Our second contact this year with a Drag bike is the Hardy TE, the 27.5 inch version of the Hardy TE 29 being more of an lower-spec’d option. Even if it features a Shimano Deore drivetrain and corresponding brakes, the manufacturer opted to mount a coil Suntour XCR fork, a decision that holds back the performance level the bike could have reached.
Frame/On the trail
What first stands out about the Hardy TE is the position it offers to the rider, a centered one that comes in hand especially when descending. This not so distant relative of the Hardy TE 29 keeps the same sporty attitude, and even brings an extra touch of aggressiveness by using a shorter chain stay and stem, and a head tube situated at 71 degrees. With its 700mm width, the handlebar ensures optimal maneuverability, but climbing won’t actually be a piece of cake if you keep the original seat post, which cannot be raised to the needed height, although the seat tube angle of 73 degrees would allow better performance when the trails goes up.
Drag carefully manufactured the frame, paying a lot of attention to details such as welds and paint quality, while the dropouts save precious grams. Even so, Hardy TE’s frame disappoints in terms of weight, putting on the scale no less than 1.94 kilograms, but we’re hopeful that the eliptical down and top tubes will prove durable over time.
As far as watter bottle mounts go, you’ll have to do with only one, a feature that offers extra clues regarding the purpose of the bike: short, fun rides instead of long treks. However, if you’ll replace the seat post with a longer one, and turn a blind eye to the over 14 kilograms of the bike, you can enjoy this bike even in recreational events.
By far, the strong point of Hardy TE is represented by the Shimano Deore drivetrain that includes a Shadow Plus derailleur, although you’ll have to stick to class standards in order to have a good opinion about this shomewhat slow and heavy component. On the other hand, the brakes that feature 180mm rotors not only stop the bike efficiently, but do this even if the bike is rode by heavier persons.
Medium performance is delivered by the Suntour XCR fork, which has a fast rebound that doesn’t recommend it for demanding trails that include a succession of bumps. At least it manages to handle big drops, and has a lock-out remote but it could have used more than 100mm of travel.
Don’t worry if you never heard of the Impac Ridgepac tires, for we haven’t either, but we’ll remember this name if we’ll have to name a pair of 2.25 inch tires that excel in rolling speed, but lack in grip. They also put on a great deal of weight on the wheelset that fully equipped tips the scale at 5.68 kilograms. You’ll have to find solace in the fact that the rims feature a double wall, because accelerating is a task fit only for the strongest of those who’ll ride the Hardy TE.
The Hardy TE doesn’t match its bigger-wheel relative, the Hardy TE 29er, but it proves to be a fun bike, even if this feature is more of a result of using smaller wheels. Hardy TE best suits persons looking for a maneuverable mountain bike that need it for leisure rides, or even recreational competitions. In this latter case, some upgrades will work miracles.
Purpose: XC/Recreational rides