Airborne Hobgoblin FS 29″er: Out Of The Box- by Guitar Ted

I introduced the Hobgoblin test a while ago now and here is the tech intro for you on Airborne’s first full suspension 29″er. This is a unique bike in a few ways so let’s dig in….

Hobgoblin 29

Airborne's Hobgoblin 29"er

Airborne’s first 29″er effort, the Goblin hard tail, (tested here), is now followed up by a similarly named full suspension bike dubbed the Hobgoblin. We received the X-7 version. There is also an X-0 version, and for those who want to build a frame up rig, the Hobgoblin also comes as a frame only. (For more on those see Airborne’s site here) As always, Airborne is a direct to consumer brand, so it is billed as a better value for the consumer since there are no bike shops involved in between you and Airborne. The bike does come pretty well packed and semi-assembled. As a bicycle mechanic myself for over 13 years, I would suggest that if you are not very comfortable with building up a bike, this may call for “outside assistance”, be that a bike shop, or well versed friend. :)

Tech Intro: The most striking feature for me on this bike is the arrangement of the rear suspension bits. As you can see, the rear damper- a Rock Shox Monarch RL- actually pierces the seat tube via a very complex welded yoke assembly. Furthermore; it is a mini-link design, somewhat similar to the VPP or DW Link bikes we’ve seen which have a mini-linkage between the chain stay and main frame of the bike. On the Hobgoblin, the lower shock mount is right in the midst of that mini-link.

A rear wheel's view of the lower link and pieced seat tube.

The bike is set up to give you 100mm of travel front and rear. The rear linkage is pivoting on over sized sealed bearings. The upper rocker linkage is a two piece, welded aluminum bit. The level of complexity to this design only underscores the value packed into the Hobgoblin’s design. Whether that spells value out on the trail or not, we shall soon see. MSRP on the X-7 kitted Hobgoblin is $1749.95 USD, by the way.

The 7000 series hydroformed aluminum chassis is outfitted up front with a Rock Shox Reba RL fork with that matching 100mm of front travel. Both front fork and rear shock feature lock out, although neither is by remote.

The head tube is a tapered one, of course, and Airborne supplies a copious length of steer tube and attendant spacers so you can easily dial in your proper handle bar height, although I went to the lowest position straight away. Other frame features are internally routed derailleur cables, PressFit GXP bottom bracket, and an internal head set. If a rider keeps a Hobgoblin long enough to warrant suspension parts replacement, Airborne offers a kit to take care of that already.

The drive train consists of a SRAM X-7 rear derailleur shifting a SRAM PC 1051 chain over a SRAM 11-36 PG-1050 cassette. The front derailleur is a high direct mount version of SRAM’s X-7 changer and the crank set is a 38T-24T double from the X-7 range as well.
The shifters are X-7 triggers which sit along side the Avid Elixir 3 brake levers which allow you to clamp down on the Elixir 180mm front/160mm rear rotors. Those platters are affixed to some KT high flanged sealed bearing hubs which are laced traditionally to WTB’s i19 rims shod with steel bead Geax AKA tires. The tires are set up with tubes, by the way.

The rest of the bike is set up with Airborne branded bits like the seat post, handle bar, and stem. Airborne did pop on a Selle San Marco Ponza saddle to top things off with though.

The weight of this Hobgoblin with test ride pedals is 31.09lbs. For a bike aimed at the XC/Trail category, this is a bit on the heavy side, but given the bike’s spec, this may be forgivable if you are looking for bang for the buck in a full suspension rig. We’ll be pointing out a few things as the test begins that might shed some light on this subject, but for now we’ll say it’s an “okay” weight as is. More later….Stay tuned for a First Impressions post….

Note: Airborne sent over the Hobgoblin for test and review at no charge to Twenty Nine Inches. We are not being paid, nor bribed for this review and we will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.