Cove Bikes Handjob XC Freeride Hardtail

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)

User Reviews (13)

Showing 1-10 of 13  
J. Random Psycho   Cross Country Rider [Mar 17, 2009]
Strength:

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").

Weakness:

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.

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.

Similar Products Used: Jamis Durango 3.0 2006 - my first mountain bike. Feels dead and hopeless in comparison.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Radam77   Cross Country Rider [Oct 31, 2008]
Strength:

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

Weakness:

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

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?

Similar Products Used: Stumpy hardtail.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
cannon 16   Weekend Warrior [May 11, 2008]
Strength:

light, comfy, strong, handles great

Weakness:

not the best paint job, cove stickers an aquired taste

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.

Similar Products Used: loads of quality hardtails and full suss
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Karl T   Cross Country Rider [Dec 04, 2003]
Strength:

Made in North America (Canada)

Weakness:

Finish, cable-stops

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.

Similar Products Used: Bianchi Kingbee, Specialized Dirtjumper
OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
Pimp Master of the Jazz   Weekend Warrior [Mar 20, 2006]
Strength:

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.

Weakness:

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.

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.

Similar Products Used: Fisher hardtails, Orange hardtails, Specialized hardtails.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
pete simon   Cross Country Rider [May 22, 2007]
Strength:

Awesome XC hardtail

Weakness:

None at all

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

Similar Products Used: Rocky Blizzard - sweet too but too expensive
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
john d   Cross Country Rider [Mar 04, 2007]
Strength:

Sweet do anything hardtail rig

Weakness:

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

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.

Similar Products Used: Kona
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
John Rokosky   Cross Country Rider [Jun 04, 2006]
Strength:

Smooth ride of steel, clearance for wide tires.

Weakness:

Decals peeling off,IT BROKE !

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.

Similar Products Used: GT HT,Cannondale HT,Surly SS,Jamis Dakar FS,On One HT.
OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
Andre   [Mar 20, 2008]
Strength:

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

Weakness:

-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

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.

Similar Products Used: old bontrager OR frame
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
John Paul Turnbull   Cross Country Rider [Apr 24, 2006]
Strength:

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

Weakness:

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

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.

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).
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 13  

THE SITE

ABOUT MTBR

VISIT US AT

mtbr.com and the ConsumerReview Network are business units of Invenda Corporation

(C) Copyright 1996-2018. All Rights Reserved.