“Tour, trail, all-mountain? What now? The new Hugene is the answer.” This is how direct-sales brand Propain promote the revised Hugene, claiming to have created the one bike to rule them all. Of course, this makes it the perfect candidate for our big mountain bike group test! But can it live up to Propain’s claims on the trail?

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best mountainbike of 2021 – 22 models in review

Propain Hugene | 150/140 mm (f/r)
13.98 kg (size L) | € 7,203 | Manufacturer-website

Only a few weeks ago, Propain launched the revised version of their popular trail bike. In 2021, the Hugene comes with several major updates and a fresh new look, reminding us of its bigger siblings, the Tyee and Spindrift, despite sharing the same PRO10 suspension system of its predecessor. The entire Hugene range relies on a carbon frame with an alloy linkage, which can be personalised with different finishes and decals via Propain’s configurator. Here you can also pick the components to suit your preferences and budget. However, the 29″ frame in matte cream showed clear signs of wear only a short time into this test. The sealed pivot bearings offer additional protection from dust, grit and moisture and should ensure a long service life. Despite the elaborate PRO10 linkage, there’s enough room in the frame for a large water bottle and even a tool mount on the top tube. All cables run internally and are clamped down at the ports with rubber inserts. However, these tend to get dislodged from the ports and slide down the cable, spoiling the clean look of the bike and causing the cables to rattle against the frame. On rough descents, the chain joins in the bothersome rattle concert with a loud metallic slap solo, bashing against the elaborate chainstay protector made of very hard plastic. As a result the Hugene is one of the loudest bikes we’ve tested in a long time. On the downtube, a TPU plate helps protect the frame from stray rocks.

Off-the-peg uniqueness – The custom spec of our Propain Hugene

The Hugene is available in three pre-configured builds, but you can customise almost every detail of any build to suit your preferences. Our 13.98 kg test bike is based on the € 7,203 high-end model and features a few cheeky upgrades. First and foremost, we replaced the standard 140 mm FOX 34 FIT4 fork with a 150 mm FOX 36 with the GRIP2 damper. The extra centimetre of travel, burlier stanchions and superior damping unit come at an extra charge of € 355. At the rear, a FOX Factory DPX2 shock controls 140 mm travel. Shifting is taken care of by a SRAM XX1 AXS 12-speed drivetrain with 10–52 t cassette while SRAM G2 Ultimate brakes with 200 mm brake rotors front and rear do stopping duties. Unlike other SRAM brakes, the G2 Ultimate model features lighter carbon levers and stylish titanium screws. Together with the big 200 mm rotors, they offer more consistent performance than most other G2 brakes in test, but on long rides they quickly reach their limits, requiring strong fingers – especially with heavy riders.

With its countless individualisation options, Propain’s online configurator allows you to tailor the components and design to your preferences and budget. Unfortunately, there are no narrower handlebars to choose from in the configurator. In this regard, there’s definitely some room for improvement.

For the dropper post, we opted for a 185 mm BikeYoke REVIVE. All levers and remotes are attached to wide (and very stiff) 805 mm SIXPACK Millenium carbon handlebars. Here, it would be great to get a few narrower options in the configurator, because even at 190 cm tall, 805 mm is pretty extreme for a trail bike and cutting down the bars would only make them stiffer. For the tires, Propain rely on a capable combination with a Schwalbe Magic Mary at the front and Big Betty on the rear, both on the soft ADDIX rubber compound and Super Trail casing. While the former combines outstanding grip and decent rolling resistance, the latter strikes a great balance between puncture protection and low weight – a great compromise given the Hugene’s area of application. Awesome! The robust casing also helps protect the NEWMAN Advanced SL A.30 carbon wheels, which are under constant threat on the RAAW Jibb.

What’s the use?
We can only assume that the rubber inserts are intended to sit in the cable ports. Unfortunately, they won’t stay there for long!
That’s how we like our tires. Robust casing and decent amounts of grip! Here Propain have done everything right. The Schwalbe tires with their Super Trail casing strike a great balance between puncture protection and low weight.
Loud, louder, Hugene…
The chainstay protector is too hard and produces a loud and very annoying metallic slapping noise. We recommend using a generous portion of mastic tape.

Propain Hugene

€ 7,203


Fork FOX 36 Factory 150 mm
Rear Shock FOX DPX2 Factory 140 mm
Seatpost BikeYoke REVIVE 185 mm
Brakes SRAM G2 Ultimate 200/200 mm
Drivetrain SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS 1x12
Stem SIXPACK Millenium 45 mm
Handlebar SIXPACK Millenium805 Carbon 805 mm
Wheelset NEWMEN Advanced SL A.30 29"
Tires Schwalbe Big Betty/Magic Mary Super Trail ADDIX Soft 2.4

Technical Data

Size S M L XL
Weight 13.98 kg

Specific Features


While some rear suspension systems are pretty easy to understand, Propain’s PRO10 kinematics requires a good portion of imagination. That being said, on the trail they ensure great propulsion.
Punting pole
The 805 mm SIXPACK handlebars are too wide and pull your weight over the front. On top of that, they’re extremely stiff and become even stiffer if you cut them down. Unfortunately, the configurator doesn’t give you any reasonable alternatives.
Did we win anything? Unfortunately, not! Nevertheless, we were curious to see what hides underneath the paint because it comes off very easily.
Orange is the new black
Providing 10mm more travel than all other alternatives, the elegant FOX 36 GRIP2 fork offers 150 mm travel. Unfortunately, it’s also the only FOX with the superior GRIP2 damper available in Propain’s configurator.

The geometry of the Propain Hugene

The Propain Hugene is available in four sizes from S to XL, offering a suitable option for riders from 158 to 202 cm tall. Reach is 476 mm which, combined with a 634 mm stack and 450 mm seat tube, ensures sufficient freedom of movement. The straight seat tube allows for full insertion of the dropper and thus offers good freedom of movement when standing. At 445 mm across the board, the chainstays are amongst the longest in test. The Hugene is also one of the bikes with the slackest head angle, which sits at 65.1° with our 150 mm fork. While the 76.1° seat angle puts a lot of pressure on your hands on flat trails, it ensures an optimal and upright pedalling position on steep climbs, making the Hugene an eager climber on any terrain. The rear end always remains responsive even with the shock fully open, efficiently converting the rider’s input into propulsion. Nevertheless, the Hugene has to admit defeat to our climbing king, the Yeti SB115, on very technical and rough climbs. With the chain under tension, the rear end stiffens up excessively, causing the rear wheel to get stuck on steps and ledges. When setting off from a standstill and negotiating steps and obstacles, the riding behaviour of the Hugene reminds us of a hardtail, even with the shock fully open.

Size S M L XL
Seat tube 400 mm 425 mm 450 mm 480 mm
Top tube 578 mm 605 mm 632 mm 660 mm
Head tube 100 mm 110 mm 120 mm 130 mm
Head angle 65.1° 65.1° 65.1° 65.1°
Seat angle 76.1° 76.1° 76.1° 76.1°
Chainstays 445 mm 445 mm 445 mm 445 mm
BB Drop 30 mm 30 mm 30 mm 30 mm
Wheelbase 1,188 mm 1,217 mm 1,246 mm 1,275 mm
Reach 426 mm 451 mm 476 mm 501 mm
Stack 616 mm 625 mm 634 mm 644 mm
Helmet POC Kortal Race MIPS | Glasses 100% Glendale | Hippack USWE Zulo 2
Jacket Patagonia Classic Retro-X Shell-Trimmed Fleece Gilet | Shirt Second Hand flanell shirt
Shorts POC Resistance Shorts | Kneepads POC Joint VPD System Knee
Shoes Ride Concepts Men’s Transition Clipless

The Propain Hugene on the trail

Point its nose downhill and the Hugene will make itself heard – literally! If the Hugene were a movie, loud chain slap and rattling cables would be its soundtrack. On rough descents, the Hugene requires a high level of concentration and careful line choice to stay on track. Even with minor impacts, such as rocks and root-carpets, the very stiff front end makes the bike feel twitchy and akin to a pinball machine on wheels. With its stiff components, the cockpit passes on hits and knocks to your body almost unfiltered, requiring extremely fast reactions. Rough trails can be extremely challenging and push you to the limits regardless of your skills. Here, bikes like the Canyon Spectral and Nukeproof Reactor are a lot smoother and more forgiving of mistakes. The excessively wide handlebars pull your weight far over the front end, making the Hugene feel nervous at high speeds and requiring an active and vigilant riding style where not even the extra-long chainstays seem to help.

he Propain Hugene is one of the best climbers in this test. With the shock fully open, the neutral pedalling suspension efficiently transfers power to the ground. When riding over steps and ledges, you’ll have to time your pedal strokes carefully to take tension off the chain.

Tuning-Tipps: for more compliance, choose an alloy wheelset from the configurator|narrower handlebars (unfortunately not an option in the configurator)|heavy riders should choose more powerful brakes from the configurator – i.e. Formula Cura 4 (same price)|mastic tape on the chainstay protector

With slow riding manoeuvres and big compressions, the extreme stiffness is an advantage, allowing you to carve through corners as if on rails and preventing the bike from jiggling and flexing, even with harsh bottom outs. All in all, the Propain Hugene is lots of fun on flowing trails, where the agile handling reminds us of the YT IZZO. On built tracks with berms and jumps, the Hugene offers tons of support and always carries good speed because the suspension never sinks into its travel. In combination with the low weight, this allows you to pump through rollers and clear doubles with very little effort.

Riding Characteristics



  1. sluggish
  2. efficient


  1. cumbersome
  2. playful


  1. nervous
  2. confident


  1. demanding
  2. balanced


  1. harsh
  2. plush

Fun Factor

  1. planted
  2. poppy

Value for money

  1. terrible
  2. very good

Intended Use










With countless individualisation options to choose from, Propain’s online configurator allows you to pick your components to suit your preferences, riding style and budget. Uphill, the Hugene is a rocket and masters steep ramps without breaking a sweat. However, rough descents can be challenging even for experienced riders, because the super stiff front end feels as twitchy as a pinball machine. Riding fast can be mentally tiring and requires good riding skills. That said, the Hugene is great fun at moderate speeds and on flow trails, where the supportive suspension helps you maintain your speed and encourages you to pull off ledges.


  • very extensive configurator
  • a real rocket uphill


  • demanding downhill
  • very loud downhill
  • poor paint quality

Mehr Informationen findet ihr unter propain-bikes.com

The testfield

Get an overview of the grouptest here: The best mountainbike of 2021 – 22 models in review

All Bikes in this group test: Canyon Neuron CF SLX 9 (Click for review) | Canyon Spectral 29 LTD (Click for review) | Canyon Stoic 4 (Click for review) | FOCUS THRON 6.9 (Click for review) | Ibis Ripmo V2 (Click for review) | MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 10K (Click for review) | MERIDA NINETY-SIX 8000 (Click for review) | Nukeproof Reactor 290C (Click for review) | Orbea Rise M-Team (Click for review) | Propain Hugene | RAAW Jibb XTR Build (Click for review) | Rocky Mountain Instinct C70 (Click for review) | Santa Cruz 5010 X01 (Click for review) | Santa Cruz Tallboy CC X01 (Click for review) | SCOTT Ransom 900 Tuned AXS (Click for review) | Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper (Click for review) | Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper EVO (Click for review) | Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo SL (Click for review) | Trek Fuel EX 9.8 GX (Click for review) | Trek Top Fuel 9.9 X01 (Click for review) | Yeti SB115 TURQ3 (Click for review) | YT IZZO BLAZE 29 (Click for review)

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Words: Peter Walker Photos: various

About the author

Peter Walker

As editor-in-chief, Peter is as much a man of action as he is of words. This expert, screw-driver-flexing two wheeled-whizz has many envy-inducing characteristics, including a background in motocross, several EWS race plates to his name, and more than 150 recorded days at Whistler Bike Park. However complex the bike and however steep the trail, he’s probably already nailed it, twice. Oh, and he can do it all on skinny tyres too. When it comes to guiding consumers, Peter cut his teeth at Vancouver’s oldest bike shop and now puts pen to paper on the daily translating this know-how into our editorial plan. When not tearing up Stuttgart’s local trails while testing bikes, he loves nothing more than loading up his self-renovated VW T5 and hitting the road. The fact that he’s a trained paramedic gives his colleagues reassurance out on the trails. So far we haven’t had to call him by his alias ‘Sani Peter’, so here’s hoping he keeps it right side up for the rest of his time here!