Nordest’s long-running Bardino steel enduro hardtail gets a 3rd generation update, reinforced for longer travel forks and steeper descents, without adding extra weight. Developed to be an affordable bike to ride the steepest & most technical trails, the Nordest Bardino 3 enduro hardtail once again gets slightly tweaked geometry to get up the hills quicker, then bomb down anything you can stomach on the other side. Pricing has increased a bit (as it has everywhere), but Nordest is offering solid pre-order discounts for buyers who put their money down now… and don’t have to wait long…
Nordest Bardino 3 update affordable enduro MTB hardtail
Nordest Cycles calls the Bardino hardtail their “best seller”, available in both steel or titanium. In fact, the steel hardtail was the first production bike that became the flagship of the brand, spun off from ti framebuilder Jerónimo Cycles four and a half years ago. Riding enduro trail on hardtails has certainly evolved a bit in that time, and Nordest has kept this affordable bike regularly updated as riders go bigger.
The most obvious outward update to the new Nordest Bardino 3 is a little strut connecting the downtube to the seattube, just behind the gussets coming of the bottom of the headtube. The Bardino has always been a bike built with aggressive enduro geometry to be paired to long travel forks. But as single crown enduro forks get even longer, Nordest reinforced the Bardino 3 to work with up to 180mm travel up front.
Interestingly, the new frames aren’t actually heavier, as designer Pedro Jerónimo refined the thickness of the head & seat tubes where stresses were lower and scaled back the diameter of the seattube brace without losing strength there. Plus, the new bikes ditch the integrated ISCG tabs because riders simply weren’t putting big bash guards on these all-mountain hardtails. Frame weight is still a claimed 2850g (M)
Tweaked Enduro Geometry
The new Nordest Bardino 3 essentially adjusts just two elements of its geometry – keeping its design around a 160mm fork & short 40mm stem. A 0.5° steeper seattube makes it a little easier to get uphill, while slightly shifting rider weight forward for more grip while descending (slightly reducing effective toptube length). That actually compliments a shorter front center length and overall shorter wheelbases to put more weight on the front tire, as Nordest’s test riders have preferred a shift to 42mm offset forks.
The other move is to raise the bottom bracket 5mm, as Jerónimo said many riders were looking for extra ground clearance to keep from bashing the ends of their cranks on rocks. He admits that together with even longer forks, it does lift the BB even higher. But Nordest development riders have been test riding the higher BBs for more than a year on trails in Portugal, Ireland & Finland, and decided the difference out on the trail felt small enough that the added clearance was worth the tweak – especially helpful for those riding shorter 140mm or 150mm forks.
Nordest also lowered overall standover height by shortening seattubes by about 1cm. Half of that is just to offset the higher BB, the other half to benefit riders moving to longer forks.
The new Bardino 3 enduro hardtail is still welded in Taiwan from double-butted 4130 chromoly steel, and still designed to get built up with either 29″ (up to 2.6″ wide) or 27.5+ (up to 3″ wide) tires. The frame has external cable routing plus internal routing for a 31.6mm dropper post, straight 44mm headtube for a tapered steerer, 73mm threaded bottom bracket, IS rear brake tabs, and replaceable Boost thru-axle dropouts.
It also gets 3-pack anything mounts inside the main triangle on top of the down tube for cage mount flexibility, since there’s not room for a seattube bottle, plus a second set of cage bosses under the downtube if you still need to carry more water, gear, or tools for your enduro adventures.
Nordest Bardino 3 – Pre-order, pricing, options & availability
The new steel Bardino 3 hardtail will sell for 730€ (essentially the same price the Bardino 2 currently sells at, but ~20% higher than when it was first introduced). But if you pre-order a frame now you can save 10% at 650€, and you’ll only have to wait until January 2022 anyway.
Frame kits are also available paired with a Fox 36 Factory Grip2 fork & Cane Creek 40 headset for 2148€, discounted for pre-orders to 1750€.
Individual frames & frame kits are both available now in Nordest’s standard blue & yellow paint job or a new black version with purple graphics, all with free EU delivery. Or for an extra 250€, Nordest will custom paint a frame just for you.