Back in the ring to defend its 2016 Hardtail of the Year title.
For the 2017 Ragley Marley the biggest change is the rejigged frame sizing. Gone is the XS size option, making way for an XL.
Each frame size has increased in length too, a change that should bring the Marley in line with modern standards, while delivering added real estate for taller riders. However, the Marley still felt small compared to some of the other bikes here.
Even if a little short, the Marley maintains its incredible trail prowess, thanks to a low bottom bracket and slack head angle.
When the terrain gets rowdy, it never feels fazed, and its ability to rail corners is simply unrivalled in this category.
Watch now: Hardtail of the year 2017
With such a cool head at speed, a wider handlebar would be welcome — the 740mm was occasionally overwhelmed.
There’s no faulting Ragley’s tyre choice, though. With a potential pinch-flat around every corner, the tougher casing WTB Trail Boss rear tyre gives this bike an edge.
Up front, the lightweight Vigilante provides ample grip, and it helps too that both are tubeless ready.
The title fight between the Ragley and Norco Fluid HT+ 7.2 went the full 12 rounds, and was eventually decided on points… the extra comfort and the addition of a dropper post clinching it for the Norco in the red corner.
Review by Charlie Collins