a Cross Country Rider
from Tacoma, WA
Date Reviewed: September 4, 2001
Strengths: Weight, handling, reliability. With nearly 1500 miles of the worst the Pacific NorthWet can throw at it accumulated so far, my B4 offers no complaint. I replaced a lot of pads when the ceramics were new and the Risse rear is showing some silver on the shaft now but I haven't had to put a pump to it since day one. And the full cable housing arrangement has kept shifting flawless even after all this time (no need for Gore-RideOn here).
Weaknesses: I liked my B3 rear shock for its simplicity and ease of maintenance but it was a lot beefier than what is provided for the B4. Relying on reviews posted here and because I was able to get the Risse at cost, my Amp shock is in my parts bin against the day I need to send the Risse in for rebuild. I've yet to use it. The Risse, however, is a lot fatter than the stock shock, so I got some rub on the seat tower in the beginning and it's all but impossible to get a neoprene cover over the shock easily. I believe Amp should rectify this, especially as the Risse, by their own admission, is the shock of choice. Also, the medium and small frames are identical, only the seat tower is swapped. Although I take a medium, I believe a bonafide small frame would attract more riders.
Because of my long association with the B2/B3 (from Amplifier days) I was skeptical at first, and assumed that the B4 would feel pretty similar. In every positive respect, it did; in negative respects -- well, there were no longer any negative respects. Big improvement to what was already a very successful bike -- one of the few original 'templates' for XC duallies that actually worked (and further attested to by the number of B4 'clones' currently available). The only flex I can detect comes from the Bomber, believe it or not, and I can lock the rear up with one-finger, wet or dry (my riding weight is around 175 and I'm a fast, aggressive rider). Handling is spot-on. After a decade of hammering, I can honestly say that it's the finest bike I've ridden. If it were stolen tomorrow, I'd replace bolt for bolt without a second thought. For more good reviews, see those listed for the 1999 Amp B4 also. It's the same frame.
Similar Products Used: Amp B2/B3 - hard for six years - numerous other bikes.
Bike Setup: Z2 Atom 80, Risse Astro 5, Precision Billets V-brakes/levers, Sachs shifters, XTR front derailleur, XT rear, XTR 8-speed cassette, European model XT cranks with standard drive XTR rings ($89.95 :), Bontrager Valiant Ceramics on XT hubs with a Smoke/Psycho combo, Flite saddle, Control Tech Control Post, King headset, Shimano 747's, Kore bars and stem. Nothing fancy here just solid stuff that's worked well for me in the past and which represented the best values I could find. I got the Precision Billets (passe with the advent of discs) for less than a set of XT V's (they work so well with my ceramic rims that I've absolutely no ambition to switch to discs). I haven't weighed it but it's a lot lighter than either my full rigid Miyata Elevation or my Raleigh Sheer (top of the line for 92) which, for a dually, says a lot.
a Cross Country Rider
from salt lake city, utah
Date Reviewed: August 24, 2000
Strengths: light weight, horst leitner innovations, rolling art, quick turning
Weaknesses: rear shock blew out after only about 20 rides
Despite the rear shock blow out, the bike works great. AMP will rebuild the shock for free under warranty, and I will keep it as a spare since I replaced it with the better than stock Risse air/oil. The Risse seems more plush without the boinginess of the stock coil over, and it also has adjustable rebound. I pretty much expected to do the replacement based on other mtbr reviews mentioning the same problem. Otherwise the bike is super sweet, especially on tight single track where it is quick turning. It climbs great with no noticable bobbing. Everything just feels damped, probably because I am used to hard tails. I get nothing but compliments from people. I am very happy with the bike.
Favorite Trail: mr. toads wild ride, & park city singletrack
Duration Product Used: 3 months
Purchased At: mercedes dealer
Similar Products Used: no full suspension, but I have had 2 sloping top tube cannondale hardtails, the last with a thudbuster seatpost.
Bike Setup: mavic 715 hoops, hutchinson python golds,chris king hubs, american classic ti bottom bracket, specialized strong arm crank, time carbon pedals, white brothers at-4 forks, xtr rear and xt front derailers, thompson seatpost, selle italia flite gel seat, xtr front and xt rear v-brakes, bontrager race stem, easton ct-2 handlebar, paul love levers, xtr shifters, auri mtn bike grips, all at 23.6 lbs.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: July 24, 2000
Strengths: - Lightness
Weaknesses: - Stupid pivot that likes to come out - Flexy flexy flexy
Well now, I knew when I was buying this thing I was buying it for lightness, and that this lightness would mean flexing... OK, so I can compensate for this by paying more attention to my center of gravity etc,... so lets say that flex isn't an issue... but for crying out loud I own this thing for like 2 weeks and my main pivot at the BB shell is like coming out... Here's the deal, it doesn't even have allen bolts or anything to tighten it in... however I can drop this bike (nothing more than 3ft) and jump, bomb, etc... IN THE BUSH and the pivot stays put... however, when I'm in the urban environment the thing likes to come out... it just don't like pavement... On the plus side it weighs 24lbs 3oz for large frame and discs... the brakes work really nice, the bike climbs amazingly well, and is fast as hell when I want it to be... kinda like roadbike speed except i;m in the woods... wicked... but the lightness doesn't come without it's flexing... 4 Chili Value cuz the frame isn't allll that expensive, and it's light as hell... DON'T BUY IT IF you can't ride it like a featherweight bike that it is... but if you can, those hills and flat sections are gonna fly by alot faster. 4 Chili Overall rating because the bike does what I bought it to do, and does it very well... K, so anywayz, this is pretty much a specific use frame. As an everyday beater, this thing wouldn't last that long and would be considered a crappy bike... U can't drop it off everything, and you can't be screwing up your jumps... it isn't made for abuse...