On Test: Ragley Blue Pig Hardtail Trail Bike

Ragley is a small company out of the UK specializing in aggressive hardtails–something we need more of on this side of the pond. The company make bikes for applications ranging from trail riding to all-mountain hucking, in both 4130 steel and 7005 aluminum. Their bikes are available in 26in- and 29in-wheeled versions, and all at very reasonable price points. In addition, they make some slick-looking cockpit components that seem ready to take a pounding.

The Frame

Ragley sent over a 2013 Blue Pig frame in black for us to build up and try out–and man is it purdy, with its gentle curves and checked, blue accent paint. The Blue Pig falls at the aggressive end of the Ragley spectrum, with a 66.5° headtube angle and a recommended fork travel of 130-160mm, depending on your headset choice (internal vs. external). This year’s model has been updated with a steeper, pedal-friendly seat tube and a lower bottom bracket (measured at 12.5in after build). The Taiwanese-built frame is made of triple-butted, heat-treated 4130 Chromoly steel and doesn’t look like anything else on the market. Our 20in test frame (the largest they make) weighed in at 6.25lbs.

It’s immediately obvious this piggy wants to squeal. Gussets adorn both down and top tubes at the headtube junction. One bottle mount is located on the downtube, freeing up the entire seat tube for slamming your post before you hit the gnar. As is standard for a bike with this intended application, the Blue Pig comes with ISCG-05 chainguide tabs, though I built it up with a 2×10 drivetrain without a chainguide.

The headtube is 44mm, which gives you several options to choose from in the steerer tube, fork length, and headset departments. I planned to run my old-but-recently-rebuilt Marzocchi Z1 Light, so I chose a headset that would accommodate the 1-1/8 inch steerer tube and allow for 150mm of travel.

photo: ragleybikes.com

The rear end of this bike is a true work of industrial art. The seatstays are svelte and curve down toward the rear axle. Tire clearance is maximized at 2.5in by the Three Finger Chainstay Bridge – a sort of buttressed plate that still allows for a 36t middle ring. The post-mount rear brake mount is tucked away above the chainstay on a beautiful dropout plate, providing a maximum rotor size of 180mm.

Cables are guided cleanly underneath the top tube via three bolt-on guides that have enough room for all the shifty bits you could want, including a dropper post. From there, zip-tie mounts guide everything down the chainstays. As an added bonus, the cable guide bolts are the same width and pitch as cleat bolts, which could come in handy in a pinch. The bolt-on guides, though a tad finicky, work well and look sharp. The rear brake is guided down the downtube and chainstay with zip-tie mounts.

The Build

The build-up went relatively smoothly with only minor gripes. On our test frame, standard-size zip ties would just barely fit through the mounts, but only after a bit of tugging–perhaps due to a thick paint job? The bottom bracket threads were a little rough, but I was able to install the BB without having to chase the threads (stop wagging your finger, you uppity mechanic). These are both very minor issues, and can be expected in such an affordable frame.

Here’s my complete spec list for my Blue Pig build:

  • Fork: 2006 Marzocchi Z1 Light, recently rebuilt
  • Stem: 45mm Truvativ Hussefelt – I’m on the low end of the height spectrum so I kept it short, but I may swap for something a little longer.
  • Handlebars: 720mm Sunline V-One low rise
  • Brakes: 2011 Elixir CR, 200/160mm
  • Drivetrain: SRAM X9 2×10
  • Seatpost: Rockshox Reverb – 5in
  • Front Wheel: Stans Flow 20mm
  • Rear Wheel: “Able to take a beating,” bolt on
  • Tires: Maxxis High Roller – 2.35in
  • Seatpost Clamp: Thomson
  • Headset: Cane Creek 40, internal.
Stay tuned for Part 2 – Squeal Piggy!

Thanks to Ragley for providing the Blue Pig for review.

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