Bontrager Race Lite Bike 1998 or Older

4.67/5 (45 Reviews)


Product Description

Race Lite


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Reviews 1 - 15 (45 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by chikachik

Date Reviewed: June 7, 2013

Strengths:    triple butted steel frame set from santa cruz legend Keith Bontrager
the extra butting and thinner tubes of the race lite raise this frame to an exemplary standard
the subtle flex makes the frame set really sing when ridden hard.
the quality and attention to detail are the high watermark of hand made californian MTB bike building
now very rare and a cult classic especially if still combined with the original rigid forks
exceptional rarity ensures ultimate trail cred.


Weaknesses:    The 1 inch head set is now seen as antique, but forks can still be had from marzochi
the thin pipes are easily dented - but what can you expect.
Trek diluted the brand by gate crashing the party. Bet KB got a nice life style out of it though
as his name is now on everything from loo roll to dog biscuits!


Bottom Line:   
The bench mark of hand built american steel frame sets, form a now lost epoch of small custom makers.
Geometry seen as close to perfect favouring climbing over descending
the extra butting and lightening makes for a really responsive ride way superior to the race
if you are lucky enough to own one you will not part with it
if you want one they are now as rare as hens teeth
which is a good thing if you do have one

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by spacegrape a Cross Country Rider from DC

Date Reviewed: March 1, 2010

Strengths:    Climbing on loose surface
Point and Shoot downhill handling


Bottom Line:   
The 1" headset is like owning an 8 track player.

As much as I love mine - you may not like running the Rock Shox Quadra that I'm (sortof) cornered into using. I rode rigid bikes for 3 years before getting a suspension fork so the paltry (46mm) travel still feels good to me after 15 years. Off ebay, usually around $60 and yellow, they require black paint. I haven't had much luck with the air/oil rock shox from the period. Marzocchi still makes longer travel (100mm) 1" models but at a price ($300-$400)

Bottom bottom line is you'll buy one of these if you respect mountain bike hall-of-famer Keith Bontrager, and you want a ride with history in it. That said - don't bother with the post-trek Bontragers, the quality is good but they are less cool. You can tell by the seat stays (real ones are two piece (like a telescope))

Very bottom line is I can't imagine riding anything else - and I just bring up the negatives to keep 'em reasonable going forward ;)



Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Cougar Mountain (Seattle area)

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Bike Setup:   Syncros Stem, XT thumbshifters, Kevlar Bead Tires, Oury Grips, Eggbeater pedals, XT V-brakes, Avid Levers

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by bonty06 a Cross Country Rider from Minnesota

Date Reviewed: February 17, 2010

Strengths:    Strong, light and fast. I've had the bike for almost 13 years and it's been through it all. Many thousands of miles and she is still looking for more. My frame is a 1998 model and I see it lasting for ever. STEEL!

Weaknesses:    1 inch headset & trek buying Bontrager.

Bottom Line:   
Great overall bike, handles single track like a knife. Just upgraded (if that what you call it) to a Titus FS disc brake bike, but I know when I am leaving the garage I'll be thinking of my Race light. One other thing, I converted the Race Light into a 9-speed. Buy one if you can find one, definitely a classic!

Good job Keith.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Any

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $1250.00

Purchased At:   Rice Street Bike

Similar Products Used:   Many

Bike Setup:   XT/XTR drive train with race face cranks, king headset, dues bars, Bontrager seat post (original), Thompson stem, Bontrager wheels, Flite saddle, XT V-brakes & 747's

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by jeff wu a Cross Country Rider from boulder,co,usa

Date Reviewed: September 7, 2005

Strengths:    One of a kind frame. Responsive, light, agile, durable. I've ridden it hard and put it away wet, but she's still a great ride even to this day.

Weaknesses:    Thrashed the original Judy XC fork. The guy at the bike shop had to rebuild it from various kits because it's nearly impossible to find a 1 inch front suspension fork. marzocchi maybe?

Bottom Line:   
The frame is a 96, but I purchased it in 98 before Bontrager was bought by Trek. It was between this and a Klein Attitude. Aluminum seemed sexier at the time, but I just loved the way the Bontrager felt. Where I live, few people ride steel, or even hardtails, much less something as old as this. You get more than a handful of comments when you show up with a rig like this. The serial number has only 3 numbers. Apparently, there weren't that many made. The fork issue is problematic, but I plan on riding this bike until she breaks. That will be a sad day.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Hall Ranch

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $1000.00

Purchased At:   Sun and Ski Sports

Similar Products Used:   GT carbon hardtail, Bontrager Privateer, Performance hardtail, Jamis hardtail.

Bike Setup:   XTR drivetrain, Judy XC (rebuilt), Fizik saddle, Panaracer tires, XT wheels, Zoom stem, and bar ends (can't see why folks ride without them)

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by kevin a Racer from hickory,NC,usa

Date Reviewed: August 29, 2002

Strengths:    i built this up to a 21.5lb bike and it climbs like a cat with its tail on fire. plus it's just so sexy

Weaknesses:    big name company bought keith out and now i have a bike warranteed for life that isn't made anymore

Bottom Line:   
this bike has it's own bed at my house, everyone should own one. on second thought i'm glad mine's one of a kind, 'cause i know i won't meet you riding the same flippin bike as me every time i get out. if you can find a used one and you like to race or ride trails (no hucking) this bike rules. its the best handling bike i've had (of 12)

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $1000.00

Purchased At:   ordered frame only

Similar Products Used:   i own (and have owned) about everything there is. now i have a full suspension beast i usually ride but sometimes its nice just to play on this thing, to remember how to ride

Bike Setup:   marzocchi fork, XT/XTR setup, raceface cranks, thompson post and a special blessing from el diablo

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Berkeley Mike a Cross Country Rider from Berkeley

Date Reviewed: September 17, 2001

Strengths:    A fine balance of flex and strength. A rabbit out of turns and an crisp climber.

Weaknesses:    Limited fork selection

Bottom Line:   
This bike has more ability to handle riding than I have ability to ride. No matter how much I learn, the bike is able to take me there. I've gone through a full set of components, put on new ones, and she's ready to go.
I can't imagine a better investment in a ride than this one; crisp, quick, clean, supple, and elegant. Sure, there may be a light XC dually for me in the next few years but nothing will give me the go I have when I step down on this pedal. This bike is a real keeper.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Singletingle

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $1400.00

Purchased At:   Sharp Bicycles

Similar Products Used:   nothing even close

Bike Setup:   XT, Marz Z2, Mavic, 858, LP 3ø, Chris King

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Brian a Cross Country Rider from Fairfax CA USA

Date Reviewed: May 11, 2001

Strengths:    Pre-Trek 1992 frame still going strong. Fast, light, stiff, bombproof.

Weaknesses:    1 inch headset (thank goodness for Marzochi). That's it.

Bottom Line:   
Irreplaceable. Sure, today there are Ellsworth, Intense and Turner to drool over for full suspension rigs. But you can't beat the combo of history, engineering, and quality in what might be the best hardtail ever made.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Marin singletrack

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Bike Setup:   XTR drivetrain, Sweet Wings Cranks, Avid Arch Supreme brakes, King/Valiant wheels, WTB saddle/tires, Syncros stem/Bonti Ti bar & ends, new U.S.E. XCR suspension seat post (gives new life to hardtails), a little Weigle spray to combat rust.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by tom a Cross Country Rider from blackburn, lancashire, England

Date Reviewed: August 2, 2000

Strengths:    Strong, Light, Well built, good corrosion resistance, with 1degree reduced rake crown the steering is the best I have ever tried.

Weaknesses:    Thin tube walls dent easily if you are not careful

Bottom Line:   
Probably one of the finest hardtails in existence.
Frame will last practically forever if you look after it.
Very expensive, but if it lasts five years, then it will have kicked practically every other frame's arse for value, whilst giving you one of the sweetest rides around.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Howgill Fells

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Similar Products Used:   Kona Explosif, Kona Kilauea.

Bike Setup:   Pace, hope disks, chris King, ESP 9.0, hope/mavic wheels.

Overall Rating:4
Submitted by Tom McConnell a Weekend Warrior from Arizona

Date Reviewed: December 23, 1999

Strengths:    
low rotational weight - front wheel cornering feel - smooth bearings -way more durability than expected


Weaknesses:    
Rear wheel feels a bit mushy in hard lean angle corners due to difflection


Bottom Line:   
would buy them again and reccomend them to customers

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   
Secret Trail - Flagstaff, Az.

Duration Product Used:   
1 Year

Similar Products Used:   
crossmax


Bike Setup:   
96 Turner w/ Fox alps 5 & Atom Bomb

Overall Rating:5
Submitted by Fritz a Cross-Country Rider from San Diego

Date Reviewed: November 18, 1999

Strengths:    
Extremely Light Weight
Fast and Strong


Weaknesses:    
Expensive if they did not come on your bike


Bottom Line:   
Very light weight and fast. When coupled with lightweight tubes and semi-slick tires this set-up flys. I have not had to true them at all after 750+ miles and being 205lbs. The rear hub did loosen after about 150 miles. Otherwise these rims are excellent overall.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   
1 Year

Similar Products Used:   
Nothing comparable


Bike Setup:   
Pro Caliber
SID SL

Overall Rating:5
Submitted by Jay Wnuk a Cross-Country Rider from Winona, MN

Date Reviewed: November 9, 1999

Strengths:    
Light, strong, make a cool buzzzing noise.


Weaknesses:    
Not cheap, both hubs loosened up after a couple of hundred miles.


Bottom Line:   
These wheels were noticeably lighter and seemed to be deflected off rocks easier. Other than the hub bearings loosening up once, they have been flawless. I got mine for $400.00 used, but they had new, supposedly crack-proof rims installed along with new nipples. So far they have not needed truing even after 2 hard races. Two thumbs up!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   
Cherry Hill

Duration Product Used:   
3 months

Similar Products Used:   
Stock wheels,Crosslands (good wheels also.).


Bike Setup:   
Trek 8000, Sid XC, mostly XTR, etc.

Overall Rating:5
Submitted by Ian Collins a Cross-Country Rider from Barneveld, NY

Date Reviewed: October 24, 1999

Strengths:    
The lightest
By far the fastest
Servicability
strong ceramic coating
Great strength to weight ratio
Ring drive is great for slow technical riding


Weaknesses:    
just the slightest bit flexy, but the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages


Bottom Line:   
These have dramatically improved my riding, they are soooo fast and smooth. The perfect XC riding/racing setup is these wheels with a set of ultra light tubes, a Bontrager Super-X 2.1 fr and a Bontrager Super-X 2.0 rear, both at like 30psi(I honestly haven't gotten a flat at this pressure yet) A really cool feature is the ring drive in the rear hub, it makes engagement instant, which means better chances of cleaning a technical section cause you can stall it and trackstand for a second and you start moving as soon as you pedal. I got these wheels, trued and tensioned them perfectly and they haven't come a half mm out of true after a whole season of riding. These wheels are expensive but try to buy a bike spec'd with them like i did. Even if you buy them aftermarket they are by far the best upgrade you can put on an XC bike

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   
Plattkill's XC

Duration Product Used:   
6 months

Similar Products Used:   
mavic
rolf
just about everything


Bike Setup:   
1999 gary fisher supercaliber MANITOU SX-TI(yes they do fit)

Overall Rating:5
Submitted by Steve Z a Racer from Logan UT

Date Reviewed: October 12, 1999

Strengths:    
Light light light
Purdy
I never thought I needed ceramic, but it rocks


Weaknesses:    
$$


Bottom Line:   
These wheels kick ass. I raced a full season on them and never had to true them, after my initial tensioning. Anyone who thinks they can buy a wheelset, take it out of the box and stick it on there bike and never true it is nuts. I mean, its not a Spin. Make sure you have someone competant go over them and they will rule. I rode them hard over nasty rocky utah trails all summer, sometimes with wimpy 1.9 and 1.6 semi slicks on a FS bike. I can't believe how true they've stayed. WAY better than my SWorks wheelset which has been perpetually out of true.Its interesting that from feb until august there were no posts of cracking rims, but now there are. Seems there is a bit of a fatigue life problem. Well I guess thats what you get from a 390 g rear rim. I think I'll detension mine a tiny bit now.The ceramic has sweet modulation, and no more buffing the brake pads off the rim surface like regular rims. I did have to relace the front wheel to fit inside my UL70.Minus 1/2 star for the rebuild, rounds up to 5

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   
the one i rode today

Duration Product Used:   
6 months

Similar Products Used:   
sworks wheelset


Bike Setup:   
22 lb Ellsworth Truth hardtail destroyer

Overall Rating:5
Submitted by Norm Whittaker a Weekend Warrior from Ridgeland, SC

Date Reviewed: October 10, 1999

Strengths:    
Light.
Good lookin'!
Strong (so far)


Weaknesses:    
Defective rear hub. It took two months to replace (fully warranteed though).


Bottom Line:   
Speedy & light.
I'm a clydesdale and they hold up under pressure.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   
All of Hunting Island

Duration Product Used:   
6 months

Similar Products Used:   
XT/Mavic
Other Shimano combos


Bike Setup:   
Specialized A1 Comp
Manitou M4

Overall Rating:3
Submitted by David a Cross-Country Rider from a place

Date Reviewed: September 28, 1999

Strengths:    
Light and have King hubs


Weaknesses:    
Flexy and the rim cracked


Bottom Line:   
They are too flexy for someone that weighs over 170. I cracker the rear rim after less than three months of use. The reason that it cracked was the extremly high spoke tension and I know I am not the first or only one that this happened too.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   
all of them

Duration Product Used:   
3 months

Similar Products Used:   
Crossland


Bike Setup:   
Fisher with a Manitou

Reviews 1 - 15 (45 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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


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