Superior Bikes XP 919 Hardtail Mountain Bike

Superior Bikes hails from the mountains of the Czech Republic, and is now available in Australia through BikesOnline. With more than 30 years in the making of bicycles, Superior has had a recent push into the elite cross-country market, but without guaranteeing that a solid base remains on a solid line. Elite Bikes has a variety of carbon and alloy hardtails, starting at $1999 and offering just about everything you'd expect. This includes 29” wheels, boost through axles, wide range 12-speed gearing and great ergonomics. The Superior XP range is clearly intended for cross-country, so it's built around 100mm travel forks and mid-range geometry.

I got the XP 919 ($1999) on test, which is a hybrid frame with Shimano 12-speed group brakes, a RockShox 100mm fork and a clever cockpit setup. Coming in at around $2000, the XP 919 sits in a very competitive area of ​​the market. Competing with the Marin 1 team from BikesOnline and the Merida Big.Nine SLX. When we reviewed 8 hardtails under $2000 last year, we had one guiding question; is it fun to ride?

A photographer: Gerard Lagana

The inspector: Mike Blewitt

The riding experience: Hardtail aficionado

He usually rides: Norco Revolver 120 HT, Factor Lando XC

Heightheight: 178cm

Weightaww : 72kg

Bike Test Track: Greater Brisbane

Original Impressions

The Superior Bikes XP 919 arrived by courier to my front gate, or actually to my carport. The dispatcher went straight to a warning sign about a dog in the area but ran away with it. As with any bike from BikesOnline, the bike you buy will be delivered to your door. This means you need to navigate around choosing the model, size, and build that suits you. BikesOnline has a number of online tools to help with all of this, as well as a strong customer service team to call on. There's even a 30-day free return policy–go to their website for full details.

The bike had to be built, and you would only need to go around putting the handlebars on the stem, place the seat on the frame and install the front wheel. Then you need to set up the cockpit for braking and shifting, and bar roll, and setting wheel and suspension pressure—and seat height. I prefer to ride tubeless tires but the Schwalbe 2.25” Racing Ralph wheels are a base model that will not accommodate tubeless, however the included rim tap may not be air tight if you buy valves and upgrade the tires. I installed my pedals (platform pedals included) put the bottle cage in place, and completed my calibration setup.

The shiny metallic red won't be everyone's choice–but the Superior XP 919 is also available in black. The frame has internal routing although the plug on the frame doesn't look like it would support an internal post if that was what you wanted to look at. The frame has modern axle spacing for upgrades, and without a chainstay or seatstay there's plenty of room for wide tires and mudguards. There's a shell-sized bottom bracket, tapered head tube and two bottle cages on the frame's large triangle.

My large test bike has a 69 degree head angle and a 74 degree seat angle. This is more modern than my last hardtail and not that far from my current one–although the reach is average at 455mm. This is well suited for a $2000 cross-country hardtail, but more on that later.

On the road

With 760mm wide flat bars and a comfortable Fizik seat, the XP 919 was a joy to drive. Equipped with a 34t chainring shifter and a Shimano Deore 12-speed groupset, gear options were plentiful with a full range of 10-51t. Shimano's long levers on the stock model mean you may need to move the brake levers inward to get the best setup, but I found the bar shape, stem reach and grip lock all fit well—the ergonomics are really good.

As an alloy hardtail with 2.25” tires, I approached the first trails I rode with trepidation. The balance on the bike was really good, especially on hard packed winding roads. The Racing Ralph tires delivered better traction than I expected, and the Judy air fork helps keep the front wheel tracking. Accuracy with tire and suspension pressure is key to getting the most out of these parts–so invest in a good shock pump and maybe a digital pressure gauge.

Taking on the twisty singletrack climb was a fresh reminder that long, low, loose isn't everything. The XP 919 easily navigates twisty roads with a comfortable stance that keeps the front wheel following through corners, with no extra muscle required to turn the front wheel around. With a remote lock on the handlebars, it was easy to lock the fork for a very smooth climb up a fire road or part of the road again.

The first drop I encountered was free flowing on hardpack with very little features. The XP 919 responded very well to putting in to jump the bigger lips I wasn't interested in hitting while sending up, and not overdoing it over the sharp edges that tube tires don't fit well. With a slightly shorter reach than larger sized frames and therefore a slightly longer stem, it's easy to move the bike around at low to medium speeds. At higher speeds on smaller tracks a little more attention was needed when approaching blind corners–but the flip side of that is how responsive the bike is to changing lanes.

On steep descents with small rocks, large exposed roots and lots of rocks, the XP 919 still holds its own. Apart from the dropper and basic tires you need to pay attention to the choice of line, and understand that the Judy fork will not have the continuous midstroke support and balance through the extended rocker sections that the top-spec fork will have. Overall though, I was still really impressed. Much of this is down to the ergonomics of the cockpit. From seat comfort to bar width, bar sweep and stem length, I was really comfortable with the fit and handling of the Superior XP 919. The bike offered no surprises and the overall performance is a good base to improve with a few smart upgrades over time. .

Our Take

Where the Superior XP 919 really shines is on flowing hardpack trails and multi-use trails. It was fast, with a variable setting and a brake that never missed a beat. The RockShox Judy fork has enough adjustment options with air-spring, rebound and lockout to suit riders looking for this type of bike—but either bike or fork is the right mix for someone looking for a trail hardtail. BikesOnline can serve that market with something like the Marin San Quentin 2 ($1999) with 27.5 x 2.6” tires, burlier fork and slack geometry.

The XP 919 is for riders who want to get out and ride. Be it rail exploring, a quick ride to the local trail network, a mixed commute or bikepacking. Although the frame does not have rack mounts, the overall design can take some loads well, and a quality group set will go a long way.

At $1999 the Superior XP 919 sits in a very competitive market segment. For riders looking for a fun bike to take out on the trails it's a great place to start. But for more off-road performance I would suggest investing in tubeless tires, valves and sealant–and a shock pump–to take advantage of this bike's grip and features.

Full details of the Superior XP 919

RRP $1999

Weight 12.74kg (as tested)


Available Sizes S, M, L (checked), XL

The outline Material X6 Aluminum

A fork RockShox Judy Silver TK R, 100mm

Shifter Shimano Deore M6100, 12 sp

The Derailleur Shimano SLX M7100, 12sp

Crank Shimano FC MT510, 34t, 175mm

Down bracket Shimano MT500 BB92

A chain Shimano Deore M6100, 12sp

Cassette Shimano Deore M6100, 12sp, 10-51

Harps Shimano TC500 centerlock

He speaks Black, spotless

Rims Stars J25D, 25mm internal, 32h

Tires Schwalbe Racing Ralph 29×2.25”

Brakes Shimano MT410, 180/160mm

Title ONE race

Handles ONE race, 5mm high, 760mm

Place of residence ONE Race alloy, 27.2mm

A saddle Fizik Terra Aidon X5

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