Bontrager Bike Bike 1998 or Older

4.83/5 (80 Reviews)
MSRP : $1500.00


Product Description

Bontrager Privateer Comp Bike


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Reviews 1 - 15 (80 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by PurpleRACE a Weekend Warrior from Seattle Wa USA

Date Reviewed: September 27, 2009

Strengths:    Very quick and responsive.

Weaknesses:    NONE.... I have 3 1 inch fork just in case.

Bottom Line:   
Thank's Keith for making the best bike ever

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Tiger mountain

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $400.00

Purchased At:   friend

Similar Products Used:   Nothing to compare with.

Bike Setup:   1993 Purple Race
Ringle Super bubba(Angry bee)/mavic wheel set
Ringle seat post clamp
Ringle bar ends
Ringle bottle cage
Sakae Titanium handle bar
Syncros Titanium seat post
Syncros Titanium Stem
Syncros Titanium bottom bracket
Salsa Titanium skewer
Topline Anodized blue crank set
Shimano 545 spd
Shimano XTR brakes
Shimano XT 7/8 speed thumb shifter
Shimano XTR derailleur
Shimano XTR 8 speed cassette
Selle San marco Squadra seat
Chris King head set
White Brothers SC70 front suspension

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Scott a Cross Country Rider from Utah

Date Reviewed: July 17, 2007

Strengths:    Smooth as butter. Keith Bontrager new how to build a sweet bike. I bought the frame, used from a bike shop employee that wanted to be able to use discs. I live in utah and don't believe discs are necessary for a XC rider here. If you have the opportunity to get one of these sweet bikes do it, they ride incredibly well with a modern 80mm fork, I actually have a 100mm fork and still love it (with lots of sag though).

Weaknesses:    not made anymore!

Bottom Line:   
Steel is a great material for bikes, unless your the kind that needs to impress the Mountain Bike Action crowd. i have had my steel bike for over 5 years and it is just as good as the day I bought it. COMFORTABLE, my bike is much more comfortable for even two hour rides than any aluminum bike I have ever ridden, and the fram only weighs a half pound more. Durability over Weight any day.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Gooseberry Mesa

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $300.00

Purchased At:   Salem Bike Shop

Similar Products Used:   Many other aluminum hardtails:trek, canondale, specialized, etc.

Bike Setup:   Privateer S w/rasta paint, Fox F100 RLC 07, Full XTR, Red King headset, Thomson post and stem, Dirt Rag ti saddle by Selle San Marco (looks great and is super comfy), Green and Yellow Salsa grips with red bar plugs, Easton Monkeylite SL bar, Continental Vertical Pro 2.3 tires.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Mattman a Cross Country Rider from Harleysville pa

Date Reviewed: February 18, 2007

Strengths:    almost everything! lightweight steel frame, mostly xt component set, x-ray grip shifters, super comfortable, super reliable!

Weaknesses:    1" threaded headset makes it impossible to upgrade the fork! my q21r's finally failed and i had to replace it with an RST fork. even trade if anything. would have liked to get an upgrade out of it.

Bottom Line:   
this is the greatest bike ever! steel frame will NEVER wear out and is lighter then many aluminum bikes, climbs, decends, and goes like mad, ALWAYS ready to ride! i've had this bike for just about 10 years now and like wine, it just gets better! the headset is finally failing which will be difficult to replace because of it's 1" threaded nature...but im sure as hell gonna try! if i lost both my legs in some aweful accident i'd still keep this bike just so i could say i have one and you don't!

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $1200.00

Purchased At:   lbs

Bike Setup:   rst front shock, profile carbon handle bar, xtr v-brakes and levers, panaracer fire xc pro tires, most shifter components replaced with stock.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Chris from San Antonio

Date Reviewed: October 18, 2006

Strengths:    Steel is real. Geometry is made for single track. Its the only MTB that I feel comfortable on (am a roadie.)

Weaknesses:    Weight, but that's outweighed by the plushness of the steel frame.

Bottom Line:   
Get 'em.... then give them to me.... I promise to take great care of them for you.... honest

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Similar Products Used:   Tried lots of bikes, too many....

Bike Setup:   I've two Privateer Comps
First bikes setup: Tange Prestige Switchblade fork, Campy ATB headset,original x-ray gripshifters, Bontrager super stock wheels, the original XT group, those old red shimano DX pedals, and some slicks my city bike
Second Bike: all original except the shifters and rims, shifters were switched to LX 8sp, still has the Quad 21 on it

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Michael Murphy a Weekend Warrior from Mankato, MN, USA

Date Reviewed: March 6, 2006

Strengths:    Bombproof frame, intuitive handling, retro-sexy, reasonably light. The toughest frame ever.

Weaknesses:    Not the absolute lightest frame, but light enough for me.

Bottom Line:   
I had my most catastrophic crash on this frame. I hit a protruding root with my pedal and went end-over-teakettle, slid into a tree on my head, bike on top of me. The rear wheel came down upside down hard enough to pull it right out of the dropouts; luckily the wimpy XT v-brake pivots folded out of the way, so my brake studs were not damaged. The rim was trashed but the frame is still right as rain; I had it checked for alignment and it's good to go.

Privateers are the low-budget mass-produced version of the Bontrager Race. I wanted a Race, but I wasted my money to pay off my girlfriends bills, so I ended up with the Privateer; 98 percent of the performance at half the price of a Race (Keith's words, not mine). It's just a little heavier, but not too bad. I love my Privateer; both wheels brake evenly into corners, the steel frame is forgiving (it doesn't beat me senseless like an aluminum frame), it climbs great, and it's Tonka-tough. The slim (by today's standards) True Temper tubing is so elegant, particularly with the wishbone stays and no-bridge chainstay. The dropouts are not only heavy-duty, but in the event of a failure (not very likely) they can be bolted back together with a bottle cage bolt to get you home. No aluminum frame could take the abuse that a Privateer can.

I would say this is probably the most durable mass-produced frame ever. It's at least in the top-five, and I'd recommend it to anyone. Anyone.

I bought this frame second-hand six months after I sold it to a guy from the shop I worked at. He was going into the service and no longer had a need for it. I only paid him $280, and I felt a little guilty about it, but he needed the money right away and that was all I could get together on short notice. I upgraded everything to Deore XT over time. This frame will hopefully outlive me; if I ever have kids and grandkids, I hope they fight over this bike. I've got a Marzocchi Comp coil with a 1" steerer I plan to install soon.

I bought another Privateer which I plan to paint this summer; it's got a 1 1/8" steerer tube, so I can stop hunting for 1" steerer forks.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Mt. Kato

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $600.00

Purchased At:   secondhand

Similar Products Used:   North Star Estrella, Balance XR 750, Diamondback Response Sport

Bike Setup:   Bontrager Privateer S, size medium (15"), maroon, Indy XC, Tange headset, Bontrager bars, quill 1" stem, L-bend bar ends, grips, seatpost, Mustang Rims, Selle San Marco / Bontrager saddle, Deore XT v-brakes, 8 spd shifters, cranks, derailleurs, front hub, IRC Mythos XC 1.9 tires, GT / Hadley rear hub.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Mario a Cross Country Rider from Randolph, Vt USA

Date Reviewed: November 28, 2004

Strengths:    Beautiful in form and wonderful to ride. Super nimble and agile. Not Clunky like aluminum, but bery snappy.

Weaknesses:    Only that it's outdated, which limits what upgrades I can get.

Bottom Line:   
I have the joy of riding a 1994 Santa Cruz race lite which is absolutely the best bike out there. No qualms about it. It handles like nothing else, and there is no F/s that will match the sheer rideability of this machine. Too bad Keith is no longer making these. We will miss them when the last one rusts away a hundred years from now. What a beautiful and pure period in biking history before sensationalized tech took over. A million chiles to this beauty!!!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Black Mesa State Park, Oklahoma

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $2000.00

Purchased At:   Minneapolis

Similar Products Used:   Trek, cannondale, iron horse

Bike Setup:   XTR/XT, JUDY XC, BOntrager components, Raceface cranks/bb

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Martin O'Loughlin a Cross Country Rider from UK

Date Reviewed: July 27, 2004

Strengths:    The bonty race is one of a kind, the ride is perfect, few bikes compare to the sense of unison that can be achieved on a good day.

Weaknesses:    no longer made, Magura and pace are about it when it comes to getting a fork.

Bottom Line:   
The best.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $4000.00

Purchased At:   Cheltenham Cycles

Similar Products Used:   various

Bike Setup:   hope hubs, mavic 517's xt drivechain, HS33 brakes, salsa stem, easton ct2 bars and seatpost

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jamie Estep a Cross Country Rider from Crested Butte, CO, USA

Date Reviewed: July 23, 2004

Strengths:    Great Smooth Ride. Perfect Bike.

Weaknesses:    1" headset and fork combination makes it a b**** to upgrade the fork. Otherwise this is a perfect bike.

Bottom Line:   
This bike is almost 10 years old and I still have to find a comparable bike. With the exception of the 1" headset, this bike is X country perfection. Total weight is still under 22lbs. If you ride a lot of harsh trails the steel provides a softer ride than aluminum without sacrificing performance. Steel may be old, but it still rules. I will ride this bike until I get a new bontrager or this one breaks. If you can find one of these snag it and hold on to it. I've never met anyone who didn't love the ride.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $500.00

Purchased At:   Alpineer

Similar Products Used:   Voodoo Hoodoo, GT, Klein, Cannondale.

Bike Setup:   Raceface Cranset, XTR derailleurs, XTR Cassette, XTR brake system, AVID flack jacket cables, Chris King Headset, MARZOCCHI MX COMP fork, XTR hubs w/bontrager race light wheels. Raceface Stem w/1" - 1 1/8" shim. Titec Ti handlebars, Bontrager Grips. Time ATAC pedals.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by G. a Cross Country Rider from Fort Collins, CO

Date Reviewed: December 16, 2002

Strengths:    Excellent bike. Sturdy, handles well. "Small" frame actually fits a short person--5'5"

Weaknesses:    would have been nice if they could have seen into the future and put a 1 1/8" headset and Disc tabs on the frame.

Bottom Line:   
Grrrrrreat bike. If you've got one and you want to upgrade the fork but are afraid of messing up the handling by changing the fork-rake, don't worry. I upgraded from the stock Judy. It didn't seem to effect the handling, and the improvement in suspension performance is phenomenal. Happy Trails.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $600.00

Purchased At:   Bluebonnet Bicycles

Similar Products Used:   Specialized Rock Hopper

Bike Setup:   Marzocchi Z.1 Atom Race, XT/XTR drivetrain, Raceface cranks. . .

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Alan a Cross Country Rider from Sedona, AZ

Date Reviewed: January 10, 2001

Strengths:    drove out to cali just to get this bike after breaking my FTW alum(ouch)hardtail. no more. steel is my friend here on the rocks of Sedona. Everyone else here rides FS. relativity i guess. remember rigid forks? this bike will steer up a 15% switchback w/o the need for a track stand turn-just rolls through it if you keep pedalin'. on the down it corners like a ferrari! just like those Italiains...design, design, design. it makes all the difference. but, i'm glad it's made in the USA.

Weaknesses:    mine came with a Judy XC(bontrager offset). after blowing the cartridge twice, i decided to get a real fork and found a 1" marzocchi Z-2. It was like having a new bike! a couple of rides got me used to the new geometry(1/4" offset ). no offense keith, but the bike handles even better with the slack offset. also, the wheels had to go. i replaced the mustang/XT wheels with some 2 cross 3 hand built Mavic 217's(3 years ago my friends). the rear is still going. the front was left at the red canyon parking lot near Bryce,UT in july 2000. if you found it i'll pay a reward!

Bottom Line:   
i hope this bike lasts forever. the only other bike i haven't broken in my life of mtn biking(13 years) is my rigid '91 prestige stumpy. the bontrager will not become a 'towny'!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   llama

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $900.00

Purchased At:   supergo

Similar Products Used:   nothing compares at the price, but my rigid stumpy set it all up for the future.......

Bike Setup:   full XTR with Z-2 75mm

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Ben a Cross Country Rider from Boulder

Date Reviewed: October 13, 2000

Strengths:    Very good handling - agile, with tight, quick steering
Works best when ridden very aggressively. Handling is best in fast, twisting single track.


Weaknesses:    In a lot of situations, this bike rides best when you ride it aggressively and shift your weight around. I think this is good, but for an inexperienced rider, it could be detremental. Due to its tight handling, on long sweeping turns the bike can feel unstable in the front end is not correctly weighted. I don't get along with this bike when descending paved mountain roads. If you are a beginner, get a bike that feels more stable with slightly slower steering, or you may fall more often than necessary. For an experiance rider that likes to go fast both up and down hill, get a bontrager.

Bottom Line:   
This is an amaizing bike, basically the more aggressively you ride it, the better it feels and performs. Ever since I upgraded to a more rigid front end, with a strong wheel on a Phil Wood hub and the Marzocchi fork, the steering when descending has just been phenominal; bike goes when you point it, and holds a line perfectly. Due to the quick steering, you can change direction instantly. Technical sections of trail are also great to ride because you can really through this bike around under you, and change direction quickly.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Sourdough

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Bike Setup:   Privateer. The only remaining origonal parts are the stem and the seatpost. 99 Z2 Atombomb, Racelight riser bars, full xtr drivetrain, Magura HS33, King HS, Phil Wood front hub, time pedals.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Anthony Anzaldi a Weekend Warrior from New jersey

Date Reviewed: October 11, 2000

Strengths:    This bike is handles awsome. What a deal I got I only paid 500 bucks for it. After picking it up I felt guilty,and after riding it I felt even worse. What a steeeeeeeeeeel.If you can find one buy it!!!!!

Weaknesses:    Handlebar makes my hands go numb.

Bottom Line:   
Great bike that handles great.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   The mill/illegal to ride now

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $500.00

Purchased At:   cycle craft

Similar Products Used:   Origanally had a Bridgestone then a Specialized. Ah steel a dying breed luckly I found one>

Bike Setup:   Stock full XT,with rock shock Judy>

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Gene Choo a Weekend Warrior from New York, NY USA

Date Reviewed: May 8, 2000

Strengths:    I have a '97 Racelite. And simply put, it is the best handling, best riding hardtail out there. Beautiful hand-crafted, Santa Cruz-made steel frame. The stock Bonty components are light and durable. From tight, twisty singletrack to steep, technical climbs, this bike can do it all. And unlike aluminum bikes, you don't feel beat up after a rocky descent. Too bad Keith sold out to Trek.

Weaknesses:    The 1" steerer tube. Your options for fork, headset and stem upgrades are extremely limited.

Bottom Line:   
If you can find one of these gems...buy it.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Jim Thorpe, PA

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Similar Products Used:   Specialized Stumpjumper
Gary Fisher Pro-Caliber
Cannondale F1000
Schwinn Homegrown
Litespeed Tsali
GT Avalanche LE


Bike Setup:   Full XT with Bontrager components and Judy XC fork.

Overall Rating:5
Submitted by Jan Mork a Cross-Country Rider from Stockholm

Date Reviewed: November 3, 1999

Strengths:    
It´s light and nimble, making you something of a daredevil even though you´re not one really. Seems it´s probably built to last with light but strong components.


Weaknesses:    
The Crowbar was NOT a fave of mine at first. It made my fingers go totally numb. I´ve got used to it now and maybe the bar isn´t that bad after all.


Bottom Line:   
It´s a blast to ride this bike! I really wanted the racelite but couldn´t afford it(damnit). As substitutes go this is a winner, including the stunning rasta paintjob. It´s a real shame Trek´s not going to build them anymore. Luckily I got one and the smile I had when leaving the store hasn´t faded one bit.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   
Jaerva

Duration Product Used:   
6 months

Similar Products Used:   
Trek 930 shx ´97
Trek Y33 ´97


Bike Setup:   
Privateer Comp ´98, stock w/Judy XC.
Changed cassette and chain to XT.

Overall Rating:5
Submitted by Chris Holme a Cross-Country Rider from Wells, Somerset, England

Date Reviewed: September 14, 1999

Strengths:    
Excellent geometry, well specced, old school steel appeal


Weaknesses:    
Nowt, although stay alert


Bottom Line:   
I've always had a thing for steel frames: the appeal of other stuff doesn't just pass me by, but I do believe that well made steel frames have got soul. Having ridden Specialised, Rocky Mountain (all nice rides) etc for years and years, I eventually brought a Privateer comp, and it pretty much blew me away handling-wise. The bike is an absolute dream, and, for me at least, is the perfect machine for those all-day rolling rides that take in equal part hard climbing (you have to go up to get down, after-all)and tight, thru' the trees soulful singletrack. I've have the utmost respect for Bontrager, esp. with regard to Keith's stance on the industry and so I was fully stoked, then, when the chance came to buy one of the last (pre-Trek) Bonty Race frames. Like the girl you know whose gonna be 'the one', it's the bike for me. The Privateer, meanwhile, compares more than well, and for the money, nets you one very well thought out bike that's not only got history, but is going to last a long time. No short term consummerism here.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   
Flowing Mendip singletrack

Duration Product Used:   
1 Year

Similar Products Used:   
S-Works steel
Specialised Stumpjumper
Various Rocky Mountains


Bike Setup:   
Privateer - full XT, Rockshox Judys etc
Present Bonty Race: Pace Forks, King Headset, XT (Thumbshifters!) 517 ceramics etc

Reviews 1 - 15 (80 Reviews Total) | Next 15

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating


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