Interbike 2012: Spot Honey Badger Test Ride

New this year to Spot Brand Bicycles is the Honey Badger. Based off of their classic Rocker frame, the new steel-framed Honey Badger features a very similar geometry (that has been slightly tweaked), butthere have beenmany significant upgradesthathelp providesignificant performance improvement.

New to the Honey Badger is a taperedheadtubeandacrenelateddowntubegusset integrated directly into the tubing (not welded), both of which help increase front-end stiffness.

The rear end of the bike has side-to-side compliance similar to the Rocker, but it is reported to have 82% more vertical compliance when seated (15% when standing) than the Rocker. Contributing to that new vertical compliance are Animal-LegSeatstays (bent/molded stays) and a time-trial cutawayseattube. In addition to helping increase vertical compliance and looking pimp as all get out, the time-trial cutaway helps shorten thechainstays, contributingto the Honey Badgers very playful handling.

Add in the 69.25 degreeheadtubeangle, and out on the trail I found this to be a very aggressive yet responsivehardtail 29er. I was able to charge steeps and technical sections with ease, yet the Honey Badgerstillclimbed like a dream.

Gates Carbon Drive

As you can obviously tell from the photos above, the big story behind the Honey Badger, and all of Spots bikes, is the belt-drive system. While this bike can be built up with a normal drivetrain, the option to open the frame up at the dropoutsand insert a belt truly sets this apart. While a few other companies make belt-drive models, including a few custom builders, Spot is the company at the front of the movement, thanks in part to their close working relationship with Gates Carbon Drive.

This is the second bike Ive ridden that was equipped with a beltdrivetrain(I also demoed the Spot Rocker a couple of years ago at Sea Otter), and the benefits that I noticed back then havent faded: light weight, longevity (according to Gates and Spot), instant engagement, and an utter lack of noise from the drivetrain. For more on the Gates CarbonDrivesystem, check out the review linked above, or Jeffs review fromInterbike2010.

Bottom Line

The Honey Badger isprettybadass. Nothing can stop the Honey Badger!

I think Imightride a Honey Badger for no other reason than, when someone makes a comment about how painful it must be to ride asinglespeedin the mountains, Icould just power away, screaming back at them:Honey Badger dont care!!! Honey Badger doesnt give a shit!

Actually, maybe I’ll just try that anyway.

(Note, videocontainsmature language.)

The Honey Badger is available built up as asinglespeedwith a Gates Carbon DriveCenterTrackdrivetrain for $2,599, as a geared bike with a Shimano 2×10 SLX Drivetrain for $2,699, or frame-only for $899.