Mail order specialists Merlin Cycles continue to undercut and outbuild their competitors. If you want simple mountain biking pleasure, here it is
The problem with mail order companies is that it’s hard to throw your leg over a test ride bike unless you’re prepared to travel.
Merlin Cycles are no different – unless you live in the Lake District – but if you make the trip the chances are you’ll be coming back having put down cash on one its mountain biking stars, like the Rock Lobster Tig Team S1 08.
Where’s the rear shock?
Sure, the Tig Team isn’t as glamorous as a blinged-up, full-suspension bike, but for the average mileage and level of technicality most riders need, this bike offers more than enough.
The cost and weight gain that comes with full suspension bikes only becomes worth it if you’re pushing serious off-road distance or serious drops, so the savings you can apply here means kit choice is superb throughout.
A great fork choice up-front is more than matched by full XT gears and cranks, Mavic XC717 rims, Panaracer Fire XC tyres and Race Face Deus finishing kit. In other words – you won’t need to change a damn thing to make this sweet beauty ride like a beast.
We love the GT Avalanche range, the Trek 4500 and even (whisper it) the Carrera Vulcan, but sooner or later there’ll be stuff on those bikes that will annoy. Not here.
And while the heart of the bike – the frame – may not feature the swoopy, hydroformed tubes currently in fashion on more expensive rides, it’s light, solid and feels right, which makes it perfect for muddy British conditions.
There are plenty of flashier rides out there, but the Tig Team will let you flatten your mates on the rough bits, won’t give up before you do and will unfussily, unshowily give you years of riding pleasure.
Rock Lobster Tig Team Sl 08 review
A rock solid hardtail mountain bike that’ll handle the worst the UK has to throw at it