​ ​dream​ ​–​ ​and​ ​for​ ​a​ ​stunning​ ​full-suss,​ ​full​ ​carbon​ ​option​ ​to​ ​tackle​ ​all-mountain​ ​and trails​ ​alike,​ ​the​ ​£3,899​ ​Scott​ ​Contessa​ ​Genius​ ​720,​ ​is​ ​a​ ​1x​ ​12-speed​ ​with  Scott’s​ ​Virtual​ ​4-Link​ ​rear​ ​suspension​ ​linkage​ ​design​ ​made​ ​to​ ​fit​ ​straight​ ​out​ ​of​ ​the​ ​box,​ ​with women’s-specific​ ​saddle,​ ​shorter​ ​stem​ ​(40-50mm)​ ​and​ ​a​ ​narrower​ ​handlebar​ ​than​ ​on​ ​the unisex​ ​build.​ ​Again,​ ​wheel​ ​size​ ​depends​ ​on​ ​frame​ ​size,​ ​with​ ​27.5​ ​suiting​ ​the​ ​configuration​ ​of the​ ​S/M​ ​frames​ ​and​ ​shorter​ ​riders,​ ​while​ ​the​ ​29er​ ​wheels​ ​of​ ​the​ ​L/XL​ ​sizes​ ​keep​ ​the​ ​geometry spot-on​ ​for​ ​taller​ ​women.

Scott Contessa Genius 720

Like​ ​the​ ​Spark,​ ​suspension​ ​versatility​ ​is​ ​at​ ​the​ ​heart​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Genius;​ ​the​ ​Fox​ ​NUDE​ ​Trunnion shock​ ​provides​ ​a​ ​three-mode​ ​remote​ ​which​ ​enables​ ​full​ ​150mm,​ ​partial​ ​compression​ ​to​ ​110mm travel,​ ​all​ ​the​ ​way​ ​to​ ​full​ ​lock​ ​out,​ ​thanks​ ​to​ ​a​ ​TwinLoc​ ​handlebar​ ​remote.​ ​It’s​ ​paired​ ​with​ ​the proven​ ​three-mode​ ​Fox​ ​34​ ​Float​ ​Performance​ ​Air​ ​fork.

Once​ ​you’ve​ ​picked​ ​your​ ​MTB,​ ​you’ll​ ​be​ ​set​ ​for​ ​your​ ​year-round​ ​off-road​ ​adventures,​ ​so​ ​check out​ ​our​ ​range​ ​of​ ​clothing​ ​to​ ​keep​ ​you​ ​warm,​ ​dry​ ​and​ ​comfortable​ ​on​ ​the​ ​ride –​ ​with​ ​the​ ​best,​ ​or​ ​worst,​ ​that​ ​the​ ​British​ ​weather​ ​has​ ​to​ ​throw​ ​at​ ​us!