1. Cannondale Scalpel Ultimate with Hollowgram 2x10 crankset Envy Wheels, $10,000. The comes with a lefty fork and with shock the frame weight is 4.18 lbs or 1900 grams (probably the lightest 29er full suspension), claimed shortest chain stay in the market at just under 17.5 but the Tallboy is pretty close to this too. Complaints, bad cable routing design. Excellent looking paint scheme outstanding looking frame design. Suspension is said to be stiff, uphill pedaling efficiency. Comes with Envy XC wheelset and DT 240 hubs. Head tube angle is 71.2 with 100mm lefty fork. Prices can be found around $10,000. Duties include XC, single track and trail duties.
2. Santa Cruz Tallboy XTR Kit 2X10 with Envy wheelset, $9,500. Probably the next shortest chain stay and next lightest frame weight at 5 lbs. Two color schemes to choose and well thought out cable routing that rides say does not take away from bikes lines or paint scheme. Said to be a do it all bike with 120mm fork, climbing, descending, now with 12X142 rear axle, increased stiffness. A company that focus only on mountain bikes and nothing else. Chain stay is 17.5 inches with a head tube angle of 71 (120mm fork gives 70.5). VPP2 suspension patented counter-rotating link design, Allows flexibility to design and manipulate shock rates for a huge diversity of uses, from razor sharp XC performance to bomber tough and ultra plush 10-inch travel downhill duty. Said to do it all very well and balanced from XC, ST, trail duty, and a bit of all mountain.
3. Niner Jet 9 RDO full XTR with Reynolds carbon wheelset $9,000. Pedaling platform is said to be the best here with the patented CVA suspension, it is said to be efficient in every chain ring. You won’t find this design on other bikes. Super stiff with now 12X142 rear axle. Some either love it or hate it, but design and paint scheme is well thought out with cable routing internally. Coming from a company that does only 29ers and mountain bikes only. Chain stay length is 17.91 inches with head tube angle of 70.5 (with a 120mm fork). This bike is said to also be a do it all and do it very well especially with an added 120mm fork, from XC, ST, to trail duties, some have even claim all mountain on this.
4. Specialized Epic with full XX groupset and Roval Carbon wheels, $10,000. Brain technology, some love it or hate it but when its on it is said to give some of the best pedaling platform around especially in steep technical climbs. Servicing the brain is said to be expensive and reliability on it is some good and some bad. Revolutionary SBC technology, manufactured by Fox, automatically sets the proper sag and air pressure in your rear shock. Roval Control SL 29 wheelsets (S-Works model) and Roval Control Carbon 29 wheelset (Marathon model). Chainstay is 17.64 inches, head tube angle is 70.5.
5. Giant Anthem X Advanced full XX with Giant P-XCR Composite 29er 0 Wheel system $9,000. Maestro suspension, said to be one of the best all around technologies. This bike is fast and climbs well. 71.3 degree head tube angle with a chain stay of 18.2. Bike mag.com said “Maestro is the marketing handle for Giant’s short, dual-link suspension design. If I had to describe Maestro, I’d characterize it as a lot like VPP or DW Link, but with a bit less pedaling efficiency and, generally speaking, better small bump compliance under pedaling loads than either of those competing systems. Or to put it simply: smooth but a bit squishier whilst pedaling than some other virtual pivot point-ese bikes.” Frame weight 4.85 lbs for a medium frame so a large is probably around 5lbs. It is said to climb and track impressively well.
6. Trek Superfly pro SL. Complaints have been frame cracks in the carbon but outstanding warranty from Trek takes care of its customers. This one of the mores slacker head tube angles out of the group here with a 100mm fork. Head tube angle is 70 degrees with a chain stay of 17.80 inches. This bike said to handle really well and is very very fast. The Active Braking Pivot does a great job of preventing unwanted pedal bob while hammering up the climb and the geometry of the bike keeps the front end planted down while tracking straight. Frame weight of 5lbs.
Thoughts on these bikes and their duties? Do you use strictly for XC, ST, trail or all mountain rides? These listed are the best of the best.
7. Intense Spider comp 29, full XT with 140mm Fox fork $6,000. Intriguing part is the travel is adjustable from 4.5 to 5inches, VPP suspension, 12x142 axle. CLEAN internal cable routing, looks slick. Head tube is the most slackest from this whole bunch at 68.5 degrees with a 120mm fork or 67.5 with a 140mm fork (incredible) and a chain stay length of 17.5 inches. The bike comes available with a 140mm fork and can fit 120mm fork if so desired. Frame weight is at 5 and 1/2 lbs. IT is a bit heavier than the all ones listed above.
Who is left out of the category?
A new all mountain category will have to be done to compare the new all mountain 29er full suspension Carbon only bikes like the Tallboy LTc 135mm VPP suspension head to head with soon to come Niner Rip 9 RDO carbon 125mm CVA suspension and Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper FSR 130mm travel. Not too many companies getting into this with carbon but I suspect this will change as the other companies see the customers wanting these in carbon based on the sales from SC, Spec, and I’m sure Niner will sell a whole lot.
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