Had the bike out for two or three rides before i broke it. But aside from that Its a great feeling bike, there is no loss of power in the pedal stroke, sucks up the hits (until it brakes dropping into a 10set). climbs like a mountain goat on crack.
When I was building up the frame I noticed some vary wierd clearence problems. My cassette was rubbing on the stay/dropout weld. my granny gear was rubbing on the frame even with a 116mm b.b. and the tube to clamp the derailleur on was ovalized. But other tan these somewhat minor problems its a great frame, and the guys out at balfa are great. After i broke it i just sent it back and there fixing me up with a new one. btw, how it broke was cause a bolt failed and then the frame just folded. I weigh 150 and am 16
Bike Setup: xtr 2x9 drivetrain, mavic 219's on hayes hubs, xt disc, 100mmDuke Sl (bottoms when i pedal to hard), raceface system, easton monkeylite, king headset, ODI lockons
a Cross Country Rider
from Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Date Reviewed: April 7, 2000
An upsdate to my earlier listing. Once you get the Balfa dialed in the thing can hold its own against any bike downhill or uphill the bike goes and goes fast but getting the bike dialed in takes time. Customer service at Balfa is incredible, they even redid the back end of the frame at my request to make it disc brake specific. I love my bike.
Strengths: Light weight, carves a turn, plush suspension yet very lively, responsive customer support
Weaknesses: Unique design with limited reviews to consider before purchase
This is an update to previous review. The looks of the bike are killer no question. Performance wise this bike is very quick stearing along a single track, it actually carves a turn which if you have never experienced this is quite a thrill. The bike generally feels very solid with no loose pivots and even has adjustable geometry allowing the user to either steepen or slacken the head tube angle. Decending the bike is spot on the bike is very nice to go downhill on as there is plenty of plush suspension action either seated or standing despite the URT like design. Going back uphill for me has yet to be dialed in I come from a ProFlex which has a Mac Strut design which means that the chain torque actually forces the wheel into the ground while you climb. The Balfa's design is unaffected by chain torque so as a result it doesn't seem as lively as the ProFlex going uphill. I find there is a small amount of shock compression when climbing but if you find this annoying there is a lockout lever on the Fox Float RC shock. Personally, I prefer the suspension to help my climbing so here I am reserving judgement until I spend a little more time on the bike. I give the bike 4 on value and 3.5 on performance.
Bike Setup: Easton CT2 risers, full xtr, xtr/517/DT, Girvin pro carbon, 23 lbs (yes it is lighter than last review)
a Cross-Country Rider
from Toronto, Ontario
Date Reviewed: October 19, 1999
Strengths: Carves a turn like nothing I have ever tried before, light weight, good shock
Weaknesses: Unproven design, Is it a URT or not, suspension design is active when standing so....
No question this bike is a head turner, and it's light weight can be felt on the trail (mine is 24.5 lbs, even with the Girvin fork). So far I like the bike, but the ride does take some getting used to coming from a Mac Strut (Pro-Flex). I was looking for a bike that I could race as well as be versatile and enjoyable for general trail use. No question the bike is raceable and Balfa has a cross-country team racing in Canada. The biggest hurdle you will have to get over mentally is the suspension design, as many people including the mags say that URT bikes are outdated. The bike is a URT but it certainly does not perform like one. The suspension is active while climbing, decending and standing and there is no power loss in the drive train while sprinting, this bike climbs better than my Pro-Flex. The Fox Vanilla shock with lockout is as smooth as can be with none of the stiction of the old air shocks. I set mine up with 30 lbs of pressure over my body weight and there is a limit of 300 lbs. So far I am happy with the bike. Other bikes considered: Ellesworth Truth, Mountain Cycle MoHo CXS, Specialized FSR, GT I-Drive, Psycle Werks Wild Hare, Klein Mantra (just say no). This bike takes time to love so I will give 3.5/5 for this bike.
Bike Setup: Full XTR, Mavic 517, Be-Bop pedals, 1.5 Continental tires, Panaracer Green lite tubes, Flite saddle, Profile bars and stem, Raceface XY post, Girvin Pro Carbon Fork (I just like it)
a Cross-Country Rider
Date Reviewed: August 16, 1999
Strengths: Ultimate Climber, great riding position
Weaknesses: Pedals can hit the ground (maybe the FOX needs a little air...)
You wouldn't believe this is an XC bike with the 5 in the back, but once up any steep uphill and you'll be convinced. BTW for the guy above me, this years front triangle is made of aluminium (from Devinci), while the back is still made of steel.
Bike Setup: 1998 frame, Vanadium Niobium steel, with Fox Alps 5r stock.
from Vancouver, BC
Date Reviewed: May 20, 1999
Strengths: Frame strength due to the Niva Crom tubeset. Yet light weight 27lbs, complete
Weaknesses: Can't leave it unattended.
I've looked at a lot of bikes and none could meet all the criteria I had. I needed something light enough to race x-country, strong enough to take to the North Shore, and something to race competively downhill on, as well I commute to work on it. Believe it or not this is an all around bike that replaces the need for 3 bikes in the garage. The neat thing is I'll have it long after my friends Aluminum frames fatique and need to be replaced