Airborne Thunderbolt 2003 Road Bike

Thunderbolt

The Airborne Thunderbolt excels in delivering incredible performance at a low price. The semi-compact frame design, combined with the strength, stiffness and lightweight qualities of double-butted 7005 aluminum combine to create a package that sprints and climbs better than aluminum frames at twice the price. Combine these great qualities with the same customizable component choices available on our other frames, and you have a great bike that is certain to set the bar for others to compare to.

User Reviews (11)

Showing 1-10 of 11  
Sammy Garcia   Recreational Rider [Nov 07, 2007]
Strength:

Stiffness. Compact frame design results on a very rigid, solid frame. Light weight, great craftmanship, looks, and now: A COLLECTOR'S ITEM!!

Weakness:

No warranty support; however I have never needed it, and hope I never do. Airborne it's no longer in business.

Follow up to my previous review. Coming up to 3000 miles now, and still like new. A few improvements have been incorporated, either due to wear, or to make it lighter. At least two centuries, and quite a few tough climbs, have been enjoyed on board this beauty. Handles very well, climbs even better. On the size 50 I got, it feels VERY solid. I love it. Finish is still perfect. BB housing has no rust, all remains clean.

Similar Products Used: Specialized Tarmac Pro
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
bmilcetich   Road Racer [Aug 31, 2005]
Strength:

Geometry, Airborne.com Fit Guide & Customer Service, Phenomenal power transfer, Design, Graphics.

Weakness:

None Yet

Keep in mind when reading this review, that I've been riding a 1996 Jamis until I put this bike together about three months ago. I'm around 200lbs. and I have found out that that bike was very flexy for me. I have also found out that the geometry of this bike was not meant for me. With that being said, when I ride this bike, I feel like I'm riding on a pro tem and this bike was built specifically for me. A lot of that has has to do with the Fit Guide on Airborne.com. The frame itself has awesome geometry to do about anything you want to do. I've completed a Century and two Crits on this bad boy and it performed stellar. I was comfy on the Century and you can hammer this fram like there is no tomorrow. The quality and workmanship is second to none. Airborne actually took time to smooth out all the welds, something you won't find on a $300 frame. All in all if you are a budget racer like me, I can't see how you could find a better deal. The only problem is I no longer have the excuse of my equipment holding me back.

Similar Products Used: Tried my buddies Trek 1200. Great bike but doesn't hold a candle to the Airborne
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
ezweave   Recreational Rider [Aug 07, 2005]
Strength:

For the money this would be a hard deal to beat. The Ultegra group is smooth and the bike sings fairly well... The frame itself is stiffer than most of the bikes you could build at this price range, by far, but it is not the stiffest thing I have ridden. I am not sure this is good or bad. But if you really stomp in the sprints, this will flex. With the smaller size of the frame, it climbs fairly well. I feel a bit of nervousness on decents, but that is not an altogether bad thing. It responds nicely! The frame is well put together, the front welds are not brazed smooth, but sanded, so don't be misled.

Weakness:

It does have some chainstay flex, so for an Alu bike it is not going to be the stiffest thing going. It masks the flex, but it is there. With 120 psi in the tires it feels twitchy on some mountain descents (around 40mph). I spec'd it with a triple, reasoning that I live in CO and climb mountain roads daily. This was probably a mistake on my part (not having ridden road bikes much since I was younger and that was in Chicago). I don't use the inner ring and I do find that I have had alot of chainline issues, despite many adjustments. Out of the box, the front derailler was not setup right. It was so far off that adjusting the limit screws would not fix the shifting (I had to adjust the cable, not via the barrell index). I don't know if this was the packing or the builders fault, but for the price it could have been horrible and I would not complain.

First, I was not a roadie when I bought the bike. I have been doing DH/FR for a few years after getting bored with XC riding. With that in mind, I had not been on a road bike since I used to borrow my dad's racing bike years ago. I know there are better bikes out there, but I had been waiting to get into road biking for a while. Airborne had these on sale, the whole pacakge for the price of the component group alone. For the past month I have ridden 150 miles a week trying to get a good feel for the bike. As my odo ticks over 630, these are my insights. Overall, it is such a good deal (if they have any left) that if you are looking for a bike, you will not come close to this build for the same amount of money. It is not perfect, and you shouldn't expect a $400 frame to be as good as a $3000 frame.

Similar Products Used: Not alot in recent years, an Allez and an S works E5. The E5 is alot stiffer, but it costs more and the fork is only so-so.
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
5
Konarider71   Road Racer [Jun 08, 2005]
Strength:

Stiffness in the rear with compliance over chattery pothols and rough road. Price definitely. I chased the threads and all came out clean.

Weakness:

The only thing I can think of would be the seat collar... It's a little sketchy and I won't be surprised if it strips over the course of the season... but it was 4 bucks

Stable, stiff and light. I was on a Kona Haole before the Thunderbolt and I was expecting at least the same kind of ride as I had on the Haole. It outperformed the Kona by far. Handling was more stable at speed, the rear end seems stiffer yet didn't chatter as much over Seattle's potholes and it weighs about the same. I would definitely recommed that anyone purchasing a Thunderbolt go for the carbon steerered fork to soak up the bumps a bit and take the edge off. Climbs really well especially when seated. The Airborne bars, stem, and cables included in the package are top notch. Sales and shipping was executed perfectly. I ordered the bike on Tues and got it that Friday... I wasn't supposed to recieve it until the following Thurs or Fri. Nice work Airborne... the bike and it's Thunderbolt graphics scheme are top notch.

Similar Products Used: Kona Haole...Altec tubing similar geometry and ride characteristics
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
JS3XE   Recreational Rider [Aug 18, 2004]
Strength:

Good company, fast shipping, great bike

Weakness:

I'll let you know when I find any.

What a great bike! I had been eyeing this bike for a while but had reservations about buying a bike over the internet. You know buying a bike is almost like finding your spouse...it is a big decision. Anyhow, my wife went ahead and bought the bike for me and surprised me with it just about a year ago. The bike has a little over 2500 miles on it and not a single problem. The ride is smooth and confident,it likes the hills and knows how to go. I would recommend this bike to anyone.

Similar Products Used: Fuji Team
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
ST.ANGER   Recreational Rider [Jul 02, 2004]
Strength:

Shipping was quick.

Weakness:

Poor(at best) quality, brake bridge is a molder piece of aluminum, the edges were never ground down so I had zero tire clearence. After 3 months of riding the noises started pings, ticks, knocks and now the weld at the junction of the seat tube and the top tube has started to develop PIN HOLES.

Don't waste your money. I have been riding this frame for 4 months and it does nothing but creak, tick and ping!!!!!!!

Similar Products Used: GT edge ( I thought that frame was crap)
OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
GaryRoss   Road Racer [Dec 12, 2003]
Strength:

Stiff and agile. Looks good! Very unique Design.

Weakness:

none noted.

The Airborne experience is second to none (including many in-store bike shops I have dealt with). I was uncertain about buying a bike over the web but the airborne team (Jason Woerl) contacted me and went over my order to ensure I got what I wanted. I wanted a second bike that would not break the bank and provide an excellent value/performance mix and the T-Bolt was it…Now I am considering selling my other bike to get another T-Bolt. I received the bike via DHS and noted that it was expertly packed and secured. After putting the bike together (10 mins) I took it for a quick spin outside. The T-bolt was very responsive and agile. Not to mention stiffer than many Ti bikes I have ridden. As for performance in a few words, the T-Bolt is a sling shot! The Asymmetric frame hits the mark for stiffness and agility. My overall impression was outstanding and given the rich military heritage/patriotism Airborne represents and the impressive quality of the bike—Airborne has a customer for life. I will not buy another bike! Gary Ross

Similar Products Used: Litespeed, Cannondale 1000
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
lemurboy11   Recreational Rider [Nov 08, 2003]
Strength:

beautiful frame, awsome price, great service, and no one else around me has one. and chicks really dig it

Weakness:

none yet

i had broken my last frame (jamis comet) and needed a new one. on ebay i figured to spend a round 300 for a used frame. all of a sudden it hit me. hey check out airborne. so i did. the price of this frame knocked me out of my chair. i guess im not a normal rider. i like stiff frames and small frames. i like to blow past all my friends on uphills. this is a beautiful frame. once built i put it on the trainer and rode for about an hour. it was very comfortable. i bought a 54cm. i stand just under 5'11 and have an inseam of 33. some say that this is too small for me. i love it. i did have to put on a smaller shoe though. the head tube angle is very aggresive which did give me a little bit of tire rub. but having size 11 shoes didnt help. once in a size 10 it was perfect. on its first ride outside i was amazed at the ease of which this frame accelerated and took off on climbs. it does chatter abit on downhills but oh well. it has surpassed anything that i had expected for the price. i do think that i am stuck as a airborne rider from now on.

Similar Products Used: cannondale jamis trek bianchi astra (that was a sweet ride) huffy magna giant k2 ironhorse mongoose
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Samuel Garcia Galante   Recreational Rider [Sep 26, 2003]
Strength:

Ride quality, and stiffness where you need it. Nice compact frame looking, for the riders that like how this design looks, because when they ride it without looking down the will like it for sure.

Weakness:

Cheap head tube mounted shifting "clip style" adjusters design

NOTE: Price is for Frameset only. Surprisingly comfortable for an Aluminum frame, and it will further improve with the new carbon fiber seatpost I just ordered. You almost forget it's Aluminum, until you sprint or corner. It can handle my sprints very well, even though I don't have the HP Pro Riders do. I corners like only Al frames can, like on rails. Not as light as the previous '01 Fuji Team frame I had (wich was way too big for me: 58), but still lighter than it's Titanium brother, the Airborne Zeppelin. The looks are attractive, it turns heads all over. I have not seen a single Airborne around here.

Similar Products Used: 2001 Fuji Team, also an outstanding bike. Pitty I could not get it on the right size.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Rugby11   Recreational Rider [Sep 24, 2003]
Strength:

under 19 lbs with a triple with a stiff frame sure helps in the hills. The bike is a looker a grabs lots if attention. Airborne customer service.

Weakness:

Front derailer needed some adjustment.

I recently got back into riding due to my next door neighbor. I was riding a Miyata 914 circa 1991?. After much research I decided that The Airborne Thunderbolt was my best value. The previous reviewer is right about cornering as the frame is stiff as you would expect but I will say that it rides much smoother than I expected going from Cromoly to ALU. Overall the bike is fast and climbs well. Workmanship appears to be excellent and service from Airborne is top notch. I would highly recommend this bike for its value to performance ratio.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 11