New Zealand company Avanti have two big-wheeler suspension designs, and the 120mm Coppermine is the longest travel. We planned to test the Coppermine 29.1, but a small(ish) snafu meant we ended up with the slightly more expensive 29.2 instead. The frame is identical – the differences are in the spec.
Ride & handling: Hugely capable and massive fun on descents
With 130mm of travel up front, 120mm at the back, slack angles and a bit of a weight penalty on the lightest 29ers, the Coppermine has a distinctly burly character. It begs to be ridden hard, especially with the supplied tyre combination that pretty much demands you to stick the chunky Nevegal-shod front into turns and let the rest of the bike work itself out.
The Avanti shines on the sort of trail that would highlight any structural deficiencies, but the chassis stiffness is well up to the job – it’s the Crossride wheels that start to deflect first. The back end is very active and a proper ground-hugger, letting you pile through harsh sections without fear. It’s a pity the frame design limits how far you can drop the seatpost, and with such a gravity-oriented demeanour the Coppermine really feels the lack of a dropper post.
When heading up the hill, the attributes that make the Avanti such a hoot on descents work against you, at least to some degree. The back end needs a bit of CTD lever action to hold it up, and you need to work a bit to stay on line rather than wander up steep stuff. The near 31lb heft doesn’t help either. It gets there, though, and the Coppermine doesn’t pretend to be a racer so there’s no point expecting it to climb like one.
There’s a lot to like about the Coppermine, but it needs a certain mindset to get the best out of it. It’s a weapon on the descents, but not as well rounded a performer as the best of the competition.
It definitely nails the myth that 29ers are just for mincing about, though, and we think there are a lot of riders willing to compromise elsewhere to get the descending performance and fun the Avanti delivers.
Frame & equipment: Could do with a dropper post
The Avanti has a fairly straightforward frame, with the usual curved top and down tubes and a classic four-bar back end. A short, squat – and hence stiff – rocker link drives a vertically-mounted Fox CTD shock, and an X12 thru-axle ties the rear together firmly.
One of the key differences between the Coppermine 2 and 1 is that the 2 has a 130mm Fox 34 fork, and its bigger stanchions noticably boost stiffness. The cheaper Coppermine 1 makes do with a good but shorter (120mm) and skinnier 32.
The rest of the spec is all pretty decent stuff, as you’d hope for the price. Mavic Crossrides are notionally an entry-level wheelset, but with reasonably broad rims and 24 flat, straight-pull spokes in each they’re certainly distinctive. The SRAM transmission mixes X7 and X9 bits, and includes a clutched Type 2 rear mech to tame the chain clatter.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.