Bicycle Review: Corratec Superbow Fun 29er (2014)

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It’s been more than 3 years since we’ve last tested a Corratec, and a lot has changed in the meantime, starting from how we test bikes, to the bikes’ specifications, and, of course, prices. So, we reckon it’s a good oportunity to see how the Superbow Fun evolved during all these years.

Corratec has been manufacturing bicycle for over 2 decades, having been founded in 1990, and the Superbow probably represents the hallmark of the German brand, through its curved and double top tube. While the manufacturer mainly targets the mass market, this doesn’t mean it’s an average brand, Corratec sitting behind some top tier racing mountain bikes along the years.

The Superbow Fun 29er bridges the entry and mid levels, judging by its specifications, and is a bike that you can use for racing or for demanding mountain journeys. But you can find more details below.

Frame/On the trail

With a chain stay length of 452mm, it’s obvious that Superbow relies more on stability than handling, and even the 71 degrees of the head tube angle are neutralized by the large wheelbase. Therefore, the sense of security is omnipresent when descending, but the bike won’t match others as far as agility and handling go. These last two features are further blunted by the low rise of the stem, and the 660mm width of the handlebar. For instance, other manufacturers already mount 720mm handlebars on their entry-level 29ers, this showing where Corratec got it wrong.

While it offers a decent position for climbing, the 72.5 degree seat tube angle still makes the Superbow lag behind competition, and if we add the 14,2kg weight in this equation, uphill is no milk and honey with this bike.

The stiffness value reaches a value of 90.5 Nm/degree, which allows the bike to perform nicely even when rode by heavier persons (up to 90 kilograms). We found some flaws in the welding points, but all in all, the finishings are harmonious, and manage to give the bike a sleek look.

We’re dealing with a sporty frame here, so there are no rack mounts, but you have at your disposal two water bottle mounts. However, Corratec may have commited an engineering mistake, using the exact same chain stay for this 29er, as it used for its 26er. Therefore, the cutting that provides the necessary clearance sits behind the actual baloon of the tire, while the distance between the stays and the tire is very short, which means that mud may cause problems, and a bent rear wheel as well.

The outer routing of the cables can damage the frame during transport, because a regular bike rack will squeeze the cables against the tube, but you can use a rag or other guards to prevent this.

Specifications

Most notably, Superbow features a RST Aerial air cartridge fork, and a Shimano SLX rear derailleur. The first performs good enough, but it lacks the possibility of finer adjustments because it has no rebound lever or button, and offers just the bare minimum of confort, so Corratec’s choice, that also costed the bike 2.623 grams, doesn’t make too much sense. A coil fork would have weighed just as much, and the lock-out remote on the bars is too little of a solace in this sense.

On the other hand, the drivetrain keeps up with the trends, featuring a triple crankset, Octalink mounting, and a 10-sprocket cassette. Maybe a Hollowtech crankset would have been more suited, but that’s about it concerning regrets, since the derailleurs work like Swiss clockwork, and the shifters are fitted with the 2-way-release function.

Tektro provides the brakes, the HDC-300, as expected, failing to impress us, and making us keep our recommendations that you avoid steep and long descents. Look out for the rear brake hose too, because it’s quite long and can cause some unwanted events in the area of the handlebar.

Speeding may very well be an asset of Superbow since the Continental Race King 29er tires do well in terms of rolling speed, but keep in mind they don’t excel in terms of grip, and they can be rather difficult to master on gravel uphills. You’d better have on you some spare tubes as well, since the puncture protection offered is more than shy. As for, weight, the fully equipped wheels tip the scale at 5.143 grams.

Conclusion

Corratec’s SuperBow Fun continues to be a spectacular bike, even more so given it’s classical shape and new colors, yet there are some problems the manufacturer’s engineers need to overcome, such as the fit of the 29 inch wheel in the chain stay, or the underperforming air cartridge fork.

Its large wheelbase makes the bike stick to ground regardless of situation, even if this means that it’s a slow climber, suited for light XC racing or more serious leisure mountain riding. With a good value included, the Superbow Fun is sure to be noticed, although we reckon that a more sporty touch wouldn’t have hurt.

Purpose: Cross Country
Uphill: 6.5/10
Downhill: 7/10

corratec_superbow_fun_29er_2014_technical_data

 

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