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  1. #1
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    S-Work Epic vs Top Fuel 9.9 SSL vs ASRc

    I've finally decided to reduce my XC bike choices to three contenders.

    -Specialized S-Work Epic 2010: This bike would normally be out of my price range, but due to Specialized team sponsorships I can actually afford it! I've only heard amazing reviews everywhere of this bike and even won the Gear of the Year 2009! The frame is one whole piece of carbon fiber, super stiff, light, and fast. Plus it has brain fade (though I don't know much about it).

    -Trek Top Fuel 9.9 SSL: I love the Madone, so I should love this bike too! Made in America which is pretty cool, OCLV Red Carbon, and super light! plus Trek gives a lifetime warranty. Heard it's super fast. Problem is it's very very expensive.

    -Yeti ASRc: Looks beautiful, great reviews and won Gear of the Year 2008, and I've always liked Yeti bikes. Super light, fast, and the cheapest of the three.

    I'm mainly doing XC racing, but I would also love to ride the bike down some trails just for fun or show off to my friends. Which do you recommend?

  2. #2
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    3 different suspension designs there, you need to try them. All those bikes will be light and super fast (only if you are) plus that Yeti with the built in seatpost, better get that size right.
    If you want to show off to your friends learn some of that bike acrobatics stuff, those german girls really throw it down.

  3. #3
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    Trek.
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  4. #4
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    Fuel

  5. #5
    zrm
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    Epic. The only reason not to would be the price, but if you can get a deal, you'd be a fool not to get that bike.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm
    Epic. The only reason not to would be the price, but if you can get a deal, you'd be a fool not to get that bike.
    I agree. I love my Epic. Mine is a 2007, but would love to have the new model. AFR shocks are very nice and have improved a lot over the years. It will give you a ride firmer than any other fs design on the flats, and will still be very active on the bumps. The suspension of the trek and yeti will be similar to the epic with the afr platform turned off. With the afr turned to firm, you'll have an "almost" hardtail ride on the flats. And it's very adjustable, so you can choose what level of platform you want. If the trek and yeti come with a Fox RP23, they will have some compression damping adjustment with the propedal setting. My wife has a Racer x with rp23 that I've ridden quite a bit. Propedal does work, but no nearly as well as an AFR, in my opinion.

    Any of the 3 bikes will be very nice. I'd shy away from the yeti just because of the integrated post. It looks cool, but as far as functionality, it limits you in several ways. First, I've heard people are having some issues with the seat clamps breaking. Can't quantify that, but have heard it. It also makes it hard to ship the bike in a case, not impossible, just hard. Then if you ever want to sell it, that could be somewhat of a limiting factor to a potential buyer. Just my thoughts, I'm sure others will disagree. The lifetime warranty of the Trek is a plus for sure. There's just nothing special about the suspension design to make it outperform most other suspensions. For racing, I think the epic is the way to go. The suspension is way more adjustable than any of the others. You can make it as firm or as supple as you want. My .02.
    "Confidence is the feeling you have before you fully understand the situation".

  7. #7
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    I have a question on the brain fade functionality. So it makes the suspension softer on the first bump...but is it quick enough to soften the suspension when the first bump "lands" or is it soft suspension first "after" the first bump landing. Basically is the brain fade fast enough to soften the suspension before the bike lands on the first bump?

    Additionally, how does Speacalized's own fork play in to all this? why not a Fox or some other fork?

  8. #8
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    Specialized has a lifetime warranty as well... and I know from personal experience their customer service is top notch.

    I have an S-Works Epic (09'), and I love that bike. The tapered head tube does what it is supposed to do, and makes the front end insanely stiff. The crank is my other favorite part of the bike. I have the double version, and the increased stiffness and shifting performance is amazing. Also, something that isn't talked about too much: the front and rear suspension components are perfectly matched and work together really well. I've never ridden a bike that is better balanced front and rear. That bike is a straight rocket ship.

    That being said, all 3 bikes are excellent contenders, and I don't think you can go wrong.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by terminus
    I have a question on the brain fade functionality. So it makes the suspension softer on the first bump...but is it quick enough to soften the suspension when the first bump "lands" or is it soft suspension first "after" the first bump landing. Basically is the brain fade fast enough to soften the suspension before the bike lands on the first bump?

    Additionally, how does Speacalized's own fork play in to all this? why not a Fox or some other fork?
    The first Brains had a noticeable switching on and off, but that is something that Specialized seem to have taken care of. The current shocks are very fast opening and closing, and have a very smooth ride.

    The fork really does seem to be a case of there not being anything else suitable on the market. The combination of the tapered headtube and Brain makes it a really solid race fork. A Fox or RS would work, but wouldn't match the rear of the bike as well.
    Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in his shoes...
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  10. #10
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    Hmmm...

    I own a 2009 Yeti ASRc, have ridden an 2009 Epic Expert, and admire the trek 9.9. Wish I had an apples to apples comparison, but I'll give you what I can as my perspective.

    The ASR relative to the Epic...I was very comfortable on the epic going downhill, but that's more related to the fit and tires than bike design. Epic was a Large, the Yeti a Medium. I didn't have time to set up the specialized, but it seemed slow compared to my Yeti. It was also down a couple notches in spec. I could see where the S-Works would be a sweet ride, some of my friends own them and are very happy.

    I very much prefer the overall feel and capabilities of the Yeti to the Specialized. It feels livelier, and it by FAR the quickest feeling bike I've ever ridden, and it backs it up with many personal best times on local climbs. It climbs like a goat, and goats reportedly climb very well.

    I think the new Trek stuff is cool, and I'd like to ride one, but I don't know if the cost premium is justified.

    All three of these bikes are great, but I'll be sticking with the Yeti!
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by terminus
    I have a question on the brain fade functionality. So it makes the suspension softer on the first bump...but is it quick enough to soften the suspension when the first bump "lands" or is it soft suspension first "after" the first bump landing. Basically is the brain fade fast enough to soften the suspension before the bike lands on the first bump?

    Additionally, how does Speacalized's own fork play in to all this? why not a Fox or some other fork?
    The answer to your question is yes. The suspension reacts extremely fast. So fast you won't even feel it. It's firm when it should be, and active when it should be. The older brain shocks you could feel the transition between active and firm. The newer shocks are so fast that you can't feel the transition.

    I've also had to use Specialized's customer service and can say they are second to none. I'm sure the others are good as well. If you can, take an epic for a ride. Don't do it in a parking lot. You really need to get the suspension on a trail, and setup correctly for you, to experience it.
    "Confidence is the feeling you have before you fully understand the situation".

  12. #12
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    not even close. Sworks all the way. toeing the line with anything less is a handicap IMO.

    for the record, I couldn't afford an Epic and race on a Sworks HT. I do however wrench for an Elite female that races on an Epic and the bike is awesome in every detail (i am a mechanical engineer and appreciate the attention to detail and elegance in design).

  13. #13
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    Thanks for the explanations. That means the new 2010 Fox brain fade should be really fast. Dang, three great MTB Rocketships to choose from.

  14. #14
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    9.9 Sl !!!
    Work Hard 2 Play Hard!!!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by aries14
    9.9 Sl !!!
    the 9.9 might have been a contender for us last year as well, unfortunately Trek backed down from the initial spec (DT Swiss carbon shock, Carbon rims, etc) and the bike came out heavy. now they have dropped some weight with XX which sounds cool 'till you consider that the Sworks also got XX this year and the Sworks cranks w/XX spider should be about the best cranks on any MTB anywhere.

    Yeti is cool but they should have adopted BB30 or equivalent this year. pressed in bearings are much better than the threaded external cups.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by whybotherme
    Yeti is cool but they should have adopted BB30 or equivalent this year. pressed in bearings are much better than the threaded external cups.
    ASR carbon has been BB30 press in cups ever since introduction.

  17. #17
    mutaullyassuredsuffering
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    Terrain

    Quote Originally Posted by terminus
    I've finally decided to reduce my XC bike choices to three contenders.

    -Specialized S-Work Epic 2010: This bike would normally be out of my price range, but due to Specialized team sponsorships I can actually afford it! I've only heard amazing reviews everywhere of this bike and even won the Gear of the Year 2009! The frame is one whole piece of carbon fiber, super stiff, light, and fast. Plus it has brain fade (though I don't know much about it).

    -Trek Top Fuel 9.9 SSL: I love the Madone, so I should love this bike too! Made in America which is pretty cool, OCLV Red Carbon, and super light! plus Trek gives a lifetime warranty. Heard it's super fast. Problem is it's very very expensive.

    -Yeti ASRc: Looks beautiful, great reviews and won Gear of the Year 2008, and I've always liked Yeti bikes. Super light, fast, and the cheapest of the three.

    I'm mainly doing XC racing, but I would also love to ride the bike down some trails just for fun or show off to my friends. Which do you recommend?

    After many thousands of miles on all the Yeti FS bikes, I'd make a caution about terrain. It is the quickest bike out there on certain types of ground, but it's strength is not roots and rocks on rolling and flat terrain. If you are doing alot of long climbs and descents (it was made for the rockies), it's great, otherwise it's a pretty stiff bike and won't be as fast as something more active.
    Free will is an illusion, people will always choose the perceived path of greatest pleasure.

  18. #18
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    Thanks!

    Thanks for starting this thread, I am in the same boat. I really need anew XC race bike and was looking at the same bikes, plus the BLUR XC CARBON. My team also has a deal with Specialized. Given the deal I can get on the S Works it is between the Specialized, BLUR XC CARBOB, and maybe....Ibis Mojo SL. I want something that is is 22-23 pounds max and that I can ride on rocky technical trails. It is a tuff choice. I would think the Specialized is a rocket ship for most races, but will not be as fun on the technical trails?
    Ride to eat, Eat to ride.

  19. #19
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    S-works!


    In the spring I went from a Yeti AS-r (alum) to an Epic S-work. As I was researching my possible change (also a spech team sponsorship) I had seen some threads in the spech forum here about how the S-work would be 3 mins faster than a yeti during a race and bla bla bla bla.... BS I would respond! To me the yeti was the fastest best handling bike out there. And it is pretty darn good. After a season on the s work I will claim here that the swork is 3 mins faster than the yeti! (let me back that up by saying that the last race I did on the yeti I came in 8th, the next races on my swork were all first place finishes ) The yeti climbs better on really steep stuff (the goat is indeed an appropriate analogy), but the swork is pretty darn close. The yeti has a smaller wheelbase which makes it easy to throw around on the trail, but twichy at times. The S work on the other hand is super stable and just a rocket ship. It is really like having your cake and eating it too! Hardtail and fullsusp in one bike. It is much better at handling techy terrain and I am twice as confident on the downhills than I used to be on my yeti. It takes a little bit to set up right, but once you have your susp tuned, it is a rocket ship. (here is the thread I started on the swork when I got it which contains some pretty good info: My New S-work Epic impressions). I have read that the Yeti Asr-c can be a little harsh w/ the integrated post.

    Finally, though I have never ridden a trek, I can tell you that at races, when I am ridding the wheels of treks, you can see those things bob, even when seated (which you will never see on the brain equiped bike). I would therefor not even consider that as an option.

    To clarify how the new brains function. The "fade" in the brain is a bypass valve you can open or close. This allows the rider to bypass the brain setting more to a rider preferrence. I have mine set up to 1 click from full closed as it is fast enought to respond that I never feel any harshness from the rear shock.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by terminus
    I have a question on the brain fade functionality. So it makes the suspension softer on the first bump...but is it quick enough to soften the suspension when the first bump "lands" or is it soft suspension first "after" the first bump landing. Basically is the brain fade fast enough to soften the suspension before the bike lands on the first bump?

    Additionally, how does Speacalized's own fork play in to all this? why not a Fox or some other fork?
    I'm not going to pretend to have any engineering or technical knowledge on any of this... prior to riding/racing my 09 S-Works Epic I had been racing/training/riding on 29ers with Reba's (with lockout).

    When my fork and rear suspension is set for racing there is very little bob when out of the saddle climbing. It's like having full lock out, only you don't have to worry about catching your breath, taking your hand off the bar and locking or unlocking it (I never used the remote lockout mounted on the bar, for anyone about to suggest that!).

    When descending or riding over rocky/rough terrain the suspension just WORKS. I have no other way to explain it. My first few rides... I'd just sit down and let the bike do it's thing. It reminded me of that car commercial a few years ago where the car is on like tire rollers and you see it outside/overview and it's being jostled like every which way, but zoom in to the passengers and it's a super smooth pleasant ride.

    I've done a few rides where I wanted the Brain off, or turned down significantly to get the full benefit of plush travel, and um. It's amazing. Super plush, awesome feeling suspension. Very confidence inspiring over rocky/rooty terrain.

    I also am not going to claim to have any experience with the other bikes mentioned. I LOVE my Epic

  21. #21
    LCW
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    Throwing an extra choice out there, but how would the Anthem X fare compared to the Epic, Top Fuel & ASR-C ?
    2011 Yeti 575 - 2015 Fox Float 36 RC2 160 / Fox Float X - 30.6 lbs

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by MI_canuck
    Throwing an extra choice out there, but how would the Anthem X fare compared to the Epic, Top Fuel & ASR-C ?
    Better and cheaper.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlin
    Thanks for starting this thread, I am in the same boat. I really need anew XC race bike and was looking at the same bikes, plus the BLUR XC CARBON. My team also has a deal with Specialized. Given the deal I can get on the S Works it is between the Specialized, BLUR XC CARBOB, and maybe....Ibis Mojo SL. I want something that is is 22-23 pounds max and that I can ride on rocky technical trails. It is a tuff choice. I would think the Specialized is a rocket ship for most races, but will not be as fun on the technical trails?

    I just wanted to mention, the Ibis Mojo SL leaves very little space fora water bottle.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by MI_canuck
    Throwing an extra choice out there, but how would the Anthem X fare compared to the Epic, Top Fuel & ASR-C ?
    A Giant Anthem X Advanced SL frame would be more fairer when compared with these frames. Heard those are really good too.

    I'm not going to lie, the integrated seatpost of the ASRc scares me, but people at my bike shop said they'll cut it and fit it for me perfectly. Additionally, it seems Yeti is going with the newer seatclamp for 2010? I heard there were problems for it, I hoped they fixed them all.
    http://www.yeticycles.com/#/bikes/ASRCarbon/

    Also, I heard there was some sort of click or clunk when the brain resets. Is that gone now with the newer shocks?

  25. #25
    mutaullyassuredsuffering
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlin
    Thanks for starting this thread, I am in the same boat. I really need anew XC race bike and was looking at the same bikes, plus the BLUR XC CARBON. My team also has a deal with Specialized. Given the deal I can get on the S Works it is between the Specialized, BLUR XC CARBOB, and maybe....Ibis Mojo SL. I want something that is is 22-23 pounds max and that I can ride on rocky technical trails. It is a tuff choice. I would think the Specialized is a rocket ship for most races, but will not be as fun on the technical trails?
    The blur xc carbon is a great bike for technical terrain. I'm in love. The suspension soaks up everything. It doesn't accelerate like the yeti or epic, but I'm certainly faster on it on the rougher terrain I race now.
    Free will is an illusion, people will always choose the perceived path of greatest pleasure.

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