Introducing the Bailey 29er race mountain bike. Bold, Black and Beautiful. Designed to be a no frills race machine with all the features you would expect from a company of bike racers. We have the best in industry warranty with a "no questions asked", 2 year repair/replace policy. That is how confident we are in this design.
The Bailey 29er is John’s first foray into mountain bike frames after primarily focusing on lightweight and aggressive cyclocross rigs. Just looking at the Bailey 29er, one can see the cyclocross design influences. Ultra-thin seatstays that rival a Cervelo R5 (jokingly called “petite-stays”) for maximum shock absorption and minimal weight, bridgeless seatstays and chainstays for maximum mud clearance and room for up to a 2.4-inch rear tire, a disc brake mount on the chainstay for better braking performance and aggressive geometry that’s designed to do one thing – go fast. Continue reading →
Strengths: Light, yet strong; stiff, yet comfortable; great price / value; excellent warranty; incredible customer service
Weaknesses: None, unless you want to count the fact that riding this bike makes me want to buy the CX frame
I have to admit that Bailey Bikes wasn’t always on my radar. If anything, they flew under the radar. I actually found them by sheer luck on the web and found out they’re only a few miles from home. I checked out their not so fancy web site and really liked what I saw. I had some questions about the bike, so I sent an email to the general “info” email address listed on the site. In a few hours I had an extremely detailed and well-written response from John Bailey, the company’s founder. He shed light on some of the design choices that were made and helped with sizing. He also connected me with his second in command, Adam Beck. That’s where the real magic started.
I connected with Adam and almost instantly we’d worked out the purchase details for my frameset. When I was picking it up Adam mentioned he could also get certain parts. I ended up ordering the bulk of the build from Adam. I did a few things, like the wheels separately. A few months later I had all the parts and made one last trip out to Bailey to have Adam build it up. The results are stunning.
The bike looks great and rides even better. I went with a sensible XT 2x10 drivetrain that suits my riding style. The bike has an FSA cockpit and a Cobb saddle. The carbon wheels are hand built using Chinese carbon rims, Hope hubs (including the new 40T rear … wow), and Sapim CX-Ray spokes. The bike, as pictured weighs 22 pounds. That includes the cages, Garmin / mounts / sensors, pedals, chain catcher, 2.1 tires, etc. In other words it’s a real weight. I could definitely play with or manipulate things and tell you this bike weighed under 20 pounds. Of course you could also spend more for ENVE parts and an XX1 drivetrain to get the bikes in the 18 pound range. As nice as that would be, it wasn’t fiscally feasible for me … at this time.
Anyway, back to the bike. It’s been a few weeks since the build was completed. In that time I’ve had a chance to get the fit dialed in and log some miles. All I can say is that this bike is amazing. It’s stiff on the trails – I don’t feel any flex. At the same time I don’t feel beat up after riding it. I’m not a bike geometry expert, so I can’t tell you exactly what they did to achieve this feel. What I can tell you is that having test ridden a decent number of bikes, this one simply feels the best. It’s an ideal blend that’s light and fast, stiff in the right spots, and compliant in others.
Of course the bike is great … I love it and plan to ride it hard for a long time to come. But what really made me want to post this is the experience. John and Adam were amazing to work with. Their dedication to their customers is second to none. They made sure I got just what I wanted every step of the way. They offer incredible products at very competitive prices, and with real warranties. What else could I guy ask for?
Truth be told, I was so impressed by my purchase experience that I’m already thinking about building up one of their carbon cross frames.
Similar Products Used: I test rode the Specialized Stumpjumper Carbon HT and Trek Carbon HT offerings
Bike Setup: XT 2x10 drivetrain, FSA cockpit, Cobb saddle, carbon wheels (Chinese rims, Hope hubs including the new 40T rear, and Sapim CX-Ray spokes)
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: September 5, 2013
Strengths: Super light
Solid enough for "real" mountain biking
Accelerates like a scalded wombat
Holds corners surprisingly well for a HT
Weaknesses: Didn't have a dropper post (not the frame's fault)
Full disclaimer: that bike in the picture? That's the one I got to ride. I've had it for about a week to try it out. First thing I noticed was that it's light. As in mind-bogglingly so. That lightness permeated every aspect of riding. I started out being somewhat dainty with it. That lasted a couple of days. Then it became my Stravanator. I was getting PRs left and right on this thing.
Including downhill. I would stop at the top of the hills, loosen the post binder, and drop the seat. Once I did that, I could travel downhill fairly quickly. My current bike is a Turner 5-spot, which is great downhill. What was nice about the Bailey, however, was that if I overbraked in a corner, winding back up to speed was easy. As a result, I could fly up, down, and all around.
What would I change about this bike? Probably add a dropper post for usual riding. With a dropper post, I would race this at Downieville. Also, for me, chain slap on a carbon frame is disconcerting, as it is loud and sounds just like a cracking carbon tube. It freaked me out the first few times I heard it. I would have a serious chainstay protector on this bike.
I really want to be discerning, and avoid being all "fanboy" about the frame, because I know when I read other people's reviews, I want to know if the bike they rode would be a good bike for me.
So, here's my bottom line: weight matters. This is light, but not stupid about it. When I stomp on pedals, it just goes. If I rode BIG rocks, I wouldn't ride this. If I rode medium chunkage and below, I would have confidence in this bike to handle whatever was thrown at it, and was enjoying its compliance compared to other hardtails I have ridden. If I rode long, rocky trails, I would start to become tired on this bike, because I'm an old guy, and like my cushy FS. That said, it would have to be very long, very rocky, and very flat. Drop one of those three, and I would go to this bike. Any climbing, mildly smooth, or less than 20 miles, and this is a go-to bike.
I'm looking to change around my bike a bit, and I'm a Clyde that's about 280. I want something burly in 120mm.
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Occasionally, I got 2013 lefty 29er 90mm. I should use this.
I want to build this fork on my 2010 scalpel 100 team frame.
No problem at all to use 29er fork on my scalpel 100?
Any difference between 29er 90mm 2013 lefty and 26er 100mm lefty?
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