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NIRVE. By now you should know the name. You’ve also probably been to nirve.com and have checked out their products and saw their low prices. And you’ve also mostly likely asked “What is Voxom?” But your true question is, “Being so inexpensive, are their products any good?” We’re about to tell you.
Nirve sent us their Panic freestyle bike. It came in an oversized box and was nearly completely assembled (see photo). All we had to do was put on the handlebars and pedals. It took about 5 minutes tops.
At first glance, we were really impressed. The bike looks sharp, the Voxom components are pretty unique (especially the hubs), the chain ring design is killer, and it had three-piece cranks. All for a retail price of $279.99. Wow. We noticed that the brake set up wasn’t too good, so we had to dial them in. If you’re not mechanically savvy, Nirve offers a toll-free tech support line, or you can bring it to your local bike shop for assembly and Nirve will take care of the fee (up to $15).
Some of the cool features we noticed were the 48-spoked wheels and very trick Voxom hubs. The rear axle is 14mm oversized, and the front is standard 3/8. However, on the front fork are peg mounts, so you don’t have to worry too much about front axle stress. The grips were nice and soft and didn’t seem to throttle at all. Although the stem almost looks like it's plastic at first, it’s just an illusion due to the cool texture -- which is pretty trick. The Voxom tires have a great tread pattern for street riding. So far, we were very impressed.
It was time to hit the battle grounds. We had BMXtreme’s NYC Dawg Rob Cruz and his crew take over Manhattan’s streets and alleys and they held nothing back on the Panic. It held up to the punishment pretty good. The bars slipped no matter how tight we cinched the stem and the laid-back seat post didn’t survive. Nirve tells us that future Panics will be shipped with straight posts, which is also good because it makes the bike a little shorter, perfect for the target age group of 10-16. The bike is super heavy, which may be a bit hard for younger riders to toss around, but Cruz and his posse had no problem. We weren’t thrilled with the built-in seat clamp, but it held up just fine and gave us no reason to bag on it. Cruz also noticed that the rear dropout design interferes with grinds which can cause a lot of frame damage and that the peg hole placement on front fork sits too high and exposes the front axle and nut to grind damage. But other than that, everything is on target.
On the upside the overall finish, paint, welds, and stickers were good. The wheels stayed true after a couple of super rough sessions and the bike seems to handle tricks, grinds, and manuals very well. There was a lot of positive feedback on seat, grips, tires, chain ring and oversized peg mounts on fork. The overall “look” of the bike was very attractive to the younger audience of riders. They absolutely loved it. This bike is perfect for the extreme beginner looking to have a bike with all the necessary hardware to learn with.
For the money, you’ll have a hard time finding anything better. We put this bike through pure hell and it's alive and kicking. This bike ranks up there with others that retail for around $499, most of which come with one-piece cranks. We rode the Panic as if it were a $1,000+ top-of-the-line street machine, and it handled everything pretty well - super if you figure that this complete bike costs less than some frames alone!
Stop by nirve.com for more info, or call their toll-free number 800-BYNIRVE.
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