The Axis A20 is billed as being kitted with class leading specs, in its adverts, so it is fitting that we saved it for last in Full Sus’ hard tail entry level bike tests.
It’s a slightly odd looking machine, the metallic grey with blue trim is easy on the eye, but the frame’s angular tubing is thinner than the current bike fashion. It’s by no means an old fashioned looking bike, it’s just different…
Your attention is soon shifted from the frame. The Suntour Epicon XC fork’s unique through-axel juts out of the front wheel, drawing attention to the weird little red and grey configuration holding the wheel in place. If you’re a fiddler by nature you’ll soon be taking the wheel off to check how Suntour have gone about it. At first I didn’t like the system, it seems over engineered and something to wear out and go wrong. But most worryingly the front wheel was showing alarming signs of slop. Then I realised I was being doff and could tighten the grey bit, which put tension on the front end, and so had the wheel running true in double quick time.
In fact after taking it apart I discovered it was actually a really simple system and one that should last for years. And if you do smash it on a rock, it will surely be an easy and inexpensive bit to replace, so all in all I’d say it’s better than the screw in through-axel idea. Threads strip pretty easily and replacing the entire axel because the tip is stripped is going to be more expensive than just replacing the cap off the Suntour design.
On to the bike… It rides really well. The Kore XCD components making up the wheelset produce a fast rolling machine, which maximises the 29er wheel size. The 3 x 10 drivetrain is overkill in terms of gear options and duplication, but given that it’s a bike aimed at the first time buyer looking for something to get them going on the trails, the added gears at the top and bottom end will help the less fit rider cope with what the trail brings.
The A20 handles as well as you’d expect for a 29er hard tail, the fork soaked up everything I threw at it without a problem and unless you’re going to do something crazy, it’ll do the same for you. It’s a pragmatic bike for a pragmatic rider, if you want value for money and don’t need the big name (pushing up the price,) then the A20 is a great bike to consider. It really is tremendously well kitted for its price, though you might want to change the saddle if you’re going to be doing marathon rides, and its looks grow on you.
Yes it lacks the unquantifiable soul of some hard tails, but it makes up with pragmatic performance. It’s aimed at a buyer on a budget and it’ll exceed that buyer’s expectations.
Sus the Geometry
Medium frame 17”. All measurements in mm or deg.
|Seat Tube Angle||72.5|
|Head tube Angle||69.5|
|Wheel Base||1 105|
Find out more:
RRP – R15 000
For the full spec lists and dealer information go to www.axis-bikes.com.