La Bruja has a plush 6" of active rear wheel travel, sealed cartridge bearings, replaceable/adjustable dropouts, oversized ovalized top tube, down tube, seat stay and chainstay tubing, wrap around head tube gussetting and our legendary machine work that makes all others cower in her presence.
I would like to respond to Bob's comments preceding my own. Firstly, I aggree that when utilizing a Z1 (with standard quick release axel), my Bruja had some ostensibly steep angles, though I did'nt measure them. I can attest to the fact that since I have installed a 02' Monster T, that the angles have become more appropriate for a "free ride" bike or downhiller. While the bike was never overly twitchy or uncontrollable, I much prefer the new handling characteristics. the wheel-base is much longer and the head-angle is much slacker; consequently, the bike now handles steep downhills confidently. I now use the bike exclusively for downhill: this is a credit to the frames capability. The Bruja is not a long travel hucking machine, but the stiffness (with double bearings and the new rocker link) and low leverage ratio make it ideal for freeriding and some downhill. Here in Virginia, at Wintergreen, the trails are very steep and technical. The rider's ability and effective frame design count for more than sheer travel or lightweaght racing technology. I love my Bruja, and it works for me. Granted, I dont run a single crown fork any more.
a Weekend Warrior
from Kirkland, WA
Date Reviewed: December 11, 2002
Strengths: This is a follow-up to my previous review. Of my three bikes, this one is the most beautiful. Great welds, stunning looks.
Weaknesses: After riding this for over a year now, I've come up with a few issues. First, on their website, Ventana claims a 69 degree head angle, but that is based on a REALLY long axle to crown measurement. When I had an old Super T on the front, the bike felt great. When I dropped the 5 inch Fox on the front, it was a different story. If I rode in steep stuff, the bike seemed really twitchy. At first I couldn't figure it out, but when I measured it, the bike was really steep. I just ditched the Fox and put on a 6 inch Sherman Slider and that mellowed out the head angle a bit. It's still a little steep for the really scary stuff, but it's better than it was. The second issue revolves around the rear shock. I decided to put on a Romic and while the Romic performs great, there is almost zero clearance for the spring. It fits, but barely. I guess the bike wasn't designed around the Romic, but Ventana needs to provide room for other options.
The bottom line is that I want to love this bike, but there are quirks. When I talked to Sherwood at Ventana, he was a little indifferent about the whole thing. He claims he rides his LaBruja with a 4 inch fork. Based on my measurements that would give the thing a 72 degree head angle. That is pretty damn steep for a freeride bike. Even with the 6 inch Sherman, the head angle is around 70 degrees. I believe the website says a 69 degree head angle with a fork with a 530mm axle to crown length. My Sherman is about a 510mm axle to crown. You do the math. You would need a Boxxer to hit their claimed angles. For people who don't ride the steep stuff, don't worry about it, but otherwise, you've been warned.
from Davis, Ca, USA
Date Reviewed: August 24, 2002
Strengths: Handles great. No flex at all in the front or rear. Stable at all speeds.
Weaknesses: I no longer need my hardtail.
Oh man...ever since I saw this frame the first time at DemoDay in Vegas in 2000, I just knew I had to get one under my butt for for serious riding. I have not been disappointed. It is far superior than the Enduro I rode previously. Teh back end is so stiff side to side. There is no flex and load like the Spec. The shock action feels quite good for using a Fox shock on the back. I use the bike for long xc rides and just an all around bike. Built up lightweight, as I have a dh bike for serious dh runs. I wanted a bike I could ride for four-five hours in the Sierra and not fall apart or have to worry about the frame snapping. Construction is top notch. Sexy welds!
a Weekend Warrior
from Fall City, WA
Date Reviewed: March 13, 2002
Strengths: Beautifully made, very unique look, plush, will fit 8 inch rotor, double bearing option, adjustable wheelbase
Weaknesses: cable routing for front derailleur
Really nice bike. The craftmanship is unbelievable. The ride is very plush without the feeling of bogging down. It certainly isn't a cross country racer, but it can be set up for serious trail use or light duty downhill. About the only complaint I have is that it is difficult to route the front derailleur cable without the walking link crushing the cable at full travel. I've had to zip tie the cable to the seat tube in exactly the right position to correct the situation. In the perfect world, Ventana would move the lower cable stop up the seat tube. I've had the bike set up with a dual crown fork and single crown and it works equally well in either situation. In single crown format, the weight is 32 pounds, pretty nice for a 6 inch travel bike. The bottom line is that it is expensive, but you pay for quality. My Bullit was nice, but this is worlds better. Is it worth twice as much...that's something only you can decide.