Strengths: Quality design and build. Handling tight eastern woods. Sports car ride. User friendly bearing pivots. Customer service.
The best handling bike I have ridden. It makes you fast or at least gives you the thrill of going fast. Handles tight stuff with ease. Quality is first rate. I first saw a Ventana in Moab in about 1995. It took me this long to try one. Why did I wait?
Similar Products Used: Just about everything. Yeti, Dean, Manitou, Pro-Flex, Trek Fuel, etc.
Bike Setup: Race Face LP ISIS Cranks, Manitou Mars Elite fork, Mavic Crossmax UST, Sram XO derailure and shifters, Avid Arch Rival Supreme brakes and Ultimate levers, Thomson post and stem. Easton carbon bar.
from Duxbury, MA USA
Date Reviewed: March 13, 2002
Strengths: The El Fuego is the best balanced, responsive and quickest technical climber and trials bike I have ever been on. This thing will clean anything with ease. I have muscled up 12 ft boulders and dropped 5 ft off the other side without so much as a wimper. The back fox shock and set up is a dream. It handles 6 ft drops without so much as a wimper. I love riding this bike so much it has made me a much better rider. Definitely worth the price!
Weaknesses: The bomber 80 mm front fork. Can't handle big hits. The bushings but they replaced them with sealed bearings and 3" of travel for 2002! Throw on a 100mm bomber and you've got a great bike!
If you are looking for a lightweight bike that you can race and ride extremely technical single track with that can take a massive beating and still perform, this is it!
But it will teach you how to ride technical and if your like me you will eventually surpass its abilities. I am looking at the La Bruza as an upgrade. They will give me $820 US for my El Fuego frame towards the new frame. Not bad for the amount of abuse my El Fuego took.
I have had only 5 rides on this bike due to weather and work.The first ride was for break in/dial in(shock/fork).I am comparing it to my Santa Cruz.It is quicker handling and climbs as well as the Cruz which was a great climber.There is some magic that Ventana puts into that 2.8 inches of rear travel.It feels like much more and is buttery smooth in action.I e/mailed Shylock for info prior to purchase and he was right on the money with his data.The complete bike weighs 23.9 lbs and cost $3600.00 to build.It is worth every penny. Eddie.
Strengths: Handling, stiffness for a FS, feels like more than just under 3 inches of travel, paint, and function. And a big thumbs up for Service, Charlie, Eddy, Sherwood, keep it up guys!
Incredible ride, still can't get over that it has less than 3 inches of travel, it just feels like alot more. Very quick handling, especially since I'm riding a large, also, the weight, I was suprised when I weighed it, it came in at a real just nudging over 5lbs (remeber it's a 19inch frame), very sweet. I'm enjoying this bike a ton, but I'm sad to put it away for winter, but that's what my El toro SS is for anyway, winter riding.
Also, what's up with MR X from Netherlands, did something crawl up yer butt? I looked through the reviews and I didn't see Mr. Gibson bragging of his welds, that's others that do. Lose the inferiority complex and go ride, no chili's for the attitude!
Similar Products Used: Ventana El Habanero, Ellsworth Truth
Bike Setup: Fox Float, SX carbon fork, King SubIV wheelset, XT 8speed drivetrain, American Classic post, bonty Super X tires, Profile carbon bars, oury grips.
a Cross Country Rider
from the Netherlands
Date Reviewed: September 7, 2000
What`s the hype about those `Sex Welds(???)`? Nobody ever looked closely to the welds of their bike anyway but now Gibson got a stiff one on his own welds and wanted to let the world know by putting these stupid `sex welds` stickers on his frames. Due to this sticker a lot of people are raving about Gibson`s welding `art`. I wonder if they have ever been outside. The problem is, maybe for Gibson these welds are the top of his own capabilities but did he ever checked out the work of other bike welders? I can name a few like Frank the Welder (FTW), former Yeti frame builder. Leaves Gibson`s welds far behind. I did not hear him about his welds, I just knew. Gibson`s welds are laying to much on top of the material, the end of the weld stops to far over the starting point which results in a thick part in the weld creating a stress point. Cannondale does it right here by grinding and smoothing the welds but still your welds have to be perfect before you do this or the weld will be weak. FTW`s welds are flat (smooth), good burn in in the material and good endings. And what about GT`s top framesets? Those are good welds too! The thing is, I just wish Gibson would not try to show off while at the same time there are better welders out there. Ventana makes nice bikes no doubt, but the `Sex Welds` sticker is in my eyes too much about nothing.
pro Xtreme biker tom
from atlanta / knoxville
Date Reviewed: July 26, 2000
Strengths: light weight, rare, strong, handbuilt for me in california by Mr Gibson, great looking bike, fast,
Weaknesses: none really...
the frame is a beauty. i have the electric superdust color... it looks gray, but in the sun it is multi colored sparkle mobile. the bike rides like no other. i totally blow away people on climbs and downhills, but maybe its just me. just kidding... the bike handles flawlessly. it rides so smooth, and i am always in complete control. the bike looks great, rides great, and that is about all there is to say. to own a bike that only has 999 others like it in the world??? what a great opportunity. its the ferrari of bikes.
Similar Products Used: jamis dakar, santa cruz heckler, 2000 raven, habanero ti hardtail, trek team OCLV, Cro Mo frames
Bike Setup: 2000 full XTR, kore ti skewers, SID SL 80mm, fox float R, 517 rims, onza ti pedals, thompson seatpost, fizik saddle
a Cross Country Rider
from Omaha, Ne.
Date Reviewed: July 25, 2000
Strengths: Addictive Ride, light, responsive
Weaknesses: Much harder to stay at work, when I know I could be out on a trail.
If you want a killer ride, this is it. The quality on the craftsmanship on the frame is better than any other mountian bike I've seen, even as nice as most Italian road frames. The Fuego rides better than any bike I've ridden. There is very little if any energy wasted in the suspension on long climbs. Decents point the bike where you want to go and hang on. There is no lag in the turning agility as I've experencied with other bikes. Ventana has been extremly helpful in all matters when I've had to deal with them. Unfortunatly they were so nice and helpful, while putting out such a quality ride, I had to order a second Ventana, the El Toro.
Only down side is that my other bike is collecting more dust, except when I loan it out for friends to ride with me.
Similar Products Used: Tested, every major production full suspension bike locally
Bike Setup: Z-2x-fly, RaceFace-head, stem, cranks, bb, 240 hubs w/517ceramics, Avid mag brakes & levers, Easton monkeylite carbon bar, SRAM Woody r. der., ATAC pedals
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: January 18, 2000
Strengths: Very Plush FS Quick, Nimble Handeling, Very Responsive Laterally Stiff, No Flex, Good Power Transfer
Weaknesses: If there is one, it would be price, however the frame is well worth it.
I rode a Bontrager Race Lite for years and never thought I would find another bike that was as much fun in twisty single track. Well! the El Fuego tears up single track while absorbing all those annoying bumps, this bike is very responsive, quick and tight, climbs like a goat, while providing an efficient ride. This is a FS XC bike that tracks like a hardtail with 2.8 inches of plush rear travel. The Fox Vanella Float R rear shock is very tunable & can easily be field adjusted to the terrain, by slowing the damping biobounce can be eliminated, for rough terrain faster dampening can be dialed in for a plusher ride.
Similar Products Used: Bontrager Race Lite Specialized FSR
Bike Setup: SID XC fork FOX Vanella Float R XT
a Cross-Country Rider
from Austin, TX
Date Reviewed: November 15, 1999
Strengths: light, stiff, quick handling
Weaknesses: none yet
well, I just got it a few days ago, I am having a custom built Titus racerx being built and I sold my existing Racerx (fave bike of all time) I needed another bike while waiting for the custom Decided to get an ElFuego well, it's a very fast bike, extremely stiff laterally, (and I hate to use this) corners like it's on rails, very precise handling, extremely nimble and quick is it better than a Racerx? hmm. no, not better, different in the same league for sure, the Racerx is AWESOME and indestructible, I am having a custom made so I obviously love it... This is as quick handling for sure, surprisingly so, not quite as stable bombing off of ledges as the Racerx but it may edge it out slightly in the climbing department, slightly, maybe...if you are in the market for an extremely fast and quick handling fs frame/bike and the Racerx doesn't grab you or the geometry doesn't fit you, look at the ElFuego both are absolute topnotch
Similar Products Used: everything, and I mean EVERYTHING!!!
Bike Setup: Z2Xfly, XTR, raceface cranks, bontrager race lite wheels
from Folsom, CA
Date Reviewed: May 27, 1999
Strengths: light weight rails like a hard tail! very plush for 2.8 of travel Awesome welds self service pivots
This thing RAILS!!! I rode a Marble Peak for the last 2 years and the Fuego blows it away! It climbs and corners like a hard tail, yet feels MORE plush than the Marble Peak... even though the MP has 3.5 travel and the Fuego has 2.8. You point this critter and it GOES! For a sub-5 lb frame, it is awesome! The price is a bit of a drag, but after demoing this bike I sold my MP the next week and orderd this bike. It is SO much fun... I highly recommend it! One note: Use a low crown fork with this bike (430mm or so axle to crown) or you will lose the quick handling. Once again AWESOME, if I could: 10 flamers... OLE!