6 hardcore Canadian hardtail mountain bikes for 2020
Whether you’re in the market for a new hardtail, or just want to ogle at the beauty and simplicity of these semi-rigid weapons, take a look at our top 6 picks from Canadian bike companies.
Hardtail or full suspension? Mountain bike riders will always debate which is better. The truth is that each bike gives you a different ride. Hardtail bikes push you to your limits – more so than a full suspension bike – and really help you to refine your skills.
If you want to tackle the trails with a sweet new semi-rigid ride, check out our top picks from a wide range of Canadian companies - handmade to big-name - and see which one catches your eye.
Here are 6 Canadian HT bikes to check out in 2020:
1. Naked Handmade Bicycles
Price: Frames from $3750
Tucked away on Quadra Island off British Columbia’s West Coast, you will find Sam Whittingham, founder, designer, and builder of Naked Bicycles. In business for over two decades, Sam is the winner of a multitude of North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS) awards and you will find his bikes frequently referred to as ‘true pieces of art.’
His base mountain bike design - ready in 4 to 5 months - comes in your choice of steel or titanium and features forward geometry and 29” or 29-plus wheel clearance. Have something specific in mind? You can also get weird with it and go full custom but be prepared to wait up to a year-and-a-half for delivery. Regardless of what you choose, every Naked bicycle is custom fit and built just for you, by hand, one at a time.
2. Chromag Primer
Price: Frames from $1,900
Chromag operates under the mission statement "It's quite simple really, to design and build products that we want to use over anything else that's out there."
This West Coast institution’s Primer is the epitome of their Canadian-made, small-batch production quality. Built for 29 or 27.5+ (as wide as 3.0) wheels the progressive geometry on this versatile bike is designed for aggressive riding; short chainstays, low bottom bracket, steep seat tube, slack head angle, low stack headtube, and long front center. The durability and dampening aspects of the steel frame make it the perfect bike for the aggressive backyard riding the Chromag crew finds out their backdoor in Whistler - and anything you can throw at it. Plus you get to select your paint colour!
Looking for a slightly cheaper option but with the same geometry? Check out the Rootdown also by Chromag which isn’t handmade but you still have three colours of frame to choose from.
3. Rocky Mountain Growler
Price: Frames from $1249
Developed in mountain biking’s infamous North Shore mountains, Rocky Mountain’s growler is a capable hardtail for rugged terrain.
The particularly stiff frame paired with 140mm of travel and 29” wide tires give you excellent confidence and traction over slippery roots and up loose climbs. The non-traditional geometry - 64° head angle, 75° seat-tube angle, 470mm reach, and 1,237mm wheelbase (on the size large) - means a more consistent feel when switching between your full suspension ride and this one.
Starting at an attractive price point for the base model, this is a great bike to check out if you’re wanting to add a hardtail to your stable - or purchase your first mountain bike.
4. Norco Torrent
Price: From $2799
Torrent is a back-to-basics chromoly hardtail that makes good use of Norco’s Gravity Tune, a design process that scales bike frame sizes proportionally to provide you with optimal handling.
Designed with a long reach, slack head tube angle, steep seat tube angle, and long wheelbase, the forward weight distribution offers good climbing traction and control when descending. The 2020 butted chromoly frame is spec’d with a SRAM GX/NX 12-speed drivetrain, a 150mm RockShox Lyrik Ultimate RC2 fork, a burly SRAM DUB crankset, and robust 4 piston Code R brakes.
Have your sights set on your own spec package? The Torrent is available as a frame only too.
5. DaamBuilt Custom
Price: From $2,150
Based in Montreal, Peter Daam custom builds bikes for everything from city commuting to bike-packing adventures and track racing to mountain biking.
Peter involves you in every step of the build process from the initial design to final details like paint colour including decisions around fit geometry and material selection. Options like internal dropper post routing, bottle mounts, and paint colour are all available, as well as a myriad of other highly refined details.
Full custom geometry TIG welded hardtail frames from DaamBuilt start at $2150 and complete builds with components are available as well. In addition to custom frames, Peter also makes custom racks, saddlebag harnesses, and stem cap water bottle mounts - and more.
6. RSD Mayor
Price: From $1799 CAD
A Canadian hardtail round-up wouldn’t be complete without a fat bike frame thrown in the mix. The RSD Bikes flagship Mayor is designed to be an all-season bike offering great value for everyone - not just those who spend their winters shovelling snow.
The Mayor V4 is built with custom hydro-formed 6061 tubing, a carbon fork, and large rear stays that contribute to the lateral rigidity of the bike. Updates for this version include a slacker 67° head angle, steeper 74° seat tube angle, sliding drop-outs and chainstay lengths of 450mm (small) to 465mm (x-large), internal dropper-post cable routing, and a longer reach on all sizes. Sun Ringlé wheels and a RaceFace cockpit are the finishing touches on this beast.
RSD Bikes also offer trail bike hardtail frames that are worth checking out as well!