When looking for a budget mountain bike, that includes a decent specifications chart in its price, and which could be a serious alternative to premium brands, Cross is the kind of manufacturer you should turn to. As far as bicycles for mass markets go, the Bulgarian brand did everything by the book, relying not only on a down-to-earth price, but also on a good look, that’s not only nice for the eye, but also gives you more confidence in the machinery you’re riding. Sure, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and maybe Traction G27 is the exception to this rule, but it has its sporty attitude, and interesting colour scheme nontheless. And with a Shimano XT rear derailleur and Rock Shox suspension fork among its components, Cross’s offer is that more interesting.
Frame/On the trail
According to lab data, this should be one of the most agile frames we’ve tested so far, and one of the most agile currently available. A 71.5-degree head tube angle indicates a vivid frame, but killing all the fun is the stem, with its oversized length. However, Cross Traction G27 does much better when climbing, offering an efficient position, although this has enough room for improvement as well. All this leads us to think the G27 is a balanced bike, with just a hint of aggressiveness, which is in tune with the category it belongs to.
However, you may be surprised by the frame’s weight – 1,7kg for M size, which means smaller ones go lower than this. When combined with the stiffness value of 87.1 Nm/degree, it turns out the STW ratio (50 Nm/degree/kg) actually surpasses that of premium-level competitors. Furthermore, you should take into account that Cross manufactured the bike paying great attention to welds and drop-outs, while in terms of tubing, it stuck to the classical, round shape. And the fact that this frame is the main component for a lot of other 29er models in Cross’s range can mean only that the manufacturer is very confident that it did a good job with it.
Only two items from the specifications chart really stand out: the Shimano XT rear derailleur and Rock Shox XC30 coil, 100mm travel suspension fork. However, the XT derailleur belongs to the trekking groupset, having a long cage and the previous generation’s design. That also means it’s slower than the latest model, and also noisier, and you don’t get any Shadow technology here, which rules out the compact design that would make the derailleur more difficult to damage. As for off-road gear ratios, the 3×9 drivetrain suffices in most situations.
On the other hand, the fork works well, the XC30 having also preload, lock-out, and rebound settings, but you’ll have to come to terms with the hard coil, or swap it for a softer one if you don’t. Shimano also provides the hydraulic disc brakes, coupled with 180mm rotors, that do their job in a satisfying manner. The wheels will probably drag you and the bike down just by their weight, and also fail to provide the grip you would need. The double-wall rims are sturdy, but the Continental Race King 29×2.20 tires make for a lot of this weight, not managing to secure grip while cornering. Other victims of cost-cutting were the saddle and handlebar grips, which could be more comfortable, but not for this price.
Cross Traction G27 proves to be an interesting offer when putting side by side its price and specifications chart. Its strongest points are the frame, fork, brakes and rear derailleur, but overall weight and reduced maneuverability cancel some of these perks. So, if you’re planning to spend time cycling in the mountains or want to try recreational competitions, maybe the G27 is a good starting point.
Purpose: Recreational, entry-level XC