Say it with me Shag-a-maw. It is lumberjack folklore that brings forth this interesting name for a bike. Said to be a mix of a bear and a moose, it is a fearsome creature. The Heller Shagamaw is the second bike from QBP brand Heller. It is a carbon hardtail with 650b+ wheels, or whatever you prefer to call them, 27.5+, midfat, b+, 27+, 6fattie, plus…
The Shagamaw has an open mold carbon frame. The flowing lines and playful geometry of the frame look good together. Full internal cable routing and 1x drivetrain look super clean. Heller offers the bike with two build kits in two colors. We here at plusbikes.com receieved the GX1 build which is a glossy white with dark green accents. Photos do not do this paint job justice. The GX1 build retails at $2599. The more affordable Deore build has a navy blue frame and comes in at $1999. The frame is available in a black smoke color for $1250. Heller has a three year warranty on the frame.
Rockshox Yari 130mm fork, TRP 4 piston brakes, Trans x dropper seat post, and a Sram GX 1×11 drivetrain ensure this bike is ready to rip right out of the box. Heller specs WTB Scrapers 40mm rims laced to boosted Formula hubs and throws on some big rubber the WTB Bridger 3.0. The size medium of this build weighs in around 29lbs.
For your viewing pleasure, a geometry chart from Heller for the Shagamaw.
|Top Tube (Effective)||585mm||616.5mm||634.8mm|
|Seat Tube Length||394mm||432mm||483mm|
|Head Tube Length||95mm||100mm||105mm|
|Seat Tube Angle||72°||72°||72°|
|Head Tube Angle||67.6°||67.6°||67.6°|
The Heller 27.5+ bike has great aesthetics and looks like it would be a blast to ride. It turns out that you can judge this book by its cover. I felt very comfortable descending on the Shagamaw. A 67.6 degree head tube angle and the Rockshox Yari 130mm fork make the front of the bike feel stable in hairy situations, something the Shagamaw is used to. The carbon frame, boost spacing, and big tires make for a solid rear end. The stiffness makes the bike feel responsive and maneuverable. It accelerated quickly on the climbs and had the great traction you expect from a bike with 3” wide tires. I was able to ride the Shagamaw with 3 different sets of tires, 2.8” lighter, less knobby tires made the bike feel like an xc race rig. While heavier, knobbier 3” tires made the bike feel like an all mountain machine.
The GX 1×11 setup felt smooth when shifting and allowed for very minimal chain slap, which makes the ride quality of the bike so much better. Heller says it is 2x compatible and has a threaded bottom bracket for you old schoolers. The kalloy stem and bar are plain jane and not very light. This would be a good place to upgrade, shed some weight, and add some style. A lot of us have our preferences when it comes to stems, bars, and seats, maybe Heller going low end on these parts isn’t such a bad thing. The Tranz-x dropper seatpost is simple and cost effective way to get the seat up and down, I am a little picky with the dropper so I ended up running my personal seatpost. I did not have any mechanical problems while I did use the Tranz-x dropper.
The WTB Bridger is one of my favorite plus tires, they were very confidence inspiring on descents and dug in well on the climbs paired with the wide WTB Scraper rims. They set up tubeless very easily. TRP Slate 4 brakes are solid and have a great lever feel. The Slates use mineral oil, same as Shimano, so getting a bleed shouldn’t be an issue. I have been using the TRP brakes on one of my personal bikes and have had no complaints. The frame has one set of bottle cage mounts, I would like to have seen two.
Three words I would use to describe the Heller Shagamaw are clean, stiff, and flickable. Heller says it is a trail-taming beast, I concur. The Shagamaw is a bike worth looking into if want a hardtail that can do it all, from taming gnarly descents to competing in that next xc race to getting lost off the beaten path. It’s good to get lost sometimes. I gave the Shagamaw 4 out of 5 gnomez heads, but only three remain after he ate one.