Weaknesses: A little flexey, Fork needed to be replaced, Shock needed to be modified.
There is nothing made, even today, that is any lighter and has an active full suspension. This makes an excellent trail bike AFTER the following mods. Replace original linkage fork. MODIFY REAR SHOCK as follows: Add several more compression damping passages by drilling holes in the piston similar to the one compression passage that is stock. (This is the passage that is closed by the O-Ring on the rebound stroke.) This TRANSFORMS the bike to make it very compliant AND makes the shock last for years (rather than months) between $10 rebuilds.
This is a GREAT bike once you make the above mods. The shock is NOT sophisicated but works OK and is very light and easy to rebuild. I also made one more mod. I got a spring made up that has more space between the coil - thus would NOT coil bind. This adds about 1/4 to 1/2 to the travel.
If I hadn't just gotten an 04 S-Works Enduro - I would have gone to a 4" travel fork and a 2.25 to 2.4 rear tire. The geometry is adjustable by sliding the shock in or out in the Mcpherson strut.
AMP still provide parts at reasonable prices. It will need an annual rear suspension rebuild but this is an hour job and cost something like $30 in parts.
Bike Setup: Mix of XT, LX and ETR - Marzocchi Atom Bomb 3" fork High Stem and Bar becuase of back problem
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: June 25, 2001
Strengths: Weight, Suspension design, Looks
This is a nice riding bicycle. Mine is an older AMP B2 from 1994 or 1995. At the time I bought it it was great. It climbed well descended well and handled well on my favorite fireroad rides. After a year or so of not riding much I gained weight and with the added weight I noticed the flex in the frame. The bottom line is that this is a great bike for anyone under 150 pounds or so. It is a beautiful bicycle. The frame and fork design are much more elegante than those found on almost any othe rfull suspension bike, including newer AMP's.
Similar Products Used: rockhopper, ritchy, ibis, various full suspension
Bike Setup: Originaly lx, now xt/xtr
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: December 9, 1999
Strengths: Light! Feels like a hardtail on the hills. Minimal pedal-induced bobbing.
Weaknesses: A little flexy in the rear
This bike climbs like my friend Jay's Klein Attitude. Very minimal bob. My old bike (Bianchi) felt like a pogo stick as soon as you stood up.The front fork is very stiff, it only compressess on hard hits. This is good for me because I can climb better with the fork being stiff. On that note, if you are used to an oil or air fork, the AMP fork will feel almost too stiff. The rear shock is great at what it does-provide 3 of plush travel at minimal weight. It could, though, use a rebound adjuster. I missed one or two shifts on climbs. I attribute this to the rear end being a little flexy when you crank up hills. I plan to order the V-brake bosses for the rear and install a brace to remedy the problem. Overall, this bike does what it promises beautifully. It is a stiff, very light cross-country bike. It handles like a dream, climbs hills effortlessly, and brakes great in the wet stuff. Not for jumping and downhilling, but wonderful for epic cross-country rides.
Date Reviewed: October 22, 1999
Strengths: Light, simple, owner friendly maintenance, carves turns and climbs like a tank..Sherman Tank, that is!
I traded my B-3 in on a B-4...AMP has a super policy direct from the factory...if that's what you want. I reviewed the B-4 in this forum and rated it 5 chilis...it's super...but if I knew then what I know know, I might have just upgraded my B-3, costing me an inch of suspension, but saving some money. I traded mass quantities of something I had too much of to a friend who had mass quantities of something he had too much of...he worked in a bike shop and had the B-3 with a steel F-1 fork. I built it up as indicated, here, and at 22.5 lb., it rocked! The front end was a bit harsh, as was the rear, but it climbed like a vehicle on treads. At just over 22 lb., it would rocket away from and soar up...anything! Best ride I ever had was on the secret trail, with friend Randy. He'd catch me on every straight, but I'd brake late, carving the turns and then accelerate away, or up, at warp speed...and then he'd catch up by the next turn. That's what a 22.5 lb. bike that carves and climbs is like to ride. But it was harsh, or so it seemed. I found out about the trade-in policy and converted my B-3 into an B-4 with F-4BLT fork. The new bike rode just as harsh. One call to the factory revealed that both bikes were over sprung for my weight. In about 3 days, correct weight springs arrived from AMP with a stamped/self addressed envelope to return the other springs back to them. Now that's service! The B-3 is a little bit more flexy than the B-4, but is the little stiffer frame worth the extra 1/2 lb.? The BLT fork has 3/4 more travel than the F-3 I could have traded up for. Was it also worth another quarter pound? I don't have the answer. I loved them both. One thing is for sure. They are both the lightest, best curve carving, best climbing bikes I have ever ridden. As for maintenance, I rebuilt the front pivot bushings and refilled the oil in both shocks when I took over as second owner. In the 3 years I rode it, I refilled the front shock's oil once or twice, and although the rear soon developed AMPhysema, it was still fully topped up after three years. In fact, I used the sound of the rear huffing to help me to learn proper pedaling technique...no huffing, perfect smoothness. The new shocks don't do that, anymore, and I sort of miss sit. In the many miles, hours, hills and crashes the bike went through with two owners, the rear shock and pivots were still like new at trade in/recycling. Highly recommended for anyone sub-Clydsdale.
Similar Products Used: Szasbo, Schwinn, Trek, AMP B-4.
Bike Setup: Mavic/Nuke Proof-carbon wheels, Control seatpost and stem, Grip Shift 7 speed, home made 150 gm. levers and 350 gm cranks, Conti Leader Pro/Comp Pro-1 tyres, uno bars, Flite saddle...weighed 22.5 lb. on the offical calibrated postal scale at work...and that's with heavy inner tubes.
a Cross-Country Rider
from Homeland, CA
Date Reviewed: October 3, 1999
Strengths: Plush rear susp. Light weight, good welding, great looking design
Weaknesses: Rear flex from V-brakes
Ive only ridden this bike 3 times. I bought it as a frame only. I LOVE IT!! (so far!) Rear susp. is very plush. It carves corners with ease, and climbs great. Some reviews I've seen are old B3's. This one is much improved. Mine weighs under 25 lbs. with RS Judy w/steel steerer. Great Bike!!
Similar Products Used: Schwinn Homegrown Factory suspension
Bike Setup: Gripshift brake levers and shifters, RS Judy XC, w/speedsprings, Nuke/Mavic wheels XT derailluers.Cook Bros cranks
a Cross-Country Rider
from Seattle WA
Date Reviewed: May 18, 1999
Strengths: Light weight, great handling, great durability, very very quick, good rigid ride yet damps the trail for smoothness, incredible climbing... everything is awesome even after two years of heavy colorado/utah riding (5 rides a week for two summers)
Weaknesses: Rear shock is a bummer. Had to buy aftermarket Strata Shock which rocks. Linkage gets old and needs to be replaced. Front shock linkage needs to be replaced as well and it's a pain to do it.
Worth every penny. I'll never get anything else unless it's just as light and handles just as well. Perhaps a B5 some day?
Similar Products Used: cannondale super-v (not good), treck full suspension (not good), and a low end pro-flex which also not good.
Bike Setup: amp b3 frameset with lx components. Stratashock, f3 fork
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: May 11, 1999
Strengths: it is extremly ligth, looks great, climbs perfect, handles very good
Weaknesses: limited travel, shock and pivots need maintenance
I love this bike. Great handling, enough travel (OK not for the really hard stuff), and light, ligth, ligth. It is a little bit outdated nowadays, so I bought a B5 some weeks ago, which I must admit is even better. I changed the pivots at fork and frame one times, the shock needs a little help after 4 years. The bottom line: a perfect bike, for people who ride their bikes and don't jump around. For my needs still 5 stars
Similar Products Used: various Cannondales, Centurion, Votec
Bike Setup: B3-Frame, F2-Fork, LX/XT Parts, Syncros post, some ligthweigth stuff, 10.8 kg
a cross-country rider
Date Reviewed: March 9, 1999
I just recieved this as a frameset two days ago and put all of my old components(LX/XT) from my hard tail. As soon as I took it out of the box I saw quality gleaming everywhere. Precision welds, beutiful paint and awsome machine work. Full length cable housing is a great design as is the MAC Strut suspension linkage. After a few hours of putting all the parts on I took it out for a spin. I'm not too familiar with suspension bike as Ive only ridden a few, but this is by far the stiffest and sturdiest frame ive ridden. The 3 travel is super plush and progressive and is perfect for the long XC single track rides. So far the bike is great. The only question now is durability. I will post again soon to comment on that. Great bike!