The frame bears the traditional BALFA signature of craftsmanship: Its front end is made of 6061 T-6 aluminum, and its swingarm, as usual, from 4130 cromoly for optimal stiffness, durability and tyre clearance. It gets 115mm (4,5 inches) of rear wheel travel via a FOX Float RC and the frame’s weigth is a cool 6,3 pounds. The geometry is typical trail ride with a 70degree head angle and bb height of 318mm (12,5 inches). The BELAIR is a single pivot design that uses two sealed bearings and has CNC rocker plates. Being a 21st century bike, the BELAIR is disc brakes only, featuring the International Standard.
Bike Setup: Fox Float Qr 15 fork 140mm travel to replace Rock Shox Psylo.
a Cross Country Rider
from Courtenay BC Canada
Date Reviewed: November 2, 2005
Strengths: Climbing, single track response and technical descending. Rear lock-out.
Weaknesses: Availability. You can import from the UK, but they are unavailable in Canada.
I can do just about anything on this bike except big drops and really gnarly descents. I can ride down most stuff the free-riders do, but I can climb up to the trail head and not be a "shuttle-pig". If ever there was a one-bike-does -it -all, this is it. I bought this as a frame-only and did a parts swap. That explains the low-ball price.
Similar Products Used: Rocky Mt Team SC, Element T.O.
Bike Setup: Shimano Deore Brakes, XT / XTR drive, Manitou Black fork
a Cross Country Rider
from Grapevine, TX 76051
Date Reviewed: February 2, 2004
Strengths: Strong, Stiff, great handling, plush,
Weaknesses: Weight, short front front to center so if you are between sizes of regular or large get the large. Balfa now is building this bike in 4 sizes for 2004 with a manitou spv shock instead of the fox.
Handles like a scapel. Suspension is a true 4.5in. and it feel like more. frame is impecably stiff. Somewhat slack seat geometry lets you carve and inspires confidence at high speed, The razor quick handling may slap you in the face and get your attention if your boldness is not kept in check. Climbs like a goat. Frame is 6.5lbs. Love the rear steel triangle. It give the bike a very laterally stiff ride with no side flex ,but has a steel livelyness that is hard to quatify. It probably is the reason the frame feels so smooth and plush, just like the Boulder defiant. You'll be hard pressed to get it into the 25lb zone built up. Although, with out pedals mine is in the upper 25.7-9lbs. depending on measuring device and right at 27lb.s with a set of time attck comps. The bike is very well balanced with the fork dialed in to mach the rear at 4.5in. I highly suggest a fork like the Talas with ajustability, as you can really dial in the specific handling traights you want from the frame. Durability is a non issue. I have broken countless framesets. This bike still is as tight as it was when I bought it. The fit issue and the 6.5 weight are the only thing keeping this from a full 5 and 5 chili rating. For the money. you'll be very hard pressed to find a better frame and a better handling mountain bike. This is a 1 bike do it all ride.
Favorite Trail: Northshore, Johnson branch, womble
Duration Product Used: 1 Year
Similar Products Used: Boudler defiant, countless cannondales, konas, ventanas, santa cruzes, yetis, blah blah blah
Bike Setup: Full XT, Mavic cross max xl, thompson post stem, answer bars fox talas rlc ,etc etc etc....buit up quite nice.
a Cross Country Rider
from Dallas, TX, USA
Date Reviewed: December 11, 2003
Strengths: Everything from the frame to the super stiff lateral rigidity of the bike.
Weaknesses: none so far.
This bike rocks! Props to the great team at Mad-duck in Grapevine Texas for setting me up with a sweet ride! So far this is the only bike I have rode that I have not broke. I just got back on a trip with a friend from Hot Springs Arkansas where we rode the Womble trail and the bike was comfortable all the way up and down. This bike is very responsive and climbs like a dream. Finally a cross country bike that us clydesdales can ride and ride hard without breaking.
Similar Products Used: Cannondale Jekyll, Cannondale carbon fiber Raven, Giant NRS, Klein hardtial.
Bike Setup: XT cranks, XT rear D, XT front D, Hayes Hydraulics, Easton stem, seatpost, handlebars, and heavy duty front Psylo springs.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: September 18, 2003
Strengths: Looks, quality, sweet ride, company reputation, handling
Weaknesses: Hayes discs? aw, come on! OH, and the price is little steep but I guess i should just accept that you don't get stuff like this cheap, it's a boutique bike, I'll get over it.
I hear a few missing the point on this amazing bike: It's NOT a freeride hucker, it's a burly XC bike from a DH/Freeride company, and that's the way it rides. It's the best bike I've ever ridden and I highly recomend it to anyone with the budget to get it. People just oogle at the suspension design and the way the rear shock integrates into the down/top tube. Very sexy! And I love the idea of the rear cro-mo triangle, I've gone through SO MANY der. hagners... This is the best! Am I making myself clear? THIS BIKE ROCKS!
Similar Products Used: Rocky Slayer, Turner 5 spot
Bike Setup: Swapped the horrible discs for a set of my fav: Shimano Deore Hydraulic Discs (better than XTR, trust me)
from Concord, NC
Date Reviewed: July 14, 2003
Strengths: Handles downhills well, great for dirt jumping.
Weaknesses: Some of the components suck. Mainley the Hayes cable actuated brakes.
I've road this bike for just under a year, on all kinds of terrain, downhill, freeride, trails, and I am about 205lbs and this thing has taken everything I have dished out, I havn't dropped anything over 8'. If you are an advanced freerider I wouldn't recomend this bike, but if you are just getting started it will do you fine. The Hayes mechanical do suck, but I still have them on there and they do the job, After this year I will definalty be looking to get something bigger, hopefully a Banshi Sream, depends on the funds. Overall I would say it is a decent, reliable bike, definatly good for extreme trailriding and jumping, drops over 8' escpecially if your my size I wouldn't recomend.
Bike Setup: warped front mercalli forks and everything else was warped to
a Cross Country Rider
from Campbell River, BC.
Date Reviewed: August 8, 2002
Strengths: Has a solid feel, the Lockouts on both the Z1 and the Fox Float are a bonus.
Weaknesses: Sometimes feels snakey in tight turns. The Fox Float blew up within one month.
I'm really happy with my purchase, although more than what I wanted to spend ($4000 Canadian), but the price was paid for with the lockout suspension all around. The standover clearance is great! And the fact that I don't have to have the seatpost extended to its'limit like I had to on my Mantra makes it much more easier to get on in tough situations. I put 2.4 tires on and they JUST fit, I wanted 2.4 for my own confidence but that's not to say this bike won't do the downhill. I't not as beefy as the 2Step but I think it could still ride with the best if only at the back of the pack. I'm a cross country rider who likes to do a tiny bit of downhill and I'm a happy camper.
This may seem like a sort of weird request, but I'm in search of a Long Balfa Belair frame or frame and fork combination.
I used to rep part time for Balfa here in Connecticut and owned a regular Belair for a bit. Always had fun on that bike, but I should have bought a Long from the start ... Read More »
I've been mountain biking for a little while now, and I do some trails out in the countryside, but I'd like to start riding the Belair trails that I've head of.
I can easily catch the train up to Belair, but can someone tell me at which stations the trails begin and end, and how to get to th ... Read More »
I have searched the boards and know there are a few of you out there (ctrider) - will the new cranks/bb with the outboard bearings interfere with the swingarm? Do any of you guys have this setup?
Thanks!!Read More »
Im about to buy a BALFA belair 2003 (frame/shox only) which is at this time the perfect bike to me:tough,compact,fit my size and considering that is an xc bike it (look) nuke proof.The second point is more about the price the deal would be 1500$ can tx incl,do u think it a good deal?The last point i ... Read More »