Insider Rides looks at the bikes that we ride, the bikes that industry insiders ride, that racers ride, and everyday folk ride. With the recent proliferation of the new breed of ‘all-mountain’ hardtails, Nathan Timoko from local importer Adrenaline MTB runs the rule over his Stanton Switchback. 

Steel Hardtail frames are something we have always wanted to do and supply to our customers. We had been in contact with Dan at Stanton bikes and what he his doing with his Next Gen line ticks all the boxes and covers a wide range of options.


This frame we built up is a Stanton Switchback 631 Next Gen which uses Reynolds 631 Steel. It features a 415mm chainstay length and head tube angle of 65º… making the bike playfully natured and confidence-inspiring aggressive frame. The Switchback frame is designed around the 27.5” and 27.5+” wheel platform. It also uses Stanton’s custom designed Swopouts, giving you the ability to run 12×142, standard QR or singlespeed.


If you’ve got no suspension at the back, you may as well go big up front. We went with a Rock Shox Lyrik on this build as we wanted to test it out on a hardtail and we also wanted to build a hardtail that could handle epic trail riding, epic enduros, bike park and some downhill racing. The Lyrik handles it all. The fork is set at 160mm travel which is the maximum for the Switchback frame, and over the coming months we will playing around with the travel setup.

The wheelset is Easton’s Heist 30, and we previously ran this wheelset on one of our trail bikes for a year. We were suitably impressed by the internal 30mm – external 34mm rims, reliable hubs and found them to be good value. 


For rubber we went with WTB’s Convict 27.5 x 2.5 TCS Tough High Grip front and rear. This combo may be bit overkill for general Wellington riding, but where we plan on riding/racing this thing the trails are not always hard packed. A++ for traction, climbing and under braking.


ISCG05 tabs for those pushing the limits of chain retention.


Cane Creek 40 headset is a proven reliable unit.


XT. 11 speed, 11-42 cassette, Shadow Plus derailleur, 32t single ring. Say no more.


Why so aggressive? It’s the angles…


One of the best things about steel frames is flicking the tubing with your fingernail and hearing that ‘pinging’ sound! And riding them, of course. All cables are routed along the underside of the top tube which we don’t mind at all, makes servicing and replacing cables a breeze.



142×12 thru-axle with replaceable Swopouts means you can run the frame geared or singlespeed for the strong of knee.


Sometimes you just can’t let go of a favourite bit of kit.


WTB takes care of the seating with their awesome Volt (see review here…). It drops on a KS Lev 150mm post.


The Gravity 35mm cockpit makes no bones about the burliness of the bike’s intentions, with an 800mm alloy riser bar and 35mm stem providing plenty of grunt for the front.



The brake rotors are floating rotors we are testing along with finned and non-finned pads. Watch this space or our website for more news on this front. Shimano XT M8000 levers and calipers clamp them with typical power and excellent lever feel.


The only internal routing on the frame is for the dropper post, running through the downtube and around the BB.


After taking this bike out for a couple of laps around Makara Bike Park we found ourselves jumping into the deep end at Nelson’s Mammoth two day Enduro event last weekend, where I was pleased to find we had built a sick steed.

Coming from a downhill background, the Switchback feels good to jump, it’s nice and stable in the air, climbs like a hardtail and descends like a demon on steroids. It’s a very capable ride, and we’re looking forward to spending more time on this bike in search of its limits.

Contact Adrenaline MTB for more details on the full range of Stanton frames.