Germany company Bulls Bikes is hoping to make a big splash in the U.S. market with the release of its 2015 line of direct-to-consumer bikes. While this means you'll have to order your bike online and won't be able to go into a bike shop and check one out for yourself, Bulls' goal is to cut costs to provide more bang-for-your-buck.
The Copperhead 29 Plus is a touring hardtail that Bulls claims handles like a race bike without sacrificing comfort. At an entry-level price, is the Copperhead 29 Plus too good to be true?
Here's how it performed out on the trial.
The Specs1 of 8
Weight: 24.9 pounds
Frame: 7005 superlite aluminum
Front Suspension: Rockshox Reba RL 29 inches; 100mm of travel
Components: Shimano XT
Saddle: Fizik Nisene
Wheels: WTB XC 25D 29; Shimano Deore hubs
Tires: Schwalbe Rocket Ron
The Frame2 of 8
Aluminum frames don't get all the hype of carbon, but they do give you a stiff frame that's easier on the wallet. The downside is that this usually means the overall weight will be on the heavier side—but this isn't the case with the Copperhead. At just 24 pounds, this is one of the lightest hardtails we've tested that costs less than $2,000. The relative lightness makes the bike more pleasant to ride on long tours and much easier to climb with on steep grades than we expected.
The Frame (cont'd)3 of 8
As for aesthetics, there isn't a lot of flash here—which is either good or bad, depending on what you like. The internal cable routing is a nice touch, though, and gives the overall appearance a clean look.
The Components4 of 8
The Schwalbe Rocket Ron tires, Fizik Nisene seat and Shimano XT groups were all a pleasant surprise. Most bikes at this price point cut costs by going cheap on the components. While this does give you some freedom to upgrade to better parts later, you end up spending more money, which goes against the whole idea of a budget-value bike in the first place. The Copperhead goes against this idea and has paired a good frame with a capable build all the way around—from the shocks to the shifters. There isn't much about this bike that will hold you back unless you're a serious racer, or you're looking for a bike that will allow you to take risks during fast descents.
The Ride5 of 8
The downside of a hardtail is dealing with really technical terrain and speed on downhills. What's nice about the Copperhead is that Bulls paired it with 29er wheels, which negates some of those negatives. For touring or XC riding, this bike is as fast as you'll need. It climbs well, and handling was never a problem except on super technical terrain. The reduced weight makes a difference the longer you're on the trail or if you're ever forced to hop off the bike and push it up a climb.
The Verdict6 of 8
We weren't expecting a lot in a bike that costs just under $1,800. For that reason, it can sometimes be a shock to the system to get a bike that does more than you expect. The Copperhead is a solid, all-around performer that doesn't skimp on quality in any area. It's light, comfortable and has a build that will do the job and then some.
It's easy to get caught up in cool graphics and bikes that have carbon frames and top-of-the-line drivetrains. But do most of us really need a $7,000-plus bike?
The Verdict (cont'd)7 of 8
If you consider yourself more of an enthusiast looking for something to ride on the weekends or for longer, XC kind of rides, the Copperhead 29 Plus is a bike you should consider. The value for the price is hard to beat.