a Cross Country Rider
from Colorado Springs, CO
Date Reviewed: January 7, 2010
Strengths: Ahead of its time. lightweight. power to the ground. Great bike in its day.
Weaknesses: After 15 years very-flexy rear end. Suspension induced pedal kickback. Traction loss in low gear. Aggressive ergonomics. Critical racing brakes lack power(but are cool looking). Limited travel 2.5"-3" Max.
I learned to ride this bike well everywhere. Owned it for 13 years, without the need for upgrading. It has ridden trails in through out the southwest 3 days per week for that long. replaced main pivot bushings with bearings, upgraded to v-brakes, rebuilt shock. Great bike, which I will replace with a DW flux this year (similar geometry more active suspension design, laterally stiff).
Sold Mantis for $900 to a collector in Ca.
The DW flux maintains all the good qualities of the pro-floater, and addresses all the weaknesses!!!! (increases travel, eliminates chain torque/pedal kickback, active under braking, traction increases on climbing).
5 chilies for the price I paid minus price I recovered from the sale...I used the bike for 13 years (countless miles) and it cost me roughly $300-$400....:)
Similar Products Used: Intense Uzzi SL, Ellsworth Isis, Trek godawefull thing, Ellsworth Joker, Ellsworth Id, Moment
Bike Setup: Classic. (except the fork, 1" steerer means a Mozo 3.0 fork... because the mag 21's died too many years ago)
Control tech stem, Ritchey rizerbars (the old grey ones), Suntour XC Comp shifters, '91 XT cranks... only modern part is the Egg Beaters.
from San Marino, CA USA
Date Reviewed: April 17, 2005
Strengths: The ride, handling, single track climbing, and the way it makes me want to ride.
Weaknesses: Can't get them anymore. Gone with the Wind
It blows my mind to read recent reviews of the Floater and have them praised much the same way they were when first introduced. This gets my vote as the best all time mountain bike. Not a sentimental vote (OK a little bit) and the X Frame is close (a sentimental vote), this bike did it all and did it well. Strictly form following function, I had people dismiss it on the basis of the lack of elegance or beauty in its appearance. But those qualities were built into the ride where it mattered most. The full suspension issue was seriously polarized in the early nineties and RC refused to fix my X Frame any more. 18,000 miles was enough and if I wanted a new Mantis, it would have to be a Pro Floater or nothing. He told me to forget everything I was hearing and take his word on it. It was a secret weapon. It was an advantage period. And he said that this was it. It had now all been done in mountain bike design and the milestones would turn into refinements. And it seems to be true by the sound of things. He hand built mine personally as it was a one off, unique size. (His concession: I go full suspension, he builds it to fit perfectly) It was magic from the first ride and climbing on single track was a revelation. The traction was there and you could keep going until you dropped from exhaustion. It took me 11,000 hard miles (and races too. Some wins in there somewhere) to finally put a crack in the swingarm. A durability record for any mountain bike I've owned, he had moved on to a new challenge and wouldn't build me a new swingarm so it has been retired. He promised to build me a handmade Flying V once he set up his workshop on the ranch, but that will never happen. Notorious for taking forever to fill orders, that irritation hardly matters anymore. It is the time after delivery that I think about. I hope other riders are lucky enough to find and own a mountain bike that gives them the joy and happiness as well as the fitness I experienced as a Mantis owner. It doesn't get any better. The real thing. Get one if you can. And ride. That is all that matters. Just ride.
Similar Products Used: Previous MTB was a mighty X Frame
Bike Setup: Mostly whatever the tatooed poseur wannabe radical but when the chips were down could only muster a flatulant Republican response, let me fish out of the trash can while he insulted me. What ever happened to that guy? Probably is a DJ on a smooth Jazz radio station in some jerkwater town where he can pass as the "real" Mexican he aspires to be. That's it. He was the Kenny G of Mountain Biking. Now, if I could just remember his name.... (Now don't yank this part or the whole review just cause I used a dirty word like "Republican" or unintentionally offended any Mexicans (or Kenny G) for mentioning them in the same sentence as Zap) The Truth Shall Set Us Free.
a Cross Country Rider
from Berlin, Germany
Date Reviewed: April 1, 2005
Strengths: NB Talking about the XCR Composite (e-stay), but still a Mantis! Front Triangle
Weaknesses: rear triangle
Dear Community. Does anyone of yours have an idea of the value of the frame w/ BB and original straight blade forks (chromed) today? It´s in good shape despite the known mantis crappy paint issue for the alloy part (front). Further: has anyone tried to fit a Nishiki Alien rear triangle to the XCR? Greetings., A.
Bike Setup: Cook bros cranks, XTR 8 spd, control tech, manitou3 (because I can't upgrade)
a Cross Country Rider
from Roseville, California
Date Reviewed: July 14, 2004
Strengths: Lightweight, and very strong with the aftermarket reinforced rear triangle. It's rare, has character, and turns the heads of any pre 96 mtber/bike shop guy. I love this frame, wouldn't trade it for the world.
Weaknesses: The squeeks! You just can't get rid of them, you have to live with them. If someone has found a solution, make sure to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org because it seems like an uphill fight to me. Besides that, stock rear braking power is crap because of cable route positioning. With a little help from braketherapy's disc adapter, that was no longer a problem.
After I got into Mountain Biking for a bit, my dad gave me his old racing bike (that he broke his neck on). A Mantis Pro Floater with full XTR components, RockShox Magnums, White Industry Hubs, Control Tech etc... I saved up and set out to modernize the bike and transform it into my racing bike. I kept true to the original setup and used modern versions of same compnents when I could. Overall I am very impressed with how well this bike has performed and made the transition! This bike hadn't been touched since my dad's crash in 96', and with some smart shopping, and saving I was able to make a top of the line FS racing bike with it that I will use for many years to come. I love this frame, if you get a chance to buy one, just do it, you won't regret it. Once you get past the rear braking issue (I used the braketherepy disc adapter) then there is nothing to not like about this bike except for the noise.
Similar Products Used: Specialized Rock Hopper/Hard Rock
Bike Setup: 94' Mantis Pro Floater w/ Reinforced Triangle, XTR 8 speed full compenents, White Industries Disc Jockey front/rear hubs, Avid Mechanical Front Rear Disc Brakes, Mavic XM321 Disc Rims, RockShox Duke Race, Panaracer Tires, Control Tech Handle Bar Stem
from north america
Date Reviewed: June 8, 2003
Strengths: Design, Engineering, & Fabrication.
Wow. Welcome to the dreambike.
Take a look at the finest xc+ softails on the market today, and what do they have in common? When you see them next to the Pro-Floater, it becomes rather obvious where they all came from, making this about the most time-tested and proven design in the dirt.
Clearly, this is where the industry peaked. Think of a company today with the skills to build such a masterpiece taking all the time neccessary to do so. And entirely by hand? Got about 10,000 dollars? Everything everywhere is asymetrical, and precision machined (no cnc's), the weldments are flawless as fishscales, and every surface is faced, reamed to a mirror-like sheen. The legend of "no one's ever broke one" may or may not be true, after all it is aluminum, but it's huge aluminum, not of the large OD, beercan thickness type either. Burly. And such massive gussets! Three benders jumping at once might have trouble bending anything here... Strangely it has all the trick gobbledyguk of a modern day factory downhill rig, but here it's tucked subtly and tastefully into the frames corners. Meaning it doesn't look like a 45 mph slag heap careening down the trail. It looks, if I do say, refined, almost... classy. Hm. Where did this turn into a mercedes ad?
I got this about six months ago and it had never been built. It's the last version of the bike, with the box section aluminum swingarm & machined strut wishbone, 1-1/8th" standard headset, and heightened geometry for a longer travel fork. Now I'm jeopordising the authenticity of it all (yep, sorry) by having a custom disc brake mount made to bolt trough the triangular rear dropout, and probably going to send the swingarm off to the builder below for a bearing pivot. Sure, everyone used bushings then, cause they handle higher loads, but they're harder to seal, and when it comes time to replace it, it's nice to have a standard bearing to pop in & out. Id rather the frame wear around the bearing from day one, if it's going to wind up with a bearing in a couple years anyway.
What a knockout, and in such a red. Get one if you see one. Enjoy.
Bike Setup: Marzocchi Shiver, Straight 2003 xtr, Mavic Crossmax Xls
from carpinteria, ca, usa
Date Reviewed: April 5, 2003
Strengths: Amazing light frame, super fast, quick steering, low top tube for tech stuff,
Weaknesses: Originally had a Vector front end, bombproof but weird goemetry for dropoffs and tech stuff. Ovalizing the swingarm pivot, it is only a bushing!?
Great bike, would own another if I found one. I got the smallest frame I could find(I think a 15.5") and it is almost as good as my old WhiskeyTown 16" in the technical bits. In Toronto, there is a guy named Harvey Cameron(on Greenwood I think) who makes handmade custom frames in his basement. He can sell you a similar frame with bearings instead of a bushing at the swingarm or he can modify your frame. But I would get it done if you are a hard rider.
Favorite Trail: Halton Hills, Milton, Ontario, CANADA
Duration Product Used: More than 3 years
Purchased At: Cycle Logic, Toronto
Similar Products Used: Every Proflex, Cannondale, Mountain Goat
Bike Setup: Bomber front end, XTR, Flat SPD pedals, Dart and Conti rubber, Magura Hydro rear brake, Syncros post, Mavic rims, and the last of the XTR thumbs!
a Cross Country Rider
from Lakewood, CA U.S.A.
Date Reviewed: June 7, 2002
Strengths: true full-suspension cross-country original! Lightweight, responsive steering, climbs like a hard, agressive geometry
Before this, I rode a Haro Xtreme, an elevated chain-stay hardtail. Great climber, but brutal on decents. The Mantis was my holy grail and when I got enough pennies set aside, I ordered one in '95. It took about a month, but it was well worth it.
I've taken this rig to several spots in SoCal - Rose Hills, Chino Hills, Whiting Ranch, Aliso Woods & Canyons, Snow Summit, and my all time favorite, Mammoth. It's versatility and smooth handling make this a dream to ride.
Bike Setup: powder blue 1995 Mantis ProFloater w/ full XTR. Critical Racing stem gives it a unique and exotic look. Topline cranks, super light but super flexy - it's ok cause I'm a light fella. Mavic Crossmax wheels - even after all these years these wheels are still solid. Polar heart rate monitor w/ cycling functions - you have know how your motor is doing. Oh yeah, Marzocchi Z1 BAM - travel matches up well w/ rear.
from Rochester, MN
Date Reviewed: May 18, 2002
Strengths: Strength, Mud Clearance
Weaknesses: not made any more. Bottom Bracket.
Monoque aluminum front triangle, bolt on cromoly rear triangle. Fairly light, able to go anywhere. Mud clearance, zero chainsuck. Stiff handling, comfy seating.
The bottom bracket was built into the frame, bearings were held in place with circlips, great idea... but if you changed cranksets, you had to call Richard to get a new spindle.
Similar Products Used: Nishiki, Griffin, Kona, Trek prototype aluminum welded.
Bike Setup: Actually, I had a Flying V. The best bike I ever owned.
a Weekend Warrior
from Las Vegas, Nv
Date Reviewed: March 9, 2001
Strengths: Awesome frame design. This bike was awesome in '95 when I waited 8 weeks for the frame. Flies on the rolling singletrack trails. Looks better than every other bike since. Updated rear swing arm keeps it tight.
Weaknesses: Rear brake was weak from the wacky cable routing --- fixed when v-brakes arrived in '96. Company not around anymore to buy another.
Unlike some other Manits riders I have seen 3 others on the trail. 1 in Reno, 1 in Las Vegas, 1 in Moab in early '90's. These bikes are ideal cruisers. With the Square tubed swing arm mine is prenty stiff for my 240lbs weight. It is faster riding than my Ventana. It is cool to take it to a shop and no one knows what it is (so I go to another shop!) I dreamed about this bike when I first saw it in MBA in '91 or '92 and then when saw it in Moab I new I had to have one. It took me several years to be able to afford it. I still have it and I'll never let it go!!
Strengths: Strengths? It's a hardcore classic, what else do you need? Okay, okay. It's got 16.25" elevated stays and climbs like a chairlift. It's red. It's in my size. It's got a 24.25" top tube - even now some companies can't even get this right. And the best adavantage? No one else has one :o)
Weaknesses: Weaknesses? Heck, its 6 years old! Still, I'd have it over a Santa Cruz Superlight Cookie Cutter anyday. Well, 3" of travel won't amaze most ppl I guess.....it is kinda heavy even with light parts....and it's probably only got another 2 years left in it, although I maybe wrong considering the condition it's in. Oh yeah, I forgot the 1" steerer. That's a pain in the butt.
Remember when bikes were crafted by people? Well, this bike is one of those. Sure, it's old. Sure, it's heavyish, but it's got style, character and that undefinable something. Plus, I went through hell to get this bike back to Australia, so it owes me. Thanks for letting it go Martin. So if you're on a nostalgia/retro trip like I am, go find a 94 Pro-Floater. It's as good a bike are you are a rider.