Strengths: Durable, affordable, all parts are no-frills working class all the way.
Weaknesses: Boring frame color? Would prefer a cromo frame.
I have had my Cliff 29er since 2008. I ride in Phoenix at South Mountain (Desert Classic Trail) and Papago Park most often. I think that if you learn to ride in the desert, you can ride most anywhere. The terrain is very rocky with lots of loose gravel and sand. I've swapped out the seat for a used Brooks B17 that I got for a smoking' deal. I upgraded the derailleurs from X5 to X7 only because I crashed and bent the original rear X5. Honestly, even if I hadn't changed those things, the stock bike is high functioning. Now, I don't go bombing hills or do acrobatics, I just like a good ride. If a good ride is your thing, this bike is PERFECT for you.
Duration Product Used: 1-2 rides per week, an hour a ride.
Purchased At: Bike's Direct store
a Cross Country Rider
from rocky mountains
Date Reviewed: March 21, 2011
Strengths: Great ride, low price
Weaknesses: This is very minor, but the "y" seat stay is too simplistic looking- could use some refinement!
Last year I built my wife a 29er using a Performance frame and was quite impressed with the ride and quality of such an inexpensive frame. Wanting my own 29er but not having the money for a big brand name, I searched E-Bay all winter until just the right deal came along.
The offering was a Windsor Cliff 19" 29er frame. After some research, I learned that this frame is built in the same factory as the Performance frame, along with Fuji and some others. I already had most of the parts, so I figured I wouldn't lose much if I took a chance on it.
I live out in the country and have 2000 BLM acres practically all to myself, so there is no need to be embarrassed about riding around on a "cheap" frame.
My playground has many miles of single track with virtually every condition encountered while riding- steep climbs, long climbs, technical sections, downhills, drops, jumps, sand, gravel, mud, rock, and even inconsiderate equestrians.
After six rides, I am still VERY happy with my purchase and would recommend it highly to anyone who is interested in saving some dough on a frame that rides as well or maybe even better than the big names. The question of long term durability still stands, But I don't see this as a problem so long as it is not abused.
Similar Products Used: Fischer, Cannondale, Giant, Kona, Performance
Bike Setup: Reba SL fork ,Mach 1 wheels, Ardent tires, and Deore XT components.
a Weekend Warrior
from Miami, FL, USA
Date Reviewed: January 9, 2011
Strengths: 29ers are awesome for rolling over obstacles, but have trouble on tight turns.
Weaknesses: Cheap frame. Mine cracked after about a year. The warranty exists just in theory. Horrible seatpost and saddle.
Buy the bike for the parts, if you are a serious rider you cannot rely on this frame.
If I could go back I would go for a lower end brand name, afterall you can always upgrade the parts, but the frame is what makes the bike.
Bike Setup: Upgraded seatpost, saddle and installed tubeless tires.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: November 10, 2010
Strengths: Nice frame, Low price,
Weaknesses: Seat post is junk. (it creaks badly)
If you want a nice bike on a buget, and dont care about having a namabrand frame, this is your bike. The componets are worth more than the bike. And it's a Fuji Tahoe with windsor decals on it. They cut corners on the seat post, stem, and handlebars, but they are easy upgrades. I replaced my seat post with a Sette APX Alloy post. living with the handle bars for now. A Great Value!!!!!!
Bike Setup: Sram x7, Jucy5 disks, RS Tora Air with motion control dampining. wtb speeddisk 29 wheels.
a Weekend Warrior
from Port Henry, NY, USA
Date Reviewed: September 22, 2010
Strengths: Value, value, value.
Weaknesses: Derail. Hangers are Horrible!! Also, Seatpost, wheels, bottom bracket... and now FRAME??
I've got a fledgling mtn bike club and a pile of bikes in my garage. We ride local trails that are basically ATV and logging roads, none of this groomed mtn bike park stuff. No LBS, so I've bought 3 from bikes direct in the last 1.5 yrs. My friend and I both bought this 29er last summer. Derailleur hangers are terrible. Very soft metal. Minor crashes result in bad shifting. After going thru our 2 spares, I bought 3 more from bikes direct. Finally, got two from derailleurhanger.com. You need No. 25 (for Fuji). Wheels. On all 3 of these 29ers on bikes direct, they look like the same spec. They are mediocre. My friend's rear came out of true in a few rides. I fixed it, then a crash destroyed that wheel anyway. He got my wheels, and I bought Mavic A317. So one set of speeddiscs have survived 1.5 seasons. His seatpost got stripped quickly, since we are both right around 200lbs, we just bought better "all mtn" grade posts rather than fuss with it. His bottom bracket was loose at the start of this season, continue to ride until it grenades. But, to top it all off, his FRAME broke, the weld at the top of the seatstays to seat tube. So we are sending emails to see how to warranty. These are still fantastic bikes for the price, but if you really use them for trail rides, you should be realistic and expect to upgrade parts. Last year, I think a Gary Fisher 29er with a entry level fork was still over $1K. So these things are still a great deal from bikes direct.
Similar Products Used: Rigid mtb's in 1990's, rode Access 26er frame w J3 fork and BB7's for 3 years, then got this 29er in 2009.
Bike Setup: Swapped crank on mine to 170mm (like to sprint). Better seatpost. Now Mavic A317 rims and XT hubs too.
a Weekend Warrior
from Arlington, TX USA
Date Reviewed: May 24, 2010
Strengths: Climbing and smoothness on rough terrain. It shifts easily and I can always find a sweet gear when needed.
Weaknesses: Weak tires. Sidewalls feel like they are paper thin.
I will never go back to a 26" bike. After riding the Windsor 29er and going back to ride my Motobecane it feels like going from a Hummer to a Yugo. I just got back from the Austin Muddy Buddy and at 47 years old I held my own on the bike with guys much younger. I know it was the bike and not the rider.
Bike Setup: Stock from Bikes Direct except for Slime tubes added 1st week.
a Weekend Warrior
from Phila, PA
Date Reviewed: May 8, 2010
Strengths: looks great. great components.
Weaknesses: far from 90% assembled.
just got my cliff team 29r. shipping was as advertised. wish it were easier to put together.. that sh*t is complex. dropped it off at my LBS to be assembled proper. hope it rides like it looks.. coming off a department store full suspension, which i loved. i'll post an update post-ride. holla back if you have an opinion.
Strengths: Hydraulic Brakes, Air Fork, SRAM X-7's. Great components.
Weaknesses: - Sizes run big. 17" a tad too big for 5'8" rider.
- Seatpost, stem, handlebars are all no-name cheap parts.
Great bargain, the main parts alone are worth the cost of the whole bike. You cannot find a bike anywhere with hydraulic brakes, and air fork and X-7 drive components for this price. It even includes some decent clipless pedals for free that sell for about $60 elsewhere online.
As noted, the frame sizes are a little big compared to other manufacturers. Just pay attention to the stated geometry and you should be fine. The bike is even a tad big for me for the standover, but the top tube length is perfect. Once I've got a foot clipped in this is not an issue, and the bike feels perfect when I'm in the saddle. Since I don't find myself straddling the bike much, this is a non-issue for me. If this is a problem for you, consider swapping over the components to a 16" Sette Razzo frame ($200) or a Access XCL frame.
As for the ride quality, it really is smooth and stable. The air fork just gobbles up any terrain you throw at it, and the lockout is great for those hardpacked trails and fire roads. The amount of adjustment in this fork and it's motion control put it heads and shoulders above the Dart 3 and comparable forks that come on bikes at this price point. The 29er wheels seem to make the ride more stable, and it feels easier to pick a line and stay on it. It feels easier to balance on than my 26" bikes, but it climbs just as well if not better. On the loose gravel sections, it feels like I'm not sliding around as much and more power is getting to the ground. The different geometry, with the handlebars above the saddle takes some getting used to but is very comfortable. It also feels like I have more control on those technical sections, and when I'm standing up.
I'll be posting another review once I've logged a few more trips on the bike. But for now this bike is an incredible deal, and well worth buying over the internet and building myself. It would even be worth it to pay a shop $50-100 to assemble and tune it, if you're not so mechanically inclined.
Strengths: The brakes and conponents are almost the best for the price. Not possible to get a better group for the price.Havent failed me once except once. Also, it is like riding a piece of butter
Weaknesses: The skewers although I dont even go offroad have bent already. Also, the tire popped on me twice.But bikesdirect helped me with all of them.Once for cosmetic damages they promised 25 dollars to be back on credit card but didnt deliver. Other than that everything went well.
Fuji charges 1400 for same bike except different painting. Also fuji bottom tube is thinner at bottom. I actually preferr this frame. So all in all I am impressed with the value. Few problems but at least bikesdirect helped to fix them. All you do is tell them
Similar Products Used: 100 dollar walmart bikes. They are terrible
Bike Setup: sram x.5/avid juicy 5/ truvativ cranks/ wtb speed discs/ wtb seats/ continental mountain king tires / fuji frame.
a Weekend Warrior
from st louis mo
Date Reviewed: January 9, 2010
Strengths: reba/x9 group
Weaknesses: stock hubs/overall weight/buying on line not from lbs
first 29" bike will never go back to 26" reba is smooth x9 group is as good or better then the xt i had on dale over all bike is heavier then my 26 but don't really notice this bike totally out climbs my 26 and is less twitchy on the down hills buying from bikesdirect was easy have had no issues with bike after i year of riding if your are comfortable buying on line you can't beat this deal
Weaknesses: Having to put it together if you are not a experienced bike guy. You can do it but it is not a 1hr job. You will also need a bike stand. I spent some extra $ to have bikeshop put it together.
Did get a flate on the first ride.
I love the geometry. First ride was smooth. Up and down the bike performed great. I am sold on the 29ers and on Bikesdirect.
I can ride with confidence and know I have a high quality machine under me.
Bike Setup: Windsor Cliff29 Team Mountain Bike with SRAM X9 27 Speeds
Rock Shox Reba 29
a Weekend Warrior
from Hoboken, NJ
Date Reviewed: August 11, 2009
Strengths: Value at this price point is off the charts.
Very nice looking bike.
Weaknesses: Handlebar was a little too stiff for me. Switched to an Easton Monkeylite XC Riser.
The Conti Mountain King 2.1 tire blew the side wall on the second ride (on asphalt) for no apparent reason. BikeDirect didn't want to honor warranty. I switched to Panaracer Rampage.
If you want to save some cash and get a bike with great potential this is where to go. Be aware that the BikeDirect people were giving me the cold shoulder on the faulty tire until I was forced to threaten them. Also, unless you are a bike mechanic take it to the LBS for proper set up and tuning. Still, no regrets. Great riding bike and fantastic components at excellent price.
Strengths: VALUE!! You cannot buy the group for the price of the bike. X-9, truvativ, juicy 7, WTB, great stuff.
Weaknesses: I have bent the rims a few times now, but I am a aggressive rider. I am also thinking about upgrading the front to something a little more stiffer. A little on the heavy side for racing, but I race it anyways, total gas passing 26ers on the downhill sections.
Great entry level 29er, if you are thinking about 29ers (like I did) there is no better value out there! There really is no disadvantage to a 29er versus 26er. When you are in the cockpit, you will sit at a more up right position and when you are standing the low top tube is never a problem when dealing with tech. terrain. I am glad I purchased this bike.
a Weekend Warrior
from Orlando FL
Date Reviewed: June 4, 2009
Strengths: Same bike as Fuji! Half the price! Can't even buy the components for the cost of the bike!
Weaknesses: Stock stem and handle bar are ok, but for the price they are good! Other than that what weekness!!
Bought bike from LBS who happens to own bikes direct. Came with full life time frame warranty and maintainance! This bike rocks. I'm a big guy 6'5' and 265 this bike is perfect!! Don't hate because its not a "big" name manufacterer!