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  1. #1
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    29er anthem vs epic vs ???? vs bionicon?

    I'm in the process of acquiring a new mountain bike and I'd like advice. I just moved back to socal after a number of years absence and have really nice trails at my disposal, but they are basically climb for a few thousand feet, mostly fire roads, and then descend for a few thousand feet. I used to ride hardtail w/ v-brakes here, but really this terrain screams lightweight FS.

    I had for a few years an Iron Horse Azure which despite having 3.5" in the back and 4" in the front was absolutely ridiculous going down any sort of terrain as long as it wasn't in the air, and that seems kind of what would be ideal. The Anthems seem to be closest to this, the Epics perhaps racier, and then there's other stuff....

    I've demoed an Anthem 29er which was ridiculously nice on all terrain, more like a flying carpet than a bike, and felt very much like my Azure (thanks to the nearly identical suspension and geometry, I would guess). Ridiculous in curves, uphill switchbacks, bumps. I have not tried any of the newer Epics, but I did ride a bit on the old Epic and Stumpy FSR and thought they had awful square edge bump performance despite feeling a bit racier than the Azure I ended up buying. At the time, it seemed like a hardtail, and begged the question- why not buy an actual hardtail? Everybody seems to rave about them though.

    I also tried an XTC 29er composite. Great bike, very racey when set up with front end nice and low and long, but the top tube was too wide and bashed my knees. An alu XTC would be great, but I'm somewhat hesitant on getting a hardtail down here. And if I get a hardtail, why not wait for the Canyon which will be vastly superior in features, specs and stiffness to anything else?

    I don't actually care for 29er vs 26 one way or the other. I realize there's a power advantage on the flats on downhill for the bigger wheels, but I've never had a problem with 26er wheels going down, and my favorite wheels (Crossmax SLR) don't come in 29 flavor . If I were to go 26, Bionicon would be a very cool option for the pure up/down terrain here. Or maybe I'm a huge wuss and should just go for an xc hardtail because that used to work fine for me in this terrain going past fatties on 6" front and back bikes?

    I realize this is extremely vague, but any thoughts?

  2. #2
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    which bike felt the best? buy that one.

  3. #3
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    YES! Buy the one that works best for you. Geometry, setup, components, etc

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdee View Post
    which bike felt the best? buy that one.
    XTC 29er felt the best, no question, but that was on rooty switchbacks with short up and down through trees in the Pacific Northwest. That's quite different from socal where it's climb for a 15+ minutes and then descend. I feel for the long descents an FS bike is preferable, especially with a gravity dropper post (which is what I had on my Azure).

    I have not test ridden one of the new Epics, and never been on a Bionicon, but their new bikes seem like the **** (X-12 rear axle, improved suspension, the whole adjustable geometry, 15mm front); you just rarely meet people who ride them.

    If I like the hardtail the best, and have no preference between 26 and 29, should I just go 26 and set up a nice light bike for relatively cheap given how people are literally tossing their 26 frame/forks/wheels away?

    EDIT: XTC rode the nicest but the top tube is so wide I hit my knees on it a lot as I ride with my legs relatively close together. If it wasn't for that I would go out and buy one immediately. It was a noticeable difference from a Tallboy which has a more reasonable top tube width and shape.

    EDIT2: I know what works for me- short travel or hardtail, dropper post, long stem, low position in front. All these bikes fit that model. Is there any reason to even consider the Epics with all the problems people have with the Brains, specialized hubs, etc?

  5. #5
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    i hear ya man, its give and take for the most part.

    i live in socal also, and like you said, for the most part, we really have to earn our descents with quite a bit of climbing. that being said, i parted out my turner rfx and built up an aluminum 29er h/t. it has made my rides a lot more enjoyable, less weight, no rear squat to deal with on climbs. the list goes on and on.

    the reason i said to buy whatever felt best is because we can talk about components/specs until we are blue in the face, know what i mean? f/s bikes are great, and are a blast. ive just come to find that i like the simplicity of a h/t. no rear shock to worry about, no rear shock pivots to worry about, and so on.

    keep us posted as to what you decide, cheers!

  6. #6
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    I live in SoCal too and have had 3 Bionicons in a row. They're the perfect bike for round here even now in 2017, though no-one's ever heard of them.

  7. #7
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    Epic is a nice, quick XC bike - however the brain is it's downfall, it's service intensive, and when it fails you can't service it yourself.

    My 2015 epic comp had the shock assembly replaced 4 times over one seasons worth of normal trail riding, nothing abusive at all. It just stopped locking, and had a sloshing sound every time.

    And with it being a proprietary system, it cannot be easily replaced with a standad damper.

    I wanted an epic, but went for a Czech Superior FS instead, and am well and truly happy with it.

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