KTM Aera 29Comp 2015 Mountain Bike Review
KTM’s Aera 29Comp full carbon frame mountain bike is a true race bike at higher speeds, yet is equally adept at lower speeds and is exceptionally well specced. The pleasing aesthetic design and solid performance make the KTM offering, at a fantastic price point, something you should consider.
A KTM mountain bike? Really?? Many of our readers may know the KTM brand and associate it with off-road motorbikes. In fact, KTM has a cult following and produces exceptionally rugged motorbikes which often feature on the podium of the gruelling Dakar Rally. What you may not know is that KTM have branched out into other product lines and have been manufacturing mountain bikes for quite a while now. The Aera 29er range is the latest KTM mountain bike incarnation, and we review the 29 Comp which includes some top components.
Aera 29 Features
The KTM Aera 29Comp frame is full carbon, with carbon dropouts housing a replaceable aluminium derailleur hanger and standard 15mm quick-release. Braking is achieved with 160mm rear brakes attached between seat and chain stay. But let’s come back to that full carbon frame, which truly is a thing of beauty.
In past KTM mountain bikes, KTM frames were garish in colour, but with the KTM Aera 29 Comp, KTM have toned things down and gone with a hugely oversized headtube that tapers and swoops back through a gently curved top tube, and aggressively shaped down tube. Coupled with the triangular stays, this leads to quite a stiff ride, yet supple on the bumps. The 440mm chainstay and 1078mm wheelbase give a nice smooth feel on an otherwise aggressive race-oriented mountain bike. Adding to the aggressive race-oriented feeling is the 73⁰ seat angle which tilts your riding position forward allowing you to power through most climbs.
Aera 29Comp Frame
Aera 29Comp Crankset
Aera 29Comp Grips
Aera 29Comp Tires
KTM Aera 29 Comp – The Pros
The Aera really performs admirably in the climb, weighing in at just over 11kg. The bike comes standard with Schwalbe Rocket Ron tires, which we found gave quite a bit of rear traction. Another major benefit of the KTM Aera 29Comp is the shorter top tube, slightly shorter than on many other carbon hardtails. The shorter top tube assists when on the tight and twisty single-track climbs, and we found the bike to be extremely manoeuvrable at low speeds. However, there is no doubt that at higher speeds this is a true race bike.
Thankfully, the bike comes nicely specced with 100mm RockShox recon fork, and cornering is predictable. The 29Comp comes with Shimano Deore 2-by-10 drivetrain and shifters, coupled with an XT rear derailleur. Braking is performed by Deore-level hydraulic braking on 180mm rotors, and an in-house aluminium finishing kit that is stiff and durable. The tires are Schwalbe Rocket Ron Evo tires, whilst the rims are Mavic 319s and Deore hubs.
The one standout spec on the bike is the saddle, and the Aera 29Comp comes with the Selle Italia X1 Flow saddle. Other mountain bike firms often simply add any old cheap and nasty saddle, but the Selle Italia X1 Flow saddle is top notch. In fact, it’s one of the better mountain bike saddles we have ever reviewed.
The Aera 29Comp – Cons
Not too many cons to list, and there is nothing that we would personally upgrade on the bike as a standard. The front derailleur cabling could get messy in sticky and muddy situations and there is only one useful bottle cage.
As a racy carbon hardtail, the KTM Aera 29Comp demands some respect. If you want an all-day adventure bike to explore some new single tracks, we suggest you consider KTM’s new breed of mountain bikes.
Overall the KTM Aera 29Comp 2015 is a stunning looking bike than can back up its visual appeal with solid performance and specs. KTM have taken all their learnings from their world cup winning XC race machine, produced the Aera 29Comp, and made it available at a fantastic price point.