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: Most value in a mountain bike for it's price.
Feels very solid
Rides well stock
Weaknesses: Seat can get uncomfortable after a while
Tektro brakes can be difficult to center initially (when removing/installing tire repeatedly)
I've had this bike for 8 months and it has been fantastic. It was my first bike so I am still a newbie, but as a newbie I've been completely satisfied. I am 6'2" and the large fit me just right, but this will vary for anyone. Shipping was fast and it was easy to assemble. All the components have required minimal maintenance (adjusting shifters, brakes, etc) and feel very solid. The X5 shifters feel great and have a very crisp 'clack' sound/feel to each shift. The tektro auriga comp brakes are also firm and easily lock up the wheels. The stock tires (kenda small block 8's) work great on dry hardpack and handle wonderfully on climbs, descents, and sharp turns. Any mud, snow, or gravel causes them to slip all over the place so stick to dry terrain.
I did a 45 mile epic ride last year and the seat got horribly uncomfortable for me, even with cycling shorts. Some folks maybe want to change the seat in the future. The front shock worked fine and soak up the bumps while staying firm pedaling. Even as a newbie I just felt very confident on the bike at all times, and after the epic ride there was no flats or broken parts. The bike is a tank. It's been on the advanced trail at Fountainhead and survived the rocks, roots, drops, etc. I've even taken it on some advanced rock gardens and while my butt hurt the bike performed fine.
If I didn't get a deal on a FS bike I would easily keep this and ride it happily for another year. It is boringly reliable and quick to boot. I think my large weighs in around 27 lbs, most of which could be shed going tubeless and upgrading components. If I had a bit more money to spare I would have gotten the $900 Seeker, which is also a great value. It's a simple, effect, and high quality bike for the money.
Strengths: At this price point, there aren't many bikes out there that compare.
Weaknesses: Swapped out the bar/stem, seat, fork and tires.
I've been mt. biking for almost 25 years and to be honest, after putting it together and setting it up, I almost returned my Guardian 2.0. I'll also add that this is the first bike I have ever purchased over the internet, so I bought their base model instead of the nicer ones. I tried every combination of bar/stem and seat position with the stock components, but was quite disappointed in how it felt and handled. That's the breaks when you buy on the internet, so before I ponied up the cash for returning it and whatever restocking fee I may be charged, I changed out the stem/bar first, and saw some improvement, so I kept it. The Rock Shox XC28 is pretty nice at this price point, and is an ok fork, however it does flex an awful lot. After swapping out the fork, it made the bike shine, but that adds to the overall cost.
I think the stock brakes are great. The Kenda small block tires mine shipped with are ok for hardpack, but the minute it gets greasy or loose, I loose a lot of confidence. Depending on your riding location, you may need to swap out the tires for something more aggressive. They are a fast rolling tire, but those small block tread patterns don't bite too well.
The Guardian is a good entry level XC'er. Ride quality is a very personal thing, so it doesn't really transfer over to everyone. After swapping out the cockpit, it felt like a different bike, and I was much happier. I love it after I swapped out the fork. Be prepared to either learn how to assemble and adjust your bike or pay a bike store to do it. My local store was a little hostile about the fact I bought a bike online, but I don't need them for repairs or adjustments. It comes mostly assembled, and is not difficult to put together. Mine needed a r derailleur adjustment, but that's entirely normal when setting a bike up. There are a bunch of youtube tutorials on how to adjust nearly everything on your bike, start there.
I'd probably buy another Airborne. I haven't used their customer service yet, so I can't comment. I don't really need a DH bike, but if they can come up with something like the Seeker with a slacker HTA or an enduro, I'd be all over it.
Date Reviewed: September 12, 2013
Strengths: Beast of a bike. Solid frame, good components for the money. Holds my Super Clydesdale frame perfectly. So far ,so good.
Weaknesses: Stock seat is rather hard, upgraded immediately. Didn't care for the white break cables with the black/red guardian 2.0, but its a very petty cosmetic issue.
Absolutely love Airborne and their bikes. Definitely a fanboi! I have the Guardian 2.0 and soon as the bike is lifted out of the box you can feel and see the quality of this bike. The frame is solid and the components are excellant for the price point of the bike. I bought this bike to shape up and my next purchase will be definitely from Airborne (Hobgoblin) when the time comes.
I got the 2.0 a month ago. I've been mixing it up on the road and some trails. The fork does a great job of rolling over the roots and handling small drops. Be prepared to make some adjustments on the derailleurs when you assemble it, as my front derailleur cable wasn't properly threaded and the cable end was rubbing against the rear wheel.
The saddle is a bit hard and I"m still doing my homework on a replacement but that hasn't kept me from riding and enjoying it. The weight is a bit of a drawback as I'm having to crank a bit harder on climbs, but overall you can't beat the price when you compare it to other bikes in the same price range. If your budget is limited as mine was, this is definitely the way to go unless you can find a great used buy on craigslist or ebay.
Strengths: Best frame and components for this price
Weaknesses: Comparing apples to apples....nothing!
I shopped around for about a year for something in this price range. Settled on a Trek Mamba, but while still looking for a deal came across Airborne. Was leery of buying online, but after reading a lot of great reviews decided to go for it.
The rear derailer came bent, so had to go to the LBS to get it straightened. The guy there said that many of their bikes also arrive with a bent RD. He was impressed with the bike...."That's a good lookin bike. Hydros too."...I wish he had asked what it costs.
I got the bike together by myself, but since I had to go to he shop anyway I had them adjust the brakes and derailers.
I'm so glad I didn't get the Trek. I love my Guardian! It is great as is, and the frame is worthy of upgrades. I wasn't sure I would like the paint scheme, but in person it is pretty snazzy!
And Airborne customer service seems to be great too. They sent me a new RD for no charge.
Keep it up Airborne, and you have a lifetime customer!
I searched for a bike in the $700 range for a couple months and this beat everything in price and value. SRAM X5 front and rear, hydro brakes, lifetime frame warranty, you just can't beat it and I really tried. The frame is the same as the Goblin so you're getting more for your money there, too, because it's definitely upgradable. It rides like a dream compared to my DB Overdrive V and handles great. Only weakness is weight which expected at this price point. Great bike for beginners, intermediate, and those on a budget with future upgrades in mind.
Weaknesses: Weight. Paint chips from chain (to be expected).
This is a tough bike with a decent set of components for an awesome price. Its the perfect bike if you want to try out mountain biking for the first time or you want to get back into it after a long break. I am 5'6" and 145 lbs suited up. I have a small, fits nice.
Others have complained about the front derailleur (the X3), but for some reason mine came with an X5 which has worked well for me thus far. I do have to adjust both the front and rear from time to time but I don't mind. I don't ride super often (couple times a week) but I tend push it pretty hard when I do go out. I am fairly light but I am still impressed with the durability of the bike.
As I am improving and becoming aware of what "nice" bikes ride like I do find my self wishing the bike was 5 pounds lighter. Out of the box my guardian was right around 31 lbs. I suppose weight is the major trade off with this bike. That said, I purchased a sweet wheelset that should improve my weight situation. I also purchased some more aggressive tires that should help with my style of riding. However, the SB8s are pretty dang fast on the right surface. I'll keep them around for racing and/or commuting.
After purchasing my new wheels I sort of wish I would have just gotten the goblin but at this point I don't know if I want to have my next bike be full suspension or a sweeter hardtail, so overall I have very few regrets about purchasing this bike.
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!
Yep, another "what should I get" thread from a beginner :thumbsup:
I'm strongly considering getting into mountain biking and I'm about to bite the bullet and buy my first bike in 13 years. I've done my homework and my options have come down to 2 bikes (maybe 3...): Airborne Guardian 2.0 or the Trek ... Read More »
First, I love this Bike. :D
Second, however, I'd like to know if anyone has had issues with the rear freewheel hub- Mine started grinding pretty bad after about 2 months. As it turns out, I brought it to the LBS and found out that the grease pack in the hub was "lazily" done (as the LBS tech put i ... Read More »
I have now had my Guardian for about 3 months and have about 300 miles on it. Let me just say that it has been an awesome bike and has held up well. I could not be happier with it, I ride it every chance I get. Everything that has been done to it falls in the minor maintenance category in my opinion ... Read More »
I am looking to get back into riding again after a long time off, and am stuck with a bit of a budget as I need to buy the GF a bike as well.
Also, not sure how seriously I can get back into things, but still want a nice bike and will see if I get the upgrade bug like last time :D
Considering ... Read More »
For those of you who are interested, we've got the page up for the new Guardian. More pics to come later!
[url=http://www.airbornebicycles.com/products/134-airborne-guardian-29er.aspx]Airborne Bicycles. Guardian 2.0[/url]
Fork has been increased to 100mm, FD upgraded to X5, curved TT on the 16 ... Read More »