Ventana El Rey 29er Full Suspension

4.74/5 (27 Reviews)

Product Description

Ventana El Rey 29er: "The King" It?s time to pay homage to the king of the mountain. Forget the polka-dot jersey?El Rey, Ventana?s 29? dual diamond, double butted suspension frame, rules the off-road, giving riders sovereign power over their kingdom of rock and soil.

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating

Reviews 1 - 15 (27 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by K Lantz a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: November 3, 2016

Strengths:    Great frame geometry and build quality are great. Stock sizes for tall cyclists.

Weaknesses:    Large aluminum frame is a bit heavy but not a big deal. There are no dealers in my area so it was a challenge special ordering and building with my local bike shop.

Bottom Line:   
I am 6'7" and weigh 215 pounds so it is difficult to find a bike that fits. I was upgrading from an old hard tail that I have had for years. Living in Ohio a full suspension isn't a necessity but as I get older I wanted something I could ride comfortably for years. I was measure by the bike shop and it was determined I needed a 23" which is one size down from the largest stock frame so these bikes really fit if you are tall. I do more road riding but this bike has made me a better mountain biker and the 29er wheels roll over anything. A recent study says that 29ers are faster and it is only limited by by tentativeness.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Chestnut Ridge COMBO

Purchased At:   United States

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Marco a All Mountain Rider

Date Reviewed: October 17, 2012

Strengths:    Geometry
Material selection
Color options
Customer service

Weaknesses:    Weight, but rotating weight counts
Stickers, but who cares

Bottom Line:   
I now own the 2012 model, after riding the 2007 rey during 3 years.
It remains an outstanding bike.
Geometry: quite trailisch with 70° head angle, nice in the rough stuff
Material: nice aluminum tubes, upper tube hydroformed stiff lot of space for the rider
Welds: beautiful work, great quality
Paint: see Welds
Color options: 2 custom color levels, there is one for every taste
Features: I own this bike since Sept 2011 and it had tapered headtube and a 142x12mm rear axle already. Innovation was definitely quicker than industrial production.
Customen service: both technical and custoomer services are outstanding. Thanks to Sherwood and Teresa for their commitment! Long live ventana!

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   1+ year

Purchased At:   Sareno CH

Similar Products Used:   Ventana El Rey 2007

Bike Setup:   TL28, Reba RLT, XT/X9, 75mm Stem, 740mm Bar, Nobby Nics SnakeSkin 2.25 12.8Kg

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by fugazzi a Weekend Warrior from BC

Date Reviewed: January 20, 2012

Strengths:    The geometry for a 29er is amazing being able to carve hard in corners as if your on a dh bike it makes you forget that you have 29 inch wheels on it. The frame is really light and the welds are the best that I have seen on a bike yet true craftsmanship. The paint is super sexy I have the cosmic orange which on shiny days sparkles when the mud and dirt are off the bike. The bike has gussets reassures the strength and stiffness combined with the geometry it inspires confidence for any AM riding you want to throw at it and high speeds

Weaknesses:    I dont really like the small seat post diameter as dropper posts are limited in this size but that is a small drawback as more and more droppers are coming in this size.

Bottom Line:   
If you want a bike that is built for all day long epic rides and is versatile (XC to AM), light, stiff, easy to maintain, looks great and is made with quality craftmanship look no further this is truly it!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   SuperStar

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $2000.00

Purchased At:   friend

Similar Products Used:   Reign, MKIII, SX, Trance

Bike Setup:   Noir carbon cranks, Easton carbon post, Shimano carbon post, XO carbon shifters, Prologo full titanium Seat, WTB Lazerdisc/XTR 20 mm hub, REBA Ti Team/20mmMaxle RP23 lockout capability front and rear plus upgraded link kit to 5 inch.
MY 29er weighs 29 lbs

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Earthpig a Cross Country Rider from Boise, ID

Date Reviewed: September 6, 2011

Strengths:    Burly, well built, RP23 Boost Valve shock

Weaknesses:    Too burly (see above), looooooooooong wheelbase

Bottom Line:   
This bike does pretty much everything well, but does nothing outstanding. Having ridden hardtail 29'ers for the last 5 years, I wanted to try a full suspension 29'er. I found the El Rey very slightly used for pretty cheap on the classifieds. I have it built up more XC-ish in an attempt to account for the extremely heavy frame/shock weight (nearly 8 lbs!!) Having owned a Ventana X-5 for several years, I can say that the El Rey, while far heavier, climbs better, but that's due to the RP23 shock with the Boost Valve, where my X-5 just had a straight Float R. Downhill, it does well on non-technical fast, swoopy trails, and definitely calms the chatter on rough, bumpy sections, but is out of its element when the going gets tight or steep. At this weight (29 or so lbs), 4 inches of travel isn't enough, and the geometry is way too steep to really enjoy the downhills. This is pretty much an overweight XC frame. Knock a pound and a half off the frame, or give it another inch of travel and it would be perfect. But, as is, well, like I said - it does everything adequately, but nothing outstandingly.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $800.00

Purchased At:   mtbr classifieds

Similar Products Used:   1st full suspension 29'er, but have ridden lots and lots of hardtail 29'ers

Bike Setup:   2010 XL El Rey frame, 100mm travel Reba SL fork, X-9 drivetrain, Arch rims

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by peakent a Cross Country Rider from Lenexa, KS

Date Reviewed: March 9, 2011

Strengths:    Rock solid frame

Weaknesses:    Handling on the tight/twisty stuff

Bottom Line:   
Looked around for several months for a XXL/23" frame for a custom build. Settled on the ElRey and have never looked back. Solid in so many aspects. Inspires so much confidence in how I ride. Continually amazes me at what it will plow through/over. Like most 29ers, you wrestle the size of the wheels and bike in slow, twisty maneuvers. If you're looking for a solid clydsdale frame, check out the ElRey.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Perry Lake

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Similar Products Used:   Fisher Xcal, Stumpy FSR

Bike Setup:   Full XT drivetrain, XT brakes, Stans Arch/XT hubs, Fox 32 F29RLC 100mm front, RP23 rear, King headset, Thomson stem/seatpost

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by alangreenbaum a Cross Country Rider from Atlanta Georgia

Date Reviewed: June 13, 2010

Strengths:    Made in USA, really nice welds and paint

Weaknesses:    none

Bottom Line:   
Very well made and comfortable. Eye candy. All day comfort. Handles light downhill, forest service roads and single track nicely. Nicely balanced. Flickable for a big machine.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Bear Creek

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $3500.00

Purchased At:   Ventana

Bike Setup:   XTR, Fox, Cane Creek Double Barrel

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by torio a Racer from Zurich, Switzerland

Date Reviewed: June 11, 2010

Strengths:    Lateral Stiffness
All around geometry

Weaknesses:    A bit heavy
Stickers are of horrible quality, but who cares

Bottom Line:   
Very nice and funny Bike.
Wide range from XC to All mountain riding.
A little tricky to set up the correct air pressure in the suspensions, but then it's a nice concert!
I love this bike.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Lots of them

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $1200.00

Purchased At:   Sareno Handels CH

Similar Products Used:   no other 29er

Bike Setup:   C29ssmax, Reba race, rp23. 11.8Kg complete

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by schmidt911 a Cross Country Rider from Hong Kong

Date Reviewed: November 15, 2009

Strengths:    I have owned this bike for 16 months and ride it 2-3 times a week. I have been riding and racing mountain bikes for over 14 years and I can say that the El Rey is the best all around bike I have ever owned. Normally when something is good at everything it isn't great at anything. But in the case of this bike this doesn't apply. This bike is super fun to ride, stable, can handle decent downhill duties and climbs as a XC bike should. It can be pushed in turns and is rock solid at speed. The bottom line is that it is a really fun bike to ride in a wide variety of terrains. One last thing, the quality of the construction and finish is as nice as you read from other reviews

Weaknesses:    None really. Stickers are useless, but head badge is nice. The paint although nice when new, faded or I should say lost it's luster, after a year.

Bottom Line:   
Rock solid, can be pushed hard, Climbs well, can be raced when the terrain is tough and over 3 hours, and most importantly to me it is pure fun to throw the leg over this bike and put it through the paces.

If you are in the market for a FS 29er you absolutely cannot go wrong with this bike.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   All of them

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $2100.00

Purchased At:   Slippy Pig (Pheonix,

Similar Products Used:   I have had a stable of every bike under the sun.

Bike Setup:   the way) the With mostly XTR (XT Cranks & Rear Derailuer) and other top line components to include Stans Arch/Swiss DT (another great product by the way) bike comes in at 27 LB for a large frame.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by andig a Weekend Warrior from Texas

Date Reviewed: September 8, 2009

Strengths:    Excellent Frame quality and paint finish. Ideal suspension travel and the rear end feels nice and stiff

Weaknesses:    none other than it took a bit of experimenting to set up the RP23 to my liking (not really a weakness though)

Bottom Line:   
An awesome bike. not cheap with the spec but definitely worth the $$$. Wrench Science did a first rate job of putting it all together as well

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   varied

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $5000.00

Purchased At:   WRENCH SCIENCE

Similar Products Used:   Demo-ed Niner Jet 9 and RIP 9. Both good bikes but i felt that the Jet geometry was a bit too aggressive for the trail riding I do and the RIP a bit too burly. To my mind the El Rey falls nicely between the two and I do think the frame quality and finish is better - but it should be as it is a little more expensive

Bike Setup:   Fox F29 with 15TA, Stans ZTR Arch with Ignitors and King hubs, Truvativ Noir with X9/XO, XT discs, Egg beater Ti"s Thomson post and Easton bars

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by bkndwdz a Cross Country Rider from Bumpass, VA

Date Reviewed: August 10, 2009

Strengths:    Solid frame. No lateral flex.

Weaknesses:    None.

Bottom Line:   
I've been riding a Santa Cruz Superlight for about 6 years. I loved the bike at first, but the better rider I became, the more I realized how much lateral flex the bike had. Started thinking about getting a Racer X, or El Saltamontes, but everyone kept saying: "try a 29er". I tried, and I liked! The El Rey seems to have the best handling of the bikes I test rode. Tight turns, or sweeping runs, it's like riding on a rail. I've been very surprised how well it climbs. It carries much more speed up hills. Of course long climbs will take more energy with the heavier bike and wheels than a 26 inch bike, but the El Rey more than makes up for it everywhere else on the trail. Although I ride fast cross country, I've always been tentative on downhill rocks and logs. The 29er makes all this a non-issue.

On short steep climbs, the El Rey goes over roots, rocks, and holes with no effort. I can get slowed by another rider, just stand on my pedals, then continue much easier than any other bike I've ridden. The most impressive thing about this bike is how it carves the turns. It's like driving a slot car. Point and shoot. No twist or slide. Most other bikes I've ridden would flex and slide, or you'd have to correct your line. The El Rey handles great!

The RP23 shock has plenty of adjustability and with the larger bike, I have it set quite stiff. Very little bob, and yet the ride is still smoother than my Superlight was on a softer setting.

The only upgrade I would suggest is a lighter wheelset for epic rides in the mountains.

It took me 2 years to decide to finally break down and spend the money on a new bike. I bought the right one! If you're looking to get a FS 29er, try the El Rey.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Pocahantas State Park

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $2000.00

Purchased At:   Competitive Cyclist

Similar Products Used:   Demoed Titus Racer X 29er, Specialized Stumpjumper FSR. I liked both bikes, but the El Rey handled the best.

Bike Setup:   Bought the frame and built with Fox fork. Fox RP23 shock. XTR crank, cassette. X9 shifters and ders. Hayes hyd. brakes. Easton EC90 bar, Thompson post. Mavic 719 rims, XT hubs.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by too_tall a Cross Country Rider from Billings, MT

Date Reviewed: May 12, 2009

Strengths:    Super stiff even in the larger frame sizes. Great BB height while still maintaining a relatively low CoG. Semi-custom/custom option gets the fit perfect for those of us who aren't "standard" size. Fantastic support/customer service from Ventana. Beautifully made.

Weaknesses:    Maybe the weight but I'll give up a pound or two for durability and strength - which the bike appears to have gobs of. Ok, none.

Bottom Line:   
It's not fair to compare this bike to the Xcaliber - especially since the Xcaliber frame busted after 1 year. And that was after other non-stop frame/ mechanical/handling issues with the Xcal. I hated it.
The El Rey has been a revelation. I'm 6'7" (all arms and legs) and weigh 210. I ride single track in the rimrocks around Billings 3-5 days a week and approx. 45-70 miles/week. It's been in snow, ice, mud, sand, loose gravel, hardpack, rock gardens, technical, climbs of all types, and rolling terrain. It handles it all better (way better in some cases) than my '08 Stumpy Expert. It rolls the technical stuff much more easily, sticks on steep climbs great, and absolutely smokes on the flats and downhills. The fact the bike fits me perfectly (for the first time ever) may help, too!
It is definitely a different ride as turns at speed need to be set-up earlier. It will just rail through turns when you do this. Momentum is your friend with this bike and once you figure that out the technical stuff is way easier to deal with. None of that is bad in any way, it's just a different technique than a 26er. I put wider bars on the bike and that has helped with steering in the technical stuff too. The longer Zinn cranks have absolutely no clearance issues and seem to have made the gearing feel equal or even lower than on the Stumpy, which is geared exactly the same. Changing the forks from 120mm to 100mm made a very big difference. The ride was a little less plush but it seriously improved the bike's efficiency. Even with the suspension on full plush, pedal bob is minimal and gone when the RP-23 is locked out.
No matter what your physical size or build is, if you're thinking of a 29er, you can't go wrong with this bike. If you're a taller rider, this really is "The King". Theresa or Sherwood (builder) at Ventana will always answer the phone and any questions you have and are super friendly and helpful. Get Leif Fleming at Wrench Science to help you put a package together and build it. That guy has all the answers and is amazingly patient.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Rims

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $1995.00

Purchased At:   Wrench Science

Similar Products Used:   Fisher Xcaliber (Gen 1)

Bike Setup:   Semi-custom 23" frame, X-9, Avid CR brakes, Wood BB, King headset, RP-23, RockShox Team 29 (100mm), 4" rocker, Mavic 719 rims, tubeless Spesh Control tires, Zinn 195mm cranks, and so on.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by tngabs a Cross Country Rider from North Carolina

Date Reviewed: May 2, 2009

Strengths:    Stiff, Handling, Ride, Most important-Absolutely NO BOB

Weaknesses:    Nothing Noted

Bottom Line:   
Thinking about a 29er but unsure? This bike will make you sure.
I rode the Pivot and really wanted to like that bike, coming off of a Titus I like Cochalis work, but it was kinda dead feeling to me. I then threw a leg over the V and HUGE difference. Immediatly I started searching for one.
I built it up and really took my time getting it dialled in. Very good climber, handles extremely well.
If you ride a 26 don't be intimidated like I was. This thing steers, turns and rolls much better than 26.
I am 5'8" and went with a Large-perfect fit.
Definately test ride if you can before spending the cash, but you will NOT be disappointed.
One of only 3 bikes I've ridden in last 17 years MTB that I would say is Awesome. The others: C'Dale Raven, Norco Rize and El Rey. I purchase a bike and plan to ride it hard for at least 4-5 years. Cheers

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   None Specific

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $2500.00

Purchased At:   MTBR

Similar Products Used:   Pivot Mac429

Bike Setup:   Bontrager Wheels, XTR and Avid Mix, RS Fork, RP 23 shock

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by warton a Cross Country Rider from jermyn pa

Date Reviewed: February 23, 2009

Strengths:    better traction and stability than a 26er....fits me better than all my other bikes...they are all xl...also seems to turn better than my 26ers....definatly will have you climbing technical sections that you can't climb on your 26er...i have a ventana x-5 that has three hard seasons of trail riding on it and the rear suspension bearings (quad option) still don't have any play in them and they are just as smooth as when they were new.....i assume these bearings on the el rey will also last....

Weaknesses:    can't think of any but have only had the bike for a couple of weeks.... oh yeh, the price... they are not cheap but you pay for quality...

Bottom Line:   
i thought my x-5 was a great bike till i rode the el rey..maybe because i am tall that the 29er just seems to fit me much better... no more wandering front end when the climbs get really x-5 desends very good but the el rey is just as good... big wheels definatly roll over roots,logs, rocks, everything much the el rey is about 4 lbs lighter coming in at around 30.5 lbs...but if accelerates and feels alot lighter than the x-5...i have to admit though that the 2.2 nevs on the el rey probably turn alot easier than the 2.5 diesel contis on my x-5... its amazing that the thinner 2.2 29er tires absorb trail obsticals just as well as the larger 2.5 26 inch tires...i read where the gearing on a 29er is taller so it should be harder to turn the pedals over in the same gear compaired to a 26 inch bike.... but i find myself actually climbing one gear higher on the el rey compaired to the x-5...i'd say this is a good bike for anyone looking for an all mountain trail bike... probably not heavy duty enough for jumping but well equipt for technical xc riding... even the most technical rock gardens.... and light enough to enter your local xc race....

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   prompton

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Purchased At:   ventana bikes

Similar Products Used:   gary fisher sugar in xl size
gary fisher mt tam ...xl
ventana x-5 in xl with 5 inch rockers and also 6 inch

Bike Setup:   fox f29 100mm
magura louise brakes
chris king head set
quad bearing option
nevegal 2.2 tires
rp23 rear shock
wtb lasar disc lite wheelset
thomson stem 8 degree rise and thomson straight seat post
carbon 25mm riser handlebar

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Salty Dog a Racer from Phoenix, Arizona, USA

Date Reviewed: January 21, 2009

Strengths:    Balance, stability, climbing and stiffness.

Weaknesses:    A bit on the heavy side, and powder coating is hard to repair once it's scratched - but it's a beautiful Cosmic Orange.

Bottom Line:   
Great bike for overall XC racing. 19 inch frame is sweet in it's stiffness and climbing. The Fox RP23 shock is the best I've ever used and the lockout feature is absolutely the best for our rocky and wash burdened trails in Arizona.

I haven't had this bike on Phil's World yet, but will be running it during the 12 Hours of Mesa Verde again in May. I can't wait to ride this bike on the Rib Cage!

This is a great bike for the intermediate to expert racer. The price was for the frame, only and did not include the shock upgrade.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Phil's World, Cortez, CO USA

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $1400.00

Purchased At:   Ventana Bikes

Similar Products Used:   Kona Unit 2 9 - hardtail.

Bike Setup:   Mostly XT drive train, Sram Gripshift, Mavic 719 wheels, Specialized Fast Trak tires (tubeless with Stan's strips), Monkeylite bar

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by FATTRAXX a Weekend Warrior from Arizoan

Date Reviewed: December 20, 2008

Strengths:    rear end stiffness makes for a flex free ride.
climb's anything the legs & lungs can handle.
makes you a better rider,both up and down!

Weaknesses:    i waited to long to buy one.should have been the first 29er i purchased.

Bottom Line:   
fantastic bike!a great do-it-all bike.has handled everything i've thrown at it with no problems.
highly reccommended

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   willow canyon system

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Similar Products Used:   gf 292

Bike Setup:   all components from the gf292.thompson laid-back post.

Reviews 1 - 15 (27 Reviews Total) | Next 15

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating