“A Cult trails frame eh?” That’s what I thought to myself when the first CAD drawing of what would eventually be dubbed the Cult TRF (Trail/Race Frame) showed up on Instagram. While a trails frame is a pretty radical departure from the direction Cult has been on since its inception, it does make sense if you stop to consider who the two main driving forces behind the brand are, Robbie Morales and product designer Neal Wood. Both of their roots lie deep in the 90’s trails and racing scenes, so there was never a doubt in my mind as to whether or not a man once know as the “Trail Boss” and another man who led the “clips are for kooks” movement on the track could come up with a well thought out and designed trails frame. How well the present day trails scene would receive a trails frame from a company who’s product line up until this point has primarily been targeted towards street riders is the only real question that I had.
To be perfectly honest with you, opinions were mixed. While Robbie’s former position of the “Trail Boss” still held weight with some, other’s felt that he had long since abandoned the scene that once held him in such high regards. Having been friends with Robbie for 15+ years, I fall into that first category, and I was actually pretty interested to see just what he and Neal would cook up. I mean he was instrumental in the creation of two of my favorite frames of all time, the Standard Trail Boss and the Terrible One Progression!
The TRF is exactly what you would expect a modern day trails frame to be. The geometry is pretty standard with a 74.5° head tube, 71° seat tube, 11.65″ bottom bracket height, 13.85″ rear end length and 8.75″ standover. The slimmed down 100% Cult Classic tubing, tapered seatstays and tiny dropouts give the frame a svelte look, while the gussets on both the top and down tubes reassure you that it’s not going to blow apart if you come up short on something. Cult also made sure that the rear end has plenty of room to accommodate tires up to 2.4″ wide. Two things that immediately caught my eye when I first pulled the frame out of the box were the welds and the frame’s finishing details. The ED black coating Cult used on the TRF doesn’t hide anything, and you can see that the welds are consistent with even beads around every tube junction. The subtle Cult logos embossed on the top tube gusset, integrated seat clamp and the seatstay bridge, and the nicely machined bottom bracket and head tube give the frame a very finished and polished look. While Cult is pretty infamous for their wild graphics, they kept things toned down with the clean gray and white ones they chose for the TRF.
One thing that I know is going to be a sticking point for some people out there is the removable seatstay brake mounts and cable stop. I’ve only owned one frame with removable mounts, and though I never had any issues with them, I still prefer the mounts and cable stop to be welded on. I also prefer the mounts to be on the chainstays, but all of that is just a matter of personal preference.
I think Cult’s first foray into producing a trails frame is a damn good one! It ticks the boxes both geometry-wise and looks-wise, and it comes from the minds of two guys who left lasting impressions on both the trails and race scenes. Now if we can only get them back out into the woods aboard their own personal TRFs!
Cult’s TRF frame is available now from your favorite shop or mail order and will set you back right around $330.
Top Tube Lengths: – 20″, 20.5″, 20.75″, 21″, 21.25″
Chainstay Length: – 13.85″
Head Tube Angle: – 74.5°
Seat Tube Angle: – 71°
Standover Height: – 8.75″
BB Height: – 11.65″
BB Type: – Mid
Dropouts: – 14mm
Brake Mounts: – Removable on Seatstays
Weight: – 5lbs 2oz (21″tt on my scale)
Colors: – ED Black
Country of Origin: – Taiwan
TRF Frame Promo featuring Steven Mack