Review: Airborne HobGoblin 29er

29er All Mountain Trail Pro Reviews

The Ride

The Airborne HobGoblin is a solid handling bike that offers a surprisingly plush ride for 100mm of travel (naturally, the 29 inch wheels help). The rear suspension design is very active, so you will want to be sure to lock out the shock for extended climbs. Standing up and hammering also accentuates the need to use the lock out. There is no bar mounted lockout lever (for either the fork or shock), so you have to reach down to switch on the lockout. At 30.46 lbs, you won’t want to use this for your local XC race, but the HobGoblin carries it’s weight well. And of course, the 29″ wheels climb great once up to speed.

On the downhills, the HobGoblin soaked up the bumps quite well, so much so that we would have liked to try a 120mm fork on the front. It was stable and tracked solid at speed. As a 29er, it isn’t the most nimble handler when it comes to quick side-to-side transitions, which you will notice even more if you are coming from riding 26″ wheels. That said, we were surprised that the HobGoblin actually jumped well with good in-air stability and nice, soft landings. We attribute a large part of this handling characteristic to the low center of gravity that this kind of suspension design offers (with the shock mounted low, near the BB). This doesn’t mean you should go and whip it off your favorite big hit drop, but for aggressive trail riding the bike performs well. We encountered no binding of the rear shock and we tested this by removing all the air out of the shock. Since we ran low pressure in the rear shock (to get the most out of every millimeter of the 100 available, we ran about 30% sag), we did occasionally strike the pedals a few times and bottomed on g-outs every now and then. However, when we emptied the shock we also checked for bottom out clearance and it was fine.


Although the Airborne HobGoblin is listed under Cross Country on their website, the bike is more suited towards all around trail riding. The number one thing this bike offers is a good value without cutting corners on fun. Like most good values there is a penalty and in this case it is weight. However, if you aren’t a gram counter or an XC racer, the HobGoblin carries its weight well and offers a solid big-wheeled ride. Swap out the bars and tires and you’re set. It is an all around nice trail bike for the money.

Overall Rating

4/5 Flamin’ Chili Peppers 5 Flamin' Chili Peppers
“More oriented towards trail riding than XC, the HobGoblin provides a stable ride that will provide miles of faithful service to the budget-minded rider.”

Value Rating

5/5 Flamin’ Chili Peppers 3point5 Flamin' Chili Peppers
“Consumer direct and a smart part spec create a great value.”

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)
Official Product Description from the Manufacturer

The HobGoblin. A 29er XC/Trail beast with 100mm of smooth travel thanks to its modified twin-link suspension. A RockShox Reba RL up front coupled with a Monarch RL out back handle the suspension and tuning duties, and both can be locked out when on the fly when needed. Plenty of mud clearance and oversized sealed bearings means it will take a beating and keep performing for years.

For more information:

About the author: Gregg Kato

Gregg Kato studied journalism and broadcasting in college while working many different jobs including deejaying, driving a forklift and building web sites (not all at the same time). Kato enjoys riding local Santa Cruz trails. Besides being an avid mountain biker, he is also a motorcycle fanatic. Two wheels, one Passion.

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  • Rob says:

    I work @ LBS in San Antonio. We have one of these routinely in, constantly develops noises…..and shifting is never quite perfect (geometry or linkage)……….pretty bike, but a headache.

  • ginsu says:

    That’s some decent suspension design there! Interesting to see a design with so little Instant Center migration….compared to, say a Ellsworth.

    Looks like she should pedal really solid because the IC is pretty much always on the chainline.

  • Airborne says:

    If the HobGoblin in your bike shop has nagging suspension noise issues, check the bearings to ensure they haven’be been over-torqued and damaged. If that’s the case, we do offer a complete rebuild kit or, being a knowlegable shop, you can order new bearings per the part# on the outside of the bearing. In regards to shifting issues, we run full-sheath cable to the back and provided that it hasn’t been cut too short and isn’t binding, then any shifting issue is probably related to adjustment or a bent RD hanger. There is no geometry or linkage issue that would contribute to that problem. Thanks!~

  • Jerry Hazard says:

    Really – geometry or linkage? Did you check the derailleur hanger? ;)

    (seriously though, sometimes they get bent during shipping)

  • baxter says:

    I always receive the same guff, and worse, from every LBS I go to. No matter what town I’m in. It makes me kind of sad. I’m just in your town dumping money into your shop and local bar. Why the bad vibes? I can’t afford your bike prices. I’ll grab components and gear all day. Isn’t this sport for everyone? Isn’t this sport about having fun? Or have I broken some unwritten law for riding a hobgoblin?

  • bob says:

    pretty sure the shifting has nothing to do with the geo of the bike…. I’m betting on mechanic error…

  • Doc says:

    Note to self: Avoid San Antonio LBS.

  • tanner says:

    hey guys is this worth th emoney

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