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Any knocks on Airborne?...(42 posts)

Any knocks on Airborne?...pressj1
Feb 23, 2002 8:16 AM
I am on the verge of buying an Airborne Zeppelin. Beyond all the issues with the right fit, components, etc, are there any problems with the frames, customer service, or performance?

I note that all the reviews here are positive (97 total). For some reason, very few are advertised in the classifieds.

I appreciate your responses.
Let the flame war beginspookyload
Feb 23, 2002 9:36 AM
I don't own an Airborne, but I have rented a few on biking vacations. Both the Mtn and Road versions are very good bikes. I ride a Kestrel road bike and a Litespeed Mtn bike at home, and have no beefs with the Airborne at all. They use good metal, and come with good welds. The fact they are made in Taiwan means nothing, contrary to what many people will tell you here. Most people think Italian is the dream bike, but few have ever been to Italy and seen how half a$$ed most things Italians do at home are. Not to say the frame manufacturers are the same, but if the shoe fits... If you ever go to a Taiwanese factory you will see modern machinery and sterile environments of efficiency. I would not hesitate to buy the Airborne if I was in your shoes. If that is your price range, then you will be getting a great bike. The only beef I have with Airborne is the springloaded, defensive owners. If you mention Airborne, they go bezerk and get defensive. It is a good bike people...let the product speak for itself people.
spookjs
Feb 23, 2002 10:11 AM
I can tell you that at least the Scapin factory- outside Treviso, Italy (a country I have visited numerous times, i.e., 7)- is about as sterile an environment as any frame factory. Don't know about others. Tell me, what bike factories have you visited in Taiwan?
Let the flame war beginfirstrax
Feb 23, 2002 12:12 PM
About the spring loaded, defensive owners. They (we) have been put on the defensive by the spring loaded bashers that have never riden one or seen the factory.

As for Airborne, I dig my MTB. Enough to buy a Zep in a couple of weeks.
They are NOT made in TaiwanDAC
Feb 23, 2002 1:58 PM
They are made in communist China, by Huffy, on the same line with other Huffy bikes.
Zathros know why there are no bad reviews!Zathros
Feb 23, 2002 9:57 AM
Zathros see bad review before, then Zathros notice reviews disappear after a few days. Zathros wonder if this because Airborne advertise on this site?? Somebody, please tell Zathros!
Perhaps Zathros can state his complaints now*pressj1
Feb 23, 2002 11:23 AM
*
Zathros know why there are no bad reviews!firstrax
Feb 23, 2002 6:05 PM
Actually there is a bad review. Its been there almost a year.
So much for the Zathros theory.
re: Any knocks on Airborne?...gtx
Feb 23, 2002 11:02 AM
my only comment is that you can get a high end hand built steel frame for about the same money. And there is very little weight difference--for example, the 56cm Airborne weighs 3.27 pounds and a 56cm 853 Steelman weights 3.5 pounds. But if you want ti and you know it's gonna fit, go for it.
re: Any knocks on Airborne?...RayBan
Feb 23, 2002 11:04 AM
I don't know if the road bike geometries are similar to their off road line but the MTB top tubes are longer than most frames of the same size. I owned an off road model for a while and it was a good ride.
My only concern would be their use or non-use.....sprockets2
Feb 23, 2002 2:52 PM
of cold worked and shaped tubing. I don't know if they do or not. The tubing really gains good characteristics when shaped and worked. If they use straight tubes, no matter what the composition and source, the tubes won't give very good performance in large frame sizes.
Straight gage TiNessism
Feb 23, 2002 8:10 PM
There is nothing wrong with straight gage Ti tubing. Most butted Ti tubes start out as regular straight gage and then the middle of the tube is thinned by some machining operation. The end result is that the butted tube is lighter but more flexable since material has been removed.

Since Ti is not all that stiff a material, non-butted tubes are not such a bad idea for a large frame.

It's interesting to note that many of the newest steel tubesets are using ultra short butts to keep weight down. The end result is that these tubes are essentially straight gage with just a little extra meat on the ends to facilitate welding.

Ed
actuallycyclopathic
Feb 24, 2002 4:11 PM
more and more builders go to compact design.
Slopped toptube makes frame lighter and stiffer.
Thanks to MTB compact is not synonymous to ugly anymore
They are not cheap.........STEELYeyed
Feb 23, 2002 3:25 PM
I considered buying one last year but I found a Litespeed Arenberg/105 for $1399 on closeout,I was a little nervous about buying a bike sight unseen,and they could not come close to the Litespeed on price,the Zep didn't seem like much of a bargain. I have had the LS for a year now and am quite happy,just my opinion,others may vary.
No, they're not cheap IMOdjg
Feb 25, 2002 7:06 AM
I'm not posting to bash Airborne--I've seen a few but have never ridden one. For anyone who has one, and enjoys it, more power to you. But buying a built-up bike from Airborne does not seem at all cheap to me, relative to other Ti offerings, especially if you go with better parts. Basically, you don't seem to get an especially good price on the build kit at all. Try fitting a Record equipped Zepplin. The basic package is expensive, it's not really a complete record kit, and some of the extras leave something to be desired. And some of the extras--fork, wheels, etc--are pretty central to the ride you end up with. I changed a few things around--specified a better fork, stem, bars, etc. Nothing super high zoot. No mag stems. No Zipp wheels. Try it--you start pushing 4k. Ordering from England, I was able to build up a Colnago CT-1, with Record 10 and Mavic Ks, for a LOT less than a comparably equipped Zepplin--in fact, about 700 bucks less.

Now I really don't want to argue the relative merits of two bikes, one of which I haven't ridden. Objectively, my CT-1 frame is lighter than the same sized Zepplin. Evaluate the other differences as you will. And I think arguments about what bike is prettier are also pointless. But it seems to me that the Zepp is only really "budget" Ti if you're getting just the frame, or maybe if you're plenty happy with the most basic kit that Airborne specs. Otherwise, shopping around might well produce a better deal--at least comparable or lower prices--on Ti from Colnago, Litespeed, Merlin, and others. For anyone who still prefers Airborne: go for it. Me, I couldn't see it.
re: Airborne reviewscyclopathic
Feb 23, 2002 5:07 PM
are really skewed you can't trust them. first Airborne was giving kickbacks for positive reviews, second RBR was selectively removing negative reviews. if you have doubts post one and see what happens.

putting that aside Airbornes are nice bikes and service is good. They're not cheap for no-name mfg in China. You can probably get cheaper US made Ti frame from Mongoose, TST or some Taiwan made good luck
TST and Habanero Ti websites; About AirborneTig
Feb 23, 2002 6:26 PM
http://www.habcycles.com/
http://www.titaniumsports.com/bikes/\

I have yet to hear more than 1 or 2 bad reviews of Airborne bikes by their owners. The thing is, many Airborne owners that I've met or ridden with haven't been riding for all that long and don't have more than 1 or 2 previous bikes to compare them with. Airborne's are looked down upon by many roadies, so if image or status is important look elsewere. Does that really matter though? You should buy a bike to please yourself, not others!
I have mine for two years and........bear
Feb 23, 2002 6:37 PM
love my zep...it rides like a dream,,I am 200lb and no flex that i can tell...the only thing is that is not painted and so is a little boring looking... fancy colorfull tape and tires help...4000 miles and looking good,,,
I am not bashing 'emcyclopathic
Feb 23, 2002 7:00 PM
by any means. But they're not the bikes people would lust for like Seven or Merlin and they don't have high resale value either.

Even if Airborne might be siffer then Litespeeds AB reputation is no match to LS.
re: Airborne reviews4bykn
Feb 24, 2002 10:29 AM
Get the facts...to my knowledge exactly one negative review was removed, at my request, not Airborne's. The review in question was posted by an admitted non-owner(he called himself "Joe Blow") who had no experience with the company, in fact the review stated his/her sole purpose was to skew the average rating that the Airborne Zeppelin had. He/she thought the average rating was too high.
Kickbacks? You make it sound like cash was changing hands, The company offered two water bottles to any owner posting any review, not just positive ones.
While I am not comparing mine to a LiteSpeed or a Seven, my Zeppelin is well built, reasonably light, and the price was good. The welds look flawless(yeah, I know you cant tell by looking), and the bike exhibits no flex under my 190 pounds.

How many miles do you have on an Airborne?
re: milescyclopathic
Feb 24, 2002 4:06 PM
just a century. I'd ride a double but the seat wasn't comfortable. It didn't ride any better or worse then other bikes I tried.

How many miles did you get on yours? I probably had rides longer then you ride in a year
Bravo!4bykn
Feb 25, 2002 7:17 AM
Congrats on your finishing RAAM! Sorry, I didn't realize who I was dealing with. I only ride about an average of 3000 miles annually, and you said you've (probably) had rides longer then(sic) I ride in a year.
I am glad it is all cleared nowcyclopathic
Feb 25, 2002 11:54 AM
it was an honest mistake on your part
Prizes for reviews on RBR???cyclaholic
Feb 24, 2002 7:42 PM
Are you saying that Airborne, through some communication, offered prizes to Airborne owners for reviews of their bikes on RBR?
Prizes for reviews on RBR???4bykn
Feb 25, 2002 7:22 AM
Yeah, through their newsletter Airborne offered 2 water bottles for any review, good or bad, posted at RBR. A decision that in hindsight may not seem like such a good idea.
Prizes for reviews on RBR??? You bet!Rich Clark
Feb 25, 2002 9:58 AM
Maybe he was talking about the free magazine subscriptions these Consumer Guide sites (including RBR and MTBR) frequently give away in exchange for posting reviews. You see, they want to promote themselves (there is competition among such sites, you know) by having more user reviews than other sites. I have a subscription to Bike, and a subscription to Sound & Vision, both given in exchange for submitting reviews.

So I guess nobody should believe anything they read here, and should use Epinions instead.

RichC
They deserve a good bashing...cyclaholic
Feb 23, 2002 9:35 PM
For the money you are considering dropping on this made in China bicycle, there are plenty of options for people seeking good bikes from high quality manufacturers.

Why are these Airborne titanium bikes so cheap? It's because the manufacturer sends the labor over to China where labor costs are but a fraction of what they are in Europe or the US.

What about quality? We all know about the quality of Chinese goods. And it is absolutely ludicrous to compare Airborne's quality with, say, Lightspeed.

If you have the desire to build up a bike, start with a good quality frame. Even if you do a fine job and install a fine compoent group, it's still on an Airborne frame. It's like putting a beautiful evening gown on Janet Reno: the people who can see will know what you've done.
They deserve an explanation...collinsc
Feb 23, 2002 11:02 PM
"What about quality? We all know about the quality of Chinese goods. And it is absolutely ludicrous to compare Airborne's quality with, say, Lightspeed."

what? do i really know about the quality of chinese goods? im not so sure i do, please enlighten me.

and also tell me why its so ludicrous to compare Airborne and LS quality...from the ranting ive heard on this board re: LS i would tend to think that you are right, but in the opposite direction that you are implying.

Please just justify your responses, im not looking for flames, im looking for a logical modus ponens (A implies B, A therefore B) argument for your statements.
They deserve a good bashing...froryde
Feb 24, 2002 5:17 AM
"What about quality? We all know about the quality of Chinese goods. And it is absolutely ludicrous to compare Airborne's quality with, say, Lightspeed."

Well, not that I don't agree with you PARTIALLY (some Chinese products ARE crap) - but as an example of "Chinese quality," ALL Shimano shoes are now being made in China, not to mention a good number of K2 snowboard boots. In addition, I have *HEARD* (from an industry insider that deals with Ti stuff from China) that Litespeed are looking at making some bikes in China as well.
Don't get defensivecyclaholic
Feb 24, 2002 8:50 AM
Guys, don't get defensive.

You bought bargian basement made in China bikes and you saved some money. Good for you! You can ride around bragging that you got a really good "bang for the buck".

Don't be defensive. Be proud!

Maybe if you repeat it enough times, you may convince yourselves that you purchased wisely.
thanks for avoiding the point...(nt)collinsc
Feb 24, 2002 12:03 PM
No point to avoidcyclaholic
Feb 24, 2002 7:37 PM
Chinese goods in many categories are well known for inferior quality. Do professional mechanics use tools fabricated in China? Do we drive cars that are fabricated in China? I could go on all day long.

What kind of information does Airborne make available to us? Where are the bicycles actually fabricated? Where are the plants located? What are the wages paid to the workers? What kinds of benefits do they receive? How much money is kicked back to the corrupt government there?

The last three questions are key: the conglomerate that sells Airborne bikes is selling the bikes at bargain basement prices due almost exclusievely to the fact that their labor costs are so low. It's much easier for them to avoid all those pesky little problems like environmental regulations and paying a good wage for skilled labor.

And this little trick only works because cheap people are willing to ignore the tough questions and buy them anyway.

But, I tell you what: I bet a good number of people have bought these bikes while having no clue that they are built in China. That's deception. Why don't they give their bikes Chinese names rather than European names like "Zeppelin"?

Ride on and keep bragging. You saved some money!
Don't get offensiveSteveS
Feb 24, 2002 9:22 PM
I can handle this kid.

Let's see, I now have 6 roadbikes in the garage- 4 of them, including the Spectrum steel, are less than 1 year old. I can tell what is quality and what is not in a bicycle ride. The Zeppelin is a quality ride whether you like it or not. Or better yet, even if you don't like it.

My Boston Acoustic and Diamond Audio car speakers were made in China, my Uniden two-line phone made in China, my Logitech wireless keyboard says made in China. Etc, etc. You don't like it or their quality, too bad, I do.

There has been no effort to hide where the bikes are made any more than the products above. If you don't like it, post an ad in a magazine, 'course you will go down in flames and failure as so many other little posters along this line have tried. The company and bikes are thriving, too bad. And my Chinese-made Diamond Audio speakers are outstanding. Just to burst your bubble.

Why does Airborne use a European name like "Zeppelin?" My, could it be because the company started and continues to draw on an aviation theme and the owners/designers all have European surnames?

Gad, this is really childish, try not to be so offensive.
You enjoy your Chinese quality productcyclaholic
Feb 25, 2002 5:59 AM
You are certainly enjoying your quality made in China product. You are also enjoying the German name granted to the particular model that you saved so much money on.

Who's building the fine quality product? How much are the workers being paid? What kinds of benefits are they receiving and what kind of job security do they have?

To you, none of that matters. You got a "big bang for the buck" and saved a few dollars.

Ride and stay proud. I know I am impressed with the "Zeppelin" name. It makes me think of European aristocracy. You are the man.
I have no opinion about Airbornejtolleson
Feb 25, 2002 6:08 AM
or any of its other entry-level ti competitors, but you sir are starting to sound like an obsessed bigot.
Agreed . . .morrison
Feb 25, 2002 7:07 AM
I am amused by the rantings about Chinese working conditions coupled with the call not to buy Chinese products. Will forswearing the Chinese market improve working conditions? I doubt it; I would expect the opposite result.

Actually, I have heard (although I have no information to back this up) that Chinese labor conditions in the high-tech industry sector have improved dramatically over the last decade, and exceed what we see in the Maquiladora industries in Northern Mexico. If that is so, then I DO have firsthand (allbeit derivative) knowledge, because I have toured a number of the Maquiladora facilities. To a 'T', they were spotless, the workers were well trained, they were treated with dignity, and compensated extremely well relative to their national average.

The presence of low-cost high-end bikes like Airborne actually does a service to bike purchasers who are not interested in Airborne's products; it keeps prices in check (to a certain extent).

Finally, as to the Airborne itself, I ride a CAAD5, a Bianchi, and a Zep. I am not new to cycling, I have owned Ti before (LS), and I am quite pleased with the product. It's not a Merlin (what is?), but then I can't afford a Merlin right now anyways, which I guess is the point!
I see, it's not about the bikeMel Erickson
Feb 25, 2002 6:41 AM
It's all about where they're made, but that's not where you started your argument. I know nothing about how well an Airbourne is made but it's apparent neither do you. I agree with jtolleson. Perhaps you should have stated your agenda up front (i.e., I know nothing about how well Airbournes are constructed but I am opposed to them being manufactured in China for these reasons...). That, also, would have been more honest.
You enjoy your Chinese quality productfroryde
Feb 25, 2002 9:07 AM
"Who's building the fine quality product? How much are the workers being paid? What kinds of benefits are they receiving and what kind of job security do they have?"

Do YOU have first hand experience on Chinese factory working conditions? Have you considered perhaps that the labour conditions have improved COMPARED to what they were before? Or are you just another victim of media hearsay?

True - the Chinese workers will never be paid the same wages as American factory workers nor will they have the same benefits or job security (not for a long while at least. Then again, they don't have labour unions - but that's besides the point), but maybe, just MAYBE, it's already a vast improvement over what was?

And as to my experience with Chinese factories - well, I live in Hong Kong (which I guess is officially part of China now) and I HAVE seen the conditions at these factories on a frequent basis. No, they are not Ritz Carltons, but it ain't no labour camp either.

Peace.
I want this one.ohio
Feb 25, 2002 9:29 AM
You keep talking about factory conditions and wages in China. Have you ever toured a bicycle factory in China? How about Taiwan? India? Vietnam? Have you even been to any of these countries? Maybe you're thinking of the fashion industry. Maybe you have visions of bare-footed ten year-olds hauling around sledge hammers and working 18 hour days...

The fact is, skilled TIG welders make some of the highest wages of any workers in any of these countries, and are HIGHLY sought after. Wages are low compared to American wages yes, but so are the costs of food, housing, and clothing. In addition, welders that can work with titanium are paid even better, and titanium can only be welded in a very clean environment, so the conditions of the factory are by necessity pretty good.

You want something to be proud of: how about purchasing goods made by concientious companies produced in these countries to help the people there make a reasonable amount of money, raise their standard of living, bring helpful technologies into their areas, bring jobs to towns where men could formerly only sew soccer-balls by hand all day long, and since that didn't pay well enough their children had to do the same instead of going to school? (how's that for a run-on?) Allowing these countries to develop a skilled labor pool and an incentive for the youth to learn a skill is both empowering emotionally and one of the key steps in building citizens with the power, intelligence, and means to change their society around them, resist/replace corrupt government, and prevent further human-rights violations.

Airborne, the company is managed by folks from our side of the world. The do the design work, they set the specifications. I think they have a right to use names they're familiar with. They decide on and visit the factories and make sure everything is up to par. This means the conditions, not just the finished product. Do you have issues with a Honda Accord? Do you think that a Japanese company has no right to use an English word to sell their cars in the European and North American markets? They should call it the "Konishiwa" so that we are not decieved into thinking this car comes from an American or British company?

I don't own a Zeppelin, and I don't work for the company, but they're nice bikes if they fit. Why don't you climb off your high horse, walk yourself to the nearest library, and get yourself an education before you start spouting nonsensical drivel and imaginitive socio-political propaganda?
No point to avoidfirstrax
Feb 25, 2002 10:58 AM
That reminds me, I bet a good number of people dont know (or care) that Alpine and Pioneer radios are made in China. Despite their American and Euro names. Or that ADS bought their magnets from Russia.
We all suport the communists, some of us know about it, some of use dont.
They deserve a good bashing...yourmom
Feb 25, 2002 12:35 PM
cyclaholic,

You are stupid and deserve to be weeded out of the heard in true Darwinian fashion. Maybe you have a right to be so upset, as those tubes on the Airborne Ti frame probably have a higher IQ than your sorry ass...........
No. They make great bikesRich Clark
Feb 25, 2002 10:14 AM
By now you've seen that one person with too much time on his hands and not enough to do can make a lot of noise. But of course he knows nothing about the actual topic of discussion, he just has an axe to grind.

If you visit the Airborne site you'll see that the bikes are designed and assembled in the US, using frames manufactured under Airborne's supervision in China. The other components are, of course, the same components used by every other manufacturer of quality bikes, which means they are mostly not made in the US.

The fact that Airborne operates as an independent division of Huffy, in its own US facility, makes it about as American a bike company as most others and more than some, in this era of multinational commerce.

And of course the bottom line is the bikes. In addition to the many positive user reviews, which you can accept or not, there are many professional reviews of Airborne's bikes in magazines. The Zeppelin may be the most uniformly well-reviewed road bike in recent memory. You will find few bad reviews of Airborne bikes, although there are some. Airborne has posted all of the reviews, good, bad, or indifferent, on their site. Just as with the infamous "water bottle offer," they make no attempt to suppress bad reviews.

I purchased a Carpe Diem in June, and have put 2600 miles on it. I have nothing to add to my review posted on this site, except to say that it still applies a couple thousand miles later. That review (like every review posted from early last summer and before) pre-dates the Airborne promotion, and you may notice that the consensus was the same before as after.

I have nothing but positive things to say about the bike and the company.

I don't come to this forum much any more because it seems to have been overcome by loonies. Too bad, but life's too short to waste it.

RichC