Quick Review: Eriksen 29er Mountain Bike – First Impressions
John Collins headed up to Eriksen Cycles to setup the process for his new titanium ride. Thankfully, while he was there, he was able to grab a couple of questions from Kent Eriksen (you can find the info and interview by clicking here) and test ride a Eriksen 29er mountain bike. The following article is John’s recap of the Eriksen 29er.
After spending the day with Kent, he let me demo one of his 29’er hard tail mountain bikes. Kent actually raced this bike and keeps it around for demo purposes. Built in 2009, it was the first 29’er I had ever seen up close, never mind ridden. The bike featured the following components:
Fork: Maverick DUC32 – 130mm of adjustable travel. This was the first inverted fork I had ever ridden, but I was very happy with the smooth travel and absorption. At 3.9 lbs, it was light and felt very solid on the front of the big wheeler.
Brakes: Magura Marta SL Red – Provided exceptional stopping power in fast descents down fire roads.
Shifters and Derailleurs: SRAM X.0 and X.9 Combo – Easy shifting and I needed it in the high altitudes!
Handlebars: Custom Eriksen Titanium 31.8mm – This is high quality, light weight bike bling.
Hubs : Maverick Front, Bontrager Rear – The front is a Maverick 24/7 hub which is required for the DUC32 fork.
Stem : Maverick adjustable
Bottom Bracket: Shimano XT
Cranks: Shimano XT
Tires: Bontrager Jones 2.25 X 29″
Eriksen 29er Mountain Bike
The bike weighed in at 24.2 lbs as configured. The frame was a bead blasted naked titanium finish with the Eriksen logos laid on the down tube and the chain stays. It truly is a beautiful material and requires no paint as Kent indicated in the interview. The TIG welds laid down by Chris Moore are the best I have ever seen on any product anywhere in the world, and I been a lot of place. Unfortunately, I did not get to experience the Eriksen Sweetpost. These unique and often imitated seatposts are in high demand and they were out of stock, so I used the WTB carbon seatpost in place. An Eriksen 29’er titanium crafted frame starts at $3000 and you can add a Ventana rear suspension for an additional $300. Kent knows Sherwood Gibson personally and they have a licensing agreement with Ventana, Maverick and Yeti Cycles to use their rear suspension components. Kent doesn’t see any reason to recreate rear suspensions when these companies offer great products for him to use. The man has been around bikes for a long time and seen a lot of products, so I’ll take his word for it.
Riding the Eriksen 29er
My initial thoughts when I sat on the 29’er were, damn this thing is like a 4×4 bike. I felt like an all powerful good ole boy riding high above everyone else with my dirt tires. I headed down a gravel road and hit every rock and small obstacle I could find to get a feel for the roll over ability of the 29’er, and it delivered. Rocks that would jar me on my 26” Hardtail were easily overcome by the 29’er.
The handling ability of the 29’er is what really surprised me though. I gained as much speed as possible down a 7 or 8 degree grade fire road which led into a tight circle around a grove of aspen trees and headed back up the hill. According to my iPhone GPS tracker I hit 38.7mph going down the hill. I hit the brakes hard on the first run because I was not sure how it would handle in the sharp circular turn.
The second run was a bit different. I slowed less and drifted around the circle quickly and was surprised at the handling ability of the big wheeler. It’s not really my style of riding now, but if I were a XC sort of guy this would be the ticket with the optional Ventana rear suspension. I made a few runs up and down this hill and really paid the price climbing in the 7600’ altitude. I told my Aunt, whose property I was riding on, that if I didn’t come back in 30 minutes she better come looking for me passed out on the road.
I also hit some ditches and set up some fence posts on the ground to bunny hop, which was pretty easy with the light weight. The weather was uncooperative while I was there so I didn’t get a chance to hit any of the local trails or purpose built TTFs, which was both good and bad. Bad because I really wanted to experience the trails and nature there, but good because Kent wanted to go riding together and I really would have passed out riding with him. It’s really hard to give an accurate review of a custom bike that wasn’t built for me. The dimensions are not spot on for me, and the components are totally customizable. Kent is a few inches short than me and I probably have 20lbs on him. Here are my pros and cons of the bike overall without taking into account my personal comforts or components.
Pros for the Eriksen 29er
- The weight of course
- Easy rolling commonly associated with 29” wheeled bikes
- Rigidity and response in turning
Cons for the Eriksen 29er
- Four wheel drive feel of the 29” wheel
- Price of titanium
- Increased chance of having your bike stolen
Final Thoughts On The Eriksen 29er Mountain Bike
Eriksen 29er Mountain Bike
If you love bikes and the process of designing, call up Eriksen Cycles. Everyone there loves to talk bikes, components and racing. If you sit down with Kent at the computer be prepared to navigate the Internet browser, as Kent is no Bill Gates when it comes to computers! Kent really believes in the 29’er design and tried to nudge me towards it after the demo instead of my AM/FR build. Titanium bikes will last a lifetime and I’ll probably transfer mine to my daughter in my last will and testament. My last day there I turned in the demo bike and Chad Eskins came in to talk with me about components for my bike. He had just returned from racing the 24 Hours of Moab where his team placed 2nd in Mens Expert class. Unfortunately, he was recovering from a stomach virus but still came in to talk with me before I left. We all kept him at bay, but his actions epitomize the customer support and passion for biking everyone at Eriksen Cycles possesses.
What do you think?