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  1. #1
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    29er XC upgrages. And why?

    Hello all. First time post. New to racing in the dirt and I come from a competitive road background. Am a strong rider with a lot of knowledge of road and tri bikes. Just picked up my new whip yesterday and am taking her out for her maiden voyage this afternoon.

    Question: what are the first upgrades I should make to my XC bike and why? I'm going to be racing long distances (XC marathons and the like) and local XC race series. Perhaps stage races as well. The longer the better!

    Thanks for any help.

  2. #2
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    29er XC upgrages. And why?

    First make the bike fit so if you need a new saddle, different length stem, wider or narrower handle bars, etc...

    Next, after the bike fits, I'd upgrade the Wheelset, look into the Chinese carbon rims, and run them tubeless. Then I might look at going 1x10, you can save a lot if weight, and you can pretty much keep the same gear ratios, and clean up the look of your bike.


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  3. #3
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    That is not a distance bike for many experienced racers.
    Steep head tube and stiff no compliance frame. You'll be beat up. Offroad is bumpy.
    You probably went through the same learning curve in your other disciplines.
    Giant has withdrawn from World Cup XC.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    That is not a distance bike for many experienced racers.
    Steep head tube and stiff no compliance frame. You'll be beat up. Offroad is bumpy.
    You probably went through the same learning curve in your other disciplines.
    Giant has withdrawn from World Cup XC.
    Way to piss on the guys parade on the fairly expensive bike he just bought...that bike is good for what he wants it for and many riders race on very similar hard tails and put thousands and thousands of miles on them and love them. Because you like more compliance and tolerate more flex, doesn't mean everyone does.

    As to the question on upgrades, that bike is very nicely set up with quality gear, so I would ride it the way it is and make decisions on upgrades as you gain knowledge. The only immediate change is to convert the tires to run tubeless so you can run lower pressure and have the other advantages. I would personally put wider bars, a shorter stem, and higher volume tires on, but for a first bike you want to ride it some and then decide if you need to make those type of personal choices.

  5. #5
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    29er XC upgrages. And why?

    You don't spend $2500 to get a bike that's not to the task. Or, I didn't. I guess I didn't spend quite that much, but that's beside the point.

    Though it actually doesn't change the approach to dialing it in.

    First, what are you doing for shoes? This can affect the fit and pedal selection, so I don't think you should buy anything else until you're happy.

    On today's ride, just ride and don't mess with anything. Or maybe just the saddle height - try to get a feel for the bike.

    Next, set your fork pressure for about 20 mm of sag and try to dial in your bike fit, suspension setup, and tire pressure.

    I sit slightly more upright on my mountain bike than my road bike, but it's a really similar feeling. My leg extension is pretty much the same, but I suspect my saddle's just a touch further forward. It's hard to make a good generalization about bar position. As a starting point, try about the same drop as to the hoods on your road bike. Since you're not buying anything yet, reach isn't really adjustable. You may find you want a different stem, saddle, or handle bars at this point.

    I like a little wider tire. 2.25" Rocket Rons are my favorite so far. If you're smaller than me (145 lb) you may be happier staying with 2.1s. Don't get ahead of yourself, anyway.

    Will those wheels do tubeless?

    I found a 24/36 granny on a 29er a bit higher than I wanted, so I put lower gearing on my bike recently. That's for the third through sixth hour, so it will depend some on what your cadence is like, how long your workouts and rides are, and whether you're going to stick to XCO and shorter or try some solo endurance racing.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  6. #6
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    Rereading your first post, I should add that the strongest endurance competitors race the same thing, or very close, for endurance and XCO. Different bike selections are for people trying to survive them, which is a bit different from trying to do something I already know I can finish as fast as possible.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    That is not a distance bike for many experienced racers.
    Steep head tube and stiff no compliance frame. You'll be beat up. Offroad is bumpy.
    You probably went through the same learning curve in your other disciplines.
    Giant has withdrawn from World Cup XC.
    I have to agree with the being beat up by this bike. My dad has this bike in the 2013 model, this thing beats the crap out of me when I ride it. It climbs great, but is really uncomfortable after several miles. I would recommend getting some carbon bars, and a compliant carbon seatpost like the niner RDO seatpost to help alleviate the harshness of the frame.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fastblack View Post
    I have to agree with the being beat up by this bike. My dad has this bike in the 2013 model, this thing beats the crap out of me when I ride it. It climbs great, but is really uncomfortable after several miles. I would recommend getting some carbon bars, and a compliant carbon seatpost like the niner RDO seatpost to help alleviate the harshness of the frame.
    That's why your best upgrade is to cut your losses now or just return it as not what you need for your goal.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by 416mtb View Post
    Hello all. First time post. New to racing in the dirt and I come from a competitive road background. Am a strong rider with a lot of knowledge of road and tri bikes. Just picked up my new whip yesterday and am taking her out for her maiden voyage this afternoon.

    Question: what are the first upgrades I should make to my XC bike and why? I'm going to be racing long distances (XC marathons and the like) and local XC race series. Perhaps stage races as well. The longer the better!

    Thanks for any help.
    Congrats on the new ride!

    I'd set the tires up tubeless first...otherwise I don't think I'd get anything to start...with the exception of the contact points for the sake of fit.

  10. #10
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    It appears to be setup with mostly nice components already. Sounds like you're already a disciplined athlete so I doubt you'll be complaining about the discomforts that result from hard riding and training mentioned above by some those apparently "soft" want-a-bees. Bike fit is very important. A bike shop can help help you get that dialed in, but you should also educate yourself on proper body position, pedaling technique, cycling fitness and general bike maintenance. Be prepared to put lots of miles on your bike. The learning experience with cycling for me is just as rewarding as the riding alone. After many miles you'll find if there are any serious fit issues which will stand out in the form of back, neck, knee, wrist pain. That's when you can start adjusting the ride by changing/adjusting bars/grips,saddle and/or stem. As far as major component upgrades, it's hard to beat a good quality, stiff and light (and usually expensive) wheelset. Good luck and have fun.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    That's why your best upgrade is to cut your losses now or just return it as not what you need for your goal.
    Unfortunately I have to agree. It's sad but it is what it is...

  12. #12
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    Nice ride you got there!
    I also do XC and Marathons on my Hardtail (Swedish frame Allebike) and i love it!
    Like some other say, make it fit! After that och might start with the wheels and then buy New and better stuff when the things you got now gets broken.

    This is my Bike for Marathons,
    Hardtail and Lauffork.
    29er XC upgrages. And why?-img_20150103_152910.jpg

  13. #13
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    1st of all, wheels, than handlebars, stem, seatpost, usually the best way to remove weight for less money. Then a good seat and breaks.

    Of course this all depends on the type of components you allready have.

  14. #14
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    Don't listen to eb1888, he'll just try to sell you a Trek Superfly 9.6.
    I am not a fan of Giant whatsoever, but I'm not saying you should return it. The XTC is a great climber and it is fast, also quite lightweight. But the problem is that you want a bike for a marathon, longer races. Those are fine if you are looking for speed on the flats, climbs, and if the trails aren't too rough. You'll certainly get used to its handling characteristics, but it won't be as nice as a full squish bike in the long run.
    Upgrades would be wheels, seatpost, handlebar, stem, saddle, etc.
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  15. #15
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    Nice looking bike. The parts mix pretty solid so I wouldn't necessarily mess with them unless you find a shortfall for your intended use. As others have said and considering the long saddle time you describe I would get a good fitting and adjust saddle/bars/stem accordingly. And possible consider committing MTBR sacrilege by either adding bar ends or getting grips with built in bar ends.

  16. #16
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    It looks like a no nonsense solid build to me. Personally, I'd just upgrade components as they wear out.
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

  17. #17
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    We have a rider in our shop that has the exact same bike and has no problem going 3hrs+ on very technical terrain. In fact "she" prefers it over her FS in the longer days. Everybody is different, it is a very nice frame and ride. The only upgrade I would go for would be the wheels.

  18. #18
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    You bought a good race bike. If you want to upgrade, maybe wait to get some experience on it first. You could review the following upgrades based on your specific preferences.
    - Grips > ESI Chunky are good ones
    - Handle bars > Do you want wider flat or maybe a set with some rise to them
    - Saddle
    - Pedals
    - Tires
    - Wheels

    Bottom line I would not upgrade anything until you get some experience.

  19. #19
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    I'm with OLx6, ride it first and upgrade it once you figure out what you like. Same thing you would do on a road bike.

    First thing I would do that's not necessarily an upgrade but will be nice to have is another set of tires. One set of tires won't cover all the conditions you'll see. There's always a compromise somewhere. The racing ralphs are a nice all-purpose tire which is why they're OE spec on many mtb's but they're not the greatest in really loose terrain and if it's dry hardpack, there are faster tires.

    First actual upgrade would be a suspension tune, either by a suspension guy or figure out how to do it on your own. Or have a suspension guy do it for you and watch what he's doing and learn how everything works. It makes a world of difference. Given, the fox CTD is pretty easy to setup since it has the limited options for tuning.

    Next would be wheels.

    I don't consider items that are intended to give someone a better fit as an upgrade, they should just be expected as part of a bike purchase since a poor fitting bike is just seems like it should be unacceptable for a racer if there's a bike frame that fits them.

    For endurance racing, I prefer a full-suspension because it's more plush and being a roadie I'm not as used to being beat up so much. If the races were during the CX season, I wouldn't have a problem with a hardtail for a long time since I'm accustomed to getting my taint beat up. It's a personal preference thing so don't be put off by some people's comments that you made a poor bike choice. Generally speaking, hardtails favor shorter events and full-suspension favors longer events but I know gobs of people that just use a hardtail for everything because that's what they have. Not necessarily ideal but they still do just fine for long events. The guys doing endurance races on a full-rigid ss, they're freaking nuts...

  20. #20
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    No good $2500 CASH can make MT-Bike dreams come true! Or nightmare beginnings?! YIKES!

    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    That's why your best upgrade is to cut your losses now or just return it as not what you need for your goal.
    STRONG, honest logic...

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    ...[You don't spend $2500 to get a bike that's not to the task. Or, I didn't. I guess I didn't spend quite that much, but that's beside the point.]
    I'm a "pre-owned" proponent, and $25oo CASH-only for "most," buys a "ready to ride right NOW" rig regardless of intended terrain imo. $2500 for "hey what else do I need," eh Titanium? LOL sorry not "true(r)!"

    Quote Originally Posted by Max24 View Post
    Unfortunately I have to agree. It's sad but it is what it is...
    Double logic reinforcement and mine makes 3. Sigh... nice rig, but the price is outrageous for the package. $2500 and unsatisfied is TOUGH!

    May soon you find satisfaction...

  21. #21
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    I didn't buy pre-owned.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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