While many tend to think the best hardtail mountain bikes need to be fashioned from carbon fiber in order to provide a tangible riding experience, Stif has gone in the other direction and launched a new steel hardtail, ideally suited for daring trail riders.
The appeal of a chromoly tubed 29er hardtail is undeniable, especially if you are a committed winter weather rider. Without any rear pivots or bearings to service, the overall burden of maintenance is much lower.
Whereas 29er steel hardtails were mostly associated with rigid fork single-speed riders only a few years ago, the latest bikes in this genre are true trail slayers.
Stif spent the last three years developing its new Squatch hardtail and has incorporated the latest long, low and slack mountain bike geometry trends. The result is a 130mm hardtail that is hugely capable of even the most challenging of technical descents.
Classic material - with modern shapes
The Squatch frame is constructed from proven 4130-grade chromoly tubing and shaped to some proper angles. With a 130mm fork up front, its head angle slackens to 64-degrees, balanced by a 78-degrees seat angle.
Stif has been mindful of enabling a generous reach value for its Squatch and as a reference, the size large frame stretches to 480mm from its front center to the rider’s balance position.
One of the great enablers of modern trail hardtails, is the extra-long dropper seatpost. To accommodate these, Stif has trimmed the Squatch’s seat tube a touch and provided stealth cable routing.
An interesting fabrication detail of this new Stif hardtail, is the signature 12 Bore chainstay bridge, a vertical chainstay configuration has allowed Stif to maximise the available tire clearance. The Squatch can clear a 2.6in tire and a 34 tooth chainring.
Stif is offering a frame only option with the new Squatch, for those riders who value the experience of a curated build.
There are two complete bike kits too, with mid- and premium-grade RockShox Pike forks and a blend of SRAM’s NX/GX drivetrains and Guide/G2 brakes.
Both the AM and Pro build kits feature Burgtec cockpits, with 800mm width handlebars, clamped in place by 35mm stems.
The Squatch is available from Stifmtb.com, with the AM build retailing at £1,899 and Pro at £2,499. If you want to go frame only, it will set you back £599.