“Don’t let your summer be a bummer. Get yourself a Hummer” – Chaz Romalis
Cove’s Ti Hummer 29er hardtail is a long-rumoured long-awaited reintroduction of a classic North Shore hardtail aimed at aggressive technical terrain. It will be be sold as a frame-only ($3100 Can) with the small frame weighing in at 1.8kg/4lbs. Here is the critical information and some of our initial impressions.
In the early 80s a group of British Columbia’s bike nuts living in North Vancouver wanted to ride bikes. Chaz, Nummers and Dewey started importing bike parts and bikes from California to their home in Deep Cove and Vancouver’s first bike store was born. Since then Cove Bikes has set up on Main Street in North Vancouver, growing, then shrinking, then growing again. Cove has a long chequered retail background. They’ve also got lots of experience with their own line of products; including hardtails and dual-suspension bikes.
Cove’s first bike was the Hummer hardtail produced in the early 90s. It was something of a revelation for hyper-technical riding featuring (relatively speaking for its time) slack geometry, long top tubes and short chainstays and stems. Things have come full circle as the Hummer Ti 29er hardtail is also their latest bike but with even more aggressive numbers which should go a long way to re-establishing Cove’s brand as synonymous with tough frames capable of dealing with the difficult terrain endemic to local Shore conditions and trails
Chaz with a production Ti Hummer in size small. The Ti 29er Hummer is made by Lynksey Performance a family-owned company from Tennnesse of Litespeed fame; keeping frame production in North America.
Chaz testing out the goods on C-buster. A trail first built by Cove mechanics on days off.
So why a hardtail? And why Ti? Some might bleat on about mystical simpleness, elegeance of design plus lack of complexity. There’s no sugarcoating this. The bottom line is that there’s not that many really good objective reasons for a hardtails given that full suspension designs are now so good.
I wanted to review a Ti hardtail “because it’s there” with “it” being 29er geometries. Do you want rideable bicycle art? Do you want something you can ride for a long, long time (ignoring the industries’ propensity for hara-kiri asinine standard revisions? Then consider a titanium hardtail.
For the purposes of this preview and the subsequent review the build I selected was a mix of Manitou, FSA and Magura. On hearing this someone said to me – “that’s very 90s”. But I had just finished watching The Moment movie. It occurred to me that this was a hearty compliment. Lots of good things happened in the 90s (not just the Smashing Pumpkins) and bikes were simple and tough. They had to be to survive what we did to them as we explored the limits of trailbuilding and riding.
Accordingly picking components for the Cove Hummer Ti that were reliable, good value and could handle abuse were my priority.
Prototype Cove Ti Hummer 29er in its natural environment slung with FSA, Manitou and Magura. Prototype internal brake routing and derailleur cables are externally routed in the production version
Production small Hummer Ti 29er. Only one set of water bottlebosses in the small frames. Med/Large will have two sets of bosses and will also share the same external brake cable routing
Production Hummer Ti head-tube welds with internal dropper post routing
Lots of space for meaty rear tires. Pictured with 2.3 Butchers but 2.6 Butchers easily fit. The Hummer Ti rear stays will clear up to 27.5 x 2.6 tires so is NOT plus-size compatible.
Cove head tube badge
Threaded BB. Extensively machined BB area with lots of material for stiffness. ISCG05 chainguide on all frame sizes
The Cove Hummer is presented in three sizes – Small, Medium and Large. The prototype featured here is a Medium. My heavier build on this Hummer with stock FSA alloy Afterburner wheels and Specialized Grid Butcher 2.3 tires is 12.3kg/ 27.1 lbs . With the more bling FSA SL-K carbon wheels and lighter Specialized Control Purgatory and Slaughter 2.2 tires my lighter build is 11.8kg/26lbs.
Cove does offers build kits but you’re invited to get a frame-only and provide your own build kit.
Other components on the Hummer Ti 29er are as follows:
- Manitou Mattoc Pro 29er fork (2033g)
- Magura MT7 brakes (255g)
- FSA SL-K stem (31.8mm/ +6 rise x 70mm) – (129g)
- FSA SL-K carbon handlebar (31.8 x 740mm) – (235g)
- FSA Orbit 1.25ZS headset (80g)
- FSA Flowtron 150mm seatpost (595g)
- FSA MegaEVO BB (for English-threaded 68-73mm BBs) – (50g)
- FSA SL-K DM Megatooth 1×11 carbon cranks (666g)
- FSA SL-K Boost 29er carbon wheels (1500g)
- FSA Afterburner WideR Boost 29er alloy wheels (1720g)
FSA SL-K stem. FSA Orbit headset
FSA handlebar. I found the SL-K stem to a tad long so have been experimenting with a Syncros 50mm stem (keeping it classic)
FSA SL-K carbon cranks
FSA Flowtron dropper post
FSA SL-K carbon Boost wheels. 24 spoke for added compliance yet lateral rigidity. Straight pull
Magura MT7 four piston brakes
The Manitou Mattoc has a bewildering amount of settings available using the Dorado DH cartridge platform including Low-speed Compression Damping; High-speed Compression Damping;; Hydraulic Bottom Out; Rebound Damping; Beginning-stroke Air Pressure & Middle/End-stroke Air Pressure
Manitou Mattoc Pro and my settings in the handy chart included. My set up is for the heavier side of a 170-190lb rider even though I am 78kg/162lbs
Geometry and comparables for the Cove Hummer 29er Ti are as follows. Cove’s Hummer Ti 29er hardtail has contemporary geometries (66 HTA 75 STA). It’s relatively long, low and slack although not to the extremes being pushed. It has a wheelbase that’s middle-of-the-range.
I also picked some other random 29er hardtails with contemporary geometry and expected use-cases so one can micro-parse measurements.