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  1. #1
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    Cross country bike best choice

    Hi everyone I appreciate your help. I have a couple of bikes the yeti sb150 and the Santa Cruz Hightower Lt. I would get my third one, and I want to get the best cross country, hardtail or full suspension. What do you suggest. Tks

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    Cross country bike best choice

    Quote Originally Posted by jaimegluna View Post
    Hi everyone I appreciate your help. I have a couple of bikes the yeti sb150 and the Santa Cruz Hightower Lt. I would get my third one, and I want to get the best cross country, hardtail or full suspension. What do you suggest. Tks
    What area are you riding and racing the bike on? Is it race only or just a fun every day bike?

    Some bikes will be good enough you might sell the Hightower.

    I LOVE my Top Fuel 9.9 set up with Fox 34 and carbon dropper.

    Bikes are just so good right now.
    Blur
    Spark RC
    Epic (if brain is your thing, itís fast)
    Scalpel
    Sniper (if you are light enough)
    Anthem Advanced


    My ideal quiver is:
    100mm hardtail
    120/100 FS race bike
    Huck bike (mojo HD4? or Trek Slash)

    I ride the middle bike pretty much everywhere because itís so versatile if you can land.



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    Last edited by FJSnoozer; 3 Weeks Ago at 04:57 PM.

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    I live in Chipinque a mountain area in Monterrey Mexico. Itís an excellent advice I appreciate it. Iím planning to use it most for trail and roads, and start racing in the near future.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaimegluna View Post
    I live in Chipinque a mountain area in Monterrey Mexico. Itís an excellent advice I appreciate it. Iím planning to use it most for trail and roads, and start racing in the near future.
    Start racing what, cross country? Those would be poor choices for a XC bike. ~100mm of travel, lightweight, efficient, those are good traits of an XC racing bike.

    If you want it to do a little extra, maybe 120mm, but the XC capability and being competitive at the highest levels drops off fast as you increase the travel.

    Last few seasons I've raced on an 100mm Pivot 429SL. It's been a great bike for this purpose. It wasn't my first choice, I wanted the Turner Czar, but I can't complain because the Pivot did everything I asked and has worked great.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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    Hi jayem

    Cross country. Iím reading about the czar Iíve never heard before. Looks 👌🏻 I like it.

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    When you look at the Scott Spark RC look at the 120mm Spark 900 with capacity for 2.6 tires.
    If you want to consider a fun hardtail a build up of the carbon Trek Stache frame is an option.
    Both these are more towards the trail end of capability versus pure race.

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    I see that options.Previous to my post I was reviewing SC Blur and Highball.

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    For trails and the occasional race i would go for the pole evolink 110. For racing and the occasional trail i would go for the new bmc fourstroke. But there are alot of sweet bikes to choose from right now.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaimegluna View Post
    Hi jayem

    Cross country. Iím reading about the czar Iíve never heard before. Looks  I like it.
    Some of the "big brand" bikes like Trek and such are pretty good, but sometimes they have proprietary shocks and suspension that can not be serviced or will only have a limited lifespan before being non-serviceable, like Specialized and their Epic. To some extent, sometimes the "big brand" bikes last for a season or two, and then are intended to be sold/not ridden frequently/trashed. Sometimes the bearings aren't really intended to be replaced or the bearings used are just crap (to make the bike lighter). To some extent, some of the smaller manufacturers like Pivot and Turner make stuff that holds up year after year with good people behind the bikes and overall good design, rather than making the bike 100g lighter while sacrificing durability. So sometimes these aren't the lightest bikes, but they still usually make great XC race rigs for 99.9% of racers. The "big brands" are always getting better and do make some good stuff, but I like to buy a frame and put the parts on it that I want to put on it, the "big brands" usually want to sell you the bike with the parts they spec on it, so again, I tend to look elsewhere. What I like about the Czar is the big open triangle main-frame.

    SC Blur is an outstanding XC frame/bike, again from a good company that stands behind their stuff.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Some of the "big brand" bikes like Trek and such are pretty good, but sometimes they have proprietary shocks and suspension that can not be serviced or will only have a limited lifespan before being non-serviceable, like Specialized and their Epic. To some extent, sometimes the "big brand" bikes last for a season or two, and then are intended to be sold/not ridden frequently/trashed. Sometimes the bearings aren't really intended to be replaced or the bearings used are just crap (to make the bike lighter). To some extent, some of the smaller manufacturers like Pivot and Turner make stuff that holds up year after year with good people behind the bikes and overall good design, rather than making the bike 100g lighter while sacrificing durability. So sometimes these aren't the lightest bikes, but they still usually make great XC race rigs for 99.9% of racers. The "big brands" are always getting better and do make some good stuff, but I like to buy a frame and put the parts on it that I want to put on it, the "big brands" usually want to sell you the bike with the parts they spec on it, so again, I tend to look elsewhere. What I like about the Czar is the big open triangle main-frame.

    SC Blur is an outstanding XC frame/bike, again from a good company that stands behind their stuff.
    Ok, this is ridiculous and false.

    1. All shocks and forks are supposed to be serviced within reasonable intervals
    2. Trek reActive doesnít ďwear outĒ.
    3. Specialized epic Brain doesnít require that it is sent off for service and will cost you almost 200 to get serviced. This is a pain, but not a big deal if you own 3 bikes.
    4. None of these bikes are designed to be used for one season or year. Thatís stupid of you to even say that.
    5. Pivot is made in a Chinese factory under the supervision of an American agent to QC things. They still make mistakes and have bad layups. They arenít heavy or heavy duty. I definitely see more failures in Epics, but they all get warrantied quickly and usually with an S works frame as a ďsorryĒ.
    6. The ďbig brandsĒ all do frame only XC frames. I just built up an Sworks for my wife with my selected parts and itís 21 pounds with Dropper. I personally donít like the epic for myself.
    7. We have plenty of XC bikes in the stables with many years of racing. 5-15000 miles on them from the big brands.

    OP, buy a bike with a good warranty that you can get warrantied locally if you have an issue.

    You already trust Yeti and SC enough to own them.
    Just get a Blur or a Blur Trail and call it a day. Iíd go with the Blur trail because it sounds like you like to party given your other bikes. If you end up racing at the very pointy end of XC, you can buy a stepcast 32 and rigid post. The remote lockout is very nice on the Blur, especially when you hit roads and road climbs. Itís one of the best features of my Top Fuel.




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    DrPaulus

    What is your sugestion about the highball?
    Tks

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    SC Blur, SC Highball.
    Do the math.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by FJSnoozer View Post
    Ok, this is ridiculous and false.

    1. All shocks and forks are supposed to be serviced within reasonable intervals
    2. Trek reActive doesnít ďwear outĒ.
    3. Specialized epic Brain doesnít require that it is sent off for service and will cost you almost 200 to get serviced. This is a pain, but not a big deal if you own 3 bikes.
    4. None of these bikes are designed to be used for one season or year. Thatís stupid of you to even say that.
    I've been doing this for a while, proprietary crap is often not supported after a few years and becomes a bigger and bigger headache. Even smaller stuff like the dumb specialized yoke-mount they were using a few years ago that limited me to just a couple of shock choices. Don't be naive.

    Yes, my specialized bike was intended to last about a year or two, because the rear bearings were not serviceable, a blind-bearing puller (which I own several of) could not pull them out, because there was no "lip" to do so. It's just intended that you buy a damn new seatstay, as long as it's in production or just let it die. Sorry, it's bull**** and they didn't design the bike to really be around and working well after a few seasons. They designed it to sell. There were other similar issues to this, just one example.

    Pivot, turner, etc, make bikes where the bearings push out of the linkages, rather than the frame, this is generally easier to service and replace the bearings. Little details like these mean a lot to me.

    I'm glad you've had different experiences than me, but I've been burned by the bigger manufacturers too many times. If I sold bikes every season or replaced them, like I know a few people to do, these issues would probably never crop up for me.

    I see the latest Scott, Trek, Specialized, more like a "flavor of the month", they are usually quick to update the model and put in some kind of small change that really doesn't give an advantage or work better, but it ensures a new model and makes it seem like they are "doing something". They aren't inherently bad, you seem to have taken that and ran with it, they are always getting better, but my point is that there are often very good reasons for going with something like a Santa Cruz or Pivot over them, something without a proprietary shock/suspension.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    When you look at the Scott Spark RC look at the 120mm Spark 900 with capacity for 2.6 tires.
    If you want to consider a fun hardtail a build up of the carbon Trek Stache frame is an option.
    Both these are more towards the trail end of capability versus pure race.
    Good God even for someone looking to race you're still going on about big tires. WTH.
    OG Ripley v2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    I've been doing this for a while, proprietary crap is often not supported after a few years and becomes a bigger and bigger headache. Even smaller stuff like the dumb specialized yoke-mount they were using a few years ago that limited me to just a couple of shock choices. Don't be naive.

    Yes, my specialized bike was intended to last about a year or two, because the rear bearings were not serviceable, a blind-bearing puller (which I own several of) could not pull them out, because there was no "lip" to do so. It's just intended that you buy a damn new seatstay, as long as it's in production or just let it die. Sorry, it's bull**** and they didn't design the bike to really be around and working well after a few seasons. They designed it to sell. There were other similar issues to this, just one example.

    Pivot, turner, etc, make bikes where the bearings push out of the linkages, rather than the frame, this is generally easier to service and replace the bearings. Little details like these mean a lot to me.

    I'm glad you've had different experiences than me, but I've been burned by the bigger manufacturers too many times. If I sold bikes every season or replaced them, like I know a few people to do, these issues would probably never crop up for me.

    I see the latest Scott, Trek, Specialized, more like a "flavor of the month", they are usually quick to update the model and put in some kind of small change that really doesn't give an advantage or work better, but it ensures a new model and makes it seem like they are "doing something". They aren't inherently bad, you seem to have taken that and ran with it, they are always getting better, but my point is that there are often very good reasons for going with something like a Santa Cruz or Pivot over them, something without a proprietary shock/suspension.
    You are Being ridiculous and spewing BS.

    Flavor of the month? Quick to change? The last epic was FSR with steep head tube and lasted many years with no real change. The new model is a single pivot which shaves 1-1.5 across models, reduces the bearing issues you bitched about and itís a totally different bike. Do I like it? No.

    Trek went from a super fly to the top fuel with a completely different suspension design as well. The top fuel is on its 4th year of the same bike with no other changes than the axle standard and changes with accessory providers.

    Letís not even get into one of the biggest brands in the world, Giant. Shame on them for providing us with super strong plastic Anthem bikes with great bang for buck builds.


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  16. #16
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    Cool story bra.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaimegluna View Post
    DrPaulus

    What is your sugestion about the highball?
    Tks
    The Santa Cruz highball?

    I am not a big fan of hardtails. I seldomly ride them, and every time i do i am dissapointed. But i guess there are at least three reasons to choose one. Price, smooth terrain or weight. If you only ride smooth terrain then a hardtail would probably be the right choice. Hardtails can usually be made cheaper than their full sus counterparts, but xc race bikes are not. there is not that much difference in weight between hardtails and full sus bikes any longer but there is some. So you would probably be saving a few seconds with a hardtail over a full sus bike on some smooth tracks/trails.

    Regarding the highball in particular. Its a hardtail. I cant say i notice much difference between brands. I havent tried the highball, but cant really see why it would be any better or worse than other brand hardtails. But as i said i really do not ride them alot, so someone else would probably be better at recommending a hardtail. If i was buying a hardtail for some reason i would probably find a cheaper brand than SC and get a lighter bike for the price i was willing to pay. But sure, the highball is a good looking bike.

    For something in between the two i think Bart Brentjens mentioned that softails were so good these days that they did not give anything up compared to hardtails. They were more forgiving on the body, and about as light and fast as hardtails. Maybe a look into modern softails could be the ticket if your terrain does not really make sense with a full sus, but you would like a bit more comfort than a hardtail.

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    I appreciate it Paulus

    😉👌🏻👍🏻

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    FWIW I have a sb5.5 and 2 ďcross countryĒ bikes a sb100 and a cannondale f29 hardtail lefty (predecessor to fs-i). The sb100 I use for single track and the f29 for long adventure rides with lots of climbing ie 100+Kms with +4000 meters climbing, tamer single track and the occasional race. The sb100 is a great climber and descender but no dual suspension bike Iíve ever ridden climbs long hills like a hard tail (including my previous trek superfly 9.8 dually with remote lockout which was also a good xc race rig). I would suggest type and location of your riding will help determine what kind of xc bike you should get.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbodabimbo View Post
    I would suggest type and location of your riding will help determine what kind of xc bike you should get.
    Also age, ability and preferences. I raced a few years back on a rigid bike (my fat-bike converted to 29er wheels and tires) and I got pounded to hell, I couldn't take it, all the time it was like trying to break my wrists. The next year, I put a suspension fork on the same. It was better, but still pushing it on descents was scary and still hurt (also exacerbated by the crappy fox float fit performance that would blow through travel and had to be run ultra-stiff with pressure). I decided during that season that a light short-travel XC bike would make XC racing much more enjoyable, and it did. I worked hard and the next season, I was placing top 10 and top 5 expert in the races, I started doing longer races up to 100 miles and the bike simply made it a lot more fun and possible for me to ride. A hardtail is very efficient, both in terms of power and cost, but I feel the younger riders can ride very hard and pound their wrists to hell without blinking twice. I watch the pros during the XC races and notice that many of them run lockout not just on climbs, but most of the time except for the nastiest downhills, to simply be able to pedal faster, that does give you a little speed advantage, but it's sacrificing a lot of suspension cush and some of us just need that cush. 100mm is simply infinitely more cush than rigid, even when you use balloon (plus) tires. If you can ride a hardtail in this and do well, more power to you. I find that they are less common these days at the higher expert ranks, probably because privateers are less able to afford multiple race bikes, but I see them semi-regularly in the pro-ranks, where they appear to be a better tool for some races.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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    Excelent your review tks Iím gonna take it. Iím 38 years thatís my doubt about the hardtail thinking about age and joints injury. I ride twice a day and I take trails in the morning and up road in the afternoon most of the time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    I've been doing this for a while, proprietary crap is often not supported after a few years and becomes a bigger and bigger headache. Even smaller stuff like the dumb specialized yoke-mount they were using a few years ago that limited me to just a couple of shock choices. Don't be naive.
    This is EXACTLY my experience...many of us don't update bikes every couple of years so this is a real factor when manufacturers don't support 4-5 year old bikes. Simple fact...some bikes are known to fall into this category and they are avoided for that reason.

    My buddy has a 2012 FSR SJ 29er where the Fox shock repeatedly failed in cold weather. 'Sorry...that's not available' is all he ever got from dealer/Specialized. They couldn't hook him up with a rebuild or anything because it was so 'special'. He also tried going direct to Fox...nope, that's a Specialized model only. It was like that model never existed and was totally extinct.

    He eventually found a guy on-line who rebuilt it. The guy told him he has countless requests for this exact design shock because Specialized chooses to no longer support their 5 year old bike.

    Unfortunately, it failed again soon after and we went to plan B. Have mechanically savvy friends with a full machine shop. We devised a way to transfer the 'special' yoke to a more common RockShox shock and it's been fine for over a year.
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    Iím gonna take in consideration your review ďďno dual suspension bike Iíve ever ridden climbs long hills like a hard tail ĒĒ
    Tks

  24. #24
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    Really happy with my SC Blur!

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    Same failure on my wifes bike of this vintage, new old stock, failed after six months, got it fixed once, sold it.

    I agree that bikes should be designed around a standard shock design vs the opposite.

    Quote Originally Posted by sturge View Post
    This is EXACTLY my experience...many of us don't update bikes every couple of years so this is a real factor when manufacturers don't support 4-5 year old bikes. Simple fact...some bikes are known to fall into this category and they are avoided for that reason.

    My buddy has a 2012 FSR SJ 29er where the Fox shock repeatedly failed in cold weather. 'Sorry...that's not available' is all he ever got from dealer/Specialized. They couldn't hook him up with a rebuild or anything because it was so 'special'. He also tried going direct to Fox...nope, that's a Specialized model only. It was like that model never existed and was totally extinct.

    He eventually found a guy on-line who rebuilt it. The guy told him he has countless requests for this exact design shock because Specialized chooses to no longer support their 5 year old bike.

    Unfortunately, it failed again soon after and we went to plan B. Have mechanically savvy friends with a full machine shop. We devised a way to transfer the 'special' yoke to a more common RockShox shock and it's been fine for over a year.
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    I've been pretty happy with my Trek Top Fuel. It's 100/100mm, though some people put 120s on the front. I've ridden bikes that are more plush, but those didn't feel quite as responsive as the Trek. It's not the kind of bike that you just plow through things with though, so if you want that, I'd skip it. Over anything but smooth ground, it climbs better than any hardtail I've owned. There's nothing proprietary on it that I can think of, and it's easy to work on.


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    I like your bike 👌🏻. Iím gonna try one. Tks

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    I had a 2003 Stumpjumper FSR for a lot of years. I'm glad the shock never died. It was at least a regular Fox Float so I could get service parts for it, but it was a size that ONLY Specialized used, so I had next to no options for replacements or upgrades.

    One of my wife's bikes (we bought it used) had a proprietary DT Swiss Tricon wheelset. Freehub mechanism was great. But the damn straight pull spokes were threaded at each end, and were treated with f*cking threadlocker that required you to heat them up just to true them. It also had a tendency to not loosen up even after heating. Also required over $100 of proprietary tools to work on them. In the end, the wheels had to be sent to DT Swiss, who replaced them outright.

    That wheelset was my last time f*cking around with proprietary shit.

    Specialized has been especially bad about proprietary stuff over the years. Other brands dabble with that too much, too. Rear shocks seem to be one of the most common places lots of manufacturers get into proprietary parts. At least you can replace a proprietary wheelset easily enough. Cannondale and Giant have played with proprietary stems over the years, too, which really sucks for people wanting to change fit or add some colored bits. Even though Cannondale's Lefty fork is proprietary, at least they've been selling it long enough that you can get them serviced, or replace an old and blown one with a new replacement, or install a more traditional fork, even.

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    Cross country bike best choice

    Quote Originally Posted by jaimegluna View Post
    I like your bike . Iím gonna try one. Tks
    Quote Originally Posted by jaimegluna View Post
    I like your bike . Iím gonna try one. Tks
    Here is my top fuel with 120 and dropper.

    This bike rules. 24.0 with pedals and good tires. Hans Damf/NoNo. But the wheels are off a 9.8 which are heavy. Better wheels would knock off 300 grams.

    The shock is not proprietary length or linkage. The factory shock does have custom valving which helps it stay higher in the travel a little bit.




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    Quote Originally Posted by FJSnoozer View Post
    Here is my top fuel with 120 and dropper.

    This bike rules. 24.0 with pedals and good tires. Hans Damf/NoNo. But the wheels are off a 9.8 which are heavy. Better wheels would knock off 300 grams.

    The shock is not proprietary length or linkage. The factory shock does have custom valving which helps it stay higher in the travel a little bit.
    Looks nice. I have Crossmax Pro Carbons, and the lighter wheels are noticeable vs. the Heists that were on it before. I swapped the shock for a Fox DPS, and it made a big difference. I think mine is around 26.5 lbs, but it's an alloy 8 (got too good of a deal to pass up on closeout).

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    Quote Originally Posted by FJSnoozer View Post
    Letís not even get into one of the biggest brands in the world, Giant. Shame on them for providing us with super strong plastic Anthem bikes with great bang for buck builds.
    What"s wrong with the Giant Anthem?? I'm curious cause I was looking at buying the Advanced 29 Pro 1. for a 5K bike better be good!

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by snakemau View Post
    What"s wrong with the Giant Anthem?? I'm curious cause I was looking at buying the Advanced 29 Pro 1. for a 5K bike better be good!
    He was being factious, but since you ask, it's not the most efficient short-travel bike out there: Giant Anthem 29'' 2018 - Linkage Design

    Giant copied early DW link bikes from years ago, since that time, DW bikes have been refined and Giant can't copy the linkage profile of the current ones, or they'd infringe on the patent. SC, Yeti and Intense all achieve similar good pedaling traits by having fairly level ~100% anti-squat numbers through a good portion of the travel, but they all achieve it by slightly different means. Giant has a lot of slope and therefore, it's going to pedal more mushy up hills when you are cranking hard. Given all of that, as a short-travel XC race rig (light), it's still not going to be horrible and still going to pedal way better than a long-travel bike, but there you have it.

    They are generally good values and they work well for many people.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  33. #33
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    So many good FS bikes out there. But dammit if I still don't love my Pivot Les for the rides with a limited window. It is freaky fast!

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    Ok so seems I will be incline to the Blur as well...now the question is upgrade to the Reserve 25 Carbon rims? its a heck of a warranty what they offer! But can we get those with other hubs besides the DT?

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    Quote Originally Posted by snakemau View Post
    Ok so seems I will be incline to the Blur as well...now the question is upgrade to the Reserve 25 Carbon rims? its a heck of a warranty what they offer! But can we get those with other hubs besides the DT?
    If you are riding XC, and presumably interested in going fast, why would you pick something other than DT?


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    Death from Below.

  36. #36
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    Yes my interest is endurance XC, and was wondering because I have only used Chris King hubs since 1999. My current custom 2006 Spech Epic has a full set of Chris King (hubs, bb and headset). But I need to upgrade to a new 29er hence the question on the Blur wheels and the hubs. SO I have no experience with Dt or any other

  37. #37
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    DT has a long history of reliability and ease of maintenance. You can't really go wrong with them, and if you need quick engagement, they do offer upgrades on the ratchet ring for more POE. In my experience the 36t ratchet is quick enough but some like the higher tooth version.

  38. #38
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    Last year at this time I was looking to get XC bike. At the time I had Santa Cruz Highball from 2012, Vassago Verhauen single speed, and 2013 Santa Cruz 5010. The 5010 is my "big bike" for chunk, gnar and too heavy at 30lbs to race. I was racing my 22.5lbs steel singlespeed last year and it was a blast in short races, but not idea for longer ones. I just don't really like SS for really long races 3.5 to 8hrs. I used my 21.5lbs Highball for that, but I was going fast enough that the DH were just as much work as the climbs so resting was getting hard. Working the hardtail in rocks was possible, but took effort. So I decided to look for a 100mm FS XC bike. After much looking and considering I ended up with a 2018 Specialized Epic. Love the bike as I got it light (22.8lbs) and climbs very well. The brain works keep the back end efficent when seated or standing pedaling, plus its "plush" when in the rocks. Of course not as plush as my 5010 that has 125mm of travel rear /130 front and 2.6 tires, but still the right level of plush for my needs.

    So I did a number of longer training rides (6-8hrs) and 5000 to 8000 feet of climbing to prepare for Breck Epic. That was 200+ and 30k of climbing over 6 days and the epic was excellent for that. I love that it has a threaded bottom bracket and 2 bottle mounts in the frame. That means I can get away without a pack for longer rides/races and for really long backcountry stuff I can carry 100oz bladder on my back and 2 more bottles. Any yes I have used all that on a 7hr ride where I had no access to water stops.

    Now at the time the Santa Cruz Blur was just announced 3 days after I put in my order for my Epic so I never tested that bike. Even so there are many really good bikes in this class many have been listed here. Test ride any that you can do consider options for local service on them. So while Trek and Specialized tend to have more proprietary crap they also have more dealers than most. I do all my own bike work, but still use my shop for certain things.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

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