After my neighbour/friend Evan bought himself a Polygon 29″ mountain bike a few months ago, I pulled out my antique 2008 Trek Fuel EX 5.5 and began riding again. After hitting the Maydeena Bike Park featured a few post ago, and the North-South track on kunanyi/Mt Wellington, I blew out both front and rear suspension, developed brake issues and will soon need to replace the drive-train (chain and sprockets) as well as requiring a full service.
I took it to a bike shop for a quote – which came back at an estimated $1200!! It just didn’t make sense to spend so much money on a 12 year old bike as technology has changed on modern bikes. Turns out, this is an expensive sport!
After reviewing my budget, I put my name down on a new $3700 Kona Process 134 29 but could only get a medium frame without waiting until March 2021 – there’s currently a world shortage on all large framed mountain bikes – with first option to test before deciding.
While waiting for the shop to build the bike I scouted the second hand market and found a barely used 2017 Avanti Competitor S Plus 2 – ADT Large. After a quick test ride, I negotiated a deal for $1900. A bargain considering it sold new for $3500 and still had the beads from the tire mold in the middle of the tread!
I could only find one review on this bike before purchase so I’ll offer my first impressions after a few weeks of ownership:-
New Zealand bike makers Avanti are well known and respected in road-bike circles but lesser known for their mountain bikes, probably because they only offer a limited range. However, the German designed frame of the oddly named “Competitor S Plus 2” appears if anything, typically over-engineered, solid and well balanced. With the supplied tubed tyres it weighs in at just under 16kg – a little lighter than the Kona. If you’re after full specs go here.
I think the manufacturer’s description sums it up quite nicely:
“It’s all about traction, control and more time rolling over whatever crosses your path. A flex free rear triangle and lightweight 1×11 [SLX] Shimano drivetrain help to make this machine more agile and quicker than it looks, with plus tyres taking the technical out of the terrain.”
After the original wide 27.5 x 2.8 tubed tyres let go on me through a dry, gravelly berm, eroding my confidence in them, I have swapped them out for lighter tubeless Maxis Minion’s for much better grip over the boulders, roots, mud and gravel tracks encountered on my local mountain trails, while providing a saving of almost 1kg. The frame and forks can actually accommodate 29 inch wheels, but I stuck with the supplied tubeless ready rims for tighter cornering and agility on our winding trails.
I’ve come from a much older 26 inch dual suspension “trail” MTB with 120mm of travel. With larger, much wider tyres, 140mm travel, heavier, chunkier frame – though not overall much heavier, in comparison, the new “enduro” bike eats up-hills and down-hills for breakfast and after dinner 🙂
Previously I would struggle to keep up with my mate on his 29″ Polygon. Though I have gotten quickly fitter in my few months of riding again, I no longer need to pick my way over every root and boulder on the uphills, the Avanti climbs comfortably and controlled and even on the road I now not only keep up, but can out-pace him … sometimes anyway, we usually end up egging each other on uphill which motivates both of us to push harder 😀
Downhill, this thing feels bomb-proof and very solid. Turn off the suspension lock-out, drop the seat and send it! I feel much more confident on this bike, it rolls over everything I point it at, takes modest jumps and drops with ease and I find I’m pushing my limits and aging body perhaps a little more than I should! This is where I leave my mate behind after spending my youth on dirt bikes.
Though I haven’t yet come unstuck, I’ve just bought knee-pads and ordered a full face helmet with removal chin bar, because I value my head – and to be honest, it’s probably a little bit soft 😉
The only negatives so far I’ve found – and this really is nit picking:
– external cable routing – as well as looking untidy, it runs down the front underneath of the frame which seems very exposed and will cop a lot of mud and stones from the front wheel.
– frame design has lots of areas where mud will collect like bottom rear suspension brackets.
Overall I’m really happy with this purchase 🙂
First image taken with Nikon D40, remainder Galaxy S20.
Less time blogging lately and more time biking, because blogging doesn’t get me fit 🙂