Black Mountain HUTTO review
Black Mountain HUTTO review
Standing confidently in its bright orange colourway, the HUTTO offers an excellent option for your budding young off road cyclist.
Its unique “growing frame” design allows a degree of growth over a few years or inches, whilst still delivering a decent ride on road, tracks and easier trails.
The version tested is the Trail (£649) - which comes equipped with a Spinner Grind Air 50mm suspension fork, Tektro disk brakes and a pretty decent set of off road Schwalbe Black Jack tyres with a little more grip than a centre tread or slick tyre, it’s finished off with own brand kit and runs on SRAM X3 derailleur and a SRAM 3.0 Gripshift shifter.
Price - £699
Weight - 8.2kg
Size range - 118cm to 134cm
Age range - 6+ years
Colours - Orange, Purple, Neon Green, Azure blue
We like - A quality off-road machine with air-sprung suspension and the ability for the frame to 'grow'!
First thoughts on the HUTTO trail frame and fork
Built using aluminium (6013/6061), the chunky, tough and purposeful frame looks the part, and is reminiscent of a full suspension frame - and whilst it has front suspension, the looks will win favour. It comes in four colours - orange, green, purple and blue.
Strong looks and colours, and colourways to keep everyone happy.
We ran it on the smaller setting - they’d be plenty of growth for my son, who tested it - he’s 8 and, 110cm high with around 40cm inside leg.
Off road, he prefers more stand over clearance as this boosts confidence when you need to hop off quickly.
Initially, the bold, unique looks of the frame design that can be reconfigured as your rider grows caused some concerns about the weight that the HUTTO might carry over a traditional double triangle frame.
Comparing weights against my rider's usually bike (plus tyres, standard frame, no suspension) there was not much in it, less than 500g.
With the ability for the frame to last a longer period, and potentially be passed down to a younger rider, makes the premium price tag worthwhile.
The suspension fork worked happily enough - they can be a little (or a lot) of a compromise on smaller wheeled bikes, but the Spinner Grind Air is lighter, as it doesn’t use a coil for the suspension, but rather air (as the name suggests).
With 50mm of travel, it provides enough to be useful and worth having, but avoid riding it yourself as the upper weight range is low, you’ll blow the seals on it with an adult loading the forks.
On riding it, the forks can be set up firmer or softer depending on the rider's weight.
A bolt through axle keeps things nice and tight, but remember to bring the right tool to remove the wheel if you get a puncture…
How we got on with the Black Mountain HÜTTO Trail.
Using a well known and reliable shifting system really helps give a young rider confidence and it also means the bike will be tough and last a life of heavy use, the SRAM shifter and derailleur are lower end, but offered great shifting.
Whilst the twist shifter is easy to use, it’s sometimes tough for small hands to grip and move - a trigger type shifter can be simpler at times.
The short reach Tektro brakes are a great addition, smaller hands need levers closer to the bar and they are also long enough to provide more leverage.
The first ride was met with positive reactions - my son/tester rode all the stuff he could usually ride. Whilst the tyres are off-road capable, and the closer centre tread aids rolling on smooth surfaces, at times they lack the bite of a fully open tread - so in very muddy or looser off road conditions, there is less bite to the tyre.
The tyre is tough and happily rolled around our usual off road loop, with the suspension aiding steering and the rougher parts of the trail.
Our regular ride is a mix of quiet roads, then gravel tracks turning into rocky Mtb trails - both climbing and descending.
The bike is happiest on the road and rough tracks, but also very capable on the rougher ground when the suspension came into its own.
The gears worked smoothly, reliably and, whilst it may only have seven gears, the range is pretty good for more general trail and track use.
All round, the HUTTO TRAIL is very capable for road, tracks and some more sedate off-road trails.
At a point, small wheels become pretty much the biggest obstacle as they lack the size to roll over trail obstacles.
What the HUTTO can handle with the adaptable rider position and proper components is really good, and the geometry and adaptable frame help get the rider in the right place and feel confident when riding more challenging terrain.
My tester is aged 8, and 1.3m tall with an inside leg of around 55cm. We rode the bike on the small setting, so there is plenty more room for growth.
What he liked about it was the confidence that was felt in the bike right away, he mentioned how it felt like his other bike, but a bit faster on the road.
His own bike has plus-sized tyres that are slower rolling on road, but offer more comfort and crucially grip off-road on rockier terrain we often ride.
Shifting, brakes, wheels and tyres
The all black wheelset looks very good, and have continued to run smoothly - the own brand hubs spin on cartridge bearings and have stayed tight, true and smooth. Disc only rims are wide enough to give the tyres a decent profile, without being over wide and heavier.
The Schwalbe Black Jack tyres, as mentioned earlier, are faster rolling - the centre ridge pattern helps, but there are side blocks that help grip when the bike is cornering. Plenty enough for most little riders.
The Tektro brakes are cable actuated and have a nice powerful, reliable and engaging feel, and being cable, very easy to maintain and look after with far less to go wrong or leak than oil based adult ones.
Using a 160mm disc at the front and a 140 on the rear, they offer reliable braking in all weathers. They may have less power, but they don’t have the demands of larger weight riders.
The lever is really well considered - and coupled with the low profile grips that have hooked ends to keep hands easier secured to the bar, it’s a great cockpit for young riders.
Looking at the shifting in a little more detail, the single 32 tooth chainring up front coupled with the 11-32 rear 7 speed cogs means there is a pretty wide range for getting up all but the steepest hills - maybe a 30 tooth upfront could add a little more easy riding but would compromise flat riding speeds.
In all, it’s a safe range of gears for most instances - the chain guard upfront is a good option, and we didn’t suffer any chain drop and also no trousers caught in the front either. Excellent!
Overall thoughts on the Black Mountain HUTTO Trail…
The HUTTO Trail is a very good choice for anyone who wants to have a decent off road machine that will grow with their child, and maybe even pass down to someone else.
The simple, easy to move size frame and components make it straightforward to change.
You could argue that there is extra weight and material, but that ignores the helpful growing with your child feature, plus the additional weight isn’t much more than a comparable mountain bike.
The disc brakes, suspension fork and geometry all stack up to make a nice little off-road machine for the budding cyclist you know.
All the parts are well finished and either a good brand or own brand and of reliable quality, plus the specified parts are intended for the younger rider - brakes are a noticeable example.
Other articles you might be interested in:
- Hornit AIRO balance bike review
- Frog MTB 69 kids mountain bike review
- Black Mountain HÜTTO Trail
- Review of the Black Mountain KAPĒL
- Black Mountain HÜTTO review; from balance bike to pedalling with one bike!
- Specialized Jett 20 kids bike: Rider Review
- Kids Bike Deals and Discount Codes
- Black Mountain Pinto Review
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