Test Bombtrack Hook EXT: The wide-tyre bomber is perfect for difficult terrain and should primarily appeal to gravel fans with mountain bike roots. The Hook EXT can also be used as an everyday and touring bike.
When the Bombtrack NRW Cross Cup, which now consists of nine races, takes place in the winter months, everything at the bike manufacturer revolves around cross-country sport. Of course, the cold, wet season is also perfect for gravelling, especially if you do it on a bike that doesn't need to be afraid of difficult terrain and muddy ground. And one of those is the Bombtrack Hook EXT.
Plenty of grip and traction with 650B tires
The EXT is the most extreme bike within its model family. While the Hook EXT C, as a light carbon model, is more geared towards speed and the EXT Ti appeals to the connoisseur with its elegant titanium frame, the EXT is the gravel bike for rough things. Where else can you find a complete bike that comes factory-fitted with 50B tires that are over 650 mm wide? The EXT looks quite filigree in parts, but its frame is As is so often the case with Bomtrack, made of steel - solid Columbus Cromor with conical head tube and oversized down tube, combined with a wide full carbon fork. It is clear what all this is aimed at: the EXT was made for difficult terrain and is almost "mountain bike light".
Off-road sports, bikepacking or everyday life
Although that is only one aspect: the other is expressed in the countless threaded inserts and attachment options with which the EXT can be expanded into a bikepacking, touring or everyday bike. This goes as far as two different attachment options for a luggage carrier - for a narrow carrier à la Tubus Fly, a tube is specially attached for the central attachment strut.
Of course, three bottle holders can be mounted, as well as mudguards, luggage holders on the fork and a top tube bag; A dynamo cable can be routed through the frame and fork. The brake line and gear cable are held on the down tube by solid aluminum clamps, and Bombtrack uses an external headset and a T-47 bottom bracket shell. The latter may come as a surprise on a steel frame, considering that many major manufacturers are going back to bolted BSA bottom brackets. Of course, the wide body makes it easier to create the space between the chainstays that you need for the two-inch tires.
MTB wheelset and all-road geometry
The geometry of the Hook EXT is much less MTB-oriented than that of many other gravel bikes: the steering angle is steep, the wheelbase is rather tight at 1.040 mm in frame size L; the chainstays are also quite short at 425 mm. The moderate reach, together with a rather short stem, ensures a pleasantly compact sitting position.
The fact that the bike doesn't feel overly agile is of course primarily due to the rather heavy wheels due to the wide tyres; However, it is precisely the 2.0s that make the concept so appealing when driving. With the Hook EXT you can roll over pretty much anything that comes your way; with slightly reduced tire pressure, traction and grip are extremely good. You just have to get used to the fact that at a certain point the fat WTB Ranger feels much more spongy than a typical 40 Gravel tire with 2 bar. But you can also splash into mud puddles to your heart's content with the wide tires, iron stony paths smooth and drive over loose soil with optimal traction. Who cares that such tours are more flowy than super fast?
Prepared for dropper post
If you use the Hook EXT as a "mountain bike light", you can even mount a dropper post - there is an outlet for the cable pull. Which draws your attention back to the lines routed under the down tube – wouldn’t it have been possible to route them internally, at least in the down tube?
SRAM Rival 1×11 with wide gradation
Bomtrack equips the HOOK EXT with SRAM Rival 1×11 and with 11-42 chooses the widest cassette of the solid, well-functioning group. With the 40 chain ring of the aluminum crankset you can just about get a gear reduction; a smaller chainring might suit the character of the EXT more, because that way you could work your way up steep trails more fluidly. No problem - Bombtrack-Vertrieb Traffic Distribution also has 32, 36 and 38 in the range.
Also available as a frame set
In any case, Bombtrack offers all frame sets for self-assembly, which are not even expensive. Whether in the convincing standard configuration or individually built, the Hook EXT is a real fun machine off-road, which is as suitable for trails as few other gravel bikes and also offers enough mounting options for use as a touring or everyday bike. Last but not least, there is of course also the option of mounting 28-inch wheels with slightly narrower tires. The Hook EXT will quickly become almost a kilo lighter and probably more manageable. In any case, it should be noted that the eleven kilos of the bike are not overly noticeable. In the races of the Bombtrack NRW Cross Cup, however, one would like to compete with a lighter bike from the off-road specialists.