Klein Palomino Race 2003 Full Suspension

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 82  
[Aug 07, 2018]
kleiner96


OVERALL
RATING
5
Strength:

I bought this rig in 2009 as a project. It takes time to set this bike up correctly but that patience is well worth it. During the past 8 years, this bike has been to the desert in Israel many times, to Valencia in Spain and ridden a lot in northern Italy. Although I have previously sung the praises of the bike on this forum before here is an update after making the transition to 1 x 11. Of all the slightly retro bikes out there this bike benefits hugely when upgraded. The bike is now: - 800 grams lighter. I went for Sram XX1drive train, ceramic BB, ceramic wheel bearings, wide rear cassette (11-46T) with 34T on the front, DT-Swiss carbon forks 100mm, XTR carbon disc brakes. These changes have truly transformed this bike's performance. It's very agile, nimble, responsive and a pleasure to ride on all kinds of terrain. It feels like a brand new bike and I am taking it to the Himalayas for the ultimate test! The transformation in handling and performance makes this bike a permanent keeper for me.

Weakness:

Tricky to set up. Need the patience to find all the sweet spots: position, suspension pressure, saddle height and sag. Once set up keep the measurements.

Price Paid:
$400
Purchased:
Used  
Model Year:
2003
[Nov 16, 2015]
Peter Lindvvall
Cross Country Rider

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Strength:

My 1st Palomino was a warranty replacement for the cracked Mantra, that I bought via ebay.
I'm kicking myself for not upgrading to the Maverick link, because it's no longer available.

Weakness:

Occasional noise from the link...

Easily the best bike I've ever owned! Amazing orange paint job! Really lights up in the sun!

I've ridden it since 2003, and it still rocks!

Similar Products Used:

I bought a 2nd 2003 on ebay, when I heard, that Klein/Trek no longer have Palomino frames for warranty exchanges.

[Jul 19, 2003]
Dr Dolittle

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

Pedals superbly, good spec for price, looks great

Weakness:

Bushings wear out too fast. Seat tube angle means sizing doesn't suit all.

Its a true trail bike. Its not a XC racer - though you probably could make it lighter, and its not a hardcore DH/freeride rig. Its built to ride all day and its very good at it!
The bushings in the monolink wear out very quickly, but that has more to do with local conditions. Trek reckon it can be fixed by fitting the bearing monolink from a Maverick (which will fit) but its not a cheap option. Trek UK deny that a problem exists.
The rear shock is not as custom as it sounds. Turns out its been assembled from Fox's parts bin, and hence uses mostly off the shelf Float and Vanilla parts. In theory anyone equipped to service Fox units should be able to fix it.
Niggles aside I love mine - its comfortable, fast and looks great. Everyone that has tried it liked it, from XCer to DHer. Its been everywhere since December, all over Europe, through snow and sand, across plains and down mountains without missing a beat. I've used it in an XC race, a 24 hr race, even a DH race! Everything was done with ease - even the stuff the bike wasn't made for. And aside from the bearings nothing has gone wrong

Similar Products Used:

Marin Mount Vision, Trek Fuel 90, Orange Sub 5, Rocky Mountain ETS.

[Jul 07, 2003]
FSBConvert
Cross Country Rider

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

Fox Shox, incredible hook-up on climbs, component grouping, KLEIN quality. Beautiful paint.

Weakness:

Tried avid brakes on demo, upgraded to disc. Could have used a better headset.

This is the first full suspension bike I have owned. I did a lot of research (including MTBR, thanks to all the reviewers preceeding my purchase) after riding the Santa Cruz Blur to determine if there were any other bikes on the market with the same concept (no bob, plush ride). This one came up. For about a $1,000 less than a similarily equipped Blur, I had to give it a try. This bike delivers! It rides like a hard tail when accelerating but gives you the cushion when needed when blowing over the big stuff. Rock gardens are no problem now, rooty and rocky uphills are handled. As stated in a previous review, this bike, with the disc option for me has been a HUGE confidence builder. It climbs like a cheetah and descends like a champ. Not to mention around the Raleigh NC area, it is a conversation piece. Klein qualify and an incredible paint job make this a bike worth looking into. The performance of the Palomino Race makes it worth owning. Small note though. I love the Fox Shocks, very plush, have not bottomed one out yet. Had a VERY rare issue with the rear shock which was handled. Fox customer service though was sub par. (Coming from a customer service environment myself). It took them 3 weeks to return the shock. Thankfully I had my old hard tail to ride. That said, I would not hesitate to recommend this bike or the components, including the shocks. Try to catch one during a demo on a trail though. Trust me when I say kicking around in a parking lot on this bike will no where near give you the appreciation this bike deserves.

Similar Products Used:

Trek Fuel 98, Gary Fisher Sugar 2+, Trek Liquid Fuel 20, Santa Cruz Blur

[Jun 26, 2003]
Jon Heffron
Cross Country Rider

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Strength:

The ride the bike hooks up really well.Great handling bike no bob at all when you riding hard.

Weakness:

Top shock pivot has to much side to side play .Rock Shox Duke with no adjustment it dives really bad when you brake.

Bike rides really well. Rear shock works great and soaks up the hits really nice.But there is to much play in the top shock pivot.Klein should have made a tighter fit and put in a bushing.I'm afraid to tighten the bolt to tight because I don't want to overstress the top of the rear shock.If anyone else out there has had this problem can you drop me a email to tell me how you fixed it.Once the problem gets addressed it will only make it a better ride.

Similar Products Used:

2000 Fsr Enduro Comp

[Jun 25, 2003]
Josh F
Weekend Warrior

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

Suspension is terrific, no bob from rear shock, Fox Float 100 up front with Lockout. The coolest paintjob on the trails. Hayes Disc Brakes a great option.

Weakness:

Not enough time to ride more. I haven't found any weaknesses.

Klein hit the nail on the head with this one. It descends with no fear and the disc brakes give you the confidence to push it to the limit. I'm 6/1, 190 and the suspension works great. If you're in the market for a full suspension, you MUST test this bike before making any descisions. Paint scheme is unique and great looking.

Similar Products Used:

Tested Santa Cruz Blur, Trek Fuel 98, Specialized Epic Disc.

[Jun 23, 2003]
David Fambrough

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Strength:

Efficient Suspension Performance, especially climbing
Klein Quality and Finish
Stable/predictable handling

Weakness:

Slack seat angle could be a problem for some
Wished it had sealed cartridge bearing vs. bushings
Rear cables rubbed legs unless zip tied
Front derailleur can be tempermental if rear suspension isn't dialed correctly.

I've had many hours and miles on this bike. Those of you that have mentioned front derailleur problems, you may need to upgrade the M-Bits spring with a heavier one for $35. It's recommended for riders weighing more than 190lbs. (Note: that includes camelbak and all your other riding gear on; so, if you weigh only 180 lbs. you may want to consider this upgrade.) Not only does this stiffen the rear suspension so it has less impact on the front derailleur functionality, it enables you to decrease your PSI. As a result, it puts less stress on the air seals and increases its durability. FYI: I'm 6 ft. and weigh 190 lbs. and 200 lbs. loaded with gear. I'm now running only 25 lbs. PSI in the rear.

Other tricks that work: running smaller diameter cables inside larger cable housing to reduce friction, and adding an Avid Rollamagig also lets you click off the shifts.

Similar Products Used:

Follow-up Review

[Jun 16, 2003]
John Wheeler
Racer

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

Suspension front and rear that compliment each other. The best race fork going. Rear suspension that works. This bike will make you a better rider. Very predictable ride that resembles a hard tail with a suspension post (that's a good thing) when hammering through twisty single track; and like a downhill drop monster when flying down rooted out, nasty, steep hills.

Weakness:

For me this bike has no weakness. The whole bushing v. bearing thing, could I suppose become an issue, but I've spoke with the local TREK Rep, my local shop, and a Traveling Demo Guy and all have assured me that Klein remedy the problem if it persists. As for Bushings, I have a 1997 GT LTS and the bushings on it are still going strong. Bushings shortcomings may be an issue of rider wieght and hieght. The front derailiuar is tricky, but if setup right (maybe not to every riders liking) it works great.

I'm 5'10" and anywhere between 145lbs and 155lbs - the medium fits my riding style best, I tried the large and it felt "big". I've owned a mountain bike since 1984, raced since 1990, this my second full-suspension bike, I ride both on rode and off daily, and without a doubt this bike has made me a better rider. Why? Confidence.

While my "old" GT LTS has a plusher rear suspension feel, it can be a problem. Peddle bob and bounce can really take their toll in a race... there is no noticeable bob with the Palomino. It works when it needs to without any effect on the drive train. I've heard people talk about small bump compliance, many FS race bike are lacking in this area, because they're trying to fill the HT - FS gap. The EPIC is not good at small bump compliance, but everyone seems to think it is the Second Coming. The Palomino performs like the EPIC with a softer feel (think of a HT Vs a HT with a suspension seat post). Before buying this bike ride it in a real world situation, a TREK demo event is the best bet... it sold me. Setup and fit make a world of difference on the Palomino (I'm just now getting used to the exaggerated seatpost height). Get it setup right and leave it. Tweakers, stay away from this bike, each adjustment has an effect on how the bike works (read other reviews). Up front the Fox Float is incredible. I have a 2003 SID Race and considered swapping it for the weight savings. But, after three races and numerous rides, I'll take the weight penalty. The best thing about the Fox is its stiffness. It doesn't wash out in sand and mud like the SID and the extra travel is noticeable (I like the SID's lockout better).

The one gripe I have with spec'd parts are the brakes Avid SD5 levers and SD 3 brakes). When pricing a bike at this level manufactures are trying to shave cash anywhere they can and compared to the other components these are sub-par. I've heard people complain about the tires, but I've been impressed. They really hook up in mud I've done three mud races and could not have asked for better rubber. This is by far the best mud bike I've owned. No problems at all, the chain only tried to suck once in a 16-mile mud soup race.

The Palomino likes air, it's easy to catch big air with it because the suspension is centered over the pedals and the rear triangle is light. This concept also aids in bunnyhopping and curb jumping, since there is less to pull-up. It certainly does not feel like a 27lb bike, because of this unique balance. If you're looking for a FS bike that has many ride characteristics of a HT, look no further, you won't be disappointed.

Similar Products Used:

Specialized EPIC (felt like a hard tail, not plush enough for my 38 year old frame) and Fisher Sugar 29er (different, it rolls over everything, not a highflyer, a really old man or 24hr racers bike). Other contenders for purchase - Truth, Blur, and Racer-X. Why the Palomino... ride and price, the contenders were a grand more with similar gear.

[Jun 10, 2003]
Vlada
Cross Country Rider

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

best stable platform, no bob from padals, excellent in descent, even better in ascent

Weakness:

pure Klein's tech. manual. You can learn where G. K. sudied, but information how to preload rear shock is confusing and misleading

The only weakpoint of this bike is documentation. It does't say that rear shock preaload has fatal impact on functionality of front derailleur. Just by attemt I found that the more pressure the better function. But the balance between drivetrain function and plush is to preload in PSI at 1/3 of your weight in lbs (my 180 lbs. mean 60 PSI). This is the answer from Klein's help desk: "Through continuing research, we currently recommend rear shock PSI be set at 1/4 to 1/2 rider body weight. 1/3 to 1/2 will lend to optimum drivetrain performance."
And they should add that if you shift to the large sprocket at the back first and after that to the smallest sprocket in front, you will not have any problem even in steep slopes.
By far the best FS I ever rode. Unfortunately I can not compare it with SC Blur, but reading about Blur's bobing a little bit, I think Palomino is better. As a "stable platform" bike at least.
Bike could be reccomended for whole day's cross country rides.

Similar Products Used:

several single pivot system, Adept tested

[Jun 09, 2003]
Jack
Cross Country Rider

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Strength:

Lateral stiffness, climbing, over all cockpit feel,and the ability to hold a line downhill.

Weakness:

Rear derailer set up,bottom pivot bushings.

Bottom line is that this is a follow up from my review on 11-29-02. I am now down off my first love/lust high,and here are my findings.First keep in mind that at 6'4'' and 215(or so) and riding at least 3 times a week over the terrain we do, any bike is subject to punshiment beyond your normal X-country riding.
1-Tall riders, need not fear the slack seat tube angle.Using Raceface XY seat post even at the max line has not been a problem. Both post and tube are so far very strong, Keep it lubed or it will squeek and creek and drive you and buddies nuts till you figure where it's comming from.
2-Bottom pivot bushings have got to go." Hello Trek" are you listening??? Both have loosened several times, front E type derailer makes the fore one tough to tighten. However to Treks credit they did replace both at no charge. If all of a sudden you have a very unstable ride down hill, check them.
Besides the above mentioned,nothing major. I would still and do recomend this bike to anyone who really wants to enjoy a true X-country and beyond kind of bike. It's climbing, tracking, decending, log hoping, root crossing, and stump dropping are amazing. I am able to ride with confidence and speed where I would of slowed or walked just 6 mos. ago. I still believe the rear suspension design is right on and will be around for some time. If I had a couple extra 2 grand lying around I would buy a Mavrick, But alas I seemed to of misplaced it.Oh well, I truley do enjoy this bike.
I hope this has helped some of you.
Bike On

Similar Products Used:

Klein Adept Pro, Trek Fuel 90 Disc

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