Balanced Audio Technology AL550 Bike Bike 1998 or Older

4.48/5 (23 Reviews)
MSRP : $1480.00


Product Description

Balance AL550 Bike


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

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by ceraboy a Weekend Warrior from Bozeman, MT

Date Reviewed: June 1, 2009

Strengths:    Very solid, lightweight, stiff frame. This bike has been great on single track. I have been using the bike for over 10 years and it has never let me down. I still prefer it over many of the newer bikes I have had the opportunity to test ride. I wish the company was still in business.

Weaknesses:    The Manitou fork and cantilever brakes are a bit antiquated, but work still work ok.

Bottom Line:   
It looks like I will have to upgrade this baby since I dont think I will ever find a true replacement.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $1000.00

Purchased At:   From a friend who bo

Similar Products Used:   Cannondale and Specialized

Bike Setup:   Aluminum/Purple color, all Shimano XTR components and hubs.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Steve a Cross Country Rider from Paris, France

Date Reviewed: July 20, 2008

Strengths:    TO be honest my bike is the old CR 550 model from '94, but its bloody solid, 14yrs old & still going strong!!! I've crashed into trees been, squashed by cars & taxi's & changed countries!!!!!!! I ride out evey Sunday between 40 & 50 Km so I work it hard!!

Weaknesses:    A little on the heavy side!

Bottom Line:   
OK, OK I've changed all the equipment, over the years I had to!!
A super ride just a shame that I can't put on disc brakes

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Forest trails north of Paris

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $1500.00

Purchased At:   A little bike shop i

Similar Products Used:   Decathlon,Cannodale, Giant & Lapierre

Bike Setup:   brake & gear levers XT,Group set front & rear XTR, wheels Mavic crosstrail, v-Brakes XT, Carbon handle bar & seat post
front suspension Beta Europa ( nobody ever heard of that I suppose?)

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Tom a Weekend Warrior from Pittsburgh, PA

Date Reviewed: March 4, 2005

Strengths:    Looks sharp as hell!

Weaknesses:    None that i can think of!

Bottom Line:   
This bikes the shiznizzle! Bought it back in 94 or 95 when i worked at a bike shop. Was going to get a Klein but the Balance just looked too sharp to pass up. Paid a decent chunk, but it's still on the road today. Time to replace that oldskol Manitou with something new, but other than that still running strong. Too bad Balance isn't in business anymore. Oh well though! If you run across a used one in decent shape, pick it up. I've thrashed some nice PA trails on mine, and would to love to head out west with it someday.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Any Single Track.

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $1300.00

Purchased At:   Bicycle Express

Similar Products Used:   All kindza mtn bikes.

Bike Setup:   Stock. LX, Manitou 3, Smoke/Dart.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Andrew Woolley a Cross Country Rider from Littleton, Colorado, USA

Date Reviewed: January 15, 2003

Strengths:    Beautiful Frame. Excellent handleing. Durable and light.

Weaknesses:    So old school. Company is out of business.

Bottom Line:   
This bike is my baby. Eight years ago I bought it after saving for over a year (I was a freshmen in highschool) and I rode it for years. Last week I got back on for the first time in 5 years, and I fell in love again. It is a beautiful bike that climbs like, well, something that climbs well (a goat maybe? or a spider?) The long top tube spreads you out and makes it handle like a dream. It feels a lot like my road bike, geometry wise, which is cool.
The only thing I regret is the difficulty faced in upgrading. Seeing as this bike has cantilvers and 7-speed shifter/brake units upgrading is a real hassle. And the fork needs upgrading, cuz it was lousy in 1995, and its worse now.
Over all though, a fantastic bike and an absoultly unbeatable frame. Its very sad Balance stopped making bikes.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Buffalo Creek

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $950.00

Purchased At:   Arapahoe Cyclery

Similar Products Used:   Cannondale's.

Bike Setup:   Green to Aluminum fade 16.5 inch frame. Manitou Sport fork. Full Shimano STX special edition. This is the 1994 version.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Chuck a Cross Country Rider from Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

Date Reviewed: May 13, 2002

Strengths:    I like the length and how light it is.

Weaknesses:    No suspension standard.

Bottom Line:   
I don't know that much about componants and such, I'm just a beginner, I've had my AL550 for about 4 years now, but only really started mountain biking last week. So far though, I think it's great, another guy said in his review that it climbs well, amen to that, my friends call me the Mountain Bike Nazi, because I'll get to the top 15 minutes before them. It's also durable, I've had some pretty hard crashes this last week and no damage to the bike. It works great, and with a few upgrades, it definantly will be an amazing bike!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   The Bobsled

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $800.00

Similar Products Used:   none

Bike Setup:   basic

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Ted Teten a Weekend Warrior from Stillwater, OK, USA

Date Reviewed: November 10, 2000

Strengths:    I love the longer than usual frame. I am 6'5" and the extra length in the frame is great. Also the long frame makes the bike a piece of cake to churn up the steepest hills.

Weaknesses:    The Manitou 3 fork that came with the bike sucks badly. I have had to rebuild and rebuild and rebuild the fork. The Elastomers break too easy and you deserve to have the elastomers for free if you can find them. I am finally fed up with the fork and am going to sell my road bike and get a new fork that requires less maintenance.

Bottom Line:   
This bike is a hill-conquering machine. My friends will try to make it up a hill and not be able to; I just stand up, put the weight on the back tire and up I go. The long frame makes it very easy to balance your weight going up steep hills. I actually churn up the steep hills with the front wheel off the ground half the time. It is so easy to just go up. I recommend the bike to anybody who has money to put into the bike after he or she buys it. It will be a used bike and more than likely, need some work done on it. I love the bike that I have and wish that balance made more bikes. My only gripe is the cheap old manitou 3 suspension fork that I need to get replaced. Thats all for me, I have to go rebuild my suspension fork now.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   The 12 miles of Hell Race in Lawton

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $450.00

Purchased At:   from the classifieds

Similar Products Used:   I had a Trek 820 and then upgraded to a balance. There is no compareson between the two, so I won't even try.

Bike Setup:   I have a green-fade-to-chrome AL-550 with a manitou 3 (it sucks) suspension fork. I have shimano clipless shoes and a bright new yellow Itallia Flight Gel seat. I have the same stock components because they work just fine as long as I don't bash the rear derailer onto curbs while playing on campus. I replaced the chain with something shimano, and have bald tires. I also plan to add diskbrakes when I buy a new suspension fork

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Dale Bowerman a Weekend Warrior from Phoenix

Date Reviewed: September 28, 2000

Strengths:    I hate to say it but it is very well balanced. The geometry is its strogest point

Weaknesses:    No support. I don't believe the company is in existance any longer

Bottom Line:   
I have had almost every mountain bike I have ever desired and none of them lived up to a Balance AL that I had 5 years ago which I sold because I thought it was too small because of low standover height (big mistake). The bike was the most (no pun intended) balanced bike I have owned, full susp or HT. I finally found another (a AL550) in the paper for 375 used. It was in my size (roughly 18.5) and I feared it would not ride like the smaller bike I had originally. Fortunatley it rides as well as the previous bike. It can float the front tire easily over fast burms(if I want it to) and I can hold the front down easily on steep technical. climbs. The cg of the bike can easily be adjusted by moving the seat foward or back by as little as a 0.5 inch depending on the type of ride I need. If someone finds one of these bikes in the used bike market it would definatley be worth the time to give it a trial ride.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   South mountain National

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $350.00

Purchased At:   personal ad

Similar Products Used:   Trek Y11, Multiple cannondales full susp and hard tail

Bike Setup:   Rock shock and mostly LX

Overall Rating:5
Submitted by JB a weekend warrior from Denver, CO

Date Reviewed: February 25, 1999

Bottom Line:   

This is a review of the Balance AL450.I bought the 450 back in May '96 as my first semi-serious foray into mountain biking. It's a completely rigid frame, no suspension anywhere (yes, it was a bumpy ride, but it certainly taught me how to handle a bike in rough conditions), with STX-RC front & back.It has been a fantastic bike for these past three years. It's been to Moab, on countless trails in the Rocky Mountains, and was used to haul me back and forth to work (20 miles a day, 3 days a week) from late April through September (I installed road slicks for these rides). I am 6'6 tall and weigh 250 pounds (ridiculously big bones, plus I lift weights 3 times a week; honest). Not once has the frame or any component thereof cracked or shown any signs of wear. I go through rims, spokes, and tires like nobody's business, thanks to my excessive size, but overall this bike is bomb-proof.The paint job? Purple fading into highly-polished aluminum (almost chrome-like). The chicks dig it.Unfortunately, I have to get a larger bike. Riding this one (20.5 frame; very aggressive geometry) is very hard on my back and puts too much of my weight forward, making it rough on my hands and forearms. If it wasn't for that one simple fact, I would drop some serious coin and trick this bike out - Marzocchi fork, XT-R all around; basically anything titanium and/or expensive.It's a durable, aggressive frame, and I recommend it highly. Too bad the company went out of business, while bike makers such as Trek and Specialized keep cranking out sub-par products for the same price I paid for one high-quality Balance.

Overall Rating:2
Submitted by Mike Caunedo a weekend warrior from San Diego

Date Reviewed: January 11, 1999

Bottom Line:   


Have had a Balance AL 750 for about three years and really enjoyed it. Light, stiff and not everyone had one. This summer found a growing crack at the bottom of the headtube. Have not been able to contact the company since. Anyone have any ideas or can help me????

Overall Rating:5
Submitted by T-MAN a cross-country rider from Denver, CO

Date Reviewed: January 8, 1999

Bottom Line:   


I've had my BALANCE AL550 for about three years now and I love it. I've tried more expensive frames, but haven't found a stronger, lighter frame for the money. I am in the process of rebuilding my bike from the ground up with Shimano XT components, grip shift, a Manitu shock and the works, so I can destroy these awsome trails in Colorado!

Overall Rating:5
Submitted by D-Day a cross-country rider from Colorado

Date Reviewed: August 24, 1998

Bottom Line:   


I've owned a 19 Balance AL550 for three years now. It's still my main frame; I can't say much about the parts a Balance AL550 came with, because I bought the frame by itself. However, I've built it up with Ringle stem, Kooka cranks, Precision Billet rear derailleur, a USE shockpost, White Industries/Bontrager wheels, and other stuff, and it only weighs slightly more than 23 pounds. I love it, and I will never buy another frame until this one breaks. It's too bad Balance is no longer in production (at least I don't think it is, I haven't seen any ads in magazines), because my next bike would be a Balance as well. I also own a KHS and I used to own a Diamondback; neither of these bikes fit me as well as the Balance.

Overall Rating:5
Submitted by Tigger a cross-country rider from London, England

Date Reviewed: August 22, 1998

Bottom Line:   


I lost my Balance 450 yesterday. I'm peeved off! I loved it. Lovely bike to ride and now it's gone. Hope the morons that nicked it bought the drugs they needed. They don't import them into the UK anymore..
Still, on the plus side I am insured. I rate my bike for the two years that it was in my possession the highest mark - cos nothing ever went wrong with it - it still looked fantastic even when it got progressively more and more scratched - and every one commented on how groovy it was... (AAAAaaaaaaaagh! I want my bike back!)

Overall Rating:5
Submitted by PunkRockGirl a weekend warrior from Way Out Here

Date Reviewed: June 17, 1998

Bottom Line:   


I have had my Balance AL550 for 4 years now :) unfortunately no suspension so it is pretty teeth chattering on the trails :( however, I am a busy girl and most of my riding is on the pavement to and from campus :( so the lack of suspension actually is a bonus :)! Actually I bought it for the colour (green and silver) and the overall look. Yes, I am a satisfied customer (or should I say poser???). Whatever. The bike looks cool and therefore so must I when I fall off it repeatedly when I eventually hit the trails...

Overall Rating:5
Submitted by Andy a downhiller from ME

Date Reviewed: May 29, 1998

Bottom Line:   


I've got an AL550 and it kicks ass. It's got a Manitou Mach 5 shock, Shimano LX derailers and gripshift. I've also got a Klien with a Maitou Mach 5, gripshift, clipless pedals, LX derailers, and some bomb ass tires. Both of these bikes are very bomb ass and all other bikes suck except freestyle.

Overall Rating:5
Submitted by MOULAN Cyril a cross-country rider from HERVE-BELGIUM

Date Reviewed: April 29, 1998

Bottom Line:   


I have a Balance too.I'm very happy to have this bike and no another one!!!
My girlfriend is a member of the team BALANCE and she has the most beautiful bike I' ever seen!! The most beautiful bike for the most beautiful girl, natural isn't it??? She is a member of the national team...
I write maybe a lot of mistakes but english isn't my first langage.
Let's talk about MY bike:It's theAL550, (how do you say fourche in english?)
so, it's a Rock Shox.The bike is blue.
HE IS FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is the reason why I would like to know where Josh had bought his bike...
The ONLY little problem I have is not really a problem, I don't like my Rock Shox, I would like a RST, a BOMBER or ...a MANITOU (the best!!).
I hope not to have shocked many of you...I'm sorry Josh.
I don't know where do you live but I suppose that's in the Colorado...WHOOAW!
Colorado by bike, the DREAM.(Can you send me your address; phone number;...I would like to visit the colorado by bike...see you soon...........

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

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