Riding this bike is FUN! I hopped on it this morning wondering how it would feel, and I was happy to discover that this is one of my favorites so far, especially because of the price I paid for it (under $400). It looks a lot like the diamondback overdrive 29er, and performs very similarly, but for about $200 less.
This bike performs exceedingly well in the outdoors, going up hills, on the flats, and going down steep declines. The blackjack’s frame geometry is made to be most efficient in hilly terrain, and with the 29” wheels grabbing the ground firmly, it makes for a very controlled yet fast and fun ride. I noticed a few key features about this bike that really set it apart from the rest, besides the price.
Firstly the low profile handlebars and headset make for a simple and easy to use approach to this bike. It felt easy to maneuver, stay balanced, and keep controlled during the tough turns and washboard. I was able to keep my hands floating over the handlebars when going over bumpy terrain, and since the grips are so small it was easy to grab on tight when needed. This helped me to avoid the shock of major bumps, and still maintain control of the bicycle.
Secondly, this bike performs marvelously at high speeds. The 29” wheels, combined with powerful shocks and disc brakes give the utmost control to the rider and power for maneuvering around turns when flying down hills. The shocks were not just great on the downhill, however, even on the uphill they performed well.
The day I took this bike out was very windy, and the path I took was parallel to the wind. This made for a backwind the entire way down the path, which happened to be downhill as well, and a head wind the entire way back, and I was riding up hill. This would be hellish torture most days, but today I was grateful for this opportunity to push this bike to the limits and see how it performed. Luckily, it held its own in the tough moments, and I got back in one piece. The low gears helped me keep pushing, and the 29” wheels and knobby tires helped me stay attached to the ground and not lose control.
The Blackjack is an all-aluminum off-roading 29er bike. The light weight frame, shimano groupset, and shocks make it an easy to ride package. It’s even light enough to make pushing straight up a mountain easy. Once you get to the top, take some pictures, and hit the downhill trail to the bottom, it’s a blast!
Overall, the Vilano Blackjack is a super fun entry level 29er mountain bike. It performs well, and compared to its competition, it’s just as durable but $150 less. Take that left over $200, get yourself some lights, and some clipless pedals and shoes, or whatever you’re into. It’s well worth it, and I highly recommend it. See you on the trail!
If you'd like to take a look at some other quality options ( some of which are even cheaper!) click here for our selection of mountain bikes.