Testing bikes sometimes isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Some bikes and products are a ball ache to ride on and it’s more of a chore than a pleasure (especially when you’ve got to write about them after). However every now and then something special comes along, and so the story begins…
From Dirt Issue 118 – December 2011
By Steve ‘The Butcher’ Walker
Over the years me and the hardtail obsessed ‘the Hare’ Hanson (ex vet national 4X) have had many a frequent conversation (usually while travelling on the M5) about the perfect all–around hardtail. The titanium Charge Blender came pretty close, but we all know that one size doesn’t fit all (the top tube was too short) and a makeshift front mech hanger (before the days of ten speed) seemed a bit of a bodge job. You get the picture?
Then along came the Stanton Slackline. I nearly pissed in my pants. So did ‘the Hare’, so did my wife (but that was because she came home and the bike was sat in her new fitted kitchen!).
The Stanton frame has an excellent finish (only really found from specialist companies like Brooklyn) and is one of (if not the best) looking all–mountain hardtails out there. It looks ace. But the real question is, how does it ride? So, here’s what we did. Same tests. Different bike.Down–a–hill
The Slackline goes downhill faster than Franz Klammer. On a regular type UK downhill course (Bucknell woods) the Stanton is in its element. The bike we received came with a travel adjustable 120–160 mm Fox 36 fork, and with it in full travel mode the steel hardtail is an absolute hooligan (better than any other ‘all–mountain’ hard tail I have ever ridden).Up–a–hill
This is where the Slackline surprised us the most. Most bikes that are a blast on the way down are usually a pig on the way up. This is not the case with the Stanton. It climbs with ease. I don’t know why, and I’m not an engineer, so I can’t tell you why, but it does and if you rely on your own pedal power to get back to the top (or just around for that matter) this is a good thing.Jumping
Most ‘all–mountain’ hardtails fly through the air similar to Pooky the f–kin penguin. Penguins can’t fly. They flop. I’m pleased to say that the Slackline is completely balanced on take–off and soars like an eagle when in full flight. It gets pretty close to how a ‘full–on’ 4X race bike jumps. The bike simply doesn’t have the XC type feel to it when thrown skywards that most bikes of this nature are dogged with. Our Initial impression of the bike (from how it looked alone) told us that it would probably feel comfortable in the air, but it blew us away with its balanced yet zippy feel.Manuals
All ‘fun’ bikes have got to manual. Thankfully this bike does, with ease. It’s as close to a 4X bike that is marketed as an all–rounder that we have ever come across. The Slackline even works down the BMX track, which if I’m honest, I never thought I would ever say about a bike of this nature.Turns
With its low bottom bracket, slack (line) angles and near perfect rear triangle the steel beauty rails turns. Tight turns – no problemo. Big, fast turns – yes indeedeo. Trail centre type berms – of courseo. Basically this bike rips around anything arced. Big or small. You get my driftEO?So. What’s it all about Alfie?
Now listen here Alfie (or whatever your name may be) and listen good. If you like riding hardtails, or any bike for that matter, and you are in the market for a new ride, then this is the bike to buy. If (like me) you ride downhill, XC/trail, 4X or generally like ripping through the woods as though your being chased by a pack of black mambas then you will not find a better bike. This hardtail is so inspirational that I’ve decided that for 2012 I will only ride a tail that’s hard (and no not in a gay way). FOR SALE: Full suspension bike, six inches of travel, usually over biked, blah, blah, blah…What do we really think?
In a bicycling world, that’s full of drastically over-priced carbon bullshit, Dan Stanton has stuck to his beliefs and built a ‘true’ steel beauty. It’s been designed from rider input (and I don’t mean pro riders that are sponsored by the brand they develop) but real, regular people. So it isn’t perfect (the frame needs a bigger seat post size than 27.2 and cable routing for a dropper type seat post) but I can whole heartedly say, that as things stanDton, the bike is ‘as good as it gets’ and something you guys should consider, the next time your spending 2000 mother f–kin pounds on a frame, just because its carbon and some marketing genius has plucked the price out of, well, let’s be honest, who knows where? I can only see the frame going from strength to strength (as Dan is actually interested in his customers input). Let’s hope the story continues.
If you have any questions, or would just like to contribute to the story, please let me know…