Enter the new Guardian 29er. The Guardian utilizes the same hydroformed 6061 Aluminum frame as the first-generation (green) Goblin, as well as the same Airborne handlebar, stem, seatpost, Small Block 8 tires, and Selle San Marco Saddle. What did we change? The fork is the new RockShoc XC28 TK Mg29, complete with Preload Adjustment, Rebound Adjustment, and Turnkey Lock-Out. The drivetrain is SRAM X5 shifters and RD in 3x9 configuration. The cranks are Truvativ E400's. And lastly we changed the wheelset out to a more-than-capable Weinmann Disc-Bull double-walled and eyeletted wheelset.
The Guardian is, as Airborne professes, their budget-minded hartail 29er XC offering. It consists of a hydroformed 6061 aluminum frame equipped to a RockShox XC28 fork (3? of travel with lockout), SRAM X3 & X5 drivetrain (27 gears- 3×9) and Tektro Auriga hydraulic disc brakes. Like the upper classmen in Airborne’s line (like the two Goblin 29er models), the Guardian uses the same in house branded bar, stem and seatpost as well as the quality Selle San Marco saddle and Kenda Small Block 8 tires. Cranks are Truvativ E400s and Weinmann Disc-Bull Continue reading →
Strengths: Outstanding value on a 29er, can't find better components for the price, quality fork, excellent customer service, well-built and well-thought out bike. Lifetime warranty on frame. Durable frame and parts you can really grow on. Not just for beginners but easy to upgrade.
Weaknesses: Heavy at 30 pounds. 3x9 drivetrain with front derailleur that really isn't good for much.
Overall, this is the best value for a 29er in this price range. Go ahead and shop around. I did, and this is the bike I purchased. You just can't beat the components and customer service. This is such a well put together bike. The guys at Airborne are mountain bikers who design, test and sell and service their bikes. If you know basic bike maintenance and have access to some tools and youtube, this is a good choice.
Great components like hydraulic brakes, Rockshox coil fork and X5 derailleurs. The Guardian rides very well in stock form. I've been riding off-road for about 20 years now, but wanted to make the switch to a 29er. With a very limited budget, I took my time and shopped around. The Guardian was a no-brainer for me. It's taken the beatings I have dished out very well. It rolls right over stumps, rocks, roots, and requires little maintenance. The fork made the ride pretty cushy and didn't complain even on the hilly, technical singletrack that I ride. The shifters performed well after some minor tuning out of the box and the wheels held up to my constant bombardment.
Airborne customer service is second to none. These guys won't BS you or try to sell you something that won't work for you. They are mountain bikers who also sell bikes. In fact, if you call during lunch you might have to leave a message because they are out riding! Give them a call if you are considering one of their bikes and they will answer any questions.
This is a heavy bike, no way around it. I did my first XC race using the Guardian, and while training for the race, I really felt the bike was holding me back. But for $600, I didn't expect a 25 pound bike. The front derailleur is ok, but tough to tune. It's ok for if you're first starting out, but I've never had much use for a FD anyway, so I just took it off and converted to 1x9.
If you've never had hydraulic brakes before, they do require some occasional maintenance. I had to bleed mine because they were rubbing the rotors. After that, they performed very well.
Other reviewers mentioned they had trouble with the fork because of weight. I'm pretty average weight (170 lbs) and never had an issue with the fork. It's mildly tunable with lockout and rebound control and performed very well until I eventually upgraded to a Reba which knocked a couple of pounds off the total weight.
Overall, this is an amazing bike for the price. It's a great choice if you haven't tried a 29er yet and are semi-handy with tools. Compare to Specialized Rockhopper Comp at your local bike shop.
Weaknesses: Fork is not great for heavier riders. Front derailleur.
This is a great bike and a great value. The fork is probably a fine value for lighter riders, but I had to upgrade it because of my size. Really more my problem than the bikes. built on the same frame as the original Goblin, its a great place to start if you like doing your own upgrades. X4 front derailleur was a little problematic but a swapped on an X9 I found cheap and all is well. I looked at a lot of similar bikes and nothing in this price range comes close.
Weaknesses: Fork(for anyone over 225#). Seat, again, anyone heavy.
I love my guardian. especially with my fork upgrade. the brakes are great for low buck. the geometry is a little to XC for me, but my 100mm fork helped with that. You will be hard pressed to find a ready to ride bike, this well spec'd, at this price! Airborne's customer service is stellar, and they are happy to help you! Give em a try!