Bikes should have heart, and character. Not all come nowadays with these things included, but the RAM HT Two 29.1 surely does. It’s more than a simple 29er, and you can see that at the first glance, mainly thanks to various design elements such as the top tube.
Its price is also another strong point, making it a serious competitor for premium brands, especially judging by the specifications chart. The Bulgarian producer listed on the official website some components that are no longer present on the model, but replaced them with more up-to-date ones. Therefore, instead of WTB rims you’ll get a pair of Mavics, a Kore handlebar takes the place of an Easton one, while a set of Avid Elixir 1 was installed in favour of a Elixir 3 pair. Ultimately, does the HT Two 29.1 stand for a performant mountain bike?
Frame/On the trail
Regarding appearance, the beggining of the article, as well as the photo gallery sets things straight enough. Carefully crafted finishes are also present, alike a water bottle holder mount and the cable routing running under the tob tube. Another features of this 1.700 grams frame is the steel logo, reminding of times when this was a „must” for serious brand.
The bike handles very lively on the trails. With a 450mm long chainstay, and a geometry that enables easy lift of the front wheel, speedy tackling of the corners is a task that holds no secrets for the Bulgarian contender, additionally made easy by the 720mm-wide Kore handlebar. The backsweep of this component requires a bit of getting used to it, as it’s considerable. However, perks can be felt on demanding climbs, when the position of the hands is comfortable, and also when descending.
Hopping over larger obstacles becomes simpler thanks to the short Easton stem, which also easens lifting the front wheel.
Orientated more to the Sport style, than to the Race one, the position on the bike can be modified by using a negative rise stem, if you feel the need to lean forward. On the other hand, the standard position puts just the right pressure on the rear wheel.
Stiffness of the HT Two 29.1 comes up short compared to premium competitor’s one, yet it doesn’t fall far behind. The lab tests reveal a 81.4 Nm/degree head tube stiffness, and a 46.2 STW ratio, which make the bike suitable for persons with a weight of up to 85 kilograms. For better performance in this regard, other brands have the solution, but with prices that set you back further that RAM’s model.
The Rock Shox XC 32 suspension fork works well, having a medium stiffness coil, but for a 67 kilogram rider, I believe it to be too stiff. This interferes with on-trail performance, mainly not making the front wheel stick always to the ground. I also believe that an air-cartridge fork would have made more sense.
Braking is reliable, the Avid Elixir 1 pair being reluctant to overheat, except on longer descents maybe, but tends to fade despite the 180mm rotor of the front wheel.
SRAM offered the drivetrain, the shifters, derailleurs and crankset, the belong to the X5 groupset. The crankset tips the scale at 829 grams, a very good value, but the rear derailleur didn’t manage to rise up to the challenge everytime I shifted. A commonly encountered issue of the 2×10 SRAM drivetrains is the almost diagonal position of the chain when using the small chainring along with the lowest (biggest) sprocket. The chainring fails to align with this sprocket, a thing that can cause wear problems when using it over a long period of time.
Taking much credit is the wheelset, comprised out of a pair of entry-level Mavic XM 317 rims, a pair of Novatec bearing hubs, and two Maxxis Ikon tires, that weigh 700 grams each. Rolling speed is above average, but the grip isn’t, particularly on gravel and when cornering.
The good value of the bike is further increased by the Odi handlebar grips, by the WTB Rocket V saddle, or by the Easton saddle post.
Using a classical geometry, combined with cleverly picked components, like the special designed cockpit, the RAM HT Two 29.1 offers a sporty bike at a fair price. Frame stiffness doesn’t match premium competitors’ one, but you can still use it in amateur racing or difficult mountain trails.
The 29 inch wheels make it fast, and it manages to keep in balance the weight figure, at least judging by its placing in RAM’s range. The HT Two 29.1 can also represent a good opportunity to switch form a 26er to a well-equipped 29er. Basicly, it’s the kind of mountain bike for which you can’t find an obvious flaw, except for the pedals that is…
RAM HT Two 29.1
Total weight: 13.2 kg
Frame weight: 1.765 grams
Wheelset weight: 4.803 grams (tires, tubes, sprockets and quick release included)
Fork weight: 2.221 grams
Crankset weight: 829 grams (BB included)
Handlebar width: 720 mm
Headtube stiffness: 81.4 Nm/grad
Stiffness to weight ratio: 46.2