Strengths: Great price, weight, geometry. Shock design is racy, not the smothest ride, but good control. Buy if you want a racing XC bike with the capability of a little rougher XC / all mountain.
Weaknesses: Not the smoothest ride. I broke two frames on the rear triangle near the bottom bracket. Definitely a design flaw; same fault twice, and the lbs indicated having seen more of the same failures. LBS support was horrible, but this was not the fault of Tomac. I am not a heavy rider at 80kgs and do not use the bike for anything other than XC.
Compared to Giant Anthem Advanced, the ride is a lot smoorther on the Giant, plus the frame quality is better. The weight is the same, but the price of the Giant is a lot higher. In the end the extra money is money well spent though, as my carbide's only lasted a year each.
Very cheap for what it offers, looks great and rides well. Would not buy again because of design flaw in rear triangle.
Bike Setup: XTR drive, Crank bros 4ti pedals, World cup sid fork, Juicy ultimates, Stans race wheels.
from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Date Reviewed: August 4, 2010
Strengths: Stiff, very light and ofcourse, a sight for sore eyes!!
Weaknesses: None at the moment
1st FS bike of mine, built from my previous pinnacle HT parts. Superb craftmanship from Tomac, a little worried at first try (have not rode a carbon bike before :)). Can't wait to bring the bike home in RP to really test it's endurance, currently riding it only on pavement @ 54 degree temp.!!
Bike Setup: Carbide XC frame, Shimano xtr full, easton handlebars and rims, thomson masterpiece, WTB laser V and Schwalbe Super Moto on pavement (WTB Exiwolf on off-road) tires.
a Cross Country Rider
from Dobson, NC, USA
Date Reviewed: February 9, 2010
Strengths: Extremely stiff and light weight. Super climbing ability, extremely fast downhills
Weaknesses: Absolutely none that I can find
A great bike for someone that wants to take it to the next level. The first downhill I went down was a bit scary I wasn't use to that kind of speed, what a rush. This is the greatest bike I have ever ridden. My 2010 Trek doesn't compare in any way. It's a thrill to ride and if you get a chance please take it for a spin. If you have never tried a Rotor MTB crank with Q rings you really need to. I just ordered the Tomac Automatic for my everyday rider, enough said.
Bike Setup: Rotor Crank, Seat and Post. Minute Fork, Ritchey WCS bar & stem, X7 Shifters and Front, X0 Rear, AC MTB26 wheels, Kenda Karma and Dred Tred
a Weekend Warrior
from Tranquility, NJ USA
Date Reviewed: January 3, 2010
Strengths: Stiff, light carbon fiber frame with a great geometry for climbing - the center of balance is to the rear, keeping the front end very light. Also, the bike literally floats down the descents. I ride on very rocky trails in NJ, and the suspension has no problem dealing with rock gardens at speed.
Weaknesses: Is it wrong to be infatuated with a piece of equipment?
I love this bicycle. I'm embarrassed to admit that I chose this bike in large measure because of its looks. But once I got to know it better, I fell in love with the feel of the thing. I used to look at other bikes with lust in my heart, but no more!
Bike Setup: reba, fox rp23, xtr, avid ultimate breaks, kenda tires
a Cross Country Rider
from Tualtin , Oregon
Date Reviewed: June 21, 2009
Strengths: Nice stiff lightweight frame, climbs like a hardtail with the pro-pedal engaged , dis-engage for a plush downhill.
Weaknesses: If I find one I will let you know...
After riding FS years ago and not being impressed , I stuck with my Ti or steel hardtails for the last 10 years . But after seeing the Carbide and reading the reviews I felt it was time to try again, and was glad I did. I think it is a great platform for the rider that is looking for a bike that climbs like a hardtail and descends just as well as it climbs. And looks cool..
Strengths: The list of superlatives for this bike is fairly long -- super stiff rear triangle, super stiff front triangle, super stuff shock linkage, zero flex bottom bracket, relatively light weight, great durability, perfect balance, fantastic trail manners, a surprisingly plush rear suspension and a company with kick-ass customer service.
Weaknesses: The dings on this bike are few and far between. It's a light bike, but not on par with SOME other XC bikes. Of course, the new Carbide SL - 4.5 lb frame - addresses that issue.
I'm enjoying this bike more and more after each ride. It took me a few rides to get the fit and suspension dialed in, but now that I've got it right, I'm very, very pleased. Some thoughts:
CLIMBING -- The Carbide is the right balance between of pedal platform (thanks to the Fox RP23 rear shock)and activity. The rear wheel stays firmly planted and the suspensions feels bob-free. Love it. One of the biggest advantages is the fact the BB on the Carbide is completely flex-free, meaning all your power is going straight to the rear wheel. The Carbide is a great climber. I'm really enjoying it.
FLAT SINGLETRACK -- When you are getting into that killer, flowy singletrack, this is where the Carbide really shines. It is very quick edge-to-edge, but it is not sketchy or twitchy. Rather, this bike is perfectly balanced, begging you to push turns harder, lay it on the rail deeper and attack. It's a ton of fun. The suspension ably eats up trail chatter so you can keep the power down. The carbon frame is damp and feels great, eliminating the high frequency frame buzz you get with aluminum. This is my second carbon MTB and I am sold on carbon as a frame material.
DESCENDING -- Switch off the shock's ProPedal and let her rip. The suspension seems to have more performance and more plushness than what you would expect for a single-pivot, 4-inch travel XC bike. I had some reservations about the Carbide initially, but my demo ride on this thing last year is what sold me. This bike is so stable, so well balanced and appropriately damp that it just screams downhill.
TOTAL PACKAGE -- Hats off to the guys at Tomac for building a well-rounded and awesome XC full suspension. Anyone looking for a top-of-the-line racer or general XC bike should throw a leg over the Carbide. Unlike some of the other bikes out there, this bike has all the performance you expect from a brand bearing Johnny T's name and the durability to stand the test of time.
Favorite Trail: White Ranch; Winter Park, CO; Sun Valley, ID
Duration Product Used: 3 months
Purchased At: Big Ring Cycles
Similar Products Used: Full-suspensin bikes I've owned and raced include Specialized Stumpjumper FSR, Yeti ASR and Scott Spark 15. I loved the Yeti and Scott, but was not a big fan of the Stumpy.
Bike Setup: Top of the line race -- SRAM X.O. drivetrain and trigger shifters, XTR cranks, XTR front derailleur, Avid Ultimate brakes, Stan's No Tubes ZTR Olympic wheels on American Classic hubs, Thomson Masterpiece seatpost, Ritchey WCS stem and carbon bar, Eggbeaters and WTB Devo saddle.
a Cross Country Rider
from Yucaipa, CA
Date Reviewed: May 28, 2009
Strengths: This is just a great working bike. It's simple, light and pedals really nicely. I've use it to both train and for the occasional race, and I found it's just the perfect bike for doing everything.
Weaknesses: I was a little nervous about owning a carbon bike, but it's been great so far. The bike is really light and really stiff, and I attribute it mainly to the carbon. I have fallen a few times on it, and the carbon took one serious impact without any damage.
I rode a lot of demo bikes before I finally decided on the Carbide XC, and I glad I decided to buy one. It was the clear winner for me because, from the moment I tossed a leg over the bike, it just felt right. My impression continues to do the same. I like the bike more and more with age, which in the past, it has been an opposite experience.
Similar Products Used: I test rode a lot of different carbon full suspension bikes before I bought the Carbide.
Bike Setup: Fox suspension, Shimano gears, Thomson seatpost and stem, Easton handlebar, DT Swiss wheels, Tomac tires.
Jim El Granada
a Cross Country Rider
from El Granada, CA USA
Date Reviewed: May 6, 2009
Strengths: Fantastic fit and finish which is coupled with a geometry that makes this bike amaze me. Great climbing and real smooth on the way down. Frame is real stiff laterally and feels as solid as can be under a 220 lb rider. It's also light. The brakes have great feel and power.. I love this bike. Joel and Clark at Tomac do an amazing job of customer support.
Weaknesses: The only weakness is me.
In 7 months I've ridden this bike over 700 miles and I can't wait to get on it again. This is a race quality XC bike that makes me ride to the best of my ability. Grinning from ear to ear. Buy it if you can risk riding becoming an obsession.
Favorite Trail: Whitmore Gulch, HMB. Cold creek, Lake Tahoe
Duration Product Used: 6 months
Similar Products Used: 2003 Tomac 98 Special pro, 2002 GT Timberline Hard tail. 2004 Salsa Campeon road bike.
Bike Setup: Rockshox SID team fork, Fox RP 23 rear shock. XTR rear derailer. XT shifters & cassette. Truvative Carbon Noir Crank. Avid ultimate brakes with 180mm rotors. Easton monkeylite carbon bars. Sun Ringle Dirty Flea rims. Thomson stem
from San Juan Capistrano, CA
Date Reviewed: April 10, 2009
Strengths: Everything. As noted by Seiji it's very light because it's carbon, but it feels super-solid. Lock it out for climbing, then unleash the beast on the the DH. RP23 isn't a 'lockout' it's more propedal, so even when 'locked' it will still give you full travel when you need it.
Weaknesses: None. I will have to maintenance the bearings soon, but I rode this thing hard all year. Cal State and National series races, plus training rides on tough SoCal technical trails, 8 hr endurance races, etc. Tomac was quick to send me a rebuild kit, too.
This bike is incredible. John and Joel at Tomac love bikes and each have an amazing history in the sport, and it all comes through in this bike. This baby climbs on par with hardtails, even better on the technical stuff where you need rear wheel traction. But it really shines on descents and through the twisties. Solid and buttery smooth through corners and no thought about whether you should bomb a gnarly rock section or not, this baby can handle it.
Similar Products Used: Scott Comp Aluminum hardtail, Litespeed Tanasi Ti hardtail, Scott Spark (test ride), Trek Fuel (test)
Bike Setup: Marzocchi Corsa SL, Mavic 717/Hugi 240 wheels, SUNLINE V-1 Carbon bar & lock-on grips, KENDA Karma tires, XPEDO MF-1A Ti-Ti pedals, SIGMASPORT BC1106 Team Computer, Avid Juicy Ultimate brakes, XTR cranks,shifters,rear derail/XT front derail & cassette. 25.5 lbs.
Assembled at the one and only BUY MY BIKES!
a Cross Country Rider
from Boulder, CO
Date Reviewed: March 15, 2009
Strengths: With every ride, I am more and more impressed with this bike. I ride a mix of rocky and smooth terrain and I was worried that the bike would not offer enough travel, but it seems to float through everything with ease. I also am impressed with how effecient the bike is. I have lockouts on both the front and rear shocks, but I never use them. The bike pedals well without using the lockouts. I have been riding the bike for over a year now and the bearings are still like new, as are the bushings in the shock eyelets. The attention to detail is really nice on the bike. The tube shapes and the use of carbon throughout the frame show that someone really tried to produce an excellent final product.
Weaknesses: So far, I have found none. The bike is really great.
I am in love with this bike. I have never written a review on MTBR, but the bike works so well and is so durable, I felt I had to let other people know.
Bike Setup: Fox Float RL fork, RP23 shock, XTR rear derailleur, Truvative Noir cranks, Avid Juicy Ultimate brakes, Thomson seatpost and stem, Easton carbon handlebar.
a Cross Country Rider
from Riverside, CA USA
Date Reviewed: February 26, 2009
Strengths: Unbelievably stiff laterally (no flex), light weight (24 pounds built up with XT parts), excellent efficiency during pedaling, the best descending XC bike I have ever ridden, good bearing durability, dual water bottle mounts, clean cable routing under top tube, low stand-over height, good support from the manufacturer.
Weaknesses: The derailleur hanger could be a little beefier, but I guess they have changed this already.
This bike is pretty incredible. It's one of those bikes that does everything right, so you don't really have to think about it...you just ride. I use it for general XC riding on really rough terrain and then an occasional race. It feels like it has more suspension than similar travel bikes and it's so stiff, the handling is so precise and predictable. I've always liked the Tomac brand because it was the namesake of John Tomac, but this bike makes me a loyal fan for years to come.
Strengths: Exotic, light (23lbs), and RETARDEDLY fast. Seriously, the bike has made NO NOISE at all in a year of thrashing. Nothing. Buttery smooth and the most dependable bike I have ever owned. It's damn pretty too.
Weaknesses: Only that it doesn't come with a free PRIMER DH frame as well.
The TOMAC bike build and design quality is without equal. I have had several full suspension bikes in my life, ALL of which made a ton of noise after a very short time. the CARBIDE is a year in on some GNARLY courses and weekly rides, and has yet to even utter it's disapproval of my monkey-arse trying to break it. The guys at TOMAC also have been amazingly helpful with any and all questions. Greatest bike I have ever owned, and they seem to support racers a great deal on their blog site.
I have a Tomac Carbide XC frame for sale. mtbr classified here:
PM any questions or offers.Read More »