Discovering the Fairlight Holt Mountain Bike
Introducing the Holt, Fairlight's inaugural mountain bike, proudly designed as an unapologetic XC champion. Fairlight designer Dom Thomas has drawn from his wealth of experience with previous models, harnessing this knowledge to create a fast and efficient XC bike, setting new standards for compliance and comfort. By prioritizing the "quality of the material" over unnecessary overbuilding, Fairlight have unlocked the essence of steel's unique ride feel – embracing compliance, traction, agility, zip, snap, grip, and flow, all in one steel frame.
Handmade in Europe, the Holt's steel frame is crafted from custom Reynolds tubing, carefully spec'd and bent to offer a snappy ride with just the right amount of flexibility where it matters most. Produced in their European factory, the Holt's fabrication stands as a testament to their unparalleled experience.
Whether you're a mountain bike enthusiast or a bikepacker in search of new experiences, the beauty of the new Holt is impossible to overlook.
Innovative Frame Design
At the heart of the Fairlight Holt lies its meticulously crafted frame. Constructed from high-quality materials, the frame has been engineered to provide optimal strength, durability, and responsiveness. The geometry is thoughtfully designed to strike a balance between stability and agility, ensuring maximum control on descents and nimble maneuverability on challenging terrain.
The new Fairlight Holt boasts a thoughtfully designed frame featuring custom Reynolds 853 DZB top and down tubes. The top tube measures 31.8mm tapered to 28.6mm and has an ovalized 35x28mm headtube end. On the other hand, the downtube starts as a 38.1mm round tube but is ovalized for 320mm at the BB end to become 33x43mm. The Holt's 73mm T47 BB shell offers extra diameter for clever seat tube positioning, allowing for ample tire clearance without compromising the chainstay length.
The seat tube gets standard butted Reynolds 853, offering compliance with a rigid seat post. The 14mm non-taper seat stays and 19mm custom-formed chainstays contribute to the ride quality, providing both comfort and power transfer. The chainstays are strategically located wide on the BB shell to resist pedaling forces, and there is a generous 78mm clearance between the chainstays to accommodate up to 29 x 2.6" tires.
Components and Build
A mountain bike's performance is not solely determined by its frame; the choice of components plays a crucial role. We've selected components to match the Holt's build quality and meet the demands of serious mountain biking. We've chosen the Shimano XT 12-speed groupset, known for its performance and durability, as one of the most reliable options available. Additionally, we've added 4-piston brakes for added confidence and reduced pad wear, perfect for those planning some bikepacking adventures.
To complement the bike's capabilities, we've equipped it with the DT M1900 wheelset, renowned for its high-quality construction using durable and lightweight aluminum alloy. This ensures strength and responsiveness on the trails. The M1900 wheelset is also tubeless-ready, making it versatile and suitable for various riding styles and terrains. Whether you're tackling cross-country trails, technical descents, or even light enduro riding, the DT M1900 wheelset has got you covered.
Aesthetics and Attention to Detail
Beyond performance, the Fairlight Holt is a work of art on wheels. The attention to detail in the design is evident, showcasing the brand's dedication to aesthetics. The combination of bold lines, sleek curves, and premium finishes makes the Holt a striking presence on the trails.
The Fairlight x Bentley Utility Drops were developed for the Holt, offering interchangeability between post mount 160 and flat mount 160. The design process involved extensive collaboration between Fairlight and Bentley, resulting in a beautifully simple and elegant two-bolt design. Careful refinement of the aesthetic details, such as cut-outs in the steel plate and an embossed logo on the flat mount piece, showcases the meticulous craftsmanship. The use of anodized silver brake mount inserts and engraved logos adds to the overall appeal, while brass plates as washers provide a delightful contrast.
The Holt frame impressively boasts three sets of bottle mounts, top and bottom downtube bosses with triple bosses for adventure cages, and two bosses on the base with 8mm standoff washers to accommodate an adventure cage along with the nylon cable guide. Notably, the position of the seat tube and downtube bosses is deliberately low, creating ample space for a half-frame bag, making the Holt an excellent choice for bikepacking enthusiasts.
Uncompromising on practicality, the Holt features rack mounts on the seat stays, aligning perfectly with its reputation for strength and versatility thanks to the steel frame. With a design centered around full outer housing, the Holt is the first Fairlight model with a new style of cable guide, effectively managing cable positioning even when tube shapes change through ovalization. The 3D-printed cable guides, crafted from SLS Nylon, ensure optimal grip on the cables when tightened while offering excellent chemical and water resistance.
Versatility is further accentuated with specific cable guides for two and three cables, as well as a single cable clip for AXS users without a dropper. The clever design allows for cage mounting on top of the guides, providing additional convenience and functionality. A 3D-printed tray skid-plate design, just 1.5mm thick, keeps the cables away from the paint and snugly runs across the BB shell, thoughtfully allowing for proper frame drainage.
With dirt touring and commuting in mind, the Holt proudly incorporates a 6mm Di2/Dynamo hole at the base of the downtube, just above the first cable guide. The frame's compatibility with a rigid fork opens doors for exciting possibilities, making it a versatile choice for various cycling adventures.
The Holt's geometry is carefully developed based on known data and subtle adjustments from Fairlight's previous learnings. Key considerations for the Holt's geometry included chainstay length, BB drop, effective seat tube angle, stack, head angle, and reach. The goal was to achieve a versatile geometry that balances XC handling with increased stability for descending and technical climbs. The result is a geometry suited for real-world riding, offering excellent bikepacking capability and efficient trail hardtail performance. The frame is designed to work with a 100-120mm travel fork, or a suspension-specific rigid geometry fork.
In a comprehensive review by Bikepacking.com, they highlighted the bike's versatility, making it suitable for bikepacking adventures and multi-day excursions. Its reliable frame and high-quality components were commended for handling demanding terrain and long journeys with ease.
Bikepacking enthusiasts who tested the Fairlight Holt were impressed by its ability to carry gear while maintaining a nimble ride. The bike's comfortable geometry and wide tire clearance were particularly well-received, allowing riders to tackle various terrains without sacrificing comfort or stability.
Like the saying goes, 'steel is real,' the Fairlight Holt Mountain Bike is more than just a bicycle; it is an embodiment of passion, innovation, and adventure. With its remarkable design, high-performance components, and thrilling riding experience, the Holt stands tall as a testament to Fairlight Cycles' commitment to excellence in mountain
If you're seeking a mountain bike that will elevate your riding experience and leave you craving more adventures, the Fairlight Holt is undoubtedly worth considering. Whether you're a seasoned mountain biker or just starting your journey, the Holt is primed to deliver the perfect fusion of performance and adventure.