A really capable adventure mountain bike which rolls over pretty much everything in its way
Feb 25 2019
Those 29+ bike wheels just keep on turning
So many braze-ons its hard to know what to do with them all
Comfortable for miles and miles
The Jones bar might not be to all tastes
It's a little heavy
If you want one bike that you can load up and ride off to pretty much anywhere you choose.
The Beyond+ ADV is the most extreme of the Bombtrack ‘Beyond’ adventure series of bikes, with super fat 3" tyres on broad 29" rims double butted steel frame with a carbon fork and the much-discussed Jones Loop bar for front end control. The fat 29x3” tyres that will make light work of most off-road conditions you might find yourself in and proved a surprisingly fun bike to ride.
That wheel size is really quite enormous and drew plenty of attention during the test period especially when riding next to normal bikes and it’s one of the main topics of conversation when you meet someone, next to the Jones Loop handlebars, which also divide opinion.
The ADV model has a slightly different frameset to the other Beyond models to allow those 29+ wheels the clearance they need. The frame is made from Bombtrack's own label 4130 double butted tubing throughout and features neat and tidy welding and literally every braze-on I can think of, including Rohloff cable routing and some I couldn’t immediately see a use for.
There are four bottle mounts available on the frame and fork with some doubling up as ‘anything cage’ mounts. The rear thru-axle dropouts are super tidy bolt-on cowled items which are very neatly implemented and give the back end a super clean look.
The full carbon fork gets a bolt through axle and is set up for internal dynamo wiring. There are also rack mounts up front but I suspect this bike is aimed more at the rackless touring/bikepacking brigade.
The seat tube is bent towards the bottom to allow for greater clearance for that 29+ rubber and there is internal dropper post routing too, should you want to get rad. If things do start to get exciting then the SRAM Level TLM brakes can haul you up in time and the super wide range GX Eagle gearing with its 10-50T cassette and 32T chainring gets you moving again.
The wheels on this model are WTB's tubeless ready i45 rims laced to Bombtrack's own brand, sealed bearing, Boost width hubs. The tyres are 3" wide WTB Ranger TCS Lights which proved easy to make tubeless and I had no issues with them throughout the test period. I noticed no tyre clearance issues with the drivetrain with such large rubber in the climbing gears which can affect some of these bikes, especially without asymmetrical stays.
Aside from the Jones bars the finishing kit is mostly Bombtrack’s own label kit and is all functional and discrete. The stem is a little longer than you might expect to match with the back sweep of the Jones bars and, at six foot tall, I found the position spot on the large model. The saddle stands out from the standard bland offering by proving to be very comfortable for long rides and multi-day trips on the ADV.
So how did it ride?
During my time with the ADV I managed to pack in a broad range of different conditions riding from old school off-road riding, through wooded singletrack and farmland around Cologne, chalky byways and lanes around Westbury, up and down the South Downs and my usual Bath and Bristol stomping ground. The ADV handled all of this with consummate ease.
Once you get those big wheels rolling the bike seems to have an eagerness to keep rolling, taking less effort to continue where you’re going that it rightly should. It’s an odd effect but a pleasing one. I was able to barrel along on the road at a perfectly respectable rate.
Being nearer 31.5” in diameter than the nominal 29" of a normal bike, they roll really well covering the distance with ease and making light work of a lot of the rocks, roots and rough stuff in most off-road conditions I threw the ADV. It does take some trial and effort with the tyre pressures to get it right, but starting hard and letting air out as you go makes it a simple enough task to find what works for you. Sure, it’s not going to be happy ripping down a technical descent or super twisty singletrack but then it’s a fully rigid off-road adventure mountain bike.
Those big wheels do have a downside in that they are slow to accelerate and to change direction. You’ll need to change your riding style and in order to carry speed through technical corners. After a bit of practice, you’ll find that you are taking the corners wider and working the handlebar harder to get those big wheels to comply with where you want to go. If you are looking for a super nimble mountain bike to go touring on, then it's probably best you look elsewhere.
If you want that roll-over-everything in your way feel with a beautifully smooth, if not razor-sharp handling feel, then the ADV is great, especially as it handles so well when fully packed. And in truth that sharp handling mountain bikes will almost always be poor handling when fully laden so the decision is up to you. All I can say is that if you choose the ADV then you will still have plenty of fun without the bags but you’ll also enjoy your fully kitted up adventure a lot more.
The frame is also designed to take a 130mm 29er fork but you’ll have to be careful with clearance issues with that big 3” tyre. Still if you go down that route and fit a dropper post then the bike will really be able to take on all surface adventuring although with its 68.5º head angle and 72º seat tube figures and a reach of 434mm on a large frame, the ADV is never going to feel like a modern mountain bike off-road, but use this bike as it was intended and you’ll be rewarded with a sweet handling bike packing rig with huge grippy tyres (in most conditions) and the ability to roll over just about anything.
On bikepacking adventures, the Jones Loop bar was great for mounting stuff to with it, be it lights, GPS or extra bags, straps or flipflops; you name it, that little space offers a lot of carrying opportunities. You can even get a specific bag to fit inside the space if you so desire. I’m not aware of many handlebars if any that have their own accessory line.
On the subject of the bar's rather Marmite shape, I still cannot get my head around the knee and bar interference in tight switchbacks, but it was easier on the ADV than previous bikes I’ve tried it on. Secondly, when things turned technical and twisty in the woods I would have preferred a nice wide flat bar and was a little uncomfortable with the Jones. I also had slightly sore outside of the palm from weight placed in an unusual position on the more technical rides, something I’m sure your hands would get used through long term use.
At 13.6kg, it's definitely not a lightweight bike for its asking price but it’s not about weight at all with the ADV it’s more of an idea. It’s a bike you can pack up your life on and go across the Siberia or the Rockies on or you can simply do what we did and load up for a cheeky midweek overnighter on the South Downs and enjoy the fresh air. It will handle either with ease and will put a smile on your face when those wheels just keep rolling over everything. £2,500 is a lot of money for a rigid bike but this is a really well thought out adventure machine that just needs your imagination to go places.
Test report Bombtrack Beyond+ ADV review £2,500.00X
About the bike
Tell us what the bike is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own :
The Beyond+ ADV is aimed at the Adventurous bike rider who may only be planning a sneaky night away mid week this month but has big plans for a longer more exhaustive adventure down the line. Bombtrack say " A bike unique on the market, a bike you probably could ride on the moon" which whilst impossible to test seems spot on for those big wheels and easy going nature of the bike. I'd say they are pretty accurate with their description of this bike and its abilities. Its really only your ambition that will hold you back with this one.
State the frame material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.:
Steel 4130 Double Butted throughout frame. Neat welding with clean cowled rear dropouts and a rigid Carbon fork. All in muted colours. Sram GX Eagle groupset performed faultlessly throughout the test period.
Frame & Fork
How much suspension travel does the fork have?:
none but you can fit a 130mm 29er fork but you'll need to check clearance with 3" rubber.
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.:
Yes very. I could sit in it and ride for days quite happily
How was the bike in terms of sizing and angles? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size and intent?:
I'm 6' and the large was spot on
Overall rating for frame
How much suspension travel does the rear end have?:
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?:
i didn't detect any flex in the BB area and fork felt solid even under hard conditions
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame:
Excellent finish all round. I especially liked the droupouts.
Tell us about the geometry of the frame:
It's not a modern forward geometry mountain bike and not designed to be ridden like one. It's happy being pushed hard off road but it limitations are shown up by lack of fork and the bar.
Tell us about the materials used in the frame:
Double butted steel throughout which is really nice to see and helps keep the weight in check for such a large bike.
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?:
Sram's GX Eagle Drivetrain and quality frame meant no issues with power transfer
How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive?:
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?:
The 29+ wheelset creates a unique feel on the bike and it will take a few corners to get used to the amount of steering input required and when to apply it.
Rate the bike for sprinting:
Any comments on sprinting?:
slow to accelerate
Rate the bike for high speed descending
Rate the bike for technical descending:
Rate the bike for flat cornering:
Rate the bike for technical climbing:
Rate the bike for climbing efficiency:
Any comments on climbing efficiency?:
those big wheels will get you over pretty much everything
Rate the bike for agility:
Rate the drivetrain for performance:
Rate the drivetrain for durability:
Wheels & tyres
Rate the wheels for performance:
Rate the wheels for durability:
Rate the wheels for weight:
Any comments on wheel weight?:
reasonable to good weight considering their size
Rate the wheels for comfort:
Any comments on wheel comfort?:
once pressure were sorted they were wonderfully comfortable
Tell us some more about the wheels.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels? If so, wha:
needed a more grippy front tyre for technical mountain biking but for everything else they worked well
Rate the tyres for performance:
Rate the controls for performance:
Rate the controls for value:
Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components?:
still not convinced by the Jones bar in all conditions but good set up on this bike
Did you enjoy riding the bike?:
yes very much
Would you consider buying the bike?:
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike\'s performance? would you recommend any changes?:
Jones bar will cause some conversation but if you don't like it you can swap it out traditonal bar.
Would you recommend the bike to a friend?:
Rate the bike overall for performance:
Rate the bike overall for value:
Use this box to explain your score:
Its expensive for a rigid mountain bike. But look past the lack of suspension and its well made good looking and rides well for what it is - an adventure bike.