Lets just cut to the point, Hardtails rule! 4X was once a key fixture on the World Cup Racing circuit, Heats of four riders hammer down specially made courses over a series of berms, rollers, jumps, rock gardens, drops and sometimes even wallrides! Whilst not a full contact sport it certainly can be, with riders cutting off competitors lines and blistering speeds it’s arguably the most entertaining version of Mountain Bike racing.
For me this build needed to be versatile, ready to hit any 4X or BMX track, downhill trails and skateparks. The biggest factor is bomproof durability, the last thing you need is folded wheels and snapped components halfway through your session…
Frame – Nukeproof Snap (Long)
This thing drips sex appeal, with a raw, brushed aluminium finish, thick tubes and massive, smooth welds. The 7005 Series aluminium is light enough to explode straight of the start gate and frankly unbreakable, i’ve no worries about sending this off any drop or coming up short on jumps. Standing at just under 6’2″ i need the long version of this frame and the extra length makes this incredibly stable at speed, with a low BB height for velcro like grip and predictability in the corners. I honestly can’t think of any other hardtail i would rather own.
Fork – Fox 36 Talas RC2
A 44mm Headtube gives this frame the option for any steerer tube, but having ridden each of them i’m still at a loss for why you would ever change to a tapered fork, the 36 is utterly indestructable and gives pinpoint accuracy in the corners without an ounce of flex. The Talas feature lets me dial in the travel for the days riding, skateparks and 4X runs feel perfect at 100mm while for downhill running at 120mm slackens the angles for more stability and a bit more forgiveness when it get rough! The RC2 compression and rebound adjustments let you dial the fork in for maximum pop from jump lips or buttery smooth bump compliance.
Wheelset – Hope Pro 2 Evo / Mavix EX729
Mavic EX729 rims are as tough as they come, the weight penalty isn’t ideal but these will never give in or flex and fatten up the 2.4″ rubber perfectly. Hope Pro 2 Evo hubs were the perfect choice for this build, beautifully engineered and adaptable. They can be serviced in minutes and have unbeatable veratility. I run 20mm front adaptors and the fantastic bolted rear conversion. The frame is standard 135mm Q/R but with the massive 10mm Allen bolts these hubs are every bit as stiff and secure as a bolted through axle!
Tyres – Schwalbe Rock Razor and Maxxis Larsen TT
Speed is key. The Rock Razor and Larsens closely spaced small blocks give barely any resistance and hook up perfectly on dry and hardpacked tracks. Big shoulder knobbles on the front tyre make sure the front end never wanders and the triple compound rubber means no compromise of speed or grip. 2.4″ and 2.35″ widths smooth out the bumps and harsh landings whilst gripping like sh*t to a shovel!
Drivetrain – Shimano XT / Zee
A Shimano Zee short cage mech gives precise and seriously tough shifting no matter how rough the terrain, an XT chainset is ridiculously tough and seriously light. The trusty MRP g2 guide has never let me down, even after multiple impacts and years of use. The smartest touch is the XT shifter, allowing for multishifts both up and down the cassette, letting every pedal stroke count!
Cockpit – Easton Havoc 35 and NS Grips
The Easton Havioc 35mm bars may be a tad overkill but damn these things are strong, no matter how much (or often) I crash, they will never bend or break. The NS Bikes Sam Pilgrim grips have a massive width for my pallet sized hands and the large flanges make sure i find the grips when things get loose and airbourne!
Brakes – Shimano Deore / Zee
Simply put, brakes are unbelievably good nowadays. Deore may be entry level in terms of price but the power and feel is as good as XTR from just a few years back, if i need more power i can just upsize the Zee Rotors.
Giant Connect SL seatpost, DMR V6 pedals, Nukeproof headset, Dirty Native One saddle, Shimano Saint bottom bracket, Nukeproof seatclamp.