Vassago Bicycle Company Bandersnatch 29er Hardtail

4.76/5 (25 Reviews)

Product Description

  • Traditional dropouts for use with 8 or 9 speed cassette
  • 29er specific WetCat geometry
  • Removable CNC v-brake posts
  • ISO disc brake mount
  • Double Butted, rust-resistant 4130 steel tubing
  • Clearance for muddy 2.3 tires
  • Comes in Steel grey. Custom powder coating available

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    Reviews 1 - 15 (25 Reviews Total) | Next 15

    User Reviews

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by MTBeing

    Date Reviewed: February 15, 2015

    Strengths:    A really dialed all-day comfortable geometry. Muted ride with the elegant steel and the prestige of a serious bike brand. Threaded bottom bracket, hallelujah! Stable at speed. 135 in the rear provides for a less expensive aftermarket wheelset.

    Weaknesses:    A tad long-ish in the rear. Weak paint, chips alot. Need better documentation online. It's steel..keep it dry.

    Bottom Line:   
    As far as a budget steel hardtail goes, this one's tough to beat. It's an oustanding geometry and it climbs really well. I set a PR on a section of trail that I've climbed with my 3lb-lighter carbon f/s bike. The rounded tubes give you the feel of a whispy bike beneath you and it rides lighter than it seems. the normal 135 rear spacing means less expensive wheels and the threaded bottom bracket means you can run a threaded BB and not have to worry about the dreaded creak. As stated, I have a full carbon f/s 29er which is way lighter than my Vassago (for now) but the Bandersnatch is a blast to ride and a completely different experience.

    Overall Rating:4
    Value Rating:4
    Submitted by mahtain a Cross Country Rider

    Date Reviewed: September 14, 2014

    Strengths:    cheap, solid, excellent geometry (if it's your cuppatea) and a nice looong top tube. If you come from the NW style of bikes (kona, rocky mtn., cove, brodie, deKerf etc...) this is a natural but not copycat frame geo.

    Weaknesses:    heavy, not as easy to bunnyhop or rise over obstacles like a short chainstay bike can. But minuses work out to pluses on the overall ride.

    Bottom Line:   
    Have ridden everything from the early 80's cannondales with 24" rear wheels up to cannondale jekyll FS with plenty of kona's, brodies, specialized, bianchi, redlines and on and on. Last bike was gary fisher with genesis geometry...very nice, but I missed that steel got the bander, regardless of the completely diff. geometry of the gary fisher. I like it. Reminds me of the more vintage bikes I owned but not as compliant (good and bad). The niner I tried was just too high in the steering, the bander does actually sit you in the "middle" of the frame...very nice. After a year I am writing this review as I was constantly surprised by the difference in riding feel. It is close to my 26" wheeled kona explosif but not as twitchy downhill. It is more sluggish than my kona unit 29'r and more rigid but overall more enjoyable...hard to put into words, but I will put it this way....could afford just about any bike out there, but this little cheap-o fits the bill. If I ever move up from this bander, it would be to an optimus ti. But for the value to price, it's hard to beat the bander.
    I have a long torso so the long top tube is perfect, if you have long legs and short top...try the niner or jamis dragon. If your thinking surley...that's a great frame as well but more well as the redline's. Just info for those thinking about what they should get towards their body styles. I would like to try a raleigh xxix as they are supposed to be very compliant, but otherwise, vassago has me hooked, even with their ho-hum heavy tubing that is a bit's all in the fit and geometry my friend.

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   turkey neck, dark mountain

    Duration Product Used:   1 year

    Price Paid:    $250.00

    Purchased At:   fleabay

    Similar Products Used:   brodie, specialized, deKerf, bianchi, raleigh, kona, giant, gary fisher, redline, too many others..

    Bike Setup:   2x8 shimano stx cranks with sram x7 rear and xt front der.'s, esp 9.0 twisty's, avid bb7 mechs and cheapass alex wheelsets...lots of 'em!

    Overall Rating:4
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by Greg Armstrong a Cross Country Rider

    Date Reviewed: December 26, 2012

    Strengths:    Handling at speed, value, durability, quality

    Weaknesses:    Weight, slow speed handling (mostly just a 29er thing), seat post slipped until I added a shim, some grip paste and a Salsa clamp. Could be the Thomson seat post finish, I've had the same problem in other frames.

    Bottom Line:   
    After looking at many different hardtails - On One, Niner, Specialized, cheap Chinese carbon, etc.- I got this frame on a smokin' closeout deal and couldn't resist. Overall very happy with this frame, real quality build. Feels very stable. I now spend much more time riding in the big ring, I just want to go fast on this bike. After many other bikes in almost 30 yrs and FS exclusively for the past 15 years, it's so great to get back to a steel hardtail! I don't miss the squish at all, and I love the precise handling, shifting, acceleration, etc. Climbing traction is good but the rear end can bounce around on steep rough sections compared to FS. I haven't weighed it; it's under 30 lbs but handles like a far lighter bike. Lighter wheels would help mine but at the expense of durability.

    I've become convinced that frame size should come down a step when moving up to 29ers. That is, if you ride a certain size 26er, get the smaller frame size in a 29er. It will help some of the handling issues, since the big wheels just aren't as nimble. I'm 6'3" and rode XL in 26ers. My first 29er was an XL and though I liked the big wheels, I hated the handling. Now I have a bright red 20" Bander, and it feels like a big BMX bike that can go cross country all day. Despite the long wheelbase it handles switchbacks really well. I've been running the fork at 100mm but there's too much sluggish oversteer so I'm going to switch it to 80mm. The long seat post (Thomson 27.2) really helps soften up the rear end.

    My only complaint is the low BB; though it does help the handling I get too many pedal strikes here in the Southwest (could be the 180mm cranks, or my sloppy technique!). When I ran XTR I would cringe a lot, but with cheap X7 I don't care as much. Some time you just gotta bash your way through. Which brings me to the next point- durability. Sometimes I end up wayyy out there, 20 or more miles from the car all alone, and having a good steel frame is a bit of peace of mind. This frame feels like it could stand up to some serious abuse and still get you home.

    The Bander is appropriately named, it just wants to be ridden fast. Sometimes I have to remind myself on screaming downhills that it's a hardtail, and slow down a little for that inevitable rear wheel smack. It loves to catch air but the hard landing can be a surprise.

    I think I'll keep this one for awhile. The new Bander frame looks even better, post mount brakes, bent seat stays, 44mm head tube. Looks like they're doing things right. You can't go wrong.

    Expand full review >>

    Price Paid:    $230.00

    Purchased At:   Huck n Roll

    Similar Products Used:   Siren, Specialized, Trek, Giant, Diamond Back, etc.

    Bike Setup:   Reba Team @ 100mm, 3x9 gearing, X7 180mm cranks, BB7 brakes, Thomson post, twist shift.

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by bobeno a Cross Country Rider from Tappahannock, VA, USA

    Date Reviewed: January 22, 2012

    Strengths:    Precise, predictable steering. Amazing climbing, great power transfer, soaks up the trail like it has suspension. Rails corners in tight singletrack. BB is maybe a hair low but tall enough to clear ledges and logs easily (as long as you are awake and thinking). Frame performs better than the spec might suggest, and the price is great for what you get.

    Weaknesses:    Paint does seem to chip easily. A powdercoat may be in order in a few years.

    Bottom Line:   
    Ridden mostly on rocky, rooty, often steep and tight singletrack. I have no desire to even try another 29er (except maybe an Optimus Ti). I use it mostly as a SS (just don't shift) for conditioning. The bike does everything I ask of it without complaint or surprise, is just as nimble as my 26er softail SS and tracks better in the rough than my 5" f-s bike (both of which I have now sold). Added a wheelset with skinnies for the wet-trail road ride alternative, and I have the perfect bike for anything I want to ride.

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   3 months

    Purchased At:   on line from previou

    Similar Products Used:   None. This is the first and only 29er I've ever ridden, but am very happy with it.

    Bike Setup:   2010 frame, 2010 Reba SL fork, Amer. Classic tubeless wheels (running tubes), Juicy 7 brakes, Sram X.0 3x9, Race King 2.2 tires

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by DEMOJOE a Weekend Warrior from Eastern Ohio

    Date Reviewed: October 25, 2011

    Strengths:    Everything climbs like a goat goes like hell up or down great all around bike handles great cant say anything bad and it only weights 26lbs not to bad for steel

    Weaknesses:    none

    Bottom Line:   
    love it!!! It does everything you ask of it and then some

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   All of them

    Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

    Price Paid:    $500.00

    Purchased At:   Huck & Roll

    Similar Products Used:   none class of its own

    Bike Setup:   Odis Fork, X9 2X10, Elixir CR 203 fr 185 rr, white brothers crank, Thomson seat post, bars, and stem, cane creek head set, stans rims, and hutchinson toro tubeless

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by djvft a Cross Country Rider from Scottsdale, AZ

    Date Reviewed: February 27, 2011

    Strengths:    Geometry and price

    Weaknesses:    None that I have found. Have read things about the paint quality....I think it's on par for the cost of the frame

    Bottom Line:   
    Vassago recommends the fork be ran @ 80mm. Personally, I like it more ran @ 100mm. Maybe that's because I no longer ride a big drop from my saddle to my handlebars. The bike climbs great, handles like a dream, and turns as fast as I need it to turn.
    My other current ride is a Dean Colonel 26, and I can whip the Vassago around almost as fast as the Dean. The biggest difference is that my dental work appreciates the larger wheels and smoother ride.
    Granted, I could have saved a pound or so by going with a Niner MCR, but I'm going to save my other $450 to put toward a Black Label Vassago in the fall. Meanwhile, I'm going to ride my Bandersnatch and have a ball.
    This is a great frame regardless...the price makes it even a better value.

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   Hawes / Red Mountain

    Duration Product Used:   3 months

    Price Paid:    $420.00

    Purchased At:   Sunday Cycles

    Similar Products Used:   Mint Cycles 29er,

    Bike Setup:   Formula Oro K24 brakes, XO drive train, Reba RLT Ti 100mm fork, and Flows laced to DT Swiss 240s,

    Overall Rating:4
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by principal_X a Cross Country Rider from Park City, UT

    Date Reviewed: September 23, 2010

    Strengths:    Cheap, Sexy, Namesake (can't count how many times someone felt the urge to shout out "Bandersnatch" in their own quirky way on the trail)

    Weaknesses:    paint scratches easily

    Bottom Line:   
    Basically, price was the determining factor when buying this frame also the wetcat geometry was interesting. Even though the wheelbase is slightly longer, tight switchbacks don't seem any tougher to make than other std geo 29ers out there. I was also intrigued by the claimed "flexiness" of a steel framed bike. My impressions are that even on the roughest descents, I couldn't tell a noticeable difference between carbon and steel, maybe slightly damper than an aluminum ride. I suppose a fully rigid setup would show the difference better. I could definitely tell I sat lower in the bike the other niner riders out there.

    I would buy another Vassago, but maybe next time as a single speeder (Wocky or Chupa)

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   too many 2 count

    Duration Product Used:   6 months

    Price Paid:    $2800.00

    Purchased At:   custom build

    Similar Products Used:   FELT Nine Team, Specialized Stumpy 29

    Bike Setup:   Truativ NOIR 3.3, ZTR Crest, SRAM Elixir, Aspen Maxxis, Reba 29 80mm fork. 23.5 lb build.

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by Dial Tone a Weekend Warrior from Southern California, USA

    Date Reviewed: July 29, 2010

    Strengths:    Steel, that often used "in the bike" feeling, stable at high speed

    Weaknesses:    paint chips easy, a bit heavy, more effort to turn in the tight stuff

    Bottom Line:   
    For me the geometry is spot on. I know its a terminology that has been overused but "in the bike, rather than on the bike" feeling best describes it. Bike rolls smooth and feels very stable once the trail points downhill and fast descents are confidence inspiring. I am guessing this is due to the long top tube and long chainstays.

    I did notice that it take a bit more effort to 'muscle' in turns compared to my F/S 26. I really cant tell how much of the harshness is absorbed or mitigated by the steel frame since my other HT bike is also steel.

    I dont ride hard enough to flex the frame so I cant comment on flexing issues. The Bandersnatch climbs well even with a poor rider such as myself. Just downshift and keep on cranking. It does feel slower on the takeoff compared to a 26er.

    Paint seems to be another common issue on Vassago bikes, my Bandersnatch easily chipped in some areas and some paint were scuffed from minor cable rub. The Phantom Silver is just gorgeous seconded only by Bone White and Pitch Black.

    Gotten lots of positive comments on my Vassago since its a not a too common, big corporation bike.

    I really love the way this bike rides.

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   Marshall Canyon

    Duration Product Used:   6 months

    Price Paid:    $375.00

    Purchased At:   private party

    Similar Products Used:   Redline Monocog29er, Fisher Hi-fi Plus (26)

    Bike Setup:   '08 Bandersnatch frame, LX cranks, X7 RD and shifters, XT FD, PG980 11-34, Reba Race fork, Mavic A317 rims, Nevegal front, Intense System29 rear

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by Tasselhof a Cross Country Rider from Moscow

    Date Reviewed: May 17, 2010

    Strengths:    Grean quality, perfect fir (wetcat geometry is really what i need), great looks.
    In ride it's really what i suspect to get from this frame.
    Ride she about 6 month and happy :)


    Bottom Line:   
    Great product.

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   6 months

    Price Paid:    $480.00

    Purchased At:

    Similar Products Used:   Marin Muirwoods 29

    Bike Setup:   1x9 X.0/X.0, Noir, Thomson, Hope tech X2, Hope 2 Pro Hubs, SunRingle EQ27 rims, Ritchey wcs carbon lowriser, ergon gx1 etc

    Overall Rating:4
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by Rzar a Weekend Warrior from Tucson, Az, USA

    Date Reviewed: April 9, 2010

    Strengths:    Geometry. Great for climbing. Stable and fast on descents. Steel gives great compliance over small rocks and bumps. Stiff in the BB and the chainstays for great power transfer. Price to performance makes it a great value.

    Weaknesses:    A tad heavy, but it is steel. My 18 inch weighed in at 5lbs. Paint seems to scratch easy. The BB threads had paint all over them and the LBS had to chase them. The cable guide on the BB also had paint all over the threads. Did not come with seatclamp or waterbottle bolts. All in all VERY minor stuff.

    Bottom Line:   
    This is my first 29'er so can't give a true comparison to other two niner frames. Also the fork, wheels, bottom bracket are a huge upgrade compared to my old Gary Fisher. The geometry is very close to genesis of the GF. It feels super stable on fast descents. When climbing I hardly have to get out of the saddle to shift weight for traction. It does feel a bit slugish on tight turns but that is to be expected.

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   Fantasy Island

    Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

    Price Paid:    $479.00

    Purchased At:

    Similar Products Used:   First 29'er. I was on a Gary Fisher Tasajara 26'er before this.

    Bike Setup:   Rockshox Reba SL 80 MM
    American Classic MTB 29 Tubless 2010
    Race King 2.2 tires running slime tubes for now.
    Chris King Headset
    SLX Bottom bracket and crankset
    Deore rear DR and shifters
    SLX Front DR
    SRAM Cassette and Chain
    Avid Leavers and BB7 brakes 160 front and rear
    Bontragor Sport seatpost, stem and bars.
    Shimano SPD pedals
    Weighs in at 28lbs with pedals.

    Overall Rating:4
    Value Rating:4
    Submitted by Jaracer a Cross Country Rider from Pennsylvania

    Date Reviewed: December 4, 2009

    Strengths:    The geometry is the stongpoint of this frame. Vassago makes a longer top tube, longer chainstays and a lower BB. This creates a feeling of being "in" the bike rather than "on" it. This leads to great climbing ability and great stability on rough terrain.

    Weaknesses:    The Bandersnatch's greatest strengths turn out to be its greatest weakness. The long Top tube, long chainstays, and low bottom bracket that help in climbing also compromise handling. The frame has a longer wheelbase (about 44") and low BB which slows steering and causes clearance issues. 29ers allow you to ride at higher speeds and with the bander I felt as though I had to "muscle" it around corners and tight spots. Another weakness is the weight. I realize that this is a very affordable frame, but my 18" frame weighed over 5lbs.

    Bottom Line:   
    This is a good frame but it has its limitations. The climbing traction is great as is the stability but the negatives seem to offset the postives. Niner seems to make the most balanced 29er frame.

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   USA

    Duration Product Used:   3 months

    Price Paid:    $480.00

    Purchased At:   Bike29

    Similar Products Used:   I have owned or demo-ed the following: Fisher Paragon, Niner MCR 9, Surly Karate Monkey, Niner Air 9.

    Bike Setup:   Stans ZTR 355 Wheelset, Reba 80mm, XT group

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by KmfC a Racer from Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA

    Date Reviewed: November 16, 2009

    Strengths:    Steel, rigid, wet cat geometry, tire clearance, very nice price, and fast — a quality two-niner built by a dedicated two-niner company.

    Weaknesses:    I wish the sweet head badge was included. That's it. I can't think of anything else as a weakness.

    Bottom Line:   
    I love this bike — and my chosen set-up. I don't even ride the Rig that much anymore — except for the hangover inducing pub crawls. The Vassago 2010 Bandersnatch is my dedicated XC race bike. I climb better, descend faster and tight twisty singletrack is no problem. Flowing singletrack is even better. I cant wait until Summer 2010 to attack the Rocky Mountains of Colorado on this baby.

    My next purchase will be the Vassago Jaberwocky single speed. Bye-bye Rig.

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   Trails at Slaughter Pen (to date…)

    Duration Product Used:   3 months

    Price Paid:    $480.00

    Purchased At:

    Similar Products Used:   Gary Fisher Rig

    Bike Setup:   Built to race: SRAM X.O Twist, Middleburn 2X9 40/27, Avid Elixir CR Mag, Stans ZTR 355 with ZTR Hubs, Kenda Small Block 8s, Crank Bros Egg Beaters, KORE Elite flat bar, Ergon Grips, Thomson Stem and Seatpost, WTB Shadow V…

    Overall Rating:4
    Value Rating:4
    Submitted by thaphillips a Cross Country Rider from Dallas, TX

    Date Reviewed: October 30, 2009

    Strengths:    "Wet Cat" Geometry & Price

    Weaknesses:    Paint, Poor Welds, Heavy Tubing

    Bottom Line:   
    I am not going to feed you a bunch of B.S. to try and make myself feel good about my bike purchase.

    This is a 29er and will never be as nimble in the tight twisty turns as a 26" bike ......period. I tried lots of handle bars and diffrent stem lengths to try and get the bike to steer quicker. I think I finally have the bike where it steers quickly without being sketchy and still decends well. You will probably go thru alot of handle bars and stems as well if this is your first 29er. I think part of the reason the steering seemed slower was because my average speed went up. While this bike will never feel as quick steering as a 26" bike it does seem to be better than the other 29" bikes I have tried.

    The geometry of the frame is what initially attracted me to the bike. Other 29" bikes felt like I was in a higher riding position and being 5'8" it felt a little unatural for me. With a 16" Vassago I felt my center of gravity was a little lower and closer to where it would be on a 26" bike. The guys here who ride these bike recommend a 80mm fork and so did the Vassago website. I really wanted to run a 100mm fork and would be intrested in hearing from those who do. I think Vassago should have designed the bike around a fork with more travel. This is the only thing I would change about the geometry. I feel this bike is a Cross Country machine built to go fast and long.

    My beefs with the bike is a couple areas of quality control. The welds on the bike are not very pretty and for a $450 frame I have seen much better welds. It's cheap for a 29" frame, but frames for 20" bike cost more because they are in vogue. My other concern was the quality of the paint. I have the Blood Red and it immediatley began to chip after the first ride. This is by far the worst paint job I have ever had on a bike. Hopefully Vassago will remedy this in the future.

    Last beef with the bike is the tubing used. I understand they use 4130 to keep the cost of the bike down. In the future I hope they will offer models with better quality tubing and a lighter overall frame weight. I would pay more for it.

    Last issue is the gearing in general for 29" bikes. Because of the larger tires your rollout on a 29" bike is diffrent than that of a 26" bike. The granny gear could be a little smaller for Mountain climbing. The best option avail is Middleburn as they make 20T 30T 40T chainrings that are more suitable for 29" bikes. Hopefully other manufactures will take note.

    Do I love the bike? YES!!! Love the speed I keep on this bike!!!

    Would I buy this bike again? No I would probably get a custom builder to copy the geometry and get better welds, better tubing, and a lighter weight from the bike. I would expect to pay more for a custom frame, but I also put $1200 worth of parts on the bike and could justfy spending a litte more on a nicer frame. The bike can be built up as a budget 29er and get people into a 29" for right at a grand.

    Overall Rating & Value 4 due to poor welds and paint.

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   Erwin Park

    Duration Product Used:   1 Year

    Price Paid:    $450.00

    Purchased At:   Dallas Bike Works

    Similar Products Used:   99' Schwinn Moab, Old Specialized M2 Single Speed, 01' Bianchi C.u.S.S., 02' Jamis Dakar, 06' Strong

    Bike Setup:   80mm Reba Race, 80mm Titec Pluto Stem, Truvativ Team Straight Bar, Ritchey Carbon Seat Post, WTB Saddle, Stan's Flow Rims on DMR Revolver Hubs, XT Cranks, Sram X9 Shifters, X7 Front Derailer, X9 Rear Derailer, Sram 971 Chain, UN-72 Square Taper Bottom Bracket, Avid Juicy 5's with 120 Rotors, Salsa Skewers and Seat Post Clamp. Oury Grips - Total Weight 25.4 pounds

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:4
    Submitted by utahmountaineer a Cross Country Rider from Ogden, Utah

    Date Reviewed: June 29, 2009

    Strengths:    Lightweight, great hill climber

    Weaknesses:    None found

    Bottom Line:   
    I would love to sit and write about how awesome this bike is, but I think I'll go for a ride instead.
    It's just something you have to experience for yourself.

    Great job Vassago!

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   Steep and technical

    Duration Product Used:   6 months

    Similar Products Used:   Stumpjumper

    Bike Setup:   Vassago Bandersnatch with all the trimmings

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by jamesmichael a Cross Country Rider from newbury park

    Date Reviewed: April 3, 2009

    Strengths:    strong welds, steel frame, hard tail, blood red color

    Weaknesses:    paint, but who cares

    Bottom Line:   
    my 26er sits for outter towners to use. The 2.4 RR up front are fantastic, stablizing, and the ergo grips this bike feels sooo great. I love it

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   any dry trail

    Duration Product Used:   6 months

    Price Paid:    $425.00

    Purchased At:   bike bling

    Similar Products Used:   first one

    Bike Setup:   reba racce fork, 355 wheels, 240 hubs, elixir cr brakes, 185 rotor in front, carbon post, and bars with ergo grips. grip shifters, xtr cranks, egg beater ti's, smp saddle, 25 lovely lbs, RR2.4 front, and 2.2 rear with sealent

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