£1,489 for frame and shock, complete bike £2,989

The long-awaited Privateer 161 is available rightnow. An alloy enduro bike built with reliability in mind, progressive geometry, decent price.

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Dream up an enduro bike to race enduro aboard and you’d probably come up with something like this — 160mm travel matched to a 170mm fork, 29in wheels, and modern geometry. The best enduro bikes seem to mix up this formula with great success, but they don’t come cheap, even the cheapest frame and shock-only enduro bikes costing upwards of £2,000. So what are your options if you want to race but you don’t or can’t spend a king’s ramsom?

privateer 161

British brand Privateer reckons it has the answer, in the shape of its first bike, the 161.

Privateer 161 frameset

  • Shock – RockShox SuperDeluxe Ultimate M/L
  • Headset – Sealed Catridge Bearings
  • Price – £1,489

Complete build

  • Fork – RockShox Lyrik Ultimate RC2 170mm 42 offset
  • Shock – RockShox SuperDeluxe Ultimate M/
  • Brakes – Magura MT5 203/180 Storm HC Rotors
  • Drive – Shimano 12 speed SLX with XT shifter
  • Dropper – OneUp V2 180mm
  • Cockpit -Raceface Altas 20mm/Aeffect R Stem 40mm
  • Contact – Fabric Scoop Elite / FunGuy Grips
  • Tyres – Michelin Wild Enduro Magi X Front, Gum X Rear
  • Wheels – HUNT EnduroWide
  • Price – £2,989

privateer 161

A key thing, perhaps unsurprisingly given the brand’s name, is that the 161 has been designed with real riders – and unsponsored ‘privateer’ racers – in mind. External cable guides on the headtube sides, threaded bottom bracket, ISCG mount, three bearings in the main pivot and so on.

privateer 161

Privateer elaborate: “The 161 features progressive geometry to descend as fast as possible, whilst reducing fatigue with a low effort climbing position. By reducing upper body stress on steep transitions, readiness and speed will increase during the timed stages.

“Whilst working closely with Matt [Stuttard, EWS racer] to ensure it’s everything he needs to race at the highest level, he provided us with incredibly useful feedback; ranging from geometry to small (but important) details such as cable routing to clear race plates.”

The 161 has 160mm travel, it’s mated to a 170mm fork and rolls on 29er wheels, making it on point for enduro. It’s the brainchild of The Rider Firm, which brought us Hunt Wheels that promised the best performance hoops without demanding silly money. And it’s this ethos that’s being brought to Privateer, a bike that the brand says pushes geometry boundaries, doesn’t cost a banker’s bonus but that can still carry a rider to the top spot.

There are four sizes (Privateer added a fourth size during development) and the biggest boasts 515mm reach, a 1316mm wheelbase and a 64° head angle. That kind of progressive geometry doesn’t come cheap, you have to look to the likes of Geometron or Pole, or more mainstream the Specialized Stumpjumper Evo, if that’s the kind of bike you’re after.

Another thing that’s been changed since the announcement of the bike last summer is the total redesign of the seat tube area. “After putting the miles (+1000’s metres of elevation) onto our prototypes and keeping track of the ever extending dropper post lengths, we knew the seat post insertion just wasn’t enough. The right thing to do was to take the frame back to the drawing board.

“Not wanting to move the linkage position, but needing to change the tube, took some head-scratching but eventually a solution was found. The entire bottom bracket & shock mount junction has been redesigned and replaced with a 2 piece CNC section. This change increases post insertion by 50mm on P1 and around 80mm P2-P4.”

6066-T6 aluminium was the obvious choice for frame material because of it’s good performance to cost relationship. Using aluminium rather than carbon explains something of the relatively modest price, but there are sensible engineering decisions helping keep the costs low too. Much of the tubing for the 161 isn’t specifically designed for the bike, instead it’s carefully chosen from existing materials to suit the bike. This makes total sense for Privateer, who don’t want to ‘reinvent the wheel’ when they don’t have to. Then there are parts that did need specifically developing, and they have not shied away from the development.