Similar Products Used: There is nothing like a Ventana
Bike Setup: None anymore it's rebuild time.
a Cross Country Rider
from emerald hills, ca
Date Reviewed: May 6, 2005
Strengths: frame material 6061 alu. bushing pivots dont break or wear out as quick as bearings. no-nonsense xc suspension design. clean look, no monkey motion. solid customer service. upgraded fox vanilla R rear shock. long head tube for a 17" frame. race geometry that i can still wring out on a dh trail and still sprint finish against my friends.
Weaknesses: titanium pivot bolts have short threads into aluminum frame. EASY to strip if you dont use a torque wrench. hard to helicoil if you have stripped em. with salsa flip lock seatpost qr, rear v-brake cable housing can sometimes hang up when suspension is fully compressed (like off a jump)
for a 5 year old frame that i got for $250 plus a 6-pack, its one of the better bikes i have owned. handles superb in twisty nor-cal trails. light enough to be race worthy. stiff enough to be able to sprint and climb like a hardtail, but be plush to the right extent on the downhills.
Similar Products Used: santa cruz heckler, kona stinky dee lux, foes zig-zag, friends marble peak fs
Bike Setup: 99 frame, fox vanilla r rear shock, fox vanilla 125rlc front shock. xtr drivetrain, hayes disc front, rotating wheelsets, king headset
a Cross Country Rider
from Philadelphia, Pa.
Date Reviewed: February 11, 2001
Weaknesses: Nothing (well, if I have to pick something to complain about, I guess I could say that I'd like to see bearings rather than bushings used for the rear end. Ventana claims that "weight" is the reason, but since the bombproof construction of their framesets involves producing a slightly heavier frameset than most high end racers, the Ventana buyer isn't a gram counter anyway and would probably trade a couple of xtra grams for the obvious advantages of bearings)
I should probably qualify my review by explaining that I'm a rider very new to mtbing, having purchased my first bicycle in 35 years (I'm 50), a Cannondale hardtail, only 10 months ago, so my reference points are almost nonexistant. I purcased it with the intention of helping me rehab a body that had been badly broken (3 years in & out of a wheelchair)in a motorcycle roadracing accident in 1997. I eventially replaced every component on the Cannondale (with my current component group) before trading up to the Ventana, which I purchased for no other reasons other than I thought that FS would be far more comfortable and that the Ventana's are the classiest looking rides I'd ever seen. To my surprise, the Ventana's ride hasn't only been more comfortable, but so confidence inspiring that my learning curve has shot upwards, now more like that of a 20 year old than a 50 year old. It might seem like a waste for an entry level rider such as myself to ride a bike so far beyond my capabilities, but I'll probably never need to upgrade, it's so much fun to ride that, even in the cold and snow, I find myself riding atleast a few of times a week, which will ensure the continued upward direction of my learning curve. Oh yeah.....and I love just lookin' at it. Thanks Ventana.
Bike Setup: SID XC, Cane Creek AD-10, XTR brakes, drivetrain, controls, & hubs, Raceface stem &post, Mavic 517 ceramic, Chris King headset, WSB SST98 saddle, Shimano 747 pedals.
a Cross Country Rider
from Milan, Italy
Date Reviewed: January 2, 2001
Strengths: Strong, light, dependable, zero maintenance, incredible handling
Weaknesses: They don't make it anymore and I worry that I'll never find a replacement if it is stolen.
I also have the El Habernero that is the same as the Marble Peak. After finally ditching a ProFlex 856 and getting the Ventana, I'll never ride anything other than Ventanas. I bought the bike because I was preparing to move to northern Italy and the Alps can be brutally punishing on a bike. I chose the Ventana because of its strength to weight ratio and the fact that the rear suspension is without a doubt the finest, plushest, most stable that I have ever ridden.
Well, I moved to Italy late this spring and I then spent the entire summer and most of the fall trying to destroy this bike on the most wicked Italian and Swiss Alp trails but I had to give up due to the snow and I finally decided to return to work. But considering close to a thousand miles of vicious trails this bike shows no sign of fatigue anywhere, in fact I havn't had to do anything to the bike. I just hose it off every now and then.
This bike with a Marzocchi Atom Bomb can handle anything I run into. I think I could nap on 1000ft. descents. The problem is the climbs here can be very long, but the fact that the bike weighs a little over 25 pounds and has smooth suspension really helps out a lot. I did finally switch the Fox Alps-4 for a Cane Creek AD-10 in the fall and noticed a little bit of difference but the ride is still essentially the same. It takes a nasty impact to get this bike to bottom out, yet it seems really plush all the time. In fact, I have gotten really lazy and no longer stand up for impacts on flat runs and light descents. This bike encourages bad habits.
I have no choice but to give Ventana Mountain Bikes and Bicycle Therapy of Philadelphia 5 flaming haberneros for building the best bikes immaginable.
Similar Products Used: There is nothing similar, other INFERIOR products are ProFlex and Specialized bikes.
Bike Setup: Atom Bomb fork
from Tulsa, OK
Date Reviewed: October 5, 2000
I have a '97 Ventana Habanero which is the same frame as the Marble Peak. I have loved and continue to love my bike with respect to handling and suspension characteristics. My only complaint is failures with the swingwarm cracking. I am now on my 4rth swingarm breaking one about every year. Ventana was good about replacing the first three free of charge but now they have changed policy and charge me $150. The frame has a lifetime warranty and I should therefore not have to pay.
a Cross Country Rider
from Grapevine, Texas
Date Reviewed: August 15, 2000
Strengths: Everything about the bike.
Weaknesses: None yet.
Sweet bike. The first time I rode it I knew I spent my money well. I will ride it till it completly falls apart. It is made so well that it will be a long time. I would highly recommend purchasing ventana over any other brand. It is worth the money. Turner and Ellison were pretty good too but I felt like the ventana was better built, has better metal and it was about $500 cheaper.
It came spec. with a Fox Vanellia coil shock which works ok but could use improvements. I's getting a Cane Creek AD-10 this week. Iv'e continuously ridden the bike for well over a year, on massively technical to totaly flat, and there has not been one problem with it. Even the bushings are still in excellent condition.
This bike will take total abuse!! The faster you go the better it feels and responds. Accidently slam a huge boulder? No problem it wants another and another. It is exacly like a full suspension rigid frame.
If you don't own one you might as well stick with your road bike. If your into wasting money too don't bother buying one. Any other bike is a waste.
Similar Products Used: I tested a few bikes Pro-Flex, Specialized, Turner, AMP, Ellison, etc.. None measuerd up.
Bike Setup: Marble Peak FS Electric Blue, Caramba cranks, Z3 fork, Mavic wheels, Kore stem, Ibis ti bars, Syncros post, XTR,
a Weekend Warrior
from Las Vegas, Nv
Date Reviewed: August 11, 2000
Strengths: Nice welds and awesome paint. Relatively light (27.5 lbs w/ coil-over and Z2) -- depending on setup. Great handling on downhills and an exceptional climber.
Weaknesses: None --- except maybe design a little boring.
The Marble Peak is an awesome bike for anyone who live in an area filled with rocky or technical climbs and descents. My Mantis is faster on the smooth stuff -- but I can climb steep nasty things on the Ventana that I never could on the Mantis (even though I'm not nearly as conditioned).
Similar Products Used: My other bike is a Mantis Pro-Floater (faster on smooth trails).
Bike Setup: All XTR w/ Nukeproof hubs, Z2 Bam fork w/ SpeedBombs, Raceface cranks
a Cross-Country Rider
Date Reviewed: October 4, 1999
Strengths: beautiful construction perfect alignment strong where needed, (seat post, head tube, bottom bracket, rear drop outs)
Weaknesses: none so far
This bike is an absolute pleasure to ride on technical and fast cross country single track and was well worth the money. Consider that even more money could be spent on a similar full suspension cross country frame of similar build quality, (intense, dean, ellsworth, san adreas etc.) and you'll see the value of this bike. I used to ride an aluminum hard tail with a manitou pro fork and my Ventana definitely allows me to ride faster and with better control over virtually everything. Because of rear suspension, I gained a pound of weight and did give up the ability to get snap acceleration on smoother terrain (I am still learning how to get more out of this bike so that will soon change for the better) but gained better braking, overall handling, some climbing advantages and more speed in the rough. I got the frame in May 99 and have ridden dozens of times in all condtions and have had absolutely no problems with pivots (no slop or noise) even though the pivots are not sealed and haven't been lubed. The rear end is absolutely flex free just like when it was new. Before you buy anything else out there, compare this bike to other active suspension bikes. This bike is built to handle long term, high intensity use.
Favorite Trail: any single track that hasn't been closed
Duration Product Used: 6 months
Bike Setup: x-vert fork, xtr mostly
from Seattle, Wa
Date Reviewed: October 1, 1999
Strengths: Bullet-proof. Smooth. Inexpensive. Smooth. Not a tank. Smooth. Tall bottom bracket
Weaknesses: Ventana doesn't make it anymore. Doesn't weigh two pounds.
Excellent bike, the best combo of climbing, descending and weight available. Someone once said Strong, light, inexpensize, pick any two. Well i feel like i got all three. Ventana was mega helpful. Riding in washington muck i've gone through amp pivots in 2 months but the Ventana is still going strongwith no end in sight. I like steep stuff and the frame tracks great, no hint of wiggle like some other noodle bikes i've ridden. I used to work in bike shops so i've had the opportunity to ride lots of bikes and designs and this is the best. Mostly i ride trials so i look for the most unrideable stuff and try it, the bike has never let me down.
a Cross-Country Rider
Date Reviewed: September 16, 1999
Strengths: Bike handles great! It climbs and decends perfectly. The welds are perfect and the attention to detail is outstanding. Great fully active ride. The little touches such as the head tube gusset and stainless steel dropout liners are nice adds.
Weaknesses: Wish it had sealed pivots. Honestly though, I have had no problems with them. Just a perception thing on my part.
I called Ventana to find out about dealers in the area and since none where available, they sent a bike for me to try out (I only paid for the shipping back). As others said, I'll ride it to it falls apart. Excellent bike!
Bike Setup: Marble peak FS - Marzocchi Z1 BAM, Raceface cranks and BB, King headset, Synchros Ti post, ESP 900, XTR V brakes and rear cassette, Fox Alps 5R, flite saddle, Mavic Crossmax rims (all this at less then 25.5 lbs)
a Cross-Country Rider
from Leipzig Germany
Date Reviewed: July 22, 1999
Strengths: The MPFS was the only bike i did find in my size (23), but it is a greatbike anyway. Absolutely no bobbing, very stiff rear end, an d after some dealing with the manufacturer i got the suspensin tweaked in with free spare parts (swingarm, rocker). It is really fun to ride, handles great even in downhill.
Weaknesses: The pivots are not sealed and a somewhat strange design. But greasing and lubing them after every ride and replacing them once a year, everything works fine. Very expensive.
Weaknesses: Cost, lack of documentation on shock setup, no local dealer
I'm still dialing in the suspension, but so far I've been very impressed. This is my first FS rig, and the improvement in comfort over my hardtail with a Mag 21 is like night and day. No bobbing in the suspension, no perceptible loss in efficiency, no real weight penalty vs. my previous bike. I'm sold. I was able to buy my bike with a sick assortment of accessories from an older guy who had fun piecing it together and then lost interest. I paid less than 50cents on the dollar - no way I'd pay full retail for the bike the way I have it set up.
a weekend warrior
from Golden, CO
Date Reviewed: January 23, 1999
I've had my Ventana now for several years. I broke my rear dropout and they replaced it for free at the factory! I've ridden most of the full suspension bikes and this one climbs the best and is plush on the way down. I really beat it up but it hasn't let me down yet.