Last year we reviewed the top-of-the-line Baddog Azawakh 33, with a seven-figure price tag (in HUF!) and very exclusive equipment like the much thought after RS-1 suspension fork. This bike gained Bence’s approval, though he could not get along with its unusually steep head tube angle. Now, we borrowed the entry level Azawakh from the Hungarian brand’s ever-increasing MTB range, which cannot be accused of being a “basic model”. Re-testing the Azawakh seemed unnecessary at first, but I won’t take the point out of reivew if I say: it was well worth the effort!
We have received many bikes previously built on the similar platform that we have already ridden and written about. This allowed us to try new equipment and components, but we rarely noticed major differences concerning the frame itself. Last year Bence was keen on trying out the exclusive, top-of-the-line RockShox RS-1 on the Azawakh, where the fork alone costs more than 600,000 HUF. Since Bence is the XC-specialist, it was his choice. (I’ll stay with the longer travel, more extreme bike and fork models when reviewing MTB equipment.)
When travelling to the test camp on the island of Brac this early summer, we took the “little brother” of the previous Azawakh, the “30” model version, and it was agreed that this time I’ll give it a proper test ride. I suspected that the rear suspension will be to my liking, since it features a Horst-Link system, and I’ve always liked how these types of XC bike behave. However, what was really surprising about the bike was not the rear, but the front suspension: the rather basic, mid-level Rock Shox Recon fork made a huge a difference in the way the bike rode on proper trails. How can this be when this fork only costs about a tenth of the renowned RS-1? With the right mounting height, raising the front of the bike slightly, order was finally restored concerning frame geometry. The head tube angle became slacker, so the handling is way more manageable than with the top-level fork option!
The Baddog Azawakh features a 100mm travel front and back, making it ideal for MTB marathon application and touring on bike trails. It can also handle more serious terrain, if one pushes its boundaries. These options were available to Brac, since the trails tend to be rough and rocky. For a trail or enduro bike there are way too many climbs, but with a shorter travel burly MTB, you can really enjoy this special terrain. On the other hand, these conditions demand the suspension to provide a plush, “magic carpet” ride. In the rear – in the place of the Monarch XX shock– we “only” get an “RT”, but this does not seem to affect the ride quality. The main disadvantage is that you have to manually lock it out on climbs. The front fork obviously did not move as nicely as the RS-1, but there was finally a proper balance between front and rear. As an additional bonus, the price of the “30” is also less than half of the top tier variant, a mere 465,000 HUF.
There is nothing to fault equipment-vise on the Azawakh 30. My only observation is that you do not necessary have to have a triple chain rings on modern MTB bikes. A double would be enough with a 38/24T front setup, since there is a lot of gear overlap in the 3×10 Deore system. Of course it works quite well, it’s hard to be disappointed by Shimano components. The brakes perform like a grip vise, luckily the manufacturer did not go over the top with a 203mm disc size. The 180 fits better, and it would be superfluous to oversize: you can easily stop anywhere from any tempo as you wish.
I like to point out that designers payed close attention to little things like matching frame stickers and cable housing. These latter run outside the frame, but anyone who has ever tried to route the cable through the frame, will consider this a blessing from heaven! Not to mention that the above-mentioned design “trick” makes the cables actually look good! The bike’s remaining accessories come from the venerable FSA, the hubs belong to the Deore group set, the rims are excellent DT-Swiss models with a Baddog sticker. The Schwalbe Nobby Nic tires are the icing on the cake! The 650B wheel size fit the Azawakh’s ride character, I did not miss the 29er feeling, even though I rode it mostly on rocky terrain.
As I mentioned before, the geometry of the bike was put in place with the more simple front fork option, it was a pleasure to ride such a harmonious suspension setup. The rear suspension is very active which I truly love, so much that I often chose not to put it into lockout. I go slowly, and this makes the road even more plush. The Nobby Nic tires represent a good choice for this type of terrain: they were quite handy in the turns, and I experienced no problem with braking either. The 100 mm suspension travel is plenty for MTB marathon style of riding, or alternatively for performance-minded touring on rough terrain. The rear shock has a slightly different characteristic than the Recon fork, but they can easily be aligned with the correct adjustment. It could be said that the Monarch shock is superior to the Recon, it moves more smoothly than the fork, which one might be able to feel when we jumping on a rocky trail with great tempo. Nevertheless it is does not feel out of place, and only a very experience rider may notice the difference.
Although the rear axle has only a quick release attachment, there seemed to be no problem with frame stiffness. This archaic technology tends to be quite rare in this category, but 650B wheel size does not put as much strain on the frame like a 29er, so thru-axles are not a must. Concerning shifting, it was interesting to see how much lighter the action the Deore system offers compared to the modern top-level XT or XTR components. It seems the “SRAM-effect” has not tricked down to the Deore level at Shimano. I loved the way the bike changed gears, and the 30 “speeds” always allowed to choose the ideal pedal cadence.
In the end, the reviewer has to take a stance on whether he would buy the buy the bike or not. Is it worth the cost? I say, yes, in fact, it offers an even better value that the previously tested top “33” model. I believe that someone who is looking for a RockShox RS-1 level bike is clearly not is the Azawakh „league”, on the other hand, this model variant will get you very good equipment, spot-on frame geometry and component choice in the 500,000 HUF price category. And one addition reason to choose this bike over another: Baddog is entirely a domestic product!
More information: https: //bad-bike.hu/termek/azawakh-30/
Recommended retail price: 465 000 Ft
|Frame Material:||42 cm, 46 cm, 50 cm|
|Nubmer of Gears:||30|
|Frame Material||6061 Aluminum Alloy|
|Fork||Rockshox Recon Silver|
|Headset||FSA Orbit 1,5”|
|Rear Derailleur||Shimano Deore|
|Front Derailleur||Shimano Deore|
|Rear Shifter||Shimano Deore|
|Front Shifter||Shimano Deore|
|Front Hub||Shimano Deore|
|Rear Hub||Shimano Deore|
|Rims||DT Swiss 466|
|Handlebar||FSA XC, 740mm|
|Saddle||Selle Italia X1|
|Tires||Schwalbe Nobby Nic|