Soulcraft Option 3 XC Hardtail

5/5 (59 Reviews)
MSRP : $1250.00


Product Description

Neutral handling is the key to a great hardtail. Speedy descents, tight switchbacks and long climbs are all a part of most every ride. That is why we design our Option 3 mountain frame to handle well in all situations, not just excel in one. SOULCRAFT owners agree that the design is right, as the Option 3 was given an mtbr.com choice award for "best hardtail frame". With Freedom Of Choice custom fitting and top notch design execution, your smile will be ear to ear aboard your very own SOULCRAFT.
  • 1.125" Head set
  • 68mm Bottom Bracket
  • Rear spacing is 135mm


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Reviews 1 - 15 (59 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jim Dietrick a Weekend Warrior from Novato, CA USA

Date Reviewed: January 18, 2009

Strengths:    Sean actually put a new front triangle (top tube, head tube, down tube) on my 1996 Salsa Ala Carte frame. I biffed incredibly hard and actually brok my beloved Salsa. I called Sean and asked if he could fix it. He obliged and it turned out that he had originally built my frame when he worked at Salsa (he had the S/N records on hand). It was fitting that he would fix it. He adjusted the head tube angle slightly (better suited for a suspension fork than the original frame) and put a 1.125" head tube on in place of the old 1". I call the hybrid fram my "Soulsa", but I more acuarately call it the smoothest, most nimble, incredibly built frame on the planet. It climbs like a mountain goat and eats up descents like a starving grizzly bear! Kudos Sean - you build THE BEST frames. If you're riding something else, it's inferior...PERIOD!!

Weaknesses:    It makes everything else look pathetic by comaprison and therefore spoils the rider!

Bottom Line:   
It does not get better!!! If you're serious and you want the best, this is it. There is no way to emphasize enough in this post!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Pine Mt/Tamarancho loop

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Purchased At:   Soulcraft, Petaluma

Similar Products Used:   Salsa Ala Carte, Ibis Mojo, Trek 850

Bike Setup:   Head Set Chris King, Whit Ind Bottom Brckt/Crank, Race Face Rings/handlebar, Look Moab Pedals, XTR Shifters - V Brakes - Derailleures - Cogset, Thomson Stem, Ergon Grips, Chris King Hubs, Marzocchi Corsa World Cups SC

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Per Johansson a Cross Country Rider from Gothenburg, Sweden

Date Reviewed: December 12, 2006

Strengths:    Rear end stiffnes, comfort, ballance, The expert help from Sean Walling.

Weaknesses:    Low BB height, not a big issue.

Bottom Line:   

Excellent fit, and a incredible ballanced ride. Everything is easy on this bike. Me, 175cm and 68 kg.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Sandsjöbackaleden

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $1250.00

Purchased At:   Soulcraft

Similar Products Used:   Rocky Montain Blizzard, Kona Explosif, Bridgestone Mb-1, DB apex,

Bike Setup:   Thomson, Fox Float, race face, hope, etc

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Frank a Cross Country Rider from Chicagoland, IL

Date Reviewed: November 25, 2006

Strengths:    -Custom fit, even for weirdos.
-Custom tuned to your preferences.


Weaknesses:    -Waiting period is long... perhaps longer then they claim.
-Not SUPER light


Bottom Line:   
I had a great ride on my Soulcraft this week which inspired me to write this review.

The Soulcraft guys listen to my (rather lengthy list of) concerns, and this bike fits me perfectly. They gave me a longer then normal top tube and the seat tube is set back a degree further then normal. As a result this is the first bike I've ever ridden that didn't require my saddle to be all the way back on the rails on a setback seatpost and still having me feeling I was too far forward on the bike. They even set it up so I can run a slightly shorter (100mm) stem for quicker handling. Oh, and I got a strongly sloping top tube too, leaving me 3 inches of standover clearance (about 2 inches more then any other HT I've ridden) means I don't crush my junk during those emergency dismounts. This alone is worth the couple hundred extra for a custom frame.

As for the handling, it will vary depending on what you ask for. I asked for a quick handling bike because I knew I'd be moving back to the midwest where the trails are tight and twisty. I got exactly that. This bike carves corners better then anything I've ridden before. It really acts like an extension of my body. On the other hand, Linden (see her review below) got her Soulcraft about the same time I did. The difference in handling between our bikes is striking. She asked for a bike that would be stable on the downhills. Her bike handles more slowly (and thus is more stable) and she loves it since she's used to DH rigs. My point is, they take your input and use it give you a bike that handles perfect for you.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Kickapoo

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Purchased At:   Absolute Bikes, Flagstaff, AZ

Similar Products Used:   Nothing custom: Salsa Ala Carte, GT Zaskar, etc.

Bike Setup:   Fox F100X, 950 series XTR, King hubs/headset, other good stuffy

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Rob a Racer from Santa Rosa

Date Reviewed: October 28, 2006

Strengths:    When I received my bike and got a chance to look at the attention to detail up close, it became clear that many years building custom frames has left Sean with a finely trained eye for what works well. There was no fluff, every thing was done with a specific goal in mind. Sean was patient during the whole design process; incorporating all of the benefits I wanted, eliminated all of the excess and still was able to keep it a Soulcraft. I asked for a fast race bike that I could also use for endurance races (8-12-24 hrs). Something that would be fast, responsive but also still behave once my reflexes have slowed after many hours. The bike seems to respond to what you put in to it, the harder you go the more aggressive it gets, back off a little and things settle down. In addition to the handling, my fit was a little tricky. Not a problem, we made a couple of adjustments and my issues I've had with other bikes were gone. The bike fits perectly.

Weaknesses:    Still trying to find one...

Bottom Line:   
Over all this is a bike I look forward to keeping for a long time, I see no need "trade up". Sean's years building bikes becomes very clear after one ride. As far as the price is concerned, if you want a beautiful, professionally build custom frame the price seems more than fair.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Purchased At:   Soulcraft

Similar Products Used:   Bridgestone MB-1, Bontrager Race lite, Independent Fabrications, Ibis, Seven, Specialized S-works Epic

Bike Setup:   Full XTR, Crossmax SL, WTB, Formula Disk brakes

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Patrick a Cross Country Rider from Flagstaff

Date Reviewed: May 20, 2006

Strengths:    Thi frame is custom built and rides like a dream. It reacts really well on the downhills and is light enough for the climbs. Has very well done welds and the builders were on time delivering the frame.

Weaknesses:    None that I can find....

Bottom Line:   
Great price for a durable beautiful custom frame. I will never go back to stock again!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Oldham/Rocky Ridge

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $3600.00

Purchased At:   Absolute Bikes

Similar Products Used:   Sycip Unleaded, Coconino, Trek Carbon

Bike Setup:   XT with Avid brakes. Carbon seatpost with Easton riser bars. Mavic 717 wheelset with XT hubs.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Linden from Flagstaff, AZ

Date Reviewed: May 2, 2006

Strengths:    My Soulcraft is the most fun to ride, balanced bike I have ever been on. It climbs like a mountain goat, and descends tight, rocky Flagstaff singletrack at top speed without getting squirrely. It handles exactly how I asked Sean to make it, and it accelerates pretty ridiculously fast. I've been racing on it all spring, and I adore it. It's light, quick, and absolutely a blast to ride.

Weaknesses:    None that I've found so far, or expect to ever!

Bottom Line:   
This is the bike for anyone who wants the perfect ride. Sean can build your frame to behave however you want it to, which means that a Soulcraft=your dream bike. It's an awesome race bike, and it does surprisingly well in gnarly rocks too. I've been ditching out on road rides and dh-ing with my friends to go ride this thing for hours on end...and oh yeah it's gorgeous too. Flawless welds, sparkly blue powdercoat. I get hit up with "nice bike" on the trail all the time. The bottom line: this will be the best hardtail you have ever ridden, or ever will ride.
Get a Soulcraft!!!!!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Weatherford/Lookout

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Purchased At:   Direct from Soulcraft

Similar Products Used:   Nothing I've ridden is comparable...an Epic and a crappy Kona.

Bike Setup:   Reba team fork, Formula disc brakes (best hydro discs ever), WTB cockpit, DT wheels, Panaracer tires, and SRAM XO drivetrain.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Tony a Cross Country Rider from Alvin, Texas

Date Reviewed: November 11, 2005

Strengths:    The feel of steel.

Weaknesses:    Keeping up with the rock chips etc. to prevent rust spots.

Bottom Line:   
Sweet ride!! I thought I liked my Bianchi Grizzly...before it was stolen, but this thing has improved my riding. Got a heck of a deal on a nicely spec'ed bike. New frames are out of my price range but if your in the market for a steel bike, and can find a used one, seriously consider this bike.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Jack Brooks

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $1500.00

Purchased At:   MTBR classified

Similar Products Used:   2002 Bianchi Grizzly...another steel ride

Bike Setup:   Fox Vanilla fork, King headset, and front/rear disc hubs, Avid Mech. front and rear, all XT drive train, Thompson post and stem.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Perry Bertsch a Cross Country Rider from Sunnyvale, CA USA

Date Reviewed: September 26, 2005

Strengths:    This bike climbs like the wind. It descends with pride, confidence, and incredible agility. I keep looking fo rthe shock in the back, for when I ride narly, technical rocky sections, it just floats over it! I have a Maverick ML7 that sits, and sits. Why? This bike kicks ass!

Weaknesses:    Only when I glitch

Bottom Line:   
No regrets will be had if you get one. EVERY ride is an adventure, and a dream come true with this frame/bike.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Not trail, place - skeggs

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Purchased At:   Petaluma, CA - Soulcraft Direct

Similar Products Used:   Yokota Yosemite Pro, Ritchey P-21

Bike Setup:   Mavic 819s with XTR rear hub, Chris King front hub, XTR derailuers, SRAM rocket shifters, Chris King headset, Thompson Elite stem, Monkey Lite 70 aluminum bars, Formula brakes (these are new to US market, Sean himself turned them on to me).

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by ken hall a Weekend Warrior from san bruno ca

Date Reviewed: September 24, 2005

Strengths:    This bike is worth every penny. quality number one. Climbs like a goat, can go as fast as you can handle. the bike is straight. does exactly what you wish for it to do.

Weaknesses:    have not found one price if your on a budget Buy the bike and sacrifice steak for top romin

Bottom Line:   
This Bike ROCKS!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   The single track im on

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $1250.00

Purchased At:   soulcraft (petaluma ca.

Similar Products Used:   Gary fisher parigon, scwhinn series 70

Bike Setup:   full xtr group except cris king headset, thompson stem and seatpost. monkey bar carbon 90,wtb pure ti rail saddle mavic 819 rims

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by tony eason a Racer from san francisco, ca, usa

Date Reviewed: September 22, 2005

Strengths:    I've been hit twice by cars and have ridden my Soulcraft Custom Road Bike for 6 consecutive years from San Francisco to Los Angeles ...and it's still rides like a BMW!

Bottom Line:   
If you want a custom fit.
If you want to spend your money at a location that will give you attention to detail.
If you want to help out the smaller business owner.
And, if you want to meet a bunch of dudes that are "good people."

Get a Soulcraft Bike!

9th Year, AIDS Life Cyclist
Iyengar Yoga Teacher, tony Eason
http://ynottony.com/cycle3.htm

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Petaluma?

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Purchased At:   American Cyclery, San Francisco, CA

Similar Products Used:   Salsa


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by umatic a Cross Country Rider from London UK

Date Reviewed: May 7, 2005

Strengths:    Refined, smooth, intuitive, impeccable fit outrageously quick

Weaknesses:    none

Bottom Line:   
It was a tough call between sticking with DK and going out on a limb based soley on a load of great reviews I'd read about Soulcraft. At the end of the day I'm happy with the decision and found the level of service offered by Matt and Sean to be exemplary. From the start the build process was fantastic. You fill in a detailed measurement sheet and have a few conversations on the phone with the guys to determine what you want out of the project and to iron out any niggling problems you might have experienced with your previous ride. Also your riding style is factored in and the minute I took it out I was simply blown away. The refined whippy quality of the ride is just outstanding in a way one would only expect from a world-class steel rig. And it's quick - really quick. I couldn't bring myself to get off the thing and paid for it with aching limbs for the next week! Obviously the sense that the bike fits you like a bespoke suit stands to reason given the amount of information Matt and Sean expect from you. It also forces you to analyse how you ride and how, with their help, you can improve that. I could bang on forever about how great this bike is, but you just have to look at all the reviews here to know it makes sense. In a mountain biking world of corporate aluminium mediocrity it feels good to know that you've supported the work of true independent artists who are at the top of their game and love what they do. A cool memory I have is being in my local shop getting it built-up and, when it was done, the entire staff and customer's in the shop just standing around it in awe! Nice.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $1250.00

Purchased At:   Soulcraft

Similar Products Used:   DeKerf Team SL

Bike Setup:   XTR, XTR Wheelset, Race Face, Fox F80 RLT, Panaracer Fire XC Pro

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by mike gerlach a Cross Country Rider from hartland

Date Reviewed: April 1, 2005

Strengths:    light..quick..smooth..strong..cool..

Weaknesses:    none

Bottom Line:   
my story: ride a cannondale life ok.. then found a bonty racelite.. love it.. changed my life.. STEEL ROCKS !!! but nothing is better than a "new bike".. bontrager is gone so where to go? my buddy who owns the LBS suggested Soulcraft and another custom bike maker.. did some reserch.. Soulcraft is from cali and powder coats and the other guys are on the east coast and paints.. Hmmmm ? my gut was right.. they (sean and matt) picked up where keith left off.
the story in the story: my wife had a medical confrance in san francisco and petaluma is about 40 miles north so i am going to rent a car and shoot up there to meet the guys see the shop and get measured. was going to be there by 1pm friday. plane left late.. missed my connection in denver.. i won't get to san fran till 4pm.. upset i called matt and told him the story.. he talked with sean and they figured a plan for a saturday meeting @ seans' parrents house (which is closer to san francisco) after a single speed race he was racing in.. they gave me a time, directions and phone numbers to make the plan run smooth.. after thinking about it with the wife i called them and said that that would be unfair to my wife since our time there was limited and cancelled the meeting.. i am going back in 2007 for the same reason and will be calling the guys to finally meeting them.. These guys ROCK !

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   muir

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $3500.00

Purchased At:   soulcraft

Similar Products Used:   cannondale v1000(junk.. beat me up!)... bontrager racelite(sweet.. still have and ride)

Bike Setup:   full xtr disc.. even the wheelset is the xtr. fox f80x.. king head set (of course) thompson post/stem.. monkeylite carbon bar.. wtb saddle (very nice).. panaracer fire xc

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Roy Underwood a Cross Country Rider from Henderson, NV.

Date Reviewed: February 3, 2005

Strengths:    I sold my Trek 5500 to get this Soulcraft cyclocross frame, and i couldn't be more happy with it. This bike feels great out on the road and an absolut blast on the trail. I dont think i could say enough about the fit of this frame, it just feels right. (for lack of a better word)Plus the bike built up sexier than a playboy playmate.

Weaknesses:    I dont think anyone could say anything bad about a Soulcraft frame or the crew at Soulcraft

Bottom Line:   
This is my first cross bike so im still getting use to it in the dirt, but its just as fun as my 29er to ride. My first ride was on trails i ride on a regularly and i was really surprised at how much i was clearing on the new bike. Now as soon as i stop hitting rocks pinch flating my rear tire i'll be good to go!

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $1450.00

Purchased At:   Soulcraft

Similar Products Used:   Mongosse Ti cross

Bike Setup:   Soulcraft Groundskeeper/Dura-ace drive train/Crank bros. egg beaters/Mavic Open-Pro wheelset/Pauls Neo-canti cantis/Thompson seatpost and stem/Chris King Headset/Salsa Cyclocross bars

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by rob from chapel hill, nc

Date Reviewed: November 6, 2004

Strengths:    incredible fit, from the get-go it just felt right and now it feels even better!

Weaknesses:    not a one

Bottom Line:   
like everyone else, i was a little uneasy about spending this much on a frame...not about the money, really, i ride an indie fixxed gear crown jewel, so i've indebted myself and restructured lifestyles over bike frames before. i was just worried about throwing down for a custom mtb frame, where falls will be run of the mill. would it feel the same falling down that 8ft rock face with a custom frame as it did on my $600 cove? that one dented my right chainstay, well barely...see my ad in the 'marketplace'...
anyways, cupboards stocked with rice and pasta, i made the call and got the process underway and haven't regretted a moment since. i only wish i had called earlier to get it in time for the solstice race...oh well...
these guys are amazing, the nicest folks to work with and kept everything moving along steadily to get me the sickest s/s frame out this way. built up quickly (save for my assuming that it would be a 27.2 seatpost...what do they say about 'assuming' again?) and was trail smooth from the start. i only had it for a couple of weeks when i rode in the 'off road assault on mt. mitchell', a 55-60 mile offroad race with way too much climbing...well, not really, but she rode smooth with no ill will by the end, even after the nasty spill i took...
anyways, a great frame from a great company, thanks guys!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   those trails

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Purchased At:   soulcraft

Similar Products Used:   a steel cove handjob set up as a s/s with an eccentric hub
a '95 steel specialized stumpie


Bike Setup:   fox vanilla 100mm fork, avid juicys, king front hub, white industries s/s disc rear with mavic 717 disc rims, w/i freewheel, race face crankset

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Rick a Racer from Nevada City, CA

Date Reviewed: October 26, 2004

Strengths:    Custom Build! Handles and looks great.

Weaknesses:    None

Bottom Line:   
I have 3 MTB bikes: a full suspention bike and my 2 Soulcrafts, one with gears one without. Matt and Sean make an incredible product! I used to have a Ti hardtail and the Steel Soulcraft rides 10x better then the old Ti bike. BTW, I did all of my racing this year on the Soulcraft and have no regrets!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Tahoe rim Trail

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Purchased At:   SOULCRAFT

Similar Products Used:   I also have a Soulcraft plowboy Singlespeed

Bike Setup:   fox 100x, avid ultimate brakes and levers, monkey lite bars, FSA cranks and BB, Sram XO, speedream wheels w/king hubs, SLR saddle

Reviews 1 - 15 (59 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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


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