If you're not familiar with the growing trend amongst endurance riders towards bikes with 29" wheels...it's ok - we'll forgive you. If, however, you're one of the few who insists that 29" wheeled bikes are a fad that'll go the way of suspension stems, elastomer bumper forks, and above-the-bar shifters...we respectfully request that you get with the program.
Fork: Fox Racing Shox F29 RLC FIT QR15, 120mm Travel
Strengths: The I-Drive rear suspension rocks, there is very little pedal bob and that makes a huge difference on technical climbs like the ones in the Texas hill country. The major differentiators on full-suspension bikes are going to be:
rear suspension (awesome)
weight (a little heavy)
price (much cheaper than everyone else)
This bike came in about $600 cheaper than the other bikes in the same range, so I had more money to go do some really cool events.
Weaknesses: I can't leave work at noon every day to ride this beast.
The seat post sucks, the stickiness wore off after like two months, so it got really loose and I had to replace it. Also, the bike is on the heavier side, but whatever. If I was concerned with weight, I wouldn't take 10 lbs of just-in-case gear on my rides.
This bike rocks my socks off. Once I got over the glee of the 29'er full suspension platform, I found that this bike still had a lot to give. The suspension is great in full squish or pro-pedal mode and it is just too much fun to ride.
In Texas, you get a lot of trails on limestone and granite, so the climbs and drops can be pretty dramatic. A 29'er gets you part of the way there, but this bad boy kicks butt for most sections. Wheelies are a little tougher than my 26" hardtail, but that's a standard tradeoff.
I put some stronger wheels & some proper tires for dry, rocky climbs and now I monster truck over everything. It does pretty well in XC mode as well, but it'll be tough to win an XC race with it because of the weight.
It's tough not to gush about this bike because it's so much fun to ride, so if I had to boil it down to one sentence it would be:
Wild trail times for about 30% less than the other guys in the same sector
Strengths: climbs easy, plush suspension, rides real nice. I-drive suspension, little bob on pedal stroke.
Weaknesses: Frames run larger so would recommend getting next size down.
320miles up to date..
This is my first 29r and only my second MTB. Started riding back in August 2012. Quickly moved along and decided on a FS 29er to take up where my other bike (Motorbecane Fantom DS Pro 26") left off.
Lots of roots on the single track as well as big gravely (3-4") rocks on the roads going thru a local park. My Motobecane 26" Fantom Pro is fun and light be was miserable going over all the roots and larger gravel. Now with this GT bike I just cruise over everything.. The suspension is plush and it takes up bumps and jumps and drops with ease. Has plenty of travel for the stuff I've been going on/over.
It isn't light but it travels extremely well. I was able to go up some hills that on the 26" bike I'd have to be in granny to get up and even then I might have to stop. Now I can go up with greater speed and this bike has inspired me to ride more agressively since it is so forgiving and it just feels great..
I've been riding it in the snow with Maxxis Aspen 2.1 which is stock on front and put a WTB weirwolf 2.5 on back. It's been an absolute blast and will go thru about 6" of snow on the flat no problem. On down hills maybe 10" deep.
I've exchanged the front crankset for a triple Sram X7 and upgraded the front deraileur to Sram X0.
The shifter for the front derailluer doesn't need to be swapped to go to the triple. Just swap crank, front derailluer, adjust and go.
I wouldn't hesitate to buy one again or recommend this bike to any of my freinds.. Oh, wait I did just that.. :)
Crankset SRAM S1000 2.2 39/26T (swapted out X7 3X10)
Cassette Shimano CS-HG62-10, 11-36T, 10-Speed
Rear Derailleur Shimano SLX, 10-Speed
Front Derailleur SRAM X7, 2x10 swapted to X0, 3X10
Shifters Shimano SLX, Rapidfire
Chain KMC X10, 10-Speed
Pedals Shimano PD-M505, SPD Cliples
Front/rear Brake Elixar 3
Handlebars Crankbrothers Cobalt 2, 700mm
Stem Syncros AM, 3D Forged, M/L = 90mm, XL = 100mm
Headset FSA No.16CC Integrated, 1 1/8"
Seat Post ALL TERRA Alloy Microadjust, 31.6mm x 350mm
Seat Post Diameter 31.6 millimeters
Saddle WTB Silverado Race SL
Rims Alex XD-Lite 32H
Front/rear Hub ALL TERRA Alloy Sealed Bearing Disc 32H
Spokes DT Swiss Champion
Front/rear tire Maxxis Aspen, 2.1", Folding
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: May 2, 2012
Strengths: This bike rocks and got it for a great price. 29-inch wheels and 2x10 drivetrain are going to be good things on any bike, but the thing that brings it all together is i-drive which is a great rear suspension set-up. I've ridden offroad with 50psi in the tyres just to see how it would go and this bike handles it no probs (although Maxxi Crossmarks also help and are a great tyre). 29-inch and i-drive is an awesome traction combo!
Weaknesses: CrankBros Cobalt 2 seatpost is a joke...very stupid design and is the only part of the bike that I've replaced...well apart from the smallblock 8 tyres which don't provide adequate traction when cornering on fine gravel. The bike is no lightweight, but it's not particularly heavy either compared to the competition.
This bike is fast everywhere and can make anyone look good...
Similar Products Used: Mountain Cycle San Andreas, Mongoose Amplifier 2
Bike Setup: Standard apart from new seatpost and tyres.
a Cross Country Rider
from montevallo, alabama USA
Date Reviewed: January 26, 2012
Strengths: Works as a package
Weaknesses: Tires, THIN paint
Looked at the competition, and the value of this bike is tops. Anything close cost 60% more at least, for no benefit except snob appeal. I thrash bikes, and my 210lb weight doesn't help. NOTHING has broken, and I generally have spokes, hubs, skewers cashing in....The front maxle looks like a motorcycle part. Anybody over 6' needs to switch to 9ers-and this one in XL is like a monster truck. It is not so easy to get technical, and hard to hoist the front, but generally don't need to. Just pedal. Elixir brakes are awesome. Spend some time dialing in the suspension, ride anywhere.
Research the subject- anything close to comparable has a poor component mix, only a double crank, etc. Performance Bike stinks, sent me a different color than ordered, and didn't care-but the Specialized 9er fsr was nearly a grand more and had mickey mouse components.
On group rides, I will sometimes swap back to a partners 26, and enjoy the agility until my back starts hurting, or I notice my 9er pulling out front.