If on the fence about ditching your current mountain bike wheels, but would really like to Boost your trail riding with a new more capable hardtail, the OptOut Hooky might be for you. Using a modular sliding set of dropouts, the Hooky can swap from QR to thru-axles, regular to Boost spacing, and geared to single speed setups – all in a trail-ready aluminum hardtail that won’t break the bank.
OptOut Hooky hardtail mountain bike w/ modular dropouts
OptOut Cycles is a relatively new bike maker based in Lawrence, Kansas, but has origins in another company we knew well. A few years ago the current owners of OptOut bought out the old Soul Cycles which made the Dillinger – a 29er we tested back in the day. What carried over to the new brand was experience designing & sourcing adaptable mountain bikes. Now that evolves again with the new Hooky – a hardtail to ease you decision on how to build up an affordable trail hardtail.
Hooky Tech Details
The OptOut Hooky is maybe the ultimate hardtail for the indecisive, offering more flexibility than you’re likely to find elsewhere. The key to the success of the Taiwanese produced 6061 Aluminum frame is its modular sliding SwitchBack dropouts.
With five different CNC machined dropout sets available, the Hooky can be built up with a traditional QR rear axle, 12mm thru-axle with old 142mm spacing, 12mm with Boost 148mm spacing, or either 12mm standard or Boost singlespeed. You pick how you want to put the bike together, and down the road you can always swap in a different set of dropouts if you change your mind.
Another benefit of the sliding setup is the ability to fine tune chainstay length. Beyond letting you pick geared or single speed setups (or internally geared hubs) it also let’s you play with wheelsize. The Hooky has room for up to 29″ x 2.4″ tires, or you could go as big as 27.5+ with a 3″ tire.
The aluminum Hooky is built as a modern trail-capable hardtail with a slack 68° headtube, designed to be built up with a 120mm travel 29er fork. It features a mix of internal rear shift routing in the top tube, stealth dropper routing via the downtube, and fully external rear brake routing. The frame features a 31.6mm seatpost, a 73mm threaded bottom bracket, and includes bottle cage mounts both on top of and below the downtube. A 34.9mm front derailleur will add two chainring compatibility, or you can build it up 1x.
Pricing & Availability
It’s not a completely revolutionary thing to put interchangeable dropouts on a mountain bike, but there are frames you’ll find at just $695 that offer such choice.
The alloy Hooky hardtail frame can be bought with or without OptOut’s $350 tapered steerer, full carbon rigid fork, or you can build it up with your choice of suspension fork (geometry optimized for 120mm fork travel).
Future replacement/upgrade SwitchBack dropout pairs sell for another $46 in a few different color options. OptOut already promises future-proofing for the Hooky and will keep adding more options when “the wheel geniuses try the next thing” in standards.
The frame comes in three stock sizes (M-XL) and either matte black or gloss blue. Get it direct from OptOut, or from a growing network of independent dealer shops.