RockShox Lobster Team 853 Frameset

3.65/5 (20 Reviews)


Product Description

Rock Lobster Team 853


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Reviews 1 - 15 (20 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Juan a Weekend Warrior from UK

Date Reviewed: October 11, 2003

Strengths:    Cheap, resilient

Weaknesses:    Spring/weavey rear, dropout alignment poor

Bottom Line:   
The main triangle is Reynolds 853 according to the sticker. The stays are springy so the rear jumps about when going fast over bumps especially descents. The back also 'slides' when weaving left and right even on a totally dry road which is disconcerting because if it is actually slippery it is difficult to tell that you are sliding until you fall off. The twitchyness is enhanced by the narrow (22") Ritchey bars - the bar quality is fine but I'd go for 25-26"

The front is light going up hills so maybe the geometry is not set-up for the longer travel forks.

The main problem is the alignment of the dropouts which is slightly off so that the rear wheel rim is not centred on the stays. I noticed this on a medium and small frame I tried - initially thinking my rear wheel was off centre (it wasn't). I corrected the problem by sticking a small sliver of metal into one dropout - its been there 2 years so I guess its worked. The alignment of the rest of the frame seems fine.

I have the small (17" c-t) frame and am 5' 9". Overall the frame is basic (in line with the price) if you can get one with correctly aligned dropouts its probably then a good first steel bike - its turned me onto steel so I'll be looking for a DeKerf for my next purchase.

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Favorite Trail:   South Downs

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $500.00

Purchased At:   Merlin

Similar Products Used:   Univega, Giant

Bike Setup:   LX Groupset, 517 Mavic, Ritchey bar & stem, Easton EA50 seatpost, Z4 Marzocchi, 2001/2002 stuff

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Mike a Cross Country Rider from Chester

Date Reviewed: March 19, 2003

Strengths:    Light and cheap, Reynolds 853 is strong and good

Weaknesses:    Very twitchy and scuffs easily

Bottom Line:   
I bought the frame second hand so I didn't know that much about it. The frame is not the best made Reynolds I have seen, the welds look rushed but I got it cheap. What I don't like about it is its so twitchy on techy stuff. I don't feel confident at all. On tough downhill sections the rear kicks up badly and I feel all the time that I will go over the bars at any minute. This is not your classic 853 frame at all, more for gentle X-country.

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Favorite Trail:   Marin

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $200.00

Bike Setup:   Middleburn, XT, Kore, Crossrides,

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Mark a Cross Country Rider from Leeds

Date Reviewed: March 8, 2003

Strengths:    Lite and compliant, Cheap and reasonably strong.

Weaknesses:    Poor paint job, very bouncy not sure about the geometry and the disc mount.

Bottom Line:   
The frame is cheap and therefore its O.K value for money. I also find the back is like a pogo stick on tricky descents. At least at any kind of speed it gets hard to control....wheel is in the air more than on the ground. The paint cimes off way too easy. This is a problem. My disc mount is an afterthought it looks like one and its shim city to get the caliper lined up. Haven't had too much of a problem with the size although I agree the sizing of the frames is a bit dubious.....top tube length versus seat tube height? But like I say its cheap for Reynolds steel so you can't complain.

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Favorite Trail:   Skiddaw

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $300.00

Purchased At:   Merlin Cycles

Similar Products Used:   Kona, M-Trax, Dekerf.

Bike Setup:   Bomber Marathons, Raceface with XTR.

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Gary a Cross Country Rider from Lancaster

Date Reviewed: June 22, 2002

Strengths:    cheap and strong

Bottom Line:   
This is an update from my last review which I submitted on 4/2/02.
Since then I have had 3 bad crashes and the bike has taken it badly. The chain stay on the drive side has bent and I can't get it properly straight. But I'm surprised that it bent and dented the way it did. It's made me look closer at the whole frame and I'm beggining to think that the rear is made of softer metal than the main frame, also there is almost no paint left on the thing.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Gisburn Forest

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $500.00

Purchased At:   Merlin

Bike Setup:   Pace RC36: Truvative: Sram 9: 737 pedals

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Mike Coulthard a Weekend Warrior from Newcastle

Date Reviewed: June 15, 2002

Strengths:    A light frame for steel and cheap

Weaknesses:    Welding is a bit scrapy, the paint job is poor, the top tube is too short and it bounces around like a pogo stick. Also it's obvious the disc mount was an afterthought.

Bottom Line:   
With hindsight I should have bought a bike already built up because it has cost me far more to build it myself. I'm a little disappointed with the frame, it is a bit cramped with the top tube being a little too short on the 17" version. It is difficult to know until the bike is built up how it will fit. I've had to fit a longer stem than I like. There is a disc mount on the frame that has obviously been welded on as an afterthought and it really shows because it spoils the looks of the frame. The paint comes of much too easily and I am forever going over scratches. The bike is very good on forest tracks, great at twists and turns and a descent climber. It can be like a pogo stick in rocky ground and it makes me have to run my tyres at lower pressures than I like.

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Favorite Trail:   Any

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $600.00

Purchased At:   Merlin Cycles

Similar Products Used:   Orange C16 and P3, Kona Lava Dome and Explosive.

Bike Setup:   Pace rc36, full XT, Thompson post, 517 Ceramics,Kore stem and Bars, X-lite bar ends,Panaracer Fire Xc and Ritchey Ti SPDs.

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:3
Submitted by J.Brooks a Cross Country Rider from Cardiff

Date Reviewed: June 9, 2002

Strengths:    Good value for money package, light and strong frame, good components.

Weaknesses:    Frame sizing is too small and the bike is very springy.

Bottom Line:   
Until I read some of these reviews I thought it was just me that had problems keeping the back of the bike in a straight line on a demanding technical descents. The Tig team 853 can be hard to cope with on very rocky and steep descents. It really shines on smooth descents and fast single track. And the business about the frame sizes being a little small is true. My 17" is smaller than a corresponding 17" frame from contemporary manufacturers. But the price and package is good and like the man said you get what you pay for.

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Favorite Trail:   Cwmcarn Trail

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $1200.00

Purchased At:   Merlin Cycles

Similar Products Used:   Kone Explosive 853, Orange Clockwork, Orange P7, Diamondback Topanga.

Bike Setup:   Marzocchi Z2 BAM Lite, Full Shimano LX, Mavic X517 wheelset, Ritchey finishing kit.

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:3
Submitted by C.A a Racer from Bristol, U.K

Date Reviewed: June 8, 2002

Strengths:    Pretty light and responsive also cheap

Weaknesses:    Weak rear end and very springy also scratches easy

Bottom Line:   
This is an O.K frame. At first it seems real good but after a few crashes tha back end bent. Its not as strong as the main frame. Ive been reading some of the reviews and I think theyre right and the rear end isnt Reynolds 853 like the rest of the frame. It does bounce like mad. At first I thought I had to change my riding style to adjust but its so hard to get a grip of the back on fast hard downhills. It springs about to much for me . My back is bent after a crash but although theres a lifetime guarantee I fed up with the ride so Im getting a full susses instead. This frame is good on singletrack but not for rocky stuff in my eyes.

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Favorite Trail:   slough way

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $1000.00

Purchased At:   Merlin Mail Order

Similar Products Used:   Absolutely loads

Bike Setup:   Pace RC36 . Full XTR .Thompso post Selle Flite . 858s .

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Andy a Cross Country Rider from York

Date Reviewed: May 31, 2002

Strengths:    Strong Frame. Also a light frame and easily repaired. Good value for money

Weaknesses:    steering is twitchy and the frame is very bouncy

Bottom Line:   
A nice frame for the price. Can be ridden hard and fast on single track with great fun. Its a bit twitchy and gets hard to control on rocky stuff if its steep. The Z2 help a lot and give good control on the front but that sometimes makes the back feel springier. I know the idea is the back bounces and pushes you forward over bumps but when it gets real technical it gets a handful. Fast on turns but you need a long stem to slow the steering to stop twitchyness espacially at slow speed. But light and good value for money. It does scratch a bit but it doesnt rust, not so far. If you can get it cheap enough its O.K but I wouldnt get another its dated and the full sussers out there are so good now.

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Favorite Trail:   Rivington Pike

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $1200.00

Purchased At:   Merlin

Similar Products Used:   Marin. Kona. Raleigh 853. Saracen Kilicomp

Bike Setup:   Full XT with Xtr rear mech. Marzocchi Z2 Atom.(did have Rockshox SID but the Z2s control the bike better.

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Mike Cannon a Racer from Wolverhampton

Date Reviewed: May 30, 2002

Strengths:    Strong light and cheap......especially for a Reynolds 853 Frame

Weaknesses:    Poor paint job, very small sizing and a bit lively

Bottom Line:   
This bike is fast on windy single track where it comes into its own. I'm 5ft 9inchs and the right frame size for me for standover height is 15". But this size is way too small so be careful to get the size right as I think the sizing is on the small side. I'm always lifting the front on climbs, even with a long stem and the back lifts too easy on descents sending me over the front. The back is very lively as well not what I expected from an 853 frame and I have to scrub off speed on rocky descents to keep the back end down and get braking control. I think what somebody said in one of these reviews is probably right about the back end being made of Fuji stout lite as the frame is too bouncy at the back for a full 853.......compare it with a De Kerf. Other than that and the paint being thin as it comes off every I have a crash the frame is good and strong. But at the end of the day you gets what you pays for and the frame is cheap.

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Favorite Trail:   Hopton Wood

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $1000.00

Purchased At:   Merlin Mail Order

Similar Products Used:   All sorts of quality Hardtails including Kona Explosive and DeKerf 853.

Bike Setup:   Marzocchi Z2 Fly-Lites, LX/XT and 517s on XT discs.

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:4
Submitted by G.Y a Cross Country Rider from Manchester.U.K

Date Reviewed: May 29, 2002

Strengths:    Cheap.light.strong. first class on singletrack

Weaknesses:    hard to control on rocky surface

Bottom Line:   
A great Cross-country race bike , very at home on fast single track. I agree with what's been said ......can be a problem to hold down on fast rocky downhills. Feels like a bucking Bronco. You have to slow down to hold the back end down enough to get any braking, whilst the front is good and smooth with the Z2s. But good for the money as it is cheap. No substitute for full suspension.

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Favorite Trail:   Peak District

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $1000.00

Purchased At:   Merlin

Similar Products Used:   Kona Lava Dome. GT Zaskar. Genesis 853. Saracen Killicomp

Bike Setup:   Marzocchi Z2 Atom. Full Shimano XT

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by manley a Weekend Warrior from Chester

Date Reviewed: May 26, 2002

Strengths:    Reasonably cheap and good value for money. Strong frame

Weaknesses:    Sizes are on the small side with short top tube.Only the mainframe is 853 the back is Fuji stoutlite and it's hard to hold down on fast rocky stretches.

Bottom Line:   
A good value for money bike with an incredably strong frame.
Two things to watch out for apart from the small sizing.
1. Only the main frame is Reynolds 853. The seat stays and chain stays are Fuji stoutlite..........i.e the whole of the back end. So when you are descending a rocky steep slope the bike reacts like Bambi on speed and you feel like a Rodeo rider. Other than that the bike is an excellent hardtail.

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Favorite Trail:   Coed-y-brenin's M.B.R

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $1000.00

Purchased At:   Merlin Cycles

Similar Products Used:   Loads

Bike Setup:   Marzocchi fly-lite, full XT

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Chris a Cross Country Rider from Wolverhampton

Date Reviewed: April 6, 2002

Strengths:    Strong Light Responsive Fast Forgiving

Weaknesses:    None

Bottom Line:   
An outstanding Frame. Just first class in every way. Great fun to ride. Strong and well made. Highly recommendable to anyone. Get off those Armchair full-suspensions and ride a real bike!

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Favorite Trail:   Mortimer Forest

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $500.00

Purchased At:   Merlin

Similar Products Used:   Kona Explosive (853)

Bike Setup:   Full XTR with Marzocchi Fly-lite

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Gary a Cross Country Rider from Lancaster

Date Reviewed: April 2, 2002

Strengths:    Very strong, light, very responsive, in-expensive, very good geometry

Weaknesses:    None

Bottom Line:   
The Rock Lobster 853 is an outstanding frame. It is made from Reynolds 853 steel which is complaint and strong. I have had some serious crashes and yet the frame is still in good condition. Even where the paint has come off there is still no rust and it is down to the bare metal. It is very fast and responsive and with its strength it just makes up an absolutely superb bike. I strongly recommend this to anyone who enjoys serious mountain biking.

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Favorite Trail:   Gisburn Forest

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $550.00

Purchased At:   Merlin

Similar Products Used:   All manner of hardtails and some full suspension

Bike Setup:   Pace RC36, Truvative and Sram 9. 737 pedals.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by J.W a Racer from Bristol

Date Reviewed: March 31, 2002

Strengths:    Light and incredibly strong. Great geometry and very responsive.

Weaknesses:    Can scratch easily

Bottom Line:   
This is a terrific frame and for the money is just unbelievable. I think it's the best Reynolds 853 frame that I have ridden and that's saying something. The feel is superb, so fast and responsive but forgiving at the back. It's light without being worryingly light and it's strong. I have completely thrashed this bike to death and it still comes back for more!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   coed-y-brenin

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $500.00

Purchased At:   Merlin Cycles

Similar Products Used:   Roberts 853. Kona Explosive. Orange P7.

Bike Setup:   Mainly XT and XTR with Marzocchi Z2 Fly-lite.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Mike Styant a Cross Country Rider from Sutton,Surrey,England

Date Reviewed: February 21, 2002

Strengths:    Steel!, disc cable guides, stiff ride

Weaknesses:    Too ain't cheap, Frame only - £575, but if you want quality...it's a fair price for the frame

Bottom Line:   
Firstly merlin cycles were excellent, quick and professional - what more do you want, I'd recommend them - the courier they use(d) sucks.

High quailty (853) steel, light(yes light), great ride, very responsive, good geometry, welds are clean, colour is good (no range but).

I use mine for commuting and off-road and London winters are very harsh on bikes. I have no compliants in the last 2 years. Steel frames are great, only thing better is Ti

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Favorite Trail:   Dorking area

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $920.00

Purchased At:   Merlincycles.co.uk

Similar Products Used:   Alu cannondale

Bike Setup:   Mixture of XT and XTR

Reviews 1 - 15 (20 Reviews Total) | Next 15

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating


Rock Lobster 853 Team Tig

Just wanted to share some pics of my new steel hardtail. On the wet, muddy clay trails of Hertfordshire it certainly beats using the full bouncer. Don't know much about it - the Reynolds 853 steel tubed frame is apparently designed by a Paul Sadhoff. (Anyone heard of him?). Merlin cycles in Lan ... Read More »

Rock Lobster Team Tig 853

Does anyone out there (probably in the UK) have a Rock Lobster Team Tig with the Reynolds 853 steel frame - sold by Merlin Cycles in the UK? The 2008 model looks like really good value with full XT groupset and a Reba Team fork, but how does it handle? What are it's weaknesses and strengths? An ... Read More »

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