Bicycle Review: Drag Team 29er (2014)

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It may come as a surprise for some, but Bulgaria hosts some worthy bicycle manufacturers, and among them sits Drag, that sells about 60% of its production to Western Europe. And since it sponsors top athletes like Ukraine’s Shulika Lyubov, and supports a lot of other professional cycling endeavours, it’s safe to say that we’re dealing with a serious brand.

What’s even more attractive is the fact that Drag did its homework regarding most bike levels, offering at least one good value bike for each category. Although the name Team doesn’t really reveal any fundamental details about the bike, it manages to be one of those good value models we mentioned. It achieves this feat throught its price, that is roughly 20% lower than that of bikes with similar specifications. And the really neat part is that the full-Shimano Deore drivetrain and brakes, and the air cartridge fork didn’t translate into cutting expenses regarding other components, but simply Drag’s chosen price wants to make sure the bike gets noticed.

Frame/On the trail

Drag Team provides a rather compact position, that won’t make you stretch your arms too far out. Its short chain stay and shorter wheelbase further ensure enhanced responsivness that surpasses the one of most other 29ers we tested so far, while the wide enough handlebar, and short stem only contribute to this feature.

The head tube sits at a 71 degree angle, while the seat tube at a 73 degree one, revealing a classical geometry, that is flawed by the short seat post which does not allow setting a very wide range of positions.

Extra points are scored by the frame through its nice finishings, even if the paint fails to impress in terms of quality. Unfortunately, the chain stay doesn’t have any protection against the slapping of the chain, so you will have to solve this problem yourself. Last but not least, Team features a decent stiffness level of 97.9 Nm/degree, quite reasonable for the category it belongs to.

Specifications

This is the part where Team really shows off. First, the 3×10 full-Shimano Deore drivetrain catches your eye, and wins your respect thanks to its fabled functionality. Shifting under heavy loads, or any other situation for that matter holds no secrets for these derailleurs, that include the Shadow Plus clutch.

The situation repeats itself in the case of the brakes, the Deores having evolved a lot in recent years, at least in terms of braking performance. It’s true that neither weight, nor material quality stand as strong points, but keeping in mind the overall price of the bike, and the performances of the 180mm rotors, we figure you won’t mind them too much.

We found some room for improvement when checking out the Suntour Raidon fork, due to the fact that no matter how much we tried to set it up properly, it couldn’t offer more than average performances.

The wheelset, including tires, sprockets, and all other parts attached to these rotating components, put on the scale a massive 5 kilograms, so we wouldn’t get our hopes too high up in regard of acceleration. However, they turn out to be sturdy, and, the fact that they use Schwalbe Racing Ralph Performance tires also ensures a good rolling speed, and enough grip to tackle corners safely.

Conclusion

Drag Team 29er has a price that simply puts it one step ahead of its competition, and this becomes an even stronger point when put alongside the specifications chart. Few other bikes of this price match in terms of performance, so, just by swapping the seat post you’ll get a neat bike, ideal for enthusiasts and even more.

Purpose: XC Race
Uphill: 5/10
Downhill: 8/10

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