Review: Bailey Bikes 29er

29er Cross Country

The Bailey 29er delivers an outstanding performance value.

The first thing you notice when putting your legs over a Bailey 29er is how insanely light it is. Our demo rig was outfitted with a 100mm Rock Shox SID World Cup, full SRAM XX, Stans 29er wheels with Maxxis Crossmark tires, carbon stem and bars and an Easton carbon seatpost with Prologo saddle. Total weight was a svelte 19.8 pounds. The Bailey is stout where it needs to be, with a fat downtube and beefy bottom bracket junction with large chainstays. Noodly the Bailey is not; this bike rockets forward with authority, maximizing every pedal stroke with minimal flex.

Within the first 10 minutes of riding, there is no mistaking that the Bailey is at home on the racing circuit; the bike likes to go fast. But unlike other high-zoot, big-name carbon race bikes that cost three to five times more than a Bailey, the combination of a 27.2 seatpost and the aforementioned petite-stays give the Bailey outstanding shock absorption out back. This bike does not beat you up like other big name race rigs do, making it an ideal choice for those 50+ mile endurance racers in search of a lightweight yet comfortable all-day racer.

 
The Bailey 29er handled rocky, technical downhills with finesse and terrific shock absorption.

The Bailey sails downhill over the rockiest terrain with authority, making particularly gnarly spots like Hunter Lake Trail near Reno a completely manageable affair. A low bottom bracket helps the Bailey rip through corners with agility and confidence. Although the low bottom bracket height of 11.9 inches from ground to center of bottom bracket shell is great for high speed cornering, in rocky, technical terrain, I found myself constantly clipping rocks with the cranks. So much in fact that it forced me to change my riding style, using a ratcheting motion to get through tight spots. For those who live in ultra-technical and rocky sections of the world, the Bailey might not be the optimal choice, but for those in places like the Pacific Northwest or areas with fast, flow-oriented trails where clipping rocks isn’t an issue, the Bailey shines.

Perhaps one of the greatest aspects of the Bailey 29er is its value. You will be hard-pressed to find a better hardtail 29er designed for cross-country racing at such a reasonable price point. Because Bailey sells direct to his customers, he can pass on significant savings. Consumers can not only buy the 29er direct from www.bailey-bikes.com, but they can also do a complete build using either SRAM or Shimano components. Right now Bailey is running a special on their 29er, selling the frame and a Rock Shox SID World Cup fork for under $1,700; an absolute steal. For those just looking for the frame, a Bailey will run you $1,100 if you purchase on their website.

Adding to its outstanding value, the Bailey also comes with one of the best warranties in the industry, featuring a two-year “no questions asked” repair or replacement. Bailey shares a shop with CarbonFrameRepair.com, which is contracted to repair Bailey frames that may be damaged in action.

The Bailey 29er is a thoroughbred racer and a durable workhorse equally at home on the race course as it is on all-day adventures.

Sizing for a Bailey 29er runs a bit large. I am 6” tall with a 31” inseam and typically ride a large size frame, but the Bailey in a medium with a 110mm stem was perfect for me. Bailey does not recommend his frames for riders in excess of 200 lbs, as they have not been stress tested beyond that rider weight.

If you’re a cross-country racer, weekend warrior or an all-day marathon rider looking for a light, nimble rig that soaks up bumps and rips corners with authority and you hate paying more for big big brand names and flashy graphics, the Bailey 29er delivers an absolutely outstanding value.

Review: Bailey Bikes 29er Gallery
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Downtube

The rear disc brake and full-length rear derailleur cables are routed externally along the downtube.
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Kevlar

An innovative Kevlar ding guard is molded into the downtube.
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Chainstays

The disc brake is mounted on the chainstay.
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Seatstays

Bridgeless seatstays and chainstays maximize mud clearance and enable the use of 2.4” rear tire.
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Petitestays

The Bailey 29er seatstays are so thin we call them petite-stays, but they do an outstanding job of softening rocky trails.
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Tire Clearance

The 2.0” Maxxis Crossmark had plenty of clearance between the chainstays.
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BB

A press-fit BB92 bottom bracket enables the use of beefy chainstays and a tapered seat tube to deliver outstanding lateral stiffness when pedaling.
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Bailey Flume Trail

The Bailey 29er perched atop the famous Flume Trail above Lake Tahoe.
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Bailey Flume Trail

The Bailey 29er delivers an outstanding performance value.
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Bailey Flume Trail

Bailey has no fancy graphics or paint schemes, just gloss unidirectional raw carbon finish.
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Flume Trail

HIGH penalty for failure.
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Flume Trail

The Bailey 29er was a pleasure to ride on Flume Trail.
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Hunter Lake

Frame sizes run on the larger side. A Medium fits someone 6’ tall with no issues.
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Hunter Lake

The Bailey 29er handled rocky, technical downhills with finesse and terrific shock absorption.
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Waterfall

The Bailey 29er is a thoroughbred racer and a durable workhorse equally at home on the race course as it is on all-day adventures.
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About the author: Kurt Gensheimer

Kurt Gensheimer thinks the bicycle is man’s most perfect invention. He firmly believes ‘singlespeed’ is a compound word. He sometimes wears a disco ball helmet. He is also known as Genshammer. He is a Gemini and sleeps outside in a hammock.


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  • dan says:

    MTBR states frame price is $1100 yet Bailey’s site lists $1250.

  • Mountain says:

    So nice to see a racing frame with weight limits. Too many companies are afraid of the blowback and perception from putting weight limits on their products. The ability to alter thickness and angles of carbon layups offers a lot of opportunity for tuning the ride of a carbon frame, but even so a frame designed to withstand use from a 250+lb rider without it feeling like a noodle is going to ride like a board for a more typical 140-170lb XC racer. There are plenty of options out there for Clydes, so it’s nice to see a frame that’s tuned to give a good ride to the lighter guys.

  • Arek says:

    If only it was available as a single speed frame (with some sort of sliders/swinging drop outs, not ebb of any kind – I’d be on A9C otherwise) I’d be all over it! Beautiful and I love the geometry!

  • Angry Singlespeeder says:

    Hey Arek, my buddy Joe rides a Bailey as a singlespeed without a chain tensioner. He has numerous gear configurations by using a couple half-links on a normal 8 speed chain. He loves the bike, and when he had it set up with a rigid fork it weight a whopping 17.5 lbs! If you have questions about the setup, you can email him – joe at carbonframerepair dot com.

    ASS

  • gregg says:

    it kinda looks like a Foundry Broadaxe

  • Roger says:

    $1100 or $1200 for a framset, a value?? If it was the whole bike, that would be a value!! This is what’s wrong with the bike industry!

  • Kevin Carlson says:

    I love my Bailey.. The value is impeccable in this industry.. 1200 bucks for an XX Carbon Fork with Frame lighter than an S-Works Race ready… I will take it any day!

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