Based in the Derbyshire Dales in the heart of England, frame builder Stanton now field a mighty range for a small company and the new Switch9er is their longer, lower and slacker wagon-wheeled progression of the well regarded Switchback.
This bike is part of a group test: The best hardcore hardtail you can buy – 7 bikes in review
Beautifully manufactured from triple butted Reynolds 631, which has the same chemistry as 853 but is air hardened, rather than having the final heat treatment of the more expensive 853. The resulting tubing is slightly thicker than 853 and Stanton have deliberately used 631 as the increased material allows stronger welds around the headtube, crucial when designing a frame that can cope with the stresses of running a 160 mm fork. Reynolds 631 tubing means that the Switch9er builds tough and durable, with just enough compliance to build a comfortable yet lively ride. The frame detail is stunning; the CNC machined yoke gives the chainstays bags of clearance with the 29 x 2.4 and the neat swap-out-drop-outs allow you to fit 12 x 142 mm or 12 x 148 mm hubs, go single speed or even run a 10 x 135 mm quick release! This means that you can build up the frame on the cheap and pimp it up as you ride. The subtly gusseted down tube features internal routing designed to take full-length gear outer to keep your cables gunk free but it keeps the brake cable external for easy brake changes.
Geometry of the Stanton Switch9er
|Seat tube||420 mm||458 mm|
|Top tube||594 mm||619 mm|
|Head tube||100 mm||120 mm|
|Chainstay||428 mm||428 mm|
|BB Drop||70 mm||70 mm|
|Wheelbase||1203 mm||1236 mm|
|Reach||453 mm||483 mm|
|Stack||610 mm||640 mm|
Riding the Stanton Switch9er
As soon as you sling a leg on the Stanton, you feel ready to play, it’s one of those special bikes that you only have to sit on to make you smile – you just know it’s going to be super fun. Initially, despite having a healthy 483 mm reach, the frame felt short but once riding the bike felt centred and more evenly balanced than the short, 428 mm stays would suggest. With the lowest bottom bracket on test, the Switch9er’s stability and cornering ability are top notch and we were hitting everything at speeds which got us into trouble more than once. The short rear end and stubby stem make the Switch9er super playful and easy to move about but combined with the slack seat angle, it restricted the Switch9er’s technical climbing ability as the front end has a tendency to wander and the ascent gradient increased.
For many of our testers, especially those that rode hardtails in the 2000’s, the Stanton Switch9er embodies everything that a Hardcore Hardtail should be: bombproof, chuckable and fun. A bike that will happily go for a trail ride, session some downhill or hit a jump line and leave you with a massive smile on your face.
Price: £699 frame only
- Playful yet stable ride
- Excellent cornering ability
- Fantastic frame finish
- Slack seat angle limits technical climbing prowess
For more info head to: stantonbikes.com
All bikes in test
Words: Thomas Corfield Photos: Trevor Worsey