Stif Squatch first ride review

The Squatch hails from Yorkshire-based bike shop Stif and is an evolution of its hard-hitting, 650b-wheeled Morf hardtail.

With bigger 29in wheels and a super-low-slung chassis it should, on paper, be a monster when the trail gets gnarly.

Stif Squatch frame and geometry

Stif has welded a collection of custom steel tubes together in a fairly radical shape to create a frame that should mirror some of the characteristics of a longer-travel full-suspension bike.

Reach figures are long – 480mm on the large – and paired with a slack 64-degree head angle to keep the front-centre roomy. Short 430mm chainstays tuck the back wheel in.

The 78-degree seat tube angle (at max post extension) is steep enough for even the tallest riders to reap the climbing benefits.

Welding On The Frame Of The Stif Squatch Hardtail Mountain Bike

With neat welding and reinforcement in key areas, the frame is well put together.

Russell Burton / Immediate Media

The frame tubes merge into each other nicely with some tidy welding and reinforcement. Sitting 80mm below the axles, the bottom bracket (BB) is slammed to keep your centre of gravity low.

The chainstays are svelte as they loop up towards the rear axle and the seatstays are flattened in the middle, presumably to add comfort.

Seat angle (degrees)787878
Head angle (degrees)646464
Chainstay (cm)434343
Seat tube (cm)424548
Head tube (cm)101011
Bottom bracket drop (cm)888
Bottom bracket height (cm)29.329.329.3
Wheelbase (mm)1,2101,2381,252
Stack (cm)65.365.366.1
Reach (cm)464850

Stif Squatch kit

Propping up the front is a 130mm-travel RockShox Pike Ultimate, with a short 42mm offset and stubby stem to keep handling composed yet sharp.

The SRAM theme continues with a GX Eagle drivetrain and G2 RSC brakes.

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Chunky 29×2.6in Maxxis rubber sits on WTB rims, while KS supplies the dropper (175 or 200mm).

Stif Squatch first ride impressions

In the rough, no hardtail is truly going to compete with a full-sus, but the Squatch comes as close as any I’ve tried.

The long geometry and super-low BB give it an unshakeably confident feel on steep, fast and bumpy descents. Although the fork has only 130mm of travel, it’s perfectly controlled by the Pike’s top-spec Charger 2.1 damper.

Male Cyclist In Red Top Riding The Stif Squatch Hardtail Mountain Bike Downhill

The Squatch comes closer to giving full-sus levels of control than any other hardtail I’ve tried.

Russell Burton / Immediate Media

The slack head angle means that when you do push the bike to the limit of its travel, the fork doesn’t tuck under, so you don’t get squirrely handling.

At the back, the shaping of the stays combined with the 2.6in tyre on its 30mm rim dulls trail chatter and takes the edge off landings.

In the wet, the Rekon doesn’t cut the mustard, but when it’s dry it has just enough tread to keep the rear wheel in check when carving corners.

Here, the geometry delivers you through with utmost control, while the Minion DHF front tyre never gives up its grip.

Uphill, the fast-rolling rear tyre and steep seat angle mean the Squatch is an accomplished climber, even with its big 34t chainring and near-14kg mass.

Kit-wise, there’s little to complain about, although heavier, faster riders might want more powerful brakes.

Stif Squatch early verdict

A thoroughly contemporary hardtail that’s a proper hard-charger on technical trails.


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