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  1. #1
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    MB Fantom Ti Boost Review

    Just in case anyone was curious about these....this is the $3k 29er X01 Eagle model currently at bikes direct. Had an older Ti frame from them also. Ridden this on everything from speedy hardpack to rocky singletrack to Moab-style sandstone and slick rock.

    Build:
    SID RLC fork, X01 Eagle, M8000 brakes with Ice Tech rotors, WTB Frequency i19 rims (more on that later), re-branded Novatec boost hubs. Came with Ritchey WCS post, stem, and bars, changed to carbon post, Kore 35mm stem, and Spank Oozy 760mm bars. This thing is light - listed at just under 24 pounds but feels lighter. Set up tubeless.

    Frame:
    Typical ORA made Ti frame, which is to say very, very nice. Really beautifully made. Butted and shaped tubes, great finishing, good looking welds. 3 water bottle mount provisions! One on seat tube, one on top of down tube, one on bottom of down tube. This is nice, as I prefer to carry water and basic tools off-body. There are also rack provisions, which I suppose would make it good for bikepacking and such. There is plenty of external routing guides (3 or 4, can't remember) on the down tube and one for a FD on the seat tube. No dropper or other internal routing. Standard threaded BB like every bike on the planet should have. Longer, lower, slacker than the previous generation like nearly all bikes are going. Lots of room for chubby tires.

    Ride:
    The good:
    This bike accelerates like a horny rabbit, handles responsively and intuitively, descends with confidence, climbs well, and does so while maintaining that lovely, supple, chatter-dampening quality that those who have ridden a good Ti frame will know. Basically, it's a great all-rounder in pretty much every regard. It doesn't need to be wrestled into submission and responds well to finesse and small adjustments, but it's light enough to toss around if you need to. I'm faster on this bike than anything I've owned or ridden before, and it feels like it. You really sit 'in' this bike and the low BB allows you to rail with abandon. Although this bike is kitted out closer to an XC race bike, the geo and ride characteristics place it more in the trail/AM hard tail camp. Which brings us to...

    The weird:
    BD's build kit is odd. The rims are i19s, as is 19mm wide. They are light, stiff, and accelerate well....and are antiquated for any trail use outside of pure XC is concerned. Forget going any larger than a 2.2 tire and even then you're pushing the limits of sensibility. The SID is an excellent fork, especially now that it has the charger damper. But is a very focused piece...it lets you know it's all business and it is neither plush nor forgiving. Given the geo and personality, these are strange choices. You could easily push either past their design intentions and limitations. The bike is asking for...no, begging for...a 120mm+ fork and wider rims. It wants to be a trail bike, not a race bike despite how fast the dang thing is.

    The bad:
    The BB is LOW. I mean, really low. I'm having more pedal strikes then ever, and have to be much more cognizant of pedal position in the techy bits. In fact I had to go check the geo chart...308mm BB height. I don't think I've seen one lower. And that's with 29s....no way would I try 27.5+ with a 100mm fork. Again it leads me to believe this bike NEEDS a longer travel fork.

    Overall:
    A killer bike in general, even more so when you take $$ into account. Toss on a longer travel fork and wider rims, and you have a bike you can take anywhere that is light and does basically everything well. It just needs a slightly smarter build which plays to its strengths. But, I'd buy it again in a second.

  2. #2
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    Interesting about the BB height. I have been eyeing the frame only option and had a 120mm Pike in mind which, according to your assessment, sounds like a good move. Or, is it easy to move the SID to 120mm? Can that be done with an air shaft?

    Thanks for the review!

  3. #3
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    While the older SIDs were 120mm capable, this newest version is - according to SRAM - a refocused gram-counting reincarnation designed solely for XC use with a dedicated 80-100mm chassis. So no 120mm capability. But if you could find a buyer for the SID you should be able to get a good amount of scratch for it, just might take you a bit longer. I think a 120mm Pike would be perfect for this bike. That's right where my mind has gone with the fork. I wouldn't go longer than that though, as geo might start to get a bit wonky at that point.

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