Saturday, January 19, 2013

First Impressions - Stolen Saint 24" BMX Cruiser


"You're NOT going to sell or trade this bike, right?" says my wife after I just finished putting my new 24" BMX Cruiser together.

"NO way... I'm never making that mistake again." I answer.

The mistake I was referring to, was the dumb decision of trading my Eastern Traildigger 26" BMX Cruiser for a broken (not to my knowledge) Gary Fisher MTB. It's a decision I've been regretting for awhile, and since 2010 I've wanted my BMX Cruiser back - just haven't had the extra funds to buy a new one.

Well, after some research, leveraging some cash, and taking advantage of a sweet $30 off Dan's Comp coupon code, I opted for the Stolen Saint 24". 

The new-school 24" cruisers are definitely on the come up. Old guys a.k.a. former BMX'ers in their 30's and 40's are looking back at those fun times they had terrorizing the neighborhood on their 20" bikes. However, with older bodies with muscles and joints that don't move like they did in our teens, we're looking for a BMX bike that has a little more give, sits up a little taller and yet has that "freestyle" geometry found on 20" bikes. In other words, we want to shred without committing to a small wheel bike - and thus, the 24" BMX freestyle cruiser fits the need for Dad and his curb hops and endos. Although, a younger market is starting to catch on. And Dad isn't just sticking to endos.

Sunday!, Stolen, Free Agent, Haro and others have stepped into the 24" BMX freestyle cruiser market. Subrosa and a few others are on their way. In the past, 24" cruisers were restricted to lightweight racing bikes that, quite frankly, would explode under a Clydesdale racer like me. But now, we have beefier options available that perform great on the street, park and trail.

I am racing XC next week in the local series, and I just started to feel a little burned out on training. I've been riding 100mi. a week and averaging 10,000' of climbing... so the thought of hitting the trails in lycra today just didn't seem fun. Plus, the season hasn't even started yet and I'm feeling this way - so I had to shake things up a bit. 

I decided to drive down to Santa Cruz, Ca. and hit my old spots on the new 24".


I'm not going to rehash the specs of the Stolen Saint 24"; they can be found HERE. I am, however, going to share my impressions coming from a 38 yr. old man who loves BMX down to my core.

Immediately, the Saint felt right. It just seemed to click perfectly. Bunny hopping felt good, nose wheelies felt good, my-sorry-excuses-for-manuals felt "good" and it just felt like a great riding bike. I could not feel the extra 4" of wheel on this bike - in fact, it really felt like I was riding a 20" bike. Stolen truly took the time to perfect the geometry, because at one point I forgot I was riding a cruiser altogether. In contrast to the Eastern Traildigger - I knew I was on a large cruiser atop the 26". Not this bike.

I haven't ridden BMX in awhile, so I just wanted to get my bunny hops back. I jumped some curbs, did some very small nose wheelie drops off curbs, and hopped up a ledge that was about 2ft. tall. Today's ride was 20 miles of ear-to-ear smiles. Santa Cruz was beautiful - 65ยบ in the middle of January. 


Some of the issues I had with this bike became apparent at around mile 10. I attempted a hang-5 and the bars slipped. They actually slipped 3 times today. I jumped a curb, and I heard a CLANK! which appeared to be the stem and headset. The front hub came loose, and I had to re-grease and dial it in.  The Tektro rear brake needs to GO - it does not stop whatsoever which was a little nerve racking on West Cliff Dr. Forget about abubacas (I know you young guns can do them brakeless - but not this old fart). 

The Stolen Saint 24" is a value at +/- $400, but not without its issues. I believe the geometry and 7.5" bars match perfectly, and the stock parts seemed to do the job. Some components felt low budget (like the front hub) so I will need to dial those things in - especially that slipping stem - which I thought didn't exist in today's BMX world. However, components I can deal with... the soul of the bike is that awesome freestyle geometry.

I recommend the Stolen Saint 24" to anybody looking at getting into the 24"BMX Freestyle revolution. For more information about this bike and the variety of other cruisers available on the market, check out the experts at Cruiser Revolution.

10 comments:

  1. Hey how has this bike held up over time? I have a stolen sinner xlt which is a 20" and although it has a long toptube I still get the feeling that I would prefer the cruiser on those days the back is not quite up to it (I am an older fatter rider over 6" tall). Thinking of getting a saint.

    Let me know please?

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    1. Hey Adam, I just got this bike so I can't attest to long term durability. But, I ride a 1986 Specialized Rockhopper that's made of chromoly steel (Tange), and the Saint is also 100% chromoly, so I'm confident it'll be fine. I push my Rockhopper to the limits as far as mountain biking is concerned. I also don't go big on the BMX, so I doubt it's going to get crushed under me.

      So, dude... I wouldn't worry! Get one!

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  2. Great post. I ALMOST bought the Stolen Saint and ended up buying the 2013 Sunday Model C instead. I got mine for the exact same reason you did. I'm also 38 years old and reliving my childhood - racing through my neighborhood jumping every curb in sight. It feels just like my old 20" I had when I was a kid. I'm very excited to watch this 24" BMX freestyle cruiser market grow and develop.

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  3. Hey thanks for the info. The Saint is 100% chromoly mainframe, rest is hi tensile steel, pretty much what you would expect at this price range. I dont plan on any massive hucks with the Saint so I should be ok. Put my money down on a silver/blue 2012 saint the other day.

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  4. 44 year old newbee always wanted anice bike as kid but the folks weren't shelling out the cash for one. Now that I'm making my own money I've had a couple SE SoCal Flyers the last of which I sold to upgrade to something nicer. I was thinking about a Floval Flyer but had looked at the Model C AM and The Stolen Saint. After reading this I'm sold I'm going to order one next week in the Dark Matte and Red.

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    1. Ya i just bought the stolen saint xlt its a great bike im 46 6ft 5 the only thing i dint like as the one guy said the brakes suck n for me i had to put a longer seat post n the gearing is really hard to peddle so im going to drop to a 23 in front n i had to put a long neck just cuz im tall i ride it at the skate park n its rides great there just like my old s&m holllams

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  5. I just got this bike today,very very nice well made bike,after reading reviews on some of the parts I upgraded the bars and cranks out of the box,removed the brakes(cheap crap anyway) so got the bike down to 24 pounds,way light for what it is,I've riden park 24's for a year now,and this by far is the nicest,really feels like a 20" in everyway but with the room of a 24.I'm 38,6-2 190 and I fly thru the air with the greatest of ease on this bike,ditch the small bars,and the 8 spline heavy cranks(I went with mission process 2 piece) and stolen cell bars 8.65

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  6. So many problems right out of the box. If you buy plan on upgrading everything but the rims frame and fork. Under 3 hours of use and it's falling apart. Tires are total shit wire bead was exposed and blew the tubes in the first 15 mins, bars slip constantly, sprocket slips out of center, and if you are tall get a new seat/post. Overall if you don't get it on clearance it's not worth it. These reasons are probably why they discontinued it.

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    1. They didn't discontinue it in fact I just saw on cruiserrevolution.com they added a 26" version. I have the xlt and it is great except for the tires. Now stolen is selling their own 24 tires so I will get those in tan walls. The tires come on the newest versions.

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  7. mclendine@gmail.comAugust 23, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    Hell i love mine i did change the seat post and put a longer stem and s&m perfect 10 bars but thats cause im very tall but for the cranks they work good plus you might want to research into cranks cause 90%of the cranks are made from the same guy they just put other companys nsmed on them look into it for our self

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