Sunday, June 27, 2010

Eastern Traildigger 26" Review

My bike after the initial purchase

After googling the Eastern Traildigger 26" looking for decent reviews, I really couldn't find anything. Most of the comments regarding this bike were on message boards: presumably younger riders with not much to say except for "it suckz" or "POS, get something else". So here it is, folks - an honest to goodness review of the Eastern Traildgger 26" urban cruiser.

I bought mine last September, looking for an alternative to my 20" BMX bike to roll around and goof off on. I really never intended for it to get any real use except for getting bagels for the wife and I or returning DVD's (back when we actually went to video stores). From the looks of it, it appeared "dirt-jumper'ish" with the super sloping top-tube and slammed seat. I got it from Jenson USA for $332.84, shipped. Purple was the color, even though I wanted the black one (sold out).

When it arrived, I first noticed how heavy it was. Compared to my other bikes, it felt heavy at a claimed 29lbs. The parts seemed reasonable, but to no surprise, it was the same stuff that would come on any $300 bike - big heavy cranks, loose bearing hubs, unsealed headset and BB, steel sprocket, old-school seat clamp, a Tektro brake, and a forged crappy stem.


After assembling it, I proceeded to ride it out in front of my house and did a "test" bunnyhop up the curb. YIKES! The thing wouldn't lift if I attached a hot air balloon to it. WTF?

Using my old school logic of "taller bars = more leverage" I busted out a pair of ancient Haro Cruiser 5.5 rise bars I had laying around and mounted them immediately. Okay, much better. The stock handlebar is a 3" rise. And although neato looking, they absolutely ruined the liftability of the bike. Bunnyhopping that thing felt like you were tugging on a fence cemented into the ground. Also, there is quite a bit of toe-overlap when turning the front wheel. Even with my 9.5" shoe size, I have a problem with it.

Over the next few months of bagel runs, I swapped out a few things to get it lighter - a new stem, seatpost and sprocket. Most recently, I threw on some Bontrager H2-26 urban tires to ride the street a little better (as opposed to the Kenda Small Block 8's). I also just got the Sunday! 24umph cruiser bars with a 7.5 rise, adding even more leverage to the bike.

I love the bike for what it is intended for - urban riding, trolling the streets and terrorizing curbs. I can clear a good 3' of hop with it, and I can even 360 tailtap, wallride, peg wheelie and feeble grind the thing. I don't think I would huck this thing off big drops or try to win the Best Trick Competition with it, though.

I think if you're an old BMX'er like me wanting something to re-capture your BMX hooligan youth - this is a great bike to go to. I owned the Giant STP and the Volume Sledgehammer, and I think that the Eastern has been my favorite urban bike. Don't expect too much out of it and make sure you get rid of the handlebars immediately.

PROS
Fun, inexpensive way to get your big BMX on
Attractive, I get a lot of compliments on it
Good run-around bike
Built tough

CONS
Cheap stock parts
Heavy for being bare bones
Low handlebars make hopping a chore
Toe overlap with the front wheel

My bike, today

2 comments:

  1. Picked one of these up slightly used at the LBS a couple days ago. Orange grips and pedals, white camo seat. Very sharp looking rig. Despite that my sector of the planet is covered in snow, I couldn't help but pull the trigger. I'm going to use it for some dirt jumping come spring. Going to end up with white pedals, white cable, slammed orange pivotal seat, same orange grips, and an orange chain. Everything else is staying. Very happy with it and can't wait to see how it rides! Thanks for the review.

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  2. Luke here....
    I'm looking at one in a local shop in black, looks good but i have a eastern sequence and i'm not happy with the quality. Do you think it would be a good dirt jump and park bike? I'm maybe thinking of a fireball 26 or a jamis kromo instead. idk we'll see. Wish i would have caught that deal on jenson though, shop want $495 but i thik i can cut a better deal with em.

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