- Mountain biking is expensive. But what if you seek singletrack mindfulness on a budget?
- Zini’s Z29 range of hardtail mountain bikes are cleverly specced and designed to last. Avoiding many of the component debits, which often afflict 'cheap' mountain bikes.
- If you want to have a 12-speed mountain bike with proper suspension and attainable pricing, Zini’s Z29 Elite delivers.
Experienced mountain bikers know the difference between cheap and affordable bikes. The latter enables a passion for riding without exhausting your outdoor activity budget or triggering a misery of mechanical issues.
Cheap bikes are another issue altogether. As global supply
chains remain unlinked and struggle to satisfy demand for new bikes, more cheap
bikes are coming to market.
What might appeal on price often becomes a nightmare to ride and own – suffocating any potential for new riders to enjoy their singletrack experience.
Velos with value
Zini is a new affordable bike brand from Omnico. Legacy cyclists will recognize the name from an erstwhile road riding brand, but the new Zini is all about exploring off-road trails.
The Zini range is comprehensive, offering kids bikes with 20” wheels and 24”/26” wheeled options for tweens.
Adult riders have the option of three grades of the Zini Z29 platform. These bikes are value orientated 29er hardtails. Ideal bikes for riders on a budget or new entrants to mountain biking.
Easy upgrade options
Cheap bikes are often an attempt at upcycling redundant standards. This can make them a nightmare to maintain.
Peculiar seat tube sizes are the last technical detail that novice riders scrutinize when shopping for a first bike, but are often a specification reality with cheap bikes, creating future maintenance and upgrade issues.
Zini’s product team has kept it simple. The Z29 range features a familiar selection of component standards. The seat tubes are 31.6mm, which has become a default size for most contemporary mountain bikes.
By not settling for a cheaper and outdated frame tube standards, Zini enables riders who want to upgrade to dropper seatposts, with a generous selection of 31.6mm options.
Shimano gearing and brakes
Pricing is entirely reasonable, with the range starting at R9000. Smart bike shoppers know that mid-range derivatives are where true value resides.
The Zini Z29 Comp features a frame with smooth weld finishes and a build kit using Shimano’s proven componentry. Drivetrain is a Shimano 1x11 system, with a 34t chainring driving an 11-50t cassette. This should guarantee a granny gear capable of spinning up even the steepest climbs.
Cheap bikes often have nasty brakes, but riders on the Zini Z29 Comp can confidently pull on those brake levers when descending. Shimano’s MT-200 series hydraulic discs brakes deliver consistent braking power with a proven 2-piston calliper design.
Zini’s Z29 Comp is priced at R13 000 and has a 100mm air fork, with magnesium lowers and a handlebar-mounted lockout switch. It rolls Kenda Honey Badger tyres, sized 29x2.2”.
There's a 12-speed option, too
If you desire that 12th gear, Zini offers the Z29 elite, which runs a Shimano 1x12 drivetrain. This Zini has all the ratios to ride up those big double-digit gradients. The Z29 Elite prices at R14 000.
Cockpit geometry is another aspect of the Zini range where product planners have made an effort to have the bikes on-trend, instead of using outdated spillover parts in the supply chain. Mountain biking has always been influenced by road bike design. That is why narrow handlebars were standardized for way too long on mountain bikes.
Bigger handlebars are better
There was a misplaced belief that arm angle aerodynamics matter most regarding handlebar design, which might be true in road cycling. But on mountain bikes, terrain stability and steering leverage are higher principles than aero.
Zini’s Z29 bikes have handlebar widths that create much better steering leverage and control, when descending technical terrain. The Zini Z29s use 760mm width handlebars, which are ideally shaped with a slight rise and backsweep, creating an assertive and balanced descending posture for riders.