BTR FABRICATIONS PINNER REVIEW
Words by Robert Johnston | Photos by Adam Lievesley
Long before the BTR Pinner was a dream in anyone’s mind, BTR Fabrications started out with legendary Belter hardtail, back in 2011. One of the pioneers of the hardcore hardtail movement, the BTR Belter brought to the table some previously unseen geometry figures, which, when combined with its cross-braced steel structure, created an aggressive package that really conveyed how the bikes were intended to be ridden. The Belter had a 61-degree head angle for crying out loud! That’s still insane nine years on.
Fast forward to the present day and BTR Fabrications are producing a broader range of steel bikes that stay true to the heritage of the original Belter. Through the years they have maintained their image by producing aggressive, no BS bikes, and the Pinner, on test here, is no exception. But how does this translate to how the Pinner behaves on the trail? I was desperate to find out; and thankfully Burf – the main who’s single-handedly running the show at BTR Fabrications these days – was happy to lend me his personal rig to see for myself. The testing period saw the Pinner subjected to the full range of UK mountain bike riding, from trail center blasting to bike park thrashing around the country.
As with all of BTR’s rigs, the Pinner features a blend of steel tubing – Reynolds 631 & 853 front end, with Columbus rear – to deliver their idea of a perfect trail feel. CNC machined & hard anodised 7075 T6 suspension links feature sealed double row and full-complement ball bearings throughout to control the linkage actuated single pivot 130mm rear end. The result is a package that is clearly made to take a beating, as reflected by the 10.1-lb (4.6kg) weight for the large frame tested (including rear axle, derailleur hanger, shock & steel spring, internal cable routing and integrated seat clamp).
The geometry on the BTR Pinner was considered downright ridiculous when it was introduced in 2017, but the shift in geometry over the last couple of years in the industry means it falls on the aggressive side of what is becoming commonplace going into 2020. This is no bad thing though, in my eyes BTR really nailed it with the geometry on the Pinner back at its inception, given its’ rowdy intentions with a playful character.
A 480mm reach and 425mm chainstay on the size Large tested, combined with a tall 625mm stack and 20mm BB drop, give the Pinner an interesting upright stance that feels very aggressive from the get-go. A 64 degree head angle and 76 degree effective seat angle round out the aggressive numbers. This is one wild 130mm travel bike on paper!
Studying the finish of the bike is a very pleasant affair – a lot of attention to detail has gone in to the design of the Pinner, with internal cable routing featuring welded-in stainless steel guide tubes; well sealed pivots designed for the worst of the British mud; braces in all the right places; and a very neat personalised headtube badge that’s inscribed with the customer details.
How much will this quality finish set you back? A BTR Pinner built to your exacting specs starts at £3000 for the base frame, which includes your choice of any RAL colour scheme for the front and rear ends independently. Certainly not a cheap frame – there are some excellent options for a full bike on the market at the same price after all – but the exquisite attention to detail and its’ rare, custom nature go some way to justifying it.