It’s been a little while since I took a look at Stanton bikes which is surprising as they’re well known for their progressive UK designed hardtails.
A picture of the latest Titanium Switchback MK II in a recent magazine was enough for me to want to take a closer look though – nu skool hardtail? You know I’m there…
Stanton have split their range now with the XC based 29’er, the Sherpa, complimented by the trail oriented Switchback that rolls on 650b (and can go Plus size if you prefer).
While not quite as radical as the Kingdom Bikes Vendetta we’ve looked at before, it does have some very nice finishing touches.
Taking it from the top it was the very neat cable ports that caught my eye. There is quite a bit of welding in there which always carries the risk of heat stress, not to mention the hole you’re putting in the frame in the first place, but they do look very smart! The bolt in inserts give you the flexibility to blank off a port if you’re not using it too.
The guides in the top tube look fine but putting one on the downtube in one of the most stressed parts of the frame? I’m not so sure that’s a great design… Working out the routing of a dropper post is tricky but as a preference I’d put it on the top side of that tube like Kingdom do, rather than the bottom.
The headtube gusset is another interesting choice. They can put extra stress risers in the frame and you also risk additional heat damage in an already heavily welded area. Given the need to make things look different though it may be a cosmetic choice.
Straight 44 headtube will always get my vote, and here it’s nicely relieved to take a bit of weight out too:
It’s all going on around the bottom bracket too:
It looks like the dropper cable is designed to run around the outside of the bottom bracket and go into the back of the seat tube. But… check out the overlap of the downtube and seat tube – reckon we’ve got the scope to run things internally there? Travers and Kingdom do something similar, it’s neater and you won’t have any crap getting into the seat tube. Threading the cable through could be interesting mind 😉
Plate chainstay? Tick. Clearance a-plenty to run a 2.8″ tyre with nice short stays. Chain device tab? In these days of thick/thin chainrings I’d probably leave it off to keep things looking neater.
More neat welding around the seat stay junction and it’s good to see a forward facing clamp slot to keep the crud at bay. We’re taking it BMX style here and attaching the says to the top tube. Given that overlap I’m wondering if we can do some real stealth cable routing and take it all the way through the frame without bringing it out to come around the seat tube? Hmm…
Finally to the tail end, here we’ve got some neat dropouts with replaceable inserts that would let you swap between axle standards.
Brake mounts are old school tabs on the seat stay, with a re-enforcing tube between the stays. Personally I’d like to see a post mount on the chain stays to tuck things away a little. You don’t really need the stay re-enforcing bridge either. The brake doesn’t generate a huge amount of torque at the back (‘cos the wheel just locks up) and the normal mountain bike tubing can cope fine. Cosmetically it’s another nice little design touch though.
The details don’t mean much if it doesn’t fit or handles weirdly. Luckily Stanton look like they’ve got that covered too, they recognise that it’s now often the reach rather than the seat tube length that people use to size up their frames. With the increased use of dropper posts you can run with a smaller seat tube too as it doesn’t need as much support.
Angles are nice and slack, a quoted 65 degrees with a (roughly speaking) sagged 140mm 27.5 Plus fork is looking good. Chainstay is nice and short and the bottom bracket is suitably low; the ride should be good!
All in it’s definitely worth a look – not perhaps as radical as some but if you’re a fan of their steel bikes and would like to go one better… Plus there’s always the more XC oriented Sherpa if you’re into longer rides or prefer keeping your wheels on the ground.
Cost is currently £1649 – you can check out their website for more details: https://www.stantonbikes.com/product/switchback-ti-mk-ii/
Which reminds me, I’ve not checked out what Travers have been up to recently, hmm…