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  1. #1
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    Camber Pro 29 vs. Anthem X 29 vs. HiFi

    Long story short, I owned a Camber 26er and loved it, but broke a few bits and it's now time for a new bike rather than investing more in my low end FS 26er.

    I am seriously considering a short travel FS 29er, and of course my 1st thought was to go with the Specialized. I can't find one locally to test ride. Lots of people love their Anthem X 29ers, so I test rode one and really liked it, but 1) it has a lower parts spec for the money than the Camber (except the RP2 over the Camber's Triad II) and 2, I really don't like the way the cabling seems to be all over the place on the Anthem.

    My regular LBS is a Trek dealer, and could probably get me a Fisher HiFi Pro with better spec at a very good price, but 1) I can't ride it first, and 2) I've read a lot about frames breaking on the Fisher FS bikes.

    Anyone ridden 2 or 3 of these and have any opinions? One place I can't compare them is the stock wheels...anyone know if any of these stock wheels are better?

    If price was equal and you could buy one of these bikes, which would you buy and why?

    http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/....2/7508/44089/

    http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/...cname=Mountain

    http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...nsion/hifipro/

  2. #2
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    As a loyal spesh fan, It breaks my heart to say that I would get the anthem. I have a stumpy 29er fsr and have had 26inch stumpjumpers as well as I still have my roubaix. but if you want a short travel xc bike I think the anthem takes it.

  3. #3
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    Wow, did they all use the same cookie cutter? Amazing how much they look alike! I say Specialized based on looks.

  4. #4
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    One of the main deciding factors for me when I was shopping 29er full suspension rigs (more Trail than XC) was the feel of the 10 speed drivetrains. The SRAM 10 speed setup (X7/X9) had a much more precise feel than the Shimano (SLX/XT) system. Shorter throws on the thumb levers and just a very distinct mechanical feel. That eliminated the Giant and it came down to a Stumpjumper FSR Comp and a Rumblefish. I liked both and it really came down to the better spec on the Specialized.

    In your case the Trek and Specialized are very similarly equipped in almost every aspect. Wheel wise I would give the Trek a slight edge because the Bontrager TLR system is made to UST specs for ease of tubeless. The DT rims on the Specialized also are tubeless ready (and it comes with 2Bliss tires) but are not to UST specs. Hubs are both made by Formula and are cartridge bearing units. The Specialized wheels are likely a bit stronger (but heavier) with a 32 spoke slightly beefier rim as well.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by stinkyto
    As a loyal spesh fan, It breaks my heart to say that I would get the anthem. I have a stumpy 29er fsr and have had 26inch stumpjumpers as well as I still have my roubaix. but if you want a short travel xc bike I think the anthem takes it.
    Why do you think that?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by kustomz
    Wow, did they all use the same cookie cutter? Amazing how much they look alike! I say Specialized based on looks.
    Ha! Yeah, if it were a beauty contest, the Spesh would take the cake!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker72
    One of the main deciding factors for me when I was shopping 29er full suspension rigs (more Trail than XC) was the feel of the 10 speed drivetrains. The SRAM 10 speed setup (X7/X9) had a much more precise feel than the Shimano (SLX/XT) system. Shorter throws on the thumb levers and just a very distinct mechanical feel. That eliminated the Giant and it came down to a Stumpjumper FSR Comp and a Rumblefish. I liked both and it really came down to the better spec on the Specialized.

    In your case the Trek and Specialized are very similarly equipped in almost every aspect. Wheel wise I would give the Trek a slight edge because the Bontrager TLR system is made to UST specs for ease of tubeless. The DT rims on the Specialized also are tubeless ready (and it comes with 2Bliss tires) but are not to UST specs. Hubs are both made by Formula and are cartridge bearing units. The Specialized wheels are likely a bit stronger (but heavier) with a 32 spoke slightly beefier rim as well.
    Thanks. Great point. For me, that may actually lean toward the Spesh because I weigh 200.

  8. #8
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    The new HiFi's have proven durable. Its the 2009's and earlier models that had some issues.
    JRA Cycles
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    I love learning new things in my pajamas.

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    I own both a 2010 Gary Fisher Hifi and a Giant Anthem 29er X3 and feel that they're both good bikes. However the Giant is definitely better than both the Hifi Plus or even the Deluxe as well as the Specialized Camber Pro for the following reasons:

    1. The Anthem X3 comes with a 15mm t/a. Both the Specialized and Gary Fisher do not. As a GF owner it does make me mad that for a little extra money Trek could have equipped their entire Hifi Line with 15mm or 20mm T/A forks yet deliberately chose not to. I ended up buying a Reba Team 29er out of pocket because the steering without the T/A simply sucks. When I'm on the Giant I can follow my friends into tight switchbacks with ease,on the GF I have to work to keep up in the twisties. I think this is huge drawback,especially if you ride with other people on 26 inch bikes.

    2. The entire Anthem X 29er line comes with boost valve as a standard feature. To be honest this feature isn't as important as the 15mm T/A. However if you're going to catch air boost valve is invaluable. After catching sight of a rider that had wiped out on the rock garden ahead of me I took a three foot drop on the Anthem X 29er,and felt absolutely nothing. The Gary Fisher has an excellent suspension too I was riding with another friend on a 5" inch FS 26er bike when we approached a steep descent he told me his friend had wiped out on this very incline. At first I hesitated and then hit it at full speed,I felt like I was riding in the parking lot at the bike store. By comparison my friend on his hardtail 29er was literally hanging on for dear life. However if you're going to do something crazy I think the boost valve and Maestro suspension system give the Anthem X 29er the edge.

    As far the brakes on both bikes are concerned:the stock brakes suck. Both the Anthem X 29er and Hifi are capable of gonig alot faster than the brakes will allow.

    Just get the Anthem X,if you buy the Hifi or Specialized you will probably be angry that you don't have a T/A and you might regret not having boost valve,depending on how and where you ride.

    Also one more note the Specialized doesn't appear to have a tapered headtube, a big no no on expensive full suspension bikes in my book.

  10. #10
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    I love my Anthem X. Granted, I got the X1 and got a great deal on it, but its a great bike. Didn't look at the Specialized when I was shopping, but I did consider the HiFi for a while and decided that I liked the suspension design and geometry better on the Anthem. YMMV

  11. #11
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    Great points Mefistofeles! Thank you. I hear so many people say "the Anthem is best because it has Maestro, but you really layed out some good tangible points. That just about seals the deal.

    Any opinion on the wheels between the bikes?

    And what about those super long chain stays?

  12. #12
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    I had 6 alloy nipples fail on Bontrager wheels during a single event. pop pop pop poppity pop. I question the intelligence behind putting 'lightweight' components like that on an already "portly" 1900+ gram wheel set.
    The wheels were 8 mos. old @ failure. I am no metallurgist but they appeared to be corroded? I am not sure what happens to aluminum but it had some white powdery looking substance on the surface of it and was pitted. I thought I cleaned the bike regularly enough. maybe not.
    I haven't noticed many others mention any concerned about the longevity, durability, "softness" of aluminum as a nipple, so it probably is me... don't really know what I would have done different than anyone else. Could be fireball, could be bike lust... who knows.
    Once replaced with either brass or SS (can't remember), the wheels were solid. Nearly half of the nipples busted in half as they were being unscrewed from the rim. The appropriate sized park tool spoke wrench was used...
    The bonty "race" wheels in question were from 2008.
    The "race lites" that came on the HiFi Pro I just purchased were sold before they were even put on the bike in favor of some el cheapo Sun Ringle Disc-o-flea wheels that i bought from a guy on here.
    They were nearly new, lighter, pretty cheap and seemed to be constructed of far better materials.

    YMBD

  13. #13
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    ive been thinking about an epic 29er...
    i dont race anymore.
    leaning towards the camber.
    watching this thread........
    "my cat's breath smells like catfood."
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwrides
    Great points Mefistofeles! Thank you. I hear so many people say "the Anthem is best because it has Maestro, but you really layed out some good tangible points. That just about seals the deal.

    Any opinion on the wheels between the bikes?

    And what about those super long chain stays?
    That is a good point on the Giant front end...I was looking at the Stumpy FSR which has a tapered headtube and 20mm fork so it was a non-factor in my decision. But I can see that being an advantage for the Giant in your case. Although the 24mm end caps and RWS skewer on the Specialized will still be fairly stiff for a QR.

    The Giant wheels look stout (if not a bit heavy) with 32h 2.0 spokes and the Shimano M529 "29er" specific rear freehub. You will likely need to service the bearings more often if you ride in wet conditions than with cartridge bearing but that is a pretty easy job.

    As far as the Chainstays, I do like the shorter stays on my Specialized. They're even shorter than the hardtail I had previously (17.6" vs 17.9") and I can feel the difference in how much easier it is to get the front end up to clear root and log crossings and drops. At 18.2" on the Giant, you might want to test ride and do some curb drops and see what its like to lift the front end up.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by mefistofeles
    As far the brakes on both bikes are concerned:the stock brakes suck. Both the Anthem X 29er and Hifi are capable of gonig alot faster than the brakes will allow.
    .
    Elixir Cr on the AX1 29er are very good. Since the wheelset is reasonably light I have actually gone down to a 160 disc in the front, like a few others I know.
    Last edited by gvs_nz; 04-22-2011 at 02:30 AM.

  16. #16
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    As far as chainstay length my Ax29er isn't as flickable as my Scale 29er but it has stability in spades and carves briliantly making it a good trail bike. I find the stem length and height as much or more influence on how well you can loft the front wheel. The way the Ax carves it lends itself to a short high stem with wide bars for most fun.

    It does look fragile for trail bashing at 200 lbs though but they do have lifetime warranty.

  17. #17
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    Thanks for the thoughts on the wheels, brakes and stays everyone. I'm definitely going to go ride again and test wheelies.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwrides
    Thanks for the thoughts on the wheels, brakes and stays everyone. I'm definitely going to go ride again and test wheelies.

    have no fear with the Giant's wheelset. i'm about 230 in full costume and do plenty of 2-4' drops and jumps and the things are still true. no problems whatsoever.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker72
    The Giant wheels look stout (if not a bit heavy) with 32h 2.0 spokes and the Shimano M529 "29er" specific rear freehub. You will likely need to service the bearings more often if you ride in wet conditions than with cartridge bearing but that is a pretty easy job.
    I have been riding an Anthem X 29er 2 for a couple weeks. We compared the wheel weight to the wheels I have been riding for the past nine months (DT Swiss 240s hubs and double butted spokes, and Stans Flow rims with a 2.2" Specialized Captain Control rear and a 2.2" Specialized Purgatory Control tubeless with sealant) to the stock wheels on the Anthem X29er 2 and they were virtually identical in weight. To be fair, the Giant has smaller tires, and I have been known to run a generous amount of sealant in my tubeless setups, but the stock wheels shouldn't necessarily be a deal killer based on weight alone.

    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker72
    As far as the Chainstays, I do like the shorter stays on my Specialized. They're even shorter than the hardtail I had previously (17.6" vs 17.9") and I can feel the difference in how much easier it is to get the front end up to clear root and log crossings and drops. At 18.2" on the Giant, you might want to test ride and do some curb drops and see what its like to lift the front end up.
    A real test ride is definitely recommended. All bikes have their pros and cons, give and take. Best to see how those things affect you and your riding style/terrain. So far, I really like riding this bike on several different trails I have taken it to. Certainly one of the most versatile bikes I've swung a leg over to date.

    Quote Originally Posted by kwrides
    Thanks. Great point. For me, that may actually lean toward the Spesh because I weigh 200.
    I weigh 260lb before donning a t-back thong (sorry for that visual). I haven't found the Giant frame/suspension to have any issues with my hulking girth, so I think the Anthem X 29er I have been flogging would giggle when you step aboard at 200lb.

  20. #20
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    Great thread here, as I'm in the same boat, thinking about the Anthem X1. Good points made by a few. Thought about the Rumblefish, but the Anthem X is a bit lighter.

    Since I've been rocking a Reign I think I'd find the suspension to my personal liking.

    However I do like that the RF has a 70 degree HA. Can these Anthems run a Cane Creek adjustable HS?
    It wasn't me

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Howeler
    Since I've been rocking a Reign I think I'd find the suspension to my personal liking.
    Ride one if you can for comparison. I've got a Marin Wolf Ridge which has 67 degree head angle and my AX1 29er is more stable in corners and carves as well, or better.

    Depending on what you want from the AX you could also mod your Reign in to a 69er like I've done with my 09 trance
    An old Reign has angles are pretty good for a F29 120 69er conversion.
    69er Riders: Share Your Experiences Please
    Last edited by gvs_nz; 04-23-2011 at 02:29 AM.

  22. #22
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    Well, I went and test rode the AX1 again today, thinking about all the things people recommended. Great bike and I loved it. Size L was about 27 pounds. IMO, it needs a swept handlebar.

    I also threw a leg over a Santa Cruz Tallboy. It was the $4,600 SPXXC build. WOW! What a bike. Super light. It wheelies easily. But wayyy out of my price range. I rode it because I knew there was a cheaper package, the RXC at $3,600. I liked the bike so much I was ready to buy it, even with the lower level components and Monarch and Reba...but started looking closely at the website and realized that the Reba is not a thruaxle fork. I think that's a dealbreaker for me, just like an earlier poster said about the Fisher HiFi.

    I'm going to call the shop and see if I can buy the RXC package and upgrade to the Fox fork for $100 or so, but if not, I'm probably going to go with the AX1.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwrides
    Well, I went and test rode the AX1 again today, thinking about all the things people recommended. Great bike and I loved it. Size L was about 27 pounds. IMO, it needs a swept handlebar.

    I also threw a leg over a Santa Cruz Tallboy. It was the $4,600 SPXXC build. WOW! What a bike. Super light. It wheelies easily. But wayyy out of my price range. I rode it because I knew there was a cheaper package, the RXC at $3,600. I liked the bike so much I was ready to buy it, even with the lower level components and Monarch and Reba...but started looking closely at the website and realized that the Reba is not a thruaxle fork. I think that's a dealbreaker for me, just like an earlier poster said about the Fisher HiFi.

    I'm going to call the shop and see if I can buy the RXC package and upgrade to the Fox fork for $100 or so, but if not, I'm probably going to go with the AX1.
    I would look again..... It's a 20mm thru axle

    WTB 20mm Super Duty Front hub

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by HOLLYWOOD33
    I would look again..... It's a 20mm thru axle
    Am I looking at the wrong fork? Is this not it?

    http://www.speedgoat.com/Catalog.aspx/Browse?Prod=21487

  25. #25
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    Considering the same bikes for my wife. The Anthem is the top pick. The local Giant shop is willing to knock off 10%, and the Spec shop isn't, so prices are identical. The Giant is...

    over a pound lighter
    has a tapered head tube vs 1 1/8
    has better shocks front and rear
    has a 15mm TA vs QR
    is running 10-speed vs 9
    has a 36T cassette vs 34
    has a press-fit BB, vs. octalink

    They both ride great, but the Giant pedals better.

    Seems like a no-brainer.

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