Christini AWD 2003 Full Suspension

4.78/5 (23 Reviews)
MSRP : $3100.00


Product Description

The CHRISTINI AWD consists of a patented lightweight, internalized, shaft-driven system that allows the rider to engage both wheels for additional power when there is "wheel slip". With the simple flip of a handlebar-mounted switch, the AWD system provides increased control, traction and stability on slippery or loose surfaces and unmatched power to climb steep hills. Simply stated, when the rear wheel slips — the front wheel grips.


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Reviews 1 - 15 (23 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Andy Hartman a Cross Country Rider from York, Pa

Date Reviewed: February 6, 2005

Strengths:    Everything, the components, the Christini staff, the handling, most of all, THE TRACTION!

Weaknesses:    Nothing major, a couple of minor things needed some tweaking. The Christini staff is very helpful.

Bottom Line:   
I bought this bike for one reason. Traction, it finds it. I've always enjoyed riding year round in all conditions. When my 99 Silverado loses traction, I shift the transfer case into four wheel drive, which allows me to go where a two wheel drive truck can't. Thats what the Christini does. When I lose traction, I shift the front wheel drive engagement mechanism, and suddenly it feels like there is an imaginery chain pulling me through ice and snow on the trail. No other bike can do that, period. If you think all-wheel drive is a waste and you don't need it, test ride the bike. You might find that spinning your rear wheel up a climb wastes more energy than the awd driveline will ever need. Don't buy this bike if you only ride on the rail trail, you won't reap the benefits. However, consider purchasing if you ride off-road, uphill or downhill, the front wheel recieving power from the same legs that turn the back wheel might surprise you. This bike sticks to a trail like velcro. I am 6'3" and I weigh 215 pounds. I don't notice the extra weight of the awd system, chances are you won't either unless you talk yourself into it. I really enjoy this rig. The Christini staff is also phenominal, they are the easiest and nicest people to deal with! That alone makes this purchase worth it. If you like high-end mountain bikes take a look at the Christini before you make your next buy.

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Favorite Trail:   any

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $2700.00

Purchased At:   The Bicycle Shop

Similar Products Used:   none like it.

Bike Setup:   Long travel, Avid mechanical disks, Manitou Swinger SPV, LX/XT drivetrain, Continental Gravity tires.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jason from Syracuse, NY

Date Reviewed: January 28, 2005

Strengths:    AWD when you need it, and full suspension plushness.

Weaknesses:    doesn't pedal for you.

Bottom Line:   
I won the New York State NORBA championship race on this bike. So far as I know there is nothing about having a mechanical advantage in the NORBA rulebook. If anyone knows how higland forest is after it rains months on end, knows why I needed my Christini. I ran an alligator on the rear and a nokian extreme 296 studded on the front. No lack of traction for me! On the first climb, people were having trouble walking up. You can imagine the looks and questions when they see me standing up, and my bike just pulling up the hill. I came in second overall to a single speed, but I was twenty minutes ahead of second place in my class Expert men 19-29. The race promoter saw me before the race, and made a comment on how I was lucky I brought my fenders. I told him that the All wheel drive is the real bonus. He did a histerical double take. It sure did prove its worth. Customer service is amazing, and I have my bikes driveshafts updated to the u-joint drive shafts with aluminium gears. Extremely pleased, and everyone is envious.

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Favorite Trail:   one with dirt

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $3950.00

Purchased At:   Christini Technologies

Similar Products Used:   Nothing like it.

Bike Setup:   SRAM x.o, Magura Marta SL, Monkeylight, Mavic tubeless, FSA carbon pro cranks, Crankbrothers mallets, Nokon cable sytem, Fox mechanical switch. The nokon sealed system is key for the AWD switch. Keeps it running smooth after you've been through **it.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by michael adcock a Cross Country Rider from cardiff

Date Reviewed: April 12, 2004

Strengths:    AWD, customer support from Christini, and White Brothers is second to none. Traction is there like in no other bike. Powdercoating is stong and durable. Technology that works, and it is easy to perform maintainance on. The smile on my face when I ride it is worth the price of admission. Being able to climb when other bikes would have to be carried is priceless.

Weaknesses:    The clutch has to be cleaned every time I go in the mud, but that is really nothing considering I have ridden in mud up to my ARRSS. The stickers, but again, they do engraving now, and other finishes as well.

Bottom Line:   
This a another follow up on my bike. This is the most fun I have ever had ridding a bike before. It goes where other bikes would have to be carried. These bikes are for a niche market, and the fact that it is a small company, well, I don't know if it will ever be a household name, but that didn't keep me from buying one. I switched out the tires for a set of raptors, and well, it climbs even better. I have ridden this bike almost every week since I got it, and it has held up very well. I am a big guy, and I ride hard, and the shocks are just so smooth and sweet. I wish I could ride in more, but my little 3 month old is taking more of my time now, but I still get out 3 times a week, and beat on it. I can't say enough about this bike. Ride one for yourself, and you will want one too. Happy ridding, Michael Adcock

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Favorite Trail:   los penasquitos canyon

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $2700.00

Purchased At:   steve christini

Similar Products Used:   None like it.....

Bike Setup:   Read my other reviews below.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jay Rothberg a Cross Country Rider from Bucks Co Pa

Date Reviewed: January 20, 2004

Strengths:    This is a follow-up to my '03 post below.
1) AWD
2) Good Geometry for my style and size.
3) Christini Organization (Great folks...nice to deal with a small local company, responsive to the customer)
4) Blue finish is rich and beautiful and takes falls and dumps very well.
5) White Bros. forks do work exceptionally well for my use.
6) Just an awesome sight in my garage and twice as nice on the trail.


Weaknesses:    Weight (29 lb) can cost you if you are trying to accomplish 3000 feet of climb in a 4 hour ride. However, this bike was not assembled for epic rides but for a specific niche: ice and snow conditions on difficult trails common in my area. (read on)

Bottom Line:   
This bike was setup as a niche bike: for use in extreme conditions. Name me a bike that can climb up ice flows covering roots and rocks on a 10-30% grade and more and for many hundreds of feet at that. Not even my ellsworth could do that. And not to mention that when my legs get tired I can stand up and stretch them while leaning forward on the front wheel, still climbing.

Granted, most of the use lately has been in snow over ice as temps have been in the 10-20's. Nonetheless, with the Nokian stud tires and the front wheel drive, the going has been a downright pleasure compared to the mild struggle my comrades have had. And to think, last year I was spinning on my trainer for hours a week, watching reruns of Star Trek. This year, the bike has gotten me outdoors, 4 to 5 hours a week despite the hideous weather, with no terrain limitations and no trepidation on my part. That was why I bought the bike, and it has lived up to expectations.

On a sunny day, in june with temps in the 70's and long rides, the bike can simply be fitted with the Kenya Kharma Tires and run as a normal FS rear wheel drive bike. But in the extreme winter, I am spinning; business as usual, outdoors, on the trails, over iced up logs and obstacles...no problem.

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Favorite Trail:   Blue Marsh, Pa

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $4000.00

Purchased At:   Evolution Pro, Buckingham, Pa

Similar Products Used:   There are no other AWD except maybe that JEEP bike. If their bike is anything like their automotive engineering, run away!

I do own an ellsworth truth, trek vrx (retired..I killed it)
and had various hardtails, but nothing like this bike.


Bike Setup:   Had a custom assembly done, frame up, by the Pro shop. That's why it cost more than a factory price. Don't be put off by that; a used demo or base component factory bikes are less expensive than this one and just as nice. However, it was my 40th birthday present to myself, so I splurged.
Starting with hand built wheels, tubed rims (anticipating studded ice tires) eventually receiving studded Nokian Hakka 300's.
Next was XTR '03 all the way 965. ultra light. Did Hydralic disc XTR, super responsive. XTR drive train.
Next was FSA carbon handlebars and seatpost, Terry Zero saddle and Carbon ATAC Time pedals. Resulting weight with Regular tires; 28 lb. Nokian studded Hakka 300's add one pound. Color scheme was set to match a theme of black and blue, because thats what I am after one of my wild, nutty rides. Call me crazy, but this is a favorite toy and its nice to look at while imbibing my Motrin.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Ray a Cross Country Rider from St. George, Utah

Date Reviewed: January 19, 2004

Strengths:    A great bike as a normal rear wheel drive; nice geometry, good lateral strength, just right suspension. Two wheel drive does just what it says, adds some front wheel pull when rear slips. Well engineered, very nice on/off device. Drive train to front does take more energy, but in circumstances where it is needed, the advantage more than off sets the drain. 2WD downhill in deep sand works better than rear alone because the front tire "tracks with rear" and is less prone to "carve out" and dump me.

Weaknesses:    None.

Bottom Line:   
Excellent bike- I anticipate it may become my favorite. Great, prompt service from Mr. Christini and his staff. On slick, broken shale climbing out of washes where I used to entertain hopping off, particularly if I lost the direct line, I can just stay on and "pull out" of the detour and back up the trail- really kind of fun.

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Favorite Trail:   Green Valley race courses, Stucki Springs, Church Rocks

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Purchased At:   Christini

Similar Products Used:   Nothing else 2WD, but Christini with 2.4 tires rides better in sand than my hard tail with Nokian 3.0 tires.

Bike Setup:   Stock from Christini, but new XTR 180 cm cranks.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Patrick from Philadelphia, PA

Date Reviewed: August 19, 2003

Strengths:    Great technology for climbing. Cleans trails that my hardtail won't touch.

Bottom Line:   
Great bike for climbing. Front tire helps pull over obstacles when rear gets loose. Was able to stay in the saddle by shifting weight forward when climbing. Good geometry for descending fast technical track. AWD system would be great on a longer travel set-up. Adjusting riding stance for AWD system was easy after a couple of rides. Overall great bike…

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Duration Product Used:   3 months

Bike Setup:   Fox shock, White Bros fork

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Brian Rose a Cross Country Rider from Arlington, MA, USA

Date Reviewed: June 28, 2003

Strengths:    AWD is impressive. It's a whole different ball of wax. In sloppy mud, it keeps going even when your rear wheel is fishtailing. Steep, loose uphills, I tried going as slow as possible, with my weight almost all the way forward and it climbed - can't do that with any other bike. It's also great in baby heads, both uphill and mild downhill. And hats off to Steve Christini for engineering it to the point where you can drag it through mud and it still works and while keeping the extra weight in the couple pounds range. I also rode it on some technical downhill, and it was quite plush so it let scream downhill (but then again I usually ride a hardtail...)

Weaknesses:    The extra weight, the geometry, the price. I'm used to a light bike, so the extra weight was a bit of an issue, probably mostly psychosomatic. However, geometry was a big issue. Steve told me they designed this bike for middle of the road in terms of fast/plushness (XC vs. downhill). I would have preferred a more XC type of set up, with tight-hanlding geometry. My buddy Tinky wanted more plush. At $3K for the bike, you want something that handles superbly, not just mediocre - five of us demo'd the bike and we all agreed that geometry was not dialed in - seems Steve may have to design a few different flavor of frames.

Bottom Line:   
A really neat toy to demo. I see AWD going the route that front suspension & full suspension did - it'll become standard equipment, once people get used to extra weight and $$. It'll get mixed reviews and then it's going to really take off at some point. I wouldn't be able to justify purchasing one, just yet, but if and when they design better geometry that fits the price and shave a bit off of weight I'd like to get one.

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Favorite Trail:   Flag-Bear... loop in Crested Butte

Duration Product Used:   Tested or demo'ed only

Price Paid:    $3100.00

Purchased At:   Jim Thorpe, PA 2003

Bike Setup:   White fork, Fox rear? XT parts & Grip shift

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Tinky a Weekend Warrior from Boston, Ma, USA

Date Reviewed: June 23, 2003

Strengths:    Great looks. AWD. Well thought out design. Very enthusiastic about thier product.

Weaknesses:    Hard to get used to. Some of the parts werent that great but that has nothing to do with the F+F. AWD uses more energy. Was a bit stiff for my liking but im told there is a long travel version in the works.

Bottom Line:   
The Christini was fun to ride. I had it out for a couple of hours. Only after getting back on my bike did I realize how much the AWD helped. I ride a Turner so the XC suspention was a bit stiff for my liking. The bike was tight and responsive though. You need to stand up to fully benefit from the AWD. The Christini guys are really into thier stuff which is nice to see. I would like to try the "long travel" version once its ready. I wouldnt mind having one as a second bike. As for the weight, my Turner weighs around 33#'s so the Christini was lighter. Weight shouldnt matter if youre comfortable on the bike.

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Favorite Trail:   Most in Lynn Woods

Duration Product Used:   Tested or demo'ed only

Purchased At:   Demo'd @ Jim Thorpe PA

Similar Products Used:   I ride a Turner XCE although its not at all similiar to the Christini.

Bike Setup:   Retail spec'd

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Dale a Weekend Warrior from Ontario, Canada

Date Reviewed: June 12, 2003

Strengths:    First off, this bike looks amazing! The red color is bright and rich, much better looking than the pictures on the website. (Great informative website too BTW) The build quality is excellent, and all the driveline components are very well laid out.
This bike has unbeliveable traction, great geometry, good quality components, excellent trail handling, comfortable for downhills, uphills, roots, rocks, mud, you name it!


Weaknesses:    The Kenda tires that came on the bike aren't very aggressive for rough trail riding, other than that, no weaknesses to speak of yet.

Bottom Line:   
The most impressive attribute of this bike is how easy it is to ride over slippery roots, rocks, mud and sand. You can climb up a rough section just by rising out of the saddle and hammering away, no worries about the rear tire slipping, and stalling. When you steer in loose sand or mud, the front tire pulls you where you want to go instead of washing out and wiping out.
The suspension works great, the White Bros. fork is awesome! The geometry is comfortable, the Avid brakes work great, this bike is fun to ride!! As far as the weight goes, it's pretty good at 29.5 lbs. I find it a little heavy for road riding, but that's not what I bought it for. Once you're in the trails, and pedalling through junk you could only dream about on a normal bike, you won't care about extra 3-4 pounds.
Not only do you get a great bike for $3100, but you get unbelieveable service. From supplying initial sales information, to recitifying a couple minor problems I had, Steve Christini has been great to deal with. This company has obviously made a serious commitment to keeping their customers happy. A full compliment of component manuals come with the bike, as well as a Chritini service manual that covers all the information for servicing the drive system. I have not had any problems with the drive system so far, and no signs of wear on the spiral bevel gears at all.
Thanks Steve, this bike is AWESOME!!

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Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $3100.00

Purchased At:   Christini Technologies

Similar Products Used:   Similar to what? Where else are you going to find a 4" travel full suspension bike with AWD??

Bike Setup:   Stock Venture series 1, with Titec DH 1.5" bars.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by TEThot a Cross Country Rider from Exeter NH

Date Reviewed: May 26, 2003

Strengths:    Imagine a bike that you could ride in ANY weather condition, snowy winter day, mud season, cold rainy fall days and never slip the rear or front tire out from under yourself. This is the bike.
The bike was a loner while my cannondale jekyll was out for repair. I had the bike for about 5 days and most of that time it was cold and raining here in NH-great time to demo this bike-. Most of the trails here are rocky and rooty with very short up and down hills. Typically in these trail conditions I will slip the rear tire of the cannondale over roots and slide of rocks, but the Christini just would not slip! I was able to slip both tires once up a wet cold boulder on an uphill. However, that boulder would have been a crack dream on the cannondale. Mud also makes this bike shin, I ride in a trail system that has several mud bogs with in the trails. 8’’ of mud would not stop the beast! A warning though the bike that was loaned to me was geared very low. 22 * 34 this was just too plain low for any technical uphill riding even with AWD engaged. This gearing in AWD for Mud is OK but I really would prefer not to ride trough 8’’ mud at any time. The AWD also shins in trail blazing, but I profess trail blazing is ok in a non-developed trail systems be I ride in a well-developed trail system so blazing is pointless and damaging. Over all the bike was like a big soft beach cruiser with amazing traction. Design and build quality is near perfect. My closest comparison would quality on par with an I.F. deluxe.


Weaknesses:    Weight, proprietary parts, complexity. For a 4’’ travel bike at $2700 the bike is heavy. 30 or so pounds is heavy for 4’’ travel cross-country bike. Christini give the bike 5’’ of travel and the competition will be in the same weight range, the bike will rule the bike shop floor at 5’’ travel. Show me another bike a 30 pounds 5’’ travel for $2700. Another downside is weight transfer to the front tire. On most bikes uphill your weight is over the rear tire not the front. You will need to “relearn” climbing hills, do not sit in the saddle and spin.

Bottom Line:   
Great bike. At $2700 it needs to be lighter, or have more travel. It is not a trail bike it is a trail-blazing bike. Christini's AWD bike will change the $3000 + upper level mountain trail bike market, this time for the better. This AWD design is not a gimmick like 1.5 or 29'. Cannondale, Specialized, Giant, trek and others it is time to play catch up. Christini is here. Racers do not buy it is too heavy. Trail riders demo the bike and see the future

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Favorite Trail:   Fort Rock

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Purchased At:   Papa Wheelies

Similar Products Used:   2001 Jekyll 1000

Bike Setup:   standard issue..

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Scott Fraser a Cross Country Rider from Marin, CA

Date Reviewed: May 16, 2003

Strengths:    Comfortable cross-country and single-track geometry with great response. Great suspension for most applications (except 20' drops), insane traction through corners (ever driven and Audi Quattro on a fire road or in snow?) and slippery surfaces. The bike drifts with perfect controll through corners as if you were twisting the throttle on a YZ 250. The front wheel is (of course) in synch with the rear, so all the feedback/input is felt through the handlebars and pedals. You can push this bike through corners, full drift, while clipped - Kenny Robert would be jealous. It will pull you over logs, rocks, loose gravel/rocky climbs, slower riders, pretty much anything you couldn't handle on your previous bike. You can ditch the granny ring, go middle and hammer up steep slippery climbs out of the saddle with amazing traction and speed. The extra weight is more than compensated for on steep climbs, downhill, and single tracks. Add them up and the extra weight still blows doors on something in the same category that is lighter. There is no other bike i've ridden with so much "respect my authoritayyy" on single tracks, where it dominates.

Weaknesses:    They should call it a "Billy Goat" instead of the venture. If you don't feed it enough brush, it will not go up the 80% grade, otherwise you're ok. The bike prefers to make new lines (off trail) up hills which may "p-off" some of the more anal trail hikers.

Intially the White Bros fork was "hard" to dial in since I was used to a twisty nob up top. Once the fork was broken in (yes, you're reading correctly -it needs a good thrashing first) I read the instruciton manual and dialed-it properly - it remains the top of the food chain so far.


Bottom Line:   
The bike rips, tears, shreds and leaves other riders with "pedal-envy." This is a refreshing new ride for an industry that's pretty much peaked out as per new technology. If you ride/demo one, make sure the front fork is set-up properly, it made all the difference for me - the White Bros have really applied their moto-x experience well here, and it's one of the nicest fork I've ever ridden. Add that to a sticky bike, and you're ready to own some trails. I give it 5 bunghole-burning-chilis since the other riders will only see your Arse.

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Favorite Trail:   Too many to list

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $2700.00

Purchased At:   web

Similar Products Used:   all Fisher Sugars, Trek Fuel, Lightspeed hardtail w/Marzochi, Santa Cruz superlight, and a couple more. All with similar suspension and component set-ups for x-country.

Bike Setup:   White Bros AT4 fork Fox Float rear with lockout. Shimano LX/XT,FSA crank,Avid cable/discs, Mavic x 233 rims / Kenda tyres - base level model

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Steve a Cross Country Rider from Lansdale, PA 19446

Date Reviewed: May 9, 2003

Strengths:    Climbs like crazy, Smooth, quiet, amazing technology

Weaknesses:    Although it is reasonably light compared to some lower end bikes, it is heavier than higher end bikes. That said if you ride in really hilly areas or rocky areas it would be well worth the weight change.

Bottom Line:   
An amazing piece of equipment which does one thing beyond compare. It looses to the light weight desires of the XC crowd. However if you get past the additional weight issue the bike works great. Ride it before you buy it!

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Favorite Trail:   Valley Green, Philadelphia

Duration Product Used:   Tested or demo'ed only

Similar Products Used:   Nothing out there similar that I am aware of.

Bike Setup:   Fully assembled

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Vince King a Weekend Warrior from Salinas, Ca, US

Date Reviewed: May 4, 2003

Strengths:    If you do a little research, you'll notice that this bike has been the focus of Christini's college/post college career. He has put his every effort into this bike and it shows. Everything has been addressed from efficient suspension design, lightweight quality components, to rider comfort. A few items of special note are the fabulous White Brothers fork, comfortable geometry and of course the clean concealed All Wheel Drive system.

Weaknesses:    The only problems I can detect lie in inconsequential areas such as cosmetics. The paint on the bike is easily chipped and the Christini logo is also easily damaged. However, it may be important to note that I have one of the original demo bikes and from what I have seen on line and in magazines the paint job has been upgraded.

Bottom Line:   
The bottom line is that this bike is a lot of fun. As far as quality is concerned you definitely get what you paid for. When the AWD is disengaged you can enjoy a smooth, fast and efficient full suspension bike. Then if you should encounter steep terrain up/down, mud, snow, sand, gravel or large obstacles you can with a flip of a switch gain an incredible tool in the added traction of AWD. The engagement of the AWD is fluid and the effect is instantaneous. I have been able to climb steep hills I didn't have a chance of climbing before. I love to hear the words "you don't want to go there, the trails are too steep," or "I have never seen a Mt. biker climbing these trails before." AWD makes mud and snow a much less sketchy experience. The front wheel really acts to pull you and set you in your desired direction of travel not to mention the fact that the front wheel traction saves you from sliding out if your rear tire should slip. I took the bike to Tahoe and was able to ride in 12 inches of fresh powder. Another cool feature of the AWD is its ability to overcome obstacles. If you are stopped, with the front tire jammed against a large rock, all you need do is pedal and you will be pulled over that obstacle. I just think that is cool and it is a lot of fun to crawl through rocky areas. After all that I think the most effective and surprising aspect of AWD is noticed going downhill. When cornering at high speeds on a normal bike there is always the threat of the front tire washing out and you losing a few teeth. With the Christini, you can hit a hard turn and if you should slip the power applied to the front wheel will cause it to grip and pull you back onto course. Like I said, it's a lot of fun!
This bike is great for nearly every rider except for the die-hard cross-country rider or extreme downhiller. It is a little heavy (~30lbs) but I am a light rider and this bike allows me to do what I love to do, which is climb steep stuff out of the saddle. Every rider must decide if the features meet their needs and abilities, but if you are in the price range, it seems hard to go wrong with this bike.
Many are concerned with the prospect of added up keep and wear/damage to components. Last weekend I sat down with the manual and took the bike apart. Even for a basic mechanic, the AWD system is easy to remove/install and composed of quality materials. However, in that little mechanical endeavor I managed to over torque a suspension pivot and broke it. This leads me to my next point. The company itself. Never have I experienced a company more willing to help and find a solution to any problem you might have. I called Christini and told him about the bolt and in less than four days it was in my mailbox. As well as looking out for every engineering detail, customer satisfaction is an obvious focus of Chistini Tech. If you buy this product you can rest assured that any problem you might have will be dealt with personally and promptly.

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Favorite Trail:   any rides a good ride

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Purchased At:   Sharps Bikes

Similar Products Used:   Tested many common full suspension models, but there really isn't anything like all wheel drive.

Bike Setup:   Nothing too crazy, Easton bars, stem and seat post, LX drive train, Vdrive cranks, and Avid mech. discs.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by James a Cross Country Rider from Surrey, UK

Date Reviewed: April 21, 2003

Strengths:    Traction Traction and more traction. This bike climbs like a monkey and pulls like a train through bog, sand, mud or any loose or slippery surfaces. So long as you keep pedalling the bike will keep going, and simply track over logs, roots and rocks where normally the front wheel deflects or slides. I get more impressed with each ride.....I cannot count the number of times I've gritted my teeth in anticipation of a wipe out, but the bike just seems to ride over stuff and hold its course. For those screaming climbs where you're fighting to keep the front end down and want to stand up and pump the pedals but can't because your back end slips out.....on this bike no problem, stand whenever you want...even with all your weight over the bars the back end may slip a little but the front remains glued to the track and pulls you up...absolutley awesome!! So with all the abilities for traction and climbing, you might expect limited ability on downhills.....Think Again!! this bike is beautifully balanced and flies downhill will the grace and poise of a gazelle!! You can choose with the flick of a handlebar switch to use the AWD or not. If a rooted rocky single track decent or banked curves where you can keep pedalling leave it engaged and you will get to the bottom with a full set of teeth!! Miniscule drag from the AWD system has so far meant that in all but the smoothest of conditions I keep the AWD engaged, as it serves to pull you out of surprise trouble...a double advantage if, like I do, you ride a lot at night when the terrain is even less predictable.
The AWD system is robust and requires very little maintenance - at worst a couple of drops of lube each month!! For an annual service the whole system can be removed in about 12-15mins without any specialist tools, and doesn't require any fiddly setting up like front/rear mechs.


Weaknesses:    None to speak of - This bike is value for money and a superb piece of engineering.
If you're PRO level and/or a weight freak then the extra lbs may be a negative...but according to the book this bike is only 1.2lbs heaver than my other bike - a Full Sus. Trek!! To ride I don't notice any difference...it feels light and slick...you'd have to put it on the scales to convince me that it carries extra weight!!


Bottom Line:   
I ride 2-3 times a week all year round even through UK winters! This is the best bike I've ever ridden, and it allows me to stay on the bike where I might otherwise have to get off and push. This bike won't necessarily make you any faster....although it could!....but you will ride stuff that you were previously unable to....which in my book is part of the fun and challenge! This bike would suit all but the PRO racer who would be put off by the extra pounds, unless racing mud, bog or sand conditions in which case I would suggest they try it out!!

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Favorite Trail:   'Brian Knows Best', Holmbury St Mary

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Purchased At:   www.christini.com

Similar Products Used:   Various full or front susp. bikes but nothing to compare with AWD

Bike Setup:   White Bros AT4 fork Fox Float rear with lockout. Shimano LX/XT,FSA crank,Avid disc Mavic x 233 rims / Kenda tyres - standard base level model

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by jason a Racer from syracuse, ny, USA

Date Reviewed: April 9, 2003

Strengths:    The AWD rocks! It absolutely will not let you down when traction is lacking. Slick log crossings are a breeze when your front wheel is pulling you over! Greasy mud, roots, and rocks in the way? Who EFFn cares when you you've got AWD! No need to search for the dry line. Just point it, and hammer.

Weaknesses:    There's nothing weak about having maximum traction, and control.

Bottom Line:   
I got this bike because I like the idea of having the extra grip when I need it. I live in the northeast, and most of the trails are slick as snot this time of year. I raced it at hibernia for the season opener of the Mid atlantic super series. I admit, I was skeptical about how well it would work, but as soon as I found the first mudhole I was a believer! Those guys I passed looking for the right line know what it's about too! I'm looking forward to challenging this bike to find it's limits. Thanks Steve!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   dirt single track

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $3950.00

Purchased At:   Steve Christini in Philly

Similar Products Used:   Fuel, but it's not even close to same.

Bike Setup:   SRAM x.o, FSA Carbon Cranks, Easton Carbon bar, eggbeaters, mavic tubeless, extra set of mavic disc 317s.

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