At A Glance
I know it’s meant to be all about the carbon nowadays, but there’s something about the clean crisps lines of a steel hardtail that are just so appealing and once the Sherpa was unboxed, it didn’t disappoint.Buy Hard Tails on
Stanton are a brand known for their aggressive trail and 4X hard tails, in short they make fun play bikes. With the addition of the Sherpa, the small British brand now has the three major wheel sizes covered.
Built from Reynolds 853, with a 631 head tube and 525 seat and chain stays, Stanton have ensured the lively springy feel of steel remains, whilst aiming for a good strength to weight ratio. Is it heavy? Well it depends what you compare it to, if you look at other aggressive steel hard tails, then no, if you look at something racey, then it’s no featherweight, but this bike isn’t built for the weight watcher! It’s built for strength and confidence, without you feeling like you are hauling extra weight up hill.
Once the Sherpa had shod the cardboard, it was instantly apparent that despite changing the wheel size, Stanton weren’t changing the way they ride! The Sherpa looked like it would carry the same characteristics as its other aggressive playful frames, but with a little more emphasis on going up, rather than getting air born.
With a 68.75 degree head angle, long top tube and a short stem, its intended market is apparent from the off, despite the wagon wheels, this is not a race bike, it’s for putting in the miles, but the fun ones, not bashing out laps with a heart rate monitor on.
Specced up with Fox 32’s, Mavic Crossmax ST with excellent Onza Ibex tyres and a smattering of Race Face, I knew that it would take what ever I dished out and be fun in the process. Being a big fan of 1x drive trains, it was great to see the Sherpa come equipped with a OneUp RAD Cage and 42 tooth sprocket, matched to an equally green RaceFace Narrow/Wide, to make the Shimano set up as hill and knee friendly as possible.
On The Trail
As a mile munching play bike, its testing ground would be the humble trail park, lots of variation and the ability to eat up the miles. Riding with a 26” wheeled 150mm travel enduro companion, the strengths and flaws should be readily apparent.
The Sherpa instantly felt at home on the trails, railing the berms, hitting the roots and pumping through the trail. It rode and descended as if it had smaller wheels, it encouraged aggressiveness and hooliganism, but it still demanded to be treated like a big wheeler on occasions and that took a few miles to adjust to.
I was caught out a few times by its encouragement to be aggressive, I was trying to pop out of corners, power wheelie through and hop over obstacles, like I would do on a 26-inch bike. However, lofting the front wheel and jumping quickly reminded you the wheels were a little larger… It only took a few miles to adjust my riding style, add in a little more aggression and persuade the bike to be where I wanted it and then the fun continued!
The combination of a long top tube/short stem, with a relatively short reach when out of the saddle, made the bike very versatile. When sat down it was an XC bike, with its 29er roots shining through on the flats and fire road climbs. When stood up and hammering, it felt like a playful trail bike, in short, extremely fun. The only draw back was when the hills demanded some out of the saddle lung burning climbs, at that point the bike felt a little short, but dependant on how you get your kicks, it’s a small price to pay! Moving to a 70mm stem would help the out of the saddle climbing, but I think the compromise is worth making to get the bikes intended fun factor.
If I had to pigeon hole the Sherpa, I would say it’s an aggressive trail centre bike, with ability to eat up the miles. If you are looking for fun and aggressive riding, then it is ideal, if you prefer your ups to your downs, then maybe you should look for something a little racier.
Stanton Sherpa 853 Complete
Seat tube: 431.8mm
Effective top tube: 604.5mm
Head tube: 97mm
Chain stay: 435mm
BB height: 315mm
Head angle: 68.75°
Seat angle: 73.5°
Weight: 5lbs 3oz (frame only)
This review was in Issue 33 of IMB.For more information visit Stanton Bikes