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  1. #1
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    2013 WVMBA Season 29er HT vs 29er FS

    I know this question is posed alot HT vs FS, but I am asking specifically for the WV racing series courses. I currently have a Giant Anthem X2 26" FS bike that weighs about 27 lb with pedals. I did really well my first year in Beginner and was in the top ten in Sport Vet this past season. I sold my motorcycle a few months ago and am thinking of buying a 29er. I am leaning toward the following bikes:

    2013 Cannondale Flash Carbon 3 (F3 for 2012) 29er
    2012 or 2013 Cannondale Scalpel Carbon 2 29er
    2012 Scott Spark Pro Carbon 29er

    I have test road the Flash and Scalpel, but not on the trails that I normally ride and not on one of the race courses. I really liked both, I fell in love with the Scalpel, but I will have to save up for another year or two to be able to afford it. The Flash seemed pretty fast but the trail wasn't the most technical either (Arrow Trails in Fayetteville). I haven't ridden the Spark but it has some cool features but the bike mags trash the rear shock and I can get a really good deal on a 2012 model. Has anyone had any experience racing any of these bikes and any ideas which ones will help me be more competitive next year. I will obviously do Winter training to improve the engine, but I am looking for an edge, especially for long climbs which was my achilles heel this past season.

  2. #2
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    Hello there fellow wvmba sport vet racer! I had the same issues. What do I race? Hardtail or full suspension? I split the difference and went with the Salsa Dos Niner soft tail. I loved that frame because it was soooo responsive and effecient. When that frame gave up the ghost I purchased a cheap hardtail frame from Price Point and was surprised. The thing absolutely flies and I've never really wished for any travel in the rear. But it has nothing to do with the brand of the frame. The fact that its a hardtail 29er is why its fast. I will never go back to riding a 26 inch. There are a few races where I would desire a full suspension 29er but only a couple out of 15 or so. With that being said, I'll just keep riding my lil' hardtail. Good luck to ya. I guess Im gonna have to ride alot this winter to make sure I can keep up with the racer on the new Cannondale or Scott 29er for the 2013 season!!! FYI. I did test ride a 2012 cannondale flash 3 and it was very nice but I couldnt justify buying a whole bike when all I needed was a frame. But I dreamed for quite awhile afterwards about that bike!!!

  3. #3
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    Had both Cannondales...kept the Flash C1 29er.The scalpel was surprisingly plush for a 100mm race bike and would be my first choice for an XC FS bike.

    I personally prefer HT's and the Carbon Flash is as good as it gets and i ride all over WV including big Bear.My Flash was under 21lbs without pedals.

  4. #4
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    thecycle3 - No love for the Giant Anthem X 29 or Epic 29? I've raced the WVMBA series in the sport class on a titanium HT 29er, rigid SS 29, and a Rip9 set up for trail riding. I am fastest on the Rip9 even though it weighs 4.5 lbs more than the HT. Go full suspension especially if you plan on racing any endurance events.

  5. #5
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    Calboy - yeah, I have been grappling with what courses make the most sense for the FS, I really like being able to bomb down the trails without the backend bouncing around. I was a mediocre rider until I bought the Anthem, so I am worried that it is the FS that is helping with my technical skills. I did like the Flash though, it was nice to hammer out of the saddle, but I don't know how my back will feel after a race. You probably won't have too much to worry about next year no matter what bike I go with, LOL!

    Bird-why do you prefer hardtails?

    UnderPar - wasn't interested in the Anthem X29 and Epic due to weight and cost. The Scalpel seems to have the lowest weight for comparable cost. My Anthem X26 is pretty plush, but it doesn't have the best pedaling platform when hammering out of the saddle. I hear the brain on the Epic 29 is awesome, but it was more expensive and heavier, plus it sounds like it is difficult to maintain the brain.

    I still don't know what to do, from a cost standpoint the HT is cheaper and I could just use my current bike on the gnarly courses, or sell the current bike and have the Scalpel as my only bike. Can't afford the Scalpel without selling the current bike, really can't afford it anyway, LOL!

  6. #6
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    Also, I can get the 2012 Scott Spark 29er Pro for around the same cost as the Flash, so it is a pretty good deal! Just haven't had a chance to ride one yet.

  7. #7
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    Which did you pick?

  8. #8
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    God, I hope he picked the Scott Spark. Twinlock remote is bad ass. Also the geometry of the bike is incredible.

    I would have gotten the spark any day.

  9. #9
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    Which one did I pick?

    I ended up going with the Cannondale Scalpel Carbon 2. I never had a chance to test ride the Scott and the mixed reviews on it gave me concern. All of the reviews for the Scalpel and Flash were glowing and I had a chance to test ride both of them. In the end I decided to go for a little comfort over light weight. The Scalpel definitely descended better between the two, was more comfortable, and came with better components. The downside was the price and it weighs about two pounds more. The Scalpel came in at 25 lb even without pedals after having swapped out the Avid Elixir brakes for XTR trail brakes, and converting the wheels to tubeless (easy since it came with Stans Arch rims). I am very happy with my purchase and have ridden a dozen times this winter.

    The bike flat out flies, it isn't as plush as the Anthem X2, but it really holds speed well, and I loved the way the Anthem climbed, but the Scalpel climbs even better. I am also pleasantly surprised at how well the tubeless ready Racing Ralph tires are holding air. The XTR brake upgrade was worth the extra dough because they are so quiet and have great modulation, plus they look great too with the polished finish. I really like the 2 x10 speed system, it is easy to find the right gear. The bike is very efficient, you can hammer out of the saddle and not notice any bobbing.

    I still need to sell the Anthem X2 if anyone is interested. It is located at Pike Street Bikes in Shinnston, WV if you want to check it out and I have it posted in Craigslist in Charleston and Morgantown. I really need to sell it because I am running a deficit not unlike the federal goverment, lol.

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