-Legendary Ventana "Electric Sex" TIG welds
-Precision machined side plates with integral “V” logo
-"X-brace" mainframe for increased stiffness and improved standover
-Double seal, quad set, oversized cartridge bearings
-15 mm bearing axles
-Low 2.6:1 compression ratio for lighter springs & longer shock life
-Straight rate shock compression
-Wide stance swingarm pivot points for unparalleled lateral stiffness
-Extra beefy down tube gusset
-Vertical dropouts with replaceable derailleur hanger
-International standard disc brake mount
-1-1/8" internally butted head tube
-Fox Float RL rear shock with lockout
-Fits 34.9 mm top pull front derailleur
-27.2 mm seat post diameter
-73 mm, internally butted, CNC machined BB shell and main pivot
-Shot peened & black anodized finished mainframe
-Ball burnished rear swingarm
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: October 20, 2010
exceptional execution of a simple, tried & true design
flat out, the Pantera is one of the most fun bikes i've ridden on fast, flowy trails
Weaknesses: none really--even though it is a 4" travel bike, don't mistake this for a steep-angled, squirrely-handling, superlight XC bike. it's much more like a short travel trail bike
[4" travel in rear and wasn't designed for forks w/ a2c lengths > 500mm (see review)]
after riding this bike for the past 5 seasons (rotating among the other bikes in my quiver), at the end of each season i keep thinking, "maybe this year i'll sell the Pantera and get something new". but i'll always end up having a season of great rides and think, "f%$* yeah! she's a keeper!" here's why:
although the Pantera 'only' has 4 inches of travel, it's not really a bike designed in the traditional XC racer mold that emphasizes steep angles and ultralight weight while sacrificing strength & stability.
it feels much more like a 4" travel 'trail/all-mtn' bike because of it's burly swing arm, excellent lateral stiffness, and stable geometry (my 15" small frame's actual measurents are 22.3" ETT/14.7" reach, 43" WB, 17.25" CS, and 68.7* HA w/ 502mm 130mm travel fork). but at 5.9lbs (small frame w/ Float shock) she's not some overbuilt tank either like some other 4"-5" travel SS/4X frames out there.
lateral stiffness rules (all from the combo of burly swing arm, a big 15mm single pivot w/ 4 sets of bearings, and structurally engineered light but stiff bottom bracket), and helps the Pantera hold a line more solidly than most bikes, and puts the power to the rear wheel when climbing techy lines or exiting corners (unfortunately, lateral stiffness is a quality that gets overlooked in a lot of bike designs and ignored by the machine spewing hype to sell inventory).
like all Ventana frames (all handbuilt in CA), production quality is topnotch. and sherwood's execution of the tried & true simple high-forward single pivot design still holds its own performance-wise against the more complex parallel linkage/virtual pivot designs (bikes w/ the VPP and Maestro designs i own/owned)
the only 'product weakness' (if that) is that typical 'trail' bikes have a bit more rear travel (around 5"/120-140mm) and can handle a fork w/ a longer a2c length --the Pantera's 4" HT and geo was apparently designed around a 100mm travel fork w/ sub 490mm a2c length.
Bike Setup: fox float rl shock, rock shox psylo fork, easton monky bar, thompson elite stem and seat post, race face atlas crankset, hays disk brakes, sram x9 rear deraileur, shimano deore xlt front deraileur, hope wheels, sram casette, DH tires, and a specialized carbon fiber saddle.
a Weekend Warrior
from Barcelona, Spain
Date Reviewed: December 11, 2008
Strengths: Stiffnes, agility, confidence, slooping, geometry with different forks
Weaknesses: Bottle under diagonal tube?
With a 95-140 travel fork, it's the most fun and versatile bike I've ever rided. When I begin to ride my Pantera, my modern lapierre x-control was quickly forgotten.
A bike for 80 mile runs, for agressive trails, or efficient climbing.
Similar Products Used: None. I only owned a Lapierre 510 X-Control as 4" rear travel. Actually I ride pantera and a Giant Reign
Bike Setup: Rock Shox 426 Pike coil Fork
Romic 2 valve or Fox Float R shock
Chris King Hubs with 717 or 721EX rims
SRAM XO with XTR 2006 drivetrain
Avid Juicy carbon with 183/160 Hope discs
Time Atac XS Titan carbon pedals
Thomson Elite seatpost with Hope clamp
Ritchey WCS stem and grips
Easton Monkey Lite XC low rise handlebar
a Cross Country Rider
from Boise, Idaho
Date Reviewed: December 3, 2007
Strengths: Comfortable, strong, nimble, and the finish. I have no complaints. This has been one of most reliable bikes I have ever had. Single pivot suspension. I am convinced that two bearings are the best. The more complicated suspensions might offer the occasional advantage but the simplicity of the tried and true single pivot wins hands down.
Weaknesses: No place for water bottles. It's nice not to have to wear a Camel Back when it's hot.
This is a great bike. I have three others and I still consider my Pantera to be old reliable. I intend to ride this bike as long as it lasts. I wish Ventana would consider putting this frame back into production for us single pivot fans.
I've been MTB over 15 years, owned a lot of bikes and this frame is the best I have ever owned PERIOD! It is the perfect frame for my style of riding. It is fast, nimble, corners like it's on a rail, blazes across roots and rocks like they aren't there, accelerates fast, is awesome downhill, handles great and I have zero complaints about this frame. I only wish Ventana still made them!!!
Similar Products Used: Santa Cruz: Blur, Superlight, Heckler Yeti: 575 Jamis: Dakar Pro
Bike Setup: Monkeylight XC bar, SRAM X9 triggers, Avid Ti-levers and Mechanical Disc, Thompson Stem, Thompson Seatpost, WTB Laser saddle, RaceFace Turbine 175 cranks and rings, Chris King head set, Mavic CrossMax SL UST wheel set, Panarace UST Fire Pro, SRAM X9 rear D, SRAM 980 cassette, SRAM 991 hollow pin chain, Shimano XT front D, Time Alum Pedals.
a Cross Country Rider
from Bend, Oregon USA
Date Reviewed: May 8, 2007
Strengths: Super stiff frame! Awesome Ventana quality. This is the start of a Ventana collection for me!! No doubt. Most impressed with the service from Ventana as well. Sherwood has been very helpful. I look forward to many more Ventana's in the future.
Weaknesses: None that I have found so far. It rides like a dream compared to my old bike(93 M2 FS)
I researched a new bike for 3years.(had some time because of young kids at home). This bike is incredible. I love the single pivot simplicity and the craftmanship that the people at ventana put into their product. This bike is so well balanced (both in design and build). I am lucky enough to live close to the SLO cambria bike store. I highly recommend the people that work there. They helped me build the perfect bike at the price point I was at. The Marathon SL 105 fork is a perfect companion to the fox float RL in the rear. This is my first full suspension bike, and I can't express enough how well made this bike is. I climbed trails I never would have made on my old hardtail, and technical singletrack is this bike's strength. I have never had this much fun bike riding. $1900 for a complete pro-build ventana was an incredible deal to me. The ride seals the deal. This bike is great for the trail rider that is out to have fun. If you like to climb, do technical singletrack, and cruise in comfort and control on the downhill, then this bike is for you. I came very close to buying a Heckler, but I am not a hucker, or downhiller. This is a super strong, laterally stiff trailbike closer to the XC end of the trailbike rainbow. Travel is 4"(feels like just as much as a heckler or enduro) front and rear if that is important to you. I couldn't get the thing to bob even in the small ring. Don't know if that is because of the propedal or the frame design. I got some 4 bar bikes to bob on the parking lot test rides. Get a pantera while they last!
Similar Products Used: First full suspension owned. Tried Stumpjumpers, hecklers, Kikapus, Enduros, superlights, haros.
Bike Setup: Truv stylo team cranks, xt hubs laced to mavic 517s, xt rd,Avid BB7 disks, easton EA50 bars & post, EA70 stem, WTB progel seat, Velociraptors, Marathon SL 105 forks
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: January 10, 2005
Strengths: Very stiff, looks great, great standover
Weaknesses: Doesn't fit most bike racks
After looking at a number of bikes, going through the endless information on mountain bike suspension, and speaking with Sherwood at Ventana, I finally elected to go with the Pantera. I was looking for a bike with at least 4 inches of travel (check), better standover than most medium travel bikes (check), and a durable, bullet-proof frame (check). The fact that I could get a Ventana at my price point made it a no-brainer, although the Turner Burner definitely had caught my attention.
I am very satisfied with the decision to go with the Pantera. After three months of riding it on southern Appalachia trails, it has helped me become a much better rider. Technical downhills are no longer the white knuckle affair they used to be and this bike just eats up typical singletrack in this area. Many of the trails I ride are ridge hugging singletrack that this bike just devours in the middle chainring. The bike climbs very well, and I can't say that I feel I have really missed anything by not getting a more complex suspension design. To me, it is definitely a better climber than my previous Manomano.
I have friends that I have let take the bike for a test spin, and they have been very impressed with the feel of the bike. First thing they note is the lateral stiffness in the frame and they have also commented on how plush the bike is. As others I said, it feels like more than four inches.
All in all, I am very satisfied with this bike and would highly recommend it to others.
Strengths: limited amount of bob, it is apretty good cliber compared to my hardtail
Weaknesses: swingarm is kinda wierd feeling
it is a great bike for cross country riding and racing. it doesnt bob to much and climbs faster then my hardtail. i like the feel of a single pivot. the yeti i rode felt a little soft had to much bounce. the pantera is flawless on the dowhill at 35+ so if you are interested in a great bike made custom right here in america then this is the bike for you
Similar Products Used: yeti 575, litespeed hardtail
Bike Setup: fox vanilla 125, fox float rear, sun rhino rims, xt and hope mini disc brakes
a Cross Country Rider
from Littleton, Colorado
Date Reviewed: May 21, 2004
Strengths: High Quality Frame Great singletrack handling GREAT Tech support Value
Weaknesses: Swingarm is flexy when using V's
Out of the box you know you are dealing with something special. This frame is a true work of art. I agree with one of the previous posts – this frame is a joy to build. I have always liked the Panteras – and at $859 I could resist no longer.
My last bike was a 2000 Heckler (the old design with a Fox RL) so I was used to a little pedal bob. However the Pantera has MUCH less bob than the Heckler. How much of this is due to the straight rate compression, and how much is due to the ProPedal I don’t know (the one I got from Cambria had a 2004 Fox ProPedal RL). But I like it! – It is better than most of the four-bars I have ridden.
Downhill performance is great – and the primary reason I like the Single Pivot designs, They are simple, tough and can do everything with no creaking complaints! The frame is bomb-proof and very stiff, with one exception – the swingarm is flexy when using V’s. Not a big gripe since most people will be using discs (and I can use a booster) but the Heckler was much stiffer here (probably the little mud catching brace they use). Also if you are a big guy or big dropper you will want the Super-Link option.
I am running a Fox Talas up front. I live in Colorado so if you are not cranking up – you are bombing down – not much in between. With the Talas you can wind down for the climb the wind back up to 5” for the downhill. It is a great compliment to the do-anything nature of the Pantera.
Weight on my large frame (with the Fox RL) is 6.5 lbs, same as my 2000 large Heckler. Total bike weight is right at 27lbs (with V’s). Which is not bad. I wanted a bike I could use on 24 hr races and also throw on the ski lift for a day of grins! You could probably cut a couple pounds with a SID, Max SL’s and a carbon bar – but that’s not the purpose of this frame (buy a Superlight for that).
Hey one other big plus – the people at Ventana are GREAT! I called with a couple of build questions and got a real live bike dude! It is very rare to call a company’s tech support and have the person say, “Well we were in Moab last weekend, and we found that…” These folks are doing it! They are not slapping their stickers on some Taiwan frame and putting you on hold.
Hey I’m not a bike snob – but at the trailhead there are two kinds of mountain bikers – those who know what a Ventana is – and those who don’t
Similar Products Used: 2000 Santa Cruz Heckler (old design with Fox RL)
Bike Setup: Fox RL ProPedal, Fox Talas, 517's, XT V's, SRAM X9, Race Face
from Grande Cache, AB
Date Reviewed: May 6, 2004
Strengths: Build quality Lateral rigidity Good suspension performance Great downhill handling Exclusivity
Weaknesses: Mediocre climber Not a flyweight
I was shopping for a single pivot frame, and had nearly settled on the SC Superlight when I came across the Pantera. The Superlight is a great bike, but I never personally liked the appearance of the frame. The Pantera is much more appealing visually. Priced at $859, the Ventana was a much better deal than the SC.
After riding the Pantera for a few weeks, I have a few comments. First, as an experienced bike builder, it was a pleasure to put this machine together. The bottom bracket went in the shell like butter, as did the headset cups - a sure sign of attention to detail. The first ride revealed this bike's strength - it's one hell of a descender. The rigidity of the frame, the relaxed head angle and the longish wheelbase make for a downhill rocket. It also handles well in the tight singletrack, and despite the fairly hefty overall weight of the bike, it's easy to pull the front end up to launch over obstacles. With the Fox Float RL dialed to the right pressure, bob is minimal.
Climbing performance is OK, but not great. The long chainstays demand that you keep your weight back to maintain traction, which ultimately limits the grades you can pull. If you're a climber, this may not be the frame for you. For me, the downhill handling and suspension performance make up for the climbing limitations. If I want to impress people with my ascending skills, I use my hardtail.
The icing on the cake is the exclusivity of the Ventana marque - I have a higher probability being hit by lightning than meeting another Ventana on my local trails. It was great to go into a couple of bike shops, looking for a chainstay guard, and have them say "Ventana...never heard of it."
a Cross Country Rider
from Houston, Texas, USA
Date Reviewed: March 25, 2004
Strengths: - Rigid, unfalteringly cornering
- Trail-bike geometry
- Superb build quality
- Made in the USA
Weaknesses: None observed so far
The Pantera has exceeded my expectations. At the close-out price of $869 it was a ridiculous bargain. Out of the box I was impressed by the finish and superb build quality of the frame. Customer service from Teresa and Sherwood was a significant departure from my previous “bike company” experiences.
I weigh 195# without gear and this bike is super stiff (I’ve got the super-link option). If you’re a big guy or an aggressive xc rider, this is the rig for you. This bike is not for the serious light weight xc racer, but I suspect this would be a good race bike for the Clydesdales.
This is a great bike for single track carving. The handling has greatly surpassed any previous bike that I’ve ridden. Climbing is good and overall I’m a faster rider on my familiar trails. Having ridden a single pivot design like this I’m willing to live with a little bob for the fully active compliant suspension. I’ve got the remote lock-out for the Float RL and if I ever feel the need to hammer out of the saddle I simply flip the switch. I’m interested to try the Romic shock after reading the various reviews, but for the time being I’m very happy with the Float RL. Sad to see the Pantera discontinued, but I’m glad to have gotten one for myself. My next bike will be another Ventana. If I didn’t have a family to support I’d buy an El Chamuco for my trip to Whistler this summer.
Similar Products Used: Previous bikes - KHS Team ST, Interloc Steel Hardtail
Bike Setup: 2003 Float RL Rear W/remote lock-out, Talas RL, Team Stylo Cranks, Hayes Mag Disk Brakes, XT/Mavic 317 Wheelset, Full-XT drive train, King head set, Thompson stem, Syncros post, Panaracer 2.1 tires.
a Cross Country Rider
from Dallas, TX
Date Reviewed: March 2, 2004
Weaknesses: Only comes in Black.
I came from a 5 inch travel bike and this bike handles everything that I through at it. It handles very well and I am very pleased with this frame. I do not notice the weight but I came from a heavier bike so it actually feels very light and nimble to me. It has improved my climbing and overall performance of the bike. I am very pleased and would recommend this bike to anyone looking for an all around great bike.
Bike Setup: black elite, easton, thomson, avid disc, xt
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: February 21, 2004
Strengths: Any sex is good at my age. The Electric Sex welds are great. Alot of attention to quality and a passion for bikes go into a Ventana frame. I've heard about them, researched them, and are now a happy member of the cult. Stiff, agile, stealth like, tracks and climbs great, and still at around 26lbs (or less). I have no problem with the black. All my buds say it looks like a hot rod. Straight cable routing makes for some very smooth shifting and good brake leverage. At $859, I feel like I stole it.
Weaknesses: Left over guides for brake lines. Universal options for cable routing are wonderful, just don't need those extra barbed wire like guides looking to snag any meat. Frame configuration only allows for water bottle cage on the bottom side of down tube. Don't like to carry a back type hydration pack if I don't need to, but not really any other options for this frame. A bit of brake flex in the rear swingarm, but spend more time trying to accelerate and will probably forgo a booster.
Despite any apparent critisism, I've updated my will to be buried with this frame. It flat out rocks and I will probably buy an X5 next.
Similar Products Used: SantaCruz/Weyless clone/Jamis
Bike Setup: XT/XTR, the new XTR cranks, XTR/517/pana wheels, Fox Float 100 RLC.
from Highland Village
Date Reviewed: February 3, 2004
Strengths: Follow-up review:
Great handling, great set-up. Super fun to ride.
Weaknesses: Are there any?
Close to 1000 miles on mine including a super hard race series in Texas. 2 mud races plus 6 additional races. No problems. It is classified as a trail bike. I changed the fork setting to 80mm from 100mm. Wow! The handling went from OK to beautiful. Switchback climbs were easy. Me and the bike hit the podium 2x and finished 2nd overall for the series. So, yeah, it can be racy! Most of all it is just a pure joy to ride. Cruising is fun, going fast is fun. Downhill? You bet. Trail heading straight up? Let's go. People always ask about it being heavy. I never really notice. It is durable, super stiff (which I love), no pedal induced flex, tracks true. I haven't a single maintenance issue since I purchased this bike. You gotta love that.
If you're thinking Ventana, do it. If you're thinking Pantera, do it. You'll not be sorry.