Review: Airborne HobGoblin 29er

29er All Mountain Trail Pro Reviews
Airborne HobGoblin 29er – Full Suspension 29er Provides a Solid Ride at a Solid Price

Airborne Bicycles is not a brand that you will see in your local bike shop. They sell consumer direct via their website which allows them to offer more affordable bikes that are a solid value. The name Airborne may be familiar to you if you have been mountain biking for a while. The old company also sold consumer direct, but they specialized in mostly titanium mountain (and road) bicycles. The Airborne of today is under completely different ownership and production, but still offers a good value.

When buying consumer direct, you have to know how to size up the right bike for you and how to assemble the bike once it’s received (or take it to a local bike shop for assembly). Fortunately, the folks at Airborne will work with you (via phone or email) to help figure out what size you need. The bike comes about 90% assembled, so putting it together is not that hard for any half decent home mechanic.

The HobGoblin 29er has 100mm of travel front and rear and is targeted at the XC/Trail rider. It comes in two models as a complete bike and it is also available as a frame only, if you want to build your own from the ground up. The top of the line HobGoblin X0 features a SRAM X0 drivetrain and upgraded fork and wheels with an MSRP of $2999.95. Since value is such a key point with Airborne Bicycles, we felt it best to test the standard HobGoblin with X7 level parts, which sells for $1749.95. The frame only option will run you $879.95.

The Frame

All of Airborne’s bikes are aluminum and of the six models of mountain bikes that they sell, four are 6061 hydroformed aluminum and the two full suspension models (the Hobgoblin and the DH/FR oriented Pathogen) are made from 7000 series hydroformed and double-butted aluminum. The HobGoblin frame also features a tapered head tube, press fit bottom bracket and direct mount front derailleur. The tapered head tube is a good length and isn’t too tall, which is especially important on the small frame (15.5″) that we rode. The standard HobGoblin comes with a nice finish called Metallic Normandy Blue with sparkly metal flake. The clear coat is durable and gives the bike a nice sheen. The X0 version comes in Matte Midnight Black and the frame only option comes in Metallic Tracer Orange.

The frame features slick internal routing for the shifter cables, which is a nice touch for this price point. It has one set of water bottle cage mounts on the down tube and it also has plenty of tire and front derailleur clearance. The HobGoblin is available in 4 sizes: 15.5″, 17″, 19″ and 21″.

Continue reading on page 2 for more.

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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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