Spearfish vs. Anthem29 vs. Camber 29- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Spearfish vs. Anthem29 vs. Camber 29

    i'm looking for a (budget) 2K'ish FS 29er.

    I've got (2) FS 26ers; a circa '02 kona bear and a SC Blur Classic....really dig the Blur, can't afford a Tallboy.

    I ride mostly XC, pretty rocky, fairly steep at times (PHX area) and am planning to move back to North Dakota next summer.

    The Salsa Spearfish is $2,250, the Giant Anthem X3 is around $2,300 and the Specialized Camber 29 Elite is $1,850....camber Pro is around $2,600.

    I weigh 215, 6-3 and would like to have a stiff chassis when I hammer on it. I can really feel my classic blur twist under force when I pedal.....my old Kona is much stiffer, IMO. I'm generally looking for a good climbing trail bike that can handle fast mid-week rides and slower and longer weekend trail-riding beatdowns.

    I'm just looking for some opinions on how these bikes handle various trail conditions when compared to one another. I'm planning to demo a camber soon, but the other two bikes are really tough to find....the Giants are still rolling into dealers and the Spearfish is suppose to be coming in mid-January.

    a few general comments:

    Is the Maestro as good as everyone says (everything I've read says so)?

    Is it fair to say the Maestro is the least proven of these designs?

    What was the big recall on the anthem all about?

    Who is the best about warranty stuff? Salsa sounds like they have a great reputation.

    I really like how simple and durable a single pivot is...my Blur Classic has made this painfully clear......Blur ProPack, Blur Propack, Blur Propack.

    The rims on the Camber Elite look suspicious....Alex rims?

    The geometry on all of these look really similar except the headtube angle on the Camber 29er.....it's 70 and the other two are 71.

    Isn't the FSR a 'dated' suspension design or does it just work really well and that's why they've been using it for 15 years?

    which of these is the best value....which will need the least amount of 'upgrades' down the road?

    am I thinking about this to much and riding to little?
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  2. #2
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    those are some good questions but all 3 bikes have pros and cons to their suspension. its a personal preference with all of them. there is nothing wrong with them though so either of those bikes will be great. i would ask myself the question, do i ride enough different bikes to notice the difference myself?

    i think the best concern you have to really harp on is the stiffness since you are a big guy and you already notice your blur noodling on you.

    and if you are buying the lowest model in these bikes, your gonna have components like alex rims instead of roval rims. no big deal, if they break down the road, call stans and get some flows.

    "needing" upgrades is a relative term. some people will just be happy to have a 2k bike and ride it for years without even touching the grips.

    that said, i havent ridden any of those bike so i have no idea which frame is best for you so i am no help at all

  3. #3
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    I have nothing but great things to say about my Anthem X 29er 3. I feel that as far as 2011 FS 29er bikes, the Anthem is an incredible bang for the buck. Comparatively you get Fox suspension both in the fork and in the rear, tapered headtube, thru axle, and pressfit bottom bracket.

    I've ridden a lot of 29ers and currently still own a Fisher G2 hardtail and GT Peace 9r steel frame SS. The Anthem fits my style perfectly and is the best handling 29er I've been on. I just click with the geometry.

    As far Maestro goes, I notice very very little sag if any at all when cranking down on the pedals. I also never feel loss of power when climbing. I weigh in as a 142lb rider and have the rear suspension set at 145psi and I use approximately 80% of its travel across a standard ride.

    All that said, the Anthem is my first owned suspension bike and the first FS 29er I've put some serious time on.

  4. #4
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    Here's a pic of my setup. Stock other than handlebar (Giant Contact Riser), WTB slt saddle, and Stan's Crest wheelset.

    As pictured (medium frame size), she weighs in at 27lb 5oz.

    FYI - I weighed the stock Giant S-XC2 wheelset at my LBS and they are 2170g w/o skewers and rotors.


  5. #5
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    I may be full of crap but I've heard the Maestro suspension doesn't work as well for us bigger guys. Just something you might want to look into.... My next bike will probably be a complete spearfish to replace my Dos Niner.

    Just buy as bike, ride it and enjoy
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    loggahead your pic is not showing mind if I ask how tall you are and what size inseam? Compared to past bikes how is the saddle to bar drop on your setup? I am probably in between small and medium and leaning toward small with longer stem possibly.

    PM if you want.

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    I am a biggish guy (220 pounds) and normally really notice any rear flex. I have the Anthem 29er, and have not noticed any flex so far, this thing is solid.

    As for pedalling eficiency, this is my second full sus Giant and this one is way more efficient than my old trance, did a ride around some single track and gravel roads the other day and did not even think once about turning on my pro pedal, and used pretty much all my travel.

    Have not tried the others for comparason sorry.

  8. #8
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    Based on the component packages, I think the Spearfish or the Anthem would be the best deal. You being a bigger guy..I would steer more towards the Anthem over the Spearfish since it doesn't rely on stays flexing as part of the suspension. I like the component package on the Spearfish the best though, but most likely...the Anthem will be the best value.

    Yes there was a recall on the Anthem 29, but it will be resolved before they hit the stores. This was mandated by whatever agency checks for safety on products entering the U.S. consumer market. If you hunt MTBR, there is an article about that..and I am sure there is plenty if you google it.
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  9. #9
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    Im usually anywhere between 185 and 205 and my old x2 and my new 29er x3 all feel fine suspension wise. Don't ever use propedal either.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Cabletwitch
    I may be full of crap but I've heard the Maestro suspension doesn't work as well for us bigger guys. Just something you might want to look into.... My next bike will probably be a complete spearfish to replace my Dos Niner.

    Just buy as bike, ride it and enjoy

  10. #10
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    Bumping this thread for advice on Anthem 29er vs. Spearfish

    I currently ride an '07 Salsa El Mariachi all over Front Range, CO. Love the bike and it's great for my local trails, but on longer rides (20mi+) or on trails I'm unfamiliar with I start to get beat up by the end of the day (Whole Enchilada, Govt. Trail, etc.). I think this is partly the nature of hardtails, and partly because I don't know the best lines when I ride new trails.

    This bike will primarily be used on longer XCish rides all over. I want a bike that I can take with me on weekend trips where I'll be riding all day on new (to me) trails. I've read lots about the Anthem 29er, but there seems to be less info out there on the Spearfish. Has anybody ridden both (preferably in the West)?

    Edit: Before anybody recommends a Tallboy or an Epic, both have been eliminated from consideration ($$$$$$$$ )

  11. #11
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    Suspension:
    Anthem

    Geometry:
    Spearfish

    Weight:
    Spearfish

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    h2otaco care to elaborate on the Geometry comparison?

    From what I'm seeing, the Spearfish Geo looks pretty close to my El Mar, which I like. The Salsas have slightly shorter stays (good) but are longer bikes overall. That's all I'm seeing from a ride geometry standpoint. Am I missing something?

    From a fit geo standpoint I think the shorter eff. top tube on the Anthem is better for me; I feel a bit stretched on the El Mar w/o a short stem.

    Weight I'm not as concerned about. I'm not racing, and my El Mar is pretty portly for a hardtail; I expect either one will either match or beat it's weight.

  13. #13
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    A new option that just came about that is within your budget is the Santa Cruz Superlight 29. Another great option by an excellent bike company!
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by moonman07 View Post
    h2otaco care to elaborate on the Geometry comparison?

    From what I'm seeing, the Spearfish Geo looks pretty close to my El Mar, which I like. The Salsas have slightly shorter stays (good) but are longer bikes overall. That's all I'm seeing from a ride geometry standpoint. Am I missing something?

    From a fit geo standpoint I think the shorter eff. top tube on the Anthem is better for me; I feel a bit stretched on the El Mar w/o a short stem.

    Weight I'm not as concerned about. I'm not racing, and my El Mar is pretty portly for a hardtail; I expect either one will either match or beat it's weight.
    It just seems like a very well balanced bike that would handle very well.

    Head angle... 71 deg. Not to steep, not too slack. For what it's worth the Giant has the same HA. Salsa has the longest TT and just about the perfect wheelbase IMO... and a pretty low BB. Something that a lot of people don't like because of pedal strikes, but I tend to think it makes for a better handling bike.

  15. #15
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    I live on the Front Range, and I recently bought a Anthem 29er. I've had it for roughly a month, and it has been great for me. My longest ride so far has been in the 3.5 hour range, but I'm not concerned too much about the comfort of the bike on epic rides. It has handled the technical stuff I've thrown at it just fine too. I demoed a Spearfish too and nearly bought it on the spot. The comfort of the cockpit was amazing. I could tell, however, that I'd be wanting more travel on the spearfish, and that hasn't been an issue on the Anthem. I was going to hold out long enough to give the Horsethief a go, but I caught a good deal on a 2011 Anthem and went with that. The Anthem seemed like the best deal of the three, and there were aspects of the 2011 I like better than what they did on the 2012s. I did put a riser bar on it and switched out saddles. I ride primarily XC stuff and the anthem just chews it up.

  16. #16
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    The budget build aluminum Tallboy from Santa Cruz (Dxc 29) is currently on sale for $2300 per their website - Santa Cruz Bicycles

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    I should ask if you are buying new or used? I have been riding a Salsa Big Mama for a year now. With a 5" fork in front and beefy tires, this thing does everything my Yeti 575 does and climbs even better. You can pick them up used pretty cheap.
    That said I took my Spearfish for its first ride tonight. Its a rocketship, BUT, I have it built up way light. I can feel it bouncing around where the BM or the Yeti would be smooth over the rocks and roots. But on the flats and climbing it was flying. The suspension seemed like just enough. I'm on the east coast, lots of roots and rocks and the ups and downs are short and steep, no extended climbs.
    Now I have to decide which bike to sell, the Yeti or the BM. This is a tough decision. I want to keep the light Spearfish, and a heavier duty bike.
    If I had to have just one bike though, it would be the Big Mama. It just does everything well. However, I have to wonder how the Spearfish would be set up like the BM. Heavier wheels,fatter tires and maybe a 5" fork. Could be the perfect bike.
    The frame is only 5.5 lbs so if you ever wanted to upgrade, you have a super light frame to add onto. It also depends on how tough you are on your frames.
    I weigh 190 geared up and I have never broke a frame. Yet my bro in law at the same weight seems to break one a year-lol.

    As to your question though, I doubt you could go wrong with any of those, and I especially like the Santa Cruz option. They have always made a great bike.

    Sorry for the rambling

  18. #18
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    5" fork not for SF

    Quote Originally Posted by tomboyjr View Post
    I have to wonder how the Spearfish would be set up like the BM. Heavier wheels,fatter tires and maybe a 5" fork. Could be the perfect bike.

    Sorry for the rambling
    That be a Horsethief, not Spearfish.
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  19. #19
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    I've had my Anthem X 29er for about a month now and I really like it, and have nothing but good things to say about the Maestro suspension. I like climbing, and notice very little bob. It descends well on minor rocky terrain. Haven't taken anything incredibly rough on it (have a trail bike for that), so I can't comment on the extremely technical downhills.

    Edit: Spearfish was on my list to look at for XC also, but I got a very good deal on a closeout 2011 X3 on the Anthem, so it wasn't a hard decision.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dubdryver View Post
    A new option that just came about that is within your budget is the Santa Cruz Superlight 29. Another great option by an excellent bike company!

    Quote Originally Posted by BillT View Post
    The budget build aluminum Tallboy from Santa Cruz (Dxc 29) is currently on sale for $2300 per their website - Santa Cruz Bicycles
    More bike recs! I should've known! Santa Cruz makes great stuff, but I've never been that impressed by the value on their lower level complete bikes. You get an awesome frame, but everything else seems like a compromise. At that point I'd rather just buy the frameset and build to my liking. Good recs, but I think I'll cling to my preconceived notions and unsubstantiated claims here

    Quote Originally Posted by btx View Post
    I could tell, however, that I'd be wanting more travel on the spearfish, and that hasn't been an issue on the Anthem. I was going to hold out long enough to give the Horsethief a go, but I caught a good deal on a 2011 Anthem and went with that.
    This is useful info for me. I'm curious I'll regret the 80mm rear on the Spearfish. I've got the hardtail already, so I will always have the short travel option. I'm thinking that I should err on the side of extra travel with this bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by tomboyjr View Post
    I should ask if you are buying new or used?
    Buying new. Used FS bikes freak me out. The deals on '11 Anthem 29ers are awesome right now, so I'll likely go that route if I can snatch one up before they're gone. If not, it sounds like the Spearfish is a pretty solid option (still would like to here more about the Salsa if anyone has more input!).

  21. #21
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    I know 2 guys that are running 5" forks on their Spearfish, both love them.

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    Spearfish has the shortest warranty of any you posted. You should consider a Scott Spark if you want a stiff frame, good component spec per pricing, and twinloc allows you to lock out front and rear shocks remotely for climbing
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by h2otaco View Post
    Suspension:
    Anthem

    Geometry:
    Spearfish

    Weight:
    Spearfish
    Anthem X29 frame is lighter than Spearfish.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by rapsac View Post
    Anthem X29 frame is lighter than Spearfish.
    Could you provide some actual proof of this?
    I am pretty sure you are incorrect.

    Almost all Spearfish frames have been found to be close to 5lb
    where the AnthemX 29 frame is over 6lb.
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  25. #25
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    I pulled this from another thread. I have the Anthem X29 in a medium thread

    [email protected] posted this about a year ago.

    OK so i'm bored at the shop in a snowstorm, i'll bite...
    Large Anthem 29 frame with RP23, headset cups and seat collar- exactly how it comes out of the box...5lb 8oz



  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by dubdryver View Post
    Could you provide some actual proof of this?
    I am pretty sure you are incorrect.

    Almost all Spearfish frames have been found to be close to 5lb
    where the AnthemX 29 frame is over 6lb.
    Thank you... yes.

  27. #27
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    Anthem x29 large frame with monarch rt shock 2486 grams = 5.48 lbs (my own frame, weighed with feedback scale)
    So, perhaps equal weight, but like to see proof of large Spearfish frame with shock ;-)

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  28. #28
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    One more

    Quote Originally Posted by tomboyjr View Post
    I know 2 guys that are running 5" forks on their Spearfish, both love them.
    Include fast540 thats on here unless he's already one of your 2.
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  29. #29
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    Spearfish weights:

    http://m.bikeradar.com/gear/category...shock-11-41963

    http://forums.mtbr.com/29er-bikes/sp...ed-681329.html

    Seems Spearfish is a bit heavier, but not by much.

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  30. #30
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    My medium Salsa weighed 5.5 lbs even with headset and BB.

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    I didnt ride it myself, but my buddy just demo'ed the latest Spearfish.

    According to him, it was a fantastic bike except for one thing. BB height.

    He got a lot of pedal strikes and chain ring hits on our usual night ride. This compared to none on his GF Marlin.

    When he returned the bike, the shop said they made a mistake on the shock pressure. They had it set for 180 instead of the 200 he is.

    YMMV

  33. #33
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    FWIW, saving weight on the frame (within reason) for a larger rider (over 180# maybe?) is false economy in my opinion - assuming equivalent build quality.

    The extra durability / reliability is worth it to me.

    Now, if all that weight difference in on the tire/rim ... well ... that's different.

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    I demo both the Anthem and the Spear Fish i wound up with the spear fish= I like how it climb better than the anthem ,the anthem went down hill just a little better .I ride ride east coast tech,fast xc and race .i love the fish btw got a spearfish 3 stock it wt 29lbs put my race wheels on and change seat,seatpost and stem =26.5lbs

  35. #35
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    Ok, thanks. Just about equal for equal frame size then. Good, since my wife may not like riding the same bike as me. Spearfish is an option now as well since I want to build a really light 29er for her without breaking the bank..

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    I'm glad someone posted this since I've been waiting to get enough posts to start this thread myself. I know there are at least 3 threads before, but those were 2010 & 2011 models. Ever since I tried a friend's Gary Fisher Hi-Fi delux, I've been coveting a 29er FS. (Rented a Mach 429 that was great as well.)

    I'm currently waffling between the Cambre and the Anthem X2 here as well (No X3 in Canada I think.) I don't know if the specs are different in Canada, but I noticed the swap from Fox to Rockshox on the the 2012 X2 here.
    <links to the two bikes deleted since ny post count is too low. I must say that mtbr is the most non-user friendly forum I've encountered for newbies. Now I understand the POST#6 posts that I've seen.> The bikes are easily found on the two respective sites.

    Both will sneak under my budget of Can$2500 for the base model, but I am nervous about getting the "basic-est" components as I'm a fan of riding, not servicing my bike. Here in Canada, they both have RockShox and Avid X1 brakes.

    I've been thinking of breaking the bank to get the better components on the Anthem X1, but I'm not sure I can go with just a 2x10 drive train. Decisions!!!!

    Anything will probably be an improvement over my 6 year-old Trek 4900 Alpha, but this is big $ for me so I waffle waffle waffle - Suggestions very much appreciated.

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    An interesting discussion. I am just getting back into mountain biking after a few years off and too many extra lbs in the wrong places. I am quite a big guy at 6'3 and about 250lbs. Hopefully not as fat as you might think, as I do a lot of weight lifting.

    I was riding an Orange Sub 5 which is about 10 years old and figured it would be a good idea to get a new ride!

    I was looking at the Camber and Anthem, Specialized are very popular here in the UK at the moment but after some of the comments above I am leaning towards the Anthem now

    My budget would be about $3000 although not sure how the prices my compare against UK prices.

  38. #38
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    i am 6'4" and 230lbs [although working on that!] ... i was looking at both the anthem and the camber last year ... i have ridden both and bought the camber pro 29er ... i really like this bike and it gets better the more i ride it ... it took me a while to get used to it after many years of rigid 29er riding ...

    the anthem is still a nice bike, i have ridden last years and this years models and they both still impress me ... last years model here was the shiny silver colour with bright blue cabling that did nothing for me ... nice components for the price though ...
    "old enough to know better. too old to care."

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnUK View Post
    An interesting discussion. I am just getting back into mountain biking after a few years off and too many extra lbs in the wrong places. I am quite a big guy at 6'3 and about 250lbs. Hopefully not as fat as you might think, as I do a lot of weight lifting.

    I was riding an Orange Sub 5 which is about 10 years old and figured it would be a good idea to get a new ride!

    I was looking at the Camber and Anthem, Specialized are very popular here in the UK at the moment but after some of the comments above I am leaning towards the Anthem now

    My budget would be about $3000 although not sure how the prices my compare against UK prices.
    I've got an Anthem X0 29er and my wife rides an Epic Comp 29er. The Epic pedals uphill very well (the Brain shock really does work) but the rear wheel locks up REALLY easily under downhill braking - a weakness of the FSR design.

    The Anthem doesn't have any significant weakness that I've found, and component spec on the X0 is outstanding value for money compared to the Specialized and Gray Fishers that I also had on my shopping list last year. I was slightly concerned about the standover height but have not found that a problem at all. I was also concerned about the 2x10 drivetrain but did the maths a found that the difference between the 2x10 and 2x10 drivetrains was that the lowest ratio was only a fraction higher - which is more than outweighed by doing a lot less shifting out on the trails.

  40. #40
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    I'd believe rear wheel lockup more a function of tire + brake + rider than rear suspension. I've been riding far style since 2002 in a huge variety of conditions (wet, dry, hardpack, loose, rocky gnar, short travel, long travel, slow, and fast) and have never noticed a problem in that way.

    Could be bike specific i guess, too.

    Heard nothing bad about Maestro though. I kind of believe system rigidity is easier to accomplish than with FSR and it's long components.


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  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by bear View Post
    I'd believe rear wheel lockup more a function of tire + brake + rider than rear suspension. I've been riding far style since 2002 in a huge variety of conditions (wet, dry, hardpack, loose, rocky gnar, short travel, long travel, slow, and fast) and have never noticed a problem in that way.

    Could be bike specific i guess, too.
    My wife noticed it straight away on the test ride and got the shop to swap the tire for something with more tooth, but the rear wheel still locks up without much provocation. This is her 4th FS bike since 1998 and having ridden behind her extensively since then it's the first bike she's had this issue with. It doesn't seem to slow her down much but it is quite noticeable. The previous ride was a 2008 GF Hi-Fi 29er - single pivot rear end but without the Horst link: and no problems with locking the rear wheel. Having ridden the Epic myself I don't think it's the brakes - I really have to hang over the back of the saddle to get decent braking traction downhill.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMac47 View Post
    Include fast540 thats on here unless he's already one of your 2.
    My spearfish w/ a 120mm fork takes my 200# butt all over its my fav bike for everything it climbs decends and pedals awsome.its stiff and handles killer,ive even done a few cx races on this bike.i would say this is the best bike ive owned since my 1989 ibis and that bike only gets the nod based on longevity,but ive had my sf for a whole season now and it still makes me soo freakin happy everytime i ride it.also keep in mind my other bikes are xt equiped horsethief gt cx road and just sold my carbon ht cus i never used it ever(no advantage over my sf)so if u want a bike that rips everywhere go salsa.btw the horsethief is pretty bada## too but the sf is a climbing god i ride on average around 250mi offroad a month plus road miles plus a few cx rides a month and have been riding/racing since "89"

  43. #43
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    I tested the '11 Anthem X1/X2 and '11 Spearfish. Loved the Anthem when I rode it, but hit my heals on the wide chainstay/seatstay. (I have a screwed up ankle, FYI.) Then I immediately tested the SF and loved it way more. In hindsight the Giant seemed bigger, but that could have been the added travel and improper suspension tuning. Bought the SF, upgraded the tires to Maxxis Beavers for the muddy Pacific NW, and am psyched after 3 rides. (Ride #4 tomorrow.) As said by someone earlier, this bike just fit me and felt right. Both were great last-years-model prices and I think I would have been real happy with the Anthem too. Have a buddy who loves his Anthem and told me to look at it when it wasn't on my radar.

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