The 13 Incline Alpha is an impressive stride into high end bikes from the Halfords-exclusive brand

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 8

13 Incline Alpha

Pros:

  • Impressive frame that proved to be light and great to ride

Cons:

  • Clarks Exo brakes let the side down

Product:

Halfords 13 Incline Alpha (2015) Review

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£499.99

The 13 range of bikes sees Halfords take its in-house products higher end. This pretty Incline frame is a perfect example of the new direction, with a curved top tube that blends seamlessly into the rear triangle.

>>> What else can you get for £500? Read the rest of our Hardtail of the Year test to find out

Our size 19.5in test bike looked like a big ol’ girl, but she’s far from a barge in the saddle, actually proving surprisingly nimble. So while it looks like there’s a lot of metal on show, the scales don’t lie, and with an all-up weight of 14kg this is a very light sub-£500 bike when you take sizing into account.

The 13 Incline Alpha produced a surprisingly impressive ride for a Halfords bike

The 13 Incline Alpha produced a surprisingly impressive ride for a Halfords’ bike

>>> Read our review of the 13 Incline Delta here

Best of all, the 13 offers a really enjoyable ride, with a tightly controlled front end helped no doubt by the impressive 120mm Suntour Raidon fork. Frame stiffness is good, too. Special mention should also go to the excellent WTB Trail Boss Comp tyres that cope well with a variety of conditions.

Even with the extra cushioning of the fat 2.25in tyres, the relatively large, solid frame, allied with that responsive rear end, means that this is one of the harshest bikes on test — your backside really does get a bit of a pounding.

Internal routing keeps things orderly

Internal routing keeps things orderly

While that’s a fair trade-off, less acceptable is a spec-related issue. The Clarks Exo disc brakes offer passable modulation but absolute stopping power is underwhelming. The diddy two-finger levers don’t help, either. Meanwhile the inclusion of a Suntour rather than Shimano chainset is an obvious cost-cutting measure.

>>> Need a helmet too? Check out our favourites here 

Those blemishes aside, this is a really positive debut from 13. The Incline Alpha is a very assured machine that, with a bit of tweaking, could be not just different, but top dog in this test.

 

13 Incline Alpha packshot

Details

Frame:7005 triple-butted aluminium
Fork:Suntour Raidon XC LO, 120mm
Wheels:QR hubs, 13 MS aluminium rims, WTB Trail Boss Comp 2.25in tyres
Drivetrain:Suntour XCM chainset, Shimano Altus shifters and f-mech, Alivio r-mech
Brakes:Clarks Exo
Weight:14kg (30.8lb)
Sizes:16, 18, 19.5, 21in
Size Tested:19.5 in
  • Slamdog

    I just got one. I’m new to MTB, but this is a great bike. Brakes on the run I did today were more than adequate. Like I say though, I’m new to this, so take what I say with a pinch of salt.

  • Chris Mason

    Has anyone got any input on the incline alpha?
    From the specs and value for money can’t see why it didn’t win.