Airborne Full Suspension 29er (photos)- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Airborne Full Suspension 29er (photos)

    It just came in today. Sorry I don’t have any details about it. Pat rode it home today and should have some feedback tomorrow…
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  2. #2
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    Rear looks familiar

    Looks like a modified rear end of an Astrix Solo.
    www.astrixsports.com/solo.htm
    Appears the airborne has a well thought out bike.Hope it rides as good as it looks!

  3. #3
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    ... and if we just ... Very Nice

    Airbourne seems to be working overtime on this 29 inch stuff! Question- Travel? Would seat tube bend be advisable? What up with the "fork secrecy"? Can't wait to hear your impressions, Pat.
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  4. #4
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    interesting!

    anxious to hear some ride reports....how much travel does that thing get anyway?
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  5. #5
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    Fork Secrecy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Guitar Ted
    What up with the "fork secrecy"?
    I'm pretty sure...

    It's no secret. That's a Marzocchi fork, they just ship'em with those protective covers on the decals...so you can put your own scratches in em.


    on with the riding impressions.

  6. #6
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    I can hardly come up with reason why NOT to bend the seattube on a 29" FS frame. Who would say no to shorter chainstays combined with more travel?
    Klok - XC - Skate - Ski

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    first ride impressions

    Just got into the shop after a good ride home last night via several miles of ST, then more of the same on the way in this morning. All I can say is that it was a very nice ride thru the big root sections of the trail, and it handled the twisty windy sections as well as my B-29. The SPV rear shock was a nice addition that made the bike a joy to stand on and sprint up the short hills between roots. The BB height is fine, the balance b/w front and rear suspension is great, and I felt no need to bend the seat tube for quicker reponse. I've absolutely no need for any changes as it is. Airborne has another winner!
    There's a line of folks waiting to ride it, so that will tell us more. The soft-tail is also here collecting dust since this came in, so anyone interested in that one let me know.
    We'll keep posting reports as they come in, but for now I'm not sure why anyone wanting a full boinger 29er would look any further.
    As for the "secret fork", I'll let the customer who buys it peel the protective sticker covers off. Sorry it wasn't a newer and better fork....
    More later, Alaska Pat Irwin

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by discodave
    Looks like a modified rear end of an Astrix Solo.
    www.astrixsports.com/solo.htm
    Appears the airborne has a well thought out bike.Hope it rides as good as it looks!
    I was noticing the same thing. Astrix isn't a big name in MTB (yet). Has anyone had any experience with the any of the Astrix line up?
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Bill
    It just came in today. Sorry I don’t have any details about it. Pat rode it home today and should have some feedback tomorrow…
    (1) Ok, so what's going on with that linkage? It's a burly looking single pivot combined with a secondary linkage that modifies the spring curve? It isn't a multi-link design, is it?

    (2) Is it really 4.5" of travel?

    (3) Kind of refreshing to see all this new bling-bling with the old mainstay Avîd mechanical disc brakes bolted up. Gotta like that.

    (4) I think I want one. Please, keep the ride reports coming in.

  10. #10
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    tire clearance

    got a picture of the tire clearance. It looked kind of tight from the other pictures

    what's the beast's weight?

    Nice all round spec

  11. #11
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    if it works.....

    Quote Originally Posted by discodave
    Looks like a modified rear end of an Astrix Solo.
    www.astrixsports.com/solo.htm
    Appears the airborne has a well thought out bike.Hope it rides as good as it looks!
    Airborne is smart. If they see a design that works for them, they sometimes license it from the original maker and save time/$$ in getting the bike to the consumer. Example is the Manhattan Project Road bike with a Kestral rear carbon stays. They pass the savings on to you, so why not????
    The bike is out with another tester, but so far this thing rocks. More later....
    Pat

  12. #12
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    I'll take a stab............

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedüb Nate
    (1) Ok, so what's going on with that linkage? It's a burly looking single pivot combined with a secondary linkage that modifies the spring curve? It isn't a multi-link design, is it?

    (2) Is it really 4.5" of travel?

    (3) Kind of refreshing to see all this new bling-bling with the old mainstay Avîd mechanical disc brakes bolted up. Gotta like that.
    (1) The secondary linkage also isolates the shock body from being a stressed member of the frame.

    (2) I doubt it. Probably 3" to keep the chainstays "reasonably" short.

    (3) Agreed. Like AK Pat says, "If it works........"
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  13. #13
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    I want one...

    ...right now. I was wondering when somebody was going to create a 3-4" travel single pivot 29er...seems so elementary. I mean, how hard would it be for Santa Cruz to take its Superlight, or, better yet, Heckler platform and manipulate it into a clean, simple functional 29er FS bike. That would be big heaving titties.

    Gimme that bike,

    Sean
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    Photo and Ride report (long)

    So yesterday I put some hours in on the as yet unnammed Airborne full suspension 29er. The first thing I noticed is the rock solid stability of the SPV shock. I’ve been riding hard tails for the last two years and I didn’t even notice the suspension, in terms of power loss or bob or bio-pace or whatever. It pedals like a plain ol’ bike.

    In the trails the bike is fast. It turns fast, it rolls fast and it feels fast. For the last two weeks I’ve been riding my new B-29 hardtail, and that is about the best handling bike I’ve ridden. A definite step up from the Fisher. The B-29 not only feels more stable than the Fisher it also turns harder and faster and the full sussy rides just like the B-29. When you push it hard it asks to be pushed harder. Go fast and it will ask you to go faster. Turn sharp it will lean and beg you to turn harder. It’s a hoot. In fact, and I found this to be a real kick in the pants, the chainstays (measured in a straight line from the center of the BB to the center of the rear axle) on the full sussy are about the same length as the B-29. And definitely sub 18 inches. The bike wheelies like a dirt bike (or a 26er) and on the open ski trails I was able to ride wheelies comfortably, or at least to the best of my meager wheelie riding ability.

    So after a little wide open XC ski trail riding I hit some tight single track. This bike handles. It turns faster, without giving up any stability, than my Mt Tam 29er ever did. In fact it was so much fun in the tight stuff that except for taking XC ski trails to and from my house I spent most of the ride in the tight and twisty stuff. On a gradual rooty uphill, with trees closing in, the bike just asked to be pushed harder and faster and faster and harder until I ran out of gas and had to drop the pace. (I need to find shorter hills or eat less ice cream). The high BB cleared rocks, roots, logs and the mangled debris of 26ers foolish enough to get in Sussy’s path. On rolling technical terrain the bike is unmatched. It carries momentum like any 29er but with the full suspension you can build so much more momentum to carry. On open double track ski trails this bike is so fast it is scary. If I haven’t said it enough the bike is fast, fast, fast.

    The bike weights in at around 29lbs with what I consider to be non weight weenie parts. My B-29 weights in at 23.8 and I didn’t really notice the weight difference all that much. But I must admit that since I only took the bike out for a few hours I avoided terrain where I thought the weight would be a liability. So no steep sustained climbs. I rode mostly rolling terrain with some gradual but sustained uphill and a few short steep climbs which the sussy crushed. The only time I noticed the weight was the few times I launched the bike (the thing is called an Airborne after all). It bunny hops fine but launching the bike at speed off a rolling jump took a little more speed than with the B-29. This bike could easily be 27lbs, which is my personal cut off for a full sussy “trail bike”, or even an honest 25lbs with a little effort. Also, as Pat pointed out to me, the bike is a prototype so it may be lighter in production. But I think the weight is perfect just as it is; not fragile replace the frame every two years lite and certainly not heavy. The important thing is that the bike rides lite. When I threw it on the scale I was surprised at the weight because it felt so much lighter in the trails.

    I have nothing bad to say about this bike. It is everything it appears to be and a little more. Just to give you an idea of where my opinions come from--I’m a hard tail guy. I love my B-29, which is probably the best all around bike I have ever ridden and the first bike I have ridden in years that compares to my old 26er Breezer, I think my Mt. Tam 29er was an adequate bike, nothing special but it did its job till it broke. On kids wheels I rode a 26er sugar which was one of my favorites till I went 29er on a MT. Tam and eventually sold the sugar, before that I rode a steel Breezer which is now a SS and will always have a place in my garage.

    I would use this Airborne as a fun bike, or trail bike or whatever people are calling a bike they ride on trails for fun. Because the SPV pedals so well I think racers who like full suspension could race this bike in short or long events if it was built with the right parts. So there you have it, hopefully I will get to ride this bike some more (oh pleeeesseee Pat) and post further thoughts.

    Adam
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    a. Nice write-up. Thanks.

    b. Five pounds isn't going to affect your sustained climbing ability. Please go back and ride it some more. Please.

    c. What's with the secrecy? Can you or someone confirm how much travel she's got in her?

    d. What is this deal with the BB drop/height you're referring to? How does it compare to the Fisher? Any actual, unofficial, pre-production numbers? Similar to the B-29?

  16. #16
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    Answers sort of

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedüb Nate
    a. Nice write-up. Thanks.

    b. Five pounds isn't going to affect your sustained climbing ability. Please go back and ride it some more. Please.

    c. What's with the secrecy? Can you or someone confirm how much travel she's got in her?

    d. What is this deal with the BB drop/height you're referring to? How does it compare to the Fisher? Any actual, unofficial, pre-production numbers? Similar to the B-29?

    a. Thanks
    b. I agree I need to ride it more and more and more
    c. I can't confirm how much travel because I don't know. It feels like plenty (if that helps) I don't think it is a secret but no one seems to know, I'm sure it could be measured somehow. Pat might know but I didn't ask.
    d. BB height is right in the 12-13 inch range my quick measure w/ a tape came in at just under 13 inches to the center of the BB but I was more interested in riding than measuring in the limited time I had the bike (although I do love measuring and techie bike stuff I just didn't have time). So my numbers in this post and above are more "ballpark" than spot on. I do recall that when comparing the numbers to the medium B-29 (w/ my tape measure) everything was very close. As for actual numbers and pre-production stuff, Pat is the guy to answer those questions.

    Adam

  17. #17
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    I'm intrigued. A lot.
    Eyeballing the picture (good that I'm home, and not at work, it'd look funny) I can tell the more forward placed single pivot makes the the rear wheel travels more upwards, and less forward, allowing the bike to suffice with shorter chainstays to reach it's maximum travel without the tire touching the seat tube, at least compared to a single pivot placed closer to the BB.
    Someone tell this man how to simply measure rear wheel travel! Or some measurements to take with an unweighed and fully compressed damper, so you can figure out the actual rear travel. I might pull it off, but you can do it better :-)
    Klok - XC - Skate - Ski

  18. #18
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    Okay, I can't wait, here goes nothing.
    For reference, measure both the front and rear axle heights, tires at 60 psi. Now measure BB height (damper uneighed, at center of BB axle).
    Measure BB-front axle distance. Measure chainstaylength.

    Lock the fork. Empty damper, and let the BB drop till it bottoms. Measure BB height again. Measure chainstay length again.

    With that and some ancient math I once almost understood, I should be able to get to "a" travel figure. Or at least somebody else sure will...
    Klok - XC - Skate - Ski

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    5-6" travel

    I just talked to Airborne and Jason says they originally designed in 5-6" of travel on the 29er full boinger. It feels more like 5 than six, and I'm too much of a caveman to meaure it like Cloxxie says. But if I get a chance.....
    Thanks, Adam, for the report. Ride it anytime.
    Airborne says production bikes will be ready July 1. Yippeee!
    Pat

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cloxxki
    Okay, I can't wait, here goes nothing.
    For reference, measure both the front and rear axle heights, tires at 60 psi. Now measure BB height (damper uneighed, at center of BB axle).
    Measure BB-front axle distance. Measure chainstaylength.

    Lock the fork. Empty damper, and let the BB drop till it bottoms. Measure BB height again. Measure chainstay length again.

    With that and some ancient math I once almost understood, I should be able to get to "a" travel figure. Or at least somebody else sure will...
    Got one for you:

    Remove rear wheel, tape pencil in drops w/tape to hold it, dump the pressure, place frame against wall or paper so that pencil can write, cycle the suspension, measure the length of the mark and report back...??

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by patirwin
    I just talked to Airborne and Jason says they originally designed in 5-6" of travel on the 29er full boinger.... Airborne says production bikes will be ready July 1.
    5" to 6" works for me. I like that answer.

    100mm fork I presume?

    This is the bike I've been waiting for and, well shît guys -- I just got done convincing the wife I'm "done" buying bikes. This one's gonna hurt the wallet. I'm not jumping in just yet but I've got my fingers crossed.

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    OK, so it's 4.3"

    Just got the word from the boss that the 29er full sus has 4.3" of travel. Is Cloxxie happy now?
    I'll get more info to you guys as it comes to me.
    Cheers, pat

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    Quote Originally Posted by patirwin
    I'll get more info to you guys as it comes to me.
    Thanks, pat. Even @ 4.3 we're still in a "happy" range -- I'm on a 4.5" small wheeled bike currently.

    'nother Question: Can you measure (or estimate) shock stroke length for me? I'm hoping they went with 2.0" to give us big guys a favorable compression ratio, but I can't differentiate from the pics if it's really 1.5".

  24. #24
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    Me happy. 4.3" is very good, I was already happy with the 3.75" my VooDoo used to offer me, without a hint of a smart damper.
    Oh my, am I lusting for an Airborne bike now?

    I hope for the sport this bike will come into production soon. And for myself, I may even need one, it seems to be the most complete offering so far. It's got apparantly short chainstays, enough travel, and designed for SPV. I like the elevated chainstays, seems like they'll produce less chainslap?

    I can't wait for the data sheet, will they make it in my size? What's their secret to that good steering?
    Klok - XC - Skate - Ski

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cloxxki
    and designed for SPV.
    I'm not so sure about the "designed for SPV" part: Looking over the spec sheet for the Astrix Solo (www.axtrixsports.com), <i>their</i> version of the Motolink comes with a Fox Float. Even if this was a ProPedal equiped Float, it's still what I would consider an active shock.

    The SPV-specific suspension design might very well be a deal breaker for me; I'm really counting on a fully active or "mostly active" setup.

    With my single ring Speedhub setup in particular, I can tweek my chainring and cog sizes to some degree to align the chain with the main pivot and negate chain torque effects for a stable, bob-resistant ride in most circumstances (and in any gear!).

    I'd like to go Cane Creek for this frame because I like the simple shock design, but it looks like Float AVA might be in order with the modified spring curve.

    I'll have to post this frame (and the Astrix Solo) over on the Suspension forum for a critique of its modfied single-pivot performance.

  26. #26
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    4.3" is pretty close to the Astrix Solo 4.5. But with 29" wheels. I was considering the solo because of the suspension design. But now I'm really intrigued about this new airborne. It could be the FS I've been waiting for.

    This bike seems more appealing than the Lenz product being discussed earlier.

    I'm still riding the HT waiting for the next bike to spend money on.
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    S, M, L, Xl?

    I don't know for sure yet, but I'm guessing that Airborne will offer a 16, 18, 20 and maybe a 22" size. They also offer custom sizes for $400 more.
    As for the steering secret, it's a combo of engineering, MikeC, me nodding my head in agreement on everything, and testing, testing, testing.....
    Adam is right, the B-29 rides great and the Full-sus is close behind. Not as quick as the Karate Monkey, but more than adequate. Even better for the long hauls.
    By the way, Airborne gave me the nod on selling the 29er soft-tail, so any takers?
    Cheers from the far north, Pat

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    Quote Originally Posted by patirwin
    By the way, Airborne gave me the nod on selling the 29er soft-tail, so any takers?
    Cheers from the far north, Pat
    What size is the soft-tail?

  29. #29
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    Big 18"

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary in VA
    What size is the soft-tail?
    The soft-tail is a big 18". Same standover as an 18" B-29, but with a 23" seat tube. There are pics on the 29er forum somewhere. Pat

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    Quote Originally Posted by patirwin
    The soft-tail is a big 18". Same standover as an 18" B-29, but with a 23" seat tube. There are pics on the 29er forum somewhere. Pat
    The Airborne site doesn't list the standover on the B-29. Can you give me an idea? I'm very interested in this. Are you selling it as a complete or frame?

  31. #31
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    Nate, what advantage does pedaling feedback offer you, that SPV eliminates? Even the most cocky journalist I know, changed his opinion about it 180º after his first proper test ride. It's not like a self-activating lockout, it just filters out your pedaling action out of the total, or at least very close to that.
    Klok - XC - Skate - Ski

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cloxxki
    Nate, what advantage does pedaling feedback offer you, that SPV eliminates? Even the most cocky journalist I know, changed his opinion about it 180º after his first proper test ride. It's not like a self-activating lockout, it just filters out your pedaling action out of the total, or at least very close to that.
    My experience so far on a Manitou Swinger 3-way set up as a factory demo on a Trek Liquid, the Manitou Minute 3:00, Fisher Cake which I believe had a Swinger, and a 5th Element air installed on the full suspension Hollowpoint demo I currently ride with a Cane Creek shock all prooved to have an edge to them that I felt negatively affected the ride. The larger hits were absorbed just fine, and no bob cranking up the hills. But the floating, suspended feel that reacts to the the smaller terrain features seemed lost with every one of those shocks.

    There is always the setup issue, and when I've complianed about this before that's the most common response, but with the Liquid demo in particular, Trek demo guy spent a good amount of time setting the bike up to my specs and then checking and readjusting after my initial criticisms.

    I'm worried that SPV is a catchy marketing buzzword -- not calling it a fad -- that everyone is looking to for "the answer" and it would seem more and more bikes that don't need it are showing up with it, while other bikes absolutely depend on it for a proper ride. But my impression is when I throw a leg over my non-SPV Hollowpoint, Specialized Enduro, Klein Palimino, or the old Horst-equipped Jamis Dakar, the difference in ride quality (suspension response) is night and day to my experience with platform suspension.

    The only one I am really impressed with is the Fox Terralogic forks. That fork seemed to do what it claimed to without giving up responsiveness. I've also used Fox's ProPedal equipped Float for a number of weeks. I consider that more 2 stage damping than Stable Platform, and in any case it just didn't work for my application due to my high suspension compression ratio and my weight, but I'd give that shock a try again on a lower compression ratio bike.

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    Shock options

    The beauty of buying an Airborne is the options you'll have, including rear shocks. And before you buy anything, try the B-29. Most folks making the transition from 26" boingers are perfectly happy with the 29er hardtail.
    After many rides on the new full boinger, I'm very happy with it. A few minor changes that have already been taken care of is all. Should be available early July.
    Later, Pat

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    Quote Originally Posted by patirwin
    The beauty of buying an Airborne is the options you'll have, including rear shocks. And before you buy anything, try the B-29. Most folks making the transition from 26" boingers are perfectly happy with the 29er hardtail.
    After many rides on the new full boinger, I'm very happy with it. A few minor changes that have already been taken care of is all. Should be available early July.
    Later, Pat
    I'm already on a 29" hardtail. Just looking to make the duallie switch (when the right opportunity comes along). This Airborne bike has the travel I'm looking for but I'm not sold on the single pivot design just yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by patirwin
    The soft-tail is a big 18". Same standover as an 18" B-29, but with a 23" seat tube. There are pics on the 29er forum somewhere. Pat
    Pat, I'm really interested in this frame if it is for sale. Please email me about it.

    Gary

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    Early July

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary in VA
    Pat, I'm really interested in this frame if it is for sale. Please email me about it.

    Gary
    Airborne tells me early July for production stuff. This model is a proto that needed a few tweeks in the rear, which has already been done for later models. This is going to be a HOT bike!
    Cheers, Alaska Pat

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    Umm Uhh Umm....

    Pat wrote that the new airborne "... needed a few tweeks in the rear..." Uhhh gee.. ahem..cough.. cough..mumble..mumble.. tweeks in the rear?? Well hey whatever it may be into is fine with me; still a fine bike in my book.

    Sorry I just couldn't let that one sit there without comment.

    Adam

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    Quote Originally Posted by patirwin
    Airborne tells me early July for production stuff. This model is a proto that needed a few tweeks in the rear, which has already been done for later models. This is going to be a HOT bike!
    Cheers, Alaska Pat
    Guess I should have specified that I was interested in the soft-tail.

  39. #39
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    Thanks.....

    Does Jamie have a ballpark MSRP yet?

    Also, lets make sure production models will fit a 2.3"+ if possible.

    Thanks for the writeup and comments guys.

  40. #40
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    I asked some questions about the suspension design over on the Bike forums. Nothing too earth-shattering (it is only a single pivot, afterall) but worth reading:

    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=27795

  41. #41
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    More 29er info

    gary, I still have the soft-tail and it's up for grabs. I wouldn't expect a different size anytime soon since they're focusing on the full sus. A custom option is available with a 6 week wait if you need a different size. But if this 18" is the size, let's talk.

    2Melow, MSRP of $1800-2000 with rear shock. Lots of clearance on this one so no worries there. Airborne has been good about designing around a 2.4, so that should be plenty in the future. Should be ready around first of July.

    After many more hours on it, I have to say that I'm getting a little accustomed to the plush ride. I'm still a diehard SSer, but this bike is a nice change at the end of my commute week. As for how it handles, Adam has a great write-up that I totally agree with so far. The fact that it handles like our hard-tails is a big fat bonus. I'm not an engineer, nor have I ridden very many full sus designs, but I do like this one and it's gonna be a hit. Feel free to ask more questions about it.
    Cheers from the far north, Alaska Pat

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by patirwin
    2Melow, MSRP of $1800-2000 with rear shock. Lots of clearance on this one so no worries there. Airborne has been good about designing around a 2.4, so that should be plenty in the future. Should be ready around first of July.
    Is Airborne still planning on releasing the Marauder, or is it toast?
    [Insert witty signature here]

  43. #43
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    Marauder

    Quote Originally Posted by Spaz
    Is Airborne still planning on releasing the Marauder, or is it toast?
    Last I heard the Marauder is still in the works, but had been delayed. I'll let you know if I hear anything. Pat

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by patirwin
    gary, I still have the soft-tail and it's up for grabs. I wouldn't expect a different size anytime soon since they're focusing on the full sus. A custom option is available with a 6 week wait if you need a different size. But if this 18" is the size, let's talk.

    Alaska Pat
    Pat, if you could give me the measurements on the standover and toptube I'd be interested in talking price. Are you looking to sell it complete or just frame?

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    29er Paka

    gary, 23.5 TT and a 29.75 standover.
    $1400 frame/$3200 XTR/MarzSL/Speedcity/Avid Juicy7/Kenda/Airborne Flyte bar/stem/post.
    Lemme know, Pat

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by patirwin
    gary, 23.5 TT and a 29.75 standover.
    $1400 frame/$3200 XTR/MarzSL/Speedcity/Avid Juicy7/Kenda/Airborne Flyte bar/stem/post.
    Lemme know, Pat
    If your going to curve the seat tube you really need to start really close to the top of the seat tube to get a really tight back end.

    Although to be fair a tight backend can be created without a curved seat tube, from what I've seen Nightfire's 29er has a really tight back end.

    Also contrary to what a lot of people are saying his bike seems to ride really nicely with a marginally higher bottom bracket and a low front end.

    It seems to me that people are really hooked up on Karate Monkey geometry when you can build a rigid 29er with only slightly longer forks than a 26" wheeled bike and only slightly more bottom bracket height which seems to have a negligible effect on stabilllity on 29ers.

    Just my thought but it seems people have been trying far to hard theoretically for far too long, when really they just need to get some tubes out and have a play.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by patirwin
    Last I heard the Marauder is still in the works, but had been delayed. I'll let you know if I hear anything. Pat
    Thanks, Pat. The last time I emailed Airborne about it, that's the same thing they told me. Thanks for any further information you may be able to get. . . .

    -Spaz
    [Insert witty signature here]

  48. #48
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    Final thoughts

    probably not the final thought, but I'm ready to give Airborne my 2 cents worth.
    Go with the Full Suspension as it's a fine ride and they'll sell a ton 'em. Let the Soft-tail be a custom option with 6 week wait?.
    I know I've said it all previously, but after spending more time on them I'm confident in my opinion.
    I'll let you know when I hear from them, Alaska Pat

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