I've been riding a Engin war machine for the last 4 months or so and I can honestly say it's the best handling 29er I've ridden. I rode a few fisher 29er's before this and the difference is amazing. I felt like i had to really push the fishers to make them turn but the engin is super responsive and after a few rides the handling was totally intuative. The bike has been so great I'm planning on selling my fisher. I just dont' see myself riding it again.
Also drew, the builder, did a great job on the fit. I've got kind of odd proportions and he really nailed the size. On some 29ers I felt like I had to ride a bike that was to big or to small, but this one feels just right. I also opted for a custom stem which put the bars at perfect height. I'd definetly add on the stem it really completes the package.
This is my unbuilt bike. I'll try and get a pic of the built up one to show. Paint came out great and the build that they guys at engin suggested looked and worked great.
The first word that comes to mind is balanced. the geometry is perfect for technical singletrack, the bikes rides with a snap thats noticable, and the frames are sweet all around. 29 is the way to go if you are considering the switch from 26...my opinion.:thumbsup:
Engin #1: Full Rigid SS
I transitioned from a geared 26inch wheeled vicious metal guru to my first engin. I decided to jump into the SS world and went all in with the rigid. It took a while to pick up the rigid technique but i never rode the vicious again. when i did on the occasion when the engin was down it felt downright unstable and squirrley...it would with the different geometry and smaller tires- 29 inspires confidence no doubt with their handling.
I got the second bike, Number Two, to have the gears for the big days and frankly....cause i wanted a geared 29 to see how it compared. I rode it yesterday for the first time and im smitten. rode some gnarly neast technical singletrack in north jersey and had a great day. the ride handled really well and felt natural!
Well you are right Nat.It is sharp!I know the first week I had my Engin it looked terrible with the 26"Surly fork(sorry Drew)But I had 4 people from Philly in for the long weekend and had to ride it.WOW is about all I can say.It was said already,but it is True on the balance thing.It feels like a teeter-totter.So nicely balanced.Very even when I stand and descend.It Ripps.We rode From Dutchman's to Flag Line to Metolious to Marazak and back threw Shevlin Park Twice in a week on the odd fork and thought it was good and fast...I was wrong.With the White Bros Rock solid fork it is SO much better.I did kinda know how the bike would handle cause Drew and I are the same size.Last August I went home for John Brown's wedding and had the privilege to ride Drew's personal bike for two days and when I was done I told him to build me one.Thats all it took,Two rides.Drew and I are not tall guys,but the way he wrapped his mind around the design of the bike was perfect.
When the bike showed up at my door two weeks ago,I was so excited to open the box(thanks John for the JpWeigles frame saver,I live in Bend,Or)The bike made its way to the stand in 20 minutes and was built two hours later.Custom 100mm 31.8 Pink stem was only the icing on the Blue cake.Sorry I had to put my Marys on though.New XTR hydro levers with 4 piston XT calipers,The best thing going if you can do it.ENO crank with Boone Ti 34t.Loner wheel set Paul's 36 hole(thanks Jefe' GO B.O.S/S) with a 18t ENO(thanks Lunk)
WTB Nanos with 26" tubes.Ritchey WCS headset.Salsa 27.2 silver post.Specialized 130 Ti saddle.Oury grips and High polished Paragon drops .This bike ROCKS no doubt about it.If anyone needs a reason to buy one,come to Bend and ride one.You Will buy one. Drew put some personal touches to the bike that only he could have thought of...Thanks Drew.So What else is there to say but check these pics.Well IMG_0359.jpg.markMG_0372.JPG.mark.2
Four years ago I threw a leg over my first twenty nine inch wheeled bicycle, a first generation supercal 29. Right away the advantages of the big wheel were obvious to me and the little wheel bikes started losing their appeal. The disadvantages (although I believe there are few) of the big wheel were however still somewhat apparent.
Since then I've owned a surly km, fisher 292, mooto X ss, and now a geared engin as well as a ss engin. The surly and the 292 were a bit slow handling. They sort of epitomized the shortcomings of the big wheel. The moots kicked ass and I thought I'd never own another ss mountain bike and more than likely never again buy anything but titanium.
Then in spring of 2006 Drew built me a geared war machine and even the moots I thought I'd never abandon started collecting dust. The engin's chainstays are freakishly short but still clear my favorite tires. Seat tube and head tube angles are steeper than any of my previous bikes yet the engin will still rip like crazy on the wickedest descents.
At the time I hadn't heard of anybody using angles that steep so I was a little worried but once I rode it everything came together. A steer from the hip kind of ride has been achieved. Literally I feel like I can just flick my inside elbow down and drop my outside hip and just whip a 90 degree turn with almost no body english. Even my moots didn't kick turns like that.
So now four years and however many bikes later it's hard to remember how my 26er's rode or even how my earlier 29er's felt. But one thing's for sure, I'm not missing them and the only new atb I look forward to getting is another engin someday if I manage to destroy one of these. It does help though that I work for Drew and sell his bikes for a living. All bias aside though, my mountain bikes are a huge part of my life and if these bikes weren't exceptional I wouldn't be riding them.
Engin War Machine 29er - works for short folks too!
When 29er’s first appeared on the scene I was both fascinated and disappointed. I got the whole “big wheel” thing but read about them not being for shorter folk. I read through the articles on twentynineinches.com and here on MTBR and wished I could ride one. I talked to the guys at Wissahickon Cycles and to Drew at Engin about 29er’s working for short people and they said it could be done with the correct geometry.
Engin was just starting up back then and there was a waiting list so I bought a small Fisher Paragon 29er to try it out before committing to a custom frame. While the bike was good – it was not great. I had problems on short – steep climbs where I needed to keep my weight distribution just right in order to both turn on the switchbacks and maintain traction. The climb I’m referring to here is on back side of Spring Mountain near my home in Schwenksville, PA.
A few months later my frame was complete – just in time for my trip to Portland OR. I rode the bike twice before shipping it out to the great Northwest. The first ride was nothing short of eye opening – nothing like the Fisher. Like the other reviews here the bike disappears from under you – not to sound to corny - it’s almost telepathic. I think I rode 90% of the trails in Wissahickon Park that day and I NEVER rode them as fast and as clean in the past 15 years I have been riding there.
In Portland I didn’t rent a car – just rode the bike everywhere. Forest Park, Powell Bute, event a 50+ mile road ride. (Read Portland Article)
I stopped in several bike shops and got many comments on the look of bike but more on the whole 29er phenomena. I put several hundred miles on the bike that week and just noticed that I never got fatigued or had any back issues. This is the first bike I have owned that actually fits me.
When I finally arrived home and rested up I rode out to Spring Mountain to put it to the test. I got to the steep switchback and hunkered down to tackle the nasty – no problems with traction (same wheels/tires as Fisher) – climbs like a goat!
BTW: I’m 5’8” tall. If you are short - this bike will fit you better than any mass produced off the shelf bike. I sold all my 26” bikes and Engin is currently working on a single speed for me – can’t wait!
My Engine 29er at the Forest Park, Portland OR June 2007
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