I have been riding the Ragley Big Wig for a number of weeks now and what can I say, this bike has genuinely blown me away. Let’s get down to it, I haven't ridden a hardtail in over 5 years so had no idea what to expect, I had been riding a 165mm travel "enduro" bike for 2 years before this. That 165mm of travel was a lifesaver for me in many many situations. It got me out of so much trouble, so what was I going to be like riding a hardtail.
Let us fast forward to the launch of Epic Cycles, my new bike shop. Before launching I was researching many brands for both full-suspension and hardtail categories. I decided on Ragley for a number of reasons but this post is not on why I chose the brand. Let us just say it stood out from the rest.
Now I place an order with my supplier and it arrives, I build up the demo bike and first of all, wow. This bike is beautiful; it comes out of the box spec’d extremely well but the colour scheme, the finish. It is a genuine beauty of a bike.
• Intended use: trail / enduro
• Wheel size: 29"
• Frame material: 4130 triple-butted steel
• Fork: RockShox Yari, 130mm
• Head angle: 65-degree
• Shimano SLX 11-speed drivetrain
• Brand-X Ascend dropper
• Boost hub spacing
• Weight: 31lb / 14.1kg (large size)
Now I take it to my local spot, I’m still a little bit hesitant as I don't know what to expect from a hardtail after being used to a Full Sus for so long. However, all of my doubts of the capability of this bike quickly went out the window. This thing can do just about anything. It took a few trails to dial the 130mm Rockshox Yari to my liking and then the bike was golden. Ragley have taken geometry very seriously, it is after all the most important aspect of any bike. 65-degree head angle, low bottom bracket, long reach and a short chain stay. The rear axle has also been upgraded to 148mm boost to allow for 27.5+ tire compatibility. The other thing worth noting is the inclusion of ISCG 05 tabs around the bottom bracket, something that isn’t on all aggressive hardtails currently on the market, I haven’t found the need for the inclusion of a chain device but certainly may consider a bash guard in the near future.
The Big Wig was designed for aggressive riding, and this is what I found myself using it for very quickly. It really does ride extremely well; it corners nicely and is very playful considering the big 29” wheels, which roll extremely fast. This was my first time riding a 29er and it was as fun as I was led to believe. Overall, I cannot really fault the Big Wig in any way. I didn’t even find myself wanting or needing to change anything on it from stock. I did put a 180mm rotor on the back and upgraded the rear tire from a trail boss to a tough-fast rolling vigilante. Two small changes and I was delighted with the bike. So much so that I plan to use it for the first race of the year, it really has impressed me that much.