Epic/brain vs. Anthem rp23- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Epic/brain vs. Anthem rp23

    Trying to decide between the two models mentioned. Please post experience the pros and cons. I ride mostly long distance races, marathon and bike travel with long days in the sadlle. Terrain mostly roots forest xc Stuff. I used to ride an ellsworth evolve thar i really liked.
    Hope to get some input.

    Cheers J.

  2. #2
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    The Brain pedals like a hardtail, and opens up on bumps. It is better than you will believe until you ride it. ProPedal works well too, until you get to smaller bumps or low speed bumps where you just aren't hitting them hard enough to break through the platform. Small bumps and low speed bumps are where the Brain kills ProPedal. Technical riding with the Brain is really nice.

    On the other hand, you can adjust the ProPedal on the fly with most bikes, crank it full firm for smoother stuff and open it up when it gets rough. You can't do that with the Brain.

  3. #3
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    Can't speak on the Anthem at all, but I've ridden an epic w/brain (26er) since 2006. I love the bike and the brain. I've heard some people had problems with the early brain and rear shock, but mine has worked flawlessly for 4 years. I do mostly 3-4 hour XC rides on it but also use it on advanced technical slickrock - which it is certainly not what it is designed for. It gives an extremely comfortable and very responsive ride on XC singletrack. Climbs like a mtn goat - I watch other people's suspensions sagging while mine is staying firm hammering up hills. It gives give you the coosh when you need it and is light enough to flick around on the rocky trails at speed. The only time the brain feels odd is when I'm riding slickrock - smooth and flat for a stretch (so the shock is really stiff) then you hit a big drop or step and that first hit feels like your on a hardtail. However, as I said its not designed for that. On the XC trails the "dampening" effect is so smooth as to never be noticable - it just feels perfect. I always ride it all the way "soft" and only ever turn it to fully "firm" if I know I'll be on pavement for a while to get to a trailhead or on the 50 min uphill dirtroad ride to get to the top of the downhill.
    Only problem I've ever had - 2 weeks ago I noticed a significant crack on the bottom of the chainstay near the BB. Because that piece is not part of the main frame (comes off at the hinges for the suspension) it was not covered by the lifetime warranty (only 1 year). So I had to pay for it ($110). I do NOT consider this a faulty frame, but blame it on my use of the bike in ways that it was not designed for.
    Over all I think its an excellent choice for XC, especially if you also like hardtails (my other bike is a fully rigid SS.

  4. #4
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    Does anyone actually use pro pedal on an anthem? Every anthem rider I've asked leaves it off.

  5. #5
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    Tallboy

    Quote Originally Posted by janowitz
    Trying to decide between the two models mentioned. Please post experience the pros and cons. I ride mostly long distance races, marathon and bike travel with long days in the sadlle. Terrain mostly roots forest xc Stuff. I used to ride an ellsworth evolve thar i really liked.
    Hope to get some input.

    Cheers J.
    What you describe sounds perfectly suited for a Tallboy...I'm just sayin'...

  6. #6
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    You should try them both. I'm a big fan of VPP type suspensions. They feel more natural to me. When I've ridden bikes with brain shocks it seemed like I could feel the thing activating. I'm a little OCD but it was like a thock, thock, thock, every time I hit a root or rock. Maybe it's just me, but I don't like the feedback.

    It seems like the brain is a band-aid for an older suspension design and it seems a little overly complex. The new 29er Anthem X 1 is supposed to weigh in at 26.25 lbs stock. I would think you would need a more expensive Epic to reach that weight in a 29er.

    Bottom line is probably to ride them both and get whichever fits/feels the best if you're not sure.

    I'm putting my deposit in on an Anthem X 29er tomorrow. Mediums are supposed to ship towards the end of September. I think the smalls can be had now.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by frontierwolf
    You should try them both. I'm a big fan of VPP type suspensions. They feel more natural to me. When I've ridden bikes with brain shocks it seemed like I could feel the thing activating. I'm a little OCD but it was like a thock, thock, thock, every time I hit a root or rock. Maybe it's just me, but I don't like the feedback.

    It seems like the brain is a band-aid for an older suspension design and it seems a little overly complex. The new 29er Anthem X 1 is supposed to weigh in at 26.25 lbs stock. I would think you would need a more expensive Epic to reach that weight in a 29er.

    Bottom line is probably to ride them both and get whichever fits/feels the best if you're not sure.

    I'm putting my deposit in on an Anthem X 29er tomorrow. Mediums are supposed to ship towards the end of September. I think the smalls can be had now.
    Thanks for the feedback. I tried them both in 26" wheelsize. The Anthem was a lot like my Evolve. Soft, but responsive and agile. I felt in control and everything was in the right place. Just like riding my old bike. (that I got stolen).
    The Epic was just a better fit. It felt perfect, and a bit more XC race like (the way I like it). But as pointed out, there was the "klonk", that felt just like when your tire hits something hard and it goes through to the rim. I might be a bit OCD on that point as well. The dealer said that everybody gets used to that, and that it eventually gets reassuring. Who knows.
    Anyway... I am going for the Epic (that is a bit cheaper, allowing me to buy some Stans Crest).

  8. #8
    Naturally Organic
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    Quote Originally Posted by janowitz
    The Epic was just a better fit. It felt perfect, and a bit more XC race like.
    From what I have read, the Camber 29er is a bit more trail, but it does not have the brain. It is less expensive than the 29er FSR Epic & SJ models. The 29er has 100mm of travel. The Camber may be the perfect mix for you, FWIW. Just a thought.

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