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Old 10-02-11, 10:49 AM   #1
farrama
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new rig entry level 29er review

Hey guys, just wanted to give a quick review of my new rig. Background: I have lived in south Florida for the last several years and had previously sold my mtb and purchased a used 2001 trek xo1 cyclocross bike. After several years of riding I landed myself a focus variado with full tiagra, which I love. But now I have moved back to Arkansas where hills and trails are everywhere. I have taken my cross bike out on singletrack here and there and it rides ok, if not a little to rough. I began craving a real mtb and at 6í5 I felt a 29er was the path for me. I am a pretty decent bike mechanic and have purchased bikes online in the past so I was looking to avoid LBS. I know there are a lot of LBS supporters on these forums, but I never feel I get very good service from them. There seems to be a smugness when asking them about lower end models and a general feeling that low end is basically unrideable. I have to say after 2000 miles on a full sora road bike I could count the sifting issues ive had on 2 fingers so I really donít know where they are coming from. Anyway on to the bike. I wanted something cheap with mid/low level components. I of course looked at BD and was almost ready to pull the trigger on a pretty well equipped 26Ē unit. Then I came across the K2 zed 29er. This bike looked sweet! It has entry level sram components and a suntour 100mm fork. Best part is several online dealers had it for 40% off an already good price. Heres the spec.
Frame 6061 Aluminum 29" Wheel Mountain Hardtail, Custom Blend Tubing Crankset Funn Thrilla, White
Rear Shock N/A Bottom Bracket VP - BC73, Sealed Cartridge
Fork SR Suntour, XCT-V3, 100mm, White Pedals Wellgo Alloy
Headset VP - Threadless 1-1/8" Rims Alloy Double Wall 32 Hole
Stem Alloy: XSM-SML = EXT:90mm / MED-XLG = EXT:105mm, 10Deg Front Hub Alloy Disc QR
Handlebars Alloy Mid-Riser Rear Hubs Alloy Cassette Disc QR
Grips Black MTB Spokes 14G Steel, Black
Front Brakes Tektro Novella Mechanical Disc 160mm Rotor White Tires WTB Nano, 29"X2.1"
Rear Brake Tektro Novella Mechanical Disc 160mm Rotor White Seat Post Alloy 27.2mmX 300mm
Brake Levers Tektro 2 Finger Saddle WTB Valcon Comp w/ Custom K2 Logo
Front Derailleur SunRace Top Swing Seat Binder Alloy QR
Rear Derailleur Sram X.3 Colors Blue, Red
Shift Lever Sram X.4 Trigger Sizes SML, MED, LRG
Cassette / Freewheel Shimano CS-HG30, 12-32T, 8 Speed Extras Refectors & Owners Manual
Chain KMC Z-72

I was a little worried about the :funn thrillaĒ crankset and the no name wheels. But I thought hey, its an amazing value for a 29er and if stuff breaks, ill upgrade it and build it the way I really want anyway.
Let me tell you, for an entry level bike, this thing is a BLAST to ride. The shifts are spot on, I didnít even have to tune the rear derailer. I love the double thumb shifters. Overall the bike is a little heavy but its almost all due to the cheap fork. I know because unfortunately I had to replace the fork before I every got to ride it. I guess it was damaged in shipping or a factory defect but it was broken across the bracket holding the two sides of the fork together. I had a new for sent my way under warranty and swapped it out in about 5 min. the fork is SO heavy. Honestly with out it on the bike it feels like its around 10lbs of the weight. With out it the bike is finger tip light. With fork attached I would say its around 30lbs, not light but for a guy my size its not really an issue. I am certainly intending to replace this unit at some point with a nicer unit.
After a couple of rides I cannot believe the SPEED in which you can ride down the trail. Its amazing. Bumps and stumps are like nothing. You can hit LOGS at a pretty decent speed with no issues. I adjusted the preload up for my weight and it still just soaks up the trail. Very impressed with my first 29er experience. Maybe comparing to a fixed for crossbike is clouding my judgment but this thing ROCKS.
Overall analysis:
Components work perfect, shifts are fast and precise with less harshness and noise than I expected. Front detailer is a little slower but nothing that would detract from the experience.
Crankset, looks freakin cool, bmx like, I was worried about the quality but they seem very strong, donít flex and appear good quality.
Fork works well soaking up the logs bumps rocks ext. but weights a ton.
Handlebars are wider than ive seen and itís a little strange but the extra leverage seemed nice on the trails.
Wheels are surprisingly light for no name 29Ē, not sure how they will hold up to abuse of a big guy rampaging on them.
Frame, great quality, very light, welds look nice. Stiff, no flex.
Seat looks and feels great, very nice.
Seatpost, stem, bars are all no name alloy but seem light and strong.
Tires, I would like a more aggressive pattern but they did well on loose shale, gravel, softpack and hardpack dirt and mud. Little struggle on leaves and rocks but thatís probably just the terrain.

Overall I think this bike is a STEAL. Itís a blast to ride off road, pretty fast on road. Im very impressed with SRAM low end. Only things I see that I will ever upgrade are bars, stem, fork and front derailer. Wheels if they fail but they seem solid.

Thatís my input. Ill update you guys if there are any issues.

Matt
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Old 10-02-11, 11:03 AM   #2
Zephyr11
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Nice review. Though I thought this topic was going to be about the Gary Fisher Rig.
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Old 10-02-11, 12:16 PM   #3
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Nice review. Though I thought this topic was going to be about the Gary Fisher Rig.
dont i wish!
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Old 10-02-11, 12:40 PM   #4
meatpants
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awesome... keep on truckin!
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