This is my first review so bear with me. I’ve been riding my Foundry Broadaxe for a little over a month now and I thought this would be a good time to put together a quick initial review. I started out the season on a 2011 Rocky Mountain Vertex SE and in early June had this grand idea that I was getting older and would benefit from a full suspension bike. I pulled the trigger on Santa Cruz Superlight and raced on it from June through August. The full suspension ride definitely had some advantages over the RM Hardtail however I desperately missed the hardtail explosiveness on straight-aways and climbs. After a particularly poor race I decided it was time to go back a hardtail frame. I did quite a bit of research on carbon hardtail frames prior to making the purchase, I didn’t want to continue the frameset roulette I had begun. My criteria was simple, a lightweight, race-ready hardtail frame backed by a solid warranty and not too expensive. I also try to avoid mainstream bikes if I can, you know, I just like being a little different. Enter the Foundry Broadaxe.
For those of you not familiar with Foundry, they are one of Quality Bicycle Products’ house brands (Surly, Salsa, All-City, etc…). The goal behind Foundry bikes was to build high end carbon frames, understated graphics and at a reasonable price backed by a 10-year warranty. Complete bikes or Frame only options are available from local Foundry dealers. I went with the Broadaxe Frame and was able to use most of the parts from the Superlight.
Frame: Foundry Broadaxe XL
Fork: Rock Shox Sid RCT 3 (My original build had a Fox CTD)
Wheels: Mavic Crossmax ST
Tires: Schwalbe Racing Ralph Snakeskin
Bike Weight: 20.6 lbs
When I first pulled the frame out of the box I was shocked at how light it actually was. It weighted in at 1390g for an XL frame including the rear thru axle. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that the frame came with an FSA Headset and Seat Color. If you’re into understated graphics this frame is beautiful. Where the graphics aren’t applied it appears it’s just raw carbon with a clearcoat over it. The build went together without issue, a little fiddling with the internal cable routing but actually a lot easier than I anticipated. I am in no way an expert on carbon fiber or frame building but I have handled a lot of bikes and as far as quality goes this one can hold it’s own against anyone. All the joints are perfectly smooth, the headtube and BB shell were free of any hangers or sharp edges.
I took my newly built bike down to my local trail which is a short 1 mile loop with twisty and bumpy singletrack. The Broadaxe handles like it’s on rails as the steep angles respond quickly to any steering input. One thing that was noticed instantly, this is a very stiff frame. The rear end doesn’t soak up any bumps, the BB shell stays put when hammering and both ends respond to all rider input and let you feel exactly what you’re riding on. Despite what Foundry says this is a thoroughbred for XC racing.
I wasted no time putting the Broadaxe into action. It’s second ride was Chequamegon S&F race (I didn’t get drawn for the 40). The race consisted of 15 miles of rolling fire roads and XC ski trails and about 1 mile of fast single track. This was the ride that sealed the deal for me, the Broadaxe was just a rocket on the high speed track. I was able to hammer out of saddle up every climb and on the descents the bike just tracked wherever I wanted it to go. Again, the frame is incredibly stiff and lets you know exactly what you are riding on.
Since the Chequamegon I’ve put on a few hundred miles of varied XC trails. The best way to describe this bike is that there are zero surprises. It will handle anything you throw at it, the only limitation I’ve found is my own ability. For an XL/29er this is a big bike but because of the bike geometry and light weight it handles incredibly and is surprisingly nimble in the tightest of singletrack. I haven’t ridden any big drops or any gnar so I can’t give a true “what can it handle” test but I feel like the Foundry Broadaxe can hold it’s own against any other carbon hardtail out there. I’ll also add that if you’re into the weight weenie game, this thing will go light! A nice set of race wheels, some Thunder Burt tires and a couple of switcheroos and I could be at or a hair under 19lbs. Throw on a rigid carbon fork and we’re talking 17lbs for an XL 29er!
1 month conclusion:
If you can’t tell, I love this bike. The Foundry Broadaxe is everything I hoped it would be! Should you buy one? If you are in the market for a feather weight XC hardtail, I’d definitely put it towards the top of your list. With that being said, there are a lot of very good carbon frames on the market today. Is this one the best? I don’t know… In all the frames I looked at, I didn’t find one that was better. If bright shiney graphics are your thing I’d probably steer clear but otherwise I really don’t think you could go wrong with this frame. The main series that I race in is the Minnesota MTB Series and Foundry is one of the main supporters/sponsors of this series. To be honest, this was the one of the top reasons I chose the Foundry. I really like to support companies that support local racing and riding and as Foundry often tweets ~ #racingmatters. For me, the Foundry Broadaxe gave me everything I was looking for plus they are local company who is supporting local riding, it doesn’t get more win/win than that.
-I am in no way affiliated with Foundry or QBP, I purchased the frame retail and built it myself. I’m just a guy with a cycling addiction 🙂