29" concept in general. Fun to drive. Great winter/mud bike. Great "all-purpose" bike.
Almost ready for rear disc brakes — $100 Rohloff "upgrade" option
Plenty of chainstay clearance for 2.1 (or larger) tires
Very nice Orange finish — if you like orange, that is...
Weaknesses: Couple of 'em:
* Bike weighs about 30 pounds stock * CX-1 fork crown hits downtube cable guides when turned 90° ("taller" lower headset cup won't help much) * Bike requires 27.2mm post; shipped with 27.0mm post * Stock Ritchey SS-specific cranks put chainring in "middle" position, requiring long 118mm BB and looking kinda ugly * Rear wheel dished off center to left a few millimeters * Rear dropouts deform slightly when fastened into position, making subsequent adjustments difficult (light filing required) * Rear V brake — the frame is disc ready, the hub is 75% disc ready in terms of extra cost involved (the relatively expensive External Shifter Box, required for discs, is included, but the relatively inexpensive disc "hub cap" is not) * Included 44T chainring makes for tough climbing * Van Dessel "Extra Extra" rims a fraction undersized, making tire fit loose * Included Ritchey 40c Alfa Bite tires are not truely 29" tires * CX-1 air valves defective * Rear disc tab required inward shimming of Avid caliper
Let me begin by saying that Edwin at Van Dessel is one hell of a great guy. I screwed the pooch and ordered the 21" frame, only to find it was simply too tall for me. He graciously allowed me to swap frames directly at no cost other than shipping.
I listed a lot of negatives, but they were minor to me and this bike more than makes up for for it because it's such a blast to ride. Without derailleurs, cassettes & pivots, plus the benefit of 29" rubber, I'm enjoying winter riding like I never though possible.
Compared to my NRS/Speedhub setup with chain tensioner, this tensioner-less setup is quieter and smoother. The 40T chainring paired with the stock 16T Rohloff cog gives me gearing equivalent of a 12-32 8 speed setup on compact rings. The 29" wheels make that gearing a little taller than it would be on a 26" bike.
I'm not a 29" convert in the truest sense, since I'm still hanging on to my 26" bike for now. But the mild-mannered tread of the Nano's work better than they should in the mud, hook up great on climbs, and rail nicely through the corners on the way back down the hill.
The bike's geometry is unconventionally upright compared to what I'm used to. But Thomas, the guy at Rohloff, told me to give it a shot before fiddling with things too much. He was right. Even though I'm sitting up and back from normal, the front tire is better weighted than my previous two bikes, the rear wheel maintains traction on the steepest of climbs, and all around it's pretty comfy.
There are very few places for the mud to hide in this drivetrain. A soft brush, some water, and 2 minutes are all that's needed after a muddy ride to get the bulk of the mud and crud off the bike.
The chainline is always perfect. The SS/DH chainring has beefy, non-profiled teeth and experiences no side loads or shifting loads like on a derailleur bike. Same goes for the cog. Both the chainring and cog are reversible for double the life, a life which is already prolonged due to lack of shifting wear and tear. Annual hub maintenance involves draining the oil, riding a few miles with a rinse solution, then squeezing 25mL of fresh oil in. Beautiful.
Here are some extra bullets:
* The guys at Eko Sport got me new valves for the CX-1 fork after just a quick email. The valve stems were too short and wern't being pressed in by the shock pump, preventing me from presurizing them.
* The wheel dish was solved by a quick truing and tensioning session, which many wheels need anyway after the first couple of rides.
* The rims size was exacerbated by my WTB tires, which appear to be slighty oversized. Just takes a little attention to get them to seat properly.
* 29" tubes are expensive and hard to find — $10 a pop from what I've seen on line. I'm having good luck with 26x2.2" Performance tubes and certain brands of 29x44c tubes.
* The rear fender, already a little short to be considered full coverage on a 26" bike, came up even shorter over the 29" tires. A taped-on extension solved that problem.
* The dropout slots only required a very, very light filing to get them to slide (after the initial tightening). Not a big deal since this is typically a one time adjustment unless a different sized chainring or cog is installed.
* The frame is set up for full length cable runs. Eyelets run down the downtube and chainstay for shifter cable routing. Zip-tieable saddles run along the top tube and seat stay for the rear disc or V.
* Don't be put off by the weight if you've got cash handy. Avid discs, heavy wheels and tires, plus the Ritchey cranks and other average components all add up. There's potential for weight reduction.
5 value chilis for the incredible deal I got on this bike. I'd give it more if I could.
4 overall chilis - a couple of minor "attention to detail" matters, easily forgotten once this bike hits the trail.
Bike Setup: 90mm x 6° stem, Thudbuster, Sugino 5-bolt on 68x113 UN72 BB, 40T Blackspire DH ring, Avid discs all around; SKS front and Mud Machine rear fenders, 2.1" steel WTB Nano Raptors
from Castle Rock
Date Reviewed: September 27, 2002
Strengths: Solid, stable, well built.
Weaknesses: It's Orange!. But i am a Bronco fan, so the blue highlites are cool.
This bike will not replace my race bike which is a custom Matt Chester geared "Dogbox" 29er, but it is a perfect fireroad screamer. It is fun, stable at high speed, a good climber and wicked descender. The tires I use are Tufo cross, orange to match the frame and about 32c. With the disc brakes and Rohloff Speedhub, the bike is bombproof. It is nice that the bike is really built for the Speedhub in the drops and cable routing. I would imagine with all the people wanting a specific 29er frame WITH the Rohloff Speedhub, Van Dessel has, I'm sure, sold millions of these frames. I am glad they make one. Tech support is amazing. If you are Rohloff fan and already have a good race bike, this IS the frame for you.
Similar Products Used: I am a fan of the 29 inch wheel and have raced the Rohloff hub for a long time.
Bike Setup: WB 29er fork, custom built wheels with Avid disc F and R, Phil Wood front hub, Tufo cross tires, Ritchey Logic cranks, Thomson post and stem
from morristown, nj
Date Reviewed: March 29, 2002
Strengths: Hard pack, big bumps, climbs great despite extra weight, fast singletrack,no maintainence/mechanical problems, unbreakable, great on pavement.
Weaknesses: very tight technical sections (29" tires).
The bike rocks!!! 29" is the real deal!!! It is very different from anything out there. The big wheel feel and internal gearing felt funny for the first five minutes, but instantly you feel the speed and stability. This bike screams on hard pack and pavement, and takes anything you throw at it in the form of hard hits and big bumbs. At 28lbs for a hardtail I though weight might be a concern but I can get up steep technical climbs better on this bike than anything else I've ever ridden. The 29" wheels & low bottom bracket make it very stable and confident on screaming descents. In two years (and MANY hard abusive miles) the only maintance I've had to do is to replace breakpads and minor wheel trueing. The Rohloff hub is incredible!!! You get the same gear range as a triple chainring setup on one shifter - without ANY HASSLES or need to adjust the shifting. The bike came set up with fairly tall gearing - leaving out the bail out granny gear in favor for some big road type hammer gears. Without the bail out gear I can still ride up stuff I've never gotten up before and wouldn't think of giving up my secret weapon "leave 'em in the dust hammer gears". With a garage full of nice bikes this is the most fun and versitile. Every ride has me smiling and thinking "damn this bike rides well". It's been doubling as my bad winter weather road bike and my go nuts off road bike - and performs equally well as both. I wouldn't give my Buzz Bomb up for anything!!!
Hey everyone – I’m sharing this anal-retentive exercise with everybody partially under the guise of soliciting feedback,
but mainly just to kill time and post some pictures and number crunching I’ve been doing before ordering a bunch of
parts for an Xtracycle conversion I’m ... Read More »
This Medium Van Dessel BuzzBomb 29 (29er/niner) is for sale on ebay.
Virtually all the components are new: new Rock Shox Reba with PopLock and Fox FloatR. Check out the complete list below. The frame is Reinforced Competition 7005 triple butted aluminum with Horst Link.
Frame: Van Dessel ... Read More »
Anyone have a good guestimate of the frame weight of the Van Dessel 29er Buzz Bomb frame (XL). (I sent the company and email as well). I've read a few post that says it's kind of heavy - but no actual weights. I also sent an email to Lens about what the current spec and pricing is on their Levith ... Read More »
I'm trying to get more info on less expensive, full suspension 29ers on the market. I've ridden a 292 and liked that relatively well, but any comparison I've read here on the Monk vs the 292 seems to lean toward the Astrix, saying it's more plush and such (a good thing for my aging back and part of ... Read More »
After riding two Single speed 29ers for the past 6-7 months I decided I needed to have a geared bike again. I started collecting parts to build it. I wasn't sure what frame I was going to get. Well, that was until a used XL Buzz Bomb full suspension frame came up for sale on this very board. I f ... Read More »