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  1. #1
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    Advice on dream bike

    Hi

    I'm considering splashing out on a dream bike. Intent is for racing sport class events and taking on some longer events like the Chekamus Challenge in BC (60 miles from Squamish to Whistler). I currently have a Trek EX 9 (5" travel) and a really old Trek Fuel (2002). Realize that splashing out is complete overkill for the sport class events, but attracted to getting a lighter bike and also intrigued by the XX crankset. Bikes I'm considering (drooling over) are:-

    - Specialized Epic - the Marathon 29 or maybe (gulp) the s-works.
    - Santa Cruz Blur XC - or possibly the Tallboy.
    - Trek Top Fuel.

    My current thinking is that the Santa Cruz makes the most sense as it seems more flexible than the Trek or Specialized options. Also I can build it up as I want - I'm 195lbs and heard the Specialized wheels aren't even warranted for my weight. Was looking at SRAM XX, Fox suspension (F100 RLC and RP23), and the Mavic Cross Max wheels.

    So, aside from ridiculing me for wasting my cash, anybody got any thoughts / advice on a good bike for a mixture of racing and longer events/races? Also, would I be making a mistake sticking with 26" wheels or is it now the time to look at 29"?

    Cheers

    Steve

  2. #2
    Dirty South Underdog
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    There's no right or wrong answer- especially as to whether you'll like 26" or 29" wheels better. Try as many as you can and buy the one that tickles your fancy the most.
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  3. #3
    CB2
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    Well Steve, I''m pretty much a cheapskate, so I don't think I'd advise going with the XX at this point. Maybe in a year or so it will trickle down to a lower price point, but for now if I were you, I'd probably build a 1x or 2x9 instead.

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    Pretty sure the XX chainset doesn't fit on a Blur...

  5. #5
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    I agree with Andrea but will also suggest the Giant Anthem X.

    My current thought is that if you have 100mm of travel front and rear, a bigger wheel just adds weight, but I might revise that opinion after I ride some more bikes.

    Industry 9 wheels are about equally light as Crossmax SL, allow you to choose which Stan's rim you want to use, have quicker engagement, and (might be) stiffer. And not THAT much more expensive than the Mavics. And your choice of colors.

  6. #6
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    Not much info

    Quote Originally Posted by sbrain

    So, aside from ridiculing me for wasting my cash, anybody got any thoughts / advice on a good bike for a mixture of racing and longer events/races? Also, would I be making a mistake sticking with 26" wheels or is it now the time to look at 29"?

    Cheers

    Steve
    It might be helpful to respondents if you elaborated more on what kind of terrain you ride. Sport class and longer races don't tell me much. How rough are the trail? Rocks, roots, mountains, hills, desert?

    Also what do you like and dislike about your current bike?

    As for 26 vs. 29, I've ridden some trails that I think would be ideally suited for 29" wheels. Exceptionally rocky, rooty, bumpy courses that are constantly fighting your forward momentum. I've ridden some trails that I think 26" wheels are very appropriate. Smoother terrain, really tight and twisty. For many courses though, that are balanced, with a wide range of terrain, neither wheel size puts the rider at a huge disadvantage compared to the other.

    Suspension travel can bridge the performance gap between wheel sizes. A rider on a short travel 26" bike may find himself chasing around a rider on a rigid 29er around a race course lap after lap, putting in equal times. It happens to me all the time.
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.


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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by rkj__
    It might be helpful to respondents if you elaborated more on what kind of terrain you ride. Sport class and longer races don't tell me much. How rough are the trail? Rocks, roots, mountains, hills, desert?

    Also what do you like and dislike about your current bike?
    Good questions. Live in Seattle - ride the trails here and up around Whistler. Rocky, roots, mud and mountains. The trails for races tend to be less rough, but it's still singletrack rather than fire-roads.

    Current bike is a Trek EX 9. It's a great bike, just on the heavier end and more suspension than I would like for a race situation. Thought about upgrading wheels, etc but have found that piecemeal upgrades are expensive and often don't give the benefit.

    BTW thanks for the other advice in the thread. Thinking of skipping the XX chainset. Still wrestling with the pros/cons of 29 vs. 26.

  8. #8
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    hey sbrain,

    I live in whistler and race some of the longer events you're talking about; cheakamus challenge, test of metal, gearjammer etc. here is my $0.02...

    I would go with 26" wheels for our terrain. I'm not sure I have seen anyone race the squamish triple crown events (or in fact any local race) on a 29er, The tight twisty-ness of it really lends itself better to the more agile 26er. same goes for the santa cruz blur although much less so... while it's an excellent ride and there are lots of them around here, the sc's are made for big ring cali ripping with the wheelbase to match. again, in our terrain something with a shorter wheelbase will be more agile.

    The epic (26er) would be a great buy, but I would suggest you test the stumpjumper too. slightly slacker angles and that extra inch of travel will help you more than hinder you on our technical trails. I race a stumpy and think it's the perfect bike for BC racing, and although the cheakamus is a less technical race, I don't feel held back and did pretty good in it this year with the 5 and 5. Last year I raced a 4" travel race bike and didn't feel nearly as good....

    hope this is helpful!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtb_chick
    The tight twisty-ness of it really lends itself better to the more agile 26er. same goes for the santa cruz blur although much less so... while it's an excellent ride and there are lots of them around here, the sc's are made for big ring cali ripping with the wheelbase to match. again, in our terrain something with a shorter wheelbase will be more agile.
    Thanks mtb_chick - great advice. My only question is whether your comments on the Santa Cruz Blur are for the Blur XC Carbon? Checking out the geometries on the websites actually shows the Large Blur XC having an 14mm shorter wheelbase than the Epic (i.e. nothing in it). Tube angles are many slightly tighter on the Epic (70/74) vs. the Blur XC Carbon (69.5/73.0). Seems pretty similar.

    Big advantage of the Epic seems to be the brain shock system. I'm just wondering if it's really worth a $2k premium when you look at a complete build. Especially since I can buy a Blur online and save the WA sales tax, whereas I can only buy a Specialized in-store.

    Decisions... decisions...

  10. #10
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    I'm also looking at the Specialized and the Blur Carbon and have not made up my mind. I'm in NORCAL and the races here are probably less rocky and technical then yours. But, there is Downieville and Tahoe close by. I've talked to a few people who have gone with the Blur carbon with a 120 mm fork up front.
    Another choice is the IBIS MOJO SL, with XX it is about 22-23 pounds 5.5 inches of travel. This is new set up for 2010. Probably will not climb as well as the other 2 bikes, but will descend better and be more comfortable

    Decisions decisions
    Ride to eat, Eat to ride.

  11. #11
    mutaullyassuredsuffering
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    BLur

    I bought a blur xc carbon mid year after 4 years on Yetis and Giants. It has been an incredible machine and I have no complaints. Tostado smoked me on the last two events on his pair of identical rides. He has the same good things to say to his friends.

    I didn't think it was possible to have a fast XC bike that left my upper body feeling fresh after 20 hours in the saddle. I figured you would have to compromise speed for comfort...not the case on this bike. I recccomend it highly!

    In regards to it not working for XX. I could really care less. I have no issues with my good "old" 3 x 9 drivetrain. It's never let me down, and I have all the gears I need. I got the Blur knowing it wouldn't fit XX.
    Free will is an illusion, people will always choose the perceived path of greatest pleasure.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by used2Bhard
    I bought a blur xc carbon mid year after 4 years on Yetis and Giants. It has been an incredible machine and I have no complaints. Tostado smoked me on the last two events on his pair of identical rides. He has the same good things to say to his friends.

    I didn't think it was possible to have a fast XC bike that left my upper body feeling fresh after 20 hours in the saddle. I figured you would have to compromise speed for comfort...not the case on this bike. I recccomend it highly!

    In regards to it not working for XX. I could really care less. I have no issues with my good "old" 3 x 9 drivetrain. It's never let me down, and I have all the gears I need. I got the Blur knowing it wouldn't fit XX.
    Thanks for the information on your bike. Care to tell us your build for your bike and the weight?
    Ride to eat, Eat to ride.

  13. #13
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    I stand corrected on the Blur XC carbon. I was speaking from experience with santa cruz in general and didn't check the bike specific geometries. In that case, both the Epic and the Blur would be awesome machines for you. From my experience with the brain shock, you will hate it for the first few rides, then you learn to anticipate how it will react and you will love it forever after.

    I don't think you could go wrong with either bike. Let us know what you decide....

  14. #14
    mutaullyassuredsuffering
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    Ok

    Quote Originally Posted by merlin
    Thanks for the information on your bike. Care to tell us your build for your bike and the weight?

    Sure Merlin.

    The bike was at 21.5 lbs earlier this year before I beefed it up for the Ultra stuff at the end of the year. I went from a 1300g wheelset to a 1425g set, added .5lbs worth of ergon grips (I normally run the titec foam grips), threw on the second bottle cage, swapped out my worn out XTR cassette for a XT one ($200 less for 50 grams!!!!), swapped 4-Ti's for Ti Beaters, and put on some tougher tires. I cannot say enough good about the Racing Ralph's as well.

    It's now at 22.9 lbs with the build below.

    Medium with '09 RP23
    SID Team with pushlock
    Stans Olympic Rims/DT240 Hubs/Supercomp spokes
    2.25 Racing Ralph Snakeskin on the front, 2.1 Racing Ralph Double defense on the rear.
    CrankBrothers Skewers
    Juicy Ultimates with 160F/140R Hope Floating rotors
    XTR Triggers
    XTR Crank
    XT Cassette
    XT Chain
    XTR front der
    XTR rear der (not the darn shadow)
    Syntace Vector Carbon 31.8 bar cut to 630mm
    Ritchey 4-Axis 100mm stem
    Ergon GP2 grips with the Carbon Bar End (250 grams right there but perfect for Ultra stuff)
    King Ti cages top and bottom (2 cages on a FS rocks)
    Syntace P3 Carbon Seatpost
    Specialized Phenom Saddle
    Ti Eggbeaters
    VDO Computer

    It's now been through 3 XC races, a 115 miler, a 24 hour race, and 750 training miles.
    Last edited by used2Bhard; 10-14-2009 at 04:29 PM. Reason: more crap
    Free will is an illusion, people will always choose the perceived path of greatest pleasure.

  15. #15
    mutaullyassuredsuffering
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    loaded

    Loaded up with lights, food and a saddlebag big enough to fit a small child. (Set up for the VT125's 10PM start.)
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Free will is an illusion, people will always choose the perceived path of greatest pleasure.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by used2Bhard
    Sure Merlin.

    The bike was at 21.5 lbs earlier this year before I beefed it up for the Ultra stuff at the end of the year. I went from a 1300g wheelset to a 1425g set, added .5lbs worth of ergon grips (I normally run the titec foam grips), threw on the second bottle cage, swapped out my worn out XTR cassette for a XT one ($200 less for 50 grams!!!!), swapped 4-Ti's for Ti Beaters, and put on some tougher tires. I cannot say enough good about the Racing Ralph's as well.

    It's now at 22.9 lbs with the build below.

    Medium with '09 RP23
    SID Team with pushlock
    Stans Olympic Rims/DT240 Hubs/Supercomp spokes
    2.25 Racing Ralph Snakeskin on the front, 2.1 Racing Ralph Double defense on the rear.
    CrankBrothers Skewers
    Juicy Ultimates with 160F/140R Hope Floating rotors
    XTR Triggers
    XTR Crank
    XT Cassette
    XT Chain
    XTR front der
    XTR rear der (not the darn shadow)
    Syntace Vector Carbon 31.8 bar cut to 630mm
    Ritchey 4-Axis 100mm stem
    Ergon GP2 grips with the Carbon Bar End (250 grams right there but perfect for Ultra stuff)
    King Ti cages top and bottom (2 cages on a FS rocks)
    Syntace P3 Carbon Seatpost
    Specialized Phenom Saddle
    Ti Eggbeaters
    VDO Computer

    It's now been through 3 XC races, a 115 miler, a 24 hour race, and 750 training miles.
    Thanks for posting...very nice!
    Ride to eat, Eat to ride.

  17. #17
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    Nice Blur!

    I'm in Seattle as well (Bellevue actually) and I plan on racing a 29er around here next year. I know of a few that do and fairly competitively in the expert (1/2) bunch as well.

    I've got an Epic 29er coming so I'm really looking forward to seeing how fast I can make it go.

    Cheers!

  18. #18
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    My only suggestion is to open up your possibilities a little more. I'd also be looking at the XC race bikes made by Scott, Cannondale, Yeti, Orbea, and a few of the smaller manufacturers. If you're getting a dream bike and have the cash to go all out, I'd put all the possibilities on the table.

  19. #19
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    Thanks everyone for your feedback and advice. I decided SRAM XX is worth leaving for now. Also checked with the LBS and heard they were unwilling to negotiate on the Specialized Epic prices at all. Compared that with buying a Santa Cruz Blur XC Carbon, spec'd just as I want it, negotiated 12% off (in addition to the discount for buying the complete bike), free shipping and no state sales tax as it's an online order. I guess that's the point the "dream" part became practical - ordered the Blur, spec'd X.0 parts, Crossmax SLR wheels, Thomson stem and seatpost, Monkeylite SL bars, etc.

    Thanks again everyone.

  20. #20
    mutaullyassuredsuffering
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    congrats

    Congrats, you will love it!
    Free will is an illusion, people will always choose the perceived path of greatest pleasure.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbrain
    Thanks everyone for your feedback and advice. I decided SRAM XX is worth leaving for now. Also checked with the LBS and heard they were unwilling to negotiate on the Specialized Epic prices at all. Compared that with buying a Santa Cruz Blur XC Carbon, spec'd just as I want it, negotiated 12% off (in addition to the discount for buying the complete bike), free shipping and no state sales tax as it's an online order. I guess that's the point the "dream" part became practical - ordered the Blur, spec'd X.0 parts, Crossmax SLR wheels, Thomson stem and seatpost, Monkeylite SL bars, etc.

    Thanks again everyone.
    I also just decided against XX. I want my easy gears!!
    I think I have decide to go with the Blur as well, but I'm thinking about a 120 mm fork for the more technical trails. PLease let us know how you like the bike, what it weights etc. Where did you buy it?
    Ride to eat, Eat to ride.

  22. #22
    KevinK
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    Quote Originally Posted by used2Bhard
    Sure Merlin.

    The bike was at 21.5 lbs earlier this year before I beefed it up for the Ultra stuff at the end of the year. I went from a 1300g wheelset to a 1425g set, added .5lbs worth of ergon grips (I normally run the titec foam grips), threw on the second bottle cage, swapped out my worn out XTR cassette for a XT one ($200 less for 50 grams!!!!), swapped 4-Ti's for Ti Beaters, and put on some tougher tires. I cannot say enough good about the Racing Ralph's as well.

    It's now at 22.9 lbs with the build below.

    Medium with '09 RP23
    SID Team with pushlock
    Stans Olympic Rims/DT240 Hubs/Supercomp spokes
    2.25 Racing Ralph Snakeskin on the front, 2.1 Racing Ralph Double defense on the rear.
    CrankBrothers Skewers
    Juicy Ultimates with 160F/140R Hope Floating rotors
    XTR Triggers
    XTR Crank
    XT Cassette
    XT Chain
    XTR front der
    XTR rear der (not the darn shadow)
    Syntace Vector Carbon 31.8 bar cut to 630mm
    Ritchey 4-Axis 100mm stem
    Ergon GP2 grips with the Carbon Bar End (250 grams right there but perfect for Ultra stuff)
    King Ti cages top and bottom (2 cages on a FS rocks)
    Syntace P3 Carbon Seatpost
    Specialized Phenom Saddle
    Ti Eggbeaters
    VDO Computer

    It's now been through 3 XC races, a 115 miler, a 24 hour race, and 750 training miles.
    Great information!! Thanks. Question. Why did you swap out the 4 ti's for ti's? I am currently using 2 ti's and was going to purchase 4 ti's. Did you gain weight in equipment that passed the 185lbs limit? Thanks, Kevin

  23. #23
    mutaullyassuredsuffering
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    Limit

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinK
    Great information!! Thanks. Question. Why did you swap out the 4 ti's for ti's? I am currently using 2 ti's and was going to purchase 4 ti's. Did you gain weight in equipment that passed the 185lbs limit? Thanks, Kevin
    I have always been on the limit for the 4-ti's and never had any bending issues due to my weight. I have bent a ti-spindle nicely when it hit a rock at 30 miles per hour and launched me into the rocks allowing me to take a nice 1 month "vacation" from riding bikes.

    The reason for swapping for the two races was different.

    1) VT125 - The race was a 16 hour loop for me. The ti-springs were getting a bit worn and I was concerned that it would only take one good rock hit on the cage to loosen them up to the point where I would be spending half a day coming unclipped at bad moments. The 1-Ti's are relatively new, so reliability was key.
    2) 24 Hours of Moab. I was swapping between my Niner and my Blur. For some reason, my Niner has a wider Q than my Blur. In order to make both bikes feel the same, I put the 1-Ti's on the blur (wider spindle) and the 4-Ti's on the Niner (narrow spindle). That way, I didn't get any goofy pedaling issues. Unfortunately, my shoes took care of that for me, but that's another story....

    The 4-ti's are great pedals. They just wear out quicker than the others. I run them only for races, and I typically have the bearings start to gouge the spindles and the springs loosen up after a season and a half. Crankbrothers always takes care of them at the pedal spa though, so it's no biggie. Just don't run them everyday as they are a big investment for 60 grams.
    Free will is an illusion, people will always choose the perceived path of greatest pleasure.

  24. #24
    KevinK
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    Quote Originally Posted by used2Bhard
    I have always been on the limit for the 4-ti's and never had any bending issues due to my weight. I have bent a ti-spindle nicely when it hit a rock at 30 miles per hour and launched me into the rocks allowing me to take a nice 1 month "vacation" from riding bikes.

    The reason for swapping for the two races was different.

    1) VT125 - The race was a 16 hour loop for me. The ti-springs were getting a bit worn and I was concerned that it would only take one good rock hit on the cage to loosen them up to the point where I would be spending half a day coming unclipped at bad moments. The 1-Ti's are relatively new, so reliability was key.
    2) 24 Hours of Moab. I was swapping between my Niner and my Blur. For some reason, my Niner has a wider Q than my Blur. In order to make both bikes feel the same, I put the 1-Ti's on the blur (wider spindle) and the 4-Ti's on the Niner (narrow spindle). That way, I didn't get any goofy pedaling issues. Unfortunately, my shoes took care of that for me, but that's another story....

    The 4-ti's are great pedals. They just wear out quicker than the others. I run them only for races, and I typically have the bearings start to gouge the spindles and the springs loosen up after a season and a half. Crankbrothers always takes care of them at the pedal spa though, so it's no biggie. Just don't run them everyday as they are a big investment for 60 grams.
    Awesome!!! Thanks for the great reasons. I've been running my 2 ti's for almost 5 years w/ zero problem. Usually ride once or twice a week at most, unless on a Mt. bike trip. Some good information to think about, concerning the 4 ti's and wear.
    Thanks again,

    Kevin

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