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  1. #1
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    Looking for a XC Race Bike That Also Likes to Have Fun

    Over the past two years, my riding style and racing preferences have changed such that I am looking for a new full suspension 29er to compliment my race hardtail.

    My concern is getting another full suspension that leans too far on the riding spectrum. For example, I had a Spearfish for a year. It was great for smoother xc trails, but when things got rough, it opted out. The geometry was not suited to that. Shortly thereafter, I bought a Rumblefish. It made me lazy. I'd spin in the small ring going up and just bash through everything going down. It was fun when things got rough, but didnt like to climb.

    Now this leaves me wondering if there is a bike that is capable of doing most things equally.

    I have gathered that the Jet 9 RDO might be the bike I'm looking for, but considering costs, that is probably out of my reach.

    Im in search of an alloy (maybe carbon) 29er frame that wants to be built up with I9s and XT stuff. It feels comfortable in lycra, but will sometimes put on the baggies and Camelbak.

    Any ideas?

  2. #2
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    Have you ever demo'd a SC Tallboy carbon? If the Rumblefish seemed like too much travel at 120mm, the TB with a 100mm fork might be a good fit.
    "Got everything you need?"

  3. #3
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    Camber Comp has 110 mm of travel (10 mm more than most XC bikes). I had the Carbon model for a while. Here is my review. 2013 Specialized Camber Comp Carbon 29er Review - YouTube

  4. #4
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    Jet9 alloy
    Anthem 29

    You can get lightly used complete bikes for less than a clearance Jet9 carbon frame. Either way, do yourself a favor and stop buying single pivots.

  5. #5
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    sounds to me like, you'd like a 100mm race bike, with a 120 fork.

    Tallboy, Jet 9, Anthem ... Devinci Atlas is very intriguing atm.

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    SC Highball with 170mm crank arms. its an awesome bike

  7. #7
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    Rocky Mountain Element ftw! The Element is a much better race platform than the Tallboy and just as good as a trail bike. Having sold my Tallboy to get the Element I know of which I speak and although my Tallboy was a excellent trail bike that I loved for that type of riding it left me a little wanting as a race bike. After demoing a Element I found it to be a platform that had all the things I liked about my Tallboy without the shortcomings.
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  8. #8
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    Looking for a XC Race Bike That Also Likes to Have Fun

    My vote is for the Anthem mainly because I just got one because I was looking for the same exact criteria that to mentioned. Race worthy but not so finicky that it doesn't like to have fun. I like your Lycra-baggy analogy, I feel this bike fits that perfectly.

    Sure it's their full suspension XC bike, but it's more than that:
    http://youtu.be/FXhR9j1Hjo8

  9. #9
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    Looking for a XC Race Bike That Also Likes to Have Fun

    That said I was heavily considering the Element too, but there's nobody here that sells them so I would have had to buy it blind without riding one...

  10. #10
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    I'm using an Anthem for that exact purpose. It's plush, seems to have more travel than it has, efficient, playful and it's near impossible to find an aluminium FS frame that weighs less.

    I run mine with a fork that can be set to 100 and 120mm. At 100, it's an XC marathon bike that likes to be thrown into corners. At 120, it handles a lot bigger terrain with relative ease.

    You might want to consider looking for a fork of which you can change the travel. This would make any bike a bit more versatile.

  11. #11
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    Find a way to buy the Jet9 Carbon, It will be as fast or faster than your HT as a race bike & is a very fast & capable Trail bike as well.
    Last edited by muzzanic; 05-03-2013 at 02:38 AM.
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  12. #12
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    just throwing it out there. How about the orbea occam? looks interesting. 100- 120 fork up front. short stays (17.5 i believe). i saw this video recently and had me thinking...especially since the orbea dealer is just down the street. Orbea OCCAM 29er Review - YouTube

  13. #13
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    I was quite impressed with Intense Spider 29 Comp - new, plastic frame. Did not like the aluminum model, but not because of material, but it felt a bit twitchy. They slackened out this, and it felt just right, very stable, but still climbs without wondering around..

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by d365 View Post
    sounds to me like, you'd like a 100mm race bike, with a 120 fork.

    Tallboy, Jet 9, Anthem ... Devinci Atlas is very intriguing atm.
    I'd add the Specialized Epic to this list. With the brain shock you can set it up closer to a hardtail or make make it more plush as you want it. I bought mine back in 2010 when you could still get the aluminum frame only and build it up the way you wanted it.

  15. #15
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    Awesome information thus far.

    Giant Anthem is something I will check out. Ive been pining over a Rocky Mtn Element, as well.

    Ive never ridden the Jet 9, but I have demoed the Rip 9. Ive heard the Jet9 suspension platform is firmer. True?

  16. #16
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    trek superfly 100 al elite or pro. I have the al pro with full xt. Maybe a giant anthem advanced 29er would be good. Saddle time
    WHEN IN DOUBT?!?! PEDAL OUT!

  17. #17
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    Element.
    Pedal through it!

  18. #18
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    Even though the Cannondale Scalpel 29er is coined mostly as a race bike, it is all day ride comfortable and has 100mm F/R, especially the alloy 3 version that I have with a set of low rise bars on it and a lightweight set of wheels...Bike climbs incredibly well and can handle the rocky stuff as well as the downs (within reason)...

    Also a +1 on the Anthem, that is definitely a do it all bike...
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  19. #19
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    Re: Looking for a XC Race Bike That Also Likes to Have Fun

    I ride a stock Anthem 29er and love it...it's handled everything I've thrown at it so far. The Maestro suspension link is an excellent pedaling platform.

    Might want to consider the Giant Trance 29er as well...might be more bike than you're looking for, but I haven't heard many complaints about them and they certainly are a capable bike.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vittetoe761 View Post
    I ride a stock Anthem 29er and love it...it's handled everything I've thrown at it so far. The Maestro suspension link is an excellent pedaling platform.

    Might want to consider the Giant Trance 29er as well...might be more bike than you're looking for, but I haven't heard many complaints about them and they certainly are a capable bike.
    I have a trance x 29er 1 and it is a great all around bike! I have won the first two races of the New Mexico series on it this year. Just bought a superfly yesterday because for the price and the bike and what came with it could not beat the price. If I didn't have to move up in class and I would have finished the series on the trance, and my boss (wife) said I could not keep three bikes Best all around bike I have rode in along time.
    WHEN IN DOUBT?!?! PEDAL OUT!

  21. #21
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    I am in the same boat in terms of riding style. I want a race ready bike that I can still have fun on. I went with a Pivot 429C. I did think long and hard about the Jet9 RDO. I think either would be great for what you want.

    All of that being said, I think you are asking a lot of one bike. Be sure to really get out and ride whatever you get prior to pulling the trigger.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jnthomps08 View Post
    Awesome information thus far.

    Giant Anthem is something I will check out. Ive been pining over a Rocky Mtn Element, as well.

    Ive never ridden the Jet 9, but I have demoed the Rip 9. Ive heard the Jet9 suspension platform is firmer. True?
    Hi

    Yes the pedal platform on the Jet9 carbon bikes is so much better than the 2012 Rip9.

    So much so that I had a friend build a 2012 Rip9 with XX1 group & Carbon wheels & then rode my Jet9 RDO & was so much faster that he gave the Rip9 to his wife & is riding my Jet9 RDO while waiting to build a new bike for himself.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shmack View Post

    All of that being said, I think you are asking a lot of one bike. Be sure to really get out and ride whatever you get prior to pulling the trigger.
    Not at all, The Jet9 Carbon's are light enough & pedal & handle well enough to make it a super fast race bike.

    On the other hand I'm faster through all our ruffer tracks on my Je9 RDO than I was on my Rip9 .

    I don't care about Racing because 25 years of car racing & rallying has me all raced out, However I like to ride with people that are much fitter & stronger than me & The Jet9 RDO has been a very good bike to stay with them on the up's & nail them on the downs.
    I have a 6 Berth Motorhome that I rent out . It is based in Tauranga, New Zealand

  24. #24
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    i've got my ellsworth evolution frame up for sale if ur an XL... might wanna take a look at it.
    2013 Ibis Mojo HD Special Blend with dropper post, hope/stans wheelset and hope x2/m4 brakes

  25. #25
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    I def. think you should try a Tallboy carbon. Its light, quick .corners great and decends very good for a 4" travel xc type bike.

  26. #26
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    I recommend demoing all that you can, I have tried most higher end frames and the jet9 rdo was both capable and fun. The j9 rdo is the standout so far and it will probably come down to a choice between the j9 rdo and Czar.

  27. #27
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    you might want to give the bmc fourstroke fs01 a try. it's extremely fast and nimble, more so than the jet 9 RDO, which just felt "BIG" to me.

  28. #28
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    Re: Looking for a XC Race Bike That Also Likes to Have Fun

    The Anthems come with dropper post cable routing. That tells me that Giant feels this bike is so much more than just an XC bike. It has also won several pro enduro races. I'm not aware of another XC bike that can claim that.
    I'm a mountain bike guide in southwest Utah

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    The Anthems come with dropper post cable routing. That tells me that Giant feels this bike is so much more than just an XC bike. It has also won several pro enduro races. I'm not aware of another XC bike that can claim that.

    Thats a good point. Thats why I'm thinking the Anthem might be my jam.

  30. #30
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    if you race tight trails there are better bikes than the anthem. the steering on the anthem is...servicable...not inspiring. steering is dullish. otherwise top bike

  31. #31
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    I would say a Pivot Mach 429 Carbon. If you have not ridden one yet then you need to check it out before pulling the trigger. The Pivot 429 is one of the best bikes I have ever had the pleasure of swinging a leg over and I demoed a lot of bikes both 29" and 26" before I finally stumbled upon the 429 and bought it on the spot after the test ride. I rode the carbon version when the demo trailer came to town and it was glorious. I ride a 2011 Aluminum Pivot 429 and it keeps up with the hardtail XC guys when I ride local trails. I have also taken the 429 to Steamboat and Vail, CO and put it through its paces on some blue downhill trails and it did not miss a beat. The bike just straight climbs when you put down power. The back-end keeps traction and the front stays down. It is speced with a 120mm front fork and a 100mm rear shock.

    Also I love the bike for how it handles tight single track. I can make slow sharp turns without feeling like the bike is about to fold in and fall over and I can also whip the bike between tight trees without issue. Every other 29er I tested felt like I was trying to steer a semi truck when it came to maneuvering through tight sections of trees.

  32. #32
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    How about the new Turner Czar. It is as fast as my Epic was, and smoother than my Camber was.

    How the heck can that even happen?! But it's true. Maybe there's something to that DW Link stuff after all.

    And boy, is it ever laterally stiff. Loves the whip, but is happier in chunk than any 100 mm bike has a right to be. I like the combination of slightly short chainstays and slightly relaxed head tube angle. Feeling just right, so far.
    Whining is not a strategy.

  33. #33
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    nobody a fan of the Talas forks? I think they add a lot of flexibility - short travel for racing, long travel for playing in the chunk.

    me and my crew have a lot of experience with TBc and Mach 429 both alu and c. Both are great racers and we had a great time riding them on the Whole Enchilada. I wouldn't get too giddy with jumping them, but other than that they can handle the chunk.
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  34. #34
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    Jet 9 RDO with a 120 fork is exactly what you want. You can put on beefy tires for the fun days and race tires for race day. Unless the terrain is really tech you can ride this very fast up and down most any XC trail.

    Notable mentions but not as stiff laterally
    Anthem X with 120 fork
    Tallboy C with 120 fork

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtyjack View Post
    nobody a fan of the Talas forks? I think they add a lot of flexibility - short travel for racing, long travel for playing in the chunk.
    If Fox ever figured out that what we really want is a 100/120 Talas, they would sell a bunch of them. I would order one tomorrow.

    But 90 is too dang short for anything but wall climbing.
    Whining is not a strategy.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by kosmo View Post
    How about the new Turner Czar. It is as fast as my Epic was, and smoother than my Camber was.

    How the heck can that even happen?! But it's true. Maybe there's something to that DW Link stuff after all.

    And boy, is it ever laterally stiff. Loves the whip, but is happier in chunk than any 100 mm bike has a right to be. I like the combination of slightly short chainstays and slightly relaxed head tube angle. Feeling just right, so far.
    Looks like a sweet bike but man it is going to be some coin. Has Turner let the cost out of the bag yet? Great company!

  37. #37
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    I've owned an Al Mach 429 and an Epic Expert Carbon and they're both great bikes, but after getting in a few hours in on the Czar, I have to say that it will be a great trail bike that will not hold you back on an XC course. The Pivot pedaled really well and is does not flex, but gives up a fair bit in the weight department compared to the carbon frames. The Epic is light and is great on smooth surfaces, but the Brain becomes a distraction on rougher terrain. The Czar combines the best traits of both frames, along with some refinements in the geometry that allows it to be comfortable on rougher trails and responsive on the race course.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jnthomps08 View Post
    Thats a good point. Thats why I'm thinking the Anthem might be my jam.
    the BMC fourstroke also comes w/ internal cable routing for running a stealth dropper post....

    It's also one of the light XC FS frames on the market, has some of the shortest chain stays on an XC bike, making it extremely nimble and versatile.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by kosmo View Post
    If Fox ever figured out that what we really want is a 100/120 Talas, they would sell a bunch of them. I would order one tomorrow.

    But 90 is too dang short for anything but wall climbing.
    Yes but if they did that they would make it in a colour that almost no one wants.

    Brown would be a good place to start.
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  40. #40
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    Another vote for the Specialized Camber. I demo'ed the most expensive 2012 carbon version,dropper post included. Came out impressed. Felt like I've been riding it for years. I'm no racer by any means, but I do 40km xc rides that include rocky technical singletrack on the downs.

    This bike is a more than xc, but far from AM. I also forgot that I was on a 29er, I just rode and had fun. Suspension was the sweetest point, I normally ride a stiff trail hardtail and don't feel at home with long rear travel, I feel disconnected from the terrain. The camber softened the hits, but felt very responsive under my feet. Not descending or climbing biased, pretty neutral geometry. High speed cornering was very confidence inspiring and a lot of fun. Cockpit was spot on for me, I really liked the shape and feel of the 72cm flat(ish) bar.

    For my style of riding a good one bike solution. If I was a trail rider/part time racer and could afford it I'd seriously consider it.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by kosmo View Post
    If Fox ever figured out that what we really want is a 100/120 Talas, they would sell a bunch of them. I would order one tomorrow.

    But 90 is too dang short for anything but wall climbing.
    I understand your view, but some people find them useful. I too would love a 100/120
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  42. #42
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    Any opinions on a Scott Spark? Worth checking out?

  43. #43
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    Anthem 29er

  44. #44
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    Still after this unicorn. I bought a Santa Cruz Highball this summer. I am set on racing that bike, so maybe this next bike can be a bit burlier?

    Taking a hard look at the Yeti SB66 right now. Most of my friends say 100mm isnt enough for Pisgah Natl Forest.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jnthomps08 View Post
    Still after this unicorn. I bought a Santa Cruz Highball this summer. I am set on racing that bike, so maybe this next bike can be a bit burlier?

    Taking a hard look at the Yeti SB66 right now. Most of my friends say 100mm isnt enough for Pisgah Natl Forest.
    As mentioned before, I'd look at the 2014 Devinci Carbon Atlas, 110/120mm with nice 16.8 inch chainstays lifetime warranty on the frame.
    With the adjustable frame geo you can set it with a steeper HA for race days and slacken it up for play days.
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  46. #46
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    I think you would be very happy with a Jet9 carbon.

    Cheaper than the RDO & for almost the same bike.

    It is a very very good climber & with the right fork it is dame quick as well.

    My Jet9 RDO was good enough to soak up the ruff & fast enough to not dull down the easy trails.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jnthomps08 View Post
    Over the past two years, my riding style and racing preferences have changed such that I am looking for a new full suspension 29er to compliment my race hardtail.

    My concern is getting another full suspension that leans too far on the riding spectrum. For example, I had a Spearfish for a year. It was great for smoother xc trails, but when things got rough, it opted out. The geometry was not suited to that. Shortly thereafter, I bought a Rumblefish. It made me lazy. I'd spin in the small ring going up and just bash through everything going down. It was fun when things got rough, but didnt like to climb.

    Now this leaves me wondering if there is a bike that is capable of doing most things equally.

    I have gathered that the Jet 9 RDO might be the bike I'm looking for, but considering costs, that is probably out of my reach.

    Im in search of an alloy (maybe carbon) 29er frame that wants to be built up with I9s and XT stuff. It feels comfortable in lycra, but will sometimes put on the baggies and Camelbak.

    Any ideas?
    I have a 6 Berth Motorhome that I rent out . It is based in Tauranga, New Zealand

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