Soulcraft Option 3 XC Hardtail

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

User Reviews (60)

Showing 1-10 of 60  
fc   [Jan 27, 2018]
Pros: Love the classic look and the forgiving ride quality
Cons: -
Price: -   New/Used: -    Model Year: -
OVERALL
RATING
5
Jim Dietrick   Weekend Warrior [Jan 18, 2009]
Strength:

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!!

Weakness:

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

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!

Similar Products Used: Salsa Ala Carte, Ibis Mojo, Trek 850
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
SteveP   Cross Country Rider [Jun 12, 2003]
Strength:

Where do you start...top notch workmanship, amazing ride, nimble & smooth. This is my first new MTB in nearly 10 years. This bike makes an old clumsy man feel young and tatlented

Weakness:

None

My family now owns 3 Soulcrafts with no end in sight. nuff said

Similar Products Used: My old steed is a early 90's Salsa
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Perry Bertsch   Cross Country Rider [Sep 26, 2005]
Strength:

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!

Weakness:

Only when I glitch

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

Similar Products Used: Yokota Yosemite Pro, Ritchey P-21
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
corey   Racer [May 17, 2003]
Strength:

Awesome frame, great attention to detail. It truly does everything well, it is stiff where you need it to be with the feel of steel. The very top of the food chain for hardtails. Matt and Sean @ Soulcraft will do whatever it takes to get you the frame you want. I got mine w/ top tube cable routing, disk brake mount and no V-brake studs.

Weakness:

None, you have to pay to get the best. Not even much of a wait.

These frames scream. Just look at all the racers on the podium wearing Soulcraft jerseys.

Truly the best ride I have experienced. You can't ride an aluminum hardtail in the local park without pissing blood the next day but the Soulcraft is as smooth as silk.

Buy a work of art from the guys in Petaluma. If only the rest of the industry could be like Soulcraft. . . .

Similar Products Used: Bontrager, specialized aluminum, and a plethora of full suspension.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Jim   Cross Country Rider [Mar 16, 2002]
Strength:

I purchased this bike because I was tired of all the factory hype and confusing products. I wanted something where the "Coolness" wasn't seen, but felt. The Option 3 delivered. Awesome all around performance. I'm 6'4" 235lbs rider and this bike is stable and smooth over all kinds of terrain. This is going to sound weird, but this bike takes less mental energy to ride. Unlike most bikes where you have to constantly think about the stuff you're about to ride over...The Option 3 let's you forget about all that. Just pedal! The Option 3 won’t let you down. This bike is silky smooth tracking through turns. It's extremely stable on fast descents and it climbs like a Billy Goat. This bike is really responsive too…you can actually feel small shifts in body position change how the bike handles through turns and tricky sections of single track. And to all the Clydesdales looking for a steel hardtail…look no further. The Option is stiff! No flexing just smooth power transfer from the bike to the trail. Finally, one of the coolest things about this bike that 95% of other riders never experience is that you actually talk to the people that make your bike.

Weakness:

No performance weaknesses. The only complaint is one of the decals on the frame was messed up. Minor problem, but for a bike this sweet, I want to show off the name.

Buy this frame if you're a cross country purist and you know how to appreciate a bike for the things can't see or put a decal on. Don't buy frame if you're looking for "Eye candy" to impress your friends. Wait until you grow-up first.

If you're looking for a new bike, give Matt at Soulcraft a call. Thanks Ibis for screwing up my order, I cringe at the thought that I could have been riding a mojo instead of the Option 3. Thanks Rey (BikeSport)for recommending the Option 3.

Similar Products Used: Stumpjumper, Proflex 856, Zaskar
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Todd   Cross Country Rider [Nov 18, 2003]
Strength:

excellent workmanship on the welds, incredibly fast climber, you feel yourself excelerate with every pedal rotation. The bike loves to be ridden on single track.

Weakness:

NONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This frame is the Porche of the mtb world. If you want a bike that makes you feel like you can climb anything, and fly through single track. Then this frame is for you! I tried doing the free ride movement for a while, its fun, but there is nothing like riding a steel hardtail frame that was hand built.

Similar Products Used: Salsa ALA Cart
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Mark Plourde   Cross Country Rider [Feb 16, 2002]
Strength:

The feel of exceleration and great traction when climbing and nimbleness and speed on descending.

Weakness:

You'll get addicted : ) Spending less time with family : )

This is the most awesome bike. The thing about a this bike is that it's one of those bikes that is a piece of art. Before owning a Soulcraft I loved to ride, but after owning it I found myself wanting to escape to the bike more and more. It's truly an experience to ride such a piece of equipment and every ride is an ultimate treat. It doesn't matter if I'm ripping down single track with my pals or sitting in the saddle on all day climbs. The bike always has always taken me to devine satisfaction every ride.

You should buy this bike if the feel of your ride is critical to you. You shouldn't buy this bike if you think a bike is just a BIKE.

Similar Products Used: Salsa Alacarte
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Pablo Schulz   Cross Country Rider [Feb 11, 2002]
Strength:

Beautiful welds!! I loved the very clean work at the gusset between the headtube and downtube, the dropouts, and especially the reinforced seatube. VERY cleanly done!

Weakness:

Still looking. And not because I'm "bike proud", seriously --- no weaknesses.

Before recieving the bike, I was a bit skeptical that the bike would not ride like the reviews or advise claimed. I was wrong. The bike is responsive, REALLY stable, and predictable as hell. Keep in mind my skepticism came from being accustomed to aluminum and I'm 6'01" @ 220lbs. The Option 3 Frame does not wag or get laterally jittery at speed or on crappy surfaces (or out of the saddle pushing hard). And the thing is smooth. After riding aluminum and carbon for a long while I forgot how supple steel could be. The bike begs to be jumped. It feels lighter than any other frame I have ridden. Very nimble. The bike is a bit of a paradox because it accelerates like an aluminum frame with a small rear triangle; but without leaving your rear raw like aluminum. With the Option 3 on the high frequency studder bumps @ speed, you just stay seated and pedal even faster.
In fact, once the initial novelty is gone and you concentrate on riding; then you can do just that...concentrate on the ride. None of the distractors are there. No harshness, flex, lateral wishy-washyness that keep reminding you that you are on a bike that constantly needs to be corrected or tolerated til you finish the ride.
I'm impressed. Really and truly impressed with this frame's ride. Around here there are a lot of short steep drops immediately followed by short steep climbs with roots thrown in all over. It stays smooth fast and straight.

Oh, and the bike just looks classy. That's up to the individual, of course; but I like a bike that looks pretty and clean (and one of a kind!). Not covered up with a bunch of freakin' stickers by the owner or factory!
One more thing, it is pretty cool to talk to the guy who actually welds your frame!

Similar Products Used: Breezer, Ibis, steel Barracuda, Kona, C-dale
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Frank   Cross Country Rider [Nov 25, 2006]
Strength:

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

Weakness:

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

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.

Similar Products Used: Nothing custom: Salsa Ala Carte, GT Zaskar, etc.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 60  

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