We meet again with Bulls Copperhead, probably the most sold German model and one with a very interesting specifications/price ratio. This is a bike that wants to be ideal for various activities and routes, starting with recreation and ending with marathons, Copperhead has the right specifications to handle all demands. Just so you know, this bike is also available with 29-inch wheels, same price, an important piece of information for those who want a more stable bike rather than a playful one. We’ll go over how a 999 EUR bike handled more difficult conditions in this article.
– hardtail with aluminum frame
– air compression fork with 100mm travel and 34mm lowers
– purchase price: 999 EUR
– 27.5-inch wheels
– for recreational or marathon / mountain biking competitions
– position: relaxed, relatively up right
– geometry: balanced for both climbs and descents
Frame / On the trail
There are no significant changes at the frame, compared to the previously tested version and the geometry remains weighted in terms of maneuverability. If you do not like extremely agile and relatively short bikes, the 29-wheel version of this model may be better for you, but for those who want to have fun on descents, not just grab your handlebar and brakes, this bike is right for you. When climbing, the front wheel is stable, while on descents the fork gives you extra confidence: it has bigger stanchions and comes with boost hub. Having a wider hub with a 15mm diameter spindle contributes to a better stability and stiffness in corners, at least theoretically.
The cables are internally routed, the front derailleur is direct mount (with SideSwing), there are mounts for two bottle cages, tapered headtube, no rack mounts and the paint job and finishings are excellent. There is no through axle at the rear, but we guess this would have increased production costs eventually adding to the bikes price. The rigidity is the same, of 96 Nm / degree, and the weight is just over 1.8kg, a good value for an aluminum frame. The handlebar is also wider than the previous version, now measuring 700mm. Combined with the 85mm pipe, it is an ideal all-rounder that is decent on the descent and on the climb. Regarding this, I would say Bulls made a great decision, since this is what they wanted from this bike: a hardtail suitable for as many activities as possible.
There’s major changes in this area also, some good, some not so good. For example, the 100mm fork, Bulls Lytro (which is actually a Suntour fork), has an air cartridge, 34mm stanchions that can take some abuse and increase rigidity, represents a good evolution from the previous model. The fork has an easy to use remote lockout and it’s total weight is 2.02 kg (4.45 lbs).
The brakes have also more modulation and offer better braking power than the previous version, this time they are provided by Magura, version MT4 with blue brake pads. It seems the Germans pay close attention to details, which is dearly appreciated. They have also mounted 180mm rotors both front and back, which is clearly a step forward.
Regarding the groupset, Bulls stopped using the 2×11 combination and went for a 3×10 from the new Deore range. We don’t really understand why this decision but all we can say is that the gearing range are better suited for beginners now. When climbing I usually used the smallest chainring combined with cogs 4-5, when things got really difficult I got to use the second cog, rarely using the biggest in the range. The big advantage here is that you can climb with a higher cadence compared to 2x or 1x systems. The rear derailleur is a Shimano XT with Shadow Plus technology and the front derailleur and shifters are Deore, so mid to high level components.
The tires are a downgrade from previous version. Not only are they Performance and not Evo versions, but I believe the Rocket Rons were better suited than the current Racing Ralphs. They were just faster and the Evo compound had better grip. Given the situation, I took a risk and lowered the pressure to 1.6 bars because I was doing some rocky descent and it was just a miracle I didn’t get a snakebite.
Regarding the wheels, the current version has Formula hubs and STYX rims, but they amount to almost 600 gr (21.1 oz) more than the previous versions, this weight includes the extra weight from the heavier tires. This means you will accelerate a bit slower.
The saddle seems comfy even in longer rides but the handlebar grips could use an upgrade, especially since they are not lock-on, meaning service is a bit more difficult.
Copperhead 3 remains the same versatile bicycle, which brings in 2018 extra comfort and safety, with a better fork and brakes, but takes a step back when it comes to tires and groupset. The 12.5 kg (27.57 lbs) is a good compromise given the current specifications and the 999 EUR price is a very competitive one. A bike you can have a fun ride over the weekend or enter a serious marathon race. If you want extra stability, go for the 29 inch version, at the same price.
Total weight: 12.51 kg (27.57 lbs)
Frame weight: 1.808 grams (3.98 lbs)
Wheel Weight *: 4.662 grams (10.27 lbs)
Fork weight: 2.021 grams (4.45 lbs)
Handlebar width: 700 mm
Crankset weight: 895 grams (3-ply, without BB)
Rigidity headtube: 96 Nm / degree
STW **: 53.8 Nm / degree / kg
* Tire weight with tire, cassette, rotor and quick release
** SWT (Stiffness to weight): the ratio between the stiffness of the frame and its weight
Equipment / price report: 9/10