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Reviews 1 - 2 (2 Reviews Total)
from Santa Barbara, CA USADate Reviewed:
April 16, 2006Strengths: Updated 2006 Extralite F1 X-Link Race Bike.
Ultra lightweight, durability? (Check MTB Action online for photo of F1 taking jumps), 2006 V.4.0 comes w/SPV shock & titanium spring option. Quality, Craftsmanship, Welds are Excellent. The F1 cost from $5598 to $6698 for complete build and weighs 17.75 lbs to 19.3 lbs depending on options. Consider the Worldcup XC Champion’s bike weighed 21 lbs and cost over $10K.
The cost of shipping surprised me because it’s about the same as USA prices. My shipping time from Italy took only 6 days to California and FedX was on my doorstep!
I have since ordered a few spare bolts and BB bearings, which took less than 7 days.
Weaknesses: None so far...I will be posting pics and weights on lightbikes.com soon.Bottom Line:
Weight checked with digital Salter Scale.
Bike Wt. 20.6 lbs. w/Ritchey WCS Z.E.D.s 515g 2.1 Tires.
Bike Wt. 20.0 lbs. w/Ritchey 370g Zmin 1.9 Tires.
With the Reba Fork set at 100mm the handling of my F1 is more technically capable but still not a plush ride or overly forgiving in handling. The large frame and longer top-tube definitely helped in the climbing position. I’ve ridden the bike for about 3 months now; my riding weight is between 172-175 lbs. 78-79 kg.
My thoughts when I first felt the frame weight; unbelievably lite and hope I don’t break it. Then after seeing Eddy Arnet from MTB Action Mag jump the bike I felt more comfortable. Now that I have been bombing 2-foot stair step drops my confidence has risen. So, far the bike is holding up without any squeaks or other mechanical problems.
The rear suspension had me a little worried because of how firm it came. I wasn’t sure the F1’s suspension was active at all during climbs or while on flats. I vented a little pressure from the shock and run ~ 300 psi. At slower speeds the suspension feels like a hardtail unless you go over a rut. I then noticed when I hit some rough trail at medium speed 10-15 mph the suspension finally went active. At slower speed less than 8 mph the suspension locks-out. When standing and cranking the bike has very little pumping of the shock. All power is translated to forward momentum like a road bike. It doesn’t have the smooth feel of a pure air shock like 5th Element but it does soak-up bumps. When taking 2-foot stair steps the suspension absorbs the impacts well. I adjusted the Reba motion-control about 80% closed. After cresting a steep climb it takes little effort to get the bike accelerating quickly again. Its not a tight cockpit frame like the medium tested by MTB Action in the Feb 2005 magazine but not too big as well. The large frame only added 15 grams and the optional titanium coil spring, shaves off 30 grams. I’m 5’11 and have an inseam of 32”. The large F1 frame is comparable to geometries of U.S. medium frames like Titus Racer X. I chose a 110mm +4 degree stem, 15mm riserbar and left 1/2 inch of stack height on the steer tube so that I’m not too far over the bars for downhills. I took a lot of recommendation from Eddy Arnet’s Medium Titus Racer-X and luckily it worked perfectly on my F1 Extralite. My rider position is still slightly stretched over (high ass and lower bar) but less than most XC racers with straight bars.
The bikes handling is much better than I anticipated using the 100mm Reba Fork which is 470mm from skewer to bottom fork crown. Snaking down steep switchbacks I don’t feel like I’m going over the bars or I need to get my ass behind the seat. Cornering on moderately steep downhills and fireroads the bike is well balanced. The bike feels responsive and lively without feeling twitchy. It’s not too difficult to hold a line on moderately steep climbs. Using the medium spring and SPV at ~300 psi the 3" of rear travel feels like more using ~32 psi of tire pressure. I run tube tires using Stan’s sealant without any problems. My weight is well balanced giving the rear tire good traction during standing climbs. When braking on rough trail the rear suspension stays active. I’m very surprised at the rigidity of the F1 chassis. I expected more rear triangle flex but most of what I feel is from the spindly Stan’s Olympic wheels. When using my Ritchey OCR disc wheelset rear flex is almost unnoticeable. I feel no frame flex in the BB during power cranking. The Extralite eBones BB is like Shimano Hollowtech cranks with oversized outside bearings. Compared to my ISIS Truvativ Stylo Team cranks, I feel no flex or hear the front derailleur rub the chain during power cranking. The drivetrain groupo shifts positively even on steep climbs.
I picked a black anodized finish thinking the bike would be less noticeable. No way is this bike stealth or not noticed. It’s truly a WorldCup XC bike.
Bottom Line: The F1 excels on hardpack trails. It makes time up on flats and climbs. Keeping momentum is noticeably easier. My shifting has been reduced because I can pull a bigger gear longer at higher cadence without increasing much effort. I figure the downhill capabilities of the bike using the 100mm fork and riserbar shouldn’t cost me any lap time. Nothing beats training hard for winning but this bike will give you an edge. This bike can compete with the factory rides for thousands less. It is a serious WorldCup XC race bike.
This is a full suspension bike with disc brakes and Ritchey WCS ZED 2.1 tires weighing 20.6 lbs. With Ritchey 1.9 Zmin tires it weighs 20.0 lbs even. If I upgrade to a 90mm FRM 1190g Fork the bike would weigh 18.9 lbs with Zmin’s. I could go even lighter using Extralite’s 2 x 9 Octaramp 30-44T chainrings with a Shimano Road DuraAce front derailleur 18.8 lbs. I might try these upgrades after the next races season.
Check Extralite’s website for copies of the 2005 MTB Actions test ride. You can try the link or search MTB Action Online for “Extralite” to get the reply plus photos of Eddie jumping the F1.
This is only a partial of the reply by Eddie Arnet:
WHAT WORE?: The bike has been totally reliable. In the test we mentioned that the exaggerated chain pickup ramps on the Octaramp big ring caught the chain on extreme crossover gear selections. The ramps have worn in and no longer catch the chain.
HOW TOUGH IS IT?: When Richard first called and said he had an 18 lb. full-suspension bike to test, I didn't know what to think. But I did want to see if it would hold up. So on my maiden voyage I went straight to the jumps. This is a personal peccadillo of sorts, but in my mind I have to feel comfortable with a bike--high seat and all--while jumping. The jumps are decent size too: moderately steep 5-foot faces and 15-foot gaps. Because of the low front controls the X-Link was far from a natural jumper. But after some brief acclimation it easily withstood the jumping abuse. The reason I like to be comfortable jumping an XC bike is for downhilling. If you've ever blasted down Big Bear's Fall Line, you know that to do it fast takes more handling skill and dishes more abuse to the bike than jumping.
Keep in mind that Extralite delivered the bike with these instructions: "This model is designed for racing cross-country only. It is strong, but it cannot be jumped or abused." Well, I did jump it. If you make the transitions and do not land too sideways the Extralite will easily handle it. The bike never felt flexi, got loose, or indicated in any way that it is fragile. Check back to this page because I'll try to get a jump photo posted.
Favorite Trail: ALL
Duration Product Used: 3 months
Purchased At: www.extralite.com
Similar Products Used: SantaCruz Superlight w/5th Element, Cannondale Scalpel, StumpJumper & GT Zaskar.
Bike Setup: Extralite components: 2006 Lg. F1 Race X-Link V4.0 Frame w/SPV Shock & Optional Medium Ti Shock Spring, eBones 175mm Crankset & 22-34-44T Octaramp Chainrings, UltraPush RizerBar, The Head 2 Headset, The Stem SL 110mm, The Saddle, The Post UL2 (31.6 x 360), UltraClamp, Alien 2 Skewers, ExtraBolts 1, 3, 9 and 14.
Other Components: Eggbeater Triple-Ti Pedals, XTR 11-34T Cassette, 112-Link SRAM PC991 Chain, Ritchey WCS Grips, X.O. Gripshift & X.O. Med Carbon Cage Rear Der, XTR Frnt Der, Nokon Shift Cables, Stan's Olympic ZTR Wheelset w/American Classic Disc Hubs and Ceramic Bearings, 2006 Formula Oro Puro Brakes w/Stans Aluminum Rotors, Ritchey WCS Z.E.D. 2.1 Tires, Reba Race Dual Air 100mm (3.9”), Miscellaneous Ti & Alloy Bolts.
a cross-country rider
from HollandDate Reviewed:
November 8, 1998Bottom Line:
I own now for three months an Extralite F1 frame with different Extralite products, seatpost, wheelset, etc. And built it up with XTR and a SID(new model) and I must say I love it. It weights about 9.7 kilos and that for an full suspension bike with 70mm travel.
I think this will be best XC racer you can buy it is extremely light and rigid. It flies up and down the hills. This is defenitly what I will ride next summer for Marathon race's in Switserland and the rest of my life!
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