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Lee Cougan Crossfire Trail Brings Modern MTB Capability to Light Carbon XC Bike – Review

New Lee Cougan Crossfire Trail light 120mm carbon cross-country marathon MTB, Bike Connection Agency photo by Rupert Fowler, descending(Photo MTBCA/Rupert Fowler)
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Italian mountain bike maker Lee Cougan’s all-new Crossfire Trail XC & Marathon bike blends classic cross-country speed with longer travel and a more versatile modern ride. The 120mm travel bike isn’t quite a trail bike in the contemporary sense as its name might suggest. But it is a quick modern XC bike that’s built to take on the toughest cross-country courses. Can keep you pushing on long-distance marathon MTB races. And is a blast to shred on fast singletrack for the mountain bike rider who likes to feel connected to the trail…

2024 Lee Cougan Crossfire Trail light 120mm carbon XC bike

After their unique Rampage Innova ultra-short travel XC bike a couple years ago, Lee Cougan are back with another interesting 29er mountain bike at the other extreme of cross-country racing. This one is a 120/120mm full-suspension XC bike that leans more towards the trail perspective with slacker geometry and 4x as much travel. But while many trail-leaning XC bikes have gone wildly slack, the Lee Cougan Crossfire Trail is still a cross-country bike that embraces its racing heritage.

What does that mean?

New Lee Cougan Crossfire Trail light 120mm carbon cross-country marathon MTB, Bike Connection Agency photo by Rupert Fowler
(Photos Mountain Bike Connection Winter/Rupert Fowler)

That essentially boils down to geometry that’s a bit slacker than their short-travel XC bikes, without trying to be an enduro or even an all-mountain bike.

2024 Lee Cougan Crossfire Trail lightweight 120mm carbon XC mountain bike, geometry

The translates to a capable but not too steep 67.5° head angle paired to a steep 75.5° seattube, short 430mm chainstays and middle-of-the-road frame Reach figures. (Quite short compared to most modern enduro-inspired bikes.) It’s still genuinely a sharp-handling XC bike, but with plenty of travel and stable-enough handling to make it a solid XCO & XCM race weapon.

Plus, it’s still stiff and lightweight.

Tech details

2024 Lee Cougan Crossfire Trail lightweight 120mm carbon XC mountain bike, frame suspension detail
(Photo/Cory Benson)

The hi-mod T800 & T1000 carbon bike features 120mm of rear wheel travel and molded-in bearing seats, paired to the same travel forks.

New Lee Cougan Crossfire Trail light 120mm carbon cross-country marathon MTB, Bike Connection Agency photo by Rupert Fowler, SCS shock detail
(Photo MTBCA/Rupert Fowler)

Lee Cougan claims that their punctured downtube, unified 1-piece carbon rear triangle, and linkage-driven single pivot suspension design on the Crossfire Trail keeps frame+shock weight to just 1850g (size M). They call it a ‘Structural Crossbar System’ where the downtube opens up around the upside-down rear shock, and the trunnion mount keeps everything rigid. Plus, a special noodle for the complicated shock lock routing, and another air noodle to adjust shock pressure in that tight space.

Then, the chainstays connect in front of the seattube & main pivot for added stiffness, while keeping the rear end short.

Hollow alloy axles and oversized bearings keep everything rotating smoothly for the long term. And are simple to service.

XCO & XCM ready

New Lee Cougan Crossfire Trail light 120mm carbon cross-country marathon MTB, Bike Connection Agency photo by Rupert Fowler, suspension detail NDS
(Photo MTBCA/Rupert Fowler)

Max tire clearance is 2.4″ when mounted to a 30mm internal rim. That’s conveniently both the standard for XC racers and most trail riders these days. Really only enduro bikes go bigger, so you’ll have plenty of room whether your prefer cross-country racing slicks or more trail-capable tires.

It is 29″ wheels only, with Boost spacing, a UDH, BSA threaded bottom bracket, and internal cable routing through the headset.

New Lee Cougan Crossfire Trail light 120mm carbon cross-country marathon MTB, Bike Connection Agency photo by Rupert Fowler, Granite Stash tool integration
(Photo MTBCA/Rupert Fowler)

The bike is intended for all day riding & racing, so there’s room for 2 cages in the frame. That’s a 3-pack mount on the downtube, plus a standard pair of bosses under the back of the toptube. Lee Cougan says 2 full-size water bottles fin in sizes M-XL, or a bottle and a tool/spares carrier. Plus, a co-developed Granite Stash RT ratchet mini-tool in the steerer.

Complete bike weights are then as low as 10-11kg.

Want to hear more about Lee Cougan? The US-inspired, Italian-operated, made-in Asia mountain bikes that are a part of the made-in-Italy Basso bikes brand? Find some more backstory in my previous Rampage Innova write-up.

First Rides Review

2024 Lee Cougan Crossfire Trail lightweight 120mm carbon XC mountain bike, wet and muddy riding
(Photo/Cory Benson)

I got a chance to ride the new Lee Cougan Crossfire Trail last week in Massa Marittima, Italy on familiar trails but in wildly wet conditions. Like seriously testing the limits of sliding out of control on XC tires, conditions. But really, the bike handled really well. Quite predictable and confidence-inspiring for a light bike that isn’t ashamed of its racer roots.

New Lee Cougan Crossfire Trail light 120mm carbon cross-country marathon MTB, Bike Connection Agency photo by Rupert Fowler, climbing
(Photo MTBCA/Rupert Fowler)

It climbs like proper lightweight XC bike with a nice forward position. And it descends with predictable handling. Sure, it’s not the kind of bike that you let go of and let it find its own way down gnarly trails. But hold on tight and I was rocketing down steep washed-out chutes with a muddy grin on my face.

New Lee Cougan Crossfire Trail light 120mm carbon cross-country marathon MTB, Bike Connection Agency photo by Rupert Fowler, cornering
(Photo MTBCA/Rupert Fowler)

I set the suspension up relatively soft with a little more than 30% sag and took advantage of the combined Fox 3-position remote lock-out for the steepest climbs. Really, only needing the middle mode, it’s still nice to have the more solid lock for big-distance marathon type rides that sometimes have asphalt transfers between fireroads & tasty singletrack.

2024 Lee Cougan Crossfire Trail lightweight 120mm carbon XC mountain bike, 11.28kg actual weight
(Photo/Cory Benson)

My Large complete test bike with XX SL weighed in at 11.28kg with 340g crankbrothers Candy 3 pedals, a bottle cage, and sealant. There’s also a Granite Stash RT multi-tool & GPS mount that adds an extra 120g. I pulled the tool out to weigh the Crossfire Trail, but its mount is still in the steerer in lieu of a starnut. So, roughly 10.7kg bare.

2024 Lee Cougan Crossfire Trail lightweight 120mm carbon XC mountain bike, wet trail riding
(Photo/Cory Benson)

It feels light in hand, and under foot. Even flying down nasty trails.

2024 Lee Cougan Crossfire Trail – Pricing, options & availability

2024 Lee Cougan Crossfire Trail lightweight 120mm carbon XC mountain bike, frameset
(Photo/Cory Benson)

The new Lee Cougan Crossfire Trail cross-country bike comes in 4 stock sizes (S-XL) and in three colors. Pick from all Arctic White, Raw Black exposed carbon (with the least paint for the lightest weight), or this Boreal finish with off-white up top & chameleon green down low.

As for specs, there are 3 customizable build kits.

2024 Lee Cougan Crossfire Trail lightweight 120mm carbon XC mountain bike, Team Eagle compltee
2024 Lee Cougan Crossfire Trail Team Eagle (Photo/Cory Benson)

I tested the top-tier $10,000 / 8500€ Lee Cougan Crossfire Trail Team Eagle build with DT Swiss XRC carbon wheels. You get a complete SRAM XX SL Eagle AXS transmission, Fox Factory 34 StepCast fork & Float DPS shock, a Transfer SL Factory dropper, Magura MT8 SL brakes, and Lee Cougan’s own 1-piece carbon Comptrol cockpit. You can also opt for house-brand Microtech wheels to save some coin.

2024 Lee Cougan Crossfire Trail lightweight 120mm carbon XC mountain bike, Race Eagle complete
2024 Lee Cougan Crossfire Trail Race Eagle

The $9000 / 7660€ Race Eagle build dials it back to SRAM X0, but otherwise still the same kit. Or $8300 / 6900€ with the Microtech RK25 wheels.

2024 Lee Cougan Crossfire Trail lightweight 120mm carbon XC mountain bike, RE Eagle complete
2024 Lee Cougan Crossfire Trail RE Eagle

Then, the most “entry-level” is the still race-ready Crossfire Trail RE Eagle build from $6400 / 5250€ with a complete SRAM GX Eagle AXS transmission and RockShox Ultimate SID RL fork & SID Luxe suspension and alloy wheels. Or $7100 / 5900€ with carbon DT wheels.

2024 Lee Cougan Crossfire Trail lightweight 120mm carbon XC mountain bike, climbing
(Photo/Cory Benson)

All bikes and builds are available now globally through your local Lee Cougan dealer bike shop.

LeeCougan.com

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B Barber
B Barber
1 month ago

As an American and riding mtbs since 1991, I have never heard of this brand.
Looks like a nice bike though

Andy
Andy
1 month ago
Reply to  B Barber

I thought the same thing. Interesting that this bike popped up on two bike sites within a few days of each other.

Large D
Large D
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy

Lee Cougan is a sister brand of Basso Bikes.

Joe
Joe
1 month ago

“An extremely capable XC bike” never heard that one (sarcasm)

Riki
Riki
1 month ago

“ and the trunnion mount keeps everything rigid”
not good idea to use shock for rigidity duties

Tom Wenzel
1 month ago

I just read the story of “Lee Cougan” and I must say it reads like something you’d find in an email asking you for your bank account info.

Mr. Lee Katz, a curious and enterprising man of solid Russian origin, was part of the group of enthusiasts that gravitated around the founding fathers of mountain biking.

In 1977 in Evanston, Illinois, he decided to create his own brand through which to market his bikes. From his great passion for cycling an original intuition was born: for his cycling “boutique” shops, he began to develop niche products with cutting-edge technical features.

The Lee Cougan brand was born from the great ingenuity and experience of Mr. Lee Katz.

He personally designed the bicycles and then had the frames produced in Taiwan which he then assembled in the USA, creating high-tech and performance solutions. Mr. Lee Katz went personally to the producers, to supervise the production and ensure the quality of their work.

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