Bicycle Review: Haibike Attack SL 27.5 (2014)

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Haibike counts as one of the best known German premium manufacturers, but they did their homework in regard of the entry-level too. Sticking to the 27.5 inch wheel trend, they released the Attack SL in this lower price range, so, even if we’re talking about a serious brand, expectations cannot be that high. We weren’t too harsh judging it, especially given that it was clear from the beginning that recreational riding is what Attack SL is about, but let’s have a look at how it actually performs.

Frame/On the trail

Belonging to a premium brand, the Attack SL features a nice frame, with good finishings, quality paint, sturdy drop-outs, and a reinforced head tube for enhanced strength. This last tube’s shape doesn’t make it a classical tapered one, the conical profile being present only in the lower half. And, somewhat unexpected, and despite its positioning in the range, the frame also proves to do well in terms of stiffness, with a 122 Nm/degree value. If put side by side with the not so low weight of 2.123 grams, it reveals a STW ratio of 57.5 Nm/degree/kg. So, what’s up with the stiff frames? You can rest assure that the energy with which you push the pedals is transferred with minimal losses to the wheels, so it’s efficient. A thing that we can’t say about other parts of the bike, but that’s a story for the next chapter of this review.

Returning to the frame, the level’s standards are present here also, meaning that it features inner cable routing, and one watter bottle cage mount, with a kickstand mount present on the chainstay as well. Overall, the bike is pretty stable, and offers a good climbing position, but you won’t get too far with such a weight figure slowing you down.

Specifications

Having in front of us an entry-level model, our expectations aren’t at all high. Even so, the suspension fork manages to let us down, and, with the risk of repeating ourselves, Suntour really should do something about the XCT model. Or maybe Haibike should do something about Suntour. Either way, it’s really hard to get such hard coils, and such rough rebound no matter what other model they would have opted for.

On the other hand, the 3×9 drivetrain offers decent gear ratios for climbing, and its main “star” is the Shimano Deore rear derailleur, with its Shadow technology. Adding serious grams to the total weight are the bottom bracket and crankset, whereas the Altus shifters, without the 2-way-release function, provide only for the most basic needs of a mountain biker.

The Tektro HDC300 pair of brakes are responsible for braking, and they manage pretty well thanks to the 180mm front rotor, and not through their actual performance. Fading is a usual customer for these brakes on long descents, and be prepared to pull those levers with full power if you want to stop in time.

Rotational mass was less than a priority when Haibike put together the plans for this bike, otherwise they wouldn’t have weighed 5,4 kilograms, of which 1.720 grams represent only the tires. On the flipside, it’s an affordable upgrade.

Conclusion

From frame to components, Haibike Attack SL was “recreational rides” written all over it. The stiff frame is an clear plus, and a good starting point if you plan to upgrade. But, concerning the current bicycle, overall weight spoils all the fun, even if the comfort level is decent, and the appearance is in tone with a relaxing ride.

haibike_attack_sl_275_2014_technical_data

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