Strengths: This is my first 29er after owning and racing five 26 inch bikes through the years. It climbs well and the WTB saddle is one of the best in comfort for long cross country rides. REI upgraded the 2013 model with Gemini Tektro hydraulic discs and they work great. I'm 5 10 and ride a medium frame which gives me the best comfort I've ever had including Specialized Stumpjumper and Dean custom built.
Weaknesses: Yes the bike might weigh 4 or 5 more pounds, and yes the spring fork is a little bouncier than the expensive brands. If you're a downhiller this is not the bike for you. The tires have worn considerably fast. Seat tube is a little short.
This is probably the best low end 29er you can find that holds up with other bikes that cost more than three times the $638 sale price I paid. It wants to move and I just can't stay off it. The good components and S frame design are what make this a great bike. I've noticed the center of gravity (bottom bracket) is higher than some other 29ers and I like that edge. I'm 5 10 and didn't want a large frame so I opted for a medium but had to buy an extra long seatpost (found a good one on Amazon for about 20 bucks) in order to give me enough leg extension. I plan to upgrade in the spring to clipless pedals and will eventually upgrade the wheels and the suspension fork, but not until they wear out.
Strengths: Components, looks good, fast, agile, value, and unlimited/unconditional warranty from REI
Weaknesses: front fork, bike a little heavy, getting the drivetrain set up by the store's mechanics, BB5 brakes were a little noisy for a while and not great modulation.
Such an awesome bike for the money! Does everything I need it to do. Rear derailleur shifting issues still not addressed by the store techs, but this is a local, set up issue rather than a flaw with the bike. 29er geometry feels pretty agile. This is a quick bike. BB5 brakes were noisy for a while, but had the shop scuff the pads and clean the rotors and it seems better now. The seat is comfortable. Frame is VERY light. I felt the frame's weight before the bike was put together. I would say not much over 2.5 lbs. This bike can be upgraded to be pretty fierce with a new fork and maybe some hydraulic brakes. I added XO twist shifters and rear derailleur. Use the member coupon for 20% off or catch it on a 15% off sale and this bike lands $640-$680. With a drivetrain you can find on $2k bikes, it is clear they spent their money on the things that matter for an average commuter and occasional single track rider. Some have said the chain is cheap. Techs at the store say the wheels are heavy and need to be upgraded. Tires are Nano race wraps that other riders have made positive comments on when they notice them. Altogether a great bike for me (someone just getting back into riding.
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: June 13, 2012
Strengths: -SRAM X7/X5
I have yet to find another bike in similar price range with Matador components. I have looked at several other companies in the Matador price range, and all the other companies had lower scale components. The SRAM X7 derailleur shifts smoothly, and the X5 shifter is fast and easy to use. I have heard negative feedback regarding the BB5 brakes, but I have yet to have any problems. The BB5 brakes tend to be a bit noisy, but have no problems stopping this 185 pound rider. The only pain in the butt with the BB5 is aligning the front brake, after removing and placing the front wheel back on. The Suntour fork can handle a pounding, and I have yet to bottom out the fork. Maybe other reviewers need to adjust the tension? The bike obviously gets a bit bouncy, due to being a hard tail bike.
The only complaint I have is the tires. The tires tend to wear easily and lack needed traction on very steep hills.
Overall excellent bike, and well worth the money. Wait for a sale and purchase the bike for 679.00.
from Austin TX, United States
Date Reviewed: November 9, 2011
Strengths: Sram X-7 RD shifts like butter, even on steep hill shifts. 29' wheel base allows for higher speed control, plus you can ride over ANYTHING. It is surprisingly light for a 29er, allowing for impressive jumps and excellent maneuverability.
Weaknesses: Suntour XCR 80mm front shock. This shock is politely said, a piece of crap. However, I have been brutalizing it over the past 3 months taking it off drops and jumps, yet somehow it has held up. I had it bottom out twice but then I found a good setting on the preload, so now it's not a problem. That said, I believe that this is the only weakness.
This bike is an amazing value for the price. It comes with excellent components that will satisfy a large majority of riders. If you plan on taking it off anything too crazy I suggest upgrading the front shock. If your hesitant about buying this bike because it's "REI" brand DON'T. This is a good thing because if anything goes wrong you can just take it back and I guarantee that they will hook you up with discounts or do it for free. Besides, mountain bikes are made with 75% other companies components. Plus the frame is made by Giant. So all in all this bike looks good, performs great, and will last longer than you'll want to ride with regular maintenance.
Bike Setup: Dart 3 front shock (all that needed upgrading)
a Cross Country Rider
from Eagle River, AK, USA
Date Reviewed: September 28, 2011
Strengths: For the money, this is a great bike. This bike rolls great on the trail or on the road. All the benefits of a 29er; rolls easily over obstacles and maintains momentum.
Weaknesses: Once again, consider the pride range. Biggest complaint-fork is not too good with no real adjustments that work other than lockout. Any serious roots in the trail are enough to wreak havoc on this fork. The bike feels sluggish in corners and in acceleration. I do not think that this is only because of it being a 29er, but because of a higher center of gravity and cheaper wheels/hubs. Rear end has some flex when pushed hard, even with me only at 165lbs.
I'm 5'11" and about 165 lbs. I ride the medium frame and I have a blast on this bike. For me, I have found that I am can get a bit too agressive for this bike as I love to descend and take some drops and catch some air and this bike just is not designed for that. The front fork is the most dissapointing aspect of the bike, but at this price point it is hard to complain or find much wrong with this bike. REI has awesome customer service and backs their products up. Between that and the price, it is hard to make any argument against this bike. I would highly reccomend the Matador to anyone looking for an entry level daily rider.
I posted in the 29er group but was suggested to post here.
[COLOR=#333333]I'm a big guy - currently at 315 pounds and 6'1". I've lost 45 pounds over the last 3 months by eating better and working out more. I want to help continue to drop the weight by biking in the spring/summer/fall. Frie ... Read More »
My dad got a $1000 giftcard to REI and he wants a mountain bike. I've told him that a hardtail 29'er would serve him pretty well. He would likely do fire roads, maybe some single/double track. Nothing too technical at all, he is is familiar with road riding and the whole mtb thing is foreign to him. ... Read More »
Long time road-biker, just getting into mtn biking, trying to understand mtb geometry, among other things.
I just testrode this bike yesterday and it felt amazing:
It's very quick off the mark, acceleration felt mo ... Read More »
I'm planning a buil on a [URL="http://www.ridesoul.com/matador.html"]Soul Cycle Matador[/URL] Now I'm trying to decide what fork to put on. Lookin at Rock Shox Domain 302 0r 318, the Pike or if ebay luck will have it a Lyric, all with U-turn. The frame is built around a 5in travcel fork. I want to ... Read More »
It's here! The 4X Fully frame I helped design just got in. And yes, that is my name on it!
[url]http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=154786531&blogID=244057468&MyToken=43fe16c9-55b4-4d91-9886-47233099f4e1[/url]Read More »