Strengths: Light, quick and zippee! A good fun bike to ride which always catches me out because it always wants to go faster than I do!
Weaknesses: Decals appear rather dated. The bike "art" is terrible. This is no head-turner!
just what I want! A great and fun bike to ride with very good, top of the range components. At the same time, looks so ugly that no-one will steal it when I leave it outside the pub!
The ride is so good, I can live with the looks!
Strengths: Stiff frame, strong climbing prowess, mostly good component mix, haven't broken a weld yet, love Manitou forks, Flak jackets were a nice touch
Weaknesses: Subjective, but the frame is definately too long for me. A little heavy for a "top of the line" racing hardtail.
Wheels are a joke... straight laced front wheel (100% style, 0% function), Sun rims are nearly impossible to take a tire off of without the Jaws of Life during a race... That was quite literally the first thing I replaced. Broke the cheesy stem it came with as well...
Good bike for the upcoming cross country racer. The new version by Tomac look promising... Thomson components are a welcome touch... but the geometry sucks for me, so I won't buy another.
Bike Setup: Stock, 'cept for Bongtrager shorty bar ends, XTR/Mavic 517 wheels, XTR Chain, Easton Stem
from Providence RI/ Amherst MA
Date Reviewed: March 31, 2004
Strengths: (Note: The price I paid was much lower than reatil because I was given a discount) This is a great bike. The frame has several unique points which really make it interesting. It has square seat and chain stays with a CNC'd chainstay and seatstay yoke. The dropouts are also CNC'd. While I don't use disc brakes, the frame has a very beefy mount if you do. This is not an 'ultralite' frame, but if you ask me weight really doesn't mean a bike will ride well or fast even- it is about the design and quality that matter. Aluminum makes for a stiff frame, and my first impression of the large square stays and yokes was that it would be a very harsh ride. Surprisingly, the bike sprints and climbs well, but actually absorbs a lot of the harshness. I have always ridden hardtails and always needed a seatpost shock because my ass would kill, but I find that this frame with a carbon seatpost such as Easton or LP (carbon is good because it flexes and absorbs a lot but is very light) is even a little more comfortable than the previous hardtails I rode with a seatpost shock. I like the geometry of this bike a lot because it rides fast and aggressively, but still feels confident through the technical and rough stuff. The confident handling is mostly due to the slightly more relaxed head tube angle (70deg. for my size while many other builders have 71deg and upwards for their XCs, including Rocky Mountain which is well known for confident handling bikes). But to make the bike feel more racy and fast they use short 42.2cm (my size) chainstays. It is surprising that other manufacturers don't use this formula more commonly. Bikes which are too racy feel twitchy, and bikes which are too laid back feel slow-- the Tomac is a good compromise. I like the ISIS/Race face crank and bottom bracket system. It is noticably stiffer than the LX and XT stuff I have ridden before. I have always been a big fan of manitou forks because they are usually stiff, designed to be easily serviced, and have great tunability. I find the Mars Elite is predictable and has reasonably good sensitivity. I also love Avid brake systems. Avid makes great levers because they are designed so that whether you use one or two fingers it is easy to be braking at the optimal part of the lever. They also are very adjustable. The XT shifters on this bike are great- they are very responsive. However, I think that the little gear levers are unnescessary and it is just a matter of time until they get busted in a crash with some over-friendly tree.
Weaknesses: I have had this bike for two years now so at this point I am starting to get the full picture of the bike. I still love it so don't worry, but---- One strange thing about the bike is that it came spec'd with an XTR short cage rear derailler, but when it was assembled in the shop the mechanic found that the derailler didn't allow for a broad selection of gears at a time and it seemed surprising that they would spec that derailler. So I swapped for an XTR long cage which allows a great access to more gears at a time. Then, some rides down the road (or trail rather) I started bending cassette rings which causes a horrible and basically unrideable skipping. This had never happened to me in the past. In the past I have always ridden 8speed cassettes and this is my first 9speed. I think that 9speeds are more about marketing than actual neccessity. But I wonder if it is bending due to being a 9speed because 9speeders have to have much narrower cassettes. ?. Another issue has happened on this bike which could be related. I have snapped the replaceable derailler hanger twice and both times on occasions where I thought it shouldn't have broken. When I examined the hanger I noticed it was extremely brittle, which replaceable hangers are supposed to be, but the hangers for this frame are way too fragile. I also noticed that the hanger didn't actually align perfectly with the dropout. I tried a different raplaceable hanger with the frame again (I had ordered several because no matter how good or bad they are they break in crashes or rock gardens etc) this one didn't align well either. Altough I have never checked the stay allignment with any tools I am pretty certain that the dropout is not alligned well. This miss-allignment could be causing the extra stress on the hanger and cassette, but it also shows a lack of precision in Tomac's fabrication which is important. I have also found that the paint job isn't very high quality and likes to chip easily. The other complaint I had was in the wheel spec. The wheels that are stock are Sun 0degree XC's with XT hubs. The rims and hubs are nice but they straight laced the front wheel. Straight laced wheels (except for small exceptions of low spoke road bike wheels) are complete BS. They are mainly to look fashionable, new and flashy but their actual benefits and function are none. Straight laced wheels are supposed to be lighter, and weight lost in wheels is important because it is rotational- but straight lacers are barely any lighter than cross laced patterned wheels. Tomac could have used a lighter set of spokes and cross laced the wheels and they would be better and possibly lighter. Straight laced wheels are laterally weaker and put the hub flanges under a lot of stress. There is no hub manufacturer that recomends or guarantees straight laced wheels. But to look flashy Tomac took trend over fashion and went straight laced anyway. They even put an extra "Tomac" sticker on the wheels to give an edge of 'customness.' (((These comments below are more preference than complaints---I like the fork and think it works pretty well for me, but it isn't a very stiff or confident fork, especially if you enjoy more technical riding. In fact this frame would be excellent for riders who really like bikes which handle well technically, but it would still be zippy feeling. I would recommend getting rid of the stock stem and getting a stiffer one. I use a Thomson stem which is relatively light and ultra stiff (it is also a 4bolt) which greatly improves the handling. I am also a big fan of riser bars, so I got rid of the XC bar which was stock.)))
I am glad I bought this bike. I think the design concept is good (while the rear triangle handles well, I think it's design was choosen more to be different and flashy). I think that the geometry is great- it feels fast and racy but is still a good technical rider. This is not a frame that is made to compete with the ultra light XC hardtail frames out there, but I think the importance of frame weight for a hardtail is not at all important and it is about 'ride tuning.' However, I think that part of the reason that Tomac decided to use the square stays and CNC'd yokes was to make it look flashy/different/higher tech and more expensive than it actually is. They used to make this frame out of high quality scandium tubing. Now it is AN-6 (6031 I think) and I'm not sure what the quality of the tubes and the butting, but I really don't think that the tubeset used, and even the CNCing and craftmanship of the frame are truly worth the price. The lack of quality and evidence of cut corners is the poor stay/ hanger and dropout alignment on my frame. --- but blah, blah, once again I'll say that I am glad that I have this bike and really enjoy riding it. I would recomend this frame for people who appreciate a hardtail which is durable, feels fast and confident at the same time, for people who want a bike with aftermarket appeal, and for people who can't afford titanium and want an aluminum bike with good ride tuning (I have never been able to get to ride a steel MTN bike, but it supposedly has a great ride tune feeling and is cheap!). The geometry is great and I would say that it is the best riding and feeling aluminum frame hardtail that I have ever ridden. Just test ride one to see what you think! And by the way, full suspension gets better every year, but the simplicity, lightness, responsiveness of hardtails are really great. If you are an XC racer I think that hardtails are still the best bet. If you doubt them because you think they are too harsh then you probably haven't ridden titanium or steel. Even though steel is a heavier material, and some may say pish posh it is heavier than other hardtail materials- think bout how many people are willing to ride XC full suspension frames which are upwards of 5 pounds usually when many of those people may not actually need full susp. and just need the extra absorption of steel or titanium to make them happy. Remember when you are looking to buy a new bike that, while it sounds funny, the bike industry is very much driven by trends- just think outside of the manufacturers marketing strategies and at what you think you really want and really need. ------Good luck out there, and remember- even a bad ride is a good ride, and don't eat the fast food BEFORE the ride or you'll learn the hard way. Love
Similar Products Used: Iron Horse ARS 700, Diamondback Zetec 2.1, Litespeed Pisgah, Tested: Litespeed Lookout MTN, GT i-drive, K2 Stinger immitation, Jamis Exile, Seven, Rocky Mountain Pipeline, Santa Cruz VPP, Santa Cruz Superlight
Bike Setup: Stock except for: Easton carbon seatpost, SDG Slim Jim saddle, Thomson 4 bolt stem, Club Roost XC riser bars, Maxic 517 rims w/ double butted/ cross laced spokes and XT hubs, IRC Mythos XC tires (the stock Mythos slicks are great for slick tires, I just usually use knobbies)
from Goshen IN
Date Reviewed: March 3, 2002
Strengths: every thing. a vary good bike I like the frame geometry a lot and think that tomac has done a vary good job on this bike. I would recmend it to any one who wants a good racing bike. and value's a stiff light hard tail I also like the ISIS bb\crank and the fork is a good pick.
Weaknesses: the tomac stem,bar,seat post and seat. I would think at that price it should have name brand part's. also this is a stiff fast race hard tail if you don't like that stuff then don't get this bike.
a grat bike. and with a few up grads could be the best bike ever!!
Similar Products Used: nishiki Cascad, marin team marin, giant NRS, bontrager, trek, c-dale, GT.... "I work at a bike shop so I ride lots of bikes"
Bike Setup: XT front der XT cassette XTR rear der MARS elite fork race face Next LP ISIS crank SRAM rocket shorty shifter's selle itila flite seat ritchey WCS stem tomac bar and seat post hugi hub's on mavic 517 rims with DT revo spokes avid arch rivel brakes avid SD7 levers.