First Bombtrack had the gravel Hook, then bigger tires & flat bars evolved into Beyond+ adventure touring rigid mountain bikes. Now the new Cale hardtail takes the next logical step, with trail geometry and 120mm forks on top of an adventure-ready platform, set for anything from your local singletrack to backcountry bikepacking…
2020 Bombtrack Cale hardtail trail mountain bike
At first glance the new Cale looks like just another steel hardtail mountain bike with meaty tires and slack geometry. But it is Bombtrack’s experience building backcountry-tested adventure touring bikes that makes the Cale unique. In fact, the Cale frame looks almost identical to the rigid Beyond+ ADV that it evolved from, but all new longer, slacker geometry makes this a much more capable trail bike for exploring.
Trail bike adventure geometry
The Cale is Bombtrack’s direct response to riders of the already suspension corrected Beyond+ ADV who were asking for a version with a suspension fork. Rather than just slap the requisite 120mm fork on that bike, Bombtrack figured that riders looking for front suspension would also benefit from more slack trail geometry, even while keeping to a middle of the road 120mm of travel up front. So the new Cale slackens out another degree to a 67.5° headtube, paired to a 74° seattube, and 1.5-2cm longer reach. At the same time the Cale dials back to a 440mm chainstay length to keep it playful, also anticipating that most riders will prefer either high volume 27.5+ tires or faster rolling, but smaller 29er tires (rather than the 29+ that rigid backcountry bikepacking demands.)
Much like the Beyond+ family, the new Cale is built for simplicity & durability. It gets a no-nonsense double-butted, TIG-welded 4130 steel tubeset with curved & crimped stays for a nice mix of ample tire clearance and low weight. Bombtrack build the bike up with 2.8″ 275+ tires which they say are the max recommended, but you can also opt for faster rolling 2.4″ 29er tires as well.
The bike features classic, trouble-free MTB standards like a 73mm wide threaded BSA bottom bracket, external cable routing mostly under the toptube, and a 30.9mm seatpost.
The Cale has a steeply sloping toptube with a small strut at the seattube for plenty of standover, and gets spec’d with a long 150mm KS E30i dropper post with stealth routing, entering just above the BB. The frame uses a 44mm headtube with an external lower cup for the tapered steerer 120mm MRP Ribbon SL fork.
The Boost rear end gets IS brake tabs and 12mm thru-axle (both axles use simple 6mm hex bolt-on axles), plus rack mounts. The Cale is still an adventure bike at heart, and features braze-ons for a rear rack & fender, direct toptube bag mounting, one bottle vase mount inside the main triangle, and a triple set of bolts under the downturn for another bottle or an anything cage.
Pricing & availability
At $3800 / 3400€, the Cale isn’t by any means a budget bike (in fact, really only Bombtrack’s pro carbon CX bike is more expensive). But Bombtrack didn’t cut any corners on the single complete build the put together for their first true mountain bike, selecting components designed to hold up to the toughest off-road adventure riding. That matches the 35mm stanchion MRP Ribbon SL fork to a complete SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain with burly Descendant DUB cranks, a 30T direct mount ring & the 10-50 cassette.
Rolling stock is a mix of 45mm internal WTB STi45 front & 40mm internal STi40 TCS tubeless rims, wrapped with WTB Vigilante 27.5×2.8″ TCS tires. It doesn’t ship already tubeless due to the complication of shipping bikes built around the world. But the rims are pre-taped, so you just need to buy a set of valves and some sealant if you want to go tubeless.
Finishing out the long, low & slack geo, the Cale gets short 40mm, oversized 35mm alloy stems & 800mm wide, 18mm rise alloy bars with 8°back/6°upsweep. And bringing the bike to a stop are Magura Trail Sport hydro brakes with 4-pistons up front & a 2-piston rear.
The new bike will get an official debut later this month and is expected to be available in bike shops across Europe and the United States in October 2019. We got a chance to put a few rides in on the new playful bike, and will have a first impressions review soon!
UPDATE: Bombtrack has now added a Cale frame-only option for 650€ so you can build up your own custom adventure trail hardtail.
Check out our first riding impressions on the new Cale, here.