£475 Great spec and steer­ing but short on reach and de­tails

Mountain Biking UK - - WRECKED & RATED -

The mid-priced op­tion in Evans Cy­cles’ bud­get hard­tail range has a su­pe­rior spec to sim­i­lar­lypriced bikes from big­ger brands, its fork is bet­ter than ex­pected and its steer­ing con­trol makes it ready for some rowdy rid­ing, but it lacks reach and up­grade/util­ity de­tails.

The frame

While the Ka­pur frame looks sim­ple, it uses dou­ble and triple-butted main tubes. The fork has a straight 1.125in steerer tube, but the 44mm head tube means you can up­grade to a higher-spec tapered fork down the line. There’s a big re­in­forc­ing gus­set be­hind the head tube, which is slacked out to a nat­u­rally stable and self-cor­rect­ing 66.5 de­grees. The slacker-than-nor­mal 72-de­gree seat an­gle sug­gests the frame was de­signed around a 100mm fork, not the 120mm unit fit­ted, so you need to shuf­fle for­wards on climbs to re­store bal­ance. Reach mea­sure­ments are short across the size range too. This isn’t un­usual on cheaper bikes, but means the Ka­pur is a full size adrift of the other bikes here, which is ob­vi­ous in terms of stretch and sta­bil­ity.

Evans’ web­site says the bike should come with a 27.2mm seat­post, shimmed out to fit in the 31.6mm seat tube (which is large enough to ac­cept a drop­per post, should you wish to up­grade in fu­ture, although there’s no exit hole for an in­ter­nally-routed cable). This would help re­duce the shocks felt through the sad­dle, but our test bike came with a 31.6mm post in­stead.

The two sets of bot­tle cage bolts stop you slam­ming the seat­post for more con­trol on des­cents, un­less you cut it shorter. At least the seat quick-re­lease has a brass washer for smooth op­er­a­tion. While there are rack mounts on the dropouts, these aren’t matched by fix­tures higher up, lim­it­ing your cargo-car­ry­ing op­tions.

The kit

You’re win­ning against most global brands when it comes to the parts spec. High­lights in­clude Shi­mano Al­tus cranks and gear­ing, along with the brand’s M315 hy­draulic brakes. A 180mm front ro­tor boosts stop­ping power by 20 per cent. The gear­ing is an old-school 3x9 set-up, with no clutch mech­a­nism on the rear mech. This means a lot of chain slap, un­less you fit a chain­stay pro­tec­tor.

It’s gen­er­ally good news from here on, though. The WTB Ranger tyres are skinny, which doesn’t help com­fort, but roll fast. They grip OK too, as long as it’s not too wet or muddy. While it can’t be ad­justed for dif­fer­ent rider weights, the coil-sprung Sun­tour XCR-32 fork is smoother and bet­ter con­trolled than we ex­pected, so long as you’re

around 70-90kg. We never pushed it past 100mm of travel though. The flat han­dle­bar looks a weird shape but feels OK and its 760mm width matches the steer­ing geom­e­try and short 45mm stem well.

The ride

The Pin­na­cle’s con­fi­dently stable front end makes for a pos­i­tive first im­pres­sion. Es­pe­cially when com­bined with the bet­ter-thanex­pected fork per­for­mance, which gives work­able lev­els of front tyre grip in the dry, and the ex­tra brake power, which boosts con­fi­dence. You even get qual­ity WTB grips to hang onto when big­ger rocks and hits start to over­whelm the im­pact-ab­sorb­ing abil­ity of the fork and tyres. At that point, the short reach and wheel­base un­der­mine over­all sta­bil­ity and you need to push back more than on the other bikes here to stop your­self get­ting knocked for­ward and un­bal­anced. The sim­plest so­lu­tion is to buy the next size up, which is helped by Pin­na­cle of­fer­ing a full range of sizes, while other brands just stick to the pop­u­lar ones.

Hav­ing rid­den the Ka­pur 2 with a smaller-di­am­e­ter seat­post, it’s worth check­ing that’s how yours will be sup­plied, be­cause the fat­shafted post on our bike un­did a lot of the shock-quelling qual­i­ties of the butted frame. Even though the geom­e­try and frame nig­gles mean it scores low­est in this test, it’s still well ahead of most big-brand of­fer­ings at the same price, so well up in the af­ford­able bike rank­ings over­all.

Good Shi­mano-based spec and front-end con­trol for the money, but length and frame de­tail nig­gles

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