Excellent Value if you know what you're doing On: 2010-06-19
This is a review of both the Olpran Tomahawk and Crosslake Sales. As Crosslake says, the bike was manufactured in Taiwan, to the best of my knowledge by a Czech company. As far as I can tell, Crosslake is the only (online) US distributor- this is why I comment on Crosslake too.
First of all I should say that if you know what youre doing in assembly, adjustment and tuning, this is a great value. All of the components are name-branded: Shimano shifters and deraillers, Winzip brakes, Kalloy handlebars and stem, Spinner Grind suspension fork, Quando hubs, etc. Even though they are all pretty much bottom of the line from each component mfr. at least you know what youve got (unlike most dept. store bikes). And if you price them all out they could easily add up to the advertised msrp for the bike at around $500.
The best part of the bike, though, is the frame. It is aluminum, which makes it light (Im guessing the whole bike weighs about 30 lbs.); and the manufacture quality seems to be excellent. If you look closely at the frame joints in the pictures you can tell how well welded the frame is. Mine looks exactly like the pictures. If you compare even the best big box dept. store bikes you will probably notice how spotty and sloppy the welding is on them. In my opinion this is extraordinarily important. If you cant trust the frame, you cant trust the bike. I have been told by a friend with bike experience that the frame will "grow" with me if I gradually upgrade the components since it compares favorably with frames on much more expensive bikes. Incidentally, I am 58" with a 31" inseam and this 18" frame fits me just about right.
I mentioned that this is a good value *if* you know what youre doing. Assembly from the box is pretty basic, but adjustment and tuning require skill. Most of the bike came pre-assembled-- but *everything* needed extensive adjustment. And some components as pre-assembled were assembled wrong. The bike was not rideable after basic assembly. I had to learn a lot over a couple of days to be able to do it myself, and I am fairly mechanically inclined (outside of bikes until now). If you need to take it to a bike shop this will obviously diminish the value factor quite a bit. Manufacturer documentations for the deraillers and fork are in English but general instructions for the bike are not.
The most egregious example of sloppy pre-assembly was that the rear brake cable and front derailler cable were wound together across the transverse beam at the top of the frame-- not just crossed, but crossed twice, brake cable crossing over the top of the derailler cable and back across below it. This is both the most obvious blunder I can imagine, and potentially dangerous to a rider if not repaired. I blame Crosslake for this.
Crosslake is responsible for another blunder as well. The rear derailler is advertised as a Shimano Acera but the bike actually comes with Shimano Altus, a step down in the Shimano line to almost the bottom. The other reviewer also notes this which makes it clear that Crosslake was informed of their mistake, and yet did not adjust their advertised specs. Mistakes are understandable, but once informed it becomes a knowingly false claim.
I was going to give the item 3 stars because of the iffy pre-assembly and false derailler claim, but in consideration of the overall value 4 stars is warranted. I would love to find out more about the manufacturer Olpran, but it seems there is almost no information about them in English; their website certainly is not.
Good entry level bike On: 2009-08-26
After having not ridden in over 20 years I just got back into biking with this bike. Having not ridden the "big" name bikes, so I cant give you much comparison. I can say Cross Lake was very good at answering all of my questions prior to purchase. The bike arrived partially assembled. After putting a few pieces on (seat, front tire, handle bars) and taking it for a short 3 mile ride, only needed to make a minor adjustment to the front derailer and adjust the brakes a little more. Frame feels lighter than I expected, but I am sure some enthusiasts may think it could be lighter. All components are working well. I do not have experience to compare them to other components. I am really enjoying getting back into biking with this bike. I have not hit any trails with it yet, but it is doing just fine on neighborhood roads and mild off road terrain. Only negative for me was the operator manual was not in english.
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