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.
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.
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!
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).
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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..
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..
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
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.
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.
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.
Similar Products Used: GT Zaskar Expert, GT Avalanche 1.0, Haro Ally SS (29er)
Bike Setup: Stock
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.
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.
a Cross Country Rider
from Stokesdale, NC
Date Reviewed: January 21, 2012
Strengths: Awesome components for the price. Frame seems stiff but compliant. REBA fork is awesome. Small Block 8 tires are light and roll fast. Staff are knowledgable and actually RIDE!
Weaknesses: Required quite a bit of tuning out of the box. Wheels are functional but heavy however, you can't expect a $600+ set for wheels for this price), the cable routing seems to be exceptionally long and I suspect the housings aren't the best. The SB8 tires are awesome on hardpack, but they are BAD in ice slick NC wet winter clay. I'm replacing them until late spring. My opinion is that setting the fork up for 100mm travel would be best for most people, but it's not too hard to change.
I was trying to decide between a Stumpjumper HT 29er and a Niner custom build when I seen a number of people were buying complete bikes on the internet and swapping the parts to Niner frames as it is cheaper. In looking at potential candidates to rob parts from I ran across the Goblin. It was spec'ed nearly identically to the Stumpy. So I read some reviews and with some reservations I pulled the trigger on an order. Considering it was $1,000 less than the Specialized I'm VERY satisfied with my purchase.
As stated by others, it is best if your are at least somewhat comfortable with doing minor to moderate wrenching. The front deraileur on mine was not mounted correctly and the bike required minor tuning throughout to fuction.
Similar Products Used: Iron Horse Warrior 5.0, Specialized Camber Elite, Trek Superfly HT Elite, Raleigh M80,....
Bike Setup: All stock for now
a Cross Country Rider
from Dayton, Ohio
Date Reviewed: November 19, 2011
Strengths: lightweight, solid components, 29er rules, small block eights awesome in hard pack. X7 drivetrain is smooth and fast acting and Avid Elixir Brakes are dialed in and ready to ride out of the box. The "Kool-Aid Green" bounces on the goblin and is a real head turner with the white accents
Weaknesses: stock wheelset is heavy and sluggish, a few of the components like stem, seatpost and handlebards may need swapped to fit your style or desire.
YOU WILL NOT FIND ANOTHER 29ER UNDER 1200, HELL, UNDER 1500 WITH THIS HIGH LEVEL OF COMPONENTS AND THAT PERFORMS THIS WELL. This is the perfect ride for someone wanting to try out a 29er for the first time but isn't interested in a cheaper rigid single speed. Or this can be a great race day back up bike. I have had this thing on tight technical single track, open fast flowing trails, at Rays MTB Park in Cleveland, and on more technical freeride terrain.
Favorite Trail: MoMBA, MetroParks Mountain Biking Area
Duration Product Used: 1 Year
Purchased At: Direct
Similar Products Used: Gary Fisher Paragon, Redline Monocog, Surly Karate Monkey
Bike Setup: Stock except new powder coated white wheelset, carbon straight bars, thomson seatpost and stem, and new saddle
a Cross Country Rider
from Phoenix, AZ
Date Reviewed: August 27, 2011
Strengths: Great componentry for price. bulletproof drivetrain, fit and finish on par with the big brands. Fun to have and ride around if you want to stand out from the crowd.
Weaknesses: Could always be lighter. Included Small Block 8's are not a one-size-fits-all kind of tire. Need to do some light wrenching to get the bike up and ready to ride. Waiting for the package at your door every day once you click "order".
After years of riding ht 26 it was time for an upgrade. The science of 29ers made sense to me so I made the leap. It can be kind of scary buying a bike online you've never seen before but the company is such a pleasure to work with. I also think the price has gone up $100 since I purchased it, but it is still a great value at that price when compared to anything with comparable componentry,
The bike came needing to be partially assembled. Nothing was too difficult and it took me about 30 minutes to get it all together. The Goblin was a very easy transition to make for me. I felt very comfortable after a short ride at a local trail I've been riding since I started mountain biking.
Not long after purchasing it I took the bike to Moab and had a mostly good experience(I did have some equipment malfunction but that was due to user error/older parts, nothing to do with the bike as it came to me). I could not keep up with my FS 26 and 69 buddies down the really rocky stuff. However, anytime there was a long rocky climb I was good to go. It will roll over everything with confidence and once you get some momentum going its hard to keep from smiling.
I had been considering swapping out the wheels for some Sun Ringle Charger or Black Flag Pros to shed some weight, however I moved out to North Carolina and have since realized I don't really need them. The trails I ride don't have the epic climbs I did out West so the weight is less of a factor. This bike was made for the kind of trails I ride out here. It eats up all the singletrack and roots I have thrown at it. Absolute pleasure to ride. Based on riding out West I was going to give overall 4 chilis, but after riding out East its easily a 5 chili bike.
I definitely recommend swapping the front sb8 to something wider/more aggressive. I've left the rear wheel as an sb8 at about 28-30psi(tubed). I swapped some control stuff for fit(5'11.5" on a Medium, I'm in that gray area for size. L would have worked too) and I think I'm going to switch to a riser bar for a little more relaxed riding position. I saw an article where the reviewer removed a spacer in the Rock Shox fork and extended the travel from 80mm to 100mm which I'm looking into. I still eventually want to buy some tubeless wheels and shed some weight off the bike, but for now I'll save the money while I'm in law school and continue to enjoy. The bike as of right now sits at 27.5 lbs.
Similar Products Used: Klein Pulse, Specialized Rockhopper.
Bike Setup: stock except for Thomsen seatpost, Race Face stem, Ardent 2.4 up front with sb8 in rear.
a Weekend Warrior
from Bradenton, FL
Date Reviewed: May 28, 2011
Strengths: You can't beat the components for the price. Everything is well matched, higher end components for this price point without being a mishmash of high end and low end components.
Out of the box it took 30 minutes to assemble, and everything except the brakes were perfectly dialed in. The Reba fork is butter smooth, and the X7 setup shifts flawlessly. The 2x10 gearing is different than what I'm used to, but I find myself searching for a gear much less frequently. I think it took longer to unpackage the bike than it did to assemble. Love the green color, but I see Trek/Fisher is rolling something similar out for 2012.
The bike just charges through the soft sand here locally when my 26" bike would get swallowed up. My average speed is higher as well.
Weaknesses: As with all mail order bikes, you need to be able to wrench on your own bike or have access to a very understanding bike shop (as in, why didn't you buy from us...) I'm still working on dialing in the Elixir R brakes, as I still have a little rub after truing the calipers, and the rear brake is much softer than the front. I also found the 640mm flat handlebar is much too narrow for my preference, and the stock saddle is rock hard. Granted I haven't been overly sore from the saddle either.
If you find yourself in the situation I did, the Goblin is a great buy. I test rode several bikes that really didn't do much for me, and decided I wanted a Fisher Cobia at this price point from a previous test ride. The problem was, nobody within 100 miles could get me one until the 2012 models hit sometime in August (it is May now). That was just too long for me to wait. Turns out, it was a similar situation for Felt, and Giant. I was left with options that were $500, or $1700. My budget was right at $1200. The team at Airborne was very knowledgeable, and assured me I would love the bike which was true. They even said if I rode it, and didn't like it they would let me ship it back for a full refund. I couldn't argue with that, and the good news is I'm keeping the Goblin! I ended up with much nicer components than the Fisher for the same price, and the frame fit and finish is excellent. If you can get over the "name brand" issues, you will be rewarded with an excellent product and a knowledgeable company backing it up.
Similar Products Used: Specialized Rock Hopper Comp 29er
Bike Setup: Stock w/ Syncros 710mm riser handlebar and caged pedals.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: May 24, 2011
Strengths: Solid geometry...X7 2X10 works really well... unreal value in a bike
Weaknesses: SB8 tires aren't for everyone... Some may feel uneasy about buying a bike online
Full Disclosure: I am lucky enough to be on Airborne's Flight Crew.
That being said, this is a pretty impressive ride. I have no idea how they can pack such a valued punch at this price point. there wouldn't be alot out there to compare to value wise.
The 74 ST and 71.5 HT strikes a great balance between agility and stability...
The only downfall I can see is that some may feel uncomfortable buying a bike site unseen... I wouldn't sweat it, Airborne is always willing to work with you.
Check one out!