- The Ragley Big AL 1.0 hardtail bike is a multiple test winner that has great all-around performance.
- Whether you're tackling quick laps or a leisurely all day ride, this bike is great fun on the trails.
- At $1,700, this bike has great value and gives you a lot of bang for your buck.
- There are more aggressive hardtails and faster cross country bikes, but this is a great do-it-all bike.
This ride review will dig into the specs and performance of the Ragley Big AL 1.0 so you can decide if this mid-range aluminum hardtail is the bike for you.
The Ragley Big AL 1.0 hardtail is a great aggressive hardtail with fantastic value for any type of trail riding. This bike is a fun all-rounder with modern geometry that keeps you in control in the rough stuff while hardtail efficiency keeps it great for climbing.
I am a dedicated hardtail rider and love finding bikes that can be ridden tough without rear suspension. For this review, I did a deep dive into all the details you need to know about the Big AL and compared it with other trail hardtails in the price range.
Ragley Big AL Highlights
- Modern geometry makes this bike ready for riding hard.
- This bike has the same geometry and design as the Big Wig, Ragley’s steel 29er.
- Coming in at $1,700, the Big AL is a fantastic value with a solid component list.
- This is a great bike for anyone looking for a fun all-around trail hardtail.
Ragley Big AL Performance
The Big AL is a hardtail with a design that’s distinctly trail-focused, which is refreshing with all the speedy cross country hardtails out there. While it’s no enduro machine, this bike definitely doesn’t feel out of place on fast descents. Good p maintaining practical pedalability to get to the top of the hill.
The relatively slack 65.5 degree head tube angle keeps this bike feeling stable and confident on big descents. If you want to ride fast through technical trails, the 140mm front suspension travel does a good job of soaking up bumps and keeping the front wheel digging into the trail, but you may find it overwhelmed by really big hits.
It’s definitely not an all out gravity machine, but the Ragley Big AL 1.0 is a great choice for someone who wants a hardtail that can still descend well.
As a hardtail, the Ragley Big AL is naturally great at getting power from your feet down to the rear wheel. At about 31 pounds, this bike is not a featherweight for a hardtail, but that’s a compromise made for the more aggressive design.
The steep 74 degree seattube angle puts you in a good pedaling position on the bike. While this is no cross country climber, it definitely holds its own getting back up the hill.
Ragley Big AL Frame and Geometry
The Ragley Big AL comes with a very robust and relatively lightweight alloy frame. Geometry highlights include a long reach and wheelbase, and the relatively slack 65.5-degree headtube angle.
Boost spacing and thru axles keeps this frame future-proofed for any component upgrades you may want to add.
The Big AL has standard direct attach points for a bottle cage but doesn’t have much as far as additional mounting points.
In all this is a solid, well-designed frame that makes for a fun ride without unnecessary frills.
Ragley Big AL Specs and Components
For many people this bike will hit the perfect balance of price and performance. The component list is incredibly well-selected and gives you a solid bike setup for the price.
You won’t get the lightest weight high-end components at this price, but you do get solid kit that will give you reliable performance.
On this build you get a reliable Shimano Deore 11-speed drivetrain. Most high-end bikes nowadays are fitted with a 12- or even 13-speed setup, but unless you’re really sensitive to gearing differences, it’s not likely you’ll notice much of a difference.
The 11-51 tooth Shimano cassette gives you a massive gearing range that’s just behind top in class drivetrains. Combined with a 30-tooth chainring this gives you fantastic gearing for climbing and all-around trail riding.
The Ragley Big AL is a hardtail, so no rear suspension here. For the front wheel you get the Marzocchi Bomber Z2 fork with 140mm of travel. This budget fork offers great performance without breaking the bank.
The Bomber fork is designed to emphasize performance over weight. At 2,030 grams, this definitely isn’t a featherweight fork, but it’s not massively heavier than higher-end forks either.
The Marzocchi Bomber Z2 gives you almost the same performance as much more expensive forks. It’s not most buttery smooth fork, but it is sensitive, has exceptional damping, and works fantastic for smoothing out the rough stuff.
The Ragley Big AL 1.0 comes equipped with Sram’s new DB8 hydraulic disc brakes. These calipers are similar to the Sram Code, but use mineral oil instead of DOT fluid. The DB8 brakes come in about $30 less than the Codes and have similar braking power.
Combined with big 180mm disc brake rotors and resin pads, these brakes are definitely sufficient for staying in control on big descents.
The Big AL comes with Nukeproof Neutron Boost Hubs laced to 29er WTB rims. While not the most lightweight setup in the world, these wheels are tough and will work great for anyone riding this bike.
If you prefer the nimble flickability of 27.5” wheels, check out the Big AL’s smaller-wheeled sibling, the Marley.
Both the front tire and rear tire are the Maxxis Minion DHF. The rear tire is 29x2.4” while the front tire is 29x2.5” for a bit more cornering grip on the front wheel.
The Maxxis Minion DHF is a great all-around tire that balances decent rolling speed with fantastic cornering grip. On this bike it’s unlikely you’ll have any issues with traction.
The Big AL 1.0 hardtail comes with a Brand-X dropper seatpost with 150mm travel for size Medium and below and 170mm for Large and XLarge. Dropper posts are becoming a standard feature for trail mountain bikes, so it’s great to see this internally routed dropper seatpost included off the bat.
The bike also has a branded Ragley chainstay protector installed on the frame. It’s a small detail, but it’s definitely nice to have that included.
The Ragley alloy handlebar is 780mm wide for sizes S and M, and 800mm wide for L and XL. This width is fantastic and gives the rider extra control through technical sections.
The Big AL 1.0 hardtail comes in at about 31 lbs for a size medium. While this would be heavy for a cross country hardtail, it’s middle of the pack for average bikes.
The good low-end gear range means you don’t feel the we
Ragley Big AL 1.0 Pros
- Modern geometry makes the Big AL a confident descender.
- This bike packs in a great, practical build kit that punches above it’s price point.
- 29” wheels and 140mm of fork travel help this bike roll smoothly over rough terrain.
Ragley Big AL Cons
- There are plenty of lighter-weight hardtails in this price range.
- The geometry is good, but there are even more aggressive options available.
Competition for the Ragley Big AL 1.0
Hardtails designed for rougher trail riding are becoming more popular, and manufacturers are catching on and giving us more options in this field. Here is how the Ragley Big AL 1.0 faces up in a group test with the competition.
Ragley Big AL 1.0 vs Rocky Mountain Growler 40
No discussion of hard core hardtails would be complete without mentioning the Rocky Mountain Growler. This bike has helped definite the category. Like the Big AL 1.0 hardtail bike, this bike is designed for a hardtail mountain biker who wants to tackle tougher trails.
Coming in at $1,800, the middle-of-the-range Rocky Mountain Growler 40 is the most comparable to the Big AL 1.0.
With a slacker 64 degree headtube angle (compared to the Big AL’s 65.5 degrees), and massive 2.6” tires make the Growler a better descender than the Big AL. If shredding technical downhills on a hardtail is your primary goal, the Growler is probably a better choice.
The Big AL is a much more balanced all-around bike though. If you want to feel as good on the way up as on the way down, the Ragley is the bike for your.
Ragley Big AL vs Nukeproof Scout 290 Race
The Nukeproof Scout 290 is another popular hardtail designed for more aggressive trail riding. This bike is very comparable to the Big AL, and has an MSRP of $1,600.
Both frames have nearly identical reach, and the Nukeproof has just a lightly slacker headtube angle at 64.5 degrees. The Nukeproof is also slightly lighter at 29.5 lbs.
On the trail, it’s really hard to tell the difference between these two bikes, so your choice may come down to what is available to buy at the time, or which paint job you prefer.
Ragley Big AL vs Trek Roscoe 7
The Trek Roscoe 7 is another aluminum hardtail that’s designed to ride hard on the trail. The geometry and design.
The Roscoe comes with a better 12 speed Shimano drivetrain with a 10-51 tooth cassette, so you get slightly more gear range.
The Roscoe costs $1,900, which is $300 more than the Big AL. With such similar builds, the Big AL 1.0 offers much better bang for your buck. Unless you really want a bit better gearing or prefer the look of the Trek, the Ragley is a better bike for the money.
Where to Buy the Ragley Big AL 1.0
Ragley is a UK-based company, and due to continuing issues with the global bike supply chain, it can be difficult to find Ragley bikes. Here are two sites where you can purchase this bike online:
About THE AUTHOR
I love mountain biking and live in Salt Lake City: a central hub for the MTB community. I started biking four years ago when a series of injuries put me out of commission for trail running. While biking started as cross-training, I fell in love with the sport. I mainly enjoy using my bike as a tool for exploration, I've done 50-mile all-day epic rides in the mountains and have been to some amazing places on my bike.Read More About Jakob Thygerson