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Review

Knolly Tyaughton Steel (Hardtail!)

Words Deniz Merdano
Photos Deniz Merdano - Unless noted
Date Oct 19, 2021
Reading time

Intro to Hardtailing

Nothing gets the NSMB Heckler’s Rock going like a good old hardtail review. You can feel the shirtless, beer drenched words screaming at you right from the screen. And they would mostly hold some value. It is no surprise to us that our reader base has been around for a while. Some of you build trails, some ride them super well, some even build your own frames. Most of you break parts quite successfully and often. So here I am with my ‘I’ll just have a fruity Guava Gose’ beer preference, having to write a steel, hardtail review.

"Get off the apple box kid. We were riding hardtails way before you were out of your diapers." Well maybe you were, but hear me out, grandpa. I love a shot-of-adrenalin to my system when I let myself fly (free-fall) down the trail at full tilt. The feeling of anticipation, the hit, the bounce and the question, of "am I going to make it around the next corner?" is what gets me to the top every-time, in the first place.

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The Tyaughton Steel is a mountain biker's mountain bike. Photo - Cam Mcrae

I generally prefer to do these risk taking, healthcare system stressing activities equipped with the most supple suspension and sticky rubber I can get my hands on. Why risk a success story? I can usually switch between the bikes at my disposal at relative ease. Assuming I've had enough time to adjust to each one’s character. Three bikes to choose from in the garage? No problem.. I’ll equip myself with the best weapon to tackle the day’s challenge… and it always is a challenge. Either uphill or on the way down. And I was rarely a guy who thought, a HARDTAIL is the right tool for the job.

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Born not too far from where this photo was taken

Overview

The Steel Tyaughton is a basic bike. I mean that in the best sense of the word. The XT build I’ve been piloting has all the right ingredients with a familiar flavour. The 29” 150mm Fox 36 Factory Fork, the Full XT drive train and brakes, Industry 9 Enduro Wheelset, and Minion DHF/DHR II tires are all familiar and they work damn well around these parts.

The 468mm reach on the medium spreads my wings to the perfect span on the 780mm-35mm rise bars and a 40mm stem. The 110mm headtube length and a couple of spacers account for a tall front end which feels comfortable and confidence inspiring. As the fork sags further into its 150mm travel, my reach numbers increase and high stack setup comes in handy while plummeting down trails where a DH bike is right at home.

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Familiar silhouette , lovely lines

Climbing the Tyaughton

Fun!

Direct drive acceleration from the rigid rear-end is an incredible feeling on the winching part of the ride. Stomp on the pedals and the climbing mode engages without hesitation. Hardtails have a great way of motivating even the laziest like me to stand up and smash some harder gears between switchbacks because the reward is not only immediately evident but also fun. You can run your chain couple of cogs down the cassette on the regular and probably increase its lifespan as well.

I rarely found myself up on the 51t cog in general. Being able to push a slightly harder gear also helped with generating traction on looser ground of steeper pitches. Just like starting a car on 2nd gear on icy conditions, the harder gears give less mechanical advantage and allow you to put more power through the cranks for moves that require solid rear wheel traction. I didn’t weigh the Tyaughton on the scale because that seemed like a silly idea. It is light however, lighter than 32lbs and heavier than 27lbs.

The best part of climbing the Ty was how it handled switchbacks. The “shorter” rear end pivoted around the corners with it's tight radius. Like a tank spinning in circles, the Ty’s rear tire hugged the inside line like a champ while the front wheel took the long way around. "Don’t make me session uphill stuff," I kept telling the Ty, but it didn’t listen. I enjoyed the seated, standing, and the cornering position on the bike all the way the top.

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These are my personal bars and grips but I love the individual clamps for shifter and dropper included with this bike

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I don't love where the I-Spec EV puts the shifter on the brake levers. This setup by Knolly was a smart choice.

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Descending the Tyaughton

Pedaling the 64.5° HA, Ty-steel, at sag put me in the same stance as riding the long-travel full suspension 29ers I am accustomed to. The familiarity of the geometry erased the hesitation of picking this bike to ride in the first place. Once I accepted the fact that I would ride some sections slower and some not at all, I made peace with what I had brought to the fight. That wasn’t entirely true however.

Long reach, high stack brought the confidence back to the middle of the bike where I nestled happily for some of the rowdiest and steepest action around these parts. Getting chased by Cam on his Yeti SB150 is a fast, scary enough affair on the big bike but I was properly nervous for what I had signed up for.

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We are tough on certain aspects , and soft on others here in BC

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External routing is uneventful and clean

The particular trail we decided to plunge down is a local favourite for how well it runs in the wet and how rowdy and fast it can be if you let it. The steeper sections link together with tight switchbacks that force you to ride the front of the bike as much as possible. Mid trail, there are a set of off-camber slabs that end-up on a diagonal 4-5 feet log-drop along a cliffs edge. It is not a big drop but it has technicalities that need to be sorted at speed. The run in has a g-out that test the longest of rear travels. If we add the hardtail in to the equation and stakes go up exponentially.

Knolly definitely did their tubing homework and the flex of the steel is noticeable on features like this. Not a suspension level squish but the landings were a lot more muted than I imagined they would be. Running 25ish psi in the EXO casing 2.3" DHR II with no inserts, I felt the end of the suspension they can provide beaded on to the I9’s Enduro rims. A bike like this can not be ridden like this on the Shore without inserts of the toughest kind. Ok, add to the cart some heavier casing tires too and life becomes rosier for this middle aged reviewer.

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Awkward run in and run out made me make some strange shapes in the air, but the Tyaughton was not phased. Photo- Cam McRae

As we get to the bottom third of the trail, we realize that the recent rains have caused more damage than we anticipated. This is also the steepest part of the trail, positioned partially on a ridge line but dug in over the course of the years as a bit of a bob-sled track. Some corners are roots of the downed trees that you ride up on, some of them are armored rock that is quintessential Shore.

Things quickly go haywire. I try to ride the Ty as light as I can. I don’t want to flat on the rocks that have been exposed by a massive rut running back and forth across the trail. I have to stay focused, going over the bars is not an option. The Ty is super composed and lets me bunny hop and wiggle my way through most of the mess.

For a moment I think about stopping to take a photo of this carnage and mess. I lose focus and stay off the line I hoped to be on.. I shut my brain up and concentrate on the task at hand. But man it would make a sick photo for this review.

Part of me thinks I got away with murder here. I don’t think I can repeat this party for a second time just for the photo. I will for sure eat shit trying to show off for the camera. We approach a blind right hander between some trees and I can still hear Cam following me throwing some excitement words around. I realize, behind the tree roots is a fresh, deep, wheel swallowing hole. I somehow ride it out and stop.

The octaflugeron is showering us with its improbabilities.

Ok Cam. YOU are pushing back up for a photo...

Knolly put together a fantastic recipe to have fun on rowdy trails. No doubt. The geometry and the parts play well together to give you all the opportunities to get in and out of trouble. Do not let your talents run out as the hardtail will bite back if you are not watching. But this bike is so much fun approaching the edge of destruction and getting away with it.

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Cam pushing up to re-ride the section that almost claimed me

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Thats alot of adapter.. and it's from NSB


Knolly put together a fantastic recipe to have fun on rowdy trails. No doubt. The geometry and the parts play well together to give you all the opportunities to get in and out of trouble. Do not let your talents run out as the hardtail will bite back if you are not watching. But this bike is so much fun approaching the edge of destruction and getting away with it.

What to Love?

There is alot of good things going for the Tyaughton. It may not make you a bike wizard immediately, but the excellent geometry combined with the proper parts, make this bike an easy +1 in the barn. Sure, I may not know the person who welded it or the one who painted it but they have done a terrific job on putting the frame together.

Hardtail hardship is a passage to some interesting friendships. Hardtails don't care for shuttle days or bike park laps or pissing contests to see who is going to ride the gnarliest feature. They have a way of uniting unique personalities that are up for rides that feed the soul.

  • A 50km post-work epic to see if you can get lost and found before the light runs out.
  • Fully loaded bikepacking trip through the Grizzly country
  • Late fall alpine rides that push the limits of weather windows
  • Showing up to a shuttle fest and destroying all the lines that big bikes are riding*
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Full XT group. no SLX mixed in..

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30T chainring should have been 32T and perhaps a 34T

As much as a hardtail is a lone wolf, it also doesn't mind showing the big bikes how it's done on their home turf from time to time. The predictability of the stiff triangle also lends itself to getting really good at jumping as long as there is a good landing built. Hardtails don't like dorp to falts as much as the big bikes do.

Cross country peeps will enjoy the agility and acceleration of the lighter tires. I wouldn't hesitate to run a fast semislick on the back for big summer rides. Aggressive trail riders will need a beefier sidewall or an insert to generate more traction and comfort.

The versatility of the hardtail is obvious.

*less likely

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Fern gap to berm is a favourite on this trail. Photo- Cam McRae

Wishing for..

I wish Knolly had put a few more bosses on the frame for another water bottle.. maybe a tool pouch or a Wolftooth B-Rad cage spot under the top tube. I think it would benefit the namesake of the model. Chiclotins are a place of adventure and accessory strapping for most cyclists. Extra mounting options would be nice.

Sliding dropouts would be another cherry on top. It should be a no-brainer on any hardtail, but one at this price should definitely come with one. A sliding dropout system would also allow for 148 spacing if one wanted. Which is just about everyone...

The Steel Tyaughton is a wicked first gen hardtail from the Vancouver company. I wouldn't be surprised to see revisions as the model evolves. But its still a great option for the N+1. In the upcoming months I will be swapping the Steel frame with the titanium one to see if the excellent formula Knolly created can be improved on..

more on Knolly Website

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano

Photographer and Story Teller

5'9"

155lbs

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Comments

Bad-Sean
+4 Deniz Merdano Andrew Major bingobus Dogl0rd ManInSteel IslandLife
Sean Chee  - Oct. 19, 2021, 12:50 a.m.

I'm a bit past my hardtail years now. I live on a farm now, so don't even have the excuse of building one up as a commuter bike. The single set of bosses is a puzzling choice. One of the big advantages of hardtails is the ability to carry more liquid in the front triangle. Super boost is also a negative for me, it limits my ability to use the wide array of wheels I already have. I do acknowledge that at least Knolly is consistent in its use across their range. That said, this is a smart looking bike. It has a tasteful profile and pleasant powdercoat colours chosen.

Reply

denomerdano
+3 Sean Chee Vik Banerjee IslandLife
Deniz Merdano  - Oct. 19, 2021, 3:12 a.m.

It really is a pleasant ride on the Ty. The powdercoating is also well done. I can't help but wonder how a deep gloss purple would look on it though...

Reply

Bad-Sean
0
Sean Chee  - Oct. 19, 2021, 6:08 a.m.

Take it to your local powder coat place and find out. It shouldn’t cost more than 100cad.

https://www.prismaticpowders.com/shop/powder-coating-colors/PSB-4629/illusion-purple

Reply

denomerdano
+1 Sean Chee
Deniz Merdano  - Oct. 19, 2021, 6:11 a.m.

Knolly would appreciate if I gave the bike back a different colour I'm sure... :)

If it was my personal frame, Toxic Herald would have had his way with it already..

I painted a bmx frame back in the day with a metallic purple, candy apple red combo and it was galactically orgasmic ..

Reply

AJM
+1 Andrew Major
Alexis Morgan  - Oct. 19, 2021, 3:10 p.m.

Reply

andrewbikeguide
0
AndrewR  - Oct. 21, 2021, 8:27 p.m.

Awesome - Deep Purple always looks awesome (but never combined with orange or lime green).

Reply

IslandLife
+1 NealWood
IslandLife  - Oct. 19, 2021, 9:07 a.m.

The simple retort to the superboost thing (beyond its advantages) is that this hardtail will be a N + 1 for a lot of current Knolly FS owners who will want/need this bike to be 157 so that they can swap wheels.

Reply

DanL
0
DanL  - Oct. 19, 2021, 9:56 p.m.

This was my first thought "I can swap all the parts from my Fugitive onto it"

Reply

skooks
0
Skooks  - Oct. 19, 2021, 10:51 p.m.

Everything except the shock!

Reply

boomforeal
+6 Deniz Merdano gubbinalia DMVancouver Vik Banerjee ManInSteel Tremeer023
boomforeal  - Oct. 19, 2021, 4:41 a.m.

love the idea of a steel-vs-ti model comparison. i enjoyed this article and look forward to the next one

Reply

denomerdano
+2 gubbinalia boomforeal
Deniz Merdano  - Oct. 19, 2021, 6:12 a.m.

If i can do the frame swap in an hour or so, i will do the same ride twice in one day to see if there is an obvious difference...

Reply

boomforeal
+1 Andrew Major
boomforeal  - Oct. 19, 2021, 8:20 a.m.

ooh yeah, talk bike-nerd-reviewer dirty to me deniz!

Reply

denomerdano
+2 Andrew Major Angu58
Deniz Merdano  - Oct. 19, 2021, 11:23 a.m.

-compliance

-body english

-hard....tail

-chromoly

am I doing this right?

Reply

boomforeal
+1 Deniz Merdano
boomforeal  - Oct. 19, 2021, 1:31 p.m.

oh i wasn't being literal. just trying to communicate how excited i was by the prospect of an all-else-being-equal-same-day-frame-to-frame comparison. that's next level reviewing right there

Reply

fartymarty
+2 boomforeal ManInSteel
fartymarty  - Oct. 19, 2021, 11:25 p.m.

I'm all ears as well.  Hardtail Party did a similar review of the Stanton Sherpa which was interesting.

Reply

Vikb
+9 Cr4w Mammal Alexis Morgan ackshunW Pete Roggeman Nologo kcy4130 ManInSteel mikeynets Tremeer023 IslandLife
Vik Banerjee  - Oct. 19, 2021, 7:22 a.m.

Over the last 10 years I have occasionally taken out my hardtails [primarily intended for bikepacking] on our real MTB trails and every time wished I hadn't. Then I got my first "modern" hardtail and did that experiment and couldn't get enough of it. Geo is King. I've ridden a hardtail pretty much exclusively for the last year plus and had a blast. It's not better, but it is different and when your MTB career has spanned a few decades different is just what the doctor ordered to build stoke. Plus I figured I'm in my 50's now so I need to grow a gray beard and start riding weirder and weirder bikes then complain bitterly about new tech at the brewery after the ride as I strike a pose in my jorts. ;-)

I had a chance to check out/sit on a Knolly Ty recently. It looks great in person. If it wasn't Superboost I'd order a frame today. If it was 148mm + sliders for SS I'd have ordered a frame 6 months ago! Noel for the love of all that is holy don't die on that Superboost hill. With sliders you can offer 148mm + Superboost on the Ty. Offer the Superboost sliders for free and make us heathens pay extra for the 148mm sliders as penance for our sins. I'd be okay with that!

While I prefer bosses for the stuff I want to mount to a bike it's easy enough to put a water bottle cage anywhere there is room without them so that's not a big deal to me. The MTB industry has just come around to the idea that riders need water enough to start allowing for one bottle inside the frame. We can't push this revolutionary concept too far/fast and start asking for 2 or 3 bottles per frame or minds will be blown. Well that and the hyrdopack lobby can outspend the water bottle lobby about 10 to 1. 

Thanks for the Ty review and for NSMB's general willingness to acknowledge this category of bike as more than a budget option or a high end freakshow.

Reply

axle
0
Alexander Filler  - Oct. 19, 2021, 7:47 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

axle
-2 boomforeal 4Runner1 IslandLife mrbrett bingobus Konrad Nologo kcy4130
Alexander Filler  - Oct. 19, 2021, 7:48 a.m.

"If it wasn't Superboost I'd order a frame today."

I call BS. I really don't understand the hate on 157, if you love your old used 148 rear wheel so much buy the $20 problem solvers boost --> superboost adapter, re-dish and be done with it.

Also, very nice review. I sold my hardtail this spring. This review almost makes me want to get a Tyaughton, especially with winters arrival and randomly checking my pivot bearings last night (crunchy!)

Reply

Vikb
+11 mrbrett Cooper Quinn Andrew Major Dogl0rd Angu58 Nologo twk ManInSteel Velocipedestrian Timer mikeynets Tremeer023 IslandLife
Vik Banerjee  - Oct. 19, 2021, 7:57 a.m.

Nope. I have all my MTBs at 29er and 148mm. It's a wonderful thing and I am not messing with that for zero incremental gains [for my riding needs]. If I have to buy parts to make an expensive wheelset incompatible with the rest of my bikes for the honour of getting to pay to buy your frame that's a bridge too far given there are many sweet steel hardtails out there.

That said I enjoyed my pre-Super Boost Knollys and I like the idea of supporting a local brand. So if there was a 148mm option I'd buy one. The nice thing with hardtails with sliders is you can offer 135mm QR, 148mm and 157mm options without any major frame re-designs. Not to mention you can adjust CS length for the folks that want longer or shorter and you can run a clean SS setup. 

FWIW - a bunch of my wheels are already adapted from 142mm to 148mm to make them Boost compatible so I can't push them to 157mm. That said I am not interested in 157mm it offers nothing I need and 90% of bikes I am keen on run 148mm so spending money in that small part of the pool doesn't make any sense to me. I didn't mind taking that step from 142mm to 148mm since it was clear the majority of the bike industry was landing on 148mm.

Reply

cooperquinn
+7 Vik Banerjee bingobus Metacomet Andrew Major Pete Roggeman ManInSteel Tremeer023
Cooper Quinn  - Oct. 19, 2021, 9:21 a.m.

Yeah, I'm with you. While Alexander is right, its easy to swap a wheel with a kit onto a new frame, its removes the ability to swap wheels 8 seconds before a ride because you wanna run different tires, have a flat you didn't notice, or whatever. Or maybe you only have one wheelset, but want to play hardtails sometimes. 

They've definitely built this with existing Knolly customers in mind, which is great for them, haha. But less great for folks with other bikes, who might be shopping hardtails.

Reply

Vikb
+1 Andrew Major
Vik Banerjee  - Oct. 19, 2021, 9:58 a.m.

Given the plethora of great steel HTs available at the moment that hurt Knolly more than it hurt folks in search of a 148mm HT.

Not only could they have sold those extra HTs, but get new people into the KNation and then some of them would take the plunge on a FS Knolly and already have a HT that can run both 148mm and 157mm.

Reply

badgerracer
0
badgerracer  - Oct. 24, 2021, 5:21 a.m.

Funnily enough I’m looking at this one because my current bike is 157. 

Canfield Nimble 9 is 148 and similarish for anyone looking though!

Reply

D_C_
+1 Vik Banerjee
DMVancouver  - Oct. 19, 2021, 8:11 a.m.

That Problem Solvers adapter would definitely work, but keeping track of that washer when fixing a flat on the trail seems problematic. A Boostinator-style adapter with a longer hub-specific end cap would be preferable.

Reply

Vikb
0
Vik Banerjee  - Oct. 19, 2021, 8:12 a.m.

I've always used the WT Boostinator adapters. Just a better option and once the wheel is adapted you can forget about it and unless you look closely not recall if it was setup narrower in the past.

Reply

axle
+2 Pete Roggeman DMVancouver
Alexander Filler  - Oct. 19, 2021, 8:47 a.m.

I agree hub specific end caps are a cleaner solution, however I have the Problem Solvers adapter and was worried about the same thing, I did two wraps of electrical tape to hold the washer to the end cap and no more concerns about lost washer, I swap wheels regularly and the tape has held up for quite some time, keeps everything in place when I put the wheel in the frame too. That said, how often are you flatting with current tire/insert/rims? I carry a tube every ride, I think I have used it once on the past couple years? (Knock on wood)

Reply

NealWood
0
NealWood  - Oct. 19, 2021, 11:22 a.m.

Agree

Reply

IslandLife
+1 Cooper Quinn
IslandLife  - Oct. 19, 2021, 9:10 a.m.

I already mentioned this elsewhere... but if you know Knolly, you also know about their loyal and dedicated fanbase... and how dedicated Knolly is to catering to their loyal customers.  This hardtail will be a N + 1 for a lot of current Knolly FS owners who will want/need this bike to be 157 so that they can swap wheels (beyond the additional superboost advantages).

Reply

cooperquinn
+2 4Runner1 Vik Banerjee
Cooper Quinn  - Oct. 19, 2021, 9:22 a.m.

Yep, its a move I understand, but seems limiting a bit.

Reply

IslandLife
+1 Joseph Crabtree
IslandLife  - Oct. 19, 2021, 9:39 a.m.

True... limiting for some, but it would have been a major FU to all the Knolly owners they hope will buy this if it came out with 148 spacing.  At this point in their product cycle, I think that would have been a much stranger choice.

Reply

Vikb
+2 Alexis Morgan Andrew Major Metacomet IslandLife
Vik Banerjee  - Oct. 19, 2021, 9:54 a.m.

Happily there didn't have to be a choice of 148 or 157. They could have supported both hub sizes without a ton of extra trouble.

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IslandLife
+1 Joseph Crabtree
IslandLife  - Oct. 19, 2021, 12:05 p.m.

I was thinking that as well... and it's easy for us to say that, but a couple things to consider...

Noel and the brand are firmly behind 157 and firmly believe in it's attributes... it's now a significant part of the brand.  Offering the option (no matter how you feel either way), dilutes what you're trying to offer, muddies the water, so to speak... as well as your brand.  Will they lose some potential sales because of it?  Probably.  Will they have trouble selling out their production runs?  No.  And, it costs more, is more parts, more headache to design and deal with, potentially more issues... for what?  The bikes will sell anyway and for those who want 148, they're spoiled for choice.  So, no need really.

AJM
+1 Andrew Major
Alexis Morgan  - Oct. 19, 2021, 3:08 p.m.

Hey Ian - Not sure I fully buy that logic as adjustable dropouts aren't only useful for the 148/157 aspect. They allow for single speed, plus tires, more playful/stable rear end, etc. - so there's an array of reasons to consider. Plus being FOR 157, doesn't mean you need to be against 142 or 148. Everyone I know appreciates cross-compatibility, so I don't see a downside...Noel can still espouse the virtues of 157Trail (which I get and agree with), but use the flexible set up to convert non-believers and make Knation supporters even more jazzed about the brand!

craw
+2 Vik Banerjee Deniz Merdano
Cr4w  - Oct. 19, 2021, 9:16 a.m.

Same for me. Ultra progressive geometry and Cushcore Pro make all the difference.

Reply

Vikb
0
Vik Banerjee  - Oct. 19, 2021, 9:56 a.m.

Tannus for me, but yes that insert in the rear is sweet. I can ride a HT almost without thinking about the rear end being rigid...almost! My new local trails are much faster than my old ones so hitting things with higher fury is inevitable.

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denomerdano
+1 Vik Banerjee
Deniz Merdano  - Oct. 19, 2021, 11:24 a.m.

Have tannus on my trail bike.. but somehow think an hardtail would need something higher volume.. Octamouse or cushcore seems fitting..

Reply

Vikb
0
Vik Banerjee  - Oct. 19, 2021, 2:18 p.m.

The Tannus tubless fills out a Maxxis 2.6" tire nicely. I've run that setup for over a year and no complaints or desire to change. I ride relatively "light" on my bike so it's possible you need more insert than I do.

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skooks
0
Skooks  - Oct. 19, 2021, 2:40 p.m.

I run the same tire/insert at around 18/21 psi. I'm 165 pounds. What pressures are you running Vik?

Reply

mutton
0
mutton  - Oct. 19, 2021, 5:56 p.m.

2.4dhr with cushcore @24

2.5dhf @20

180 and ride heavy!

denomerdano
0
Deniz Merdano  - Oct. 20, 2021, 5:01 a.m.

I ride pretty light aswell.. Just a general feedback I get from my legs when I find the bottom of the Tannus at 22psi on my trail bike. It is not as muted as when you get from a thicker, denser insert.

I will tannus the Ty  up along with a 2.6" tire swap in November...

Reply

AJM
+1 Vik Banerjee
Alexis Morgan  - Oct. 19, 2021, 11:24 a.m.

I so very agree with you (& Deniz) here - geo is key (and looks good on the Ty, though I'm not sure I'd push it any further with reach numbers). The adjustable dropout was a key factor in what kept me in my current Rootdown (and I say that as a Knolly owner with a 157 wheelset, but I have other 148 wheelsets that I would have ported over from the Rootdown). Flexibility around rapid wheelset shifts (redish? no thanks), and as noted by others here, some flexibility about making this have greater potential for bikepacking, is just the name of the game these days. So yeah, some extra bosses on the top/down tube would have been good (though I do agree with HT Party on avoiding them for the seat tube to enable long droppers). I'm also befuddled on the non-use of alu for the frame as an option as well, as it would have been a pathway to align to Noel's other rallying cry on aluminum.

But a good review and one I'm going to keep an eye on going forward for future updates. Suspect Noel and team will be on here reviewing comments (which is always appreciated), so hopefully the discussion here informs pathways going forward.

Reply

Gunnar-man
+1 Vik Banerjee
Gunnar-man  - Oct. 19, 2021, 9:39 a.m.

Having a Devinci Spartan and extra wheelset already to go, this bike came out 6 months too late, damnit.

Tried the Rootdown a few months ago to see if it was different than what I remember of riding the old school HT and it was.  Couldn't get a steel frame at a decent price so got a Commencal Meta HT but of course, 12x148 so I had to get a separate wheelset for it. 

Now, I would love to have the Knolly but do I want go through the work to sell the frame and wheels to justify the ability to limit my wheels?  The Commencal is still alot of fun but (and, I never thought I would be one of these guys saying this ..) I like the feel of a steel frame.  Guess that officially makes me a bike nerd?

I do wish all of my family's bikes was one standard across the board, especially in this COVID parts drought, to simplify everything.

Reply

Ddean
+2 Vik Banerjee ManInSteel
Ddean  - Oct. 19, 2021, 10:11 a.m.

Great bike and review. Everyone should get on a hard tail every now and then and get back to basics. It has been great for me. You dont realize how much todays big bikes are doing for you on the trail until you re-calibrate.

My hardtail (Naked) has sliders for SS and its also a 29+ compatible bike - which I find on a hardtail makes a ton of sense. Riding the big tires at 12-15psi for monster grip with inserts softens the back end up too. Probably not for everyone and maybe Knolly is working on a 29+ bike, but the set up works well on a hardtail - I dont see going back to 2.4/2.5.

To me, nothing beats a blinged out personalized (or custom) hardtail. Glad to see Knolly providing another option for folks to consider!

Reply

denomerdano
+1 Skooks
Deniz Merdano  - Oct. 19, 2021, 12:04 p.m.

I didn't realize the rear was a 2.3 DHR II until someone pointed out to me. 

There is however lots of room for atleast a 2.6" which is what really needs to be on there...

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RAHrider
+4 Alexis Morgan Andrew Major Deniz Merdano ManInSteel
Reed Holden  - Oct. 19, 2021, 11:06 a.m.

I liked the inspiration this bike seemed to give the reviewer. That said, it was more of a full sus riders take on hardtail riding than an indepth review of this hardtail. I really can't tell why I would buy this over any other hard-core hardtail. I believe it is 50% more expensive than a rootdown. Any reason I wouldn't just buy one of those? I get the knolly thing (I have one afterall) and I am sure many will be bought by their customer base as an n+1 bike. I would be interested in more comparisons to other hardtails (honzo esd, rootdown, cotic etc). Anyone have any experience as to how this compares to some of those?

I agree with vic, sliders with dropouts for different hub standards would have been a clear winner for this bike.

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denomerdano
0
Deniz Merdano  - Oct. 19, 2021, 11:05 p.m.

My frist shore worthy hardtail was a Titanium Hei Hei predecessor made in WA state. Dekerf welded IS mounts on it and it I put an sweet Pike 454 uturn on it.

It rode sweet. 

After that, ive been mostly on full suspension bikes. In the off season, i still put ton of miles on a 1996 Giant ATX 760 chromoly.

I wish i could borrow Cam's Honzo ESD for comparison but it would be just too big for me.

Some replies suggest Rootdown doesn't ride too differently.

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pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - Oct. 20, 2021, 5:17 p.m.

It's a fair comment, Reed. I think there are several NSMB reviewers peeking over into hardtail land and thinking of getting into it, but as you point out, in order to extract a lot of comparative value, the reviewer needs to ride a lot of them - preferably in a short span of time. We do try to draw on other experiences whenever we can but sometimes it just isn't possible. And while other would-be hardtailers can probably draw some conclusions based on Deniz's remarks, it will be easier if we can get more of our reviewers a bit more saddle time in a variety of hardtails. We'll work on it.

In the meantime, it's helpful for us to hear what bikes you're keen to know more about. We've reviewed the Honzo ESD and I still have the Primier I reviewed back in 2017, but other than the Cotic, any other brands/models of interest out there?

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skooks
+1 Tremeer023
Skooks  - Oct. 20, 2021, 9:38 p.m.

Pipedream Moxie?

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fartymarty
0
fartymarty  - Oct. 20, 2021, 11:08 p.m.

Pete, I would be interested to read your (NSMB) thoughts on a Cotic Solairs Max or any Chromag.

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skooks
+2 Deniz Merdano mmayo
Skooks  - Oct. 19, 2021, 12:42 p.m.

Great review Deniz. I have been riding the identical bike for the last 3 months, and I think your review nailed it. The first thing I noticed was how nicely it climbed, and the second thing was how much fun it was on tight corners. The short CS really gives the bike a sporty feeling. I also sized down since I was between sizes, and I am glad I did. It's a very fun and suprisingly capable little bike. I ride most of the trails I take my Fugitive on, just slower.  I'm impressed you are riding this bike on the shore with 2.3's. I've got a 2.6 DHR with an insert on the back and it really takes the edge off. I also run around 18/21 psi with no issues. Very happy with the 157 wheels since I think they make more sense than 148 boost, and they are interchangeable with my other Knolly.  I've tried the titanium model and could definitely feel the weight difference on the climbs and when loading the bikes. I am looking forward to your comparison between the frames.

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mutton
+1 Deniz Merdano
mutton  - Oct. 19, 2021, 6:07 p.m.

This comment has been removed.

mutton
0
mutton  - Oct. 19, 2021, 6:07 p.m.

I enjoyed this review. Also been riding the same bike for 3 months and stoked. I was on a Rootdown for close to a year while waiting for this frame and can't really tell them apart. I found that sometime mid summer the Rootdown became too much to handle (or less fun) as trails around here were fast / bony and dry. The last couple of weeks the weather has turned and i am firmly in love with this bike. I love having two bikes that are such different beasts

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papa44
+1 ManInSteel
papa44  - Oct. 20, 2021, 5:22 a.m.

I’m on my 3rd decade of hardtail riding and although one day I aspire to own a full boing, I must say all these excellent current frames are making it impossible to choose and stick to one. Modern geometry is fun and the differences between companies do make for a different experience. I think what I’m saying is I’m grateful that being superboost removes this from my pool of future bikes, yet fills a much needed niche of making hardtails accessible to superboost owners. I recommend everyone owns a hardtail they are so much fun, I’m currently working my way through the European brands and highly recommended Cotic, although I will never part with my dekerf welded cromag

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Ddean
+4 Deniz Merdano papa44 Velocipedestrian Tremeer023
Ddean  - Oct. 20, 2021, 6:31 a.m.

One of the things that I love about the entire owning a hardtail experience is that they're not in the FS rat-race. If you have a modern geo hardtail with parts specs that wont make it obsolete - you probably have a bike that you can ride for as long as you want to without feeling that "oh no, theyve updated the [insert irrelevant marketing trick here] on the new model of my bike and mine now feels like crap!" phenomena.

To me, a HT feels like an immediately more special bike than a FS.

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denomerdano
+1 Ddean
Deniz Merdano  - Oct. 20, 2021, 11:40 a.m.

Bikes as long term commitments have been a forgotten practice. . Hardtails are for life...

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Timer
+1 Ddean
Timer  - Oct. 21, 2021, 12:52 a.m.

Is it, though? I don't think so. How many hardtails bought 3-4 years ago would still be ridden on the shore today? Which of those would not be considered entirely obsolete due to outdated geo? (In the size one would have bought back then, not upsized for todays taste)

The real rat-race is now about geo, and hardtails are just as susceptible to that as FS bikes.

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Ddean
+1 Andrew Major
Ddean  - Oct. 21, 2021, 10:04 a.m.

Well, youre right that being a hardtail doesnt make a bike immune to bad geo, and if you have old geo then you are probably wanting a new bike right now. However, even 4 years ago long and slack hardtails with short(er) rear ends and long front centers were not uncommon. Look at the Chromags. My Naked is very progressive and it is that old.

I know we always feel this way about the current generation of geo, but I struggle to see how a modern and progressive HT will become obsolete due to geo at any point in the future. I know that theres a lot I dont know, but I feel that geo has evolved to a place that it will get tweaked but probably not change radically from here - unless new wheel specs (31 inch?) come out that give it another round. Im falling into the "itll be different this time" trap as usual...but my Naked will work well for me into forever.

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flattire2
0
Brian Tuulos  - Oct. 20, 2021, 12:22 p.m.

Just tell us what it weighs.  Stop being cute.  Probably over 7lb frame.

And a geometry chart be nice to see.

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denomerdano
0
Deniz Merdano  - Oct. 20, 2021, 12:37 p.m.

Hi Brian,

Im being downright adorbs to be honest.

Curiosity got me and I weighed the complete bike after I wrote this and came in at 30lbs with Time S8 pedals...

Geo chart I posted in the first look and it's in the link at the very bottom of the review.

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denomerdano
0
Deniz Merdano  - Oct. 20, 2021, 12:40 p.m.

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skooks
0
Skooks  - Oct. 20, 2021, 12:58 p.m.

My steel Ty with Heavy wheels, big tires, and inserts is close to 32lbs.

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sharp
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sharp  - Nov. 6, 2021, 8:54 a.m.

My small steel Ty weighs 31lbs.

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