Klein 1999 Mantra Race 99 Full Suspension Bike

DESCRIPTION

1999 Klein Mantra Race, mountain bike, front & rear suspension, Mountain Mix components, Answer Manitou SX, 3.15" travel fork

The Mantra is engineered for extremely technical off road riding, where large obstacles and steep descents are likely to be encountered. The Mantra shares the same frame platform as the Mantra Comp, and is equipped with components and wheels that allow for smooth-shifting, fast-climbing and trail-handling performance.

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 78  
[Oct 24, 2010]
goneape
Weekend Warrior

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5

what can i say great bike carys my ass anywhere

[Dec 28, 2006]
Paul Demeule
Cross Country Rider

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

Light weight, Climbing, Stiff, I actually like the URT design

Weakness:

Not the best on downhills, but corrected by adding a riser bar, 100mm front fork and offset seat post.

Great cross country ride, very plush suspension without excessive bob. I saw this frame for sale and decided to do a custom build and I am very pleased with the result. Climbs like a goat and soaks up bumps very nicely. Used a brake therapy mount on the the rear to get disks on, works great. Build quality on the frame is great, too bad Klein is not really in the game anymore.

Similar Products Used:

N/A

[Aug 08, 2001]
stungeon
Cross Country Rider

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

quality components, weight, single pivot, carbon boom

Weakness:

the steering tube is an odd size which makes stem shopping dificult; the Fox Vanilla Float bushings were squeaking but I corrected it

I have been riding this bike for over 3 years now and I still love it. It is an awsome climber. It is an incredible bike and I plan to keep for a long time.

[Jul 25, 2001]
Wayne
Cross Country Rider

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
3
Strength:

Great climber, well suited for riders who stay in the saddle most of the time. Great looking bike, low maintenance rear suspension (just one big pivot, baby!) Light, even with the XL frame (less than 27 lbs). On the flat and level, this bike rolls over everything with ease even sitting down. Suspension works well enough that even a hog like me (240 lbs +) hasn't bent or dinged the stock light-weight wheels in two years of riding!

Weakness:

If not set up properly, this bike is an ejector seat waiting to launch you on downhills or technical trails. Rear brakes cause MAJOR rear triangle flex on the XL frame. Lots of headset clatter, or maybe it's just that big carbon-fiber boom that amplifies the noise.

When I got this bike in the fall of '99, I immediately fell in love with it. Subsequently, I learned to distrust, hate, then fall in love with the bike all over again.

Mechanical:

I did run into some problems early on, including a squeaky pivot, loose headset, bottom bracket squeak, and serious rear triangle flex under braking. The shop tightened the heck out of the headset, and most of the clatter went away. Adding teflon tape to the bottom bracket still didn't get rid of all the squeak, however, which I live with still.

The squeaky pivot problem happened because the pivot bolt was too tight. I ended up adding some washers and a lock nut as well to keep the nut from easing out. FYI, DO NOT attempt to lube the pivot because it can actually break down the bushings.

The rear brake flex was easily fixed with an after-market brake arch stiffener, though with the reputation Klein has for building bullet-proof bikes, I was disappointed that I had to do this. Cheap fix, however.

The Ride:

I immediately fell in love with the Fox Vanilla shock in the back. With the recommended weight + 10% PSI, it would soak up the bumps big and small, and even on moderate sized whoops I could leave my butt in the saddle. Climbing was awesome; the rear tire stayed glued to the trail, or at least until I stood up.

However, I quickly learned that slow-speed manuevering through the technical stuff, especially downhill, revealed the bike's nasty tendency to "stink bug." The first time down my favorite technical trail launched me over the bars twice. With the rear suspension topped out going down hill, even getting on the bike could be scary. I became overly tentative on trails that I could bomb through with ease on my old GT hardtail, causing even more crashes.

The Fix:

Like most everyone says, setup is the key to getting the Mantra to perform up to snuff. With the high-pivot URT, in my opinion the best thing to do is to drop the shock pressure, and get the bike to sit further down into the travel. Klein claims something ridiculous like 6 or 7" of travel, so why only use the top 2 - 3" of it? I currently ride with the shock pressure at my weight (240 lbs), and am experimenting with less pressure. Also, I moved the seat back a little to compensate for the relative position of the bottom bracket.

The other component of the shock setup is the dampening. I cranked it up until it virtually locked out the shock, then backed it off one click. By doing this, I sacrificed some of the small bump absorption, but it was well worth it to get rid of the "ejector seat" sensation.

Other fixes that I am contemplating are adding a riser bar, and putting a stiffening kit in the fork.

The Ratings:

Overall, I give the bike 4 chilis, though it took some experimentation to get it right. 3 chilis for value, because I probably would have been just as happy on an FSR XC (for $800 less). Given the new suspension designs today, however, I'd probably put my $$$ into an Adept or a Sugar.

BTW, if anyone has setup tips they'd like to share, send me an e-mail... I'd love to hear them.

[Jul 27, 2001]
Christopher Smith
Weekend Warrior

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

Incredible rear suspension, great components, fork is really nice with lockout, stiff frame, looks great, nice rear shock (Float R), handling second to none

Weakness:

Geometry, I'm not a URT rider.

Great bike, everything everyone below says is true. The only thing I really didn't like was that I was way too far over the front wheel. I'm 6' and had a large, but couldn't get my center of gravity far back enough, or at least where I felt comfortable having it. I got rid of the bike, and am replacing it with an 00 Specialized Enduro Expert. We'll see.

Similar Products Used:

Y-33 (98 or 99)

[Dec 29, 1999]
Herb
Cross-Country Rider

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Strength:

nice component mix, excellent in tight, twisty singletrack, excellent technical climber

Weakness:

a bit skittish on very sharp drop-offs; limited to clamping seatpost in repair stand

I've had it only about 5 weeks, but have taken in out for about 15 rides; I just can't get enough! My first dual-suspension, and am amazed at what I can ride up, down, over and through. You just need to keep your weight back on steep drop-offs. Fox shock seems to hold air pretty well, so far, and I weigh 230 and run it at 250 psi! Got a great deal on '99 closeout from LBS - less $$ than 2000 Mantra Comp! I probably wouldn't be as excited if I'd paid MSRP, but I didn't, so I am! Tons of fun. Plus, with the black & red color scheme, and curvy carbon fiber main tube, it's probably the best looking bike out there.

[Dec 29, 1999]
Mike
Cross-Country Rider

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Strength:

light, excellent suspension, climbing

Weakness:

nose dives under hard braking

Needs a little setting (fork/shock balance) up and getting used to, added risers to help distribute my weight back a little. Bike climbs anything you can find as long as your legs hold up. Mega 9 drive train works great, especially after coming from a 7 speed, extra gearing makes impossible terrain possible. Haven't had a single problem with the bike, have had a few hard crashes, paint and CF have held up excellent. Suspension will flex under stand up acceleration but when seated and pedaling it barely flexes. Have changed my riding to 90% seated. Overall an excellent cross country bike that handles any trails in NJ (from flat sandy to steep rocky terrain) that I've ridden.

Similar Products Used:

K2 4000

[Jul 22, 1999]
B-DUB
Racer

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Strength:

Gorgeous Design,

Weakness:

Fragile Paint Job, That Crazy Proprietary Headset & Stem

Well, after deciding I needed a new bike (read: WANTED a new bike), I evaluated my current bike inventory. Over the years, at several shops, I have accumulated quite a few bikes. Most have come and gone, but of all the bikes I've ever owned, my '97 Mantra RACE was ALWAYS in the stable. Naturally, when looking for a new lightweight '99 FS bike, I chose the Mantra . I originally ordered the Mantra PRO fuselage in Janurary, but after 5 months of getting the runaround by both Klein and my local dealer, I finally cracked and just bought the whole Mantra RACE bike for a few dollars more. I had already purchased a full XTR kit , RaceLite wheels, and other assorted goodies for the PRO fuselage, so upon delivery of my RACE, I promptly tore it down, weighed the frame/ and built it back up. The original plan involved building a super-lite 22lb Mantra. With a sub 5lb. frame WITH rear shock (4.8lbs. for my MEDIUM frame/CaneCreek AD-10), you can't possibly go wrong. The bike started out quite portly, alot of which could be attributed to the MEGA-9 XT kit, Bontrager Race wheels, and 3.8lb. Manitou SX shock. However, with the addition of lighter wheels, a new fork, and tires/tubes, the weight came off fast. What a difference! I was told by my local dealer (coincidentally the only one within a 2hr drive) that Klein would not offer reducer cups in the future., so I custom machined some aluminum reducer cups for the crazy proprietary headset, and switched forks. It was difficult to get them to fit properly, but now the front end is like buddah! I was concerned that the fork/headset/stem combo would leave me without a bike, or regretting my purchase. Several buddies of mine have owned various Klein models over the years, and most of them were plagued with problems, especially from the proprietary MC2 headset/stem combo & BB found on older Adroit fuselages. They all spent quite a few bones on their rides, and never got to ride them 'cause they always needed service. Fortunately, Klein has informed me that reducer cups are now available, and mine should be here in the next couple of days. More on that when they arrive.As for the ride, nothing has ever matched the ride of my Klein! The bike truly does everything well. I have raced my '97 Mantra all over the southeast, and have competed in several 12 & 24 races with no problem . I never have had a problem keeping up with my buddies, but the bike helps me out climb, out sprint, and descend faster in almost every situation . With this steed under me, I can ride things my buddies can't or won't consider! Although my '97 only had 6 of rear wheel travel, I haven't noticed the extra inch the '99 Mantra RACE & PRO offer. Only the PRO models offered the full 7 in '97 & '98. One thing I have noticed is the difference in size between my MEDIUM '97 and MEDIUM '99 Mantras. The '99 is a tad smaller, due entirely to the advent of an XL size for '99 and the removal of the XS size of previous years. Klein reconfigured the rear triangle to shave some weight and in the process, made it size-specific. This made for slightly different numbers, but still a great fit! The only other problem lies in the extensive 10-coat paint process. Since Klein doesn't use decals, the graphics are an intergral part of the paint. That's O.K. when it comes to my '97, but for only 2-3 months of riding, my '99 is showing much more use, and a few spots of the carbon underpinnings. The paint is typically quite strong, as my '97 looks almost new, but the slightest thing will chip the paint on the carbon models. I suppose this is no fault of Klein.; Due to the inherent properties of carbon-fiber , it typically doesn't take paint well. However, with as much thought as Gary put into the entire bike, it seems as if he didn't consider paint as it relates to the new frame material change. No matter, the paint is warratied by Klein, and they can expect my frame pack for re-spraying in the near future. The only other thing I would like to add to this ever-growing dissertation, is owners BEWARE! Klein spec'd the '99 Manitou SX on the Mantra RACE, and the '99 SX Ti on the PRO. Klein (really Maintou) has reportedly had problems with a few of the forks bottoming all the way and taking CHUNKS out of the head-tube 'cause of the brake arch. At the very least it could ruin that beautiful paint job. If you own one of these bikes, or plan on purchasing one in the near future, have your local dealer inspect the fork, and install the neccessary second set of elastomers in the fork. if it was aluminum, don't worry about it, but carbon is known for critical failure! Otherwise, this bike is, in my humble opinion, the best performing dually rig on the market. I would recommend it to anyone unhappy with their current suspension bike, and ESPECIALLY anyone looking to upgrade to full-suspension!! A full 10 flaming whatchmacallits!!

Similar Products Used:

OWNED: '97 AMP B-4/F3XC, '98 GT XR1000, '98 MountainCycle MOHO CXS, '99 Heckler SuperLight, '97 Mantra RACE, '99 Specialized FSR S-Works, '98 Trek Y-33, '98 HardLand FS-1000

[May 24, 2000]
CLIFF
Weekend Warrior

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

Climbing(surprise), adjustable suspension allows for a smooth ride over most surfaces for most riders, high quality components, a very solid feel, a "greatful dead like" loyal following - Klein Bike mechanics seem to have a religious affiliation to the bikes. Your fellow Klein owners are also very into their "special" machines.

Weakness:

My knees get hammered where the URT hinges on the wide boom.
I must adjust or get knee pads. Cables rub the carbon frame removing the paint. (clear plastic tape made for the purpose solved the problem & does not effect the good looks.
XT front brakes are very loud.

A joy to ride and to own. After 300 miles our relationship is blloming and if all goes well we may go all the way this summer.

Similar Products Used:

TREK Y5, Honda XTR 500

[Jan 14, 2000]
Hayes Baber
Cross Country Rider

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

The Mantra has the best ride of any bike I've owned and I've owned a variety of mountain bikes. Once you learn to stay in the saddle, you can handle any terrain. You can pedal through rough stuff with ease. Makes technical trails much easier to ride. Out of the box is set up great (XTR, XT, Thompson, Bontrager, etc). Will roll over logs like they're not there. PLUSH yet stiff when you need it (climbs great and goes through tight single track with ease). Love the carbon fiber fuselage and the new rear triangle. Best looking bike made.

Weakness:

When you first get on one, steep downhills can be a little scarier than normal. Get your wieght back. I got rid of the flat handle bars and went with risers. That took care of the downhills. Really not a weakness, just an adjustment.

This is my second Klein Mantra (owned a 98 aluminum Race) and my fourth Klein. Klein products are one of the top mountain bike products (with the exception of Trek messing them up for a couple of years). Having previously owned four other full suspension bikes, I can say without a doubt that the 99 carbon Mantra Race is the best ride of them all.
At Close to $3000, its a little pricy, but you get what you pay for and then some. Its not for everyone. Intermediate to advanced riders will be able to ride it hard enough to get the full benefits of its amazing handling.

Similar Products Used:

Trek Y, K2, Cannondale V 900 (lead sled), Mantra Race (aluminum 98), Santa Cruz Super light, Litespeed Unicoi.

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