The Review | 150 mm travel and 29″ wheels – Drössiger XRA29 1
Up, down, mid level mountains, high Alps, home trails? You want to ride it all – with one bike? Maybe the Drössiger XRA29 1 can help out. A FOX Factory suspension platform, XTR groupset, DT-Swiss Spline wheels – here you’ll get a top spec at 13.6 kg weight for € 3,699. We tested the 150 mm 29er from Drössiger to see how versatile it really is.
If you just look at the spec then the 150 mm XRA29 full-sus machine should be pretty universal: the FOX 34 TALAS CTD can be dropped to 120 mm, to notch 2 x 11 XTR drivetrain and XTR Trail brakes, Reverb Stealth dropper post with 125 mm stroke and lightweight DT Swiss XM 1501 Spline One 29 wheels shod with 2.35″ Schwalbe Nobby Nic tyres. The top-tube parallel position of the FOX FLOAT CTD shock even leaves enough room for a bottle in the front triangle. The cockpit is based on Ritchey WCS components and with a 70 mm stem and 740 mm bars more geared towards all-round riding. Our test bike was also fitted with a Bionicon C.Guide chainguide which isn’t listed on the Drössiger website for the XRA range but actually makes complete sense for a 2 x 11 transmission.
If you want to descend you need to climb first and that’s one thing the Drössiger does pretty well. The riding position feels relaxed and ascending aboard the 13.6 kg bike is comfortable. Thanks to the neutral rear suspension it’s done without any annoying bob. The 2 x 11 drivetrain shifts smoothly and with 36/26, 11–40 ratios you’ll always have enough spare gears for the steepest climbs and longest rides. On technical ascents the XRA29 is slightly disappointing due to the lack of good tracking: although the 29″ wheels provide plenty of traction and great rollover characteristics the high centre of gravity on the bike (one doesn’t feel integrated ‘in the bike’) leads to a slightly wobbly handling.
Downhill the bike performs very well, especially when speeds are higher. Here the big wheels come into their own and combined with 150 mm travel allow you to fly over rocks and roots. The XRA29 is still maneuverable in tight corners – just on well built berms the rider struggles to get enough weight onto the front wheel due to the high cockpit.
The FLOAT CTD shock exhibits a similar spring curve to the fork and this creates a harmonious, plush suspension platform which always offers the right amount of travel and provides the rider with plenty of comfort.
In order to better understand the XRA29 we rode its big brother at the same time. The RockShox suspended, Shimano XT equipped XEA29 2 has slacker angles, a more compact geometry, a longer wheelbase and 160 mm travel. Together this makes a more downhill-specific machine but also adds a whole kilogram of weight. Even though we prefered the performance of the RockShox suspension parts we didn’t miss the extra 10 mm of travel when riding the XRA29.
We really liked the new Schwalbe Nobby Nic, especially in comparison to the Hans Dampf tyres fitted to the XEA29. The grip threshold is much easier to judge, they offer more grip on the side knobs and braking traction is also improved.
We think that with the XRA29 1 Drössiger have indeed created a great trail bike: one that is best suited to all-round riders instead of aggressive trail pilots. It can play its strengths on epic rides with plenty of climbing: comfortable and – considering the aluminium frame, 29” wheels and 150 mm travel – an acceptable weight. A bike which really likes long climbs. On the descents it is always controllable and confident and has plenty of travel to deal with technical Alpine trails. Overall it offers almost the same performance as the XEA29 2 but is noticeably lighter and more versatile.
Words: Daniel Schlicke, Andreas Maschke
Photos: Christoph Bayer