Ronnie had recommended I try a light weight carbon hard tail as a winter race/training bike as my steel 29er is too heavy with gears. As much as I’d love a Scott Scale or a Santa Cruz Highball the high frame costs are out of my reach. I’d seen a forum thread on MTBR which featured Chinese carbon 29er frames, it was almost 100 pages long and mainly positive views.
I did a lot of research into getting “Chinese carbon 29er” as there is a huge amount of choice but it seemed like a risk. However with a chance of buying something very light, although could be very flexible, I asked a few cycling contacts on their recommendations, and in the end bought a Carbonality Gaea. It had the best suited geometry to my needs, as I had noticed many had incredibly short top tube lengths compared to the seat tube and the head and seat tube angle were also similar to my Niner frame. Cost only £320.
Overall the quality seems good; I have noticed due to the incredibly short headtube is that the brake levers and gear shifter clash with the top tube, this can be remedied by having a stem which points up instead of down and more spacers, but as I prefer a low front end I will gamble on protecting the top tube and using a low torque setting on parts which clash, in case they need to move.
I’d recommend this bike if you are an xc rider, who likes very racey frame geometry. It works well in tight, flowing singletrack, but the angles and relatively small amount of suspension travel will make it slower to traverse trail obstacle’s in Stamner wood, but any time lost on technical sections will easily be made up on fireroad and technical climbs, the low weight really helps the bike rocket up hills! The low handlebar position makes climbing steep hills in the saddle easier as the front end remains planted
Therefore if you spend more time out on the Downs then I would recommend this bike, you will ride hills that were once a struggle with ease!
A more detailed review can be found on the link on the side bar or at http://chris-noble-mtb.blogspot.co.uk/