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2011 Airborne Goblin 29er: On Review

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MSRP: $1,199.95 A well built bike for  5 cents under $1,200.   For the person looking to upgrade their entry level bike, getting into 29ers or simply a deal finder that will upgrade the parts as they need. (I fit in the latter.) Weight: 18 inch is 28 lbs Key Parts: Aluminum hydroformed (shaped) frame, SRAM X7 2×10 drivetrain, Avid Elixir R brakes, RockShox Reba RL fork, WTB Trail 29 wheels.

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Renovo Hardwood Bicycles at 2011 Sea Otter Classic

5 Renovo Bicycles

Often I come back from industry events like the 2011 Sea Otter Classic and people ask me what the coolest thing I saw was.  I try to highlight all of those things on Bike Shop Girl and keep the fluff to the rest of the internet.  One of these things were hardwood bicycles from Renovo Hardwood Bicycles.

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From Renovo

Why Wood?  We chose wood not because it’s different, not because it’s sustainable, but simply because we believe its engineering properties suit the requirements of most bicycle applications better than any other material. The performance of wood in applications more structurally demanding than bicycles has been well proven over many years. The most successful fighter bomber of WWII was the all-wood 400 mph British Mosquito, of which some 7500 were built.

Details in Photos

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The frames were beautiful and it would be very cool to have one as a cafe cruiser.  Clean, sleek and thought out. The drop outs worry me, as they are simply bolted into the wood.

A Frame Cut in Half

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Amazing.

First Taste of a New Bicycle

0 Airborne Goblin 29er Preview

When I was first notified that I had made the cut for the Airborne Flight Crew my selfish first thought was “when do I get to try out the bikes?”

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No longer do either the dreaming of bikes, or critically going through the specifications or grams of a bicycle do it for me. Every bike is built different, and other than the geometry of a bike your early can’t know how all the ingredients of the end recipe will turn out. Every piece of the puzzle matters and even in sales I often would tell a “upgrade crazed” consumer to simply give their new ride a few weeks as stock.

Some great examples :

I cycle through 4 different saddles. Depending on the bikes reach, drop, handlebar width, seat tube angle and “cush” I may fit on one saddle better than the next.  There are 3 tires I prefer on my mountain bike. If it’s a suspension bike, full suspension bike, 29″ or 26″, and finally how aggressive the fit is. All of these things change the handling of your bike, which will change how you ride your tires. Do you have more weight on your front tire through the turns, are you able to run lower air pressure, will you ride rockier trails (all mountain style) and the list goes on.

The First Taste of a New Bike

Where was I? Oh yes! I know the generic spec off paper of how the bike will be built. I don’t know how all of those spec’s in this “bike recipe” will taste, and I can’t wait to get my butt on the bike to taste my new bike!

Today’s the Day

As I walk into the 2011 Sea Otter Classic I have a few things on my mind, and a few things to take care of but I am ultimately excited to be testing out what I’ll be riding the rest of 2011. Between the Airborne Goblin 29″ and the Airborne Delta CX my butt will mostly be rotating between some variation of these two bikes.

Look for an initial preview of my first test ride

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Building a Budget 23 Pound 29er

4 Lightweight 29er Mountain Bike

It’s easy to say I have too many bikes but since leaving the industry full time and my amount of review bikes really rolling in I needed to slim down the stable.   One of these targeted weight loss areas was my mountain bikes.  Five months ago I had a 29er hardtail geared, singlespeed, 26″ full suspension (x2), 26″ single speed, 26″ hardtail geared and numerous frames not built.  Back in the fall when I started riding again I knew I wanted to get back to riding a single speed mountain bike pretty exclusively, atleast for what personally I owned and abused.

Lightweight 29er Mountain Bike

Budget Bike

Going with what I had in the garage I started with a Surly Karate Monkey frameset (MSRP: $465.) Next was wheels,  I had found a good deal about two years ago on clearance Bontrager Rhythm wheels (my cost : $100.) The other details:

  • Frame : Surly Karate Monkey (heavy)
  • Bontrager Rhythm Wheelset
  • Bontrager XDX Tires (Take off customers bike who didn’t want them = $30)
  • Avid BB7
  • Origin8 Space Bar
  • Race Face Stem (used at swap meet: $5)
  • Shimano Deore cranks
  • Thompson Seatpost
  • Fizik Vesta Saddle
  • Ergon GP-1 Grips

Finished Product

Lightweight 29er Mountain Bike

The Surly Karate Monkey is a great frame to start your 29er life on, it can be single speed or geared, disc or v-brake.  Plus, the price you can’t beat .   Without breaking the bank I got this single speed 29er to 23.15 lbs.  If I went tubeless and changed out some parts I’m sure I could get it closer to 21 lbs!