There’s been so much forum chatter about the latest super long and slack bikes, but does a radical geometry work on a hardtail? We get our hands on the Pipedream Moxie hardtail to find out.
It’s often the smallest decisions that can have the largest impact, when Pipedream Cycles owner Alan Finlay was choosing the hot-pink colour to paint his prototype Moxie hardtail, he could not have known the media storm he was about to release. It’s always hard to make a hardtail stand out, but at a news-starved Eurobike, free from exciting launches and cool new products, the fluorescent 4130 steel creation went viral, the Pipedream Moxie scored a marketing home run. The Moxie is more than just a radical paint job though, looking deeper, with a 510 mm reach it is one of the longest hardtails we had ever seen, but does it work?
Pipedream Moxie, a bike with purpose.
Pipedream market the Moxie as an enduro hardtail, for those who want to get a little rowdy and maybe even enter the odd race, while enjoying the simplicity that only a hardtail can bring. The custom CrMo 4130 steel frame is available in two sizes, long and longer and 4 bright colours, Neon Pink, Swamp Green, Unpainted with black ED coating and Wild Teal. Designed with 150-160 mm forks in mind, and boasting compatibility with 27.5 x 2.8” or 29 x 2.4” wheels. The first frames are expected in January and will retail as a frame only option from £599, around €679. The frame features a Boost 148 x 12 rear axle and full Electrophoretic Deposition coating to protect from corrosion and tops the scales at 2.6 kg (longer). We were sent the fully built bike from Eurobike, featuring 27.5 + carbon Zelvy wheels shod with the awesome 2.8 Minion DHF/R tyres, a DVO Beryl fork, SRAM Eagle drivetrain and FUNN finishing kit with 800 mm bars, a burly build for sure. As the Moxie is only available ‘frame only’ we pass only quick reference to the components.
The Pipedream Moxie brings radical geometry.
You can tell from the first glance that the Moxie is something different, bringing the radical geometry that has defined a couple of full-suspension brands to the hardtail sector. We were testing the longer model with a 510 mm reach, 65.5° head angle, 1239 mm wheelbase and ultra-short adjustable 415 mm to 431 mm chainstays – these would be radical numbers for a 160 mm enduro bike, never mind a hardtail. The two sizes use identical seat and head tube lengths, allowing you to choose your bike on reach, not standover.
|Seat tube||420 mm||420 mm|
|Head tube||95 mm||95 mm|
|Chainstay||415-431 mm||415-431 mm|
|BB Drop||64 mm||64 mm|
|Wheelbase||1199 mm||1239 mm|
|Reach||470 mm||510 mm|
|Stack (+10 mm)||641 mm||641 mm|
The finish of the Pipedream Moxie frame is super clean, with no ugly gussets, just the iconic hardtail lines, albeit on steroids. The downtube is custom butted and bent with nice ovalisation around the BB. Speaking of the BB area, the machined yoke is well designed, and gives clearance for 29” wheels with 2.4” tyres or 27.5” up to 2.8”. Steampunk steel aficionados will notice the omission of the ‘Reynolds’ branding on the 4130 sticker, this is due to Reynolds not having a tube set long enough for the Moxies extreme geometry, but have no fear, the heat-treated 4130 Moxie possesses all the spring and liveliness that we had hoped. We love the short seat tube, allowing more riders to enjoy the longer reach geometry.
Riding the Pipedream Moxie
After much discussion about the merits and disadvantages of the Pipedream Moxie’s radical geometry, we put all preconceptions aside and took it to the trails. Within just a few hours we started to get a handle on the hot-pink missiles’ intent, anyone used to the normal spicy and unruly behaviour of a ‘hardcore’ hardtail will be surprised – in a very good way. In part due to the amazing 2.8 Maxxis Minion DHF/R tyres and in part the long and capable geometry, the Moxie hammers down the hill with a composure and confidence that is rare in a bike with no rear travel. As with all ‘new-school’ bikes, you have to adjust your style a little, riding hanging off the back will feel like the bike is running away from you in turns, like riding an angry horse – but that ‘passenger’ riding style is poor form and lazy. If you centralise your weight over the -64 mm low BB, take a more aggressive attitude and wind open the throttle, the Moxie sings like Jimi Hendrix’s guitar.
Through rough terrain that would normally challenge your sense of humour on a conventional hardtail, the long and slack front centre gives the bike huge stability and isolates you from the normal kicks and bucks that a hardtail delivers. We first tried the bike in its crazy short 415 mm chainstay mode, it was good for jumps and manuals, but we found it robbed too much grip from the front end, in their longest setting the ride balanced out nicely for high speed action. The narrow 4130 seatstays filter out a lot of trail buz and we often felt like we were riding a super burly short rear-travel machine. Simple physics dictate that the 1239 mm wheelbase of the Moxie will need more input in very tight turns, but on fast rails and sweeping curves the low BB and stable ride mean you can rip through with outrageous speed. When it comes to hard descents, the Moxie is a phenomenally capable hardtail, in fact we had trouble pulling away on cutting edge enduro bikes.
On the uphills, the Moxie climbs, well like a hardtail. On long rides the generous reach provided a comfortable and open riding position. However, the long front centre and short chainstays did leave us feeling a little far back over the bike. While the 76.5° seat-angle of the Moxie could never be considered slack, it’s still conservative on a bike this radical, we think another degree or two would have made the Moxie an animal on the climbs too, putting the rider in a more efficient position for the steep ups that this bike is likely to find itself in, and helping stabilize the wander of the front wheel on short technical punches. As it stands the Moxie climbs well enough, fine for big day rides and smashing hot laps of the woods or bike park. In this N+1 generation, many riders are looking at the merits of a hardtail for the winter, or simply looking for a bike that is simple and fun, and for those who don’t want to compromise on capability, then the Moxie is ready to rock-and-roll.
The Pipedream Moxie may look outrageous, but the geometry really works. If your focus is on charging tough terrain, scaring the pants off full suspension riders and having riotous fun, the Moxie is the most potent hardtail we have ridden. Finally, a bike that really does ‘climb like a hardtail and descend like a downhill bike’.
– Radical geometry really works
– 4130 offers a smooth ride
– Incredible downhill performance
– Needs an active rider
– Not the fastest climber
More info at: pipedreamcycles.com
Words & Photos: Trev Worsey