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  1. #1
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    moving from alum anthem to carbon xtc...advice please

    I took my 2011 Giant Anthem 29 to my LBS for some routine maintenance this week mainly because there has been some creaking from the BB area/linkage that has been bugging the hell out of me and buzzkilling my last few races, AND there's no better time to fix that than 2 weeks before the peak of my season at Sea Otter. Everything was gravy until the mechanic noticed a crack where the seat tube meets the top tube. So they called Giant, talked the talk, and have 2012 Anthem front triangle ready to ship as a warranty replacement. I happened to be in the shop the next day and threw the idea out there that if Giant had any XL carbon XTC frames instead, that I would be willing to pay the difference, honestly thinking that it would never happened because tall dudes like me never catch a break like that. Well, as it turns out, they have an XL XTC, and they are willing to send it with an out of pocket charge of $400.

    I'm very very very tempted to take this opportunity to up my game, as I've always wanted a carbon HT race bike, as it seems like I'm the only guy out there in Cat 2 with an aluminum full suspension bike. It's been a mediocre season for me with some mid-pack finishes and a slow growth progression in comparison to last season, and part of me thinks this upgrade could be the mental edge I've wanted and needed. I know "it's the motor, not the bike" is always true, but for the races around Santa Cruz, Ca it's mostly fire road climbs and rolling single track with little to no technical sections, and the Anthem is a little overkill. But on non race days, the extra plush is fun to have. Part of me wants to use the warrantied aluminum Anthem frame for the benefit of enjoying the trails around SC more, while the other side of me wants the XTC for the benefit of a faster and more efficient race bike.

    I'm leaning towards just biting the bullet and springing for the XTC, just because I don't know if I'll ever get a chance like this again. Has anyone out there ever raced on an aluminum full suspension and went to a carbon hardtail? Were there any regrets? Has that "ruined" any of your non-race trail riding experiences? Keep in mind I'm not really an all mountain/techy kind of guy, as I stick mostly to XC style trails.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
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    I have had both the Anthem and XTC carbon. If you go the XTC, you won't regret it, although it is very, very stiff. Looking back, I'm disappointed I sold it, but was just not racing enough.

    I only have the Anthem 29er now and it's a great do it all bike, however if racing is your thing, I will go out on a limb and say you will be a fair bit faster on the XTC. Great frame worthy of top spec parts. Well that's my opinion anyway

  3. #3
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    moving from alum anthem to carbon xtc...advice please

    What style of racing do you do? I have both a xtc composite 29er and a anthem advanced 29er.
    I can't race the xtc for more than about three hours as my back gives out. I mostly race 6 hour xc.
    On a hard tail you have to stand A LOT more which is fine for a while. The hard tail is very stiff and efficient. But forget all the crap you read about a compliant ride. It's still a hard tail.
    So I think it really depends on where you ride and for how long.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by 29AM View Post
    I have had both the Anthem and XTC carbon. If you go the XTC, you won't regret it, although it is very, very stiff. Looking back, I'm disappointed I sold it, but was just not racing enough.

    I only have the Anthem 29er now and it's a great do it all bike, however if racing is your thing, I will go out on a limb and say you will be a fair bit faster on the XTC. Great frame worthy of top spec parts. Well that's my opinion anyway
    What about the XTC was underwhelming as a race bike?

    At this point, the racing bug has definitely bit me...I have pipe dreams to race at a higher level but I know it will be a lot of work getting there.

    Funny you mention how the XTC is worthy of a good build...the only thing left on my Anthem 29 that's stock is the frame, fork, and rear shock!

  5. #5
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    Sorry mate, I meant to say 'I wasn't racing enough' to justify keeping the bike vs the $$ I needed for my next bike. I was running 1x10 with carbon stem, bars and post and think it was just on 10kg.

    There is nothing underwhelming about the bike at all in my opinion. Super fast, however I guess the super stiff rear might not be everyone's cup of tea on the rougher trails.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by pistonbroke View Post
    What style of racing do you do? I have both a xtc composite 29er and a anthem advanced 29er.
    I can't race the xtc for more than about three hours as my back gives out. I mostly race 6 hour xc.
    On a hard tail you have to stand A LOT more which is fine for a while. The hard tail is very stiff and efficient. But forget all the crap you read about a compliant ride. It's still a hard tail.
    So I think it really depends on where you ride and for how long.
    The races around here (namely the CCCX circuit) is basically fast compacted sand with doubletrack climbs and fast flowly singletrack with no roots or rock gardens, and everyone is killing it on hardtails. This series is my main focus during my season, with the occasional random out of town race (I recently did US Cup's Bonelli Park and was actually glad I had a FS bike, as it was more techincal than what I'm used to on a race course, but in any other regard, wasn't all THAT technical...like I said earlier, I was still the only guy on an alum FS while everyone else crushed it on their carbon HTs).

    I've had some lower back issues while racing, but I chock that up to core strength (or lack thereof), and I don't think switching from a FS to a HT would make it a difference...or would it?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by 29AM View Post
    Sorry mate, I meant to say 'I wasn't racing enough' to justify keeping the bike vs the $$ I needed for my next bike. I was running 1x10 with carbon stem, bars and post and think it was just on 10kg.

    There is nothing underwhelming about the bike at all in my opinion. Super fast, however I guess the super stiff rear might not be everyone's cup of tea on the rougher trails.
    Gotcha. I guess I would just have to accept that it would be a different type of ride. While fast on the climbs, could be unforgiving on the descents.

    Ah well, I have young joints, might as well enjoy the ride while I can!

  8. #8
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    moving from alum anthem to carbon xtc...advice please

    Quote Originally Posted by ktaylor15 View Post

    I've had some lower back issues while racing, but I chock that up to core strength (or lack thereof), and I don't think switching from a FS to a HT would make it a difference...or would it?
    For me the difference for my back is huge. Riding the ht my back will go after 3 or 4 hours but I can ride the anthem for 12 hours.
    How long are your races!

  9. #9
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    - What about an Anthem Advanced frame? The rear triangle wouldn't have to change. Maybe?

  10. #10
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    Post up a pic if you decide to do it. Good luck.
    Last edited by 29AM; 04-11-2013 at 10:00 PM. Reason: Spelling

  11. #11
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    Re: moving from alum anthem to carbon xtc...advice please

    I had a very nice 120mm FS 29er but it was too much bike for me and definitely not the best for racing. So I sold it and bought a 20lb carbon HT 29er. Over the course of a year I decided that it too wasn't right for me. Sure it was light and quick but it was still a HT and it beat the holy sh!t out of you after 50 miles. So now I've compromised. I have a carbon Anthem Advanced X29 0. Light, fast and comfortable. It's also extremely capable and doesn't hold me back in tough sections like the HT did. Just my experience.
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  12. #12
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    I too have an anthem x advanced 29er and had an xtc composite 29er. I live in coastal south Carolina and ride and race regionally. I am significantly faster everywhere I've been on both bikes on the anthem. The one thing I am not faster on is pavement,but I have other bikes for that. I loved the xtc until I rode the anthem. The xtc was around a pound lighter,but didn't ride as light. It cornered telepathically. If I lived in an area where it was smooth and flat, I would still have the XTC,though i'd probably put a suspension post on it! I would mention that my roommate also had an xtc andrecently got the xtc advanced. Thought it was awesome. Then he rode an anthem x advanced and hasn't ridden his hardtail again.

    Bottom line is that both platforms are excellent. You really can't make a bad choice.
    This may hurt a little..

  13. #13
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    From your posts/description of your riding terrain sounds like racing on XC trails is a priority. In these situations a lite hard tail is the best tool for the job. You observed the top riders in your races are on carbon HT, there is a reason for that even if the engine is the biggest factor.

    My observation: 2 guys I ride with are both very fit with great bike handling skills. Within 15lbs of body weight but %body fat same. Same age and same yrs experience, I got 10yrs on these 2. We all came off 26 FS bikes one went with the XTC and we went Anthem. All of us crushed our best times on our regular trail a 4.5 mi single track tecky loop. The guy on the XTC drops us most of the time and his times keep getting faster than ours.

    Two of us prefer comfort(but like speed) the HT guy is all about fast. I noticed my fastest times I am standing and hammering out of the saddle a lot more just like you ride a hard tail. On a hard tail line selection is important and in races line selection can shave seconds off total time. The HT teaches you to pick the best line.

    I have just as much fun if my lap times are 30 seconds slower while my buddy on the HT would be pissed. That is one of the differences between those in the race and those on the podium.

    If shorter XC races are the priority go with the XTC - racing on the lighter bike may give you the edge you need to up your game.

  14. #14
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    Re: moving from alum anthem to carbon xtc...advice please

    Quote Originally Posted by BacDoc View Post
    The HT teaches you to pick the best line.
    Fallacy. The HT teaches you to take the easiest, less bumpy and slower line around all the obstacles. An FS teaches you to pick the best line, which is the fastest and most efficient line straight through.
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  15. #15
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    In any event the XTC is a highly capable, quality bike. If you're not fast on it, it won't be the bike holding you back (on the courses you've described). Hope it works out as a good deal for you.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    Fallacy. The HT teaches you to take the easiest, less bumpy and slower line around all the obstacles. An FS teaches you to pick the best line, which is the fastest and most efficient line straight through.
    Maybe, but for me riding a HT has taught me a lot and sharpened my riding/bike handling. Things I learn on the HT make me better, faster on my FS. As a matter of fact, I just broke a personal record on the Anthem Advanced I discussed with you. Two things were a factor, the bike is awesome and riding my HT for the last 2 weeks sharpened my skills.

    But we digress from the OP. First, he states that the faster riders (in his area) are on HT. Nothing like local knowledge and what works in a specific terrain.

    Second, he describes that terrain as "fast flowy single track with no roots or rock gardens and everyone is killing it on HT".

    The right choice for this guy is the XTC IMHO.

    P.S. thanks Silent foe for you input on my build, getting it dialed and digging it!

  17. #17
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    Thank you all for the advice and words of wisdom. I ended up going with the XTC. Should be here this week, just in time for a quick ride before racing it at Sea Otter. I will post a picture as soon as I get it built up!

    @silentfoe - thanks for the words from experience. I too have tried racing on a carbon FS (namely the sworks epic) and it hauled ass through and over anything. I still have thoughts about getting something similar but maybe not as expensive, but this time around I wanted to try a hardtail again.

    @0sparky0 - if anything i would put on a dropper post, but yes, you cant really go wrong with either.

    @bacdoc - i appreciate your words from experience. at this point, i value having the edge in the race as opposed to enjoying the trail more. this is something i went back and fourth over for wayyy to long, but settled on the XTC purely because i enjoy racing and everything about it, and if having a hardtail was that mental edge to make me feel like i'm on par with everyone else, so be it. as far as which bike teaches you the best line, both have their pros and cons. silentfoe hit the nail on the head. but you're right, i think the XTC was a wise choice to make given the race conditions.

    @29am - you're very right. the deal worked out great.

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