29th November 2021
HT550 | Josh's race and the first ride on RAW
Josh has just completed the HT550 on his Mason RAW prototype. He's had the hallowed first ride and has been riding this as part of our #RideDrivenDesign development process. The HT550 is the ultimate test for this new design. The evolution of our designs has always been intertwined with the experience of our supported riders and in particular with Josh's rides/races so it is written that the debut for our RAW would be with him and an epic ride. Josh is running 2.25 Rangers for the HT...a little narrow but you know him - he is after outright speed.
"The race was brutal (as expected). Where Tour Divide is a slow process of fatigue over the course of weeks the HT550 is more like being smashed with a shovel from the off with no let up at all until the end! The race wasn’t straight forward for me a my Dynamo USB charger failed on the first day so I was unable to charge my GPS units without stopping. It’s a peculiar issue as both the USB charger and lights were wired into the same connectors and both running off the hub. The light worked fine but the USB stopped so essentially I rode most of the race with my GPS turned off trying to keep near riders where I could to save stopping to recharge. It meant I was on the back foot from the first afternoon and couldn’t quite race as I’d like, but I made it round which was good. Now the post race swelling in my hands and feet has subsided I’m looking forward to a nice smooth flat road ride with no hiking!"
- Josh Ibbett
RAW has been developed specifically for riders like Josh and races like the HT550. Riders who like to ride Fast and Far on technical backcountry trails on a hardtail that you can still throw into singletrack turns and is a blast to ride with the spring of steel, yet fully stable and safe when loaded up with bikepacking kit.
RAW Geometry is totally modern. The curved seat tube is effectively steep to maximise climbing potential, whilst allowing the correct rear-centre and large tyres. The head angles are slack enough for stability at speed and handling when loaded, but not too slack that it flops when climbing at slow speeds when loaded. Reach figures are roomy. Rolling on 29" wheels is the fastest choice for this machine. Overall we've strived to add fun, engagement and mile-eating credentials to the outright speed and stability typical of modern geo. MTBs. Add to this a full suite of bottle/accessory mounts, adaptable internal gear/brake/stealth dropper routing and you have a formidable #fastfar hardtail...that is made to the absolute highest quality in the UK.
RAW is the first Mason MTB. But, don't get us wrong; we've all come from MTB and it's the sort of riding that has been in our heart since before Mason. The very capable all-terrain handling of our gravel and adventure bikes can be directly attributed to our off-road roots. In Dom's previous experience he's designed a handful of leading MTB frames under the Kinesis brand [the mold breaking FF29 can still be seen out there]. And to us, RAW is the logical, obvious, next step from the award winning Mason ISO.
The RAW is a bike I’ve been looking forward to for a long time and it fills the MTB sized gap in the Mason range and it doesn’t disappoint. It flies down the hills when fully loaded and I found my self sending it off jumps in the trail even with my bike packing gear attached. It's beautifully balanced and far more capable off road then my skills allow! The ride is super smooth and was really comfortable over the savage terrain of the HT550.
Where are we now?
At this stage we are continuing our ride testing and dialling in geometry and critical features. We're super impressed with the high quality Dedacciai tubing and the workmanship and craft from our friends at FiveLand Bikes.
We have a frame in the brutal stages of ISO testing being carried out by the renowned EFBE.
RAW is scheduled for Q4 2021, of course this depends on ISO testing results and other lead times. Full builds will most likely be 2022. Please contact us for ordering details.
Images Credits -
1, 4: James Robertson
3: Breakaway Digital
2: Josh Ibbett