Klein Mantra Race Bike Bike 1998 or Older

4.38/5 (91 Reviews)
MSRP : $2499.00


Product Description

Klein Mantra Race Bike


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Reviews 1 - 15 (91 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Phil a Cross Country Rider from UK

Date Reviewed: July 15, 2011

Strengths:    Design, quality, mine is pre takeover - it matters, durability, the mantra is an underrated bike - i used mine with Z1 Bams and have switched to carbon rigids - this i strongly believe gives you/the rider the best balance. It is not a full susser so if you buy one expecting it to be you will scare yourself to death - XC at most. Gary Klein designed this machine to have rigid front ends.

Weaknesses:    If you have one with forks when braking it dives all over the place, misuse it for downhill etc you will ruin it, and eat those pivot bushes - this isnt a product weakness but a lot of how it was marketed at one point or another. A true weakness is very early rear triangles often broke with no warning.

Bottom Line:   
Get one - its a love or hate bike, most that dont like it havent owned one - look after this and will be worth a few some day but for riding pleasure when set up its ace and fun. Try and get a pre Trek one, they look better and are retro as hell.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Still looking....

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $600.00

Purchased At:   Online

Similar Products Used:   Klein hardtails, Klein Palomino, Kestrel, Specialized, Pro flex, Kona lava dome 1992 in white with splatter paint - i miss that bike!!

Bike Setup:   For the Mantra - Large frame in Koi (orange/yellow fade), White industries carbon straight forks, full XTR, Conti race king tyres, Mavic 512, Hope, Race face next forged carbon crank, Syncros stem, Selle italia saddle, Fox alps 5 R rear, Cane creek and so on.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by mashimaro a Downhiller from Landskrona

Date Reviewed: April 28, 2011

Strengths:    Reasonably light. Stiff frame. Great climber both in and out of the saddle. The bike accelerates like no other full suspension bike I have ridden. Quick and agile handling. No pedal bob, or to be specific, the pedal bob does not affect the pedaling efficiency. This bike pedals just as good as a hardtail bike. The finish of the frame (welds, paint job and so on) is very, very nice. It has an exclusive and expensive feel to it. The bike always gets a lot of attention, even though I must admit that not all of that attention is positive. People either love or hate this bike.

Weaknesses:    Descents! When you brake with the front brake, the rear suspension extends all the way. This results in the bike's wheelbase shortening and the rider is lifted up, to a higher riding position. The handling becomes more nervous and there is an increased risk of an OTB. The steeper the hill and the harder the front brake is applied, the more this effect is noticed.

I always hit the inside of my knees off the frame at rear pivot as this is placed on the top tube, very close to the saddle tube. The frame is very wide at this point.


Bottom Line:   
This is a great bike, but it also has one large flaw.

I love riding technical cross country on this bike. It's just so fast, stiff and responsive. But I get a bit nervous when I have to brake hard going down steep hills.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Söderåsen

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $400.00

Purchased At:   Second hand

Similar Products Used:   Cannondale Super V, lots of hardtail bikes, YT Tues DH downhill bike, Giant DH Team downhill bike.

Bike Setup:   1996 Klein Mantra Race frame, Gradient tubing. Full XTR 950 group with the exception of the front hub which is a White Industries Ti. Thomson Elite seat post. Flite saddle. Mavic rims (model unknown). Syncros stem and headset. Klein bullhorn handle bar. Fox Alps 5r rear shock. Rock Shox Judy SL fork. Continental Vertical Pro tyres. The frame and all the components are from 1996, with the exception of the tyres.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by brad a Cross Country Rider from Olympia, WA

Date Reviewed: April 19, 2009

Strengths:    Single track, climbing

Weaknesses:    high speed descents

Bottom Line:   
This bike is very different from any other full suspension bike and has received an unwarranted reputation for "stinkbugging". Those who have experienced that problem with the Mantra series have not taken the time to understand the design.

Gary Klein designed the bike to be ridden as rear suspension only with a rigid fork, so you need to use a much stiffer fork setting than you would on any other bike. The rear shock compresses when the front wheel hits a bump, so you can get away with a stiffer setup (such as the original boron wrapped aluminum fork Gary intended the bike to have).

Do that, and stay in the saddle on steep descents and you will have no troubles - except for the fact that it is a very quick steering bike (designed for single track)so it can be handful at very high speeds.

It is right up there with the Maverick/Palomino in being the only full suspension bikes that rival hardtails in climbing.

I have never ridden another cross country bike that makes me feel more at home on the bike than this one. For me it engenders a feeling of confidence that has been unmatched by any other.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Horsehead Pass, North Cascades

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Purchased At:   used from a disgrunt

Similar Products Used:   Sugar, FSR, Fuel, NRS


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Tim Beeching a Cross Country Rider from Hendersonville, NC, USA

Date Reviewed: November 2, 2007

Strengths:    Great climbing manchine; the short wheelbase and narrow bars make the twisty trails a snap; soaks up the rough stuff real good; fun for the downhills as long as you throw your weight off the back seat

Weaknesses:    creaking in the frame; large bearing headset

Bottom Line:   
I've been riding this bike since 00 or 01. Gone thru a few different back-up bikes during that time and always gone back to the Klein. This bike fits me like a glove and I have more confidence on it than any other bike I have owned. I plan to buy another one at some point so that I have two. It has been dependable and I don't plan to let it go any time soon. I wish Klien would reintroduce this bike.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Dupont and Pisgah trails

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Purchased At:   Liberty Bicycles

Bike Setup:   Hayes Hyd disc brakes, Manitou R-Seven fork, Thomson stem, factory Icon bars, King 1 1/8" headset (custom made adapters pressed into the original races), XTR shifters and deraileurs, changing over to Tru-Vativ cranks and rings, SRAM chain and cassette, Thomson seatpost, factory seat (brand is worn off, forgot it), Bontrager Race Lite Disc rims, DT Swiss hubs, FSA ISIS bottom bracket, Panaracer Fire X 2.1 tires

26 lbs

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Dave Green a Weekend Warrior from Auckland, New Zealand

Date Reviewed: January 9, 2007

Strengths:    1. Its a Klein
2. After nearly 10 years its proved indestructible
3. Looks fantastic
4. Suspension works well
5. Its just the dogs nuts


Weaknesses:    1. Standard factory components were a bit weak

Bottom Line:   
This was the first MTB I ever bought, to keep me fit in London. I loved it from the day I got it, and still rate it. I have seriously thrashed it all over England, Wales, and New Zealand, hence the non-standard components (4th set of forks, 2nd drivettrain etc etc).

Fail to understand the fuss over the downhill aspects. Maybe coz this was my first bike i just assumed that it was how it was. I have taken this bike full noise down some good sized mountains and found it to be less frightening than my other bike - a hardtail Cannondale. I still prefer it for downhill over any of my friends bikes. Maybe its the way i ride, or the fact that I am a smaller guy, but I found that keeping off the seat and my weight over the bars and keeping the front planted where I wanted it, the back of the bike did a great job of soaking up the bumps and holding the line.

Its never thrown me or become unstable or complained about me jumping off buildings or big drops. The frame is still as solid as the day I bought it. Its rigid, light, and just makes me feel more confident about going hard, which is what a great bike is all about.

I would *never* sell my Mantra. One of the best toys I ever bought!

Without a doubt one of the coolest mountain bikes ever made and *still* better than any other FS bikes made today. Totally love it.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $3000.00

Purchased At:   Bike shop in London UK

Similar Products Used:   Cannondale FS700

Bike Setup:   Oh too much to mention - replaced seat, replaced crank set and brakes (added disc to front), replaced forks, straight bars etc etc

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Chris Brewer a Cross Country Rider from Atlanta, GA

Date Reviewed: May 25, 2006

Strengths:    Carbon Fiber Mantra Race
Weight, Climbing, Rear Suspension set up, the fastest bike I have ever ridden!!


Weaknesses:    Sealed Headset specific to carbon fiber models only, Mystery noises from frame and or bushings.

Bottom Line:   
I am in the weight range of a great xc bike, the bike shreds local trails. I find it extremely easy to rip through technical and rocky terrains, at the right speed almost effortlessly. Though I would have to agree with most that the downhills can become quite tricky with this bike. It just has to be ridden differantly on steep technical downhills though you can still haul ass. It may take a few face plants to figure it all out. I suggest for this, if you do not have to carbon fiber version that flanges at the headset to get a true downhill front fork it will make a huge difference. A great bike for the money and if you can get your hands on one resonably priced you will fall in love as have many of us. I would not sell this bike for the world.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $1500.00

Purchased At:   from a professional

Similar Products Used:   too many to list

Bike Setup:   Carbon Fiber Mantra Race, Rockshox SID Race, Bontrager Race Lites, Cane Creek Curved V brakes with carbon fiber brake boosters, Easton Carbon Monkey Lite riser bar (the hard to find 125g version) SRAM 9.0 SL Betsy Ross Edition Carbon grip shifts, brake levers, and rear derailleur, XTR Front derailleur, XTR Cog sets, RaceFace Carbon Fiber cranks. Thompson Seat Post with standard saddle. Including Nashbar cheap pedals. All together weighting an amazing 22-23lbs.

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by jim johnston a Racer from vader wa

Date Reviewed: March 14, 2006

Strengths:    latrally stiff

Weaknesses:    not ballanced suspension travel.location of pivot causes head tube angle to radically change in g out situations.

Bottom Line:   
overall this bike is terrible for anything but pavement use.Look for real suspension such as fsr.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   lewis river

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $1800.00

Purchased At:   klein

Similar Products Used:   is there anything as poorly designed?

Bike Setup:   judy sl xt xtr thompson

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by alex a Weekend Warrior from witham essex

Date Reviewed: March 13, 2006

Strengths:    one of the beat xc single track bikes ever

Weaknesses:    urt backend

Bottom Line:   
one of the best bikes in her class

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   dambury

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $2000.00

Similar Products Used:   well im a mtb builder so iv tryed most

Bike Setup:   fall xtr hope front ankers middleburn drivers

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Todd Emerson a Cross Country Rider from Grand Junction, Co, usa

Date Reviewed: February 12, 2006

Strengths:    Stiff and tight frame...lika a Klein

Weaknesses:    Raise the front end a bit if it still has an 80 mm fork

Bottom Line:   
Those who own a Klein are usually xc or climbers. I love the brutal climbs. After buying my first Klein I was religiously hooked, never to go back. I still have my Adroit(will NEVER part with it) and my Attitude, so I will switch off riding a bit. I was amazed at how well the Mantra climbed. Back when I bought it I still lived in So Ca and mostly rode the local mountains...San Juan trail, Harding trail, Joplin, etc. I love my hard tails but this was a nice change. Soon we headed to Moab and I tried it on some of the most brutal trails on earth. I love my adroit but theres no way I'm taking it down the Portal trail (it's built up fully rigid). The Mantra has never disappointed me. I bought it new in 1998 and have ridden it consistently ever since. I can not think of any issue I have ever had with it. Would I buy it again if it was lost? IN A SECOND!! It has been a GREAT investment!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   San Juan - Porcupine Rim

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $2300.00

Purchased At:   Supergo

Similar Products Used:   Gt Pantera, Klein Adroit, Klein Attitude, Klein Pulse

Bike Setup:   put a 100mm Bomber fork on it after 2 downhill endos...eventually upgraded just about everything

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Smeguk a Cross Country Rider from London

Date Reviewed: October 12, 2005

Strengths:    Great bike

Weaknesses:    desing fault in the frame

Bottom Line:   
Guys these are the most amazing bikes but be warned if you start hearing that noise and think its the bottom bracket it aint! It is the frame shearing by the pivot just next to the USA flag and Klein do know about this fault in the design of the race and earlier mantras but just don't tell you as per Don below

Klein do offer lifetime warranty and great customer service BUT you need to have the original paperwork or you will be left with a broken frame to put on the wall

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Purchased At:   Evans

Similar Products Used:   Klein Palamino, klein q pro carbon


Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Jon a Weekend Warrior from Queens NY

Date Reviewed: April 26, 2004

Strengths:    Beatiful Color
Good Parts for its time.
Solid Frame. Best Paint job.
Adjustable shocks. XT parts.


Weaknesses:    Needs upgrades.
1997 Parts.
Thin Tires.
only 24 speed with no gear indicators.


Bottom Line:   
I have been ridding a hard tail for around 7 years and just the upgrade to a dual suspension already makes my back and bottom say thankyou. The bike preforms wonderfully on light trails and Road due to the OLD but still efficient Shock system front/rear. I have only tested it in Forest Park NY and road and it has taken all the big hits no problem. It is ULTRA LIGHT even with the old technology and does feel safe and easy to control. I recomend this bike to any one that can buy one under $800 and plans to upgrade some parts. you will definetly be happy and you will be sure to get a lot of WOWS just cruising down yor block. PS. keep the seat low when doing heavy down hill it can be a little scary, But climbs like a monkey.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Rocky point LI

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $700.00

Purchased At:   Ebay

Similar Products Used:   Trek 7000 w/upgrades, Cannondale Raven 700x W/lefty.

Bike Setup:   Original parts except New saddle and XT brake set.
Bike comes with XT all around. Ceramic Mavic Cross.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Ro a Cross Country Rider from The Hague-Netherlands

Date Reviewed: December 31, 2003

Strengths:    Great bike, wonderful design, headturner, great design, great climber, great stability yet lightweight

Weaknesses:    pivot creaks sometimes
killed after Trek took over Klein, discontinued


Bottom Line:   
Klein managed to create a wonderful design with the one-tube frame and deserves full credit for it. This bike belongs in the museum of modern art, as far as I am concerned. A modern classic I am proud to own and enjoy every time I ride it.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Similar Products Used:   what not

Bike Setup:   Klein Mantra race (modified)
- Rock Shox Sid sl
- King headset
- Fox Float RL rear
- XT-R front and rear
- Rolf propel wheels
- Magura 33
- Selle Italia TransAm prolink

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Don Beyer a Weekend Warrior from Lemon Grove

Date Reviewed: July 26, 2003

Strengths:    Great climber, fast single tracker, good overall ride.

Weaknesses:    A little scary on rocky downhill. Steep head angle takes some getting used to. Center of gravity a little high

Bottom Line:   
Fantastic ride, Sycamore Canyon has just about every type of terrain you could ask for and it handles it all very well untill you get to the steep rocky downhill. I added a quick release for seatpost adjustment. I lower it about and inch just before the steep rocky stuff and have learned to stay off the back of the seat. It has given me a lot more confidence in handling it (Used to get off and walk some of it). The coating on the bushings in the pivot gave out on the side faces from what looks like a little missalignment of the arms surfaces. The Klien replacement bushings did not have the proper clearance. (They just slopped around in the frame when they are supposed to be a press fit.) Being a machinist by trade I replaced them with a Delrin plastic bushing and they have worked great so far Yesterday after hearing a wierd creaking sound on the last two rides my rear arm snapped off just below the pivot. This drove my fron sprocket into the ground and brought me to an abrupt stop. I take very good care of this bike so this took me by surprise especially since I just had it torn down a couple months back to do the bushings. It broke at the bottom edge of the weld just below the pivot. If you do a lot of hard riding check this area out very closely. Well, looks like I need to make a run over to the local Trek store this morning to see what they will do about it. Up until yesterday I have been very pleased with this bike. I suppose if they will do the right thing and replace it for me I will still be happy with it. Will let you know how Trek performs.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Sycamore Canyon

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $450.00

Purchased At:   Yard Sale

Bike Setup:   All stock XT with Manitou SX fork, switched out tires to Raptors. Rebuilt fork works very well. Replaced stem with 1" rise and 2" shorter and moved seat back as far as it would go to get weight off front end. Replaced seat with Specialized COMP. Once you get these setup right they are great.

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Jeff Verink a Cross Country Rider from Deerfield, WI

Date Reviewed: May 12, 2003

Strengths:    Unique looks, climbs incredibly well, nice component spec. (I actually like the WTB grease guard bits). The frame is solidly built and laterally very rigid. A really good bike for rolling double track - faster and more comfortable than a hardtail.


Weaknesses:    The Mantra has two in order of severity:

-riding downhill
-riding downhill singletrack

Living and riding in the midwest it wasn't until I took it out west to ride that I discovered the dark side of the Mantra. What others have said about descending on the Mantra is true - it was truly frightening.
Applying the brakes caused the rear end to jack up, raising the center of gravity, the wheel base to shorten, making the bike less stable and essentially giving it a weird variable geometry - the Mantra completely destroyed my confidence when descending.


Bottom Line:   
First off, Trek bought Klein in 1996. Most bikes from mid-1996 on were made under Trek's management. Hence some of the less fancily painted models like the monocromatic Pulse.

At first I really liked my Mantra. Nice components, modest weight, great climbing, especially on rough terrain. It was
faster than most hardtails I'd ridden, especially uphill.

Living and riding in the midwest it wasn't until I took it out west to ride that I discovered the dark side of the Mantra. What others have said about descending on the Mantra is true - it was truly frightening.

Applying the brakes on steep terrain caused the rear end to jack up raising the center of gravity, the wheel base to shorten, making the bike less stable and essentially giving it a weird variable geometry - the Mantra completely destroyed my confidence when descending anything technical.

If you ride wide or non-technical trails, or fireroads, this is a fine bike. Especially if you can get a good price on it. I went back to a hardtail and a Kona Stinky for stoopid stuff.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Bike Setup:   Stock 1998 Mantra Race (Large, Koi)+ velociraptors, eventually swaped fork for a white brothers

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Charlie Spano a Cross Country Rider from Ttiusville, NJ, USA

Date Reviewed: September 26, 2002

Strengths:    Simple design, climbs and handles sand like no other bike can do; handles fast not too technical trails as in the NJ pines with whoops, stumps, tight turns and average speeds on the flat of 15 to 17 mph really well

Weaknesses:    Scary to descend steep stuff on. I think placing the pivot 2cm back would improve this. I changed my Thompson seat post to a Weyless to get more setback, which improved descending. I do not feel comfortable in knarly heavily rooted trails where one must fly or creep. When the breaks are hit in this situation the back shock rises and the front compresses.....at slow speed a perfect set-up for a head plant.

Bottom Line:   
Awsome bike if you do not do radical descents and you are not afraid to keep the speed up in heavily rocked trails to give the bike a little float. Nothing climbs close to it or can keep up with it in the sand. Does woops really great.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Fire and endur trails Lebanon State Forrest - 30+miles

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $1500.00

Purchased At:   Frenchtown Bike Shop

Similar Products Used:   Only hardtails.

Bike Setup:   Stock, XT components, changed stem to a 10cm and Weyless seatpost for more setback to make me feel more comfortable when descending.

Reviews 1 - 15 (91 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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