Trek X-Cal v. Airborne Goblin: Parts-wise, which is better?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Trek X-Cal v. Airborne Goblin: Parts-wise, which is better?

    I've narrowed the choices down to the Trek X-Cal and Airborne Goblin. They seem to be very evenly matched in terms of the components to a novice like me. So to the experts out there, component for component, which bike wins in each component category?

    Front suspension
    (Same fork except for travel?)

    X-Cal: RockShox Reba RL 29 w/Dual Air spring, Motion Control lockout, rebound, custom G2 Geometry, 51mm offset crown, 100mm travel

    Goblin: RockShox Reba RL 29 Dual Air w/Lock-Out, 80mm

    Wheels

    X-Cal: Shimano M525 alloy hubs; Bontrager Mustang Disc 29 32-hole rims, Tubeless Ready

    Goblin: WTB Trail 29 32H

    Tires

    X-Cal: Bontrager 29-1 Expert, 29x2.2"

    Goblin: KENDA Small Block 8, 2.1"

    Shifters

    X-Cal: SRAM X7, 10 speed

    Goblin: SRAM X-7 2x10

    Front derailleur

    X-Cal: Shimano Deore

    Goblin: SRAM X-7 2x10

    Rear derailleur

    X-Cal: SRAM X7

    Goblin: SRAM X-7 2x10 Mid-Cage

    Crank

    X-Cal: SRAM S1000, 44/33/22

    Goblin: SRAM X-7 2x10, 39/26 rings

    Cassette

    X-Cal: Shimano HG62-10 11-36, 10 speed

    Goblin: SRAM PG-1050 12-36T 10-Speed

    Saddle

    X-Cal: Bontrager Evoke 1

    Goblin: Selle San Marco SPID Black/White

    Seatpost

    X-Cal: Bontrager SSR, 27.2mm, 20mm offset

    Goblin: AIRBORNE Alloy 31.6mm Diameter, 350mm Length

    Handlebar

    X-Cal: Bontrager Low Riser, 31.8mm, 5mm rise, 9 degree sweep

    Goblin: AIRBORNE Alloy Flat, 640mm width

    Stem

    X-Cal: Bontrager Race Lite, 31.8mm

    Goblin: AIRBORNE Alloy +/- 7 Degree Rise, size specific

    Headset

    X-Cal: 1-1/8" threadless, semi-integrated, semi-cartridge bearings

    Goblin: Ahead Sealed Cartridge 1 1/8"

    Brakeset

    X-Cal: Avid Elixir 1 hydraulic disc brakes

    Goblin: Avid Elixir R Hydraulic Disc

  2. #2
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    I'm no expert but I did just order the Goblin last Wednesday after all my research and reviews. This fit my budget too! Still waiting

  3. #3
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    they look extremely similar. i'm sure you'll be happy with either. i know you didn't ask about this, but as i'm sure you know, fit is the most critical. i'm guessing you can't ride an airborne anywhere since it's an internet bike. have you compared the geometry of each as well if you have a preference?
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  4. #4
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    They're pretty close. I think, by a hair, the Goblin has it.

    But factor in price - X-cal at $1599 vs Goblin at $1150 - and Goblin is a clear winner.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiahh View Post
    They're pretty close. I think, by a hair, the Goblin has it.

    But factor in price - X-cal at $1599 vs Goblin at $1150 - and Goblin is a clear winner.
    The price is actually closer than one would think. In CA, the Goblin + shipping + tax comes out to just a hair under $1300. As for the X-Cal, many have reported getting deals between 1300 to 1500 out the door in CA. Some even got it down to the $1200 range. Factor in the opportunity to ride before you buy and extablishing a relationship with the LBS with the X-Cal, the price difference is almost negligible. This is why I am having such a hard time deciding between the two.

  6. #6
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    would you assemble the airborne on your own? are you confident with your abilities in that area? if you don't work on your own bikes, would the lbs throw in free maintenance?

    if you haven't already, give the xcal a spin to see if you even like how it feels.
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  7. #7
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    I'm guessing the difference is really going to be in the handling. twentynineinches.com did a review of the Goblin a while back, but I don't recall any comparisons to Trek bikes (with their G2 forks).

    FWIW, my local Trek dealer has an '11 X-Cal in his showroom for $1199 right now... Its tempting.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ucbsupafly View Post
    The price is actually closer than one would think. In CA, the Goblin + shipping + tax comes out to just a hair under $1300. As for the X-Cal, many have reported getting deals between 1300 to 1500 out the door in CA. Some even got it down to the $1200 range. Factor in the opportunity to ride before you buy and extablishing a relationship with the LBS with the X-Cal, the price difference is almost negligible. This is why I am having such a hard time deciding between the two.
    All important factors. I was basing my opinion on the objective info I had.

    For me, I don't particularly care for the G2 geometry, though I think the X-cal is a very good bike. So at the same price, all tolled, the Goblin would still be my choice for geometry alone. I can also do my own maintenance.

    But now we're in to very personal intangibles that only you can decide.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiahh View Post
    All important factors. I was basing my opinion on the objective info I had.

    For me, I don't particularly care for the G2 geometry, though I think the X-cal is a very good bike. So at the same price, all tolled, the Goblin would still be my choice for geometry alone. I can also do my own maintenance.

    But now we're in to very personal intangibles that only you can decide.
    Fair assumption on the price. As for the Goblin have better geometry, could you elaborate further? I have not tried out the Goblin yet (and probably will not get a chance to until I buy one), so I can't really tell which is better. One thing I noticed is that the Goblin's fork is factory set to 80mm travel compared to 100mm on the X-Cal. Would that suggest the X-Cal's geometry is better maximized for clearance?

  10. #10
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    I'd pinpoint the drivetrain (Gob - 2x10 vs XCal - 3x10), and the more easily converted tubeless-ready rims of the Trek as differences worthy of attention.

    It's the same fork with a spacer. It can be converted fairly easily.

    I also think you should get an actual quote on an X-Cal before you get too far into your decision making. For every one guy that gets a great deal, there are probably ten more that are paying sticker and tax. You should be expecting to pay several hundred dollars more for the Trek. You might get really lucky, but you probably won't.
    Last edited by Big Takeover; 05-02-2012 at 06:36 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Takeover View Post
    I'd pinpoint at the drivetrain (Gob - 2x10 vs XCal - 3x10), and the more easily converted tubeless-ready rims of the Trek as differences worthy of attention.

    It's the same fork with a spacer. It can be converted fairly easily.

    I also think you should get an actual quote on an X-Cal before you get too far into your decision making. For every one guy that gets a great deal, there are probably ten more that are paying sticker and tax. You should be expecting to pay several hundred dollars more for the Trek. You might get really lucky, but you probably won't.
    Excellent points. I do have several quotes from the LBS but nothing that would make me jump out of my seat to put down a deposit yet. I expect the price to come down a little more when I am actually in the store with cash in hand...

  12. #12
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    I say goblin, because thus far i have not been so happy with my xcal, and plan on selling it.

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    Received my Goblin today. I will be putting it together tonight, and will be on it in no time. I will let you know how it performs next week.

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    why dont you like the xcal?

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    Quote Originally Posted by CUatTheEnd View Post
    Received my Goblin today. I will be putting it together tonight, and will be on it in no time. I will let you know how it performs next week.
    Congrats on the purchase. Look forward to your feedback.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by ucbsupafly View Post
    Fair assumption on the price. As for the Goblin have better geometry, could you elaborate further? I have not tried out the Goblin yet (and probably will not get a chance to until I buy one), so I can't really tell which is better. One thing I noticed is that the Goblin's fork is factory set to 80mm travel compared to 100mm on the X-Cal. Would that suggest the X-Cal's geometry is better maximized for clearance?
    The Goblin is a more standard geometry. The X-caliber is a G2 geometry, which doesn't suit me. You'll have to ride a G2 and then a non-G2 bike to check for yourself.

    It's a personal preference; some people love their G2, so it's not "better" or worse... it's just not what I like.

    I can't really elaborate more than that, since it's a very subjective assessment.

  17. #17
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    Ok, went for my ride tonight on the Goblin. I have to tell you I had been on my 1999 Schwinn Factory Suspension Homegrown for 13 years. WOW! I just experience the best ride of my life on the Goblin 29er. It was almost too easy. Either, I am in really good shape (which is not the case) or that ride was effortless compared to my 26. Incredible....absolutely incredible. Everything about the bike felt great, fit like a glove. I thought the hardtail would be more uncomfortable, and it was just the oppposite. Control was great, gear shifting was smooth, everything just felt great and I had no issues what so ever. I tried to post my ride but I don't have enough posts I can't say anything about the other bikes but I can say if you get this bike you will not be disappointed! I can't wait until I upgrade the wheels, bar, stem, seatpost and seat. All next week!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by CUatTheEnd View Post
    Ok, went for my ride tonight on the Goblin. I have to tell you I had been on my 1999 Schwinn Factory Suspension Homegrown for 13 years. WOW! I just experience the best ride of my life on the Goblin 29er. It was almost too easy. Either, I am in really good shape (which is not the case) or that ride was effortless compared to my 26. Incredible....absolutely incredible. Everything about the bike felt great, fit like a glove. I thought the hardtail would be more uncomfortable, and it was just the oppposite. Control was great, gear shifting was smooth, everything just felt great and I had no issues what so ever. I tried to post my ride but I don't have enough posts I can't say anything about the other bikes but I can say if you get this bike you will not be disappointed! I can't wait until I upgrade the wheels, bar, stem, seatpost and seat. All next week!

    Part for part, the Airborne Goblin appears to be spec'd better, and I have to agree that the G2 is not for everyone. I spent some time on my friend's Rig while he tested out my Lynskey and I really didn't care much for the handling...but that is a matter of preference. He even commented that the steering on my Lynskey was slow compared to his. If I understand correctly, the Rig and the X-Cal are the same frame just one has sliders and the other has a vertical dropout.

    As for this review...well what you told us is how much you like your bike and how well it does compared to your dated Schwinn Homegrown . Hardly a X-Cal vs Goblin comparison. I think for someone who can wrench their own bike, you took the appropriate route, might as well get the better components if you are going to do all the work!

    Spend a few months on it, and see if you can ride anyone else's newer 29er to compare and then write a review in the review section so it can help others out with a purchasing decision!
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  19. #19
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    Buy the Goblin or X-Cal? I I have a Goblin and my friend has a X-Cal. We are both happy with our bikes. I don't think either would be a bad choice.

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    Truthfully, I don't think you can go wrong with either. Buying from a local shop, if you can find a comparable deal, does have some advantages and helps out your local economy.
    But - $100 buck or $200 bucks difference will help you when the upgrade bug hits.

    Have you have the chance to ride either ? I for one am a big fan of the G2 Fisher and Trek bikes. I ride mostly tight, technical trials and it just seems easier for me to steer.

    However, for $1150 that Goblin is a helluva bike. I even dig the funky green on it. The Trek just seems too corporate on the paint job. Hate to admit that looks factor in things for me, but they do.

  21. #21
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    Both bikes are fairly even on specs. If it where me I would prolly choose the X-cal on the sole factor I know how well Trek warranties work. I have gotten a replacement rear wheel before and have seen lots of folks get new frames over the years. Now I am not saying Airborne won't warranty their stuff, but its can't be as easy as take it to the LBS and have them get you a new one....
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    Quote Originally Posted by juanverde View Post
    The Trek just seems too corporate on the paint job.
    Don't like the look of the 2012, then go 2013!
    Trek X-Caliber 2013 - 20586001413(1)

  23. #23
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    Where are you in CA? I'm might be selling my 2010 Gary Fisher X-Cal soon. It's large with 100mm Fox Fork.

    BikePedia - 2010 Gary Fisher X-Caliber Complete Bicycle

    in excellent condition, let me know and I can send you pictures.

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    Idea!

    When comparing to the XCAL and Goblin the differences are small for component and price so go with what you prefer as one is not obviously better than the other (unless you like having the security included with the Trek name). However, the Gravity 29point5 has similar components or better for less than either bike!

    I know you made the choice already, but to those looking to this tread to help make a decision check the Gravity 29point5 on bikesdirect.com. It lists for $1099, free shipping and minimal assembly.

    FD shimano SLX
    RD SRAM x9
    Reba fork
    Same geometry (identical) as Trek G2
    Avid Elixer 5 hydros
    Wtb wheels and hubs
    FSA crankset 3x10

    I personally own the Trek Cobia 2012 and love the bike but realize @ 1099 I over paid. Gravity frame is identical to the Trek G2 after comparing the frame goemetry size chart, but far better components.
    Last edited by ChewynMe; 06-16-2012 at 07:11 AM. Reason: Adding to

  25. #25
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    Hows the customer service with Airborne?

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by ucbsupafly View Post
    The price is actually closer than one would think. In CA, the Goblin + shipping + tax comes out to just a hair under $1300. As for the X-Cal, many have reported getting deals between 1300 to 1500 out the door in CA. Some even got it down to the $1200 range. Factor in the opportunity to ride before you buy and extablishing a relationship with the LBS with the X-Cal, the price difference is almost negligible. This is why I am having such a hard time deciding between the two.
    I agree, IMO go with LBS you trust for the small difference in price. Good luck
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by CUatTheEnd View Post
    Received my Goblin today. I will be putting it together tonight, and will be on it in no time. I will let you know how it performs next week.
    I know that it has been awhile but I was researching some old Airborne threads.
    Do you happen to know the general weight of the Goblin?
    Have you liked it over time?

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by vaftocr View Post
    I know that it has been awhile but I was researching some old Airborne threads.
    Do you happen to know the general weight of the Goblin?
    Have you liked it over time?
    Around 28 pounds, and yes, LOVE it! Awesome bike, no doubt.

  29. #29
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    Im sure the website says the weight, but yes love mine as well!

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by s0ul_chicken View Post
    Around 28 pounds, and yes, LOVE it! Awesome bike, no doubt.
    Quote Originally Posted by CUatTheEnd View Post
    Im sure the website says the weight, but yes love mine as well!
    Thanks to both of you. I was unable to find the weight on the site though. It may be there, I just did not see it.
    I am really intrigued by their product line. I tire of the seeing the same Trek, Giant, Specialized and Cannondale bikes. I am looking at the Airborne, Cube and Ridley mtbs instead. None of which are sold locally but that is not a big deal as I understand the geometry pretty well.

  31. #31
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    The 450mm long chainstays and steep 71* head tube angle geo of the Goblin was dated when it came out. 46mm offset fork vs 51mm current.
    You can ride this geo as a beginner in Jacksonwille..
    The buslike chainstays were before manufacturers started bending the seat tube for tire clearance and shorter faster turning chainstays. That rear length led to the steep head tube angle to get the bike to turn. But steep means twitchy on longer faster downhills when you hit a rock or rut. If your terrain is mostly flatter you can get by.
    Also make sure the Reba fork has Rapid Recovery with a sticker on the lower right stanchion. That was an improvement Rockshox made on the solo air forks.

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