The aggressive hardtail market is a fairly competitive affair, and that’s the way we like it. The DMR Trailstar made its return this year, joining the likes of Ragley, Kona and Transition amongst others still producing bikes designed for fun down a hill without any squish in the back. Despite a lack of exorbitant suspension acronyms and M.C Escher-esque rockers and linkages, there have been plenty of advancements in the format of the humble hardtail. Slacker angles, more capable suspension forks, lower stand over heights and provisions for dropper posts are just some of the factors ensuring hardtails are still relevant in an age of light plastic bikes, only accessible with heavy wallets.
Production Privee’s Shan 27 has been around for a few years now but this iteration has just reached the Spoke offices. The 4130 chromoly steel frame resides firmly at the more aggressive end of the hardtail spectrum. Billed as an enduro frame, it ticks all the boxes for a bike that’s built to be ridden unapologetically hard. With a 160mm fork up front the head angle rests at 65.5 degrees and the shortish 428mm chain stays should provide rear end responsiveness while maintaining some high speed stability.
The rear triangle of the Shan has been manufactured with vertical compliance in mind to take some of the sting out of the ride. Production Privee reckon they’ve achieved this through partially flattened chain stays and seat stays that aren’t heat-treated, getting the maximum flexibility out of the Japanese triple butted tubes.
Modular dropouts in the Shan allow for 142x12mm or 135x10mm hub spacing. Ours came set up with the 135x10mm dropout which Production Privee believes still provides a better ride quality than a thu-axle. Rest assured we’ll be testing each setup to rigorous scientific standards, by hammering the rear wheel through as many rocks and roots that we can get our tyres on.
A press-fit BB92 bottom bracket seems anomalous on a relatively simple frame that would otherwise require few expensive tools to work on. However, the wide bottom bracket shell allows for good tyre clearance and short chain stays. The lack of a chain stay bridge helps to get as much flexibility from the rear as possible.
A big head tube gusset is a reassuring sight, especially when there’s a 160mm travel adjust RockShox Pike hanging off the front end.
All cables are externally routed along clean, bolt on guides except the dropper post housing which runs internally from the seat tube.
A 1×11 Shimano M8000 groupset powers the Shan, a fitting choice for reliability and consistency of performance. As effective as the Shimano single ring might be in keeping a chain in its place there’s still a MRP chain-guide mounted to iscg tabs for that extra level of security in the really rough stuff.
Production Privee’s own R2R stem and LG handlebar comprise the cockpit. A welcome feature of the R2R stem is the offset bolts and smooth rounded edges for the benefit of wayward knees.