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  1. #1
    Giant Anthem
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    Carbon 29er hardtail for racing cat 1 your opinion???

    I test road a felt team nine carbon 29er hardtail recently. I was absolutely shocked on how well the carbon frame and 29" wheels smoothed out the trail. It cornered even better and even descended pretty good for a hardtail. It honestly felt better and faster than my full susp. giant anthem 26 on the flats, hills and corners and after my test ride I'm ready to jump ship and race a carbon hardtail 29 next season. I'm in the market to buy one and looking closely at 4 bikes with similar geometry-

    1) Giant XTC composite 29
    2) Felt team 9 carbon
    3) Spec. stumpjumper carbon
    4) Orbea alma 29 carbon

    I'm open to looking at other brands though.

    So...I need your opinions, those of you who race as to your experience on a carbon 29er HT. Also those of you who went from full to hardtail.

    PS. I race in Ohio-some roots and rocks not a lot of downhill. I ride road a lot and would mostly race the carbon 29 hardtail as opposed to taking it out for "fun rides".
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  2. #2
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    I went from a 29FS Superfly 100 to my 29HT Air 9 RDO and it's been great so far. I think it's faster, but it definitely beats me up and tires me out more.

    The one thing I do miss is having the FS for fun rides, but since you mention that you will be using it mostly for racing I guess that won't be a problem.

    Also Downieville kinda sucked on a hardtail. There's just some races where a FS is clearly the superior choice.

  3. #3
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    I don't have one but have been researching HT carbon 29ers too. From what I've seen the Scott Scale is supposed to be a great racing bike too. Probably one of the first bikes I'll look at. Here's the bikeradar review that piqued my interest.

    Scott Scale 29 Pro Review - BikeRadar
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  4. #4
    Giant Anthem
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    Quote Originally Posted by qdawgg View Post
    I don't have one but have been researching HT carbon 29ers too. From what I've seen the Scott Scale is supposed to be a great racing bike too. Probably one of the first bikes I'll look at. Here's the bikeradar review that piqued my interest.

    Scott Scale 29 Pro Review - BikeRadar
    I'm looking at the Scott Scale as well-the only problem is the wheelbase is over an inch longer than the felt and I'm afraid the longer wheelbase will diminish the "snappy" feel.
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  5. #5
    pk1
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    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

  6. #6
    Big Damn Hero
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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...
    Same here, but I'm primarily looking at the Specialized Stumperjumper Comp and the Cannondale Flash 29er 3.

    I did take the Specialized out for a quick spin and it was very nice. The thing I noticed the most was the acceleration compared to my FS 26er... much snappier. I personally like the looks of the Cannondale better plus it's a shade cheaper and lighter.
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  7. #7
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    I have an Ellsworth Enlightenment 29er and have raced it as well as used it for fun rides. It handles really well, it corners & steers quick too. Slightly low bb compared to some other 29ers I've owned & ridden but not an issue other than on really technical sections. You may want to consider the Niner Air9 carbon, I know a couple of guys with these & they seem like a good frame, I have a Niner SIR9 also so I can vouch for the build quality there.

  8. #8
    Bro Mountainbiker
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    You can race and win cat 1 on anything you want as long as you have the engine. My race bike is a 23 pound rigid steel 1x7 and it goes pretty fast sometimes.

    I would just test ride them and buy what feels best, then practice on it off road. Becoming more fluid and comfortable on the bike will make you more faster than a simple bike upgrade.
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  9. #9
    more skier than biker
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    Good job!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sheepo5669 View Post
    You can race and win cat 1 on anything you want as long as you have the engine.
    Truth.

    (EDIT: exceptions to this might be a Surly Moonlander or a Santa Cruz V-10 for XC racing )




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    Last edited by Tyrone Shoelaces; 09-10-2012 at 05:15 PM.

  10. #10
    CB2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrone Shoelaces View Post
    Truth.



    +2

    The difference in weight between a highend carbon fiber frame and an average steel frame is what, 2 pounds? That's not make or break.

    On the other hand...

    If you have the $$$, you can buy a complete carbon bike like the S-Works Stumpjumper or Flash Carbon Ultimate that will be significantly lighter and come with all the upgrades like carbon tubeless wheels.

    Either way, in my experience, the best motor wins regardless of the bike (at least in Cat1).

  11. #11
    psycho cyclo addict
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    Only thing I can say is that it feels like power transfers better from the pedals on a carbon frame as compared to pre-hydroform aluminum at least (I haven't ridden titanium or steel much). I'm middle of the pack CAT 2 and sticking with Aluminum- still a bit concerned about rock bash damage to carbon and, the new hydroform aluminum frames are definitely stiffer and lighter than their predecessors.

    As for a frame, I recently built up one of these Scott knock off frames for my GF mt-mc056 - search result, Shenzhen Miracle Carbon Technology Co., Limited

    I didn't go crazy light on build components and w/o pedals it comes in just under 22 lbs! It is an awesome frame and quite reasonable compared to the name brands.

  12. #12
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    I might be a little confused about the cat system. Cat 1 is the fastest right? Cat 1= Pro Cat 2= Semi Pro, Cat 3 = Expert, Cat 4= Sport, Cat 5 = Beginner??

    Asumming that I understand the Catagories correctly I disagree that equipment makes no difference. At my local races the difference between winning and 10th place in the Pro/Semi pro field is less then 5 min in a 2-3 hour race. Thats less then 5% When times are that close 2lbs in a frame is quite a bit, and might be the difference that moves you up to a podium spot.

    As far as the bikes go I don't think there is a clear winner or loser. I know you already know this but test ride as many of them as possible hopefully on a trail, I was shopping for similar bikes about a month ago and was suprised how much difference there was between them. I really liked the feel of the Giant XTC and the Stumpjumper. They seemed to have a more relaxed position which I liked and they felt familiar as soon as I got on them. I set out to buy a Flash, but something about it just did not feel right to me.
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  13. #13
    mtbr member
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    Yeah, if you're looking at high end carbon hardtails Scott and Cannondale have to be on your list. I might even have a look at the Rocky Mtn. Vertex.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pedalfaraway View Post
    I might be a little confused about the cat system. Cat 1 is the fastest right? Cat 1= Pro Cat 2= Semi Pro, Cat 3 = Expert, Cat 4= Sport, Cat 5 = Beginner??
    For mtb its:

    Cat 1= Pro
    Cat 2= Semi Pro / Expert
    Cat 3 = Sport
    Cat 4= Beginner

  15. #15
    Registered Dietitian
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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
    No, it's not.

    Pro=Pro
    Cat 1=Expert
    Cat 2=Sport
    Cat 3=Beginner

    Cat 1 does not = Pro in any cycling discipline.
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  16. #16
    more skier than biker
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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
    uh no, it's:

    Pro=Pro
    Cat 1 = Expert/Semi Pro
    Cat 2 = Sport
    Cat 3 = Beginner

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrone Shoelaces View Post
    uh no, it's:

    Pro=Pro
    Cat 1 = Expert/Semi Pro
    Cat 2 = Sport
    Cat 3 = Beginner
    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.....................................
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  18. #18
    mtbr member
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    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.

  19. #19
    more skier than biker
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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.....................................
    AND if you're a SS'er it's usually:

    SS Open = Pro/Cat1/Cat2/Cat3 + all ages

    ..but not always

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2fst4u View Post
    I test road a felt team nine carbon 29er hardtail recently. I was absolutely shocked on how well the carbon frame and 29" wheels smoothed out the trail. It cornered even better and even descended pretty good for a hardtail. It honestly felt better and faster than my full susp. giant anthem 26 on the flats, hills and corners and after my test ride I'm ready to jump ship and race a carbon hardtail 29 next season. I'm in the market to buy one and looking closely at 4 bikes with similar geometry-

    1) Giant XTC composite 29
    2) Felt team 9 carbon
    3) Spec. stumpjumper carbon
    4) Orbea alma 29 carbon

    I'm open to looking at other brands though.

    So...I need your opinions, those of you who race as to your experience on a carbon 29er HT. Also those of you who went from full to hardtail.

    PS. I race in Ohio-some roots and rocks not a lot of downhill. I ride road a lot and would mostly race the carbon 29 hardtail as opposed to taking it out for "fun rides".
    I have an XTC Composite and love it. The geometry fits me perfect. Giant tends to have a shorter TT compared to other brands in the same size and a little steeper HA. This makes for a shorter WB and the CS's are on the shorter side( but not ultra short). The XTC is very nimble in the twistys. Giant has recently come out with the Advance SL frame, which will be lighter that the Composite. I assume to compete with Scott, Santa Cruz, etc.
    The Alma has nearly identical Geo specs to the XTC.
    Check out the Chinese carbon frames. They look identical to the Scott.

    Apart from Giant, most frame geo specs are very similar and frame weights are very close.
    Raleigh also makes a pretty sweet carbon frame.

    Ride as many as you can before you pick.

    Good Luck.

  21. #21
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    My new Scale 29er carbon HT frame is spot on for my trails and riding preference. Love the geometry. I choose it for rides and races under 2 hours or super smooth.

  22. #22
    Bro Mountainbiker
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    Thought they did away with the "semi-pro" category a few years back for one reason or another. So are ones considered "semi pros?"
    Raised in a Chicken-Coop by Chickens

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by tommyrod74 View Post
    No, it's not.

    Pro=Pro
    Cat 1=Expert
    Cat 2=Sport
    Cat 3=Beginner

    Cat 1 does not = Pro in any cycling discipline.
    Can't help but laugh at myself...yes, of course you are right. Not sure what I was thinking when I typed that...thanks for the correction. Embarassing

  24. #24
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    I switched from FS to a 29 hardtail and was happy enough with the decision to ride 29er hardtails for 3 years. Only recently I went back to FS (29er), but I still have a 29 HT in the garage, good for everything from road rides to epic trail rides.

    +1 for the Scott.

    I've had a Flash and a Scale, the Flash might be slightly faster on the climbs, but the Scale is a blast on the descents, simply carves corners and remains flickable. If you like to run any tire wider than 2.25" in the rear you should look elsewhere as chainstay clearance is tight.
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  25. #25
    mutaullyassuredsuffering
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    I went from years of 26" FS to 29" HT. In a two hour race I feel the 29"HT was an advantage to me almost everywhere. In an XC race i tend to stand up and really accelerate hard, which causes me a lot of bob and wasted energy on a FS. I'm more of power rider and it suits my style much better

    I experimented with 26" HT first, but couldnt stay fresh through an XC race on it, so then tried the 29"HT and voila....I can stand and hammer, pedal squares, come out of corners in the wrong gear and just pound, and it keeps my body fresh for long periods of time.

    As I have moved more into ultra endurance stuff the past few years, I just picked up a 29" FS for those adventures....after 18 hours...the 29" HT is definitely still a HT.

    (I'm cat 1 XC)
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