I’m starting to think that bike manufacturers are onto something with steel 29er hardtail mountain bikes. The Raleigh XXIX Pro shows why this is such a winning combination: it’s lightweight, supple, and rolls fast and smooth. Not content with just that, Raleigh ups the ante on the XXIX Pro by including the SRAM XX component group – that’s a lot of X’s!
For this test ride I hit the trail with element22 and just tried to hold onto his rear wheel. While the Raleigh XXIX Pro is a strictly cross-country bike, I was able to cruise the rocky, rutted trails at Bootleg Canyon without feeling like I had taken a beating.
The XXIX Pro sports a sexy, slender profile and shows why steel frames aren’t going away anytime soon. Add to that an edgy yet sophisticated graphic scheme and you’ve got a head-turning bike that melds the old (steel) with the new (29” wheels and SRAM XX components).
Clearly this is a great bike but here’s the bad news: this hardtail retails for north of $4,000. Most of the expense comes from the SRAM XX components and from what I gathered there isn’t a cheaper component configuration available at the moment (for that you’ll have to downgrade to the XXIX+G). Start saving your pennies!