The Ragley Bigwig is a 4130 CroMO steel tubed, 140mm travel, 29″ wheel hardtail with aggressive geometry and a no-frills spec.
Ready to go hard out of the box, the Ragley Bigwig sports the angles, the steel is real strength and the spec to get you out of as much trouble as you get it into.
Pete will be running this Ragley Bigwig over the coming months to see if the bike lives up to the hype.
- 4130 CroMo steel frame
- 29″ wheels
- Rockshox Revelation 140mm Boost fork
- SunRingle Duroc 35 Boost wheels
- SRAM NX Eagle 12-speed drive
- SRAM Guide T brakes
- Brand-X Ascend dropper
- £1,799.99 RRP
The 2020 Ragley Bigwig comes with a SRAM-heavy kit with a 51mm offset Rockshox Revelation 140mm fork handling the damping out front. SRAM NX Eagle 12-speed drive is one of the upgrades from the 2019 range and is paired to a with a Truvativ Descendent DUB chainset. Anchors on the Bigwig are SRAM Level T numberss.
Wheels are SunRingle Duroc 35 numbers, set up tubeless with some Maxxis Minion EXO+ tyres. Ragley’s own finishing kit rounds off the rest, with the solid Brand-X Ascend dropper, coming in 150mm drop on the medium tested here.
You get a 65 degree head angle with a 140mm fork on the standard model tested here. If you want slacker, you’ll need to go to the ‘Race’ model that sports a 160mm Lyrik. A 74 degree seat tube angle keeps the weight over the front and the size medium has a healthy 440mm reach and a sensibly short 420mm seat tube that feels shorter than the length suggests.
Some rare sunshine in between winter storms gave me the opportunity to stretch the legs of the Bigwig in the local woods. I was pleasantly surprised to have to pop the seat post up an inch to get the right height as I was expecting to find the 150mm dropper too tall.
A minor gripe when setting up the controls was that the SRAM Guide T brakes’ level throw adjustment requires an L-shaped allen key with the short end very short, or you’ll need to remove the levers from the bar to get the throw tweaked.
With that out of the way, sag and rebound set on the fork, and some wind out of the 2.4″ Maxxis tyres and we were good to go. I’ll be honest, I haven’t ridden a hardtail in a long old while, so it did take some adjusting to, but I soon felt confident in finding the smoother lines and was rewarded with easy speed.
The steel frame felt like it was making up for my lack of finesse when it came to placing the rear wheel, something an alloy frame struggles to do unless it’s been butted in the right places.
On steeper climbs and at the top of the cassette, I did have to shift my weight to the nose of the saddle to keep the front end in check, but again, that might be partly due to my lack of time on hardtails of late.
What I did ride felt fast and rewarding, with the reach giving me plenty of room to move about and the bike feeling very much well within its limits. I look forward to finding their extremities as I get more comfortable on the Bigwig.
Full details on the Ragley Bigwig can be found on their website here.
Read all our other bike tests on our Bike Reviews page here.
Ragley BigWig Review
It’s been a few months since I took delivery of the 2020 Ragley BigWig, and it’s safe to say that it’s served me well since.
I have kept the spec identical to how it arrived and honestly, I’ve had few grumbles with the steel 29er since day one. Having set my lever throw early on, the minor gripe of the grub screws being hard to access hasn’t been an issue since.
Opting to run the Revelation fork soft and fast seems to be the best way to make the BigWig go forwards, and remembering that telling the rear wheel where to go rather than allowing the back wheel to do what it likes definitely pays dividends.
When you start to push the BigWig, the long reach and well-damped fork keeps things very safe and stable even when speeds are high. The steel frame has a nice amount of give to it, and has really helped rekindle my enjoyment of hardtails, being far less harsh than a lot of alloy offerings.
EXO+ Maxxis units keep the grip high, certainly with the dry conditions we’ve been enjoying of late, and are the perfect partner to a back wheel with less give to it. The SRAM GX Eagle shifting has remained flawless throughout, with the changes still crisp and precise.
I will go out on a limb and say that the BigWig has rekindled my love of hardtails and has moved them up the rankings when picking which test bike to wheel out on any given day. While I was trying to keep things sensible during lockdown, busting out the BigWig for most rides seemed to make the most sense when trying to get more enjoyment out of some slightly tamer trails.
Where things do get interesting though, the BigWig seems to be more than capable of dealing with whatever you’re pointing it at, and a little extra finesse will see you flying in no time.
What do we think?
The Ragley BigWig is a slightly porky hardtail but you’re unlikely to notice the extra beef once you get it moving. Despite the no nonsense spec, it’s been flawless throughout. There’s really not need to change anything out immediately, which is always a good sign, and the frame gives you a solid base for making any future upgrades.
- Dialled geometry
- Solid, no nonsense spec
- Steel is real
Could do better
- Brakes are a pain to adjust