New Zealand-based brand Avanti have only been in the UK for a few short years but based on the showing of the Coppermine 29er we’ve been reviewing, it’s an impressive debut. Based around 29in wheels with a 130mm Fox 34 CTD fork and 120mm four-bar suspension platform, with a decent specification for the money, this is a challenge to the more mainstream rivals in this sector.
The Coppermine range consists of two bikes – the £2,100 Avanti Coppermine 29.1 and the more expensive Coppermine 29.2, which is the bike we’ve reviewed here. Both bikes share the same frame, but the bike we have gets a Fox 34 fork over a Fox 32 120mm fork.
Ride: Fully capable
With 120mm of very active and linear suspension from the ‘Tru4’ four-bar suspension configuration, with a Fox Performance Float CTD rear shock sandwiched between the rocker linkage and frame and a 130m Fox 34 Float CTD fork up front, the Coppermine begs to be taken out onto the roughest trails you can find.
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It took a while to get the shock pressures just right and the rebound damping nicely dialled in. I found a little more platforming and higher pressure was needed in the rear shock to stop it blowing through the travel too readily, and a little firmer in the fork with less damping to get a nicely balanced set-up.
Despite a weight penalty compared to other bikes of this type – its 33lb weight does hold you back on the climbs – it maintains good speed down and across the trail. The suspension is plenty capable enough on a variety of trails and doesn’t get flustered the harder you push it on more demanding trails.
The tyre combination proved interesting at times: the Kenda Nevegal could have done with a bit more width but offered plenty of bite and gave the necessary confidence to be able to explore the limits of traction on the entry to corners. The Slant Six proved fast rolling in the right conditions, but resulted in a tail-happy ride on wet trails – although that’s easily swappable for a grippier rear tyre to suit your local trails better.
While the frame and fork have a real solid feeling that throws out the myth of 29ers being flimsy and dainty, the rear Mavic Crossride wheel proved the weak link in the package. Load the suspension up into a rooty corner say, or land heavily off a jump or drop, and the rear wheel produces a noticeable amount of flex. This is accompanied by the sound of the spokes ‘twanging’. It does highlight how stiff the frame is, with the one-piece TruLink rocker linkage and bolt-thru rear axle.
With the change of handlebar and stem and the addition of a dropper post, the Coppermine proved a good bike for exploring technical trails. You get the high momentum of the bigger wheels and well-proportioned frame and geometry combined with capable suspension lets you push as hard as you dare.
Build kit: Good, but needs a dropper post
The standard spec bike comes with Avanti own brand handlebars and stem that I found just too narrow and short for the sort of riding this bike is capable of, so I swapped on my favourite 50mm stem and 750mm handlebar combo. It transformed the bike – you need the extra leverage to really muscle this bike through the trees, and the shorter stem speeds up the steering.
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A dropper post isn’t a standard spec, which seems odd on a bike of such ability. I whacked a Gravity Turbo dropper post on there and… immediately came up against a design flaw, you can’t drop the post inside the seat tube very far. Luckily, dropping the post as far as it would go proved to be the exact right height – any lower and it would have been curtains.
I’ve already mentioned that the Mavic Crossride wheels are a bit on the flexy side. They’re reasonably robust and durable, but the Coppermine is deserving of some better wheels. The tyre set-up is a good one, if the trails are dry, or you like plenty of rear wheel drifting.
A mix of SRAM X7 and X9 worked flawlessly with a S1400 chainset with a 36/22t set-up combining with a 12-36t cassette. Plenty of gears and low enough to winch the 33lb weight up the hillside. The Type 2 clutch rear mech delivers a quiet ride with no detectable chain slapping on the chainstays. The bike comes fitted with a Bionicon C-Guide Chain Guide, which gives the clutch rear mech a helping hand at preventing the chain from derailing.
Avid Elixir 3 disc brakes with 180mm rotors at both wheels worked fine throughout the test period, but they lack any sort of reach adjustment, which is a shame.
As capable 29ers go, the Coppermine is right up there and is a good candidate you’re seeking something a little different. There are a few shortcomings, but those aside it’s a solid and stable ride with good composure on technical trails.
More information: Avanti Coppermine 29.2
What Avanti says
The Coppermine is designed to take on more than most 29ers. Now imagine what it can do with an upgraded Fox suspension and fast rolling 29″ Mavic wheels. This bike smooths out everything it encounters. Named after one of New Zealands most iconic trails, the Coppermine enjoys 120mm of plush rear travel from the Tru4 suspension system. Its also strong and durable with custom formed tubes, a tapered 1.5 inch head tube and a rear triangle firmly bound with a Syntace X12 axle system.