BH introduced the current iteration of their carbon 29er Ultimate hardtail all the way back in 2015. But that bike looks set for an update after seeing pro XC rider Carlos Coloma Nicolas racing a raw, unmarked prototype this past weekend at the World Cup. We got a close look as Carlos was warming up to race, and the new carbon race bike looks pared down and more aggressive than ever before…
BH Ultimate carbon XC race hardtail prototype
The Ultimate is already BH’s top cross-country race hardtail, but is due for an update as racers, racetracks, and the industry in general have moved towards a more aggressive riding style. While the Nové Město course has in the past been where we saw trail bike-inspired short-travel full-suspension bikes make their debut, a number of riders seem to be moving back to hardtails now that geometry has caught up and more rear wheel compliance is being built-in to the latest carbon layups.
The tapered headtube is bulged out both where the top & downtubes connects, but the massive reinforcement of the current generation Ultimate is gone. Looking toward the back of the bike, the toptube swoops into seatstays that look a bit thinner than before, with a visually lighter dropout design around the rear thru-axle and a new flat mount rear brake.
Curiously this raw prototype shows a different 3K weave or carbon mid-chainstay and mid-seatstay. It isn’t clear if that was a reinforcement added in development, something to expect in production, or simply a way for BH to modify the prototype to boost crank and/or wheel clearance at this tight spot? Or perhaps it is just showing how the rear triangle may be molded separately, then bonded to the front triangle?
Those thinned out seatstays also appear to bow outward more than before in a nod towards more flex before they meet the seattube. The new chainstays look are still tall & boxy, but now form a straighter line from the pressfit BB to the slimmer dropout, with a hint of a bow out near the rear hub.
The next gen Ultimate 29er XC bike also looks to now be dedicated for 1x drivetrains (no big surprise now that Shimano has also finally gotten on board with 1×12). Rear brake & internal dropper cable routing appears to have been moved to a modular port on the top of the downtube. Rear derailleur wire routing may go through what looks like an extra port on the disc-side top of the head tube, obviously not needed for this bikes wireless AXS eTap drivetrain.
Out of all of the BH team, this was the only new hardtail we spotted, so we suspect that the final version of a new Ultimate is still several moths off at least. We’ll keep an ear to the ground, and maybe get more detailed updates later this summer at Eurobike?