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  1. #1
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    Aiborne Aluminun 29er Frames, How good are they?

    They look great for 249$, I was thinking of building a 29er based on one. The price is right but will pay more if there are other frames that ride and work better.

    Any input on these sure would be welcome.

  2. #2
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    What do you mean by good? I ride a Seeker (which is the Goblin frame)

    I'm impressed by how comfortable the ride is, considering the size of the tubing.
    I'm impressed by how stiff they are, without beating the crap out of you.
    Its not steel. That's a downside.
    Mine doesn't make any weird noises, but I have a pretty soft riding style. I do like to jump stuff on the side of the trail, but its pretty tiny stuff.
    I love the way they respond. The harder you push, the better they feel. Definitely confidence inspiring.


    Do you have any specific questions? I know some racers have broken their frames, but Airborne replaced them under their lifetime warranty. Don't see a bunch of broken frames down in the Airborne forum. The biggest complaint seems to be that it uses XC/Race geometry rather than XC/Trail geometry like their Hobgoblin (dual suspension) or something like the Stache, but they are releasing a new bike based around slack geo later this fall.

    The bike shop referred to it as a "no frills, nothing special, not bad but pretty generic" frame, but he sells Niners.

  3. #3
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    I know aluminum rides rough, so you are saying it is a good frame for fast riding and very stable? What about the model with the shock, for 750 the price is right.

  4. #4
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    Yes, great frame for fast riding. Very stable. Its not designed for big hit stuff or huge jumps but if you like to ride fast over cross country oriented trails then this is your frame in that price range. The ride isn't as bad as other aluminum frames I've ridden. Stable enough over technical stuff for this timid new comer to technical riding but not as stable as somethingime the trek stache. Two different types of bikes there.

    I have no experience with their full suspension bike or frame. There is a review here in mtbr of it though.

    Review: Airborne HobGoblin 29er | Mountain Bike Review

  5. #5
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    You know the interesting thing is I came from MOTOX and I was way and I mean way faster on a CRMO frame compared to aluminum, they finally got the ALUM MOTO X bikes to where you could ride them but at first they were horrid.

    As you went faster they claimed aluminum got better but I did not see it that way at all, I felt like I needed Knee surgery after riding a aluminum MOTO X motorcycle.

    Figure a mountain bike times 10, I can ride an Aluminum mountain bike because you are not hitting stuff at 60 to 70 MPH. That was one of the main reasons I do not ride off road Moto motorcycles anymore. Aluminum really took the fun out of it and the old pros miss steel too, todays young kids do not know any better.

    I may better off with steel? So it is good for aluminum but aluminum is not that great? is aluminum tougher than most steel frames for a horse to ride?

  6. #6
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    Aluminum MTB frames have come a long way with the popularity of hydroforming. I have a 1998 Trek 7000ZX (USA made aluminum XC Frame) that is still going strong, despite me riding it as high as 310lbs. It is stiff and beats you up, but its durable. My Airborne rides much more supple, and is stiff under pedal and in curves, and it LOVES to go fast, but it just lacks something that steel bikes have. As far as durability, now-a-days, you're pretty much good no matter what you ride.

    I love my Airborne, but if I had the cash, I probably would've gone with a steel framed bike. Not because aluminum or Airborne are bad - they aren't, and aluminum frame tech has come leaps and bounds - but because I prefer the way steel rides. Lively, springy, and super smooth feeling. My only road bike (which means I race on it too,) is steel, so I have a bias. The airborne frame feels stiff, and it accelerates like a rocket. Climbs great. Rides great. Soaks up the bumps perfectly well. Feels good even with a small XC saddle. What I'll likely do is ride this until I can afford to swap the parts over to something like the niner ROS 9 or SIR 9 frame, then rebuild the Airborne as I can afford to with lighter parts for XC rides.

  7. #7
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    nothing wrong with aluminum for clydes, I prefer aluminum frames personally. Im down to 270 from 360 1.5 yrs ago. I can say rides stiffer than old steel frames but personally I like that. After this season of riding my 29er hardtail I bought in January (its Trek but had the airborne seeker been out then I would have been all over it instead) I have learned alot, and riding ability has increased alot. But I ride XC singletrack nothing more than a few inch drop etc.

    Frame material is preference and what you want to spend. Some like steel cause its softer ride, ones like me like aluminum for stiffness and hydroformed frames to me look sweet. Steel frames are much more to the point where as hydroformed aluminum gets some interesting lines and curves going on. Then you got the guys that ride carbon fiber. Never as a clyde will you see me doing that,lol. Not my thing see no point.

    So go for the airborne frame, not a thing wrong with it, I would happily ride it myself and never question its ability to handle my riding, handle alot more than Im willing to ride lol.
    Trek Marlin 29er

    Like It, Love It, Want Some More Of It!

  8. #8
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    Thanks., aluminum does look sweet it just rides rough.

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    Alu does not ride rough. With fat tyres and suspension, a clyde wants a frame not to flex. Steel is springy for the people it is designed for - the 80th percentile or whatever - and they are not clydes.
    For big guys, strength and not spring is what we need in frames. Suspension and pneumatic rubber deal with the rest.

  10. #10
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    You haven't ridden the first generation ALUMA TUB CR 250? that would change your thoughts pretty fast.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Realslowww View Post
    You haven't ridden the first generation ALUMA TUB CR 250? that would change your thoughts pretty fast.
    But I have ridden 20+ years of mountain and road bikes of both steel and alu.

    I'd find it hard to take something as complex as a motorbike (with all that suspension, tyres, geometry etc) and put a harsh ride down to the material used for the frame, especially if anything is a 1st generation. 1st few iterations of carbon frames were wful for bikes as well until they learned how to best use the material.

  12. #12
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    They got it better today but the problem with aluminum is they have to use huge pieces because it is not as strong as steel and in doing that it takes the flex out of the frame.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Realslowww View Post
    Thanks., aluminum does look sweet it just rides rough.
    Modern hydroformed aluminum frames do not ride rough. In fact, the Airborne frame in question rides AMAZINGLY smooth and comfortable considering the size of the tubing. Hydroforming really does wonders for it.

    Quote Originally Posted by TooTallUK View Post
    Alu does not ride rough. With fat tyres and suspension, a clyde wants a frame not to flex. Steel is springy for the people it is designed for - the 80th percentile or whatever - and they are not clydes.
    For big guys, strength and not spring is what we need in frames. Suspension and pneumatic rubber deal with the rest.

    I agree with the first thing you said, but disagree with the saying that Steel isn't for clydes. I am a clyde, as heavy as 310 (riding weight of about 245 right now) and absolutely love steel bikes. Prefer them greatly over aluminum, but it isn't because aluminum is harsh, I just find that it feels dead compared to steel. I race time trials on the road on my steel bike, never have a problem feeling like the bike is flexing under me, even during a hard sprint or out of the saddle uphill blast, and love the way old steel feels on trail. Its all a matter of preference. The "spring" in steel, especially modern steel bikes, is more a feeling of liveliness and not flex.


    Frame material is an age old discussion. It all boils down to whatever you like. I like steel but am incredibly impressed with modern aluminum frames in how much they mimic some of the properties of steel bikes, at a fraction of the cost. The frame that is the subject of this thread is an amazing frame at an amazing price and it will hold up fine under most clydes weight. I was riding mine hard today, jumping bridges and hammering as hard as I could around single track, and loving every minute of it.

  14. #14
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    Steel used to be cheaper than Aluminum, those days are long gone. I vastly prefer steel CHRMO over Alum for MOTOX motorcycles.

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