Ben has been testing the reincarnation of the one of infamous Ragley steel hardtails. Without further ado, here’s his Ragley Blue Pig review.
Nothing screams, “British mountain bike culture” more than a steel, long travel hardcore hardtail. The newest version of the Ragley Blue Pig promises improved comfort whilst sticking to its hardtail hooning heritage. Read Ben’s full Ragley Blue Pig review below.
Photos by Dave Price.
- Steel 4130 chromoly frame.
- 150mm travel Rock Shox Yari
- Shimano SLX 1×11 Groupset
- WTB High Grip tyres
- Brand-X Ascend dropper post
- £1749 RRP
Frame and Build Kit
The first thing that catches your eye when you pull the Ragley out the van is that glossy blue paint job. It has a beautiful finish to it and it was universally liked by all of my riding buddies which is a rare occurrence for sure.
Its low-slung top tube and short rear end combine to cut a distinctive hard core hardtail silhouette that hints about this bike’s capabilities. I was testing the size large Blue Pig that features a 460mm reach, combined with stubby 425mm chainstays and a slack 63.75 degree head angle (150mm fork, not sagged).
The steel frame is made from custom triple butted 4130 Chromoly tubing. The team at Ragley have worked to keep the direct and precise feel of the original whilst improving comfort and reducing trail chatter and rider fatigue. To do this they have tweaked the tube diameters of the rear triangle, adding and removing material to get just the feel they want.
Spec highlights include a 150mm travel Rock Shox Yari RC fork, and Race Face AR offset rims shod with tough, high grip WTB Vigilante 2.5 (front) and Trail Boss 2.4 (rear) tyres.
Shimano provide the entry level M7000 brakes and it was refreshing to see a simple and reliable Shimano SLX 1×11 groupset instead of SRAM Eagle for once.
Finishing kit is mostly Ragley’s own brand hardware that is both solid and functional and the under-rated bargain dropper post from Brand-X rounds off the build nicely.
It may be a hardtail, but this is no XC rig and you quickly discover this on the first steep climb as the front wheel wanders across the trail. The long front centre, short chainstays and slack head angle combine to make the Blue Pig a bit of a pig on steeper seated climbs and techy sections.
If you can pedal with enough finesse to maintain grip then standing to climb tech sections is your best bet as it keeps more weight on the front, letting you steer the bike, not the other way round.
The Blue Pug is unashamedly all about fun times and getting rowdy on the descents and it does not disappoint. It is very manoeuvrable and you can flick and pop it about all over the place which is a lot of fun. I only wish I had asked for a size medium instead of a large as I think that it would have been even more fun on my tight local singletrack.
You can certainly feel the compliance of the steel frame compared to uber-stiff aluminium frames that I have ridden in the past. This is helped by the smart decision to spec beefy WTB tyres in the new wider casings.
The 2.4 Trail Boss rear tyre does a great job of reducing vibration, hooking up well on roots and off-camber and offering decent levels of puncture protection. It works well in most conditions but you will need to swap it out for a more grippy tyre in the winter months.
As always the Rock Shox Yari is a solid performer, more than capable of handling anything that you throw at it. It keeps you high enough in the travel that you don’t feel it diving all the time, but every now and then you use all 150mm travel to get you out of a tight spot.
The Blue Pig loves to carve singletrack turns and it responds well if you are confident enough to really weight the front tyre, just be aware that the combo of a long front and a short back end gives you a rear wheel weight bias (on size large at least) that either needs an aggressive stance on the bike to make it work well.
The only thing that made the downhills less enjoyable was the annoying cable rattle from the external cable routing. On a premium frame that retails for £549 on its own this is a bit of a shame.
There were no problems with the bike throughout the test period. The only slightly tricky thing was getting the Race Face offset rims set up tubeless. They were a total nightmare to get seated even with a high volume MTB track pump. This resulted in a full body sweat and swearing before I finally won.
How Does it Compare?
Almost exactly a year ago I reviewed the 2018 Cotic BFe hardtail, a bike with a similar price and similar intentions. In fact if you stripped off the decals and paint you would struggle to tell them apart.
The Cotic is a little longer and a bit more expensive but they both share the same core values. Choosing between them is hard and in fact I am going to sit on the fence and say I can’t choose a favourite. They are both very good at what they do and both ride in a very similar manner, so go and test ride one or simply choose the bike with the nicest paint job.
The Wideopen Verdict
The latest Blue Pig lives up to its name and heritage delivering everything that a modern UK hardcore hardtail should. It is a confident, fun and capable bike that gives you the freedom to ride whatever trails you want, regardless of the fact it is “only” a hardtail.
- Steel is real compliance
- Confidence-inspiring ride
- Solid spec
- Excellent RS Yari fork
Could do better:
- Internal cable routing would reduce trail noise
- RaceFace rims tricky to mount tubeless