a Cross Country Rider
from Buchanan, MI, USA
Date Reviewed: November 10, 2002
Strengths: I love how it rides and how it handles bumps, potholes, and roadkill.
Weaknesses: The only problem i ever had with my bike was when it got stolen from my garage. I love that bike and when youre 14 with a $450, its like grand theft auto. that bike was my life, i rode it 8 miles a day over my entire summer vacation, i wouldnt have traded it for the world.
the bike is awesome. if you want it for just millin around the town a few times a year, its not a good bike; if you get it out a few times a week, its awesome. the handle grips are nice and squishy, the shocks handle roads, trails, and even frozen tilled up fields better than most cars. i love the bike. its awesome.
from Freedom, Id
Date Reviewed: April 11, 2001
Strengths: I like the Fram. It as a good shape. From my riding, I have enjoyed the smoothness of the suspention.
Weaknesses: Rear grear gears. i bent the big back one just riding it around the house.
I realy enjoy this Bike. It is a good price and handles a lot of abuse. This bike is very movable. I can do any acrobatic move you can think of on it. i do say, it you need a mountian bike with out a ton of money, this is it!
from Blachsburg, VA/STL., MO
Date Reviewed: March 20, 2001
Strengths: Look at my previous review and notice the difference in price. If you are serious about biking and want this bike, expect to upgrade and repair everything. This bike is terrible. I take back everything I said before. The only good thing is the frame. Yes it is heavy, but DHing makes that obsolete. This was not intended for what it advertises to be. It is a bike meant only for riding to class.
Do not touch lest ye wish to posses the power to hurt ye self doing little tricks.
Bike Setup: now with synergy wheels and a bomber fork. avid v-brakes.
Some Sucky Rider
a Cross Country Rider
from San Diego, CA, USA
Date Reviewed: February 9, 2001
Killed the granny gear on the front sprocket on the first "difficult" ride I attempted, about 6 miles in, while riding up a hill. Tried shifting down under power (stupid me), bent the portion of the sprocket in contact with the chain at that time 90 degrees out. Bent back to vertical, stayed on middle gear, finished ride. Had it replaced under warranty with a TruVativ Firex crank set (paid a little extra money to get this). This required a longer spindle. The bike shop replaced the existing one with a sealed one for free. Later ruined the Firex's granny gear, though damage was not visible. Chain would just catch on sprocket and wrap around. Replaced that individual ring, no further problems with that.
Killed the rear rim while climbing a hill. The threads on the rim where the free wheel is attached stripped out. Bike shop said "Oh-well. Beyond 1-year warranty point." Bought a new rear rim. Another bike shop I questioned stated that they had seen this occur only one other time in their entire history. Odd.
Decided to enhance braking power. Purchased Avid Arch Rival 50s. I like the braking power much better.
Decided to upgrade front shock. Purchased Rock Shox Psylo. Nice...
I killed rear derailleur while going down a hill at 25-30 MPH over rough terrain. Derailleur caught a rear spoke, wrapped around 180 degrees... Bad. Replaced with Shimano XT derailleur. Better.
Didn't like how bike was handling bumpy terrain - bouncing and skittering over and around rocks, etc. while going down hill at ?high speed?. Also had problems with pogo (even after replacing stock spring with a 750# spring). Decided I needed dampening, so replaced with Cane Creek AD-10. It is quite a bit lighter. Vast improvement - More so than afforded by the front fork upgrade.
Still didn't like the climbing performance. Was improved due to upgrades, but I thought I could do better. So, I purchased new tires (Panaracer Fire XC Pro, front and rear). These are a huge improvement over stock tires! Climbing is a lot easier now that I am not spinning out, etc.
Front shifting with the Firex crank set SUCKS! I may upgrade my front derailleur. Currently have to shift rear derailleur to largest gear before attempting to shift to middle or largest rings on front. It is nearly impossible to shift to the largest ring on front. The derailleur won't move far enough to shift reliably. Also, I can't get the derailleur perfectly adjusted. Always rubs chain when using middle or high front gear, unless I set to the point to where it won't shift. Or, maybe I am a sucky mechanic.
The swing arm tends to become loose in the pivot, and has done so since I first got it. I have tightened this many times, but it always works loose again in just a few rides.
I don't like the huge drop between the largest gear in the back and the next one down. I will eventually replace with something that has a more even spread.
By the way, this bike is HEAVY. Rear derailleur, rear shock, front sprocket, seat, and tires are lighter than stock. The brakes may be lighter as well, though I am not sure. I think the front forks may be slightly heavier. Bike currently ways 34 pounds.
The bike is heavy, but so am I. I weighed 260+ lbs when I purchased this bike. Now down to 215, and shrinking, mostly as a result of exercising on this bike. Bike now has about 350 miles on it, most from within the last 4 months.
I wish I had heard the recommendation of another bike shop before I purchased this bike. "If you want to spend $400 on a bicycle, purchase a hard tail. The componentry will be much better than that found on a full suspension bicycle in the same price range."
Favorite Trail: Sycamore Canyon Open Space Preserve, San Diego
Duration Product Used: 2 Years
Purchased At: $400
Similar Products Used: None
Bike Setup: Stock except: New tires, New rear rim, new Shimano XT rear derailer, new TruVativ Firex front sprocket, new Avid Arch Rival 50 V Brakes, New Specialized Saddle, New Rock Shox Psylo front shock, New Cane Creek AD-10 Rear Shock
from St. Louis, MO/Blacksburg, VA
Date Reviewed: September 16, 2000
Strengths: The standard package, without any modifications, handles the low to mid range speeds usually associated with downhill biking rather well. At higher speeds, both the rear and front suspension systems do a fairly nice job of absorbing large shocks while keeping the wheels planted firmly to the ground. The rear suspension system is threaded to allow basic adjustments for any type of terain. This is a major plus since I bike on both steep mild surfaces as well as highly bumpy terrain (large rocks for example). This is a good bike for someone looking to enter the world of downhill biking while not busting the bank. This particular bicycle can be a bit tricky to adjust, but a little bit of experimentation with different settings can allow even a new-time biker to understand the beauty and positive aspects that dual suspension bicycles offer. With most bikes, I usually have problems with my wrists getting sore after long periods of riding. Not with this bike. The front fork and the handlebar do a fantastic job of reducing fatigue on my hands and arms. After adjusting the seat a few times, I found that it IS rather comfortable to sit on. But this is a feature that varies with different people. So far, I haven't had a problem with stress on the frame, fork, or the wheels. They have taken quite a beating on a regular basis. I have really put their durability to the test and they have all responded very well. I haven't needed to true the wheels yet!
Weaknesses: I find myself struggling to get up to speed on soft surfaces such as dirt or gravel. The rear suspension system has a hard time keeping the rear wheel planted firmly even at higher gear aettings. The is an overcomable problem by changing the rear suspension a bit, but for a new-time dual suspension bicycle consumer, this problem could be a bit complicated to remedy. I recommend talking to an experienced biker or contacting a good bike shop for any suggestions. The derailleur in the rear has a tendency not to shift to the furthest inner or outer gear. Some times, it never wants to shift one gear over in any direction unless I try to shift over two. Same problem with the front derailleurs. I can't seem to find a good setting for either of them. For the most part, I find that this is a problem only while I'm going up steep hills and are using a lot of leg power. The gears on the front gear cluster have a tendency to strip. I haven't been able to locate the problem in order to find a solution. I can't confirm this, but I think they are made of T7 aluminum. This isn't exactly the best material for gears. After the break-in period, the problem seems to have stopped. My final gripe is that the V-Alloy brakes that I recieved with the bike aren't really very strong and they have a tendency to fade a little bit at higher speeds. Don't get me wrong. They do their job well. The bike is not very light at all. It gets difficult going up hills sometimes, but nothing a little bit of exercise couldn't help.
The parts work well once they are tuned to the specific performance needs of the rider and the suspension handles quite well. This is an affordable bike that has much to offer to novice bikers as well semi-hardened bikers. Highly experienced bikers that are use to the top-of-the-line bikes that are offered today may want to stray from this one. But all in all, this is a great bike for a small price.
Similar Products Used: I have tested many bikes in the past and have often tried my friends' bikes to find a good one to use. So far, I have used the GT XCR-LE and the GT XCR4000 on a regular basis.
Bike Setup: My bike came with Shimano derailleurs and brakes combined, Megarange rear gear cluster and a Tracer gear cluster in the front, Selle Stratos Generation 2000 saddle, Kalen seat post, SR Suntour M6200 fork, DNM DV-6 Fireball rear damper with a DNM 650 lbs/in spring in the rear, XRims in the front and rear as well,and Kenda tires on both rims. I have seen other setups, but I think that this is the most common one.
a Weekend Warrior
from Phoenix AZ USA
Date Reviewed: March 6, 2000
Strengths: Price,aluminum frame and rear triangle.
Weaknesses: fork and derailluers
Great entry level bike. Good frame with lots of upgrade possibilities. Where else can you get a name brand,full suspension bike for $400.If you are on a budget Go For It!