A truly standout trail bike.
The Calibre Beastnut is a Bossnut on steroids. Same 130mm aluminium skeleton, but the ‘Nut’s extra muscle makes for a completely different animal.
Calibre Beastnut review
Suspension fork travel has been pumped up to 140mm, slackening out the head angle to give the bike a more gravity focused ride. To tame the beast, SRAM Guide RE brakes have been added and we know from previous tests they offer ultimate stooping power and control.
The Beastnut is no muscle-bound meathead though, the addition of the 120mm TranZ X dropper seat post means it can adapt quickly and easily to changes in terrain, making it more agile too.
It’s not all about bulking up though. Calibre has kept the Beastnut’s waistline in check with the SRAM NX 1×11 drivetrain; shedding excess flab while offering the most comprehensive gear range in this test.
2017 also sees minor modifications to the frame that apply to both the Beastnut and Bossnut, The top tube length on all three frame sizes has grow by 20mm, while the addition of a one-piece rocker link increases frame stiffness. All that’s missing now is a 142x12mm rear axle. Given the price of the Beastnut however, we’re certainly not complaining.
Switching to a 32t single-ring chainset has brought the chain inline closer to the main pivot on the Beastnut, which it turn makes it pedal more efficiently than the Bossnut. It’s certainly not as sharp as the Norco Fluid 7.3 FS on the climbs, but given the Beastnut’s ability to absolutely devour the descents it’s no slouch either. We never felt the need for a lock out and getting the most out the 130mm travel was a doddle with the convenient sag gradients on the RockShox Monarch R shock.
With 32mm upper legs and a 15mm axle, the 140mm travel RockShox Revelation casts a similar shadow to the Recon fitted to the Norco and Marin Hawk Hill. Thanks to the more sophisticated damper however, it leaves the Recon in the dark when it comes to eating up square edge hits like rocks and roots. The alloy upper tubes make it more competitive on the scale too.
You’ll struggle to find fault with the build kit on the Beastnut, but if we’re being really picky the Ritchey handlebar has a little too much backsweep.
Calibre could also take a leaf out off Whyte’s book, and fit 2.4in WTB rear tyres, as the 2.25in Ranger looks a little puny next to the meaty 2.3in Vigilante front tyre.
Given that the handlebar and the rear tyre don’t detract from the stellar ride quality of the Beastnut, and that you’ll struggle to find a bike with a comparable specification for less than £2k, neither should be taken as blemish on the Beastnut’s scorecard.
Fast, capable, and most importantly, a total blast to ride the Calibre Beastnut is everything a modern trail bike should be. So whether you get you heart rate up on all-day epic adventures or by going up against the clock in a mini-enduro race, the Beastnut has your back.
All of the small improvements in the specification taken together make the Beastnut a superior bike to the Bossnut and the other bikes in this test; the biggest difference being the additional control the RockShox Revelation fork brings to proceedings.
And, just because the Beastnut is considered entry-level, don’t think for a second that it’s been dumbed-down. The geometry and sizing are on point, and combined with the standout specification trail riders have never had it so good.
We should also point out that even at £1,299 the Beastnut is considered a high-ticket item for Calibre. As such, the pilot run of bikes was limited to 250 to test the water. Given the quality of the Beastnut it should come as no surprise that the initial response has been amazing and the bikes are selling like hot cakes. If you’re too late to get one don’t fret though, as GoOutdoors will be baking another batch pretty soon.
In creating the Beastnut, Calibre has proved once again that you don’t need to spend a fortune to get a truly standout trail bike. With great geometry and a jaw-dropping specification the ride quality of the Beastnut belies its price tag. In fact, it’s so good, the performance is comparable to bikes costing almost double the money. Sure it’s going to be a little bit heavier than those £2k bikes, but given that the half a kilo is the only real compromise it’s one that we’re more than happy to accept. Especially given how much heavier your wallet will feel if you get the Beastnut.