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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jun 2015

    Looking for honest answers on some 29er options.

    Hi everyone, I'm looking to get a new XC hard tail. My price range is a maximum of 1300. I've been looking at four bikes in particular. I'll mostly be riding XC style trails as thats whats near where I live, some pavement and gravel trails as well, mainly to get me to the forest trails.

    TLDR; The four bikes I have my eye on are the Specialized Rockhopper Pro, the Cannondale Trail 4, the Giant Fathom 29 2 and finally the Trek X-Caliber 8. The last thing is I'm about 6'6 so I will need either an XL or a XXL.

    I figure since they are all so similar its going to be a matter of finding one to ride and test out? Is that the case or is there a gem amongst these bike? Thanks in advance for any help guys!

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Just buy the one that fits well and appeals to you. regarding fit though, they will all pretty much fit well in a similar size. Stems can be made longer/shorter/higher/lower and bars can be wider/narrower. At that price point, pick the one you like the best.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Look at the geometry of each bike. Reach will be important for your height for cockpit space. Compare the reach for the largest sizes. Look at a Kona Honzo AL. It's got 510mm reach for an XL and Boost hub spacing for wider rims/tires with slacker headtube angle.
    Sell the fork after you get this one.

    X-Caliber 8 23" has a reach of 480mm.
    Fathom 2 29 XL reach 457mm. This is cramped. Fathom 2 27.5 is 460mm.
    RHopper is 460mm.
    Last edited by eb1888; 05-16-2018 at 10:34 AM.

  4. #4
    SR Suntour
    Join Date
    May 2006
    If you like the Fathom, it's worth it to save up for the Fathom 1. The modern drivetrain and the folding tires are more than worth it. But the real star is the Axon fork, it's SR Suntour's top end XC fork and works well and is easy to adjust and service.

    I owned a Cannondale Trail and while it was the most comfortable alloy hardtail I've ever been on I also cracked the frame so I can't recommend it.

    Anything from Trek and Specialized is a solid option too, (as is the Kona) so you probably can't go wrong (buy the bike you "like" the most from the best shop.)
    SR Suntour guru. envelo rep.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation: JoePAz's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    At 6'6" the biggest issue is finding a good fit. Everything else is secondary. Riders at your height tend to start looking at custom, but that will cost more.
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation: jeremy3220's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    The Fathom is definitely too short. I'm 6'5" and already made that mistake.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    One of my old riding/racing buddies was 6'6", I think he was happiest on XXL, a rockhopper iirc. I'm only 6'3", so XL is good for me, I think you'd feel a little cramped on an XL, but I think Giant XLs might be a bit larger than other XLs.
    Definitely shop used, there's some great deals on couple year old hardtails, you should be able to get a nice stumpjumper used in your price range.
    skidding is the signature of the novice; learn how to use your brakes.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation: sissypants's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    My honest answer? Go open mold if you have lots of know how, otherwise used. My brother just built a 24-pound 27.5er hardtail (all-carbon) from Chiner parts for $1200 with last years Fox factory fork. It takes a lot of research but can be done. It's a $3000-level rig without the name brand stickers and fancy paint job. He's fast on it!

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