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  1. #1
    DTL
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    29er hardtail suggestions for trail/xc riding?

    Im interested in picking up a 29er hardtail for trail/xc riding. I dont want anything with too racy of a geometry because I dont like being hunched over with too much weight over the front end. I also dont like too steep of a head angle. Im looking to spend anywhere from 1800 to 2500 and am open to aluminum or steel. I also prefer components along the speck of slx, x7, x9, 2x10 etc. To give an example of something I am considering i am looking at a spec stumpjumper hardtail comp 29er. I just wish it came with a 100 mm fork instead of 90mm. Anyone ride one of these for the same purposes? Any suggestions of what else to look at?

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    See attached link. I was going to recommend the Scott Scale (which I have and love) but thought I would post the attached link instead. The Scale came out top in 2012 & 2013 and 3rd in 2014 but tgere's lots of other models to consider too. You should be able to get an awesome ht with your budget.

    Latest hardtail of the year Articles, Galleries & Videos - MBR

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    In your range are two carbon hardtails with good compliance and geo.
    The Orbea Alma M50 and the Trek Superfly 9.6. Both have lifetime warranties.
    Both have compliance way beyond any aluminum frame hardtail for longer more trail oriented capability. You will be much lighter than steel. I have been beating on a Superfly all season without a problem. I would swap in a SLX crankset and XT shifters on a 2015 9.6.

  4. #4
    DTL
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    In your range are two carbon hardtails with good compliance and geo.
    The Orbea Alma M50 and the Trek Superfly 9.6. Both have lifetime warranties.
    Both have compliance way beyond any aluminum frame hardtail for longer more trail oriented capability. You will be much lighter than steel. I have been beating on a Superfly all season without a problem. I would swap in a SLX crankset and XT shifters on a 2015 9.6.
    Is your superfly a carbon hartail? If so how does the rear end feel over small roots and such?

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    If you like Spec, then check the Crave. It's in your price/component/fork travel range.

    Don't just jump on carbon for being carbon. At the same price, a carbon frame will have cheaper and heavier components than an aluminum frame. With cheaper wheels and heavier components, you can end up with a bike overall that weighs more and rides worse than a higher end Al bike.

  6. #6
    DTL
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    Any chance of a shop being able to remove spacers in the reba fork to get it to 100 mm on a sj hardtail?

  7. #7
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    honzo or taro?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by kan3 View Post
    honzo or taro?
    This would get my vote too. Santa Cruz Chameleon, Trek Stache (maybe) all have similar geo. Laid back, slack HT, short CS.

    A more upright, steeper HT will help with the climb. Converse on the downhill. Most XC bikes have similar, middle of the road, geo.

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    Kona Honzo or Salsa El Mar would be my suggestion. You sound like you're in a similar boat to me. More upright position, looking to ride on more technical stuff on the regular. I bought my bike on Craigslist, upgraded wheels (WTB KOM rims are the sheez-neezy)and cranks for well under $2k.....

    One big thing about steel I've noticed is on a fairly hard/ technical out and back loop I'm more often than not amped for the back end, lots of peeps I know riding Aluminum bikes 1lb lighter than mine are bellyachin'!

    29er hardtail suggestions for trail/xc riding?-0816141616.jpg

  10. #10
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    Trek Stache, Scott Scale, or Specialized Crave would be my suggestions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Epic_Dude View Post
    Trek Stache, Scott Scale, or Specialized Crave would be my suggestions.
    Agree with the Stache recommendation. For the use you described, as well as your budget, the Stache seems like a nice fit.

    Not a pure xc whip, and not a super slacked out AM rig. Possibly the perfect compromise for your circumstances.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by kan3 View Post
    honzo or taro?
    Yes. We got Honzo as a 5th bike for family of 5, and I can't stop riding it.

    Won't say no to the Stache suggestions but the steel feel of the Honzo stood out in addition to the "in it" vs "on it" feel.

    The Honzo, make it tubeless, and add quality dropper should keep you in budget and ear to ear grins.

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    Biased opinion but the Stache is awesome. Option to run 2x or 1x puts it above the Honzo and similar bikes in my view. Gives you a great platform from which to build.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by kosmo View Post
    Agree with the Stache recommendation. For the use you described, as well as your budget, the Stache seems like a nice fit.

    Not a pure xc whip, and not a super slacked out AM rig. Possibly the perfect compromise for your circumstances.
    Exactly. It isn't a Superfly (or a steep HT angle XC racing Stumpjumper either). It has a 120mm fork, more XC style geometry apart from the HT angle. You can put a dropper on it, and it has room for wider tyres.

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    29er hardtail suggestions for trail/xc riding?

    Quote Originally Posted by bigkat273 View Post
    Biased opinion but the Stache is awesome. Option to run 2x or 1x puts it above the Honzo and similar bikes in my view. Gives you a great platform from which to build.
    No front derailleur is also part of the attraction or beauty of some bikes.
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    I don't get the 1x attraction.

    2 reasons I see it makes sense :
    1. You live in a flat place and are never under/over geared. And you never plan on going anywhere else.
    2. Its cool.

    I'm attracted to the 2x idea being an expat roadie, but still love the range of gearing triple offers. I like riding to /from the trail and having every gear imaginable to support it. If its a weight or function issue, get a little stronger or buy better gear.

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    +1 on the Salsa El Mar. I think it's worth checking out. It just seems to dance through everything for me.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by DTL View Post
    Is your superfly a carbon hartail? If so how does the rear end feel over small roots and such?
    It is carbon, but last year the carbon Superfly(not the 9.9 SL) was stiff as a board going over small bumps. This year the 9.6-9.8 bikes are totally new and very compliant and fun to ride over rocks and bumps. Fun because you still have trail feel you don't get with a full suspension. Getting the road bike engineers involved made a big difference. There is no aluminum bikes and almost all carbon bikes do not ride like this. Maybe an Orbea Alma carbon or a Pivot Less.
    But Trek also improved the geo. It steers quick but stays stable hitting bumps going downhill at speed.

  19. #19
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    Santa Cruz highball, great HT. i have the alum version from 2012.

  20. #20
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    I had a Scott Scale and loved it. Sold it to go FS, wish I'd kept it as a backup.
    Hold my beer and watch this!

  21. #21
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    29er hardtail suggestions for trail/xc riding?

    Quote Originally Posted by Back2MTB View Post
    I don't get the 1x attraction.

    2 reasons I see it makes sense :
    1. You live in a flat place and are never under/over geared. And you never plan on going anywhere else.
    2. Its cool.

    I'm attracted to the 2x idea being an expat roadie, but still love the range of gearing triple offers. I like riding to /from the trail and having every gear imaginable to support it. If its a weight or function issue, get a little stronger or buy better gear.
    Where I live is hilly but I never use my large gear on my 3x10 and I rarely ever use my granny. I've been thinking a 30t front might give me all the range I need for climbs and flats.

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    Bizarre. At the very least I like the Big ring to do some sprints / strength training on the bike and bomb serious dh fire road runs as well as riding home on the road at 90+rpm. Granny is useful for long, technical 10pct plus climbs and is also useful when I'm tired on longer rides. I could see running 3x11 for a fancy, not super technical xc race, otherwise I'll keep my gears and the versatility.

    I live in western MA and go north and south.

  23. #23
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    [QUOTE=eb1888;11392997]It is carbon, but last year the carbon Superfly(not the 9.9 SL) was stiff as a board going over small bumps. This year the 9.6-9.8 bikes are totally new and very compliant and fun to ride over rocks and bumps. Fun because you still have trail feel you don't get with a full suspension. Getting the road bike engineers involved made a big difference. There is no aluminum bikes and almost all carbon bikes do not ride like this. Maybe an Orbea Alma carbon or a Pivot Less.
    But Trek also improved the geo. It steers quick but stays stable hitting bumps going downhill at speed.[/QUOT

    Good information thank you.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomikazi View Post
    +1 on the Salsa El Mar. I think it's worth checking out. It just seems to dance through everything for me.
    How does the front end feel on the el mar? I noticed it is about a 71 degree HA. Is it twitchy feeling when steering and descending?

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    El Mar

    Quote Originally Posted by DTL View Post
    How does the front end feel on the el mar? I noticed it is about a 71 degree HA. Is it twitchy feeling when steering and descending?
    It feels super stable. On very, very slow uphill I can trackstand and keep it going as long as my legs hold up. DH feel is solid, I tend to get behind the saddle on super steep/rocky stuff and can throw around the front end pretty easily. 29's make a huge difference in both departments too though.

  26. #26
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    For those of you with the scott scale 29 ers is there any compliance technology built into the rear seat stays or are these frames teeth chattering over small roots etc?

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by DTL View Post
    For those of you with the scott scale 29 ers is there any compliance technology built into the rear seat stays or are these frames teeth chattering over small roots etc?
    Mine is the lowest end aluminum framed 970, the 960 and above have bridgeless seatstays on their aluminum frames which may be more compliant. But hey, who needs compliance? It's a 29er and can rollover ANYTHING!

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwi_GR_Biker View Post
    But hey, who needs compliance? It's a 29er and can rollover ANYTHING!
    Eventually you bump up against the limits of what you can take in time and bumps on an aluminum or stiff carbon hardtail frame. The carbon Scott has more compliance than the aluminum version and more than a carbon Giant or Specialized. It is too tight for me on tire clearance between the chainstays.

  29. #29
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    29er hardtail suggestions for trail/xc riding?

    Quote Originally Posted by Back2MTB View Post
    I don't get the 1x attraction.

    2 reasons I see it makes sense :
    1. You live in a flat place and are never under/over geared. And you never plan on going anywhere else.
    2. Its cool.

    I'm attracted to the 2x idea being an expat roadie, but still love the range of gearing triple offers. I like riding to /from the trail and having every gear imaginable to support it. If its a weight or function issue, get a little stronger or buy better gear.
    It may not be for everyone.

    First, look at the range you have with the 10-42 and 11-36 cassettes using 28t to 32t rings.

    Next, my hard tail is limited in downhill performance not seeing the top speeds my 6 inch dual suspension AM type does. Add the safety and convenience you have jumping via no chain guide (requires clutch type der and wide plus narrow ring).

    1x is also nice for remote dropper levers.

    Simple, quiet, convenient, added safety (no chain dropping), and in some ways like riding my single speed bikes with adjustable ratios. Now I get the popularity like I understand the popularity of AM hard tails.

    2015 product announcements and even more 3rd party conversation products coming out tell me I'm not alone feeling 1x is good but it may not be for everyone.
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    Never experienced any twitch on my El Mar. I've run the gammet of NorCal trails on it. Annadel, skeggs, demo, Mr toads, as well as northstar and mammoth bike parks. Took it bikepacking on the Tahoe rim trail and it handled the load like it wasn't even there. I've been on it as much as 17 hours in 2days and it remained comfortable. Climbs like a goat, too. Can you tell I like it? For the record I'm Almost 50 and have have been riding since a kid. A bike is a very personal thing so check out a bunch. For me, the ElMar was the one.

  31. #31
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    29er hardtail suggestions for trail/xc riding?

    Quote Originally Posted by Back2MTB View Post
    Bizarre. At the very least I like the Big ring to do some sprints / strength training on the bike and bomb serious dh fire road runs as well as riding home on the road at 90+rpm. Granny is useful for long, technical 10pct plus climbs and is also useful when I'm tired on longer rides. I could see running 3x11 for a fancy, not super technical xc race, otherwise I'll keep my gears and the versatility.

    I live in western MA and go north and south.
    I'm stationed in upstate NY, my wife lives in western VA, our parents are in CO. Yet to find a location where XX1 doesn't work for me.


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  32. #32
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    Bit late to chime in, but will none the less.

    So many options to choose from in this category, Banshee Paradox, Canfield Yelli or Nimble9, Kona Honzo, Trek Stache, Airbourne Goblin EVO and I think there's a few more I'm missing. Can't beat the Airbourne for bang for your buck for a complete, but haven't seen too many reviews on it to confirm the geo and build of it, but on paper hard to beat.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    I'm stationed in upstate NY, my wife lives in western VA, our parents are in CO. Yet to find a location where XX1 doesn't work for me.


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    With XX1 price out of the reach for many it may be worth knowing there are less expensive crank options to get lower gearing with the newer and lower cost X1. Race Face, eThirteen have new cranks, and there are third party rings that work with other SRAM cranks.

  34. #34
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    29er hardtail suggestions for trail/xc riding?

    Just an FYI: with careful shopping, I bought a shifter, RD and cassette for less than $600.
    Last edited by Le Duke; 08-19-2014 at 09:31 PM.
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    The Salsa sounds good. I have a Haro SS that I got on ebay for $465. What a steal. Rides great and I love the Mary bars. Rides like a heavy carbon bike. A geared Haro should cost you less then $2000. Have FUN.

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    Just bought a trek stache 7 and love it. Perfect for what you'll be using it for!! Swop the stem for 50-60mm and some 20mm riser bar :-)

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    Honzo, Honzo, Honzo.

    I wanted to get my son into mtn biking, so I gave him my Kona Dawg Supreme and bought a Honzo. One of the things I liked about it, was the 68 degree headtube (same as the Dawg). Intentionally I wanted a hardtail 29er to make climbing a hell of a lot easier, since my son runs x-country and is a cardio machine. One thing I've found I really enjoy about the Honzo, is the fact that I do not try to avoid obstacles on the downhill sections, also with the short chainstay and headtube angle, it really descends better then I had thought. Going from a 5" travel full suspension bike to the hardtail has been much easier then I thought it would be. My son still beats me on the hillclimbs, but he still can't hang on the downhills.

    Get the Honzo

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    I'm stationed in upstate NY, my wife lives in western VA, our parents are in CO. Yet to find a location where XX1 doesn't work for me.


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    Having a Trek Marlin and liking it, I also like what I hear and see about the Stache. Not that I am an expert .

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    Get the Stumpy, have the shop lengthen/switch out the fork before you even leave with it, switch stem out for a 50-70mm. BAM! You're riding.

  41. #41
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    [QUOTE=powdertrax;11829802]Honzo, Honzo, Honzo.

    I wanted to get my son into mtn biking, so I gave him my Kona Dawg Supreme and bought a Honzo. One of the things I liked about it, was the 68 degree headtube (same as the Dawg). Intentionally I wanted a hardtail 29er to make climbing a hell of a lot easier, since my son runs x-country and is a cardio machine. One thing I've found I really enjoy about the Honzo, is the fact that I do not try to avoid obstacles on the downhill sections, also with the short chainstay and headtube angle, it really descends better then I had thought. Going from a 5" travel full suspension bike to the hardtail has been much easier then I thought it would be. My son still beats me on the hillclimbs, but he still can't hang on the downhills.

    How much does your honzo weigh (what size is it?). It is a great looking bike. How does the rear end feel over smaller roots (harsh? Not too bad?). How does the steel frame ride compared to aluminum?

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by RiceBrnr View Post
    Get the Stumpy, have the shop lengthen/switch out the fork before you even leave with it, switch stem out for a 50-70mm. BAM! You're riding.
    I bought a 2015 stumpy HT Comp. I switched the air shaft in the fork out from 90 to 100 mm, put a riser bar on it, switched stem to 90 mm, switched front tire to a 2.2 captain and tubeless. It has been a great riding bike. Very complient for an aluminum frame HT.

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    Niner Sir9! I set mine up for smooth trail riding with a rigid fork. RaceFace NextSL Cranks as a SS. Hadley Hubs 142x12 with a Ti SS specific free hub Zero dish. Wide Blunt 35 rims. Niner bars stem Thompson set back seatpost WTB RocketV saddle Ergon grips(helps a lot with rigid fork. XT brakes. 22-23# depends on which tires.
    I had lighter DT Swiss rims on. but I love wide and will never go back. The combo of the 853 steel and wide rims give this bike a great trail feel.
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  44. #44
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    I have a Niner Air9 RDO and ROS9 both in Med, Air9 set up with carbon wheels 1x10 and SID, ROS9 pretty much stock 2-star singlespeed (getting rid of the sketchy front tire), and choose to ride the SS more. On the rides where i might consider the Air9 RDO (long climbs at elevation), I take my FS bike instead (which is mostly stock too). I'm not an XC racer... can't remember what it was that compelled me to build up a XC race bike. I did like it, but I just like my other bikes more. I had the Air 9 before I got the FS and ROS9. I find the simple SS is nice for just jumping on for simple easy rides, finding challenge on stuff that normally wouldn't challenge me on my FS, and the FS is great for actually riding on mountainous terrain.

    Just saying to possibly get people to think ahead. I much prefer having such a 2-bike combo, over 1 high end decked out bike.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by DTL View Post
    For those of you with the scott scale 29 ers is there any compliance technology built into the rear seat stays or are these frames teeth chattering over small roots etc?
    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwi_GR_Biker View Post
    Mine is the lowest end aluminum framed 970, the 960 and above have bridgeless seatstays on their aluminum frames which may be more compliant. But hey, who needs compliance? It's a 29er and can rollover ANYTHING!
    My 970's frame is brutal stiff lol. I like it stiffness of it but it is brutal. I've been kinda wanting the lighter alu frame. The carbon version i'm sure rides very nice.
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    The Rocky Mountain Vertex 999 rigid carbon frame has been very good for me. I bought the frame, and did a custom build.

    29er hardtail suggestions for trail/xc riding?-dsc_0948-copy.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by Varaxis View Post
    Just saying to possibly get people to think ahead. I much prefer having such a 2-bike combo, over 1 high end decked out bike.
    I sure get that.

    My Honzo gets WAY more use than I ever imagined. I don't even take the suspension bike for a lot of rides. It's sweet to just leave from home vs drive to trail head.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DTL View Post
    I bought a 2015 stumpy HT Comp. I switched the air shaft in the fork out from 90 to 100 mm, put a riser bar on it, switched stem to 90 mm, switched front tire to a 2.2 captain and tubeless. It has been a great riding bike. Very complient for an aluminum frame HT.
    Wanted to echo this post.

    I did almost identical upgrades to my 2012 Stumpy HT: In addition to the above, I build up a set of Chris King's to Stans Arch wheels, went with a 100mm SID RCT3 w/ 15mm TA, and to take the sting out of seated efforts I put on a Specialized Cobb Gobbler seat post (CG-R Carbon), TI railed saddle, and the highest volume tires the frame allows.

    The only thing I desire is the ability to run a rear 2.3 tire a little more comfortably. I'm thinking about going to a 1x11 setup but I'm going to ride my 2x10 drivetrain into the ground before making a final decision. This bike is set up so close to what I consider ideal for my kind of riding (trail-riding XC vs. XC only) I'm likely going to keep it going until I can pull the trigger on having a 44Bikes built for me.

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    I noticed no one has mentioned the Giant XTC Advanced 1 29er. MSRP is $2700, but it's on sale for $2200 (Giant-subsidized).

    - Carbon composite frame
    - Fox fork w/100mm travel
    - All-Shimano drivetrain & brakes (XT & SLX)
    - Front Thru-Axle

    I am actually considering one right now as an upgrade from my Hardrock I've had for 5 years. I really like the combo of Fox fork and all Shimano, as well as the carbon frame. I guess the only features I wish it had is a drop saddle and remote fork lockout.

    Anyone here have one or very familiar with it? I have no experience with Giant.


    XTC Advanced 29er 1 (2015) | Giant Bicycles | United States

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    Check the geo and you find a 71* very steep old school head tube angle.
    This can make handling twitchy on faster downs hitting bumps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    Check the geo and you find a 71* very steep old school head tube angle.
    This can make handling twitchy on faster downs hitting bumps.

    Thanks for pointing that out. But, really, are most people who are buying these riding downhill??

    My thinking is, with handling on 29ers already being sluggish compared to a 26" or a 27.5", why would you want to make it even slower turning by raking the fork out?

    Personally, I'm upgrading from a 2011 Hardrock SportDisc 29, and one of the things I'm looking for in a new bike is better turning. The Hardrock has always just felt a bit sluggish.

    I have to say, the XTC Advanced 1 29er is the front-runner in my comparisons right now... Lots of bang for the buck @ $2200.

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by slow hand View Post
    Thanks for pointing that out. But, really, are most people who are buying these riding downhill?
    Not DH, down hill sections of XC trails where you pick up some speed and hit rocks and roots. 71* will jerk the bars off line easier than slacker angles. That bike still uses 46mm offset forks when faster turning 51mm offset are on more and more 29ers.
    Giant doesn't even race their bike in World Cup XCO anymore. Their withdrew their teams. Giant hasn't bothered to update their 29 bikes in years.
    The Trek Superfly 9.6-9.8 has dialed quick turning stable on the downhills geo and is in your range. Scott Scale bikes, Orbea Alma M50 are others you could demo. These bikes also have varying amounts of rear compliance for comfort to extend the range toward AM trails for more distance and time without getting beat up.
    If you test ride go in ditches and on the grass to get some offroad handling feel.
    Putting wide 750+ bars and a short 50mm stem on the Giant could help tame the twitchiness. Just figure that into your sizing.
    You need to enjoy riding where you concentrate on front wheel tracking and are over the wheel all the time.

  53. #53
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    Have you carefully looked at the Geo of your bike? If you did you'd notice it has bus like chainstays and they are the easiest and biggest thing to making a bike feel sluggish, trust me. Do yourself a favour and actually get out there and test ride different bikes with different geo to see how they actually feel, don't just look at the price and geo on paper. As Eb pointed out, the newer 51mm offset helps speed up handling on the slacker angle HT, but isn't always necessary, 48mm can work as well, all depends on what you call fast.

    Quote Originally Posted by slow hand View Post
    Thanks for pointing that out. But, really, are most people who are buying these riding downhill??

    My thinking is, with handling on 29ers already being sluggish compared to a 26" or a 27.5", why would you want to make it even slower turning by raking the fork out?

    Personally, I'm upgrading from a 2011 Hardrock SportDisc 29, and one of the things I'm looking for in a new bike is better turning. The Hardrock has always just felt a bit sluggish.

    I have to say, the XTC Advanced 1 29er is the front-runner in my comparisons right now... Lots of bang for the buck @ $2200.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

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    Well, obviously, as you guys have pointed out, there's more to it than just the head tube angle.

    I wish I COULD test-ride several different bikes, but that is just not going to be feasible. Most dealers around here have kinda stopped carrying very many hardtails in favor of FS bikes. Always seems to happen that, whatever I am wanting, is not in stock, MUCH LESS available for test riding.

    Thanks for the info - no LBS salesperson I've run across has even approached being able to give me that sort of detail on geo and riding dynamics.

    I CAN get a discount on a Superfly 9.7... $2,500.00. It's just $300 more than the Giant, and the only color left in stock is that bright green.

    Orbea...not even sure who stocks those in Nashville....

    Fact is, whatever I get will be a vast improvement over a Hardrock 29.

  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by slow hand View Post
    Well, obviously, as you guys have pointed out, there's more to it than just the head tube angle.

    I wish I COULD test-ride several different bikes, but that is just not going to be feasible. Most dealers around here have kinda stopped carrying very many hardtails in favor of FS bikes. Always seems to happen that, whatever I am wanting, is not in stock, MUCH LESS available for test riding.

    Thanks for the info - no LBS salesperson I've run across has even approached being able to give me that sort of detail on geo and riding dynamics.

    I CAN get a discount on a Superfly 9.7... $2,500.00. It's just $300 more than the Giant, and the only color left in stock is that bright green.

    Orbea...not even sure who stocks those in Nashville....

    Fact is, whatever I get will be a vast improvement over a Hardrock 29.
    My vote is for a chromag. I have a rootdown that's just awesome!! Steel frame is stif where it needs to be and compliant over the ruff stuff. I also have a stumpy fsr to compete it to. Both bikes are a blast. .


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    71° is a bit steep for me. I love my Scale's geo.

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    I have a Scott CR-1 road bike and love it. Wish more LBS stocked Scott in Nash. REI is the only dealer and they're pretty far out of my way.

  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by slow hand View Post
    Thanks for pointing that out. But, really, are most people who are buying these riding downhill??

    My thinking is, with handling on 29ers already being sluggish compared to a 26" or a 27.5", why would you want to make it even slower turning by raking the fork out?

    Personally, I'm upgrading from a 2011 Hardrock SportDisc 29, and one of the things I'm looking for in a new bike is better turning. The Hardrock has always just felt a bit sluggish.

    I have to say, the XTC Advanced 1 29er is the front-runner in my comparisons right now... Lots of bang for the buck @ $2200.
    Seriously?

    Do you get off your bike and walk every time the trail points down?

    This is why people think XC is riding on rail trails.
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  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by zephxiii View Post
    71° is a bit steep for me. I love my Scale's geo.

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    This. 69 degree HTA? Yes please.

    The Spark is another great choice if FS is more your style. Fast both up and down.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Seriously?

    Do you get off your bike and walk every time the trail points down?

    This is why people think XC is riding on rail trails.
    I'm guessing from this that you haven't ridden any modern slacked out 29ers. My rootdown is at 67.5 headangle short ass chain stays at 16.9 or so and it rails everything. Neither one of my 29s are slow or sluggish in the handling department.


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    Quote Originally Posted by slow hand View Post
    I CAN get a discount on a Superfly 9.7... $2,500.00. It's just $300 more than the Giant, and the only color left in stock is that bright green.
    Fact is, whatever I get will be a vast improvement over a Hardrock 29.
    I ride that frame. It handles quick and is stable. I wouldn't trade it anything else. The rear compliance is exceptional with XR1 2.2 Team tires. Make the dealer swap out the Experts. They're skinnier and shorter making the frame ride stiff without the great compliance Trek engineered in. The Fox fork would benefit from a compression damper swap to the FIT version and Gold oil. Fox knows that and makes the part available cheaper than list. All 2016 Fox forks get a FIT4 damper.
    See what you can get a 9.6 for. Possibly 1850. You could use the dif for targeted upgrades.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    This. 69 degree HTA? Yes please.

    The Spark is another great choice if FS is more your style. Fast both up and down.
    I have a Spark too and I LOVE the way the geo and cockpit feels.

    I've have felt too slack via 120mm fork on my Scale before. The only negative was that combined with 60-70mm stem I was lacking front end grip on corners.

    Never once did it feel "sluggish", it felt nice if anything.

    I just needed to sag it a lil more to hit that sweet spot...which isn't 71° imo.






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  63. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raleighguy29 View Post
    I'm guessing from this that you haven't ridden any modern slacked out 29ers. My rootdown is at 67.5 headangle short ass chain stays at 16.9 or so and it rails everything. Neither one of my 29s are slow or sluggish in the handling department.


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    Uh, I was responding to someone else. Did you see how I quoted them?

    As my following posts indicated, I ride a "slack" XC bike with a 69 degree HTA.
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  64. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by zephxiii View Post
    I have a Spark too and I LOVE the way the geo and cockpit feels.

    I've have felt too slack via 120mm fork on my Scale before. The only negative was that combined with 60-70mm stem I was lacking front end grip on corners.

    Never once did it feel "sluggish", it felt nice if anything.

    I just needed to sag it a lil more to hit that sweet spot...which isn't 71° imo.
    Yep.

    The Spark is the only XC FS I've tested that checked all of the boxes for me. Modern XC geo, efficient pedaling, light with the right spec. The Tallboys, Epics, Anthems, etc didn't really do it for me.

    I'll be getting one as soon as I sell off my NOS Tallboy LTC frame and 140mm Pike.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Yep.

    The Spark is the only XC FS I've tested that checked all of the boxes for me. Modern XC geo, efficient pedaling, light with the right spec.I'll be getting one as soon as I sell off my NOS Tallboy LTC frame and 140mm Pike.
    Three more days until the Trek competition 'Top Fuel' is announced. I'm expecting some shorter chainstays plus more.

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    A lot depends on the trails you ride. Are you riding flowy trails with lots of roots and rocks? Are you riding straight up for a mile and then down for a mile with 5 foot drops? Are you going straight up and down Rocky rooty terrain with no big drops? What obstacles challenge your bike and what is the lay of the land?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Seriously?

    Do you get off your bike and walk every time the trail points down?

    This is why people think XC is riding on rail trails.
    I think you misunderstood me.

    My point is, I don't think the head angle is going to make that big of a difference on the trails most people ride. Most people don't ride extreme downhill in the Rockies, Sierra, Cascades, etc.

    I don't think the 71* head angle on the Giant XTC means it's goign to handle horribly and rip the bars out of your hands on the downhill sections most people ride.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slow hand View Post
    I don't think the 71* head angle on the Giant XTC means it's goign to handle horribly and rip the bars out of your hands on the downhill sections most people ride.
    It's pretty noticeable right away.
    Doing a test ride just going into a ditch it was right there no doubt about it.
    So why buy something like that when other handling choices are for sale.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    It's pretty noticeable right away.
    Doing a test ride just going into a ditch it was right there no doubt about it.
    So why buy something like that when other handling choices are for sale.
    Hmm... Well, I'm going to keep looking around.

    So, the more modern (last couple of years or so) 29ers are designed with a "slacker" head tube angle (less steep) for stability? Seems to me that would make it turn slower. So they rectify that with, what, offset?

    Clearly I need some education about geometry. I'm a motorcycle rider, so I know a little bit about geometry. But not a lot about mountain bike geometry.

  70. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by slow hand View Post
    I think you misunderstood me.

    My point is, I don't think the head angle is going to make that big of a difference on the trails most people ride. Most people don't ride extreme downhill in the Rockies, Sierra, Cascades, etc.

    I don't think the 71* head angle on the Giant XTC means it's goign to handle horribly and rip the bars out of your hands on the downhill sections most people ride.
    Objection.
    When you say "most people" you mean people who ride mountain bikes as commuters or dirt road bikes. Or at least that's what I guess.
    I have a Trek Cobia with a 69 degree head angle. I don't ride extreme freeride trails and yet there are times where I wish I had a slacker head angle just so it is more stable handling.
    I can't believe how poor a 71 degree head angle must be on a mountain bike, it's only 1 degree slacker than my road bike!

  71. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by CannondaleF9 View Post
    Objection.
    When you say "most people" you mean people who ride mountain bikes as commuters or dirt road bikes. Or at least that's what I guess.
    I have a Trek Cobia with a 69 degree head angle. I don't ride extreme freeride trails and yet there are times where I wish I had a slacker head angle just so it is more stable handling.
    I can't believe how poor a 71 degree head angle must be on a mountain bike, it's only 1 degree slacker than my road bike!
    No, that's not at all what I mean. I mean "regular" mountain bike trails, with uphills, descents, rocks, roots, drops, ledges, and the like.

    Come on, I really don't think a respected company like Giant would build a mountain bike that is as ill-handling as you make it sound. I mean, I'm certainly not denying that the thinking on the angles and geometry may have changed in the last 3-4 yrs, and modern MTBs may offer some improvements in the stability department. But to imply that the bike is that bad handling, I can't believe that.

  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by slow hand View Post
    No, that's not at all what I mean. I mean "regular" mountain bike trails, with uphills, descents, rocks, roots, drops, ledges, and the like.

    Come on, I really don't think a respected company like Giant would build a mountain bike that is as ill-handling as you make it sound. I mean, I'm certainly not denying that the thinking on the angles and geometry may have changed in the last 3-4 yrs, and modern MTBs may offer some improvements in the stability department. But to imply that the bike is that bad handling, I can't believe that.
    There is good reason that the XTC is a poor handling bike, it's an old outdated design, and Giant has abandoned the 29er probably because the XTC was so bad.

  73. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by DTL View Post
    and am open to aluminum or steel
    I would go with steel... and do a custom build

  74. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by slow hand View Post
    Hmm... Well, I'm going to keep looking around.

    So, the more modern (last couple of years or so) 29ers are designed with a "slacker" head tube angle (less steep) for stability? Seems to me that would make it turn slower. So they rectify that with, what, offset?

    Clearly I need some education about geometry. I'm a motorcycle rider, so I know a little bit about geometry. But not a lot about mountain bike geometry.
    Handling can be tuned with fork offset but chainstay length also helps a lot. A bent seat tube is needed to get the chainstays short enough. It took awhile to figure this out. Until that happened the steep head tube angle option was used.

    For bikes the Trek Procaliber 9.7 SL carbon should be up on your list. It came out today with IsoSpeed seat tube isolation for good rear compliance. Or we'll see once stock turns up to demo.
    TREK PROCALIBER 9.7 SL 2016

    29er hardtail suggestions for trail/xc riding?-trek-procaliber-9-8-2016.jpg

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    A lot depends on the trails you are riding. Some regions have flat flowing xc trails where flying flying through twisty flats is where the steep head tube shines. Some regions have mile long climbs followed by two mile long descents and another long climb. A slacker head tube will shine on the long downs but you will not handle as well in the twisty flats.

  76. #76
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    So now, a Giant XTC is a poor handling bike?

    That is the bike that showed me (within the first two miles of riding it) that my slacked out Giant Reign was much slower descending (for me on my local trails) than a 29er hardtail.

    When I got a 29er of my own (with it's 71° HTA and very average length chainstays), I rode it in Big Bear on trails like Fall Line and was as at home on it there as I ever was on that Giant Reign.

    According to his profile (and apparently I am the only one that bothered to look), 'slow hand' lives in Memphis TN. Not exactly known for for it's vert, LOL. A quick handling bike with a 71° might be just what the doctor ordered for his riding style and terrain. I certainly don't see the need to steer (pun intended) him toward slacker HTA bikes when their strength is not likely to be what he needs.

    To 'slow hand', if you're going to ask for help picking out a bike, I think you would get the best responses by giving as much background info as possible. If someone can't be bothered to consider that amount of information, I would say that they probably shouldn't bother offering advice on your specific situation.

    Contrary to some of the advice given above, I would suggest you at least try a bike like the latest (either carbon or the non-scandium alloy version) Niner Air 9 (horror of horrors, with it's 71° head tube angle), and if possible even consider a fork for that bike that has either a 48mm or 51mm offset. From what I read here, you'd think a bike like that would kill you within minutes of hitting the dirt. I rode one for a couple of months with a 51mm offset Manitou Tower Pro, and found it pretty stable on high speed descents, and it would carve up tight twisty singletrack like a Ginsu knife through hot butter.

    TO ME, this sounds like a bike that could suit your needs, but I would strongly suggest you get out to some demo-days and ride a variety of bikes and get the one that feels best to you, especially if you can ride it on your home trails, or similar trails, even if folks on the interwebz feel otherwise. This includes any bike advice from me as well. Take it all with a grain of salt, especially if you haven't given much BG info to begin with.
    Last edited by jeffj; 06-28-2015 at 07:39 PM.

  77. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by party_wagon View Post
    A lot depends on the trails you are riding. Some regions have flat flowing xc trails where flying flying through twisty flats is where the steep head tube shines. Some regions have mile long climbs followed by two mile long descents and another long climb. A slacker head tube will shine on the long downs but you will not handle as well in the twisty flats.
    I agree with party_wagon. And test ride a bunch of bikes to see what you like. But in the end, you will probably adapt just fine to the geometry of the bike unless it's something really ridiculous...
    "Caught my first tube this morning....sir!"

  78. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by party_wagon View Post
    A lot depends on the trails you are riding. Some regions have flat flowing xc trails where flying flying through twisty flats is where the steep head tube shines. Some regions have mile long climbs followed by two mile long descents and another long climb. A slacker head tube will shine on the long downs but you will not handle as well in the twisty flats.
    Good explanation. Thanks.

  79. #79
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    The XTC is not a horrible handling bike and the HTA certainly is not the reason for it, it's the school bus long chainstays that make it so. I can confidently say that because I own a Karate Monkey with a 71* HTA and it handles quite nicely thanks to it's option to go as short as 16.9" on the chainstay if I so feel, however I choose to run it with the Monkey Nuts so that's about 17.4" long stays. Now I won't say I wouldn't mind if it had a slacker HTA, definitely prefer my Paradox's 68* HTA and 16.9" stays combined, but 71* isn't a deal breaker depending on all the other parts of the geo.

    To SlowHand, yes they use fork offset to help speed back up the handling of the slacker HTA - fork offset used to be in the 38-44mm range originally, but now most everything is in the 46-51mm range.

    Quote Originally Posted by CannondaleF9 View Post
    There is good reason that the XTC is a poor handling bike, it's an old outdated design, and Giant has abandoned the 29er probably because the XTC was so bad.
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    29er hardtail suggestions for trail/xc riding?

    A buddy of mine is getting ready to dump his xtc. In favor of a new stumpy fsr. I rode it down a short section of our local stuff and it felt like a death trap. Handling was just awful. I was surprised he hasn't died yet riding that pig.


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  81. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffj View Post
    So now, a Giant XTC is a poor handling bike?
    Lmao! Lot's of "experts" in this thread huh? Better tell all those folks still racing those they are riding a death trap.

    Pure comedy...

  82. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by CannondaleF9 View Post
    Objection.
    When you say "most people" you mean people who ride mountain bikes as commuters or dirt road bikes. Or at least that's what I guess.
    I have a Trek Cobia with a 69 degree head angle. I don't ride extreme freeride trails and yet there are times where I wish I had a slacker head angle just so it is more stable handling.
    I can't believe how poor a 71 degree head angle must be on a mountain bike, it's only 1 degree slacker than my road bike!
    I ride/race an Air9 with a 71 degree HTA. I've never felt like the head angle has slowed me down one bit on descents.

    Go ride your bike and stop trying to be an armchair expert. All you do is examine geo numbers and pretend to know what you're talking about

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    News out since last October.
    Giant has ended its sponsorship of the XC World Cup portion of its off-road team riders, men and women.
    For 2015, the team will continue to develop top young talent in the downhill and enduro racing disciplines.

  84. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    News out since last October.
    Giant has ended its sponsorship of the XC World Cup portion of its off-road team riders, men and women.
    For 2015, the team will continue to develop top young talent in the downhill and enduro racing disciplines.
    Then I guess it's a good thing I wasn't trying to get sponsored by Giant. Because I just ordered one of the last remaining 2 2015 Giant XTC Advanced 29er 1 hardtails left in the country! Guess they weren't having any trouble selling them!

    Really looking forward to experiencing what it's like to ride a carbon Hardtail race bike! I have never ridden one! It will be quite a change from my 2011 Hardrock, I have no doubt!

    Stan's tubeless kit being installed before I take delivery.

    I don't anticipate the quick handling being an issue... I live in Nashville now, and, while it is hillier than where I used to live, Memphis, we don't have 2-mile long descents like you guys out west. Plus I'm a dirt bike and sportbike rider, and I appreciate a machine that has some liveliness to it.

    Love that it's got all Shimano SLX & XT, as well as the composite frame & post. I'm already looking into remote lockout switch for the Fox fork, & dropper seat post.

    Assuming this widowmaker doesn't kill me, I'll give a full ride report. Thanks to everybody who contributed! And how about the OP? Did you make a decision? I kinda hijacked your thread...lol

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    Oh you are gonna love the way that carbon frame rides compared to aluminum. It's a night and day difference. The Hardrock frame is relatively heavy so you'll feel that too.

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    This may get some of the standard hate from those who have never owned one but I bought the Motobecane fly ti 29er.
    It is decidedly more XC than the Honzo, Taro Mason etc BUT what you get for your money is unbeatable.
    I am not a racer, live on Vancouver Island and wanted exactly what you wanted and this is what I chose.
    The new frame has shorter stays, is about a degree slacker than most race XC frames and, perhaps most importantly fits fat tires. I just installed a Ikon 2.35" to go along with a Continental MK2 2.4" up front, this combo makes a big improvement in capability.
    I chose the xtr 3x because I need the granny and must ride to the trails. This is nearly the top hardtail and it just comes in your budget. Yes, I had to tweak the fit with a wider bar, short stem etc but that doesn't have to cost much. There are plenty of cheaper options than XTR in which you could take off, sell new what you wish to customize and you would still easily get a far better bike than what the competition can deliver. Plus you have a bike customerized to your spec.
    The Reba is a great fork. Upgradable too. You will most definitely have better components and I much prefer titanium to carbon for rougher trail use. Ti may not be quite as light but you still get a very light frame that can take direct impacts from rocks etc. It's a very smooth ride, especially with fat tires.
    I have, in total spent hundreds over your max budget but I own a XTR, Titanium framed bike with reasonable Chan stay length, a tweaked for trail set up that likely weighs less than 23lbs!
    This bike makes hills far easier yet is really flick able on the trail at that weight.
    The stock wheels are XC. You could sell them new and buy some hope hoops for cheap.
    Is this a bike you just buy and ride? It can be if XC is it but admittedly it requires some customization for trail. However, as I mentioned, this can be done and still be in your budget. Besides any other xc bike you would be making the same changes. The trail bikes may be ready to roll but look at what you would be getting. A much lesser bike in terms of components and frame unless that geometry is really important but by your question, it doesn't sound like a deciding factor.
    I absolutely love my bike. Rides like a dream especially with these big tires. I was weight conscious because I really wanted to keep that incredible handling and besides I am relatively light at 160lbs and trail doesn't mean 4 foot drops.
    There are some negatives, it's near impossible to test ride and they sell out immediately so you usually must wait for the bike annual restocking, oh and I have read that it's not "cool" if brand recognition is a priority (please tell me no.) No matter what bike or bikes one narrows down to I suggest reading as many reviews from actual owners(not industry insiders and ignorant bike snobs) to see how they feel about the bike, the service and warranty should that have been needed. I am confident you will come away impressed with Bikesdirect and their Titanium mountain bikes.

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    Gearing and angles.

    I know 3x is no longer cool but 1x is very limiting. That or you live will little terrain variance and/or are very strong. 2x pretty much kills the entire premise of less gears(weight savings) because now you have to have a front mech and shifter. A 3x is of very little penalty weight wise but what you get is a much more versatile bike. Besides, you can always replace the big ring with a bash guard.
    Ultimately, it's a decision that is up to the individual and their intended purpose for the bike. My perspective is that the benefits far out way the very small weight penalty and I am an admitted weight weenie.

    The bike industry is constantly evolving with certain trends coming and some stay, some go. Back in the 90s, the "aggressive" geometry was, in fact, the steeper BC e geometry of 71 or 72 degrees compared to geometry of California. The steeper angles were for our tighter trails as opposed to the fire road geometry down there.
    Its ounds strange today but this was the media hype of the times, that the more "aggressive" bikes, in fact, had STEEPER geometry. Ironically this has completely flipped with the same PNW bikes now being slacker but not for the tight twisty trails but the extreme drops and DH runs.(the irony is that all those crazy ass "North Shore trails were first done on,you guessed it, steep angled Steel hardtails w/Bomber forks. Something Chromag is bringing back in a modern format)

    What I am getting at is that it depends on what you ride. Right now the whole crazy dh tech sections are all the rage where the slacker angles are better. But as mentioned, realistically, not evveryone is riding this stuff.
    The typical xc geometry still rocks for most of the ride (uphill and twisty single track) unless you shuttle. Let's face it, fast technical dh sections are probably the most exciting and certainly more entertaining to watch than other sections and this is more marketable than someone conquering that climb or meandering through a ribbon of single track. I think this plays a big part in why it's cool to have slack geometry.
    Personally, I want something a bit slacker than all out race because I think trail lends to say 69 degrees but anything less is a compromise totits climbing and single track.
    Bottom line? Geometry is always a compromise. Don't let the industry dictate what suites your riding.
    Oh, and there is much you can do outside of geometry to tweak your steed to your style. For example, my Moto came with a huge 110mm stem, I switched out several times, finally settling on a 60mm. Handle bar? It was 660mm. Again, I went through a couple, gettimng wider and wider until I hit 740mm which fit perfect(BC still has lots of trees to avoid and wider gets you into situations.)
    Those 2 components made a huge improvement in confidence going downhill as it placed my weight back while giving me more control over the larger 29 front wheel(which can be a hand full in a rock garden).
    Tires were also huge improvement and IMO something nearly all bikes will require replacing as each environemnt is different. I know weight is really important on the wheels and tires are the cheapest place to save signifcantly however, its even more important to get the correct traed. I place a ton of thought into tires. I am a believer in large front tires and chose the Conti Racewhatever MK2, its their lightest at about 700g for a 2.4" which is light for that size. More importantly it has the black chilli rubber(which has been awesome in every way) and has large well spaced knobs, specifically along the edge for corners. This has been perfect. Rolls great, relatively light, plenty of grip due to size while shedding dirt due to spaced knobs.
    For the back I have 2, one for the wet and the other for the dry season. The wet I discovered the awesome Beaver, at an incredible 500g its crazy light ye somehow has tons of traction in the wet. Its not a strictly mud tire with ridiculously tall spikes rather a good compound with a simple block designed spaced well. Its just 2" so not large yet it grips somehow and never clogs while making a noticable improvent in climbs and accelerating. The other is the Ikon 2.35". Simply the best dry conditions tire I have used for a rear(and likely front also) tons of volume allow for low pressure and lots on contact in dry sandy sections. I think it weighs maybe 640g which is amazing. it has taller outer edge knobs to bite in corners and its already respected tread pattern that seems to grip surprisingly well for its profile while rolling very fast.
    For wheels, I think bang for the buck its hard to beat the Hope Hoops Stannns wheel sets. I rock the Crest up front because I believe that you can get away with lighter front wheels. It has a decent width considering its so light at 21mm internal which supports the 2.4" Conti just fine.

    I went in to some detail here but I did so to show just how much one can customize their ride for their specific terrain and style. Granted, I am old school from a time when pretty much a mtb was a mtb and not discipline specific but rather we tuned our bikes and I still adhere to this philosopy.
    XC bikes are just that cross country or going through all kinds of trails. No they are as good as the cooler slacker bikes at downhill but the vast majority of time is spent going up or undulating single track. I want to enjoy ALL aspects and those light weight weenie style bikes make hills a lot more fun,they also make sewing through tight single track tons of fun. Is there DH I simple cannot do?Sure, but there is plenty I still can and doing so is extremely rewarding on a hardtail.
    While I really do like these new era "trail" hardtails like the Honzo, Banzai, Trek Stache, Chromag Rootdown, Canfield Bros Yelli and N9 and others, they are asking a lot of cash for them, a LOT. In the case of the Honzo, while appearing to have that awesome geo, what I cannot digest is the insane amount of weight. Its nearly, what, 7lbs Just for the frame. Thats the weight of a full suspension, and for the price you may as well buck up the tad more for bounce.
    In fact all the bikes above cost much more than traditional hardtails. For what?
    I don't know, I like anything new in the industry and the chnging geo is all good but its when the media place it on a pedestal and makers feel they can egt that kind of money, I feel like I am being taken advantage of. It ALL about YOU, what YOU ride, where you ride, what features you like in a bike(weight for me will always be an important feature which has been diminished a lot recently).
    Frankly, I take advantage of the so called "XC" bikes and found one that was ti(my dream bike material) that happened to slightly modernize with a 70 HT angle, shorter 17.1 " CS, tapered HT and BONUS a threaded BB! Oh and a 99year warranty.Being mail order, its best to be a do it yourselfer typre regarding maintenace etc. but the prices are unbeatable. The money saved went to upgrading the finishing kit I typically must do with every bike.
    I am relatively poor. This is essentially my dream bike and my only ,do it all bike
    .I have no fancy pick up to haul my ride to spots and must ride. again played a part in my decision of HT w/3X system. Frankly I am extremely plased. Glad I did my homework. The titanium is really what its hyped to be. The thing looks nearly as new as the first day, weighs just 1600g and despite that I have no issues with beating on her abit rough. Thseat tube is a narrow 27.2 further making a smooth ride. I haven't experianced any unwanted flex.
    I say buy based on what you like riding. The look at the bset frame/fork combo on an entire bike, Wheels may also be on the above list but look at everything else as something that will eventually be upgraded or switched for purpose.
    Last edited by xmessenger; 02-24-2016 at 02:45 PM. Reason: Spelling?

  88. #88
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    Some great points you make, xmessenger.

    I can't wait to see what an XC race bike feels like!

  89. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by slow hand View Post
    I'm already looking into remote lockout switch for the Fox fork.
    Assuming this widowmaker doesn't kill me, I'll give a full ride report. Thanks to everybody who contributed!
    Since you ride dirt and sport bikes you may know the value of a good cartridge fork damper like a Gold Valve setup.
    So call Fox Tech support and get their deal on the FIT damper to upgrade the crappy one that comes stock. Gold oil too.
    Fox FIT 2015 Damper upgrade Vs. New Fork - Worth it?
    We're all going to the same place performance-wise, but you get to choose your own path.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    Since you ride dirt and sport bikes you may know the value of a good cartridge fork damper like a Gold Valve setup.
    So call Fox Tech support and get their deal on the FIT damper to upgrade the crappy one that comes stock. Gold oil too.
    Fox FIT 2015 Damper upgrade Vs. New Fork - Worth it?
    We're all going to the same place performance-wise, but you get to choose your own path.
    Thanks bud... Indeed I am familiar. I have Race Tech suspension on 2 of my YZ-250s.

    I will look into that. This Fox fork is going to be so much better than the bargain-basement SR Suntour I've been on for the past 5 years, I'm going to feel like I died and went to heaven.

    I was trying to determine exactly which fork the new bike will have. It's listed on the Giant XTC site as being a "Fox Evolution Float CTD". Does not specify fork stanchion size... Do you know if it's 32mm? Is it the same Fox CTD 32 fork advertised on the Fox site?

  91. #91
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    The fork you have is 32mm. Pretty much all XC forks will be 32mm. Its not as bad as eb makes it sound. I have an open bath and a Fit fork. The Once you're on the trail...you won't notice it that much. Like you said...it's already a big improvement compared to your Suntour.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RS VR6 View Post
    The fork you have is 32mm. Pretty much all XC forks will be 32mm. Its not as bad as eb makes it sound. I have an open bath and a Fit fork. The Once you're on the trail...you won't notice it that much. Like you said...it's already a big improvement compared to your Suntour.
    So what is an "open bath" fork?

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    I think the Marin Nail Trail is in your price range. Can't comment on specs since I just got the frame but it seems well spec'd on paper.

  94. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by slow hand View Post
    So what is an "open bath" fork?
    Sorry, your fork is open cartridge not open bath.

    Open Cartridge | Bike Technology | FOX

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    Calling Fox will get you the upgrade parts for about $150 or less, a healthy discount. Then you will have a very good fork fully sorted. For 2016 Fox has dropped the Evolution setup. All models get the FIT4.
    It's useful to be familiar with fork maintenance. Fox specifies a relatively low hour amount between oil changes to keep it performing at top level.

  96. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by RS VR6 View Post
    Sorry, your fork is open cartridge not open bath.

    Open Cartridge | Bike Technology | FOX
    Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    Calling Fox will get you the upgrade parts for about $150 or less, a healthy discount. Then you will have a very good fork fully sorted. For 2016 Fox has dropped the Evolution setup. All models get the FIT4.
    It's useful to be familiar with fork maintenance. Fox specifies a relatively low hour amount between oil changes to keep it performing at top level.
    That's good to know. Thanks. I've not messed with any MTB forks, but I service my dirt bike forks.

    Is that offer from Fox something I'd have to do when the fork is new, or can I ride it for 6 months and then do the upgrade?

  97. #97
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    I love my Kona Big Kahuna. 875 miles on her so far.

    It does have a 72 degree head angle, but I love the way it descends, regardless.
    29er hardtail suggestions for trail/xc riding?-img_0340-1-.jpg

  98. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by slow hand View Post
    Thanks.



    That's good to know. Thanks. I've not messed with any MTB forks, but I service my dirt bike forks.

    Is that offer from Fox something I'd have to do when the fork is new, or can I ride it for 6 months and then do the upgrade?
    You never know once they get into a new model year. I'd at least get the parts soon.

  99. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by RS VR6 View Post
    Sorry, your fork is open cartridge not open bath.

    Open Cartridge | Bike Technology | FOX
    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    Calling Fox will get you the upgrade parts for about $150 or less, a healthy discount. Then you will have a very good fork fully sorted. For 2016 Fox has dropped the Evolution setup. All models get the FIT4.
    It's useful to be familiar with fork maintenance. Fox specifies a relatively low hour amount between oil changes to keep it performing at top level.
    Quote Originally Posted by Padre View Post
    I love my Kona Big Kahuna. 875 miles on her so far.

    It does have a 72 degree head angle, but I love the way it descends, regardless.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Sweet, man! What kind of components?

    Would you say it's twitchy on the downhills? That head tube angle is pretty close to the XTC, which is 71.5° on the L & XL frames.

    How about jumping obstacles? Getting the front wheel up for logs, ledges, etc?

  100. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by slow hand View Post
    Then I guess it's a good thing I wasn't trying to get sponsored by Giant. Because I just ordered one of the last remaining 2 2015 Giant XTC Advanced 29er 1 hardtails left in the country! Guess they weren't having any trouble selling them!

    Really looking forward to experiencing what it's like to ride a carbon Hardtail race bike! I have never ridden one! It will be quite a change from my 2011 Hardrock, I have no doubt!

    Stan's tubeless kit being installed before I take delivery.

    I don't anticipate the quick handling being an issue... I live in Nashville now, and, while it is hillier than where I used to live, Memphis, we don't have 2-mile long descents like you guys out west. Plus I'm a dirt bike and sportbike rider, and I appreciate a machine that has some liveliness to it.

    Love that it's got all Shimano SLX & XT, as well as the composite frame & post. I'm already looking into remote lockout switch for the Fox fork, & dropper seat post.

    Assuming this widowmaker doesn't kill me, I'll give a full ride report. Thanks to everybody who contributed! And how about the OP? Did you make a decision? I kinda hijacked your thread...lol
    Congratulations man that is a sweet bike! Give us a full ride review once you have had her out on the trails. Coming from a Hardrock it's a huge step up, I'm sure you're gonna love it.

    You have to be careful with the amount of tech speak on this forum. If you are a relative newbie getting into the sport on flat'ish trails then that bike will be awesome. I ride a hardtail (2013 Scott Scale 970) and I replaced the Suntour fork with a Rockshox Reba and thought it was the greatest thing in the world until I came on here and read eb1888 constantly bleating on about the inferiority of the 2013 Reba Solo air fork (compared to the 2012 Dual air), lack of small bump compliance, upgrade kit required blah, blah, blah. As a relative noob it was a huge upgrade over the old Suntour fork weight and performance wise and is still fantastic for me. With all due respect eb1888 means well but I think trying to get us to upgrade perfectly good equipment when it's brand new is silly. Just ride your bike and figure out over time what changes you want to make (if any) or upgrades as parts wear out.

    On the other hand my Scale has a 69.5° HTA so at least it's got that going for it. LOL

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