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  1. #26
    CB2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheepo5669 View Post
    Thought they did away with the "semi-pro" category a few years back for one reason or another. So are ones considered "semi pros?"
    That is correct.

    But on the local level the guys who hold Pro licenses have full time jobs and don't get anything close to a free ride so really they are the Semi-Pros; they just get to pay more for their licenses and can race in Canada.

  2. #27
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    I actually have a Felt Team Nine from 2 years ago, been riding the heck of it and the thing can take a beating, live in Southern California and have thrown everything at it including very rocky trails and no problems as far as durabilty; I throw Carbon Wheels (Rovals) on it and and race it a lot as well; and on smooth fireroads or smooth single track the thing moves and I love the way it climbs; my only complaint is that it is a Stiff Frame, bike shop I go to says it is one of the stiffer 29er HT's out there and hence I get beat up on it a bit, especially on bumpy or really rocky trails since with the stiff Carbon Wheels and Frame, there is very little absorption by the bike and wheels and its all transferred to me; so I hope that gives you some idea about the Felt; I am going to try more bikes this fall to see what I am going to do for next year or stick to this bike, but keep us posted on this forum if you try other bikes and tell us what you think

  3. #28
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    Scott Scale Pro- Don't buy the top end, it's an extra grand, for a 1/2 pound or less and I've heard that the lighter they go possibly the less comfy?

    Opinions on others from friends/test rides:

    Air 9 RDO- stiffer, less comfy -
    Superfly - Have they fixed the frame breaking issues?
    Specialized - no idea -
    Orbea- too stiff, steep unforgiving geometry.
    Felt - Geo should be very close to the original Air 9. Great Geo, questions is tune.
    Cannondale - Flash - heard nothing but good for comfort and handling.

    I have raced the Scott for two years, feel as confident on tech downhill on that as my original Jet 9. 7 1/2 hour 64 mile, 8,000 vert technical race - no problem. It was faster than the Jet 9 the previous year. 2 hour cross country race - easy. Durability? A "totally rideable" ditch flume dumped me into a rock filled gully one day... bike landed 10 feet down in a bed of rocks and I landed nearby and lucky. Result to bike: minor scratch on frame.

  4. #29
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    Thanks for all the replies everyone-After researching the geometry and reviews of most every 29er HT carbon out there I realized that the felt team nine 16.5" felt really good to me probably because I'm on the cusp of a small/medium size since I'm 5' 8" and have long inseams (34") and the felt team nine 16.5" is basically a small/medium. So I made a list of about 15 bikes and the geometries that went with them. The 3 geo's that most closely matched the felt was the Giant xtc, Specialized stumpjumper and orbea alma. There are several other great bikes with similar head tube and seat tube angle's and chainstays but the wheel base was 2 plus centimeters longer. So without riding 15 different bikes I decided to make my choice based on the geometry closest to the felt and since I don't want to buy a new one I started scanning ebay and ended up with a Giant xtc. I've had a giant trance and anthem so I feel good sticking with them, and the reviews are great. The giant xtc medium has a 594mm TT 1069mm WB and 17.1" chainstays which should provide the same feel as the Felt I test rode. The xtc should be here next week and I'll soon find out how it feels-I did look at the bike frame our team is sponsored by (we don't have a bike shop sponsor yet) and the geo was way off for me, plus I got a great deal on the Giant so I'll post up after get it out on the trail.
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  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by pk1 View Post
    i'm in the same position of considering a move from 26FS to 29HT.
    so no real experience to share sorry, but for what its worth i'm thinking of an SC highball carbon - largely because i'm a big SC fan. short chainstays, slightly slacker HTA than most which makes it a bit more forgiving on the descents
    Yes, and a good o'l fashion quiet threaded BB

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  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poncharelli View Post
    And if you're over the age of 45, then it's
    Pro = Nobody
    Cat 1 = Pro/Semi Pro/Expert
    Cat 2 =Expert/Sport
    Cat 3 = Sport/Beginner.....................................
    This makes me feel better!
    "Money can't buy you happiness. But it can buy you a yacht and you can sail right up next to it!" David Lee Roth

  7. #32
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    +1 the scale Pro 29.. (will need to upgrade the wheels though)..

    The thing is f'n fast, not to twitchy due to the slack headtube. I've been racing it this year, and it has been fun.


    That being said, I would go with the Epic 29 over the Spark29 (if you decided to get a FS).

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcm01 View Post
    For mtb its:

    Cat 1= Pro
    Cat 2= Semi Pro / Expert
    Cat 3 = Sport
    Cat 4= Beginner
    What? How come I am not recieving a pay check!!??

  9. #34
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    Going back to full suspension

    I ended up purchasing the Giant XTC carbon 29er and I wanted to follow up with my experience with it. To make a long story short I don't like the hard tail and will probably go back to a full suspension. I've done several rides with the giant xct carbon hardtail over the last 2 weeks and here is my list of pros and cons.

    Pro's:
    Light weight (23#)
    Climbs well
    Accelerates well on any smooth terrain
    Power transfer from legs to ground
    29 wheels roll well over rock gardens with large size rocks in which a low speed is needed.

    Cons:
    Rooty sections when carrying a fair amount of speed
    Rocky sections where speed is needed
    Descending (unless terrain is fairly smooth)
    Extra back and leg fatigue
    Slower lap times at favorite trail

    Summary-
    I really like the light weight and the carbon rigidity and really wanted to make this bike work but after several rides with the giant xtc I have to admit I don't like the feel of the hard tail. When I first started riding years ago my first bike was a hardtail but for the last 6 years I've been on a full suspension so I figured I could get used to the hardtail once again. Before purchasing this I did do a short test ride with a felt team 9 which I liked the feel of. But it's really hard to know if you'll like a race bike unless you can take it out on your favorite trails at race pace and distance. Once I got the bike out on some bigger mileage, I felt like a fish out of water on the hardtail on any rooty and rocky sections (a lot of our trails here). I couldn't really get my normal fast groove going and instead of flowing smoothly and efficiently through the trail like on my Anthem I feel like I was fighting the terrain 80% of the time. When the trail was smoother with minimal rocks, bumps or roots all was well and fast but soon as the terrain picked up it got slow again. I lost 2+ minutes per lap on my 9 mile loop. My legs also really took a beating absorbing all the shock that otherwise would've been taken by the full suspension. I guess I'm just a full suspension guy at heart and always will be.
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  10. #35
    pk1
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    thanks for the update - basically the standard pros/cons but its always hard to know how it will work out until you try it.

    i would suggest though that you give it a while longer before giving up - it will take a while to adapt your riding instincts after 6 years of FS.

  11. #36
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    Yeah you definitely need to try it because after riding a hardtail for years. So I bought a full suspension tried it for a couple of years and just kept missing the hardtail. So I've done the opposite of 2fst4U and have bought 2 hardtails since getting rid of the FS bike. Both are still 26ers so the next step for me is trying out a 29er. Everyone has their own preference obviously.
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  12. #37
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    Racing the Carbon Giant XTC 29er hardtail

    Another update for anyone interested...I got the carbon 29er XTC out for it's first expert race yesterday. I was able to keep an acceptable race pace and noticed myself starting to get used to the steering/shifting/hardtail characteristics by the second lap. I was able to shift/corner/accelerate/climb a lot more smoothly as the race went on. The course was a good fit for the bike, smoother trails-not a lot of roots and rock gardens. With this said the steep climbs got to me and had me a bit stumped. I found myself coming to a crawl on 2 short, steep sections of the trail where I could just spin up on my 26 Giant anthem full suspension. Was I slower on these climbs? Maybe not but the bigger wheels and gearing forced a slower more powerful cadence/stroke. The moderate longer climbs and flats were a breeze though... it felt like I was on my road bike and I was able to pull away from those behind me. Part of the learning curve is the 2x10 shifting (26 and 39 chain rings). Another issue is that my lower back this morning is really sore and tight (as it was after every ride so far). Also, My right knee is also starting to get a irritated (old injury) I stretch and warm up properly and never had this issue with the full suspension plus I have the bike fitted/adjusted correctly. I want to give this bike more time-next week is another race so I'll see what happens there.

    Overall the 29 hardtail is a very big adjustment for my body, good and bad. One good side effect is that the hardtail spreads the load of muscle usage to the glutes, hips and hamstrings quite nicely where the full suspension seemed to isolate my quads a lot. This is probably because I'm standing up on the HT more often. Another point is my quads/hammies usually would start to cramp a bit towards the end of this race but it seemed the lactic acid was clearing much more effectively... probably because of using other muscle groups more. But the funny thing is it seems that standing up more and all the trail chatter that comes with the hardtail seemed to clear my legs of lactate??? Just a theory.

    Anyway-I'll keep the updates coming. Also, any idea's for a 29er full suspension other than an anthem X29er??
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  13. #38
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    Why not the Anthem X29er?

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    Why not the Anthem X29er?
    Looking into it.
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  15. #40
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    29" full suspension? Scalpel, Epic, Epics are very popular around here. Maybe the new Rocky Mountain... seems to be getting good reviews. Scott... Niner... the new Trek is very light but maybe it will explode on the trail. Lots of nice bikes.

  16. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2fst4u View Post
    Another update for anyone interested...I got the carbon 29er XTC out for it's first expert race yesterday. I was able to keep an acceptable race pace and noticed myself starting to get used to the steering/shifting/hardtail characteristics by the second lap. I was able to shift/corner/accelerate/climb a lot more smoothly as the race went on. The course was a good fit for the bike, smoother trails-not a lot of roots and rock gardens. With this said the steep climbs got to me and had me a bit stumped. I found myself coming to a crawl on 2 short, steep sections of the trail where I could just spin up on my 26 Giant anthem full suspension. Was I slower on these climbs? Maybe not but the bigger wheels and gearing forced a slower more powerful cadence/stroke. The moderate longer climbs and flats were a breeze though... it felt like I was on my road bike and I was able to pull away from those behind me. Part of the learning curve is the 2x10 shifting (26 and 39 chain rings). Another issue is that my lower back this morning is really sore and tight (as it was after every ride so far). Also, My right knee is also starting to get a irritated (old injury) I stretch and warm up properly and never had this issue with the full suspension plus I have the bike fitted/adjusted correctly. I want to give this bike more time-next week is another race so I'll see what happens there.

    Overall the 29 hardtail is a very big adjustment for my body, good and bad. One good side effect is that the hardtail spreads the load of muscle usage to the glutes, hips and hamstrings quite nicely where the full suspension seemed to isolate my quads a lot. This is probably because I'm standing up on the HT more often. Another point is my quads/hammies usually would start to cramp a bit towards the end of this race but it seemed the lactic acid was clearing much more effectively... probably because of using other muscle groups more. But the funny thing is it seems that standing up more and all the trail chatter that comes with the hardtail seemed to clear my legs of lactate??? Just a theory.

    Anyway-I'll keep the updates coming. Also, any idea's for a 29er full suspension other than an anthem X29er??


    So, what did you do with it? I'm thinking of making the same switch, but I haven't been on a hardtail in years so I'm nervous about it. I'd like to get your opinion after some more time with it.

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by KO21 View Post
    So, what did you do with it? I'm thinking of making the same switch, but I haven't been on a hardtail in years so I'm nervous about it. I'd like to get your opinion after some more time with it.
    Well, Ive taken it out a bunch after the race season. I am now getting used to the big wheels and find it enjoyable to flick through the trail. It took me about 20 1-2.5 hour rides to relearn bow to sling the hardtail through the trail but now ive got it. I'm still adjusting to climbing with it... if climbing isn't your strength you WILL have to take some time to adjust to the bigger wheels, especially if you have a 26 tooth or above granny. So at this point I'm sold on the bigger wheels and not sold on the hard tail. It definetly puts more impact stress on the body. My back and quads are about 10% more fatigued on the hardtail the day after a ride...this is subjective but yeah it will beat you up more than a fully.

    I am in the process of buying an x29 anthem full susp. to compare the two. I took a spin at the bike shop on one and I can almost gaurantee that I will like the full suspension better. So for awhile I will have 2 29 bikes one full susp. and one hardtail. I will pick the one that works best as a do everything bike and sell the other one. I will keep this thread updated on the process.
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  18. #43
    nya
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    I have Orbea Alma 29 , and its just awesome bike for both short and long cross country. Stiff, Fast, Comfortable, easy to handle in technical sections, just fun to ride.

  19. #44
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    Going from a FS 26er to a Hardtail 29 is a big jump. They require totally different riding styes. These riding styles dont come overnight. This may be part of the issue.

    But if you have months on the bike and still dont jive with it it may be a good idea to trade her for a FS.

    Me, Im thinking Ti!
    Raised in a Chicken-Coop by Chickens

  20. #45
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    The biggest adjustment I had to make going to an HT 29 was anticipating the climbs and spending more time hammering standing up vs spinning in low gear, which I was more used to on the 26 Scalpel. But, once this is stuck in your mind, that 29er does motor, er, keep momentum, very nicely even over technical stuff. I'm loving it, definitely takes a bit of adjustment.

  21. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2fst4u View Post
    Well, Ive taken it out a bunch after the race season. I am now getting used to the big wheels and find it enjoyable to flick through the trail. It took me about 20 1-2.5 hour rides to relearn bow to sling the hardtail through the trail but now ive got it. I'm still adjusting to climbing with it... if climbing isn't your strength you WILL have to take some time to adjust to the bigger wheels, especially if you have a 26 tooth or above granny. So at this point I'm sold on the bigger wheels and not sold on the hard tail. It definetly puts more impact stress on the body. My back and quads are about 10% more fatigued on the hardtail the day after a ride...this is subjective but yeah it will beat you up more than a fully.

    I am in the process of buying an x29 anthem full susp. to compare the two. I took a spin at the bike shop on one and I can almost gaurantee that I will like the full suspension better. So for awhile I will have 2 29 bikes one full susp. and one hardtail. I will pick the one that works best as a do everything bike and sell the other one. I will keep this thread updated on the process.

    I'm a Cat 1 racer in New England where trails are very technical with lots of rocks and roots. In 2011 I raced on an Epic 29er and did well, but noticed most of the guys who were beating me were on hardtail 29ers. I started thinking that a carbon hardtail 29er would be a faster race bike and made the switch last year to a Stumpjumper 29er HT. After a season on the hartail I found that it was beating up my back and also was slower on the race course. Not to mention that it wasn't the best bike for a 4 hr trail ride. I just switched back again to an Epic 29 and I'm MUCH happier. I'm going to be doing endurace racing this year so FS makes way more sense, plus at 41 I appreciate the extra cush. I think the FS vs HT debate depends on the terrain you ride and your age. Personally I can't see going back to a HT ever again.
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  22. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by limba View Post
    If you're an Expert/semi pro and you're any good you should be getting some kind of deal through a local bike store. It really doesn't matter if you're on a Flash or RDO or whatever, you make it go.
    Get whatever you can get a deal on locally and train hard.
    Why should you get a "deal" if you are a Expert racer?

  23. #48
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    If you're any good at anything in life someone will notice and give you a deal on something. If you're a good racer then local stores or cycling clubs will usually give you deals on equipment or fees.

  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikecking View Post
    Why should you get a "deal" if you are a Expert racer?
    If you are a cat 1, you are probably affiliated with a team who gets shop discounts. If you are not, there is no shame.

    Its your results that matter, not your team kit.
    Raised in a Chicken-Coop by Chickens

  25. #50
    CB2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikecking View Post
    Why should you get a "deal" if you are a Expert racer?
    That's a good question.
    As a racer and consumer I want the best price possible and it's nice to find some reward for my hard work.

    As a bike shop employee it's hard to understand why racers get any favorable treatment at all. Racers are demanding time-wise, expect preferential treatment ,"shop" their LBS even though they are getting substantial discounts, and bring little to no return on the LBS's investment.

    So thank your your LBS owner, and maybe buy the mechanics doughnuts.
    (the good ones, not Dunkin).

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