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Full suspension mountain bikes tend to get all the attention, but some of us are fans of bikes that only squish up front. Here are a few interesting hardtails spotted at Sea Otter this year.

Breezer Lightning

This $2,899 hardtail is built using seamless-drawn JFE chromoly steel tubing from Japan for a classic look and feel. The Breezer Lightning geometry isn’t particularly progressive, with a safe 69-degree head tube angle and a 431mm reach on the size large frame. Still, it’s a modern build with a KS dropper post, a 2.6-inch tire up front, a 120mm Fox 34 fork, and a 12-speed drivetrain.

Sage Flow Motion

The Sage Flow Motion is a hardcore, titanium hardtail from Portland, Oregon. Essentially it’s a 27.5-inch bike, capable of running up to 2.6-inch-wide tires, though Sage says it’s also possible to run 29er tires up to 2.2 inches wide. (But who would want to run such skinny tires with as much as 160mm of travel up front?!)  A properly slack 65.5-degree head tube angle makes this bike a good choice for fast trails like Sandy Ridge, just outside Sandy, Oregon, which served as the inspiration for the Flow Motion.

Frame-only pricing starts at $3,400.

Raleigh Tokul 3

On paper — and in person — the Raleigh Tokul 3 looks like a fun, dialed, and affordable bike. For $999, mountain bikers get 27.5-inch wheels and 2.6-inch-wide tires, a 120mm fork, and a 1×11 drivetrain. I took one out at Sea Otter for a shakedown, so look for a longer description of this bike coming soon.

Jamis Dragonslayer S1

The Dragonslayer S1 is the top-end trail hardtail from Jamis with a retail price of $2,499. It sports a steel frame with a 68-degree head tube angle and comes with 27.5+ wheels and tires. The 120mm Fox 34 suspension fork and KS e10 dropper post with Southpaw remote make this a truly capable trail bike.

The sliding dropouts on the Dragonslayer make it possible to run even bigger tires (29er, potentially?) or to convert the drivetrain to singlespeed. Jamis also includes rear rack eyelets for mounting bikepacking bags. One of the only downsides to this bike seems to be its weight, which is claimed to be around 31lbs.

Viathon M.1

The Viathon M.1 sticks out from other hardtails on this list due to its steep head tube angle (69.5-degrees) and carbon fiber frame. Still, it sports a 120mm fork like most of the other hardtail bikes we found at Sea Otter.

Tout Terrain Outback Xplore 29

Tout Terrain is a German brand that is now available in the USA, and the Outback Xplore 29 looks like a fun bike. This 4130 Chromoly steel frame is bristling with brazeons and features a comfortable 68-degree head tube angle. A Pinion drivetrain makes this a reliable roller, and the 130mm Rockshox Revelation fork adds some excitement.

Were you at Sea Otter? Which hardtail mountain bikes caught your eye?

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# Comments

  • Brad Beadles

    the Dragonslayer doesn’t get very much recognition despite being a major brand name, so it’s interesting to see it here in this list of what I would call “boutique” smaller companies (although i understand Viathon is Walmart’s online distributer). the slider dropouts are what really set it apart from the rest and provide an additional degree of versatility above the others.

    however, i would be most excited to try out that Tout with the Pinion gearbox and Gates belt drive. in my opinion, less maintenance/more durability is much preferred over weight savings. I would like to see other drive train options more readily available but i know that’s just a pipe dream in the world of giants like Sram/Shimano

  • Brad Beadles

    also, the dragonslayer runs 29″ wheels very easily, I’ve put up to 2.5 maxxis agressors on it with no problem

    • Jeff Barber

      Good to know! The Jamis website is pretty vague about which wheel/tire sizes will actually fit. They just say, “A 27.5×3” tire measures out to a 29” diameter […]” Well, almost… Groan.

  • vapidoscar

    I’d go with the Breezer. Not everyone needs the slackest bike, I’m one of them.

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