I've been the happy owner of this '03 Pantera (size small/15" ST) for about 8 or 9 years.
I've owned 3 single pivot bikes, all with a high-forward pivots (2nd gen Heckler, El Chamuco, and this Pantera), and agree with K.P. "...it really is hard to beat a well designed single pivot bike..."
I always thought the Pantera was misunderstood. Although it only had 4" of travel, it was more of a short-travel trail/light-am bike than XC racer--ie, it was a lot closer to a Santa Cruz Heckler or Blur 4X than a Superlight.
Who knows, maybe it would have been more popular if it had 5" rear travel and an "official" rating for 5" forks of the day (IIRC, there were posts here warning that putting longer travel forks w/ a2c's significantly longer than ~480mm a2c's of typical 4" forks on the Pantera could put too much leverage on the HT...).
Anyway, as I eventually moved on to longer travel AM bikes, the Pantera has seen very little riding time over the past few years.
Bottom line is that for a 10-year old bike, this thing flat out rips as a 650B conversion:
- the rear suspension design still feels great on the trail--and it's still just as laterally stiff as I remember...
- the bigger hoops noticeably improve the bike's ability carry momentum while rolling over $hit that previously slowed it's momentum w/ 26" wheels
- the rear swing arm has plenty of room for the 2.35 Neo Moto, and with shock deflated and fully compressed that Neo Moto isn't even close to touching the seat tube
- for being 10 years old, the geo is surprisingly close to a medium 2013 Santa Cruz Solo: ~68* HTA (w current 502mm a2c on 130mm travel 2002 Z1 20mm thru axle fork), 17" CS, ~13.7" BB height, ~27.5" standover w/ Neo Motos
Potential future mods:
- eccentric rear shock bushings to drop the BB back towards 13", and further slacken the HTA to ~67 deg (although I may need to reduce the shock stroke a hair if the reducer bushings bring the rear tire too close to the seat tube)
- will swap the 4.5 lb coil 20mm thru axle Z1 for a lighter 3.5 lb Pushed Float 130 (501mm a2c) that's been sitting in my garage forever--i just need to swap the Float's current 9mm QR lowers for new 15mm thru axle lowers
- send the aging Float R shock to PUSH for a factory tune
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Thread: Pantera 650B Conversion