Cove Bikes Stiffee FR Freeride Hardtail

4.72/5 (29 Reviews)
MSRP : $799.00

Product Description

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.



    (note: price listed is in CAD)

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    Reviews 1 - 15 (29 Reviews Total) | Next 15

    User Reviews

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by Roger Anderson a All Mountain Rider

    Date Reviewed: February 22, 2013

    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.

    Bottom Line:   
    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 !

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   Local

    Price Paid:    $2500.00

    Similar Products Used:   Santa Cruz Chameleon
    Fetish Fixation

    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.

    Overall Rating:2
    Value Rating:2
    Submitted by Brad 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.

    Bottom Line:   
    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 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.

    Sorry Cove. Just stating the facts.

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   CBC

    Purchased At:   NA

    Similar Products Used:   Norco Bigfoot - owned for 2 years
    Simtra Psycho - owned for 3 years
    Brodie Brute - test road only

    Bike Setup:   Currently looking for new hardtail frame and leaning towards a Specialized P.2 but swap out the stock fork with with a Marz 4X.

    Current trail bike is a Norco Range. An awesome bike for the price.

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by iqbbang

    Date Reviewed: April 20, 2012

    Strengths:    agile, tough, retains a full suspension freeride bike feel geo. Turns well. pedals uphill well

    Weaknesses:    paint chips off veeery easily (2008 model)

    Bottom Line:   
    Best hardtail ive ridden. ok for XC, great for aggressive AM, and manages freeriding very well.

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:4
    Submitted by bikenboard a Weekend Warrior from Vancouver

    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.

    Bottom Line:   
    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.

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   Any natural singletrack

    Duration Product Used:   2 Years

    Price Paid:    $1200.00

    Similar Products Used:   SC Chameleon, Kona Stuff

    Bike Setup:   Quad Rims, Deore Discs, LX front mech, XT back mech

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by mike bomb a Cross Country Rider from east brunswick, nj, usa

    Date Reviewed: November 10, 2008

    Weaknesses:    none (for me)

    Bottom Line:   
    i set this bike up several years ago - ride mostly xc / have jumped a little - it has been an absolute joy since. have several bikes, this is hands down my favorite.

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

    Purchased At:   from cove

    Similar Products Used:   stiffee hardtail knock-off

    Bike Setup:   xt/xtr sherman fork avid brakes,

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by Michael a Weekend Warrior from Preston

    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

    Bottom Line:   
    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.

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   Glentress or Ae

    Duration Product Used:   1 Year

    Similar Products Used:   Santa cruz chameleon

    Bike Setup:   Fox 36 talas (110 - 150mm travel, i always have them on 150) Raveface, Mavic 321 rims, hope pro2 hubs, shimano XT gears, maxxis high roller 2.35

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by liam forster a Weekend Warrior from stoke on trent

    Date Reviewed: May 25, 2007

    Strengths:    the arse end on the bike is awesome no matter wat u drop off that bike aint going nowhere

    Weaknesses:    stickers and paint is pants the paint is good colour though

    Bottom Line:   
    this bike is ace it will do just about nething it realy does cut the mustard

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   keele dirt jumps or hanchurch

    Duration Product Used:   6 months

    Price Paid:    $150.00

    Purchased At:   friends

    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,

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:4
    Submitted by Chris Burn 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.

    Bottom Line:   
    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!

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   Bedgebury, Kent

    Duration Product Used:   3 months

    Price Paid:    $400.00

    Purchased At:   ebay uk

    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

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by Marce a Downhiller from North Shore

    Date Reviewed: February 20, 2007

    Strengths:    Very strong. Great geo

    Weaknesses:    None

    Bottom Line:   
    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!

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   Secret

    Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

    Purchased At:   Cove

    Bike Setup:   Stiffee, Sliders, Hayes, Doubletracks, Race Face

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by Gordon a Weekend Warrior from UK

    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.

    Bottom Line:   
    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.

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   6 months

    Price Paid:    $700.00

    Purchased At:   Second hand £500 + Fork

    Similar Products Used:   Various hardtails, Cove, Santa Cruz, Specialized....

    Bike Setup:   Pike's, Avid, Race Face, Hope, Intense.

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by Michael Simmonds from Preston

    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.

    Bottom Line:   
    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.

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   Glentress

    Duration Product Used:   3 months

    Similar Products Used:   All sorts of Hardtails (the Cove Stiffee is the best i have ever had)

    Bike Setup:   Marzocchi 66rc (150mm) all Hope accesories (in gold), Shimano XT, Raceface etc

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:3
    Submitted by James Rai a Weekend Warrior from Bristol, U.K.

    Date Reviewed: July 20, 2006

    Strengths:    This for the 69er limited edt in the U.K. Great angles, all rounder, great handling, lazer etched dics with 69er etched on them, do anything HT.

    They were just getting a big name and I managed to snap one up (Cheers Alex & Tom).

    Good enough for xc to free ride and have seen riders jump with them.

    If you get this, get a decent fork! Had a fox talas rlc and it handled a dream and saved my neck...

    Handbuilt quality hardtail. Maybe getting old due to full sussers?

    Weaknesses:    Crazy high price for frames considering they have been around for a few years, probably sell loads at £300-400.

    Getting common and other manufacturers have caught on and copied it to death and even made a better version.

    Other bike shops selling the old model as the new version?
    Then again how different is the new version except shoddy paint.

    New revamp has shoddy colours, I'd have to blast and repaint the frame.

    Did I mention the new colours or colors for yanks ;)

    Bottom Line:   
    Great all rounder, with a decent kit can be light and tough, do it all hardtail. Sweet handling.

    If you're on a budget don't bother.

    Get this frame for a decent hardyail, get a decent finshing kit xt, big brakes and a dam good fork and yoiu won't regret it unless you're married haha!

    Best hardtail I have rode.

    if you're 6ft don't get the 17", go for the 19", too many people get the smaller size unless you plan to jump or 4x.

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   To be found, Wales is nice!

    Duration Product Used:   1 Year

    Price Paid:    $1800.00

    Purchased At:   Pyscleworx Bristol

    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!

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by Chris a Downhiller from UK

    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!

    Bottom Line:   
    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.

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   1 Year

    Similar Products Used:   Various other mainstream...

    Bike Setup:   36 Talas RC2,
    Race face finishing kit
    Race Face Atlas, E13, SRAM/XTR drivetrain
    ProII/MTX wheelset
    Magura Louise FR brakes

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:4
    Submitted by Zac a Weekend Warrior from Tucson, AZ

    Date Reviewed: May 19, 2006

    Strengths:    Stiff, strong, laid back geometry, all-around capabilities.

    Weaknesses:    Hard to keep front down when climbing (lockdown fork helps)

    Bottom Line:   
    Great all around bike. I use it for everything from XC to hitting the ski lifts. Mine is on the heavy side (34lbs) due to beefy wheels/tires.

    The 5" fork works well, but is a compromise: it steers a little slow for XC and is still a little steep for DH. I'd like to go to an adjustable travel fork. Between 4 and 6" would be ideal.

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   The ones with lifts

    Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

    Price Paid:    $400.00

    Purchased At:   Jensen

    Similar Products Used:   various hardtails

    Bike Setup:   21" frame. 125mm Z1 FR, XT, Hayes 6" hydros, Sun singlewides (sweet rims), short DH stem, fat tires.

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by Vishna Gladdvolochivinta a Cross Country Rider from Russia

    Date Reviewed: February 26, 2006

    Strengths:    can handle forks from 110mm up to 170mm. Super f***ing strong, great paint job, corners really well, handles great drops, hits the burms really well too.

    Weaknesses:    need to make a size bigger like 22"

    Bottom Line:   
    Awesome bike!!

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   doom ridge

    Duration Product Used:   1 Year

    Price Paid:    $600.00

    Purchased At:   jacksonbikes

    Similar Products Used:   santa cruz cameleon, kona hoss dee-lux (crap)

    Bike Setup:   two forks (pike race) and (boxxer ride) along with x0 kit, thomson front and rear, hope wheels, kenda tires, king headset, answer bar and other smoking kit.

    Reviews 1 - 15 (29 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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