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  1. #1
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    torn between two bikes.

    ok heres the deal, i consider myself a mountain biker first before a racer,
    but i think the time has come to go ahead and get proper xc racing equipment.

    i just finished my first offroad triathlon and did fairly well, finishing right smack in the middle at 26 out 53 finishers. damn right i'm proud of that haha.

    now that, i enlisted for another event next year and i'm about to start prepping, i found another excuse to get another bike, this time a more focused full suspension xc bike.

    by the way, just to complete the picture, for the race i had a choice from my quiver, a 26 ellsworth epiphany and a lynskey pro 26. i went with the epi, thinking the plush was gonna be better for keeping my body fresher for the trail run, as against an effcient climbing hardtail.
    ( gonna sound defensive here, i know the bikes i chose from would make some of you snicker, but what the hell, i like purrtty bikes, haha)

    anyways, after that experience and some advice from some friends and i've narrowed my choices down to 2 bikes,

    the ellsworth absolute truth and the s-works epic spesh.

    if i had my way. i'd go for a 26 specialized carbon epic off the bat, no questions asked.
    but since they don't make them anymore, i'm in a quandary. i've never known any other size but 26.

    the only reason i don't automatically choose the specialized is because
    its a 29er and, at 5 foot 6, i'm not exactly the tallest and i'm afraid of looking goofy on a bike with such big wheels. i know though that im sold on the brain.

    the absolute truth though looks bonkers and at 27.5 isn't a stretch from my usual 26. and although i know its a competent bike, i'm not sure its up in the same league as the epic when it comes to performance. ict is alright, plush as hell, but there is still a lot of the bob on the climbs i hate so much.

    there you have it folks, my quandary right there, might sound funny to some, but its gotten me thinking and i would appreciate your thoughts on this=)

    thanks guys!

  2. #2
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    What size Epic would you ride? I have a friend who has a 2012 S-works 26er that has XX1 on it. He's looking to sell it this winter. I could pass along your info to him. I believe it's a medium.

  3. #3
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    @briscoelab -- thanks for the reply,i would like to get my hands on a brand new size small carbon epic, an xx1 option would be great.any leads would be greatly appreciated!

  4. #4
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    His is a medium. So that might not work. How tall are you? Also, it's been used a season... but is in very good shape.

  5. #5
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    @briscoelab -- im 5'6" with a 30 inch inseam so a small might be best. been hunting around for brand new old stock thats unsold and maybe collecting dust in some bike shops backroom.

  6. #6
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    The specialized brain sounds wonderful but I've yet to meet anyone that says it really works for them as designed. I think it works great for pros who have a mechanic to constantly tweak and tune it but it isn't reliable enough for average joes. Its been a while since I've known anyone buy a 26" bike for racing, even shorter guys are all riding 29ers these days with a few on 27.5. I would go for at least a 27.5.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Boz View Post
    The specialized brain sounds wonderful but I've yet to meet anyone that says it really works for them as designed. I think it works great for pros who have a mechanic to constantly tweak and tune it but it isn't reliable enough for average joes. Its been a while since I've known anyone buy a 26" bike for racing, even shorter guys are all riding 29ers these days with a few on 27.5. I would go for at least a 27.5.
    The Four-bar linkage/Horst Link/FSR rear end on all Specialized bikes desperately needs some kind of platform. The brain is pretty much necessary on their bikes to be efficient. Lots of people really like Epics, don't get me wrong, but my opinion is that the 4-bar, while being a linkage design that really changed peoples' thinking, is very dated. It used to be licensed all over, but companies like Pivot, Turner who used to base everything on the 4-bar have tended to go towards smarter linkage designs that operate very well with little or no platform.

    To me, at your size and what you want out of a bike, the Giant Anthem in 27.5 would be worth a look. I ran mine (29") fully open all year. It has a Fox CTD shock. I ran the thing in descend all the time. Gravel grinders, climbing, everything. With Maestro I could play around with the CTD switch and it was difficult or impossible to notice any difference, so I just pushed it all the way over to the left and there it stays.

    You might be well served looking at more modern stuff rather than trying to find a New Old Stock bike that, IMO is based on the technology of the past.

    Just my $.02.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    The Four-bar linkage/Horst Link/FSR rear end on all Specialized bikes desperately needs some kind of platform. The brain is pretty much necessary on their bikes to be efficient. Lots of people really like Epics, don't get me wrong, but my opinion is that the 4-bar, while being a linkage design that really changed peoples' thinking, is very dated. It used to be licensed all over, but companies like Pivot, Turner who used to base everything on the 4-bar have tended to go towards smarter linkage designs that operate very well with little or no platform.

    To me, at your size and what you want out of a bike, the Giant Anthem in 27.5 would be worth a look. I ran mine (29") fully open all year. It has a Fox CTD shock. I ran the thing in descend all the time. Gravel grinders, climbing, everything. With Maestro I could play around with the CTD switch and it was difficult or impossible to notice any difference, so I just pushed it all the way over to the left and there it stays.

    You might be well served looking at more modern stuff rather than trying to find a New Old Stock bike that, IMO is based on the technology of the past.

    Just my $.02.
    +1

    The Giant Maestro suspension is light years better than the Specialized system. I wish I were shorter so I could rationalize getting a 27.5" Anthem but at 6'3.5" the 29er is my size. We have 4 Giant Anthems in our family now. 3 29" and a 26". I just got my oldest daughter an XTC 27.5" size M. She is 5'5 but with long arms and legs. She could probably ride a small but the med. gives her some room to grow. My other daughter is 5'4" with more normal proportions and the Medium would definitely be too big for her. Everybody I know who has tried the Giant 27.5" bikes loves them.

  9. #9
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    I've ridden and raced an epic the last 4 years and don't every see going to anything else again. The Brain is awesome once you understand how it works and how to use it. It is also important to keep the brain serviced once a year through specialized to keep it running like new.

    My wife is 5'4" and rides a small epic 29er and it fits her fine and she is fast on it. If you really want a 26" they can be had rather cheap since 29 has taken over. It only took me a few rides on a 29er to see how much faster it was on a 10mile course. I'm 5'8" and dropped 4 minutes going from a 26" Sworks stumpy FSR to an Epic 29er.

  10. #10
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    -1 for the Brain being that extra 'thing' that normally isn't there and has hosing that runs to it that needs serviced or can be a problem point.

  11. #11
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    Add another vote to look at some other brands then Specialized. And another vote to look at something with 27.5" or bigger wheels. I think I would look at something like the Ibis Ripley 29 if I were currently in the market for a full squish bike.

  12. #12
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    Agree on the Giant Anthem in 27.5. At your height I'd avoid a 29er but it'll be hard to find a quality 26er anymore. Any dual short link rear suspension design will run circles around a four bar linkage. Think of the brain as a bandaid to a flawed system.
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  13. #13
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    I'm an inch taller and am riding a Cannondale Scalpel 29er.

    You should have no problems on one, just have to get the cockpit dialed in.

  14. #14
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    thanks for the replies guys!
    i thought long and hard about going 29, cos the package offered off the bat by the s-works spesh was too enticing too look away from, and my apprehension about looking goofy on it disappeared hearing the stories out on here.
    when i made an honest assessment of the factors involved, like skills, comfort level, race distances and possible terrain, i decided to stick with a 26.
    it was quite a hunt,
    and luckily my LBS was able to locate a brand new 2011 s-works carbon 26!
    im building from there and stoked to see what happens!

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