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  1. #1
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    Airborne Thunderbolt

    Hello everyone, I am new here and have recently gained interest in road biking. However, as of right now I am bike-less, and have been combing ebay and other websites for the best deal out there.

    Like I said, I am new to the sport, but would like to get a bike that will last me for a while. Basically I don't want to get a bike, and regret the choice a year from now (which I know is always a possibility, but I'd like to mitigate that risk as much as possible). Anyhow, it will be utilized almost solely for recreational use, and the only "musts" would be an aluminum frame, carbon fork and at least a shimano 105/ultegra mix of components.

    Anyhow, I came accross the Airborne Thunderbolt, which they are selling for what appears to be a stellar price of $1100 plus shipping... Some details:

    6061 Double-butted aluminum frame
    Airborne carbon fiber fork
    Full Shimano Ultegra 6600 gruppo
    Bontrager wheels

    So, what do you guys think? Has anyone had any experience with Airborne, and specifically with their Thunderbolt frame? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    --greg--

  2. #2
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    I'm curious as well, I am also looking at the Tommaso TCR 500 which is advertised on this site...

  3. #3
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    Only if you know what you want...

    I have had my Thunderbolt for about two weeks now and I am very satisfied with it. It arrived quickly and well packed. There was not one scratch on the bike. Out of the box, the front derailleur rubbed a bit in a few gears so I needed to adjust that. Also, the handlebar tape they used is very poor and was replaced right away. Those were my only two problems.

    The only reason I hesitate to recommend this bike to a novice is that you might not know what you want. Let me explain. The Thunderbolt is a compact frame with aggressive geometry. Have you test-ridden a few different brands of bike to get a feeling of what you want? Also, if you have never worked on a bike I would steer you towards buying a bike at a shop where you will get a free tune-up at a later date when the cables stretch. For example, I work on my own bikes and the Thunderbolt is now my fourth bike. I knew what type of bike it would be by reading the geometry table and figured out how it would fit me. My wife on the other hand also wanted a road bike. She has no prior road bike experience and therefore we went to a few different shops for her to test ride a handful of bikes. There was no way we would have picked the bike she bought (Cannondale R700) by just reading the geometry table on the website. Her bike cost about the same as mine, but has lower "quality" components. She loves the bike and the fit. That is worth more than getting a full Ultegra group. I do like the Thunderbolt, but buying a bike over the internet that you can't test ride is a risky decision and should only be made by those who know how to work on their own bikes as you don't have the support of a shop.

  4. #4
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    sjt78 - Thanks for the response, and the sound advice. My friends who have been in the sport for a couple years recommended that I buy a bike from a local shop so that I have the ability to get it tuned professionally, which is typically included in the purchase price. I thought, nah, I want to find a deal so I'll stick to eBay and other websites. Anyhow, your response has made me think otherwise, so I do appreciate it! Once I have some time, I think I will start looking into test riding some different bikes.

    Question, is there a general consensus of comfort among the different manufacturers? (i.e., is Trek known for using specs that are more comforable, and Cannondale known for being more aggressive and thus less comfy? <----- those are just examples, I'm not implying that that's what I've heard...)

    Thanks!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Takashi
    sjt78 - Thanks for the response, and the sound advice. My friends who have been in the sport for a couple years recommended that I buy a bike from a local shop so that I have the ability to get it tuned professionally, which is typically included in the purchase price. I thought, nah, I want to find a deal so I'll stick to eBay and other websites. Anyhow, your response has made me think otherwise, so I do appreciate it! Once I have some time, I think I will start looking into test riding some different bikes.

    Question, is there a general consensus of comfort among the different manufacturers? (i.e., is Trek known for using specs that are more comforable, and Cannondale known for being more aggressive and thus less comfy? <----- those are just examples, I'm not implying that that's what I've heard...)

    Thanks!
    You'll have to do your homework as most of the big names (Trek, Specialized, Cannondale, Giant, etc.) make racing road bikes as well as comfort road bikes. You need to find what you feel is comfortable. With your price range I'm sure you will find something you like.

  6. #6
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    Well, I just ordered the airborne Thunderbolt(double), I'll let you know how it turns out. I do all the work on my own bikes, so I'm not worried about tuning/sizing etc. Good luck...I'll post when it arrives, supposed to ship tomorrow (7/29).
    Thanks,
    Ryan

  7. #7
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    I bet you'll love it. It is a very good bike for the $, and especially a good deal if you don't need a shop's help. The weakest part of the bike I feel are the wheels as they are a bit heavy, but if they hold up they should be good training wheels. Good luck.

  8. #8
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    Well, I received the bike today...it looks good! Nice build and I hope it rides as nice at it looks...I almost had a killer deal with a local bike shop. He was going to upgrade me to the Blackbird frame for his difference in cost + shipping on the frame. Unfortunately, they are completely out of my size(55)....so, looks like it's the thunderbolt for a while...can't wait to go for a ride in the morning( of course I won't wait until then to ride around, but the 30-40 miler will have to wait until tomorrow) It's nice to have a bike built this decade finally...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by rlogan
    It's nice to have a bike built this decade finally...
    ha ha, well, let us know how it fairs for you! as my schedule loosens up, i'm hoping to go out and test ride more bikes... so far just tried a felt and a trek (friends bikes...).

    also, i was cruising ebay again and i came across this windsor:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...ayphotohosting

    seems comparative to the airborne (although not as attractive), so what do you guys think?

  10. #10
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    Also, bikesdirect is having some good deals on 10spd Ultegra bikes.... Motebecane Grand Sprint or Le Champion SL for $1095 shipped in the contiguous US. I find it unbelievable that these places (bikesdirect, airborne, windsor) can sell these bikes for such prices. Makes me think that there must be some sort of catch, or a major flaw in the bikes. Because strictly on paper, I don't think these deals can be beat.

    --greg--

  11. #11
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    I put 40 miles on the thunderbolt today, I love it...great ride and then some....plan to do the same tomorrow...

  12. #12
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    hey logan, any updates on the t-bolt? honestly, i'm probably going to go with a bike from my LBS, mainly because it will be my first road bike and frankly i'll need the extra help from them

  13. #13
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    oh, and hold on to your airborne's, it looks like they'll be collectors' items in the near future!

  14. #14
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    still loving it...I have 2 rides this weekend...

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Takashi
    oh, and hold on to your airborne's, it looks like they'll be collectors' items in the near future!
    Do you want to clue us in on what is going on? Being acquired? Going bankrupt?

    What is going to make them collectors items?

  16. #16
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    They are being renamed, or at least the american side is, to FLYTE as of August 31st.

    So now, europe has airborne, and the U.S. has Flyte.


    www.flyte1.com

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by ibhim
    Do you want to clue us in on what is going on? Being acquired? Going bankrupt?

    What is going to make them collectors items?

    Well, they may never really become collectors items, but as logan said, airborne is being renamed. It turns out that the Airborne name is owned by Huffy (Huffy of all companys...), and Airborne was licensing it from them. Well they decided not to renew the license, and went with a new name. You'll notice that the there are Flyte banners on this site now....

  18. #18
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    At one point, the original owner of Airbone sold them to Huffy, but it didn't last long and he bought, or leased, the name back. I guess he is tired of paying them money for nothing.

  19. #19
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    Still going, I did the MS150 in San Antonio this weekend and the bike was wonderful. Looks like the Thunderbolt is now the SRS-3 in the FLYTE lineup. I am thinking about swapping out my frame for the Blackbird, a local shop has about 1/2 dozen of them available. He says he'll make me a deal I can't pass up. The Blackbird is the SRS-2 in the new lineup. Anyway, just thought I would let you guys know!
    Ryan

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