Making the world rise to attention year after year, the Stiffee has earned a reputation as one of the best aluminum hard tail bikes in creation. Melding a balance of strength and performance, our original hard tail proves you don’t need any blue pills to get it on. Built to finesse the world’s abundance of natural gap jumps, deep descents and trails to the honeypatch, the Stiffee takes oversized tires, comes stock with international standard disc mounts, uses Easton RAD tubing, and can handle long travel front forks.
Strengths: Killer quality.
Can use big tires.
Can use multiple fork size options.
Built like a tank !
Weaknesses: Can be a brutal ride if you are used to riding a full suspension.
Frame sizes run a little small.
Stock powder-coating (finish) sucks.
I have a 2009 model and can't say enough about it. I also had a 2007 Santa-Cruz Chameleon at the same time as I had my Stiffee and they are so similar in characteristics that they are hard to tell apart. I found the Stiffee to be a bit more harsh and not as forgiving as the Santa Cruz. Lots of people compare the 2 bikes,so I'm just throwing in my .02 cents worth on that issue. I also sold this year the Chameleon, and kept the Cove,so that tells you how good this bike is.
The stock powder-coating sucks and mine was no exception. I hand-stripped my frame of the old powder-coating and had a local, high-end body shop re-spray it in a custom color,with a new sticker kit direct from Cove in Canada. Problem solved.
The bike will handle anything you are man enough to throw at it,and then some. I have had this bike in places where I didn't think you could take a hard-tail. I also run with full-suspension rigs on the trail locally,and it can keep up with the best of them. This bike will either make you a better rider,or show you your flaws as a rider. In capable hands,the ride is fun and fast. The bike is stable and planted. Depending on what fork you run,it can be a single-track destroyer or a Free-Riding beast ! It all depends on your build quality on this bike. Build it right and it will reward you ten-fold !
Similar Products Used: Santa Cruz Chameleon
Bike Setup: FOX 32 TALUS RLC 100/120/140mm fork
Mavic 729 36-spoke wheels with XT hubs and DT Swiss double-butted spokes
Thomson stem and seat-post.
Spank bolt-on clamp.
SDG Formula MTR saddle
XT 175mm Triple crank-set with XT SPD pedals
Sram XO rear derailleur and X-9 front derailleur.
Sram XO grip-shifters
Avid BB7's front and rear with Avid G2 185mm rotors
Avid Speed dial levers
Truvativ Holzfeller DH bars w/ODI Rouge grips
Cane Creek 110 headset
XT bottom bracket
991 Sram chain
990 Sram 9-speed cassette
WTB 2.3" Weirwolf tires.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: April 23, 2012
Strengths: Decent geometry, and strong...but so is any other aluminum hardtail by any of the major companies that make "North Shore hardtails": Rocky Mountain, Brodie, Norco, Kona, Specialized, et al.
Weaknesses: Overpriced at over $700 for a plain aluminum hardtail frame. North Shore image marketing hype.
Only test road one and sure the Cove Stiffee does the job it's intended as far as the limits of hardtails but c'mon: over $700 for an aluminum hardtail frame with thick powdercoat and vinyl stickers? Where's the value in something like this? For that price I expect either more exotic materials, or more features than the competitors, and it better look like it was hand painted by DeKerf.
I suppose if you brainwash enough sheeple by selling the North Shore image with slick ads and articles in Mountain Bike Magazine then enough suckers, er, I mean people will buy it but, really, trying to show how one aluminum hardtail frame is better over another brand is like trying to argue what brand of sledgehammer is better. This is not exactly a sophisticated bike design with intricate suspension systems. It's a hardtail! Even from a design point this thing looks like it was made 10 years ago. You can buy a 2006 Brodie frame direct from the factory for $99 that does the exact same thing, or almost buy an entire new Norco bike (which is really the preferred Shore brand) with all the new styling queues for the price of a Cove Stiffee frame. How can you justify a basic frame for over $700? Oh, I forgot. It's handmade in B.C...ooooooo...wow...yeah so what? Aren't all bikes, even those from Giant, made by someone with their hands? Personally I would rather have a robot in an ISO 2001 standard factory make it because they do cleaner welds and a consistent product than most humans! Does the fact that it's made in B.C., where half the population is stoned on pot really guarantee me of quality?
Bottomline: it works, it works well, but don't use marketing to tout that it is better than any other decently made aluminum hardtail frame because that's just marketing and selling an image. This thing is way too overpriced for what it is...a plain, aluminum hardtail frame. Bring the price down to a reasonable $200 to $300 and it's an excellent buy. Give it a competitive advantage over its competitors with different rear axle set ups using adapters and it would be an awesome design. But at over $700 for "just another aluminum hardtail" is highway (or more like single track) robbery.
Strengths: agile, tough, retains a full suspension freeride bike feel geo. Turns well. pedals uphill well
Weaknesses: paint chips off veeery easily (2008 model)
Best hardtail ive ridden. ok for XC, great for aggressive AM, and manages freeriding very well.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: November 30, 2009
Strengths: Solid frame, excellent all rounder, nice comfortable feel for most rides
Weaknesses: First frame the paint chipped easily, a little expensive compared to other similar style bikes, can be tricky to get ahold of.
I had this bike for a year and couldn't believe how smooth it felt compared to other hard tails I'd ridden, including my old Rocky Mountain Stratos. It seemed to swallow up roots, rocks and drops no problem. The more I rode it the more comfortable it got. I sold it to go travelling and bought a Santa Cruz Chameleon when I got back. I still had fun with the Chameleon, but seemed to think it didn't quite handle as well as the Stiffee. It seems funny to compare a hardtail to a full suss, but it is a pretty comfortable ride for a hardtail. The bottom line is that i just bought myself another Stiffee and it feels just as good as my first one, and feels like a smoother ride than my Chameleon. I'm sold. It'll only be Stiffees for me for a while now.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: June 1, 2007
Strengths: Geometry is amazing, you can do anything on this bike (jumps, drops, rocky downhill, berms and it even goes up the hills great)
the geometry is perfect mine is 17.5 inch size and it gives to confidence to go just a little faster and it just takes it all. Colour options are great too (mines bright orange)
Weaknesses: i can't really think of anything bad other than when the rocks get loose and large (head size) then the rear wheel bounces around a little but any hardtail would do that on loose rocks that size
this bike is amazing for any trail rider that wants to do anything from cross country to freeride and it can take a wide range of forks from about 110 upto 150 or maybe 160 depending on what riding you want to do and whatever you do with it it can handle it, its especcially great for flowing downhill through berms and jumps and with good tires it grips round corners at any speed and you just fly out of them. This bike is in my eyes the best all round all mountain / freeride hardtail that money can buy.
Bike Setup: marzocchi bomber z1 drop off 2002 forks, xt front and back deralier, deore hydraulic rear disk, xtr v brake on front,mavic wheels, sram chainrings, middleburn crank arms with race face bash ring and blackspire downhill chainrings,
a Weekend Warrior
from Canterbury, Kent, UK
Date Reviewed: May 12, 2007
Strengths: Super strong; light; can do XC, jumping, anything!; looks fantastic (in grey with gold hope bits); rarity - random hoodies on BMX's always want to talk to me about it!
Weaknesses: Guess what...rubbish paint - used for three short blasts and it's got chips, scuffs, cable rub and half the stickers are falling off. No sh*t, the lacquer scratches just from washing it with wet cotton cloth.
I bought this frame in 19" after riding a mate's 17.5" and loving every minute. Even with budget forks I have ridden technical singletrack, jumped and tried north shore (crashing lots) and it is great at all of them. It goes uphill brilliantly and it is very stable in the air. If I can afford it, i'll be sticking to Cove frames for a long time. PS better to look on ebay, as it's too expensive new, and it's unlikely anyone will have been able to weaken the frame so it should be a safe bet secondhand - mine was!
Similar Products Used: Nothing in the same league.
Bike Setup: Hope headset/seat clamp, RaceFace evolve crankset, Marzocchi MX Comp 105mm, FSA stem/bars/BB, Deore running gear, thomson elite post, Quad QHD-1 brakes (AWESOME), mach1 rims w/Bontrager jones mud tyres
from North Shore
Date Reviewed: February 20, 2007
Strengths: Very strong. Great geo
Just a quick follow up review. This will be my 5th year on this frame and it's still going strong. From the Shore two to three days a week and 4 or 5 days at Whistler a year, the frame is still perfect. If it ever fails, I'll just get another. The geo is great (67.5 head angle and 13.25 inch bb height) and perfect for steep shore riding. All my buddies ride fullies and I have no problem keeping up. Great product!
Bike Setup: Stiffee, Sliders, Hayes, Doubletracks, Race Face
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: February 16, 2007
Strengths: It's a Cove and it instantly shows.
Weaknesses: Have found none yet, can't comment on the paint I had a custom paint job done when I bought it.
Replaced my Intense 4" XC bike with the Stiffee after leaving the hardtail market since 2000 (rode a hardtail between 90-00). I got the Frame + Pike forks for £500 second hand.
I forgot how much fun you can have on a hardtail, but I do believe this is down to the Stiffee and not just all hardtails. Apart from no more mister bob when climbing it can make even flat trails fun because you can feel what’s going on with the back end. First day out I took it jumping and it's actually harder to keep it low than go high, very stable in the air. I have also had it out for long XC hacks and as much as it isn't as good a dedicated XC frame for this I would still give it 8/10 for this task (a big part of this is the short stem etc, I would normally have an 18" XC frame mine is 17.5")
However as soon as it points downhill it's un-stoppable, it loves the technical stuff it just eats it up and asks for more. I have also taken this on downhill tracks and it has held it's own. It has also reminded me my DH bike has 8.5" travel, what I mean by this is when you ride DH tracks on a big bike you forget how much work the suspension is doing for you, especially when going flat out. The Stiffee reminds you that you can have more fun riding your bike properly going slower!
Bottom line for me is this frame can do it all. Can't see myself getting a full sus XC/trail bike ever again.
Similar Products Used: Various hardtails, Cove, Santa Cruz, Specialized....
Bike Setup: Pike's, Avid, Race Face, Hope, Intense. http://www.pinkbike.com/photo/1099764/
Date Reviewed: October 13, 2006
Strengths: Super strong, Can handle almost any fork you want to put on it between 110 and about 150 or 160. The Colours the frame is available in are awsome compared to any other bike manafactuer. It is a great frame for doning anything like Jumps, Climbing, Downhill, freeride pretty much anything u want it to do
Weaknesses: The paint quality isent the best as it can somtimes chip slightally where the seat clamp tightens round the frame but the colours are awsome ( mine is Orange ) but other than that its a GREAT frame.
This bike is GREAT for doing pretty much anything you want to do and can handle Smaller or Big forks - This frame is Great for anyone looking for a hardcore hardtail that can do anything.
Similar Products Used: Std cove stiffee, Gt Zaskar(faster but not as sweet at freeride or as comfortable and forgiving handling).
Giant Trance 2, Spec Stumpy and some BMW bike which was naff.
Leary colours or basic? just sell me a primed frame, I'll do the rest...
Bike Setup: Well before I sold it (it was short for me), raceface kit, xt shifters and rear mech, deore front mech. Fox Talas RLC, Hope minis with 69'er discs and different saddle as the old one needed a cut out. Lurveeleeeeeeeeey!
Date Reviewed: June 28, 2006
Strengths: A truely versitile all rounder. This bike can cope with everything. Possibly one of my best bike related puchases yet.
Comfortable with a mid travel fork, even a long travel suits. Steering slows down a little, but the fun element more than makes up for it!
Weaknesses: Paintjob! It's been said many times before, but it sucks!
This bike truely is awesome. Pefect hardtail compliment to my Nicolai.
It survives pretty much anything, is versitile, light, immensly strong and can be ridden all day.
The only downside is, for the value of the frame, the paintjob is appaling. However, I can live with that.
I’m travelling from Australia to France in August and I will do a stopover in Ontario to visit family in the Toronto and London area.
I was wondering if it would be cheaper to buy a frame in a shop around Toronto or London or get one on mail order through “Chain Reaction UK”.
For the moment I ca ... Read More »
Hey everyone, Ive got a hodge podged bike, low end Kona components, and a cove stiffee frame(its 19" i believe). Its a single speed, however the main COG (is that the right term? sprocket?) is super easy to pedal at first, but my top speed is not fast at all, i realized i would notice that with a si ... Read More »
here it is. theres a picture of it when i first bought the frame and had all the parts from my aged XC bike on it. and then there are pictures of the build now, as of this morning.
here are the upgrades (if you can't see for yourself)
-Truvativ HolzFeller stem.
-Front and rear mech discs ... Read More »
Just bought the Cove Stiffee FR frame and in the process of building up the frame with some component from old bike. Current bike will be setted up with rim brake while waiting to get Disk Brake system.
I have a question, will a mechanical disk brake go enough power to stop the bike. I mainly use ... Read More »
These are the final two frames to decide from for my summer build. Both are exactly what Im looking for, a perfect mix of FR + XC. The only downside of the Siffee is there are no Cove dealers physically in the US. There is a Banshee dealer about 40 minutes from me so in the next few weeks Ill be ... Read More »