Monday, July 4, 2011

Airborne Marauder

I have been riding the Marauder for about two month now and feel that I have a good feel for the performance that it offers. 

The Looks

First off the bike looks great, the blue/grey color makes it stands out and the graphics are unique.  It has caught more than a few eyes at the trail head.

The Bike

Frame 6061 Aluminum 6" Travel Single Pivot Suspension MTB, w/Sealed Bearings
Fork Spinner Cargo 340 w/34mm Stantions, OX-Valving, 150mm Travel and 20mm Axle
Rear Shock Marzocchi Coil F
 Headset Ahead Sealed Cartridge 1 1/8"
 Brake Levers Tektro Novela Sport
 Brakes Tektro Novela Sport Mechanical Disc
 Rotors Tektro 203mm Rotor
Shifters SRAM X-5 Trigger 8-Speed
F Derailleur Shimano FD-C050
R Derailleur SRAM X-7
Cassette SRAM PG-820 13-32t 8-Speed
Chain KMC X-9
Crank FSA Dyna Drive 22/32t with bash guard
Bottom Bracket FSA Dyna Drive
Pedals NONE
Rims WTB FX-28 32H Disc Specific SV
Hubs REAR: 32h Alloy QR Disc Specific FRONT:32h Alloy 20mm Thru Axle Disc Specific
Spokes Black 14g Stainless
Tires KENDA K877 Front 26X2.6/Rear26X3.5
Handlebar Kalloy Alloy 31.8mm Dia., 670mm Width, 30mm, 6 Deg
Stem Kalloy 2D Forged Alloy, 31.8mm Clamp Dia., 50mm, +/- 10 Degree Rise
Saddle WTB Pure-V Sport
Seat Post Kalloy Alloy 30mm Dia., 350mm Length
Extras Owner's Manual, Clear Coat, H20 Bottle Mount

This bike has components that you would expect to find on a bike in the $2,000 range.  The frame is bullet proof, but it is heavy.  The Spinner Cargo 340 front fork is a simple but reliable fork, the only adjustment is the preload so once you set it you just leave it alone.  I was skeptical about the performance of this shock when I ordered, but now feel that it is capable of handling anything I can throw at it.  The only thing this fork lacks is adjustability.  The rear shock is the Marzocchi Roco Coil F, once again there is nothing flashy about this shock but it gets the job done, and it does it well.  At 6'0" and 215 lbs I have yet to bottom out the suspension, even when jumping 4'-5' ramps.  With this frame and suspension the bike loves going downhill fast, and the Tektro Novella Sport brakes with 208mm rotors will help you to control your speed and even stop on a dime when needed.  We would all like Hydraulic brakes, but these mechanical brakes do the job well.  The only problem is they need to be adjusted after almost every ride, but it only takes 2 minutes to do.  The drive train is an entry level drive train with the SRAM X-7 rear derailleur and the FSA Dyna Drive crankset.  The bottom bracket on the crankset is weak and mine broke in two months, FSA also has horrible customer service.  I upgraded the bottom bracket and crank arms to a FSA Mega Exo with Truvativ arms, but kept the same rings.  The X-7 derailleur has a tendency to stick in the down position, so it was replace with the Sram X-9.  I was worried at first that I would not have enough gears to climb with the 2x8 gearing yet I find the only problem I have climbing is a lack of physical fitness.   The SRAM X-5 shifters are good and they do their job. 

My Review

The Marauder is a bike that spans the gap between All Mountain riding and Freeriding.  If you want to fly downhill, huck jumps and drops, and be able to ride anywhere this might be a good choice for you.  The bike is excellent while it is pointed down, it is stable and fast with good maneuverability, but it is heavy, mine weighing in at approximately 42 lbs so you will earn it to burn it.  When climbing the front tire has a tendency to come off the ground unless you keep your weight forward, and like I said the bike is 42 lbs.  When I ride with a group I always get dropped on the climbs, but I always catch up while descending.  If you are looking to ride cross country trails, if you shave your legs and wear spandex, and if you count grams on your bike look somewhere else this bike is not for you.  If you like to fly downhill, hit jumps, huck drops, and don't mind a little extra work on the way up then then like me you will enjoy this bike, you will enjoy it even more when you see the complete bike with shipping and tax costs less than $1000.  With a few minor upgrades it is a great bike, and Airborne has had great customer service.

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