Strengths: Versatile design. I used all the fittings to set up the bike as a commuter-fenders and racks were not a problem. I used it in the off season for long training rides-the third set of bottle braze ons on the downtube came in handy. Multi-shaped top tube is good for 'cross. A pretty solid ride with enough responsiveness for racing
Weaknesses: For me-toe overlap w/front wheel, but I have a size 46 shoe. Frame a bit heavy, but at this price point it's not a deal breaker.
I bought this on closeout, got a package deal which included a frame, Flyte carbon fork, headset, Flyte seatpost, Flyte handlebars, and Flyte stem. A deep discount due to the fact that Flyte was going our of business. I have set it up initially for 'cross, then commuting, then 'cross again. For the price this frame was ahead of its time w/an internal headset (increases front end stiffness, reduces front brake pulsing)and disc mounts (disc brakes are now UCI approved in 'cross races).
Strengths: customer service is great. answered questions before, during, and after the purchase were answered within 24 hours. frame looks sharp, and feels quick, yet the ride is incredibly smooth (for Al). i thought i was on steel a few times...
one really nice addition is an integrated rear canti hanger. it mounts on a special "hoop" in the frame just behind the seatpost. a screw allows you to adjust the canti once setup and cable stretch starts. a nice lil surprise.
Weaknesses: just the paint. not awful scratches, just three tiny ones, and barely noticable. i asked about touchup paint, but they dont have any. it is also proprietary paint, so you cant just go to an automotive store or walgreens and get paint/nail polish.
i would have rather have all cable mounting on the top tube rather than the derailler routing on the downtube. but what can ya do? one thing trek did was have all mounting on the top tube with the option to run cable on the downtube.
this is not really a weakness, just something those that race in muckymuck might wanna consider.
scored this frame, headset, stem, bars, setpost collar and seatpost for $150 from their ebay store. was nervous it might be too small as the 50 jumps to 54 with no 52. received 3 business days after payment. packed nice, but found three small scratches. looked more to do with actual paint application than anything else. the colors are much nicer than the site shows. it is more of a red and smoke grey than red and chrome. i built her up with a menagerie of bin parts, but she is pretty darn good.
seriously, fits better than any other bike i have. maybe i just like cx geometry better. power transfer is very nice without a harsh ride. accelerates quickly and turns pretty sharp, yet not twitchy. thought it would ride rough on trails, but she rivals my steel fixie. must be the tires. she even feels better than my mtb. taken her over pavement, curbs, grass, crushed limestone and a lil singletrack with roots. i might ditch my mtb.
Strengths: For me the Geometry is spot on. For a cyclocross bike the extra standover height is very nice to have. As for racing it handles very well and goes very fst around the corners with confidence. However, this is all due to the right combination of stem, bars and other fit requirements. Frame feels strong. Short rear triangle makes for a great climber.
Weaknesses: None to note as of yet.
This is for the 2006 XLS-3 Cyclocross bike. I purchased the frame and carbon fork as a replacement for a redline that was too big for me. I was a little skeptical buying online but for the price I figured you can't go wrong. I basically swapped all my parts from teh Redline to the XLS-3 which is mostly Ritchy Pro post, stem, bars, fsa gossamer crank, xt der's, 105 shifters, Velomax wheels. Built up very nice.
Strengths: Great customer service. I called to ask questions before I made the purchase and they were very informative.
When shipping it they did an amazing job packing it up. It took me fifteen minutes to unpack it and only five to put the bike together.
Perfectly tuned out of the box.
The bike has 29r MTB wheels (disc hubs) which for me (6'4" 220lbs) is a big bonus. Cross racing and I can be tough on wheels.
Frame looks better in person than picture on web.
I like the bosses for fenders (winter training in MN).
V-Brakes stop great, much better than cantilevers in the mud, I think. The addition of the Travel Agent was a nice, unexpected touch.
Disc ready frame, fork and hubs is a really nice option.
Weaknesses: I'm not such a huge fan of the extra length on the 10 speed shifter hoods. I guess that's a Shimano thing.
The paint/clearcoat either isn't holding up to well or shows scratches and scuff very well. Granted that this thing gets cakes with mud at every out and takes some abuse with the cross racing but with 4000 miles on my road bike, it seems to have less wear. Maybe it's the conditions or maybe I just don't like my shiny new things not shiny and new???
Maybe cyclocross specific bars (something not so deep and with flared ends) would be nice.
You know, I can't really find a weakness because I researched that crap out of this bike. There were no surprises because I got what I expected.
After several years of MTB racing and a little road racing I decided to commit to the Minnesota cyclocross season this year. I researched all the bikes local to the Minneapolis area shops and just about every place on the web that I could think of and then stumbled upon Flyte. Actually I was looking to see if Airborne had any offerings but found Flyte instead. Flyte is owned and operated by the same person as is/was Airborne. Check out flyte1.com for details.
Anyway, they had the XLS-3 and I was intrigued by the components that they put on the bike. For the price, the buildup seemed to be better than any other bikes out there and I really liked the looks. Which shouldn't be too important for a bike that's going to get muddy but to me, it is.
I've since ridden it at three races and am completely happy with the performance. It rides like a good bike should and with the quality of the components I'm confident that it'll stay that way.