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Ben’s Custom Stif Squatch

The #whatweride series takes a look into the bikes, components and accessories that are used by Stif staff members, team riders and close affiliates.

We’re all keen riders and regardless of whether it’s racing, shredding laps for fun, heading out on big epic adventures, or pre-work power hours, we are constantly on the search for the optimum set up and performance from the best bikes, components and accessories.

Every product on our both our physical and digital shelves is meticulously handpicked for a reason. We only stock products we fully believe in and ultimately use ourselves on the trails. The #whatweride series is to show these products in application and explain why


Ben Raynor, Stif Mountain Bikes head Mechanic

Who's Ben?

Ben ‘make it rain’ Raynor is the ultimately tranquil workshop manager at our Northern Summerbridge store. Ben has a keen eye for the best products in terms of mechanical performance and reliability, as a result his fleet of highly pimped out rigs wear his favourites. You’ll see from this, and future bike checks from Ben, that his builds usually take the no corners cut approach that usually results in a top-drawer work of art – the ‘make it rain’ title will make all of the sense!

Ben’s Custom Stif Squatch

Ben's Stif Squatch Steel Hardtail Mountain bike, custom build.

Photographed straight from the trails and wearing a light covering of luscious loam is Ben’s fully custom Stif Squatch. From the Reserve carbon wheels, to the Fox 36 Factory fork, to the array of on bike storage, we’ll take a walk through the bike and the reasoning behind some component highlights of Ben’s Stif Squatch.

The size XL frame is chosen to suit Ben’s 6ft2in stature. This puts him in the sweet spot sizing range - on the trail the long reach provides solid stability across all speed ranges and the short chainstays showcase the addictively playful flick-ability we love!

Squatch flattened seat stays

Our unique flattened seat stays doused in some springtime hero dirt. Ovalizing the seat stays allowed for us to create a compliant ride that does not interfere with all-important stiffness – this means things stay comfortable over high frequency chatter but there’s no vagueness when you stamp the pedals or smash into a deep berm pocket.

Up front and providing impeccable composure is a Fox 36 fork with the hyper adjustable Grip2 damper. Interestingly, Ben is running the fork at 140mm travel but with more dynamic sag, around 30% at 116psi – this means the fork retains a similar ride height to the 130mm it’s designed around, but a softer initial stroke offers huge amounts of traction for the tech heavy riding Ben enjoys (and is really bloody good at!) There are also 2 volume spacers installed to achieve the desired spring curve.

Fox 36 fork

A 42.5mm Burgtec mk3 Enduro stem provides positive steering control from the 800mm wide carbon Joystick bar. DMR Deathgrips in the thin/flange variety are the choice here. The stem is longer than standard for the Squatch but Ben feels something slightly longer best suits his proportions.

Burgtec Enduro Stem
Burgtec Enduro stem
Stif headtube badge

All in the details – the rad new Stif headbadge!

Santa Cruz reserve 30 carbon wheel
Santa Cruz reserve wheel

The wheel department takes the no corners cut approach with Reserve 30 rims laced to silver Hope Pro 4 hubs. Reserve wheels and rims use the highest quality carbon rims on the market. Their damped, vibration muting ride, incredible strength and total no quibbles lifetime warranty makes for uncompromised performance on the trail. These traits are especially appreciated on a hardtail too. Reserve wheels are going to be a reoccurring theme in the #whatewerideseries!

maxxis tyres
maxxis mtb tyres

Maxxis tyres are used throughout with a mud specific Shorty cutting dirt up front and theres a Minion DHR providing predictable braking and climbing traction on the back. Tyre pressures are harder than average with 31psi in the rear and 27.2psi in the front, Ben has assured the .2 is really, really important.! Ben typically rides in rocky terrain and says running harder pressures offers a little more insurance against punctures. There are no inserts currently installed, but he says this may change in the future.

maxxis tyres
maxxis mtb tyres

Ben fixes bikes everyday so spot the recurring theme of solid, reliable parts - and the Hope Tech E4 brakes are certainly one of those! Hope brakes are renowned for their stopping power and bomb proof longevity. 200mm rotors are installed front and rear for max stopping power and there’s purple bore cap covers purely for aesthetic purposes. The Rhodium Silver Burgtec fork axle is also visible here – these are available for both Fox and RockShox forks in a variety of different colours.

Stif Squatch Mountain Bike

Ben is making use of the ISCG05 tabs for a little more chain security. His technical riding is really technical!

one up stem tool
Backcountry MTB strap

The dream is packless riding and here is a fine example of dialled on bike storge. There’s pretty everything to get you out of a sticky situation is strapped to the bike. even for epic long rides. The Backcountry Research Mutherload strap contains a spare tube, tyre levers and a Co2 inflator and the fork steerer is housing the much-loved OneUp EDC top cap tool set up. Ben is making the most out of the frame’s bottle cage bosses – the Squatch has space for a big bottle set up, we even carried a wine bottle home in one of our prototypes!

Stif Squatch Mountain Bike

Interested in building up a custom Stif Squatch? Give us a call, at either of our stores, on 01423 802208 or drop an email to sales@stifmtb.com or to any of our inhouse experts on the Stif Squatch web page. The sky is the limit with custom builds, and we can work together to produce the best perform and best looking build for YOU! Anything is possible, hit us up!

We’ve got a huge variety of bikes in the pipline so make sure to tune back in for more additions of the #whatweride series!