This one goes up to 11
We ten-out-of-ten loved the Ragley Blue Pig, so will the cheaper and lighter alloy Ragley Mmmbop turn it up to eleven? Here’s our longterm test verdict.
We tested this bike’s sibling – the Blue Pig – in the our Hardcore Hardtails test. That bike walked away with the Best in Test rosette. Its truly progressive slack, long and low geometry was simply awesome. We even said it was the best hardtail we’ve tested.
Yet, we still couldn’t help but wonder if the Blue Pig’s 4130 Cro-mo frame really added much to the ride. It rode harsher than two of the alloy bikes it was up against. The steel frame certainly added pounds – both sterling and lb. The Blue Pig costs £1,700 and weighs 30.8lb. This 6061-T6 alloy framed Mmmbop costs £1,350 and weighs 28lb, even though finishing kit on the two bikes is almost identical.
Fundamentally it was the excellent angles and sizing that gave the Blue Pig the test win, so given that both bikes share the same geometry will this cheaper and lighter Ragley still offer up the same radical ride?
About that geometry
Well the geometry really is something special; a 64° head angle, a 450mm reach (19in) and a 310mm bottom bracket height are numbers typically only ever found on forward-thinking aggressive full sussers. There’s almost no other brand designing hardtails as progressive as Ragley, at least not at this price point.
If you’re coming from a modern full suspension bike, getting to grips with the Mmmbop requires precious little in the way of body – or even attitude – adjustment. Even the on-paper relatively short reach measurement actually lengthens when you get on the bike and that 150mm Mattocc suspension fork sags into its travel. Basically, its ‘dynamic reach’ is longer than the ‘static’ reach measurement suggests, the head angle also steepens and the BB drops.
Hop on the Mmmbop and ‘only’ the messages from the unsuspended rear end reminds you that you’re on a hardtail. You know what? You don’t get reminded all that often. It’s arguably on seated contouring linking trails where the hardtail-ness gets a bit distracting. On descents you’re too busy laughing your tits off quite frankly.
Spec-wise, so far the Mmmbop has been impressive. The 150mm Manitou Mattoc Comp fork is fabulously unfazed by anything. The Shimano SLX-based drivetrain works (how boring are groupsets these days? They’re all brilliant really). The Shimano Deore M506 disc brakes are powerful and offer impressive feel. The Brand-X Ascend dropper post has been lovely, it’s under-bar-remote is a delight to use.
The spec is not perfect for my tastes though. I’d like a fatter tyre on the rear for extra comfort and a more open tread tyre up front to clear mud faster. I also swapped out the 740mm wide, 15mm rise Ragley bar for a set of whopping wide and high rise Spank bars, simply because I like big bars and I cannot lie.
Perhaps my favourite thing about this bike is that it’s a sub-£1.5k bike with a great stout fork, properly substantial tyres and a dropper seatpost and it weighs significantly less than 30lb.
It’s reminded me that for a surprisingly large proportion of riding, the extra weight of full suspension is perhaps not a penalty worth paying. Get your geometry right, fit a good fork and strong tyres and let rip.
Ragley Mmmbop final verdict
MBR’s verdict on this bike’s steel sibling. the Ragley Blue Pig. got itself a big ol’ 10 out of 10 review. But looking at it, the steel held no sway nor cachet to me. The alloy Mmmbop is cheaper, lighter and arguably has a better ride feel than the clouty Pig.
Did you change anything straightaway?
The handlebars got swapped out after a few rides and replaced with some righteously apehanger-tastic high-rise Spank Vibrocore bars. It wasn’t so much the extra width that I hankered after – although it proved to be welcome – but as a six footer I did find the front end too low on this Large size with the stock bar.
Was the bike easy to set up?
Yep. The main component here I guess is the Manitou fork. But even then it was simply a matter of running their recommended air pressures and a bit of carpark bouncing to set the rebound and that was that.
Hang on, I’m forgetting the rims here aren’t I? They were a total nightmare to get tyres on or off. You really will have to run this bike a tubeless as it’ll pinch flat all the time due to its sheer velocity, so you’ll need big metal tyre levers and a tubeless inflator to make the conversion.
How did it ride?
It is not a calm ride and it’s not a cross-country bike. So don’t buy this bike if you want to go touring or crossing Ordnance Survey maps in your full-length bibtights.
But you know what? It IS a kind a trail bike. It destroys trail centres faster than anything else. And if your natural trails offer either high velocity or high gradient, you’re in for a treat.
It doesn’t want to do sat-down flat plodding. But it’s more than just a woodland plaything. It’s a riot in proper hills and mountains too. It may not be as quick as some full sussers, but it’ll get down anything and you’ll emerge grinning to rejoin the rest of the pack at the bottom.
Did anything break or wear out?
I dinged the rear rim but it straightened back again with some pliers.
If you could change one thing what would it be?
Can I change two thing? The rims. And the headtubes on the larger sizes need to be longer. That or higher rise bars.
Would I buy this bike. Yes. Why? As a winter thrasher or a trail centre slaying alternative to my regular bike, for sure. There’s nothing that comes close, especially at this price. As a one bike for everything, I think its singularity and rallycar-firm ride might outstay its welcome after a time. Ragleys are for ragging, not sightseeing.