Strengths: Well built, excellent suspension, versatile, durable.
Weaknesses: Newer frames look more refined, no ISCG mount, 1'8th steerer.
Steerer tube is relatively long on the small frame.
Could be lighter, but then it comes with a coil shock.
Had mine for just over 10 years and it's still going strong. Still have the original bearings and shock (still running smoothly with no play!). replaced the gear hanger once (after a crash). I've run it as a downhill bike with Boxxers and as an all day trail bike with revelations, it does everything brilliantly, I love the geometry. The suspension is so good with the horst link that I now never swithch it to the shorter travel setting, I've even done marathons on it.
Not designed for weight watching cross country weenies, if you want a bike that you can hammer hard then this will come back wanting more, putting a smile on your face downhill and will get you up them as well.
a Weekend Warrior
from Somerset England
Date Reviewed: September 8, 2007
Strengths: Very strong well made frameset. FSR Horst linkage gives superb traction over all terrain.Geometry is spot on for hard core all mountain/freeride light bike. The whote paint is the 2008 colour to have!
Weaknesses: None I've come across so far
This bike is awesome. I bought it as a second bike after a trip to the Alps when I felt I needed a more hardcore all mountain bike.When bought second hand it was set up as a light DH rig with SuperT's and heavy duty components fitted. I found it fantastic downhill but to much to pedal uphill. Fitting the lighter Talas 36 forks has transormed the bike, as well as XT gear and lighter bar/stem. I now have the ultimate all mountain bike at 33lbs which I can now pedal uphill as well as really ripping downhill on. Like alot riders, I find in the UK I am riding more radical XC and this bike is upto all I can throw at it. It will be the perfect bike for the Mega Avalanche next year in the Alps
Similar Products Used: Santa Cruz Nomad ( awesome but too expensive), 2004 Specialized Enduro ( excellent trail bike but not allmountain/freeride enough )
Bike Setup: 2007 Fox Talas36 fork, Vanilla Rl shock with titanium spring,Full XT running gear,Easton 50mm stem and EA70 Monkey bar.Hayes HFX9 brakes and 200mm rotors, Mavic downhill wheelset on Hope2 hubs, Michelin DH tyres.
from Perth, Scotland
Date Reviewed: April 17, 2007
Strengths: Fantastic suspension action. Works a treat pretending to be a downhill bike. 608 bearings easy to replace. Frame is top-notch build quality. Plush as you like. Great frame geometry means it can also be used as an all day bike.
Weaknesses: Main pivot bearings (needle rollers) & shaft. Got totally sha@@ed in 6 months in the Scottish mud & grit. Needle bearings have to be cut out of the frame to be replaced and Craftworks seem to have stopped supplying spare shafts. Tapped the frame and bored out the main pivot tube to make a greasing system and turned up new shaft so we'll see how that goes. Cable routing is a bit iffy.
Fantastic bike!! No-nonsense, great value and works really well as a downhill bike. Actually can't diss the ManipU shock either!
Although a major problem with the lower swingarm triangle, a sick bike which would suit a more hardcore trailrider willing to go big but not too big than the true 20ft+ freerider. I would recommend buying the bike in a later model because I think they've almost certaintly sorted the problem with the swingarm by now (mine is a 2001 model) so if you bought one, probably look towards a 2003 - present day model. Go hard or go home!
Similar Products Used: Kona Coiler, '06 Bighit 3, '03 Norco Atomik, Craftworks DHR 208, Orange 222
Bike Setup: '04 Jr.ts, Fox Vanilla R, 8" Juicy 5s, Deore running gear, Dice SMO wheelset, Magura and Aerial Industries Hubs, DT Spokes, Hussefelt Cranks
a Weekend Warrior
from Sydney, Australia
Date Reviewed: August 23, 2005
Strengths: Beefy Build. Specialized patented Horst Linkage is super stable when used with a platform valved rear shock. Versatile frame, light enough and strong enough to be setup for many different uses. The 05 has an uninterrupted seat tube meaning that you can run a really long seat post so the you can safely descend and then hike that seat up and pedal all day!
Weaknesses: I guess i have to agree with the critiscm here about the rear hanger, because i bent mine the day i got it, but ive never seen that as a design flaw.
Limitted sizes avaliable. There is only small and large and the large is just short of 18in. Being 6'4" i really want another inch of height and atleast 2" of toptube.
Ive managed to build up a pretty descent trail bike using this frame. 6in front and back at under 16Kg (without any attempt to use any expensive bling bling weight weenie parts).
I know the previous owner had used the frame with Super T's and a chunky DH component set as a Downhill racer... So i'd have to say its pretty bloody versatile!
Its definitly a quality product for a reasonable price (excellent price if you can pick up the frame secondhand!)
Similar Products Used: 05 Kona Stinky (much more of a shuttle bike, would want to try and pedal this up any sort of incline). Giant AC (just looks like a budget, weaker version of the same idea)
Neither of these other frames use a horst linkage, and have their pivot points on the seat stays... I think it makes them inferior!)
Bike Setup: Maverick inverted triple clamp forks. Manitou 4 way SPV. LX/XT drivetrain. Hayes HFX9 8in.
from Plymouth, Devon, England
Date Reviewed: March 22, 2005
Strengths: set up the 4-way right and it just wont bob at all. perfect. damn plush travel, it soaks it all up so damn well (25' gap jumps, 10' drops blah...). geometry is lovely. is fairly nimble for a FS.
Weaknesses: rear wheel has a tendency to move in dropouts, but i do run a 205mm disc. rear disc hose routing is a bit iffy. mech hangers arent too sharp, but theyr designed to break after all.
if you want a fun bike, buy this frame. it will most probably handle everything you throw at it. set it up how you like it, it will do anything. one of the most versatile frames around.
Bike Setup: JrTs, swinger 4-way, M4s, Northshore cranks, XT, blackspire etc.
from Sydney, NSW, Australia
Date Reviewed: May 8, 2004
Strengths: Beefy. Does most things well.
Weaknesses: Rear deraileur hanger, some welds a bit chunky, HEAVY!
This is a great all round bike for my purposes, lots of travel for all but the silliest stuff, stable at speed, pedals surprisingly well, but gets mighty heavy on serious and technical climbs, but I guess it's not been really designed for that stuff huh! Some welds on the swingarm made fitting the chain device a pain, and I keep bending the deraileur hanger, and the tip. I've also noticed a tendency for the back wheel to move in the drop outs. Bottom bracket thread was a little tight when I first assembled it too. Apart from some minor gripes like that, the bikes been great. first assembled it at the beginning of 03, but broke my back on it first time out, and have been laid up until recently. A great all round play bike, that does everything well without being over the top. Great service from both Rob Crafter and Bike Addiction too!
Strengths: totally A1 frame, sweet mover handles all types of terrain with confidence, dont need another bike
Weaknesses: cable routing ?? lack of.... head turner.. 4 those thievin bstdz among uz
great bike, might not be meant for huge ball shattering jumps / drops but if your into that - ride moto cross.. eats all types of terrain for breakfast and you can equip the bike to suit your own mtb needs as its so versitile, when riding gives a feeling of confidence and control so you just go faster. ive emialed mr crafter and find him to be v helpful and prompt all the time, after a year ive never thought of another bike or changing this one.. FUN TO RIDE, KICKS ASS AND STAYS UP FRONT ! A1++++++++++++++
Similar Products Used: big list of tried bikes over last 15 yrs
Bike Setup: race face / xtr / azonic / hope + marzzochi
from SLO, CA
Date Reviewed: March 30, 2004
Strengths: Good climber, excellent downhill control.
Weaknesses: None yet.
Think I got the last from Jenson. I'm 5'6" 145lbs - and the smallest frame size is maybe an inch tall for me. It doesn't matter. This bike will scoot me up a 2,500ft elevation climb and then right back down again. I have raced with this frame and felt a considerable difference in performance over the right sized NRS. I can't say much about jumps and drops, but for the little extra it cost this full suspension out performs comparable others on both the climb and decent. For those looking for the right all-around MTB that won't break your bank, then this is it.
Similar Products Used: Giant NRS3, Trek Y3, Specialized stumpjumper.
Bike Setup: Manitou Black Super, Hayes disc, Truvativ crank - nothing special.
from medford or
Date Reviewed: September 3, 2003
Strengths: Solid feeling bike. Does not feel flexy to me. Inexpensive.
Weaknesses: none with frame. I havent found any yet. 6" could be 7"
I ride in the Ashland watershed of southern Oregon. We have trails that vary from smooth fast hard pack with jumps to loose, steep,rocky and fast as hell. Tha main freeride trail is loaded with gaps up to 20', log rides, log drops, and just plain old drops and decents that will make most poop. You can start at the top of Mt Ashland(7.000ft.) and end up in downtown Ashland(1,700ft.) in about 17 miles. At the end of the ride the quarry will keep you smiling with drops from 4' to 10' and huge doubles.Anyways I have taken my frm125 through just about everything mentioned above. And thats not including Mt. Shasta in Ca. or Willamette pass in Or. and on and on without a burp or fart from my frame.
Similar Products Used: Stinky, bullit, rm7, banshee
Bike Setup: 03 Marzocchi super T, 8" Hayes hydros, race face north shore cranks, xt'ed out, hellbent bars, oury grip, arrow racing wheelset(homegrown in oregon), race face XY seatpost, maxxis,nokian or michelin tires depending on situation.
from Mapleton, Queensland, Australia
Date Reviewed: August 12, 2003
Strengths: frame except for rear deralliur hanger
Weaknesses: all thing that came stock except the seat post,the stem, levers, rear hub and that festy rear deralliur hanger that always has a fest.
had some serious truble with this bike however when its working i still love it. need a new rear sign arm as other one broke and i alway am having trouble with the rear deralliur hanger, festy thing it is. cant wait for internal hub gears. but as time has gone on i needed to upgrade the equipment for more abuse and now is lovely to ride especially with boxxers. i ride every week on a north shore/dh place and has had no problems lately and hope it will stay that way. other wise ill save for a dare or that keewee dh rig
Bike Setup: Tektro discs, all Deore setup inc. Hollowtech cranks, RST Delta XL forks, Fox Vanilla RC, and i'm going to get some Maxxis High Roller Tyres.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: June 1, 2003
Strengths: the frame is v well made, installs confidence and feels great to ride. its up 2 u how u kit the bike out- xc/ freeride / downhill.. your choice.. no1 paintjob
Weaknesses: no brake cable runners, u need to use zip ties or summat. no other weaknesses!
wicked bike !! , its taken me some time to adjust the vanilla xc rear shock, but now she rocks well pleased and the envy of many other bikers.. great upright riding position with total control. rides like a dream!