a Weekend Warrior
from New York, NY, USA
Date Reviewed: December 28, 2009
Strengths: It floats!
Ok, I am not a regular MTB rider, don't own one. I only ride about once per year with my brother in Sedona, AZ. But there's something special you have to now about this bike.
As usual, we rented the bikes at the local bike shop and one of them was Bionicon Golden Willow.
While crossing a river along a raggedy make-shift bridge the bike was dropped into the stream. Luckily my brother (the rider) made it to the other side with only one foot wet.
To everybody's surprise the bike didn't sink (the depth was about 6 feet there), but FLOATED on the surface!!! It was carried by the stream for about ten yards until it hit a stone near the river bank.
By the time I pulled this Golden Willow out it had spent about ten minutes in sideways floating position in fresh water (36F).
My brother and I found this quite amazing (and counter-intuitive) to watch this Golden Willow float.
So if you plan to drown your Bionicon - you'll have to at least deflate the tires:)
Weaknesses: Some suspension bob; Spec (noisy brakes)
I'm mainly a hardtail guy, so the idea of having a longer-travel bike with the front/rear adjustability appeals to me. I have a hard time using all the suspension, and I like to pick smooth lines.
However, I kept this bike in a medium- to long-travel setting on fast, twisty singletrack most of the time and let it eat up bumps. The stiff front end made up for the slacker geometry in corners, and the rear suspension felt smooth through its stroke.
Lean forward, knock down the travel, and have an efficient pedaling position for super-steep hills; it helps keep the front end on the ground up twisty switchbacks and works well on the road between trailheads.
My only gripe was the placement of the button - it crowded my shifters and I unintentionally shifted a dozen times by bumping the lever with my thumb. Easy fix. Bottom line: I'd like to spend more time on this bike, or even an Edison, considering the adjustability.
a Cross Country Rider
from Manchester, UK
Date Reviewed: October 24, 2007
Strengths: Adjustable geometry! Wind the fork in and you get tour de france roadie bike head angles which gives it incredible climbing ability. Wind the fork out and the bike slackens to world cup downshill geometry without the bottom bracket position shifting by more than a few mm. The concept is simply genius and it works.
For top end full suss mtbs, this represents very good value for money.
Weaknesses: Price - but personally if you are prepared to spend £2000 on a xc bike, this should be on your shortlist.
The fork design is very primitive which can make it difficult to set up. Kind of have to set it up for sag in the downhill position and accept that it will bob a little bit, but to be fair I don't really notice it that much. The fork doesn;t have a lockout but is not really needed as this would screw up the whole concept.
I went for the more adjustable rear shock in the hope that it would eliminate pedal bob better, and it does as long as it is set up correctly.
The concept takes a while to get used to, but it really does work. Would suggest test riding one before buying. I would buy again but might be tempted to tone the spec down a wee bit as this is going to cost me a hell of a lot of money as parts start to wear out....
Similar Products Used: There isn't a similar product! Had a GT I-Drive 4.0, and various mid range hardtails
Bike Setup: Full Sram X0, DT swiss wheelset
a Weekend Warrior
from Tempe, AZ
Date Reviewed: April 25, 2007
Strengths: Love that long fork on the front. Both the front and rear suspension move well at low speed but still take the big bumps well. Great traction front and rear on all surfaces. Bike geometry easy to change while riding.
Weaknesses: There's no room in the rear suspension for really big tires.
A fun and fast ride. I'm easily riding down steep rock ramps that I would not have considered on my old bike. Riding up steep hills is quite a bit easier because I can stay in the saddle longer even on fairly rocky climbs.
Similar Products Used: Previously rode 2003 Trek Liquid with adjustable travel front and rear.
Bike Setup: SRAM 7 / 9. 8 inch formula disk brakes, 1 inch wide rims, Schwalbe Albert tires. Bike came with nice wide handlebars. There's nothing on this bike that needed to be changed to get a perfect fit.
a Cross Country Rider
from San Luis Obispo, Ca USA
Date Reviewed: April 19, 2007
Strengths: Adjustable suspension!!! Downhill to cross country bike with the push of a button. This bike can handle any terrain you put in front of it. Light and Comfortable all around bike. Great bike for anyone beginners to pro.
Weaknesses: tire rubbing. My Kenda Nevegal 2.35 rubs in the rear. Switched to a Specialized Enduro 2.20.(not a big deal)
I wasn't to sure about the bike when I first saw it. I was thinking, how can the adjustability make that big of a difference. Well I can say aftertaking the bike on a demo ride and talking with Mic and Scott, I was sold!! I bought my very own that day. Contact Bionicon if you are interested, you will not be disappointed. It is the best bike ever.
Favorite Trail: Morning Glory, Pick and Shovel, Secret Trail
Duration Product Used: Less than 1 month
Purchased At: Art's Cyclery, SLO
Similar Products Used: Specialized Rock Hopper
Bike Setup: Bionicon Golden Willow '06 medium frame, Bionicon Double Agent fork, Xfusion O2-RL rear shock, SRAM x7 drivetrain, truvativ cranks, Alexrims FD-16 rims, Hayes 8" disc brakes, Kenda Blue Groove 2.35(front), Specialized Enduro 2.20(rear)
a Cross Country Rider
from Ridgecrest, CA USA
Date Reviewed: December 23, 2006
Strengths: On-the-fly adjustable front and rear suspension. Adjustable suspension allows changing frame geometry on-the-fly. Great downhill performance, good climbing performance. Comfortable body position for all mountain riding.
Weaknesses: Large tires (2.3" Swalbe Fat Albert) rub on the downtube where it splits to go around the tire. Heavier than my cross-country bike.
This is my first full suspension bike. I've been waiting for years for the right full-suspension bike, and in fact was slow to convert to suspension at all.
That being said, I am totally convinced this is the best full suspension bike out there.
For me, whether its snowboarding, running, mountain biking, sailing, or flying jet fighters for the Navy I prefer a tool that handles any condition at least well and sometimes outstanding. For mountain biking I prefer one great all-around bike and the Golden Willow is that bike for me.
The suspension and its adjustability are the main selling points of the Golden Willow for me. I'm not a dedicated downhiller and I like to ride my bike wherever I'm going. I do love to go downhill as fast as I can though. Being able to lay the Golden Willow all the way back to its downhill position has allowed me to feel much more confident and stay in control on several local downhill runs that my previous bike always felt sketchy on. I'm still able to climb every hill in the local area that I could before, although the slightly heavier (3-5 pounds) bike makes the climbs a little slower. Even though its heavier, when the bike is in the climbing position the control and body position is much more comfortable when going uphill. The adjustment is simply made by pushing their bright orange and black button and shifting body weight to move suspension air from front to back or back to front. Check the bionicon.com website for details.
I recently completed a combo road/mountain ride on my Golden Willow. The day consisted of 30 miles of road climbing to the top of Sherman pass near Kernville, CA then 30 miles down the Cannell Trail and Plunge back to Kernville. This one day adventure was complemented by the adjustability of the Bionicon system. My back felt less cramped and tired than I remember from past long rides due to being able to fine tune my body and bike position to the steepness of the trail (decent, climb, level). The slack geometry in the downhill position allowed much better control than a fixed geometry (read: compromise) bike at the end of the ride, especially when I was tired and fatigued, on the technical downhills at the end of the ride.
I was convinced of the this was the right bike for me after a demo ride with the Bionicon US team. They've been very very helpful and supportive before and after I bought my bike.
For reference my previous bike is a Specialized Stumpjumper XC configuration with a Judy front suspension fork and hardtail.