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.