Superb value and well specced componentry make this a great choice for a first foray into full sussers
Jun 21 2018
Superb value for money
Geometry will suit most riders
A great bike for an introduction to mountain biking
No dropper post
You want a decent full suspension trail bike for less than a grand
The Calibre Ladies Bossnut V2 is the women’s version of the regular Bossnut V2, a 130mm trail bike from Go Outdoors. The full suspension mountain bike brings bounce at both ends to the masses at a very reasonable price and with great performance too.
I rarely start a review with the price but today I will. The retail price of this bike is £1,300 but with a Go Outdoors Discount Card at a cost of £5 the bike is £999.99, it's a no-brainer right? All the suspensions for under a grand is a deal if I ever saw one. Better still at the moment, the Ladies Bossnut V2 is priced at £899.99, yet another £100 off.
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So aside from the bouncy stuff front and rear, what else do you get? Well, firstly a functional but good looking alloy frame which uses a linkage driven single pivot suspension set up. Like the unisex Bossnut V2 the ladies version is comprised of all banded parts; Rockshox Sektor Silver fork (steel legged option) and a Monarch R shock.
To stop and go you get a 2 x Shimano Deore drivetrain with a Sunrace 11-36t cassette, a mech with a clutch and Shimano M506 hydraulic disc brakes levers with cheaper M447 callipers. There are WTB rims and tyres, specced in the form of ST i25 rims, a Vigilante 2.3” tyre up the front and a Bee Line 2.2” at the rear. The hubs used are Formula and there is a bolt through axle at the front and quick release at the rear.
The cockpit uses Ritchey 740mm wide bars with 20mm rise, an FSA headset and a Calibre trail 45mm stem – this is the only bit of Calibre own branded gear in sight. Lastly, there isn’t a dropper post, you’ll need to put that on your upgrade list.
There are a few differences between the ladies Bossnut V2 and the unisex version. To begin with and the most notable is that us ladies get a lighter rebound shock tune. This means that there is less rebound damping so the shock isn’t over damped for lighter riders. The rebound has 8 clicks of adjustment on the shock itself to help you fine tune it further, I found I sat in the mid-range of this happily. The reason the light shock tune is employed is that lighter riders often need to run less air in their shocks, if there was a Medium rebound tune in play riders might find that the rebound damping is too slow due to the lower shock pressure. The compression damping (speed at which the shock can be compressed) has a medium tune as per the men’s bike and this cannot be externally adjusted.
The women’s bike also gets slightly narrower bars, slimmer grips and a ladies saddle, all of which are personal preference but offer a good starting point for many. The ladies Bossnut also comes in one size smaller than the men’s bike offering a bike with a short 395mm seat tube length and 411mm reach.
I’ve spent a fair bit of time aboard the ladies Bossnut, from regular trail riding to 60km marathon missions and been blown away by the versatility of this bike with regards to the value. The kit on offer has worked seamlessly throughout the entire test period and where I might not normally be a fan of a 2 x 10 drivetrain, I can see how’s its applicable in making this bike a great all rounder for those just getting into the sport of mountain biking. If you are a stout 1x fan then the Bossnut Evo will be much more up your street, I am reliably informed there is a ladies’ version just around the corner too.
If I’m being picky the brakes are a little wooden and unresponsive feeling but it’s great to see reliable hydraulic brakes thrown in at this price point even if they are the cheapest Shimano variety. Remember, there's not much else to compete with the Bossnut at this price point, unless you step up to a Marin Hawk Hill at £1,350 or down to a Boardman MTR 8.6 at £1,000 that comes with with mostly Suntour suspension components.
My medium test bike has a 445mm seat tube length, a 429mm reach and a 1136mm wheelbase, not hugely long numbers in terms of geometry but not bad for an all-rounder. It was happy on flowing singletrack and covering cross-country miles alike. The chainstays which measure 436mm and the 14.7kg (32.4lbs) weight give a good basis for climbing prowess despite the slightly slack 73.5° effective seat angle. The suspensions' Medium compression tune on the shock helps to provide a bike which doesn’t bob around when pedalling either.
The head angle sits at 66.8° which is average for a trail bike and a good point to start at for your first mountain bike experience. It’s not too slack that it will scare riders off, not so steep to stop you getting a bit wild in the steeps of your local woodland playground.
On flowing trails the Bossnut is a hoot and with the seat manually lowered is quite happy to rip from corner to corner. It’s also a comfortable place to sit out four hours and 60km of cross country miles.
Take it somewhere where gravity takes hold and it makes progress like any other pricier trail bike, it might not be as fast or as stable as longer examples, but remember – you’ve got front and back bounce for less than a grand.
Speaking of suspension, both units do a great job of smoothing out trail rubble. They aren’t the most supple or as refined as more expensive units and I did need to run a little more air in the forks than recommended to get the support I wanted but overall they do a good job of dispelling trail chatter and dealing with the kind of rough stuff these forks are likely to encounter.
There’s not too much I’d alter aside from getting that dropper post on the upgrade list. The beefy front tyre is ready for a bit of slop and whilst the Bee Line at the rear is ok in the dry you might want to swap to something with a few more nobbles for the winter months. The bike is also ripe to be upgraded to a 1x drivetrain with clutch mech already in place, but I reckon you should wait until the 2x has worn out and then go for the overhaul - do all this and you’ll basically have yourself a Bossnut Evo. You’ll also probably want to swap out the grips as the single clamp lock on grips I had on my test bike moved around on the bar in the middle and far end quite a lot.
It’s difficult to be hard on a bike that is as good value as the Bossnut V2, yes the geometry is conservative but it’s a bike clearly built with a certain price point and customer base in mind. This is a bike designed to welcome riders into the sport, to give them a good platform to fall in love with riding bikes and progress to other bikes in the future. As it is the ladies Bossnut V2 is an ideal bike choice for an introduction to mountain biking; it doesn’t cost the earth, the components are well thought out and reliable and the geometry will suit a majority of riders from beginners to those gaining experience. Those riders might choose to fledge from the Calibre nest for their second bike but that’s ok with the brand as it’s a success for them, there is one more person on a bike and that’s cool.
Deputy Editor here ar off-road.cc, Rachael is happiest on two wheels. She's been riding bikes for a good few years now after horses got too expensive! Partial to a race or two Rachael also likes getting out into the hills with a big bunch of mates. She's been writing for publications such as, Enduro Mountain Bike Magazine, Mountain Biking UK, Bike Radar, New Zealand Mountain Biker and was also the online editor for Spoke magazine in New Zealand too. For as long as she's been riding and is equally happy getting stuck into a kit review as she is creating stories, she also coaches mountain biking and when she's not busy with all the above she's serving coffee from a horse trailer!