Airborne Goblin XC 29er Hardtail

4.55/5 (20 Reviews)
MSRP : $1199.95


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Product Description

Airborne's new hardtail 29er. When we introduced the Goblin last year, we knew we had a winner on our hands almost immediately. The praise that the Goblin received from magazines, blogs, forums, and customers has been overwhelming, as have the sales. The Goblin has been our darling bike here at Airborne as its success made us feel like we'd finally "arrived". After months of hard work, sleepless nights, and ride testing we are pleased to introduce the new Airborne Goblin. We've kept the same formula as the last Goblin in regards to the 6000 series Aluminum frame, the bulletproof X7 2x10 complete groupset and the workhorse Reba RL fork. However, we've also made some changes that improve an already great bike. Hydroformed frame with tapered HT, RockShox Reba RL lockout fork, full SRAM X7 2x10 drivetrain, Elixir 7 hydraulics, WTB wheelset.


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Reviews 1 - 15 (20 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by s0ul_chicken a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: August 21, 2013

Strengths:    A great value for the money! I spent two days researching the components that came on this bike, and found that if each component was purchased new, I would have spent well over 1500 bucks MINUS the frame, bars, and seat/seatpost. You really couldn't piece together a bike any cheaper unless you bought all used components.
The bike comes 90% assembled, no need to worry about bleeding brakes or getting the driveline dialed in - put the front tire on, the handlebars and seatpost and you are ready to ride!
Reba RockShox - Avid Elixir 7 brakes - SRAM X7 drivetrain all work beautifully together.
Customer support is outstanding, I had several questions before and after purchase and was pleased when I received fast and courteous responses from Eric at Airborne. The satisfaction guarantee is also a big plus - nice to know that if there are issues with the purchase, I can always send it back.


Weaknesses:    Only weakness' I see is some of the parts that people change out anyway. The seat is a bit tough, and the grips (for me) feel weird. The tires are terrible in sand, but great on the hard-pack and slick-rock. Again, one of those things that can be easily changed out to accomodate the trails in your area. Right now I just plan to run them bald and start dropping the air pressure to get some grip. Be sure to pick up a Lizard Skin for the chain-stay as there is plenty of chain-slap to go around if your local trails are rough.

Bottom Line:   
The bike is beautiful, rides VERY smooth for being a hardtail, and I cannot stop grinning from ear to ear when riding it. I have people stop and stare at the bike and ask me all kinds of questions and tell me how nice the bike is. Shifting is smooth, the Reba fork is plush, and the brakes are incredible. If you are even considering a new bike and still have a bit of a budget concern, Airborne is a company to put at the top of the list. Reading all the reviews at MTBR for this bike was a huge help in my decision making, and one that I am not regretting one tiny bit. I have the bike up to 75 miles, and it is still flawless. I wake up everyday to go to work, but all I really want to do is get on the Goblin and go for a ride - it is really, all I think about all day (don't tell the Mrs...)! Hands down, one of the BEST purchases I have ever made, and will probably order my full suspension from them when the time comes.
Ordering and Assembly - If you are unsure about the fitment, have your measurements ready and simply call Airborne and ask them any questions you may have. They are extremely knowledgable and will help you out when it comes to the right bike. Be sure to have it sent where you will be the day of delivery as well, which takes about five business days, as they will not leave your bike on the front porch without a signature. Putting the bike together was a snap, and took less time than unpacking the bike itself. The air pressure in the tires are very low, and will look wobbly when you give the wheel a spin. All you will need to do is set the bead by pumping the tire up to 60-70 PSI and they will true up. I only add these two items as these were issues that came up for me. All in all, I am very pleased with my purchase and wouldn't hesitate to buy from them again. Great value, awesome bike, and 5:30 just won't get here fast enough for me to get back on my Goblin and hit the trails!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Alien Run

Price Paid:    $1199.00

Purchased At:   Airborne Bicycles

Bike Setup:   All stock.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by cjeffcampbell a Weekend Warrior

Date Reviewed: August 14, 2013

Strengths:    lockout fork is great. bike flys & makes short work of roots that used to slow/scare me. Componets are a few notches above bikes in the price range.

Weaknesses:    Grips get slippery from rain, sweat, or post water bottle grab (easy replacement). The tire treads have not had enough grip in mud, loose dirt, and even wet road a few times. RD hanger was bent in shipment...Airborne swifty sent replacement and covered repair.

Bottom Line:   
Overall, it was a big change to go from a 26” to a 29er. First off, this bike definitely flew on the trails – the roots that would give me a rattle and slow me down hardly need a thought now. The seat took 50 mi to get used to – certainly some numbness on 10+mi road rides – but is OK now. Beyond getting used to that big front tire in tight turns, the fork is the biggest highlight. Love the Reba lock out feature as I easily go from dirt to road with an on-the-fly adjustment and have fun playing with the air pressure, lockout notches, and watching the red ring (instructions on ideal sag would have been nice). Clears obstacles and rocks with ease where I would have been nervous on my previous 26” Rockhopper. No doubt in my mind that the components are superior to bikes in the price range and the Gobiln is an overall value. Wish i could have tried the 18" vs. 20" somehow as i was in between sizes.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Lake Norman State Park, NC

Duration Product Used:   4 mo./150 miles

Price Paid:    $1275.00

Purchased At:   Online

Similar Products Used:   2006 Specialized Rockhopper 26"

Bike Setup:   stock + SPD pedals

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Seph a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: August 2, 2013

Strengths:    Awesome value - I couldn't come close to the same component selection and ride quality with any of the bikes from the major manufacturers. The frame is excellent quality, with decent paint and clean welds through out. I'm still getting used to the 2x10 shift pattern, but the derailleurs both shift cleanly and precisely. The brakes are excellent (much more modulation than the Avid Juicys on my Santa Cruz).

Weaknesses:    Some of the Airborne brand name parts aren't the best quality. The value is still great, but they still have to save some money somewhere. I swapped out the handlebars and seat post clamp immediately - both pieces are WAY to heavy for this quality of bike. The stem will be next, followed by the seatpost. The wheels will be upgraded when my wallet recovers. They are all function, but it's a cheap(ish) way to save some weight and add some more durability.

Bottom Line:   
I'm loving the bike. This is my 1st 29er and my 1st hardtail in 15+ years, so I'm still getting used to the ride, but I'm loving it on every trail.

I hesitate to call it a weakness, but I can't really recommend this bike for a newbie rider or a rider without some decent mechanical skills. If you can turn a wrench and have any skills adjusting a bike, the out-of-box set up is quick and easy. If you're not 100% comfortable assembling a bike, pay the extra $$$ and have your local bike shop do the job.

Expand full review >>

Similar Products Used:   2011 Santa Cruz Nickel, 1999 Santa Cruz Heckler, Specialized M4 Stumpjumper, and 25+ years worth of other road and mountain bikes.


Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by tonetonitony a All Mountain Rider

Date Reviewed: July 24, 2013

Strengths:    Firm chasis, Price, Components, Fork, wheels, Seat...pretty much everything.

Weaknesses:    Fork 'chatter' at DH speeds....and where the tapered headset meets the top/down tube seems alittle funky and not on par with higherend frame designs.

Bottom Line:   
My background: been riding 26ers for 20 years, full and hardtail, trail/XC/AM riding, dable in races occassionally. I do between 12-18 mile rides 2-3x a week. I buy bikes that have excellent value and dont purchase bikes because their trendy and what everyone else uses.

Which brought me to AIRBORNE.

One of the hardest things in the world is to buy something without trying it...especially when it comes to MTB, that r so different accross the spectrum. Read, the reviews out there...they will help form an opinion. Also, get out there and ride demos....i mean really ride to see what u like the most. I had the opportunity to demo Specialized S-works HT 29er, Specialized Epic FSR 29er, Trek Superfly Elite and lower end bike like diamondback Mason HT 29er.

I discovered I really like the 29er HT configuration and really appreciated the agility and response of a 26er HT.

Enter the AIRBORNE GOBLIN 29er.

Geometry....The riding position feels like youre inside the bike rather then on top. The bottom bracket is located .5-1" lower to the ground. While this surely helps with lowering the center of gravity it also directly translates into more pedal strikes with objects and while turning at speed. Rotors also seem to get wet more then a 26er. I dont love or hate the geometry.

The fork responds superbly to drops and big hits while smoothing out progressive bumps. I do get alot of 'chatter' at top speed going down hill...which translates too less feedback at the controls, especially if trying to brake. I believe this is mostly my not having tuned the fork for my wieght yet (165#)

Gearing...I love the 2x10 drivetrain. The chainteeth they paired with the new drivetrain is flawless. I rode this bike through the hard stuff the first month i had it and never felt like i needed another gear. The Goblin climbs very well as long as you dont come to the point where your grinding out in the large granny gear. It becomes unstable and hard to control....(u will learn not to follow your buddy to close in the technical stuff as this is the only thing that will cause you to slow down when you knows its not a good idea too.)

Ive heard people complain about the seat and foam-ish hand grips. Its true the hand grips do get crazy slippery when wet - if your not wearing gloves. Who dosent wear gloves? I actually love the seat, maybe best seat ive ever owned. Ive had other people say how much they liked the seat as well. Its amazing.

SRAM components.... I have 3 other bikes, all 26er and all with Sram x7 level components. Obviously i like what they make and am bias. IMO, they are value priced components that give a smooth precise feel consistantly and will take a substantial amount of abuse. XO feels like a refinement on an already stellar product. Feels like they added some ball bearings to what otherwise might have sealed bearing races. Overall the same feel just more refined and crisp. (Kinda like 2.5# trigger pull compared to a 4# trigger pull on a fire control group, feels about the same just more refined)

Wheels feel exquisite and are much lighter then i expected for such a big hoop. I immediately made them tubeless...which i feel is mandatory to help with the stiffness of a HT. I would have some reservations with these wheels if I were a heavier rider. These hoops could use a wheel truing after a month of hard riding...but these are not the heavier duty rim that 'black flag' , but the race version so i expected to have to tighten them after a months use. But I expect to not have the same issue again after the initial break-in.

Brakes are what id expect from a hydrualic system. Ive put close to 100 miles on this rig so far and the pads/rotors seem to not have bee "fully bedded" yet. Strikes me as odd...they work fine but theres a slight audible sqeual that i dont have on other bikes. Read above where the rotors get wet more often then a 26er. Pretty sure the problem lies there.

Weight is neither heavy nor light...somewhere right in the middle. I cant imagine getting much skinnier while using an aluminum frame. Which BTW, AIRBORNE has powder coated for durability.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Patapsco

Duration Product Used:   5 weeks

Price Paid:    $2300.00

Purchased At:   airborne direct

Similar Products Used:   Trek superfly, Giant XTC

Bike Setup:   stock

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by JEFF HAVARD

Date Reviewed: July 16, 2013

Strengths:    You can't beat the components for the price! Goblin rides better than my Higher end bike! Very impressed!

Weaknesses:    Paint chip the size of a pea when shipped! Airborne did refund the shipping because of the chip! Great customer service!

Bottom Line:   
I bought this bike for my brother birthday. He loves this bike! And I will agree with him! The Goblin rides and handles amazing! I am so impressed with the Goblin, I will be adding a Goblin XO to my collection! :-)

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by rick5587 a Weekend Warrior

Date Reviewed: June 6, 2013

Strengths:    Value and Quality. You won't find a another bike with this level of components for even close to the same price.

Weaknesses:    I can't find any.

Bottom Line:   
Upgraded my $500 Giant bike to the point where the only thing left to upgrade was the drive train. When I saw how much it would cost to upgrade I decided it was time to find a better bike. Did as much research as possible for the best value and components and ended up with this - 2013 version. Day after I purchased a friend tested it and also purchased. Been out on a few rides so far and it is night and day difference compared to my old bike. The trails are much more fun than they have ever been. My next bike down the road will probably be from them as well.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by MysticRI a Weekend Warrior

Date Reviewed: April 28, 2013

Strengths:    The components cannot be beat for the price on this 2013 (version 2) Goblin. The Reba fork is great, takes all the bumps you can give it. The SRAM gearset shifts clean and fast under load. The bike feels very stable. No brake issues so far.

Weaknesses:    The seat is harder than i'm used to but I didn't have much issue with it. I won't change it out. The 29" wheels feel a little sluggish on the turns.

Bottom Line:   
Overall i'm very happy with this bike. I came from a 2004 Trek 4500. I love the jump up to a 29er, i don't think i'll ever go back. I was a little leary buying online but not any more. The bike comes very well packed and 95% assembled, you just need to install the handle bar and the seatpost.

The only change I plan on making for now is swapping out the handle bar for a better personal feel.

You cannot beat this bike on price. I was looking at a 2013 Specialized Carve comp 29er. The Specialized was $1550 and had lower components for every part. This bike was a deal!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Fells(MA)

Duration Product Used:   1 Month

Price Paid:    $1200.00

Purchased At:   Online

Similar Products Used:   2004 Trek 4500

Bike Setup:   Stock

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by jacklikesbeans a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: April 17, 2013

Strengths:    Beautiful bike, excellent parts for money spent, super easy to unpack and ride, loves to go fast, easy to control.

Weaknesses:    The seat is pretty bad (I feel like I need a butt transplant). Feels heavy (didn't ride heavy at all).

Bottom Line:   
This is my first "new" mountain bike. I've previously been riding an older steel Specialized Hardrock 26er. I shopped extensively to find the best deal I could and the Goblin on paper was a no brainer. Unpacking the bike was easy and I was struck with how dang sexy this bike is. After 15 minutes it needed to have the brakes realigned and some of the shifting dialed in but that wasn't a problem at all.

First ride: There was a bit of a learning curve moving from Shimano 3x7 to Sram 2x10. The trail was exceptionally rooty and the combination of the aluminum hardtail frame and butt hatchet seat made it feel like I went to prison and lost... A new seat and working on my riding position should help tremendously.

This being my first trail ride on a 29er I expected to have poor control over the bike and steering through turns but it was effortless and easy. I was also amazed at how this bike would pick up and hold speed exceptionally well.

All in all this was an excellent bike from an excellent company!

Expand full review >>

Price Paid:    $1199.00

Bike Setup:   Wellgo MG1

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by WineDine29er

Date Reviewed: April 17, 2013

Strengths:    SRAM X7 drivetrain is super smooth, Reba RL fork soaks up everything, beautiful frame (welds look great and paint is very attractive). Customer service is superb.

Weaknesses:    NONE whatsoever....some people may be hesitating to purchase an online bike because they are unsure that they can assemble it. However, Airborne ships this bike to you (packed very well) mostly assembled. You just have to throw on the seat/bars and fine tune things. Anyone can do this with the help of some youtube videos about how to fine tune Derailleurs.

Bottom Line:   
I absolutely love this bike....best 1,200 bucks I've ever spent...It is very refreshing to see a company such as Airborne that offers great quality, excellenct customer service, and low prices. Don't be intimidated with the thought of having to fine tune the bike upon delivery, you can do it! Airborne's competition is offering equal or lower quality products for much higher prices. Do yourself a favor, order an Airborne bike, you will have no regrets.

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

Date Reviewed: February 8, 2013

Strengths:    low cost amazing components try finding any 29er hardtail with elixir 7 X7 2x10 sram and dual air reba fork all for this price there is nothing else out there also its rides great for the value cant beat it

Weaknesses:    waiting for it to come in the mail, and waiting for weekends to go ride it

Bottom Line:   
this is my favorite bike out of my collection of 6 but it was not all happy and dandy. i ordered the bike on a tuesday it arrived that saturday morning i put it together in about 15 min went to pump up my air shock and the shock would not hold air. My LBS would not work with me because i did not buy it from them and what not so i called airborne and Eric helped me out on monday. he was able to get me another reba in on the following friday from rock shox that works very well and i sent back the bad shock no extra cost due to warranty but what this shows is that airborne will help you out and do what they need to do to make sure you enjoy your bike i am not part of airborne just a really appreciative customer, ive dealt with many other companies on similar issues and no-one was as helpful and quick as airborne. Take advantage of the deal while its hear and trust me you will be impressed and very satisfied.

Expand full review >>

Price Paid:    $1247.00

Purchased At:   airbornebicycles.com


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by coppertop

Date Reviewed: February 2, 2013

Strengths:    full SRAM X7 2x10 drivetrain shifts smooth with minimal effort. Rock Shox Teba RL lockout fork which can be incrementaly adjusted. Hydraformed frame. Avid Elixir 7 hydralic brakes. Tasteful yet cool graphics on frame. If I just stop there you should be sold. Now it's only $1200. Some people consider the online only purchase option as a negative, and it could be, but Airborne's customer service is the hidden jewel of this brand. If you have a problem just call their number and you will talk to a "person" whose a tech with lots of knowledge on the bike.

Weaknesses:    none for the price. Ok the saddle might as well be a brick for all the comfort it offers. But no bike mfg specs a bike with a good saddle. It's such a personal preference item. Plus I might just have a extra sensative rump. My other issue is the color option. Henry Ford would be proud of the Airborne Goblin. You can have any color you want as long as it's black. I happen to like the black but others may be put off by it. I know offering one color lowers the sku count and helps out on pricing. I'm just saying. Plus black goes with everything so you can bling your bike with just about any color.

Bottom Line:   
I am a novice mountain biker who was looking for an entry level bike that I could ride stock. After finding Airborne initially looked at the Gaurdian, but after reading many reviews here decided to part with the extra cash and ordered the Goblin. NO BUYERS REMORSE!!!! Bottom line I love this bike. Somehow Airborne shipped me a returned bike. Someone grabbed a box from the wrong shelf. Mistakes happen. Plus FedEx was very rough with the box. After unwrapping noticed the derailer hanger was bent. And here's where I go from a review about the Goblin and get to a Review on Airborne. Like I said mistakes happen but customer service is about fixing mistakes. I called Airborne and they immediately offered to pick the damaged bike up and send another one. Wow! They ended up offering me a discount on the bike I had and sent a replacement hanger but it was my choice. I'll tell you this now after seeing the bike in person there was no way I was shipping it back and waiting for another. No take-backs Airborne. I also received some sweet swag (hat, stickers, shop shirt, water bottles and PEDALS) I'm such a w*%@# for swag. Through it all Eric was great. But again he had me at you can choose to keep the bike! Bottom line is I love this bike and if my son would stop ridiculing me for loving Airborne so much I would buy him a gaurdian.

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

Date Reviewed: January 19, 2013

Strengths:    Price...components you get for a bike at this price range..Reba Fork..Customer Service is top notch..the geometry..I understand this is a personal preference thing but for me it was spot on.. I have the New Goblin..black.

Weaknesses:    I thought the wheels would be but they seem decent enough..a tad heavy..I replaced with Sun Ringle Black Flag..

Bottom Line:   
First i have heard several people slam Airborne has a overpriced Huffy..I could care less..if Mattel made bikes like this for the price range I would scoop one up..I own 2 Cannondales and could are less who owns Cannondale. I bought this bike after deciding to try a 29er..none of the LBS had a bike specd out like this at this price range..I emailed Airborne,,,called Airborne..they answered all calls and emails promptly...I bought the bike...it was shipped and received in three days..I assembled the bike in around 20 minutes..I road the bike down the street..it shifted great and everything worked as it should..I took the bike to a LBS just to make sure everything was good..they made a few minor adjustments to the drive train and it was good to go..I know the mechanic there and he did not charge me and said I got a great deal and said he was impressed with the geometry of the bike...

I rode it..it climbs great...is stiff...and one thing I had heard about this bike is that it wants to go fast..it does..and it likes to hold that speed..I own several bikes from Cannondale...Specialized and Trek and this bike is as good as a few of the other bikes I have with the big names on them..I have a few carbon frames and if Airborne ever does a carbon frame I will be stoked..it is not just the bike..the bike is an awesome value for the money...the customer service is top notch...

I have to give this bike top marks because of the value for the money...I am glad they put oem wheels on it as most riders end up getting after market wheels anyway...I can not gripe about the saddle...handle bar..stem or seat post as I change them out on every bike I buy anyway..I am in the process of swapping all these out right now for FSA Carbon stuff..and another saddle...once again personal preference.. that leaves the Sram X7 stuff...excellent stuff and works great..when something breaks I will use x9 stuff to replace it..I prefer Sram..I would recommend this bike to any of my friends..I so dig the hard tail 29er as I still like the 26er HTs...you can tell the guys at Airborne put some thought into this bike and really want to provide a quality product at a price that is affordable...if they continue on this track this will bot be my last Airborne..

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Eddy H

Date Reviewed: December 9, 2012

Strengths:    You really can't get a better group set for the money. Handles very well and felt fast.

Weaknesses:    None for the money

Bottom Line:   
Prior to ever riding the New Goblin, I upgraded the wheels to Crest Wheelset and changed a couple of parts. IE Stem, bars, and seat... but mainly for my own comfort. The bike was packaged very well and only needed minor adjustment. I feel faster on this new rocket over my old bike, Giant Anthem X2. I will update the review later, once I get some miles on the Goblin.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Bob Manipis a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: October 20, 2012

Strengths:    This is a great bike. I just purchased the new Goblin. This is my fifth hard tail and without a doubt one of the best handling I have had. The components for the money is hard to beat. I am a smaller rider so the new re-designed top tube for the 16" frame fits me very good. Took it out for its maiden journey today and it handles the wet roots and rocks very well. There are not too many bikes in this price range (or even a a few hundred dollars more) that I am aware of that will handle as well as this bike. Also, I want to put a plug in for Eric at Airborne as he was excellent at getting back to me on any questions I had. So far so good and I can't wait to take it to Tiger Mtn so I can see how faster I will be on the descents.

Weaknesses:    None for the price. I will upgrade some of the stock components over time to lower the weight.

Bottom Line:   
Great bike, great price, and fantastic customer service from Airborne. Hard to beat. I will post another review (if I remember) after a few more months of riding for an update.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Any

Duration Product Used:   Less than a week

Purchased At:   Aurborne Bicycles

Similar Products Used:   GT Zaskar Expert, GT Avalanche 1.0, Haro Ally SS (29er)

Bike Setup:   Stock

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by StuartF

Date Reviewed: July 23, 2012

Strengths:    You can't come close to this component set for this price. Great fork, full X7, and Elixir R brakes to name a few. 2x10 setup gives the right amount of flexibility without being overcomplicated.

Weaknesses:    Weight. Headset came to me real loose and I'm having trouble getting it tight enough. Saddle and grips leave a lot to be desired as far as contact points go. First impression is the bike is very stiff.

Bottom Line:   
Let's get the bad stuff out of the way first, then we can concentrate on the good stuff. The weight, especially in the wheelset, is very noticeable. But if you look at all the other $1150 29ers out there, the weight is actually much less than the direct competition. The headset shipped very loose. Any kind of QA/QC on Airborne's part should have caught this. The Elixir R controls feel plastic-ish, much more so than the entry-level Tektro's on my cheap 26. And after 2-3 hours worth of shakedown cruises, the ride is surprisingly stiff. I'm still playing with fork and tire pressure to help soften it up, but that's my first impression.

On to the good stuff...my goal with this bike is to imitate a Stumpjumper Comp 29 HT I rented in northern Michigan a few weeks/month ago. It was my first experience on a 29er and I absolutely 'got it' right off the bat. The things that stood out on the stumpy were the climbing prowess and the weight (25-26lbs) as well as the pliability of the ride. There were no jarring bumps on the Stumpy my first time out. The problem is that I didn't want to part with $2200.

My entry-level 26" is an Airborne and has been very solid while I've been new to the sport over the last year. With that in mind, I started my research with the Goblin. After reading all the positive reviews, I set about trying to match or beat the alum frame and spec'd components for the price and couldn't even come close...and that's no exaggeration. So I settled on the Goblin with the idea of shedding 2.5-3.0 lbs. I found a smoking deal on some Black Flag Expert rims and run the Kenda SB8's tubeless to pick up most of that weight difference. I swapped out the stock 640mm bar with a Crank Bros Cobalt 3 680mm for a little extra leverage turning that big new front wheel. I swapped out the stock stem and seatpost with Cobalt 3 replacements as well. That whole Cobalt 3 package weighs in much less than the stock spec'd items. I also swapped out the saddle with my own preferred Charge saddle which just happens save a few grams as well. All of these changes brought me in right at $1750 for the total package. Once I sell the components I replaced, I expect to be in it for around $1550 total which is better than I originally expected.

I usually run my tire pressures pretty high because I'm a big guy and I like to keep my rolling resistance low. Starting out at higher tire pressures, and putting 130 psi in the fork per the RockShox spec, the ride has been very stiff, almost jarring, on my first few cruises. I'm starting to reduce tire pressure and soften the fork to see if I can get the ride closer to what I liked with the Stumpy. Weight and climbing prowess are equal and/or better than expected with the changes. The headset is still coming loose during every ride so I've got to figure out a permanent fix. I'm not a trained mechanic. I'm a do-it-yourself'er with most things so I'm learning by trial and error...and Youtube. I'm giving the SB8's a solid chance, but I'm not sold on them yet. They seem to be drifting pretty good in sandy and gravel corners, but I'm not sure I've got my weight positioned correctly over the new bike just yet. The Elixir R levers feel plasticky to me and flex a little too much in my opinion. I'll tinker with them and make sure they are bled and adjusted perfectly before making a final verdict. X7 drivetrain is stellar. Shifters, front and rear derailleurs, and crankset are all solid and feel great right out of the box, no adjustment necessary. I haven't tested the limits of the 80mm fork yet and don't think I will. I like the flexibility and adjust-ability of the fork and have no doubt I can get it dialed in.

Those notes may sound critical, but overall this bike with the changes I've made is a great mount. And it's very close to the Stumpjumper I loved with about $650 extra dollars in my pocket. It's met and/or exceeded my expectations in almost every way, especially in the value department.

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