Cove Bikes Handjob XC Freeride Hardtail

4.15/5 (13 Reviews)
MSRP : $699.00


Product Description

Hand built right here in BC, each weld on the Handjob is perfect, finished with a paint job that will last forever. The Hand Job features high performance, sloping top tube geometry suited for riders who like to spice their XC riding with technical downwardness. It’s geometry and construction is so Shore proven, depending on how well you take care of yourself, this bike could outlive you. Using custom Columbus tubing, the Handjob incorporates the dynamic flex profile and strength of steel to work everything from lighting fast ridgelines to heart-thumping descents—at a price that leaves room for a lot more lovin’.

(note: price listed is in CAD)


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Reviews 1 - 13 (13 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by J. Random Psycho a Cross Country Rider from Ekaterinburg, Russia

Date Reviewed: March 17, 2009

Strengths:    The frame is alive. It loves to ride!
Steel is real.
Geometry spot on for intended use.
Low weight, 2000 something grams (size 17.5").


Weaknesses:    Geometry is a little off for what I would like the bike to do.
HTA 1.0 to 1.5 degrees too slack. ETT and CS a little too long (I'd like ~10 mm off both).
BB area could be stiffer laterally. But it's definitely not bad as it is.


Bottom Line:   
At first I misinterpreted the "XC" part in the bike's name. I built it up with a flat handlebar and a 90 mm stem. The saddle was up high, and the pedals were clipless platformless ones. Wrong, wrong all the way around...

It was only this winter that I discovered (after a season of riding a FS bike) the simple truth: this frame begs for a wide riser bar and a short stem. Most of the time I also keep the saddle down at a compromise height - so that I can barely hang behind it and over the rear wheel, and I also can ride uphill seated (have to load the rear end for traction on snow - this will change in summer). And the MX30 pedals are now on, because I use this bike to train for riding technique (clipless are dangerous at slow speed technical stuff, and are like cheating at high speeds - I reserve those for my FS rig).

This second incarnation is my do-everything, low maintenance response to the financial crisis. ) I even commute on it (with some fun thrown in, of course!).

I hate to admit it, but my Norco Fluid has been literally collecting dust through the winter, whereas I'm having so much fun with the Cove. The Norco waits for the long singletrack days, when the weather is dry.

The only frame I fancy replacing the Handjob with is a custom titanium one, welded to my geometry parameters.

I rate Cove Handjob XC a solid 5. However, do keep in mind that the resulting bike is best suited to areas with hilly and mountainous terrain, where you can find lots of long trails leading down. Over here in Ekaterinburg, we've got this stupid height recession in the middle of Ural Mountains. It's good to the south, and good to the north, but it's just way too flat right here! )

I give it the value rating of 4, seeing that the frame became noticeably more expensive recently.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $609.00

Purchased At:   CRC UK

Similar Products Used:   Jamis Durango 3.0 2006 - my first mountain bike. Feels dead and hopeless in comparison.

Bike Setup:   17.5" Cove Handjob XC 2006 frame. Magura Odur at 85 mm (I'd like a 100 mm, but that would make HTA way too slack). Middleburn RS7 Uno. Rohloff Chain Guide CC (not tuned). Shimano MX30. 1x8 gearing. Saint short cage rear derailer, Nokon housing. Easton EC70 CNT 2" riser. Nuke Proof 50 mm stem. Chris King NoThreadSet. Avid BB7 (rotors: 183 G3 CS front, 160 Formula Oro rear), Speed Dial SL, Nokon + FMJ housing. USE Sumo Titanium seatpost, 27.2 x 350 mm (I can highly recommend this unit). Various wheels.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Radam77 a Cross Country Rider from Seattle

Date Reviewed: October 31, 2008

Strengths:    Geometry, looks, bottle oppener drop out,tube set, price because I work in the industry.

Weaknesses:    Decals, customer service at Cove is pretty retarded but they make great bikes so what ever.

Bottom Line:   
I wish I bought a steel hardtail earlier. This bike is an awsome XC trail/race slayer. People love to check it out. It has the perfect balance of flex and stiffness. The geometry is awsome and so far its lasted well. This is a true trail bike that can handle small drops and ruff stuff with ease. The two gentalmen that wrote bad reviews must be real hacks because I am 6'2" 220 and ride fairly hard. Yet to have any issues all though I do agree with the less then stellar customer service, they just have a bad attitude when you call and never answere email but they do help when you call. The guy who bough his off egay, come on dude! You bough a used bike and got burned. Cove did the right thing by offering you a crash replacment, what a cry baby!If your thinking about buying one then do it now.

Hey MTBR why is this in the freeride section?

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Tokul/Tolt

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $350.00

Purchased At:   BTI

Similar Products Used:   Stumpy hardtail.

Bike Setup:   Maverick Sc32 (soon to be a Magura Menja), Easton stem and bars, Maverick ft hub, King rr, XT cranks, XT brakes, Nevgal 2.1s, WTB rims, WTB saddle, Atac pedals

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by cannon 16 a Weekend Warrior from northumberland uk

Date Reviewed: May 11, 2008

Strengths:    light, comfy, strong, handles great

Weaknesses:    not the best paint job, cove stickers an aquired taste

Bottom Line:   
Wow. been on dualies for a while bar a few forays on Felt, Rocky M and Kona hardtails. Blown away by this one tho. So fast, briliant handling if you like stable carving bikes rather than squirally XC ones. Really comfy too, just seems to float over rocks. Super pumpable. Easy to build up. I use this as my winter/second bike but I absolutely love it. Seems like it will be nice and strong for hard trails, tho I've yet to drop it as If I'm gonna huck I'll take the dualy. The perfect hard trails hardtail. No need to go spending silly money on Ti which rides little better than steel for 4x the price. Well worth the price in the UK compared to some made in the far east stuff for which people have the nerve to charge more than this little beauty. Cotic. cough.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   squamish BC

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $500.00

Purchased At:   chain reaction

Similar Products Used:   loads of quality hardtails and full suss

Bike Setup:   zocchi AM SL1. built for abuse

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Andre from Gainseville, FL

Date Reviewed: March 20, 2008

Strengths:    -indestructible frame
-solid powdercoated paint job
-very light for a cromoly
-no flexing, absorbs impacts extremely well
-cornering and acceleration
-rock solid welds


Weaknesses:    -non-replaceable derailleur hanger
-cheap stickers on frame
-question of long term warranty support (not that i've needed it)
-is it a 2006? hell knows, it was sold to me as an 06, but doesn't quite resemble the 06 on the web site


Bottom Line:   
i have abused this frame constantly for two years. i'm a rather heavy (200#) rider and have used it on anything from basic single track XC to very technical AM trails. it's been over water crossings, snow, mud, and sand. there is no rust, the welds are intact, the powdercoat barely shows a scratch dspite being bounced off of trees and rocks. this bike handles and feels so good, i've refused to buy a soft tail and rahter have been rebuilding the component group around it--since it refuses to break despite being trashed on 30-50 miles of trails a week.

about the only gripes are the lack of a replaceable derailleur hanger (i've sheared one rear derailler off on a rock, and it hasn't broken, but i dread what will happen if it does... SS anyone?), the cheap stickers (i've taken them off), and whether cove may be around to honor the warranty in the years to come. but honestly this frame is as good as my old bontrager OR frame and spoiled most of the other cromoly hard tails for me.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $500.00

Similar Products Used:   old bontrager OR frame


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Stuart Faulkner a Weekend Warrior from Notts

Date Reviewed: October 8, 2007

Strengths:    This steel frame is strong, unfussy and looks great

Weaknesses:    mainly lack of skill on my part!

Bottom Line:   
For a simple do anything, go anywhere bike, this would a great starting place. If you want a uncomplicated hardtail that will put a smile on your face then I can't recommend this enough.
It goes up better then my old Trek, then as you point it down it feels alive and just wants to go down even faster. It just loves shredding forest single track and handles anything I've thrown at it.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Black Combe

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $1000.00

Purchased At:   ebay (complete bike)

Similar Products Used:   Trek 7000

Bike Setup:   White frame + black logos, rockshox 100mm recons, deore groupset, lx hydro brakes, fire XC pro tyres, easton ea70 bar, thomson stem

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by pete simon a Cross Country Rider from alaska

Date Reviewed: May 22, 2007

Strengths:    Awesome XC hardtail

Weaknesses:    None at all

Bottom Line:   
Sweet XC hardtail. New 07 version is pretty burly and totally nails the descents. Also a suprisingly agile climber - have done 4 to 5 foot drops on the new 07 version - rode the 05 for a couple of years but wanted more travel up front. The Handjob is a sweet bike - for the money I can't imagine anything else will come close

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $400.00

Similar Products Used:   Rocky Blizzard - sweet too but too expensive

Bike Setup:   Fox Talas wound down to 125mm, Race Face bits, Easton, Intense tyres

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by john d a Cross Country Rider from Delta bc

Date Reviewed: March 4, 2007

Strengths:    Sweet do anything hardtail rig

Weaknesses:    none - handles 4 foot drops, 12 foot doubles which is about my limit as an XC jey boy!

Bottom Line:   
Impressive steel ride for the money. Devours the downhills and is easy to whip around the singletrack. Jumps and handles drops comfortably, at 210lbs it's important to have confidence in your rig and I have every confidence in the Handjob. Climbs impressively too considering I've got a 130mm travel fork on the front.
Perfect all-mountain thrasher at the weekends but probably a good XC race bike too.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $400.00

Similar Products Used:   Kona

Bike Setup:   Rock Shox forks, Race Face cranks and bars, SRAM gears, Hope (GB) brakes

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by John Rokosky a Cross Country Rider from Du Bois, PA USA

Date Reviewed: June 4, 2006

Strengths:    Smooth ride of steel, clearance for wide tires.

Weaknesses:    Decals peeling off,IT BROKE !

Bottom Line:   
This was a 2003 frame bought used on e-bay.After riding for only 2 months the frame broke at top & down tubes about 4" back from head tube. To be honest it was a 2yr old frame that I do not know how it was built or ridden before i got it.I rode rough XC,no big drops.I'm 6'3" 180# and used a 105mm fork. I e-mailed Brian from Cove bikes who replied promptly.He said that I was not the original owner so they would only sell me one at a reduced price. Bottom line,this frame is NOT indestructable and warrant is not what it used to be.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $225.00

Purchased At:   E-Bay

Similar Products Used:   GT HT,Cannondale HT,Surly SS,Jamis Dakar FS,On One HT.

Bike Setup:   Marz MX Comp 105,Hayes mag,Shimano LX,Doore disc/Rhyno lite.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by John Paul Turnbull a Cross Country Rider from Maulds Meaburn, Cumbria. UK

Date Reviewed: April 24, 2006

Strengths:    Superb position and ride, comfortable when the terrain is rougth. Steel - lets face it alluminium is crap.

Weaknesses:    possibly weight at 4.25 lbs but you won't notice in the ride.

Bottom Line:   
I was waiting for the charge bikes reynolds 853 frame and it just kept getting put back due to production problems, redesign and now possible a different type of steel.

Whe looking for an alternative I wanted an 853 frame but I saw the Handjob and it looked great. The ride is a revelation to me it really handles the tough conditions well. It is fun.

Thank god the Charge bike never came because this has exceeded all of my expectations I love the Cove ride.

I got this in the sale for £314 the new retail price is £369 but looking at the opposition at the higher price point and it is still a bargain. Hopefully I will still be riding this in 20 years - that is the beauty of a quality steel frame.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Castle Craggs

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $314.00

Purchased At:   Bonthrone Cycles

Similar Products Used:   Rock Lobster (UK - Taiwanese version) very poor build quality when compared to others.
Merlin R8 Reynolds 853 - fantastic bike from about 98, lovely understated frame. rare and recently stolen. If you see one let me know (Kona P2, lx, xt, riser bars).


Bike Setup:   Full XT disc groupset, Use seatpost, WTB saddle, Easton Bars, V8 pedals, Kona P2 forks, DT 4.1 wheels.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Pimp Master of the Jazz a Weekend Warrior from London, UK

Date Reviewed: March 20, 2006

Strengths:    Relaxed geometry for descending and playriding goodness. Reasonable weight and steel feel for all-day riding and enduro goodness. Low standover and high bottom bracket for singletrack carving goodness.

Weaknesses:    The front end can get very light when climbing, but it's a price you pay for more relaxed geometry. The graphics aren't the bext in the world.

Bottom Line:   
Steel is real my friend, and the Handjob is steel.

The frame may not be completely made of Italy's finest CroMo, but it's a good, comfortable ride with the flex that makes steel the choice of champions. I chose this bike over the ground-breaking Stiffee because of this – the Stiffee was just too, well, stiff.

Construction appears to be fine – good, clean welds and details that matter in the rather damp UK such as forward facing seat-clamp and lots of clearance for big tyres and the ever-present mud. It's also the '05 model so there's no brake bosses which makes for clean lines.

I've ridden this bike over 24hr events, a 2-day trans-Wales offroad adventure (carrying everything needed for a bivi out), the Dusk 'til Dawn 12 hour enduro and down singletrack on some very, very big hills in Spain where we've all padded up at the top. It's been hammered through rocky singletrack where everyone else is on 6"+ sussers and through the snakiest, loamy flat singletrack that Thetford forest can throw at you and it's dealt with it all marvellously. It's a classic adaptable hardtail, reminding me quite why I ride bikes – the kind of thing that should feature in a photoshoot in Bike magazine with some Canadian peaks in the background while the sun is on its way down and the credits have started to roll.

I would never describe this bike as a 'freeride hardtail' as it isn't (but it's no twitchy-ass-in-air XC whippet either), but it is a tough bike that will take everything a half decent rider will throw at it and come out smiling. It makes me want to ride, which in my mind is the biggest compliment I can give it.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   The Wall, Murcia Region, Spain

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $550.00

Purchased At:   Silverfish

Similar Products Used:   Fisher hardtails, Orange hardtails, Specialized hardtails.

Bike Setup:   Fox Vanillas (100mm), Easton EA50/70 front end (90mm stem), SDG Bel-Air Ti on USE Alien, XT kit inc. HTII, Hope Minis on Hope hubs, Mavic X617s and a tyre choice ranging from Bontie Revolt SS's to 2.35 Maxxis High Roller STs through 2.3 Conti Verticals.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Sam Smith a Cross Country Rider from Knoxville, TN

Date Reviewed: June 25, 2005

Strengths:    For a free ride hardtail, I think the slack geometry, long top tube, and ample bottom braket height would probably make this bike the bomb. Build quality is reasonable for the price paid. The bike is very stable and descends well.

Weaknesses:    Personal preference - I like a bike that handles a little quicker. To that end the "XC" moniker in the name seems misplaced. Cable routing is best for disk - you do need inserts for rim brakes. I used 5mm housing for both the brakes and derailleurs; just about any shop should have inserts available. Ditto for the Soma and a Interloc steel hardtail I built for a friend. No clearcoat, but that makes it easier to take the "Handjob" decals off. Finish has held up fine.

Bottom Line:   
Not such a great bike for tight, twisty singletrack but I can't really knock off points for that. Probably makes a great Urban Assualt or Freeride bike it that's your thing. It's not perfect, but you get what you pay for. For what it's worth, my frame arrived damaged. Packing consisted of tossing the bike in a box. Cove was, however, quick to send out a replacement and even called several weeks later to see how I liked the bike.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $349.00

Purchased At:   Deep Cove

Similar Products Used:   Soma, Cannondale, and Fisher Hardtails

Bike Setup:   Duke XC 100mm, 90mm stem, Shimano drivetrain, and Avid brakes.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by CulBaire a Weekend Warrior from Victoria, Australia

Date Reviewed: April 25, 2004

Strengths:    -Steel Tubing: it really is real, the frame looks like it'll last a while.

-Geometery: Very simular to my current bike, I wanted something simular as I am well comfortable my old bike.

-Made in Canada: Where all real bikes come from.

-Support: I haven't had any troubles with CoveBikes or SouthShore Distribution, regarding questions etc...

-Frame: looks light and tight, well made dispite a few minor blemishes.


Weaknesses:    -No Clear coat: You expect it to have some form of protective coating, especially since it's steel. Atleast I can get new stickers when I want :-)

Bottom Line:   
It's not perfect, but you cant complain for the price. It seems judging by what others have said in the other (2003) reviews, COVE really needs to step up their Quality Control program.

Underneath all the QC critisism is a very capable bike, it's light weight and strong, with a pretty good finish dispite the lack of ClearCoat. The welds look well done, and the design of the frame looks well though out. It rides nice too, fits like a glove.

If your after bang for your buck, this is a good place to look in my opinion.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   YouYangs, Stockyards

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $950.00

Purchased At:   adam@southshorebikes.com

Similar Products Used:   GT (Pantera, Zaskar), Diamond Back (Zetec), Avanti (Montari, Hammer, and Aggressor), Giant (XTC, and AC).

Bike Setup:   Cove HandjobXC 17.5",
Drive Train: Raceface +SRAM,
Brakes: AVid Discs
Bits: Easton Carbon/MAG

Your regulation Lightweight XC/Trail setup :-)

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by Karl T a Cross Country Rider from West Des Moines, IA

Date Reviewed: December 4, 2003

Strengths:    Made in North America (Canada)

Weaknesses:    Finish, cable-stops

Bottom Line:   
Well, I have yet to hit the ground on this bike just yet. Problem started before I purchased- 2 emails to Cove went unanswered. (shoulda been a clue). Ordered & received from Jenson- when frame arrived I noticed was NO clear-coat on finish. To me a steel frame should be to help with rust and to protect finish and decals. Next thing I noticed is final rear disc-brake cable-stop was bent. Can tell by lack of cracks that it was that way prior to painting. I don't run discs, so I didn't worry about it. When I attempted to install headset the build-up of paint was so heavy I had a bear of a time installing cups. (didn't want to void warranty filing edges) Seat-tube was also built-up. Then when I went to run brake cables the center set of top-tube cable stobs are too wide to hold cable. So I sent Cove an email asking if there should be inserts; No reply. I sent another email; No reply. I sent another email; Finally an answer. (said they were moving and couln't repsond to email. apparently no employees have a PC at home...) Told me they would send-out inserts 'right away'. 10 days later no stops so I send another email. I get a ONE WORD reply 'Sent'. Well that I night I get a notification that they had just been sent-out by UPS, which means they were not sent out 'right away' nor when I was told 'Sent'. Sent email to Cove & Jenson that I was happy and did not want frame. Cove offered to refund, but also sarcastic message that I should have 'researched' this prior to purchase..... HOW was I suppossed to know the stops would not fit properly? And HOW does that excuse Cove NOT reply to email and NOT sending parts when they said they would. I replied. Received another sarcastic message that "Disk Brakes are the Standard these days... That is the end of that.." Really. So essentially take my Avid 7's and eat dirt? Customer service has been horrible. Thinking I'll go Kona.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $370.00

Purchased At:   JensonUSA.com

Similar Products Used:   Bianchi Kingbee, Specialized Dirtjumper

Bike Setup:   WTB, Kore, Truvative, Aheadset, etc

Reviews 1 - 13 (13 Reviews Total)

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating


Where to buy a Cove Handjob XC frame???

Been searching online for them and seems all the US dealers have stopped carrying them? All I can find online are places in the UK that sell them. Anyone have a link to a place in the US or Canada that sells them? Looking for either a 21" or 19" in any color. ThanksRead More »

cove handjob xc and cove geo

I'm thinking of moving away from Gary Fisher Genesis to the Cove Handjob XC.. I like the fact that it's reasonably Genesis like in length... I like long bikes.. I suit them. So anyone here make this very decision? Anyone here ever ride both Genesis and Handjob? How does the Cove geo compare ... Read More »

Cove Handjob XC

How good is it as I'm just about to put some money down for one? I can't stretch to an S-works hardtail? I know it is steel and should be more 'compliant' and again what fork should go on it?Read More »

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