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  1. #1
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    This vs. That vs. the Other Thing

    Looking for opinions for next years move from a 26" yeti asr-SL to the following short list of carbon 29ers (for XC/endurance racing in CO):

    Niner Jet 9 RDO
    Cannondale Scalpel 1 29er
    Spec Epic Marathon 29er

    Price is dictating a lean towards the Niner and Scalpel. Any advice?

  2. #2
    DLd
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    Quote Originally Posted by DLine View Post
    Looking for opinions for next years move from a 26" yeti asr-SL to the following short list of carbon 29ers (for XC/endurance racing in CO):

    Niner Jet 9 RDO
    Cannondale Scalpel 1 29er
    Spec Epic Marathon 29er

    Price is dictating a lean towards the Niner and Scalpel. Any advice?
    Sure, just get carbon wheels for the Yeti instead. If that's an upgrade for you, that is. I don't know what wheels you have currently, but if you're maybe going form a 1650g set of wheels down to a 1250g set of carbon wheels that are also stiffer and stronger, you might have more of an advantage from that in races with lots of climbing (you said CO) then the advantage from going 29'er.
    "Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion."-Jack Kerouac

  3. #3
    Grip it and rip it.
    Reputation: Damitletsride!'s Avatar
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    I haven't ridden any of them but my pick would be the Scalpel.
    "Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional"

    michaelmblog.wordpress.com

  4. #4
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    I had a 2010 epic marathon 29er, 2011 sworks 29er, 2012 scalpel carbon 1 29er, & currently a 2013 scalpel carbon 1 29er.
    The aluminum epic marathon was a great bike. I liked it much better than the sworks. It was stiffer and maintenance free. The sworks flexed & I was constantly tweaking it. Really liked the marathon and would ride it again if I didn't switch sponsors.
    The 2012 scalpel was a great bike too after I put a light wheelset on it. Went through a few bottom brackets last season but other than that it rode awesome. Lefty is incredible. Don't have much time on the 2013 yet, so no comment there. It's snow bike season here.
    All of the my bikes pretty much had the same groupos and wheels. I ride xc/endurance and both of those bikes fit the bill perfectly. I don't think you can go wrong with either 2012-13 scalpel or marathon if you can get a 2010 frameset with a fresh shock and put some new components on it.

  5. #5
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    Those are great bikes. I'd go with the Niner, the CVA suspension is much better IMO than the other two bikes.

    I'd also recommend throwing the Giant Anthem Advanced X29er 1 into the mix.

  6. #6
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    The bare frame weight of the Scalpel 29er carbon is going to be approximately a 1/2 pound lighter than the RDO. The frame design of the RDO means that you can run the suspension with propedal completely disabled, that's a plus. Both of them are pretty solidly built but I'd give the edge in durability to the Niner, it's as much a trail bike as a race bike and rides great with a 120mm fork.

    The Epic is a great bike too for climbing with the Brain. Some people I know like it and some don't but for climbing it's considered better than Fox's RP23 Propedal.

    The 2013 Trek Superfly 100 looks like a hot bike. It's ridiculously light for one thing and the geometry has been changed quite a bit as well.

  7. #7
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    the scalpel has a bit more relaxed geometry and is lighter over all due to lefty fork and cranks. but the frame suspension just blows. single pivot means you either set it up soft/fast and have pedal bob or hard/slow and no small bump compliance.

    the RDO jet9 can be set up to be a great climber and still have really fast small bump compliance. i have a lefty on my jet9 and got it down to 21lbs with reliable race parts.

    the superfly is an OK bike, but has quite a few broken frames in it's history. it got all slack also, which i hate.

  8. #8
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    Thanks guys. While weight matters, so does fun factor and durability. I'm leaning niner...the carbon epic is considerable more expensive, and the scalpel just isn't grabbing me. I like the
    Lefty, but the rear single pivot outweighs the fork and light weight.

    And while I could get lighter wheels on the Yeti, I'm ready for a new ride. I love the Yeti, it's been great. But there has to be a reason why I'm in the minority on a 26er at the start line, and I want to see why.

  9. #9
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    I had put in an order for a 2013 Trek Superfly 100 SL. To try and go as light as possible on my race /trail bike. Then the order date got pushed back past our race season. I built up a Jet9 RDO instead. It is a couple pounds heavier right now with a XT/X-9 build but once I get some XX1 on the weight will be very competitive.

    Every time I take it out it plasters a big smile on my face. Your other option might be nice race bikes but the Jet9 RDO will put a bigger smile on your face.

    I built mine with a 120mm Fox Fit CTD. It is a great fork for this bike. You could save a little weight with a RS XX but I like the Fox for trail riding. I did a 40 mile training ride yesterday and late in a ride the extra travel adds a lot of forgiveness when you are tired.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by DLine View Post
    And while I could get lighter wheels on the Yeti, I'm ready for a new ride. I love the Yeti, it's been great. But there has to be a reason why I'm in the minority on a 26er at the start line, and I want to see why.
    Felt similar on a Mojo SL, converted to 650B and have been real happy so far. Don't know if that is an option.

  11. #11
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    I wouldn't rule out the Scalpel just because of the single pivot. I just got a Scalpel after 10 years of riding Horst link 4-bars, and I have zero regrets. A well designed single pivot has several advantages, less pedal induced squat, lighter, and stiffer. Less pivots equal less places for lateral flex. I'm 195lbs and it's nice to have a race weight bike that I can't feel any flex on. I used to think my Titus moto lite was stiff, the scalpel has proven me wrong.

    I absolutely love my scalpel, the first 29er that I rode that feels as nimble as a 26er but with all the big wheel benefits. My only limits in the DH have been from running the stock 2.1 race tires. As far as I'm concerned, it's an awesome age appropriate trail bike for this racing age 39 yr old. But, it's also fast as hell.

  12. #12
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    The niner is pretty awesome. you can pick up a 2012 RDO for like $1550 right now. Insane price.

  13. #13
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    While others may be slightly lighter, the Epic with the brain suspension is much more efficient. Go for it?

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