Last summer we got an exclusive first look & first rides on Bombtrack’s new steel Cale backcountry adventure hardtail. Expanding their adventure & bikepacking background into proper trail riding, the new steel Cale is the first real mountain bike for Bombtrack. And now you can buy the frame on its own to build up your perfect off-road adventure bike.
Bombtrack Cale hardtail trail mountain bike, now as a frame-only
Developed out of the Bombtrack Beyond+ family of bikepacking bikes, on top of all the adventure-ready features the Cale adds in modern long & slack trail geometry designed around a mid-travel suspension fork. Bombtrack already offered a pretty killer build of the Cale with 27.5″ wheels & meaty 2.8″ tires, which we had fun on this past summer.
Bombtrack Cale hardtail frame, choose your own adventure!
But this is the kind of adventure trail bike that thrives on versatility, so Bombtrack decided it was time to give riders the option to create their own backcountry bikepacking build.
The steel Cale frame was designed around a mid-travel 120mm suspension fork with a gusseted, reinforced top tube & bent downtube to clear fork crowns. Beyond picking a fork for it, Bombtrack built in the option to work with either 27.5+ up to 2.8″ or 29″ x 2.4″ max high volume mountain bike tires, so it could be tailored for whatever style of backcountry exploring you get into. That is probably where this new frame-only option will come in handy.
Its geometry leans towards aggressive trail riding with a slack 67.5° head angle & long reach to tame technical descending. But a middle of the road stack height adds a comfortable riding position, paired with big, low-pressure tires for long trail days.
Cale – Tech details
The 1x-specific double-butted 4130 chromoly steel Cale frame is built to handle anything adventure you can throw at it, or even to just stick to regular trail riding. We rode it just as a trail bike, and found the Cale to be fun, even playful riding a mix of trail surfaces.
The steel Cale frame features a traditional 73mm threaded bottom bracket, Boost 148mm rear spacing, IS disc brake tabs on the seatstay, a straight 44mm headtube to fit tapered steerer forks, full length external cable routing plus stealth internal routing for a 30.9mm dropper seatpost.
The Cale is a proper adventure bike and gets pretty much all the mounting points you could hope for. There are 3-bolt anything bottle cage mounts both on top & underneath the downtube, plus a direct toptube bag mount. Out back there are braze-ons for a rear fender and/or a rear rack.
Bombtrack claims a weight of 2835g for a medium Cale frame. The complete medium test bike we rode back in August weighed in at 14.76kg/32.54lb for an idea of what an affordable alloy component build with 2.8″ Vigilante tires might end up. Surely, you could share a good bit of weigh off that if you were looking to spec some fancy components, though.
Cale – Pricing & availability
The new Cale steel frame alone sells for $730 / 650€ and comes in four stock sizes (S-XL), all in this matte black & tan paint job. The complete 27.5+ build from Bombtrack sells for $3750 /3400€ with a MRP Ribbon SL fork & GX Eagle drivetrain. Either option is available now from your local Bombtrack dealer.
Quoting my own earlier review… while it’s not a universal trail bike for everyone, riders looking to take on some of the toughest off-road adventure riding will be happy with the mixture of accessory mounting options, mid-travel trail bike geometry, and the comfort & grip of high volume 2.8″ wide 27.5+ tires. Plus, the possibility to swap in a lightweight 29er setup with 2.0-2.1″ tires without impacting geometry could be a great way to get even more riding out of the bike across a range of trail styles (much like the seamless 650b x 47mm gravel to 700c x 28mm road swap.)
The Cale is definitely a bike worth considering if you want to explore steep trails whether on short trips or multi-day bikepacking adventures. And now you can build one up to your heart’s delight.