We’ve had a bit of a revelation with steel recently. We always saw it as a curio, a throwback and not really a match for ‘modern’ materials like aluminium and, more importantly, carbon.
But then we rode it. It was the Starling Murmur trail bike that changed our expectations. But this 130mm pocket rocket shamed much bigger and burlier bikes on technical trails. Of course, there’s no magic involved, but it shows a good bike is a good bike no matter what it’s made of.
Here are five full ferrous enduro mountain bikes to drool over:
The big brother to the bike that totally changed our opinion on steel. The Swoop is a 155mm enduro bruiser also hand built by Joe McEwan in Bristol.
We rode early prototypes for years and we think he’s got it absolutely bob on with the production model.
The steed of the infamous Rocketman, this Sheffield beauty offers 150mm of British-built travel. It’s technically not a completely steel frame (the chainstays are aluminium) but it’s close enough as dammit.
The Rocket uses Cotic’s own Droplink suspension and is a proven race performer thanks to the Cotic Steel City Media Racing team.
With a shape similar to an old Ancillotti this curvy French bike is tailor made to order with a claimed frame weight of just 3.3 kg. At one point it was the only fully steel FS bike on the market, but that has obviously changed now.
If you think this bike looks odd though, wait until you see Caminade’s La Grande Motte cruiser.
Portus ICB 2.0
This bike was developed by the community of German website mtb-news.de in 2015. The original aluminium run sold out and it is now being produced in steel. This is only a 130mm model, maybe not the best for enduro, but a burlier version with 166mm of travel is currently in the prototype stage.
Stanton Slackline 631
Stanton may be best known for their raw titanium beauties but they also offer steel bikes for people without solid gold wallets. The 631 is probably best for enduro duties as it can be fitted with a 160mm fork. The ‘Elite’ build still comes in at a tasty £3,500 though.