Airborne’s Manhattan Project s the culmination of months of intensive research, engineering, development and testing to produce the ultimate titanium road frame. Utilizing custom drawn Reynolds 2000 series double-butted 3Al/ 2.5V titanium, then mating it with our proprietary carbon fiber Flight Stays; Airborne has achieved a ride quality that is unmatched at any price point. (Six sizes available in High Lust Polish: 51, 53, 55, 57, 59 and 61cm)
a Road Racer
from Cincinnati, OH
Date Reviewed: November 10, 2002
Strengths: Stiff, fast, reliable, beautiful, great price.
Weaknesses: none to mention.
I have to top my helmet to the guys at Airborne, as well as Glen at ‘Campus.
Great bike. I just read the other four reviews posted here –and with the exception of 13-cog problem that the earliest reviewer had posted, I agree with them all. The Manhattan project is a great set of wheels… as long as you can live without the ‘euro’ or ‘Litespeed’ seal of approval.
I have had my Record-Mavic Ksyrium SSL SC-Reynolds Ouzo Pro equipped Manhattan for 6 months / 2,500 miles. It is nearly flawless. Quite stiff, accelerates like a rocket, smoother ride than most TI’s due to carbon seat stays coupled with the carbon fork. Climbs wonderfully compared to the other bikes I have tried, although I am personally still not a great climber.
I have ridden and demo’d other bikes, and I have lent my wheels to others for comment. I have absolutely no regrets on my purchase. Know why? Well, for similar in another manufacturer, I would have dropped another $1,000+. Second, a friend told me last night that my Manhattan rode comparably to his $7,000 Ghisallo. [He did say that the Ghisallo was slightly lighter.] Third, I frequently watch others eyeballing my bike. Friends, racers, and recreationals frequently comment. Finally, I own a unique machine – a friend just ordered his dream ‘custom painted’ Trek only to find out that another local rider-friend bought the exact same frame. I have not seen another Manhattan on the road. THIS IS A HUGE SHAME. I know that Airborne is ultimately owned by Huffy, but – after seeing [USA] Litespeed become such a powerhouse in bike manufacturing, can’s we believe in Airborne too? The few Zeppelins and Valkyries I have seen have all been met with adoring owners. Are we riders this shallow?
Downside? A bit of flex in the BB occasionally makes for a chain tick. Somewhat expected as I am a 6’1”, 200+lb rider. The decal on the top tube flaked a tiny bit. The rear brake needs to be tightened well to the carbon rear fork, or it will slide out of center. Other than that – none. I ride Mavic cassettes configured from 12-25 through 13-27 with no compatibility problems as mentioned in the first review.
Bike Setup: Manhattan Project '59 frame
Campy Record w/Chorus Crank and Brakes
Mavic Ksyrium SSL SC wheels
Mavic Cassette for flexibility
Vittoria Open Corsa tires
a Recreational Rider
Date Reviewed: September 11, 2002
Strengths: Handling, Sprinting, Climbing ability and looks. It's is the best looking bike on the road.
Weaknesses: None Notice.
I have ridden my Airborne Manhattan Project for justt about 750 miles, which includes a couple of centuries in the heat of Texas and the hills of Kentucky. The bike just handles remarkably; it's sprinting abilities still amazes me, it's a sprinter dream; and it
looks fast just standing still.
The handling is so different from my Cannondale that in the beginning it was somewhat scary. Like going from the handling of a Cadillac to the handling of a Corvette. It goes just where it pointed no question.
Riding it seems effortless and gets up to speed very fast and the effort to keep it at speed is quite a bit less that the Cannondale.
As for climbing, my problem area, it even makes me climb better. The must comes from the carbon rear stays. It seems more power get to the ground because of less flexing in the compact frame. This also transfers to faster averages and speed in rides, which is always good.
The Manhattan Project is just a GREAT bike. If anyone is looking at a new bike and TI is what you are considering. The Manhattan Project should be on the top of your list.
Similar Products Used: Cannondale R500 with Ultegra components and MAvic Cosmic Pro wheels.
Bike Setup: Dura Ace BB, Crank, and Front Derailier, the rest of the components are Ultegra. Mavic Ksyrium Elite
a Road Racer
Date Reviewed: August 6, 2002
Strengths: Stiff rear triangle, great ride, great looks. MP with Record ~ $4000. Not lusting after ANY other bike on the market -- priceless.
Great name too.
Weaknesses: I would take off a few decals here or tere but they do grow on you. Maybe it is just me because I like the bare titanium hue.
I've been riding this bike for six months now and feel like I am now in position to say a few words about it. I think that there's little in the market right now that can compare in performance and looks to a Record equipped Manhattan Project, at least in this price range (under 4k). The bike is absolutely fantastic for sprinting and climbing. This is one bike where the rear carbon triangle actually makes a lot of sense with tremendous rigidity under load. It is not a gimmick, trust me. Get up on this bike and drop a hammer while climbing and you'll know what I mean.
Once suggestion: if you go for it, don't skimp on componentry, this frame calls for the best components, DA or Chorus/Record. I made a mistake of going with Ultegra initially. Unless you have a thing for Italian bikes, then MP is going to blow you away. Myself, I am from Europe and mostly immune to Italian "mystique."
Bike Setup: First Ultegra, then Record. Camply Eurus wheels.
a Road Racer
Date Reviewed: April 6, 2002
Strengths: positve feedback from the power you put in, beutiful frame gets lots of comments, compliance has become a meaningful term as the bike glides over the road. titanium tube working is more extensive than any other ti bike including light speed, merlin, at any price.
Weaknesses: seat post clamp doesn't hold seat well enough, front derailer weld-on is to thin part of seat tube near bottom bracket, probably needed double butting to go high enough to meet it, not sure it makes a difference when shifting since the derailer moves left to right, but is very easy to move with your hand forward and backward.
Manhattan Project has the geometry that I wanted, it gives back power at the right time to propel me forward like I'm being pushed, my ride time indurance before fatigue went up a third over what I was getting from my aluminum frame.
Favorite Ride: climb to blue ridge parkway from maggie valley
Purchased At: Airborne
Similar Products Used: Giant, Cannondale, tried Vector, Ghisalo. Trek, and Merlin... chose Airborne
Bike Setup: Look fork Chris King headset and Flite cables-included in purchase price and Dura Ace, Zipp 404's
a Road Racer
Date Reviewed: March 11, 2002
Strengths: Titanium frame mated to a nicely attached carbon seat-stay. One of the more attractive ti-bikes. Nice welds and superior graphic design. Very helpful and friendly customer support.
Weaknesses: The rear tiangle tolerances have been miscalculated ever so slightly, enough to disallow use of Record Triples and larger cogsets for double cranks. The braze-on front derailleur is too flexible under load.
The Manhattan Project is an extremely stiff and responsive, yet comfortable frame. None of a rider's energy is soaked up by the frame, but transferred fully to the drive train, allowing you to get all the power in each stroke to the wheels. The results are faster acceleration and easier, more powerful climbing.
Considering this is the model's premier year, the fact that there are some problems is not surprising. The most obvious is the inability to use a 13 cog in the first position. The tolerances are too close and the 13 is too tall. The chain rubs on the seat-stay as a result, so Campy 13-29 and 13-26 cogsets cannot be used, unless you have unlimited dollars for chain replacement. When I based my kit specs on Airborne's website in January, 13's were listed as an option, but they have since been removed. Airborne sent me a 12-25 to swap out for the 13 I bought from another source, and the 12 works well. The front derailleur braze on bracket flexes under power just a little too much to allow for smooth transition from the small ring to the large, making performance less than satisfactory, at least with Record 10 groups. I would recommend Shimano at this point. Or a design change. The cable adjustments at the headtube are virtually unusable. They bind on the frame, and are an effort to turn easily.