Bearclaw Beaux Jaxon Review: A Niche Within A Niche
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Even as modern gravel bikes continue to fit ever-larger tires, some bikes still exist within a niche of their own. As a titanium drop-bar gravel bike with clearance for plus-sized mountain bike tires, Bearclaw Bicycle Co.’s Beaux Jaxon is one of those bikes. Miles spent a few months on a top-end SRAM AXS build tackling a wide assortment of terrain around his hometown in Ontario, and as far south as Big Bend, Texas. Check out the full review here…
As I wrote in my review of the Bearclaw Thunderhawk, it’s a fun bike that serves a specific purpose and exists within a niche that’s steadily growing in popularity. However, if the Thunderhawk’s generous 27.5×2.4” tire clearance, assortment of mounts, and overall versatility just isn’t enough… the Bearclaw Beaux Jaxon is a compelling option that dives even deeper into that niche within a niche.
- Angles: 69.8° Headtube, 73° Seattube
- Chainstay: 448mm
- Bottom Bracket: Threaded BSA
- Hub specs: 15 x 110mm (front); 12 x 148mm (rear)
- Seatpost Diameter: 31.6mm
- Max Tire Size: 27.5 X 3.0″ / 29 X 3.0″
- Weight: 22 POUNDS (9.9 kg)
Named after Bo Jackson, the only American athlete to claim all-star status in both baseball and football, the Beaux Jaxon isn’t your ordinary gravel bike. First of all, it offers clearance for both 27.5×3.0” and 29×3.0” tires, yet still has the bones of a true gravel bike, unlike drop-bar mountain bikes like the Salsa Fargo. The Beaux Jaxon features a Boost rear-end, three sets of triple boss mounts on the frame, rack and fender mounts, and is available as a frame, frameset, or a complete build (either stock or custom). The Beaux Jaxon also sports an updated version of Bearclaw’s Ramhorn Gravel Fork, the Ramhorn Boost, which adds another 10mm of vertical and 5mm of horizontal tire clearance, and has 110x15mm boost spacing. With a 415mm axle-to-crown length, the Beaux Jaxon’s Ramhorn Boost is 10mm taller than the Thunderhawk’s original Ramhorn fork, and will fit bigger tires. Jason at Bearclaw confirms that “all 27.5 x 3” tires will fit. All 29 x 2.6” tires will fit. Most, if not all, 29 x 2.8” tires will fit. Some 29 x 3” tires will fit.”
For those going the stock complete bike route, you’ve got some options. First, you’ll have to decide between 27.5 and 29” wheels, and then choose one of three complete build options from Bearclaw’s website. Currently, they are offering Rival One, Force One, and Force / XX1 AXS builds, ranging from $3,990 to $6,990. Of course, as with all of Bearclaw’s bikes, custom builds are available upon request. After visiting Bearclaw headquarters in Michigan this fall, I left with a top-end SRAM AXS / ENVE build.
Bearclaw VS. Thunderhawk
If this isn’t your first time hearing the Bearclaw name, then you’ve likely heard of the Thunderhawk. Or better yet, you’ve already read my review. To jump on some questions I’m anticipating, I thought it may be useful to quickly summarize the differences between the Bearclaw Thunderhawk and the Bearclaw Beaux Jaxon, now that I’ve spent considerable time on both. By the numbers, the Beaux Jaxon has a more slack head tube angle than the Thunderhawk, 69.8° versus 71.5°, immediately putting it into a better position for chunky and steep descents. The effective top tube is also longer on the Beaux Jaxon, plus it has a lower bottom bracket and longer wheelbase. What does this all mean? In short, the Beaux Jaxon is going to handle steep descents and trail much more effectively than the Thunderhawk. It’s still not a mountain bike—neither of them are—but the Beaux Jaxon definitely wants to be one.
If you’re coming from a road riding background and just getting a taste for bikepacking or gravel riding, the Thunderhawk is more likely to be in your wheelhouse. It can be set up with a 2x drivetrain, will handle loaded bikepacking, and would feel spritely when set up with slicks and skinnier rims. I also found the Thunderhawk to handle more playfully on technical trails when navigating rocks and ledges. It’s a bike that isn’t a complete outlier in today’s gravel bike world, whereas the Beaux Jaxon is in its own game. With clearance for both 27.5+ and 29+ tires, yet still a true drop bar gravel bike, Beaux Jaxon is perfect for scouting the unknown and ideal for serious riders who are on the hunt for big tires, yet prefer riding drop bars.
Both bikes are outfitted with three bottle cage mounts, rack and fender mounts, and Bearclaw’s very own carbon Ramhorn fork. Beaux Jaxon features an updated 110x15mm Ramhorn boost fork, complete with cargo cage mounts, and as mentioned earlier, even more clearance.
Bikepacking with Beaux
Over the summer, I slowly made my way down the USA’s East Coast in my van, linking together stops to explore both well-travelled and lesser-known trails and roads. Along the way, I had the pleasure of scouting various routes, both for the site and fueled by my own curiosity, which often calls for a specific kind of bike. Enter Beaux, a rig that has filled that position wonderfully, stepping up to the plate regardless of what I threw at it; including a quick scout of the Eastern Divide Trail through the Adirondacks, some classic Vermont dirt, and some Texas gravel.
I typically packed Beaux pretty minimally, running Porcelain Rocket’s 52Hz Road frame bag (a perfect fit, I might add), my Rockgeist Gondola saddle bag, and Porcelain Rocket’s Nigel handlebar bag for on-the-go access to snacks. I found this to be a great ensemble, minimizing unnecessary weight and allowing me to see experience what the bike was capable of. The assortment of mounts, including under the downtube and cargo cage mounts on the fork, meant adding a cage for additional water capacity was quick and easy. However, I’d often just chuck a bottle inside the enormous 52Hz frame bag.
Although I’ve taken Beaux Jaxon on trails, pavement, and doubletrack over the last few months, the majority of my time was spent exploring dirt and gravel roads. Regardless of the terrain, the bike was exceptionally stable and handled predictably. These characteristics likely come from Beaux’s longer than average wheelbase (1056-1099mm, depending on frame size) and of course the 29 x 2.5” Teravail Ehlines I was running. It’s an interesting combination, and one that likely is only going to appeal to a small audience. But it certainly has its place. In particular, it might be worth considering for ultra-endurance athletes who prefer drop bars, but need bigger tire clearance and lots of mounts. It’s a fast bike, and the geometry puts you in a position that’s on the speedier end of the spectrum, rather than upright and cruisy, which was something that took me a while to get used to. While loaded up for bikepacking, it had me wondering if I’d be more comfortable riding a rigid mountain bike with flat bars or a drop bar mountain bike like the Fargo or new Salsa Cutthroat.
The frame itself is incredibly versatile, checking many of the boxes for bikepackers who love big tires or those in the endurance event scene. If you’ve got the cash, it’s hard to argue with Bearclaw’s stock builds, blending together a great selection of performance-minded components, although I envision most folks who pick up a Beaux Jackson would likely work with Bearclaw to create something that suits their unique needs
Bearclaw Beaux Jaxon AXS Build
The Beaux Jaxon is available in eight different sizes, ranging from 51 to 62cm. Although there isn’t an exact build available to match my review bike, there is a readyman SRAM AXS Beaux Jaxon listed for $6,990. They also have Rival One and Force One builds priced at $3,990 and $5,790, respectively. For those who want something different, Jason at Bearclaw will be glad to work with you to make it happen. There’s not much I didn’t like about the Beaux Jaxon I’ve been riding, which is unsurprising given the assortment of high-end components and quality parts. With multiple carbon ENVE bits and a solid Industry Nine wheelset, my Beaux Jackson performed flawlessly during my entire review period. This particular build will set you back $7,500 from Bearclaw, but Jason can work with you to create a similar AXS Beaux Jaxon for between $5,500 and $10,000, depending on your specific selection of components.
I’ll wait to share my opinions on running SRAM AXS while bikepacking as we’re working on a detailed article on that subject. However, I will say I was quite happy with the drivetrain, even with Bearclaw’s custom CNC’d 42T front chainring. Paired with SRAM’s 10-50T Eagle cassette, I had no trouble tackling non-technical climbs or keeping up speed on the flats and descents. Industry Nine’s Trail 270 wheelset performed flawlessly, and I especially enjoyed running Teravail Ehlines, a fast, lightweight set of tires that handled everything I threw at them.
- FRAME 3AL-2.5V double-butted titanium frame
- SIZES 51,52.5,54,55.5,57,58.5,60,62
- FORK Bearclaw RAMHORN Boost Full Carbon Post Mount Disc
- CRANKSET Truvativ Stylo Carbon
- CHAINRING Bearclaw 42T
- B/B Threaded BSA Dub
- CHAIN SRAM XX1 Eagle
- Cassette SRAM XG-1299 Eagle 12spd
- Derailleur SRAM XX1 AXS Eagle
- SHIFTERS SRAM Force eTap AXS
- BRAKE CALIPERS SRAM Force 1
- BRAKE ROTORS SRAM Centerline 160mm (front), SRAM Centerline 160mm (rear)
- BRAKE LEVERS SRAM Force AXS HRD
- HEADSET Chris King Dropset 2
- HANDLEBAR ENVE G Series Gravel Carbon
- STEM ENVE Road Carbon
- SEATPOST ENVE Carbon
- SEAT CLAMP Thomson
- GRIPS Brooks Cambium Tape
- SADDLE WTB Volt Team
- HUBS Industry Nine Torch Classic 110x15mm (front), Industry Nine Torch Classic 148x12mm (rear)
- RIMS Industry Nine Trail 270 Wheelset
- TIRES Teravail Ehline 29×2.5
Beaux’s Great American Road Trip
I’m currently in the fortunate position of being able to travel within North America for a good chunk of the year. This directly translates to my gear and bike reviews, which usually get to see real world testing in a variety of geographic areas. In this case, Beaux and I spent three months together on a lovely fall road trip that took off from Bearclaw headquarters, just outside of Traverse City, Michigan. From there, I travelled back into Canada, to my hometown of Wyebridge, Ontario.
It was extremely satisfying to explore the gravel roads and trails I grew up so close to but never truly appreciated. I tackled the 98-mile (108km) Simcoe County Loop Trail, located just over an hour north of Toronto, exploring some of Simcoe County’s vast rail trail network. We explored the Adirondacks of northeastern New York, scouting a particularly scenic portion of the Eastern Divide Trail along remote service roads. Fast forward a few weeks and I introduced Beaux to desert riding, including a trip into Sam Houston National Forest with Patrick from the Bikes or Death Podcast, as well as riding in Big Bend National Park. Experiencing a wide array of terrain while traveling in the van provides a crash course for whatever bike or gear I’m testing.
The Bearclaw Beaux Jaxon is an interesting bike, if somewhat difficult to understand. I expect no two riders will purchase Beaux Jaxon for the same reasons, considering the endless configurations it offers. On one hand, it’s a fully capable exploration machine, outfitted with all of the necessary mounts, tire clearance, and characteristics for a comfortable ride.
On the other, its got a racy feel that is best suited for speed. And the geometry feels far from upright. For me, what stands out is just how unique the Beaux Jaxon is, which is hardly a surprise coming from Bearclaw. They’ve quickly made a name for themselves by producing some truly interesting bikes. In an industry currently dominated by gravel bikes boasting ‘big tire clearance’, Bearclaw made it even bigger. Some of us are going to like that.
However, drop bars, big tires, and an aggressive gravel bike geometry have me a little lost. Nine times out of ten, I’d rather ride a hardtail mountain bike with flat bars. The voluminous 29 x 2.5” tires provided ample comfort and grip to tackle a wide variety of terrain, but then again, if I needed tires that big I’d personally prefer flat bars and a less aggressive position on my bike. Don’t get me wrong, what Bearclaw has done is impressive, and the Beaux Jaxon has a lot going for it from a bikepacking perspective. I think riders who prefer drop bars over flat bars, and have some endurance-style events lined up, will find Beaux very appealing.
- Very unique as a gravel bike with plus-sized tire clearance.
- All the necessary mounts for loading up with water, gear, and accessories.
- Custom builds available.
- Lightweight build, as tested.
- A niche within a niche makes it difficult to recommend to just anyone.
- 1x drivetrains only could be limiting for some.
- More racy riding position is great for going fast, but not ideal for touring pace.
- 29 x 2.5” tires and drop bars don’t quite align for me.
- Size/model tested Bearclaw Beaux Jaxon, size 58.5, AXS
- Weight (as tested) 22 pounds (9.9kg)
- Price $7,500
- Place of manufacture Taiwan
- Manufacturer’s Details BearclawBicycleCo.com
I’m a big fan of what Bearclaw Bicycle Co. is doing. It was fun to meet Jason, the owner of Bearclaw, to confirm that his bikes are an extension of himself and a reflection of what he likes (and doesn’t like) about the cycling industry. It’s not going to be the bike for everyone, and in my opinion, there’s probably only a small group of people who will be seriously interested in buying one of their own. But, considering the trend for gravel bikes with larger and larger tire clearance, maybe we’re just not ready for Beaux. Or as Bearclaw would say, if you kneaux, you’ll know.
Overall, the Beaux Jaxon is an incredibly fun and intriguing bike. There’s nothing quite like it on the market that I’m aware of. If I had more time, it I’d have been curious to run it with both 27.5+ and 29+ tires, and to play around with the fit a bit more to properly dial it in. For me, that’s the real selling point of the Beaux Jaxon: adaptability. As it should be, considering the athlete it pays homage to.
Currently driving his van from Tucson, Arizona back to British Columbia, Miles enjoys riding flowy singletrack, exploring service roads, and often finds himself further from home than he planned. The Bearclaw Beaux Jaxon was loaned to Miles for this review.
- Height: 6’1” (185 CM)
- Weight: 185 lbs (84 KG)
- Inseam: 33” (83.8 CM)
- Current Location: Tucson, Arizona
- Daily Driver: Why Cycles S7
- Favorite Route: Vapor Trail