a Weekend Warrior
from Long Beach, CA, USA
Date Reviewed: October 8, 2002
Strengths: Super light and responsive. One of the most nimble hardtails I've ever ridden - and I worked in a bike shop for years.
Weaknesses: 1) Chain suck, which was solved by installing a Ringle Anti-Chain Suck plate. 2) A little harsh when riding fast over chatter. This was solved by installing a Nitro Pro suspension seatpost. 3) Crappy Univega brand (Concept) bars, stem, and seatpost, which all were replaced with quality aftermarket products.
Boralite is an amazing material; as light as titanium, but as strong as aluminum. The aggressive angles on this frame make it the perfect single track ride out there, and the longer top tube is nice if you're into the traditional "stretched out" position. This is a true cross country machine. It's downhilling characteristics are improved somewhat with a suspension seatpost, but then again hardtail enthusiasts already understrand the pros/cons.
Even though they don't make Boralites anymore, a used one is just as good as a new one. I've had mine since 94' and it still rides like the day I got it (of course with replacing parts as needed).
Similar Products Used: Most other major brand hardtails. Not really interested in
Bike Setup: All XT/XTR components. Judy XC fork. Profile riser bars, Nitro Pro suspension seatpost. Ritchey Mad Max tires.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: November 6, 2001
Strengths: SUPER STRONG, VERY LITE, NO FLEX, LOTS OF TOP TUBE CLEARANCE.
Weaknesses: TOO LITE ;). Hard to find.
I bought this frame about 3 months ago after breaking my aluminum cannondale. I was doing extensive research to find a good aluminum frame. The spec's on this frame intrigued me. The feel and stiffness of aluminum but the strength of Titanium. Sounded too good to be true. Apparently they stopped making them cause they where too hard and expensive to manufacture. It took me a month to find this bike after I decided to get it. I've owned steel, titanium and aluminum frames and I hate the way steel and ti feel. Too flexy. You feel like the frames are robbing your energy when you pedal. Not with aluminum and definitely not with this frame. It feels like every ounce of force you put into the bike gets transferred directly to the dirt. And even thought the frame is super stiff it seems to absorb impacts better then titanium. After I put on my tubeless wheel set it feels almost like a low travel full suspension bike. The frame is a cool Olive Drab color with a radically sloped top tube. I love this bike. If you can still find it you wont be disappointed. I'd give it 10 chili’s if I could :).
Similar Products Used: Cannondale, Yeti, Litespeed, Serotta, Trek.
Bike Setup: Rock Shox SID SL, XTR/XT, Mavic Crossmax UST Disc wheelset, Race Face Cranks, etc.
a Cross Country Rider
from Littleton, CO USA
Date Reviewed: April 3, 2001
Strengths: Surprising ability to mimic the rides of Ti and steel Incredibly light and strong
Weaknesses: Ugly paint
Running through reviews here at mtbreview, thought I'd give my opinion about one of the best frames ever made. When shopping for my new bike in '92, I had my heart set on the Trek OCLV or Kona Kula Al frames. After trying these and several others, I was really disappointed by the bone-jarring ride these bikes gave my 145 lb body.
I took a chance on the Univega Boralyn experiment, custom building the bike from my own selection of lightweight/least cost components. I've never looked back. When I was done, the entire thing weighed 22lbs, and since climbing was what I liked best, it was perfect. To my surprise, it turned out to hold an awesome line downhilling as well; too bad I'm chicken about breakneck speeds.
Here comes the good part. In '96 or '97, a little old nearly-blind senior citizen broadsided me as I was going through an intersection one day. Me and the bike did a little flying and twisting for about 40 feet. When the dust settled, I only had a few bruises and the bike, which took the full impact of the aforementioned old fart's front bumper on its left seatstay, was virtually unharmed. After reseating the rear tire, I rode home. It still tracked straight! However, the impact area had a slight dimple, showing some cracks in the paint, and probably the tubing underneath. A catastrophic frame failure unnerved me, so...
So I called up Univega only to find they'd been bought out by Raleigh. I spoke with Raleigh's customer service only to find that my frame had been discontinued, put on recall, and a new dark army green Boralite frame had replaced it. Unfortunatley, that had been discontinued too, and they had 3 frames left. He checked the backroom and found that my size (14", but really a 17" frame) was out, but that an unused return was coming in from Europe. To make a long story longer, I finally got that 14 incher from Europe to replace my frame for free!
I believe it's a little heavier (never weighed it), but it has held up just like the original. The Mavic rims and Wasatch hubs have been no slouch either. I've never had to true my rims despite all the punishment they've taken. I only shell out $35 a year at my LBS for a complete maintenance overhaul.
Wish they still made them so I could recommend you buy, but I understand that working with the special composite was killing regular tubing equipment.
Bike Setup: ('93 components) 8sp LX crank, XT derailleurs, XTR cassette Blue anodized everything else: DiaComp levers and brakes, Ti skewers and seatpost bolt, nipples, etc. Mavic rims, Wasatch Cycle carbon hubs AMP fork
a cross-country rider
from Denver, Colorado
Date Reviewed: August 5, 1997
Lately I've been on vacation in New york and rode a steel frame, and lately I've tested out an aluminum frame (not Univegas). It reminded me of the reason that I bought the bike in the first place, the material feels better than anything out there I think! The boron-carbide based mixture is similiar in chemistry as the ceramic found in M2s matrix but I think the tubing diameter of the frame really contribute to the good feel of the bike. I hold my head up high when walking into bike shops and the employees plug they're noses and yell CARCINOGEN This is the best bike I ever had and I've found it worth putting XTR on it, the geometry is perfect for my body type- speaking of which,I would like someone to E-mail me and let me know if you notice that the seat tube bends back making the center of the seat post offset 3/4 to 1 backwards. It certainly is not from a crash since there are no cracks in the powder coat, but I don't think it was a manufacturing defect, I'm not complaining. There have been problems with the earlier models like the goldish colored frames equipped with LX components from 1994. If your frame is the gunship grey, and has gussets on the bottom tube at the headtube weld, and on the seat tube where the stay tubes are welded. I know other people with these frames and the rave about them, so if you ain't got one, go get one.
Jordan M. Regan
a weekend warrior
from Mt Pleasent, UTAH
Date Reviewed: February 25, 1997
I have gone through many Mountain Bike frames in the last 4 years since I really became into riding, I owned a Boryln until I broke the frame, then bought a Boralite. It has been the best bike I have owned in a long time. Last year it was stolen with every acessory I had ever wanted on it Such as Paul Components, XTR and a Judy SL Fork, when it was stolen, I immediatly began to cry, in the end I ended up buying another one, even though it doesn't have everything I had on the other Boralite, I am extremly with it's performance and durability.
a cross-country rider
from Leeds, England
Date Reviewed: August 27, 1996
I have had this frame for over a year now and am very impressed with its performance.
Weighing in at only 3.5 lbs (for a 17.5 frame) I was ready to give this some hammer and watch the welds crack (as did with my cannondale after 4 months) but none of it. It has fallen over 20 feet down a ravine, hit trees, done downhills at over 40 mph and still looks exactly the same as when I bought it
It climbs very well as the 6063 T6 is reinforced with Boron carbide fibres and descends with great composure (the trail shock is well damped bringing Ti frames to mind).
On the down-side it can be a bit tiring on long rides as the Alumin(i)um frame is very stiff, but this is what makes it handle so well (point and fire).
It also comes in a very boring grey colour (Mavic rim grey) which I am about to have re-sprayed.
The frame has good proportions (for me) with a 22.75 top tube that is lowered for better stand-over hight and has great mud clearance (v.important for a rider in the north of England in the winter).
Not cheap at 800 pounds a set but it is 3 frames in one and is 30% stronger (weight for weight) than either 7075 Al or 3.5/4.5 Ti and out guns even M2 framsets.