The frame this year as in past years come with some options as to what style of frame you want, only this year those options have improved all the more. You can go with a MTB bottom bracket with vertical or horizontal dropouts or a BMX bottom bracket with horizontal dropouts. Many different options to satisfy both riding style and your budget, especially when all these options come in at a slim $599.99. I personally chose the MTB bottom bracket with horizontal dropouts to fit both my current bike spec and my riding style. I am a street/dirt/park rider who occasionally makes it out to the mountains to enjoy what they have to offer, and in that is my dilema. I needed a bike that would perform as well at the skate park as it would in the mountains (which the local skaters seem far too eager to point us towards on many an occasion) with a minimal amount of part changeovers. After a lot of debate and offers I couldn't turn down I went the way of the .243. To me it had everything that I needed, adjustable chainstay length thanks to the horizontal dropouts, good ground clearance from the BB, big tire clearance, and anything else you could possibly ask for, it just seemed to be there.
I currently own two setups for the bike, they may not be a big change to most people but it's amazing what a few simple little things can do to the way a bike handles and performs. My bike is permanently setup single speed with a Manitou Sherman Flick fork up front and a 24/26 wheel combo it seems to do the trick. When it's time to hit the blacktop I switch the tires over to some street slicks and remove the front brake for extra trick possibilities and then when the call of the highway hits and it's time to hit the mountains all I have to do is switch out the tires to some nice treads and throw that front brake back on and all is good to go.
Out on the trails the bike is equally agile, with a simple swap of parts and pulling the wheel back a bit further for a longer wheelbase, the bike rails all corners and has helped me to keep up to most of my buddies on big bikes wherever we've been. She's equally at home on the big trails as she is at home on the dirt jumps and streets, which is beginning to prove a very worthy thing with the way some trails are moving towards the incorporation of bigger jumps and potentially street related stunts.
The frame is in one word, amazing. It is incredibly versatile and everyone who has gotten to chance to ride my bike has had nothing but good things to say, and for the most part I have to pry it out of their hands to get my beloved bike back.
Now I'm sure you've all heard more then enough about the frame to keep you satisfied for a little while. So let's move onto the BMX seat and stem. I rode both of last years models for most/all of last season and while they both survived everything that I could dish out, I had my gripes with them. I personally after months of riding started to realize that maybe it wasn't the most perfect fit for what I wanted. I found with the seat that I could not comfortably pinch it for the no handed variety of tricks, and the stem proved to be a bit tall for my liking as well as the fact that it could have used a few trips to weight watchers. (Yes I do know that in last years review I loved both items, but people and opinions change).
I was very impressed with the seat, it still had that .243 charm with the sparkles and the .243 logo incorporated into the seat itself, as well as the fact that it was much more padded and the overall shape of the seat made for easy pinching with much less pain. Many people have come up to me and critisized the fabric used on the seat, telling me that it would rip and when it did the entire thing would be destroyed, well needless to say I am not one that is scared to ditch my bike when things get hairy, and the seat has yet to get ripped, let alone destroyed. Sure it's got some scrapes from all the falls, but nothing that even comes close to threating it's existence.
This is what I've thought and felt about the parts after about 6 months of riding and beating on them. Everything still runs perfectly and with zero problems. When you are looking at purchasing you're next bike, I would push you to take a look at the .243 lineup very seriously because of the bikes incredible versatility you are very likely to be able to do just about anything you want with the bike.
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