First 29er - Cannondale vs. Niner vs. Salsa- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    First 29er - Cannondale vs. Niner vs. Salsa

    Hello all,

    I am looking at purchsing my first 29er. I currently ride a 26 inch FS RM Element as my XC race bike, but I am missing the feel of a hardtail (been off one for 3 years now). I am fairly tall 6'4 and weigh 195 lbs so I thought a 29er HT would be a great second bike.

    I plan to use this bike for XC racing, training and just riding. I ride/race tight, twisty singletrack with a fair amount of roots and rocks and a decent amount of climbing.

    I have narrowed my bike choice down to three:

    2010 Cannondale F1 Alloy

    2009 Niner Air 9

    2009 Salsa Dos Niner

    The Cannondale comes fully built obviously where as with the Dos Niner and Air9 I would have to build my own bike - which could get costly. Geometry between the three is relatively consistent and all three seem like they are built for racing.

    So I guess I am looking for ride opinions and opinions from anyone who races these bikes. Do the 29er wheels actually soak up bumps better? Will the softail feature of the Dos Niner be overkill - if so should I consider the Mamasita?

    Does the Scandium of the Salsa and the Niner offer better comfort over the Cannondale aluminum?

  2. #2
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    I own a Salsa Mamasita and have done several demo rides on Cannondale 29ers. The Cannondales were OK but were nothing special to me. There was nothing really wrong with them but, for me, the Mamasita was a lot better. I love the handling, it climbs well, and I find it quite comfortable.

    I cannot offer an opinion of the Niner. I've never ridden one.

  3. #3
    Did I catch a niner+?
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    Quote Originally Posted by XC23
    Does the Scandium of the Salsa and the Niner offer better comfort over the Cannondale aluminum?
    If Cannondale does one thing its aluminum, a lefty will make a light bike for racing.

    As for the other two I have no experience with but I do like Niners, and building a bike can be fun and educational.

    pink

  4. #4
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    of those choices i would go with the air 9.

    fwiw speedgoat sells complete salsa and niners.

  5. #5
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    Buy the Cannondale. The BB30 and the Lefty are superior to anything else around. The new Flash frames are a re-design, have not ridden one yet. I have a 2009 29er 2 and I'm very happy with it. Many thousands of miles on it this year, around 7000, no problems.

  6. #6
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    speedgoat has Niner Air 9 packages with X9 for 2200.

  7. #7
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    FWIW, I went from a 3" sus race bike, to the Salsa Mamasita, which is Scandium with Carbon seat stays. The geometry of the mama vs. the dos niner is a bit different I believe (the mama went through an 09 geometry tweek, to work with the more offset 09 reba and fox 29... and it is bueno!!! The dos niner did not... not that it's not a great ride).

    I have got to believe the shaped carbon seat stays add some compliance to smooth out the trails. I will say, I DO NOT miss my rear suspension at all... the ride is smooth, and (for me) tolerable for epic 5+ hr rides, so, by the seat of my pants... they work! It is a fantastic racer with sharp handling (better than I expected, as I compare it to a 26 titus racerx and moots zirkel). It is 23.3 lbs dressed to race, plenty light for weight not to be a real factor over the course of a 25 mile race... all in all, it's a 29'r race bike at heart, that can double for everyday XC duty and rock.

    So +1 for a Salsa Mamasita, highly recommended
    "Racing cyclocross exposes the truth, it's the biggest reason many people do not race it"

  8. #8
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    Another vote for Salsa Mamasita. Carbon seat stays make it a comfortable short or long-haul hardtail and it's lots of fun to ride, it's stable, responsive, gets up and goes. BTW, the Dos Niner comes as a complete bike from QBP bike distributor and also a bunch of online retailers like Speedgoat, RBikes, Webcyclery and more. You can get different builds in completes too.

  9. #9
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    Out of your choices, I tried the Cannondale and it didn't do a thing for me. I tried the Niner EMD (same geometry as the Air9, but in AL) and really liked it. It was my second choice next to the Felt Nine Race I wound up getting. I haven't tried the Dos Niner, so can't offer anything on that one.

  10. #10
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    THanks for the responses, pleas ekeep them coming.

    One of the reasons I like the Cannondale option is because it is avaialbel locally whereas the Niner and the Salsa would have to be interent purchased (Not opposed to it, but would like to support the LBS if possible). THe Cannondale is also available for a test ride - so I will tak eit out and see how it handles etc.

    ANy thoughts on going with the Niner MCR over the Air - I hear that the reynolds tubing really gives a comfortable ride, but that it could still be used for racing.

  11. #11
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    For what it's worth, I have a Cannondale and when I go 29'er it will be a steel bike, I've always had C'dales and the uber rigidness is starting to wear on me a little.

  12. #12
    just ride
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    Quote Originally Posted by XC23

    One of the reasons I like the Cannondale option is because it is avaialbel locally whereas the Niner and the Salsa would have to be interent purchased (Not opposed to it, but would like to support the LBS if possible).
    Hey XC!

    Thanks for considering the Mamasita! I just wanted to point out that we opened up our dealer channel this summer, and if there is not a Salsa dealer (with territory) in your area, that means the availability to purchase is open to all QBP accounts in your area. So, either way, a local shop should be able to get you one!

    Ride and Smile,
    Tim, Salsa Cycles
    Tires for real rides: www.terrenetires.com

  13. #13
    just ride
    Reputation: chequamagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by strat819
    FWIW, I went from a 3" sus race bike, to the Salsa Mamasita, which is Scandium with Carbon seat stays. The geometry of the mama vs. the dos niner is a bit different I believe (the mama went through an 09 geometry tweek, to work with the more offset 09 reba and fox 29... and it is bueno!!! The dos niner did not... not that it's not a great ride).
    Thanks for the good words on our Mamasita -

    I just wanted to point out that the geometry tweak that the Mamasita received was to actually make it the same geometry as the Dos, a frame that was already working quite well with the longer-offset front forks. Now both bikes work really well with the forks, and handle almost identically! That is why the Dos was not changed.

    Ride and Smile,
    Tim, Salsa Cycles
    Tires for real rides: www.terrenetires.com

  14. #14
    Always Learning
    Reputation: BruceBrown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by XC23
    Hello all,

    I am looking at purchsing my first 29er. I currently ride a 26 inch FS RM Element as my XC race bike, but I am missing the feel of a hardtail (been off one for 3 years now). I am fairly tall 6'4 and weigh 195 lbs so I thought a 29er HT would be a great second bike.

    I plan to use this bike for XC racing, training and just riding. I ride/race tight, twisty singletrack with a fair amount of roots and rocks and a decent amount of climbing.

    I have narrowed my bike choice down to three:

    2010 Cannondale F1 Alloy

    2009 Niner Air 9

    2009 Salsa Dos Niner

    The Cannondale comes fully built obviously where as with the Dos Niner and Air9 I would have to build my own bike - which could get costly. Geometry between the three is relatively consistent and all three seem like they are built for racing.

    So I guess I am looking for ride opinions and opinions from anyone who races these bikes. Do the 29er wheels actually soak up bumps better? Will the softail feature of the Dos Niner be overkill - if so should I consider the Mamasita?

    Does the Scandium of the Salsa and the Niner offer better comfort over the Cannondale aluminum?
    The Dos is not overkill by any stretch of the imagination with the 1" of rear suspension. It rides as a HT with just a little bit of the edge taken off the rear. When combined with running your tires tubeless at some nice supple psi choices, it makes the rough almost tolerable enough to not wince all the time during a race.

    <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/3756060691/" title="DosNinerConAspens by singingsingletracker, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.static.flickr.com/3424/3756060691_a631a1b932_b.jpg" width="1024" height="768" alt="DosNinerConAspens" /></a>

    If anything, at your height and weight I wouldn't be ruling out 3" and 4" full suspension 29"er race bikes either (Lenz, Niner, Fisher, Specialized, Titus) - even though you miss the feel of a HT.

    BB

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by chequamagon
    Hey XC!

    Thanks for considering the Mamasita! I just wanted to point out that we opened up our dealer channel this summer, and if there is not a Salsa dealer (with territory) in your area, that means the availability to purchase is open to all QBP accounts in your area. So, either way, a local shop should be able to get you one!

    Ride and Smile,
    Tim, Salsa Cycles
    Tim you have a PM

  16. #16
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    I've ridden all of the mentioned bikes, the Dos is super sweet, but I would buy the cannondale just for the lefty, you will not find a better fork, hands down. I want a Dos w/ a Lefty and Project 321 adapter, but just can't swing the cost right now.

  17. #17
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    I own a new Dos Niner and I'm loving it. My previous bike was a Cannondale Scalpel and so I have a Carbon Lefty hanging around. I might rebuild the Lefty and put a Project 321 Adapter on it, but the Reba Team maxle is pretty smooth. At 24.5 lbs for a toughed-out, XL sized 29er, it's very light. I'm the same size as XC23 and run big 185mm Surly cranks.

    Quote Originally Posted by jpcoll01
    I've ridden all of the mentioned bikes, the Dos is super sweet, but I would buy the cannondale just for the lefty, you will not find a better fork, hands down. I want a Dos w/ a Lefty and Project 321 adapter, but just can't swing the cost right now.

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