THE BENCHMARK HARDCORE HARDTAIL – GOES UP ANOTHER NOTCHWhen it comes to swift but gnarly hardtails the Orange Crush line-up is the benchmark others aim for. The original aluminium hardcore hardtail gets a 2022 tune-up to keep it ahead of the game. The frame has gone through a couple of geometry adjustments and a few construction refinements. First, and most obvious, is the new one-piece chainstay yoke. It is forged for maximum toughness and provides improved lateral rigidity for pedalling performance, and leaves plenty of clearance for larger tyres, while giving the chainring plenty of space to breathe in muddy conditions.The new frame features a tapered headtube, giving us more weld area to add strength and provide more support for the lower headset bearing. Where others skimp on the bottom bracket shell, we belive the extra strength benefits of a 73mm width in this area pays back big-time of a hardtail that gets the thrashing we know a typical Crush will get.GENRE DEFINING GEOMETRYFor the new frame’s geometry we’ve pulled things forward (seat-tube 75.5°) to make the ride a little more aggressive, slackened the front-end (headangle 63.5° and 64.5° on the Crush 29) and stretched the wheelbase for stability, while keeping the reach roomy (480mm on a size Large). Coupled with the reduced offset forks we now spec, the rider’s weight pitches perfectly in the attack position for more balanced weight distribution and let the front wheel find grip and prevent front end wash-out. That’s not happening here – getting that front tyre biting in and letting the bike flow is what the Crush is all about.There are plenty more details to admire on the new frame; a strong and secure bolt-through rear rear axle, new cnc-ed cable grommets that not only look great, but keep things tight when everything else around you is getting loose. Some neat new gusseting around the seat-stays add strength and confidence.This is one of the most significant updates to the Crush hardtail platform in years, in testing we’ve fallen in love with it all over again. It’s not all about bouncy bikes, sometimes you just have to take the fight to the trail, and the new Crush takes it to another level.