Blur, Epic Evo, Tallboy for Endurance XC/Training- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Blur, Epic Evo, Tallboy for Endurance XC/Training

    I have pretty much narrowed my next bike down to these three, just sold my FEX 130/130 yesterday so looking to decide sooner than later. I have taken a Tallboy and Epic, non Evo, on actual trail demos but have only been able to try the others around roads/parking lots. I may have an upcoming chance to try a Blur TR on trails as well, this would be in the running but is above my budget. If I were to go with the Blur or Tallboy both would be the S carbon C versions, and I'd likely add a dropper to the Blur immediately and decide about the fork down the road.

    A little about me, I'm 45 and crossed over to MTB last fall, previously did road endurance events but got tired of cars and non-attentive riders on a normal basis. I have my first planned race coming up in a few months, still not sure which version I'll do, 6 or 12 hour, but it is 10 mile laps so I'll never be too far away. Most of the trails here can be ridden on a hardtail, if you are careful they may all be able to be. This will be my only bike and I don't really go for any features or air if it is avoidable and I enjoy going up more than down on many trails.

    Thoughts, experiences with any of these? I know there are other options but with the deals available even the Snipers and such aren't any better of a deal. Thanks.
    Last edited by AF2NR; 12-19-2018 at 05:50 AM.

  2. #2
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    I don't have experience with the Blur. I currently ride an Epic.

    Given your trails 'could be ridden on a hardtail"...
    This is going to get a few arguments... but... the Epic is going to be the highest performer of the bunch. But just remember, fast isn't always comfortable. With the Epic, you are only getting a 'limited' full-suspension bike. Think fast and firm. On frenetic courses with lot's of transitions, quick ups and downs, the Epic is awesome... no switches or lock-outs, just pedal!

    The Tallboy is going to give you a more plush and active suspension experience.

    You will be fine either way. It will be more about your preference and what type of bike brings you more joy. I like hardtails in general, so the Epic feels 'right' to me. It rides like a hardtail that takes the hits out of the big stuff.
    TTUB - Ventura County California

  3. #3
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    No SB100 on your list?

  4. #4
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    TTUB, the part about the hardtail means I have ridden them all on one when it was all I had but I also didn't go back on some of them on the hardtail.

    Udyr, I had looked into it but the shops I deal with don't carry Yeti so I would have to order online without having pedaled it. It also seems a little too slack for me, based on numbers...

  5. #5
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    I have not ridden the Evo, but have ridden a Tallboy and own a Blur CC. Tallboy was too soft, Blur is still soft and more conservative in harshness compared to most XC style bikes out there. I demo'd a Epic Pro a few months ago and didn't care for the brain shock and the harshness of it, especially for longer events. Maybe its faster even though weight is similar to my Blur but within the realm of marginal gains for my fitness level (Cat 2) that I don't mind.
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  6. #6
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    The Tallboy shouldn't be included in this group. It's not a race bike by any stretch of the imagination, despite the short travel.

    Plenty of others to consider. Cannondale Scalpel SE, Scott Spark 900 series, Intense Sniper, Trek Top Fuel with a 120mm fork, etc.
    Death from Below.

  7. #7
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    Hei Hei could work as well

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by AF2NR View Post
    .. I'll do, 6 or 12 hour, but it is 10 mile laps so I'll never be too far away. Most of the trails here can be ridden on a hardtail, if you are careful they may all be able to be. This will be my only bike and I don't really go for any features or air if it is avoidable and I enjoy going up more than down on many trails.

    I would avoid the Tallboy. It is more like your fuel EX than it is an XC race bike. I came from riding a 26" HT to 29"HT and have done many backcounty endurance races on both 26" and 29" HT. Eventually I got fast enough to not be able to rest on the downhills on my 29HT and felt I needed a bit more. Moved the Epic (non evo) and it is perfect for long days in the saddle and for short sprints. I have completed 45 mile, 50 mile XC endurances races (4-6hrs) on the bike and complete 60 mile 8000 fit training rides for Breck Epic and did well in Breck for 6 days and 202 miles 32k climbing. Only for maybe 1 hour on one day did I even want a dropper. My 100/100 epic was perfect for that race. Personally I find my Epic to be very plush on the rocky bits, but firm enough to be able to stand like on my SS and just hammer. I did put on Fox 32 SC fork and run my rear brain fully firm.

    I got my Epic just days before the Blur came out so never tested one of those. Personally for endurance racing I think the 100/100 epic is more than enough. If it was my only bike and I also want to hit some more gnar and did not mind giving up some speed for XC I might go Evo. The longer fork and dropper add weight that most of the time you don't need on most Endurance Lap courses and only sometimes on big loop courses.

    Blur, Epic Evo, Tallboy for Endurance XC/Training-fotr-2018.jpg
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    The Tallboy shouldn't be included in this group. It's not a race bike by any stretch of the imagination, despite the short travel.

    Plenty of others to consider. Cannondale Scalpel SE, Scott Spark 900 series, Intense Sniper, Trek Top Fuel with a 120mm fork, etc.

    Well, one of the top 24hr racers in the world would beg to differ with you on the tallboy as would I. A few friends/teammates on the Blur and like any bike, some love it some are mixed about it (I don't remember too many specifics except almost all changed the lockout).

    You mentioned this will be your only bike, IMO don't lean too much towards a "racy" bike just for the occasional race you might do. I've seen plenty of light trail bikes ridden successfully up and down the spectrum - occasionally use my 429trail w/ lighter hoops/rubber if I'm feeling beat up, don't know the course but heard it might be techy... ...etc.

    There are sooooooooooooo many good bikes out there it'll be hard to go wrong whatever route you choose.

  10. #10
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    I truly appreciate the insight for those providing prospective and insight to the bikes I asked about. To those who continue to make other recommendations thanks, but they are irrelevant for me as I don't have options of trying any of those locally and there is no savings with them for me so they aren't on MY list. I do realize there are many bikes that fit the category though, even though I haven't seen any that I didn't already know about.

    Walt Disney's Frozen Head the remote is one of the hang ups I have with the Blur but outside that the bike feels like it has more travel than it does, as does the Tallboy.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    I would avoid the Tallboy. It is more like your fuel EX than it is an XC race bike. I came from riding a 26" HT to 29"HT and have done many backcounty endurance races on both 26" and 29" HT. Eventually I got fast enough to not be able to rest on the downhills on my 29HT and felt I needed a bit more. Moved the Epic (non evo) and it is perfect for long days in the saddle and for short sprints. I have completed 45 mile, 50 mile XC endurances races (4-6hrs) on the bike and complete 60 mile 8000 fit training rides for Breck Epic and did well in Breck for 6 days and 202 miles 32k climbing. Only for maybe 1 hour on one day did I even want a dropper. My 100/100 epic was perfect for that race. Personally I find my Epic to be very plush on the rocky bits, but firm enough to be able to stand like on my SS and just hammer. I did put on Fox 32 SC fork and run my rear brain fully firm.

    I got my Epic just days before the Blur came out so never tested one of those. Personally for endurance racing I think the 100/100 epic is more than enough. If it was my only bike and I also want to hit some more gnar and did not mind giving up some speed for XC I might go Evo. The longer fork and dropper add weight that most of the time you don't need on most Endurance Lap courses and only sometimes on big loop courses.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I know you really like your Epic, I've seen many of your posts. I demoed the Epic Expert, non Evo, and thought it did well on most of the trails around here but think the little extra on the Evo would make it more useful overall. Do I "need" the extra, most likely not but I do want it and with this purchase that is what I'm going for. Thanks again for your insight!

  12. #12
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    I have an S-works Epic and it's awesome for both general riding and racing. This included XC racing, endurance, general riding in the midwest, CO, and UT.

    It did get much better and more versatile when I put a Fox SC34 Factory on it at 120mm.

    That raised the BB, slackened it a bit more, and stiffened the front end up. Love that change. I've thought about swapping in a 110mm air spring, but it's so good as is.

    Note that I did get a 44mm offset fork.

  13. #13
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    Lot's of good stuff here. I go back to my earlier comment, buy the one that puts a smile on your face.

    Let's face it, we are age group racers. Most of us are not even racing for the podium most of the time. The delta in the performance between the bikes listed isn't going make much difference at the end of the day. Buy the one that's the most fun for you.

    I happen to like the feel of romping around on a stiffer platform. Others prefer to float over everything. We are all different.

    The spec differences between the bikes might actually make more of a performance difference. Which is lighter overall and which has a lighter wheelset. Which one fits you better... etc.
    TTUB - Ventura County California

  14. #14
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    Hmm didnít josh tostado do just fine when he raced a Tallboy 3?????

  15. #15
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    A good 100mm bike without something proprietary like "the brain" would be my pick. It's a bit extreme to say that you need more than 100mm for endurance events over 50 miles, but it's also valid to say you don't want to get beat up. There are a bunch of good 100mm bikes that pedal well, don't beat you up, do well on the descents, and are generally good bikes for that kind of stuff. The Epic is too hardcore XC that if you are in the top field where you can really take the pounding for that long, then fine, but most of us as we age need a little more compliance to wring out the most performance. Vorsprung confirms in their videos what I've always felt about these types of "threshold" systems, that the bump event has already happened by the time they "blow off", so they tend to transmit a lot more impacts to the rider. Not that they aren't efficient, they most certainly are, but it may not be the way for most people to race long distances.

    Example, last year the 100 mile race beat the hell out of me on the 2nd to last descent, it's about 15 miles or so down and super rocky at the top. All along I was thinking that I'd enjoy the descent and rock it, but the opposite was true, it pounded the crap out of me. I had increased the pressure in my suspension, not a lot, but a bit more, because of weight I was carrying and wanting it to be efficient.
    My short-course XC racing tires didn't help (gave me a flat only 25 or so miles in) either. When I started back up on the big climb to get back into the pass and to the final downhill, I hit a bad wall. Maybe mile 70 or so, it hurt bad. I got over it, but I don't care to repeat it and I think getting beat to hell an tensing so much on the downhill right before was part of it.

    This year I set up the bike with Icons, put a 120mm fork on the front (damping was actually kind of harsh, but the steering precision helped), generally "normal" rear shock pressure and had a LOT more fun on the same descent and didn't get the same beat-to-hell feeling. This in turn let me turn a much better time without hitting a wall. I got 8th and felt pretty good about it. My bike is pretty light and pretty racy, those were some fairly slight changes, but they made a world of difference.

    So I would be cautious, no, I didn't want something with more rear travel, but I did need the rear travel to work well, absorb, be efficient, etc. There are guys that can and will do it on hardtails, but I notice the youngest fittest racers can simply take more punishment, riding on full lockout much of the time, etc. These endurance races are very strategy-based and you have to generally race yourself rather than other people.

    SB100 would be interesting for this, not the lightest bike, but possibly a little more durable for the kind of abuse that might be seen on a bike that runs this far. Some of the raciest 100mm bikes would probably get junked pretty fast as far as bearings and other parts and they aren't always intended to go on season after season like some of the stuff from Yeti, Pivot, etc. My sense of accomplishment seems to increase linearly with the amount of miles in the race. I also notice it's easy to get complacent and make a stupid mistake on these types of races, so that's where thinking hard about your bike and component choices comes in.

    It's a balance. Good luck.
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  16. #16
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    I appreciate all of the great insight. Honestly I had narrowed my potential bike down to two choices, the Epic Evo and Tallboy. The guy at the LBS when I went back in with the Tallboy asked me why I didn't take the Blur out, along with a Top Fuel. I hesitated saying I didn't think 100mm was enough travel but decided what the hey since both of the other bikes would have to be ordered for the configuration I wanted.

    I felt good on the TF and it felt like it did more than I would have imagined. Then I took the Blur out and wow, it just felt "right". It felt like it took the rocks and roots as well as the Tallboy but when you pushed the pedals it leaped forward, it seemed like it just took me along for whatever I was thinking, and it was the easiest bike I've ridden to manual.

    I guess this is why I brought the question here, since this will be my goal use going forward. I really thought I had to have something between the FEX and a "XC" FS bike but it seems like I almost left out what may be the best option for me. This is why I really appreciate those who provided insight!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by TTUB View Post
    Lot's of good stuff here. I go back to my earlier comment, buy the one that puts a smile on your face.

    Let's face it, we are age group racers. Most of us are not even racing for the podium most of the time. The delta in the performance between the bikes listed isn't going make much difference at the end of the day. Buy the one that's the most fun for you.

    I happen to like the feel of romping around on a stiffer platform. Others prefer to float over everything. We are all different.

    The spec differences between the bikes might actually make more of a performance difference. Which is lighter overall and which has a lighter wheelset. Which one fits you better... etc.
    Well, damn, what's left to say?!

    Thread killer!

    And what's wrong with age group racing?!
    Whining is not a strategy.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by AF2NR View Post
    ... Then I took the Blur out and wow, it just felt "right". It felt like it took the rocks and roots as well as the Tallboy but when you pushed the pedals it leaped forward, it seemed like it just took me along for whatever I was thinking, and it was the easiest bike I've ridden to manual...
    Get the Blur then. The bike has to feel "right" to you. Few years ago when I was still on my 26"HT I demoed a Pivot LES and 429SL. Liked both bikes, but not enough to ditch my 26" HT. Crazy right? Well about a year later I took my friends Highball out right after ripping some fast race pace laps on my 26" HT. Wow that highball just shot forward and was great. Bought it on the spot after he was looking to sell. Loved that bike. It just felt "right" Demoed Giant Anthem 29 and liked it, but did not love it. Hated the one bottle mount and did not like the pressfit BB. Then the new Epic came out. Hit all my "specs" with 2 bottle mounts, threaded BB, light, etc. Worried about the Brain, but once demo ride and yeah it as "right". Like I said I never had a chance to demo or even knew the Blur was out, but my take is most of these bikes are pretty darn good and few are really bad. If you demoed and it felt "right" just get it, ride it, and don't look back.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  19. #19
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    If you are worried about the weight issue or too plush for the tallboy look at the tallboy 2's. They are 100mm rear and lighter than the 3's. I have one and put a angle headset and 110 mm sid on it. Plush enough, 24lbs and just a good basic XC ride. You can find the light CC's all day online and Santa cruz is really good at warranty if something does go down, even for a second hand bike. I've done multiple 100's on mine and really like it.
    Heck they even have 2 waterbottle cage mounts
    I've tried epics and i like most of it (gee, weight, feel) but the brain did'nt work IMHO and if you get a fully built epic the fork is brain tuned too (at least the older ones) and even those are harsh.
    Have not ridden the blur but heard great things.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    If you demoed and it felt "right" just get it, ride it, and don't look back.
    I'm going to get a Blur, or Blur TR. Taking a TR for a spin tomorrow and will decide from that which version to get. Thanks again for the insight JoePAz!

  21. #21
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    I have demoed the Epic Pro, Pivot 429SL, Blur and SB100 over the last month. I have pretty much determined that the distinguishing differences from a ride characteristic are general geometry (120mm vs 100mm with corresponding slack) and rear linkage performance. Of these, the Blur was the fastest as I could lock out both ends. But I was a a bit sore after a morning of riding. The Yeti is a little heavy but that switch infinity is really really nice. I think Yeti has this dialed.

    Of course the bigger question is do you want to go fast and sacrifice comfort and if your trails have a little chunk then MAYBE confidence. Or do you enjoy a fast trail bike that is plush but a little heavy climbing and moving the bike around in corners. I am going through this mental exercise currently. Still not sure what I am going to do. Wake up every morning with a new thought... #firstworldproblems

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by northernlights View Post
    I have demoed the Epic Pro, Pivot 429SL, Blur and SB100 over the last month. I have pretty much determined that the distinguishing differences from a ride characteristic are general geometry (120mm vs 100mm with corresponding slack) and rear linkage performance. Of these, the Blur was the fastest as I could lock out both ends. But I was a a bit sore after a morning of riding. The Yeti is a little heavy but that switch infinity is really really nice. I think Yeti has this dialed.

    Of course the bigger question is do you want to go fast and sacrifice comfort and if your trails have a little chunk then MAYBE confidence. Or do you enjoy a fast trail bike that is plush but a little heavy climbing and moving the bike around in corners. I am going through this mental exercise currently. Still not sure what I am going to do. Wake up every morning with a new thought... #firstworldproblems
    I completely agree! The one thing that still stuck with me is the SC is the only one with a lockout remote, even on the TR version, not sure if this is a good or bad thing yet? Maybe itís useful but I think Iíd prefer it to be an option instead of standard?

  23. #23
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    Iím a long time racer - also getting long in the tooth, also a recovering roadie. Many seasons on epics and other bikes (salsa, niner jet, canndale scalpel, etc). and now a Blur. OMG itís a great bike. iíve even learned to love the lockout. fast fast fast...comfy comfy comfy! and iíve got a little yahoo in me and like features, rollers, drops, itís got so much confidence. I did extend the shock to 110 and add a dropper (and NOW they have the trail version! guys, why didnít you have this last year? lol). pm for details - but wow I stopped riding my other bikes.

  24. #24
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    Maybe

    Quote Originally Posted by mackdhagen View Post
    If you are worried about the weight issue or too plush for the tallboy look at the tallboy 2's. They are 100mm rear and lighter than the 3's. I have one and put a angle headset and 110 mm sid on it. Plush enough, 24lbs and just a good basic XC ride. You can find the light CC's all day online and Santa cruz is really good at warranty if something does go down, even for a second hand bike. I've done multiple 100's on mine and really like it.
    Heck they even have 2 waterbottle cage mounts
    I've tried epics and i like most of it (gee, weight, feel) but the brain did'nt work IMHO and if you get a fully built epic the fork is brain tuned too (at least the older ones) and even those are harsh.
    Have not ridden the blur but heard great things.
    I had a Tallboy 2 and now own a Tallboy 3. The 3 is just flat better and faster for me!

  25. #25
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    Blur TR is gold

    I too am of the same age and in the last few years went from epic --> scale --> spark --> and now Blur TR.

    Raced it for the back half of the season this/last year... including Downieville. Love it. The longer front center is so good, compared to the typical XC geos. Lock-out is a boon, but when open it is sooo comfy over a 50miler etc...

    Blur, Epic Evo, Tallboy for Endurance XC/Training-blur.jpg

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