Guardian. August 2012…on August 29th, 2012 at 9:08 pm
So it’s been a hot minute since I’ve updated anything on this place. I know I have certain obligations to keep up, but honestly – I “facebook” so much, I wonder sometimes whether the blog is worthwhile. It seems almost redundant sometimes even. That, and given the web-evolution of Facebook this year, I’m not exactly sold on it as a social hub anymore. Like “Myspace” was IT for a while, Fb is the current reigning champ, but Google Plus is making a go at it (though I doubt what speed it will gather), then you still have Twitter and all the others vying for internet attention. I will continue to default to fb, but I’m expecting something to come along soon that will change things. My guess is it will revolve more around video, but what do I know…
Then again, a blog is rather nice, because its much more personal. I control what’s on my page. I don’t have to look at the latest political rants, religious wars, or someone’s inebriated vendetta against …. some person somewhere.
Hence the logo… Facebook could readily be called “Soapbox” anymore. Take the logo, just make sure the royalties find their way here.
Seems like just a couple weeks ago I was so shocked that summer was half over. Now school is back in for those concerned, and the season ending 12 hour endurance DH events are popping up left and right. Dang, already?
What I’ve been meaning to update… is my experience with the Airborne Guardian. Its been a summer of DH riding for sure, but I still get out on the XC bike a couple/few times a week. The Guardian was my pick from Airborne’s Quiver this season. It is the entry-level hard tail 29er that should be on everybody’s radar – whether you’re shopping for your first mountain bike, or just looking to get your toes wet in the 29er pool. At $599 plus shipping, I wondered just how well it will do – will it go where other bikes go? What thing about a $599 bike will hold me back? Will it hold UP??? Well, I’ve got the better part of a season in on this bike, and I’m here to tell you: this is the best sub $600 bike available. Anywhere. The only thing holding you back will be your nerves or cardio
See my introduction post on the Guardian HERE
The Guardian has taken the worst that Durango and the 4 corners area could throw at it, as well as the best! From smooth cross-country cruisers to elevated tricky techy riding on exposed ridges, the Guardian handled them without complaint, and in fact, it inspired confidence in some pretty tricky situations. Through semi-hardpack cruiser trails, the Kenda Small Block 8’s kept me glued to the trail – while the X5 drivetrain kept me engaged in every gear so keeping momentum and accelerating were never an issue – switching from small to big ring and back are still solid, only had to dial the barrel adjusters a bit to make up for some cable stretch. The tires are wearing quite well even through August.
At first, I was concerned that the XC geometry might be too twitchy for my DH orientated habits, but I have to admit, once you’re up to speed on the Guardian, it stays its course without effort. In rough, undulating rocks and tricky tiered lines, the wheelbase really added to the balance factor and I found myself cleaning lines that I sometimes struggle with on my AM bike. Occasionally I hear/read people complain or prophesize that 29ers are sluggish to handle or corner. “On Paper” That may make sense, but in the real world of climbing, descending and switchbacks, the Guardian was spot on. There’s a fairly intense climb here in town that contains a
couple dozen switchbacks; and these are not textbook 180 flat smooth turns. These are steep, twisty, of variable radius and length, some tight in the beginning, loose at the end, or vice-versa. Again, I have to admit this 29er made a better time of them than my slacked out AM rig. I cleaned every turn up the trail first try on the Guardian. I have yet to accomplish this on my other rig.
Downhillers sometimes joke that brakes only slow you down. Yet, brakes are one of the most important components on any bike. The Guardian is spec’d with Tektro hydraulic discs. Until a couple years ago, I was not even aware that Tektro made hydro brakes. Well, they jumped in and did it right. I first experienced the Tektro’s on my Airborne Wingman, Airborne’s DJ/street bike, and was blown away by the bite they get out of the box. Same goes for the brakes on the Guardian. The Tektros offer true one-finger braking, modulate fairly well, and so far my pads have lots of life left in them. I will admit they do lack some adjustability found on other brakes (but not at this price). The brakes are one of the features on the Guardian that make you forget you’re riding a $600 bike.
Last component to comment on, though there’s really nothing much to say about – is the Rockshox XC28 fork. It simply does its job. 80mm of travel is not a lot, but it does make a big difference especially on those long rides. While I wouldn’t call it supple or plush (80mm, remember?), it does take the edge off, and
is stiff enough to keep you pointed where you want to go. My lockout still works without issue, so I can really sink my power in to the climbs when needed, and then let it back off when I need to cruise.
At 32lbs, the Guardian is not “light” by race standards, but again, it’s not heavy either. I’ve been on a number of what we call “entry-level” bikes over the years, and when you rode them, they let you know. The Guardian never lets on – once you get a few pedal strokes in to a trail, the price you paid for the bike will fade away as the Guardian begins to perform. So, maybe the bike is aptly named – as it can keep that secret well.
Here’s a quick little vid recorded aboard the Guardian while tackling some rougher stuff here in Durango:
Find out more or even purchase a Guardian directly from Airborne’s website: Airborne Bicycles Have questions? Drop them an email, their customer service is among the best in the biz, and they’d love to talk to you!
I’ll cut this post short here, but more in works right NOW, it’s been a busy summer and I’ve hit a lot of parks, I’ll share my experiences and opinion right here in a couple more days. Thanks for lookin!