First here's my background.
This was my first season riding and started with a King Fisher Freeride bike. (had fun throwing myself of stuff). I also took a lot more of liking to XC then I thought I would and decided I want a Hardtail to race my provincial cup (O-cup for you ontarians) and the XC trails (the 40 + pounds is killer on a 40KM XC ride trying to keep up with the XC bikes). My skill level is fairly high (obviously this is relative) but I did 3 laps (18km each) of a 24 hr race last weekend and they where between an 1 hour and 1:05 hours. Last notes I'm 5'10, 155 pounds.
So I've narrowed it down to most likely 3 bikes
Gary Fisher - Big Sur (Which I'm leaning towards, a good race bike a reasonable price point plus the shop treated me well with the King Fisher)
Gary Fisher - X-Cal 29er. (I can't say I'm sold on the 29er concept yet but I rented this bike for the 24 hr race and it went well, only complaint was on one or two tight corners could I feel the size.)
Trek - 8000 (Good bang for your buck, all round bike.)
I also thought about the Hoo Koo E Koo but I don't think the components are up to par.
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