Can a racey cross country bike be fun?

Home Forum Bike Forum Can a racey cross country bike be fun?

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 57 total)
  • Can a racey cross country bike be fun?
  • Rosss

    After checking my bank and realizing I got 0.4% interest on my savings last year i’ve decided to blow it on a bike. I’ve got a mojoHD with 140/160 travel so that deals with DH, trail centres and enduro but I want a hardtail or very possibly a short travel full sus built light around 120mm for Cannock, Cardinham, all day rides. I don’t race at the minute but next year i’d like to really step up my fitness so a bike that is capable of some less serious XC racing is a must. My initial thought was a soul because I love jumping and technical decents however I think I should be looking more at the Solaris or a niner to make covering miles/racing/hills easier. Question is will those bikes be too ‘racey’ to be fun on decents coming from my Ibis?
    Does anyone want to big up their own bike and convince me its the bike for me?

    Fun? On a XC race bike?

    Nino thinks so. 🙂


    I had similar thoughts and bought a scott spark, it was s”t. If you like jumping, buy a hardtail you can jump instead, something like a chameleon.


    Something with a slacker head angle will be more fun going down obviously, but won’t be the best going uphill. What about something that’ll take a longer fork and give a slack angle, and then a dual position fork so you can run it at 100mm for xc. Weight would be your only penalty.


    yes they are fun. and not just on the downs, sections that used to be a slow grind uphill you will suddenly find you can motor along and enjoy the swoopyness at speed.

    Not really going to be appropriate on full on DH courses but for a trail centre they are a blast.

    My anthem with a reverb was perfect for blasting round every where flat out. I’ve now got a scale and it is even faster but a less comfortable place to be after 3 hours….


    I did wonder about a Solaris with a 100/140mm fork, I’m 6ft so im pretty sure I can make a 29er ‘work’. Looks like i’ll need to demo a few bikes however i’ll be building it from a second hand frame and most places want you to put £50ish down to demo.


    Two of the best demo rides I have had we’re on an Anthem and and Epic. Amazed at how much fun they were on twisty narrow, rooty stuff and on steeper bits. Enjoyed them far more than stumpys or fuel ex’s.


    my idea of fun is carving through singletrack in woods and caning climbs, steep angles, twitchy, responsive is good.

    What is your idea of fun?


    I have fun on my cannondale f29. 90mm forks and a stiff light frame make for a seat of the pants ride at speed.


    I’m pretty certain my Anthem 29’er is the best bike I’ve ridden. Much faster on everything than my Nicolai Helius CC set up at 130mm.

    Premier Icon tenfoot

    I have a racy cross country hard tail, and although I’ve only ridden it 3 times (so far), I’d say it’s fun.


    My view would be the Mojo is the perfect bike for any of the fun stuff, and plenty capable on 95% of the xc stuff too. If you want a race bike for the odd race, get one for that purpose, not to ride the other stuff you already the perfect bike for.

    Get a cheap 29er HT from O-One.

    Premier Icon shortcut

    I’m running a Santa Cruz Highball (the aluminium one) and it’s good fun for lots of XC, trail centres etc.


    I’d avoid steel if you intend to race it. Needlessly heavy…

    Epic would be a good choice, or take a look at a Salsa Spearfish.

    I, and most of the people I ride with, only own what you’d probably consider racey bikes and we always have lots of fun…



    They are indeed a lot of fun, though you need to be putting the effort in to find the fun 🙂


    On One Whippet. Cheap as chips, light(ish). I’ve raced XC, 6hr, 12hr and marathons on mine over the last couple of years. If you’re going to get a racy hardtail, get a racy hardtail, not a steel hardtail



    All the bikes I had from 1988 to 2002 were all xc geometry ..because that was pretty much it….no Trail / Enduro type banners…they were no fun at all …actually I don’t know why I bothered to mtb in them days…it was shit …. 😉

    Premier Icon rickmeister

    Get an RC2 100-160 fork* for the mojo, whats not to like ? Works well on mine….

    *other similar forks are available


    I’ve got a mojo hd 160 and Titus fireline 29er think I’ve got most bases covered 🙂
    Trying my mates fat bike tomorrow, wish me luck.

    yes, the above with me on board eats the chase for breakfast, except the black bits which gets stuck in between its teeth…

    b r

    Chap I ride with has a Trek 29er HT, a proper XC bike which he uses for pretty much everything – and he’s serious quick on techie stuff, whether up or down.

    Premier Icon SaxonRider

    Nice bike, Whathaveisaidnow.

    The angle makes it look like you’ve got a 27.5″ rear wheel and a 26″ front wheel.

    Hmm. I see a new niche market coming on.


    I’ve got a 26″ 100mm travel On one scandal which is my do everything bike. Its fairly light at around 22-23 lbs and gets used for anything from usual weekly rides on the Quantocks/Haldon, xc races, Triscombe D/H runs, and I’ve even done an enduro on it.

    I think the lack of weight and it being a bit sketchy going down makes it more fun to ride and its really quick on the flats & uphill 8)


    Kinesis ff29? I looked at that and a Solaris for ‘just riding about’and racing. Got the Solaris because I liked the looks and favour steel. I was also thinking 12hr+ races. For short course the kinesis is lighter and probably better.

    And yes, racey bikes can be fun. I had a hardtail with short rigid forks, step head angle and narrow bars, kept the steering just the right side of lethal. Steered by thought not action and went down narrow singletrack like a rocket. The replacement is ‘better’ but less fun.


    For me nothing works like my xc hardtail Killi flyer
    If your in the mood to put in the effort it flys
    But I would not have one every day for
    If you like climbs and going hard out of evey corner its perfect


    another +1 for Anthem 29er, best bike ive ever owned defo.

    Anthem 29 advance here, best bike I’ve ever ridden/raced bar none, so much fun to ride. Anthem 29 alloy for the misses too.

    Premier Icon rickon

    The Ibis Mojo HD isn’t overbiked for anything, if you’ve built it sensible it’ll be great for all day epics. I used to have one and do relatively big days out in the mountains on it.

    If you want another bike, go for it, its not going to be any better for the riding you’re stating than the Mojo, just different.

    I went through years of having 13 or so bikes at any one time, now down to – road bike and a 5spot. I couldn’t buy another full sus to supplement the 5spot as its not additional benefit, whereas a hardtail or singlespeed would reduce maintenance.

    Like I said, if you want a new bike, buy it, don’t try to justify it as the only justification you need is that you want it 🙂

    Premier Icon ScotlandTheScared

    I love my niner air9 – long reach plus short stem, and surprisingly chuckable. Descends not too badly cos its long wheelbase means its pretty stable, but its light enough to fling around and remain nimble. Was chasing a mate on an alpine 160 the other night – safe to say I couldnt keep up when it got properly lumpy, but then again, I wasnt that far behind… especially since it was dark and I didnt have a helmet light for the twisty stuff.

    Premier Icon roverpig

    I built a Kinesis FF29 to compliment my Five. It does what it says on the tin i.e. it is faster over less technical terrain and is a better option if you want to mix some trails with large amounts of road or fireroad. It does cope with the technical stuff pretty well too, but I wouldn’t call it fun. In fact I find that I almost always prefer to take the Five. A modern trail bike (with modern shocks) gives up surprisingly little on the way up but gives up a lot more grins on the way down in my experience.

    I dare say that there are fun XC bikes, even fun HT 29ers and for some people just going fast is fun in itself, but the FF29 is more about speed than fun in my opinion.

    Premier Icon Kryton57

    I have an Enigma Ego Ti with 100mm 2012 SIDforks, and based on yesterdays “is my Reba too harsh” thread had to think about my answer.

    My Enigma seems to be great fun during the summer, as its fast and agile particularly in swoopy forest singletrack. I’ve found the fork to have “stiction” even after 18 months/15 rides use out of the shed/if left for more than 15 mins – which doesn’t occur when riding and to me it never feels “plush” as does the F120 on my FS bike. I’ve had all the travel out of it and played endlessly with pressures and settings. I wonder then if this taints what I’m about to say…

    …and that is, during the winter months and through various events I’ve found it too be not fun at all. I’ve found the slow slogging crashing over roots etc uncomfortable and would prefer the FS. I also don’t think the front end “helps” its agility in anyway and this cause it to feel hard work at say, the latest Bonty 24/12.

    Now. I’m not sure if the fork, or my personal comfort/MTFU levels have affected my judgement and that I just find hardtails less fun in the winter, but somehow I feel I shouldnt be suffering with the above becuase others dont. However, the SS (Kinesis decade virsa, rigid fork) doesn’t seem to exhibit these issues. Based on this may answer to the OP is “no”.

    On the other hand, the ASR5 (120mm) is perfect for trail centres, peaks, forest and so on. I don’t feel the need to go bigger and I love riding it. Based on that, my answer is “yes”.

    If any one (sorry for the hijack) has an answer for the above I’d love to hear it….

    I have a Curtis S1. Salsa Cromoto forks, singlespeed, lightweight wheelset – I’d say it was ‘racey’. Its a good bike but simply for getting out and about on. I wouldn’t have said it was fun.

    Then I shoved a 60mm stem and some 780mm Renthals on it and it transformed it. Still really quick but its amazing what a slightly shorter stem and some stupid bars has done to the ride. Its not just a bike for getting filthy on anymore – its a real good fun alternative to the Five for when you want something a bit different…


    really enjoy riding my Ellsworth Carbon Enlightenment 26er.

    OK, my El mariachi is SS and steel, therefore not ‘racey’, but is ‘XC’.

    It’s a hoot after years on progressively bigger bikes, and 9 times out of 10 it’ll match downhill strava times at trail centers I set on my Pitch, only losing out on rougher stuff like Cavedale in the Peak.

    I reckon the marketing has a lot to answer for convinceing bikers that what they ride is somehow not ‘XC’. Convincing slow blokes like me that a heavier less responsive bike that you’ll rarely reach the limits of was what they needed to have more fun.

    Yes. That thing when you attack the pedals and it tears off like a rocket, is fun as hell! I borrowed a Scott Scale carbon 29er for a ride and it was instantly wanting to be in the big ring totally caning it into everything until I exploded with effort. I almost bought one.

    That and being able to change direction on a sixpence due to the lack of mass, and the reactivity of the steering compared with the slack beasts that seem more popular these days (me included). Not for the feint hearted though.


    I borrowed a Scott Scale carbon 29er for a ride and it was instantly wanting to be in the big ring totally caning it into everything until I exploded with effort. I almost bought one.

    sounds about right. I did buy one 🙂


    here’s my carbon Ellsworth.


    Unfashionable wheel size but I have great fun on my Cube Elite Super HPC 26″ hardtail.

    Doesn’t feel too steep at the front but it’s quite long and with a low BB so it feels so stable on fast turns but is light enough to change direction quickly (far quicker than I am).

    It only weighs around 20lbs so you need to concentrate on rough stuff as it gets pinged around but it’s turn of speed is awesome.

    esher shore

    this is my Stumpy Expert Carbon 29’er which has been given the “Evo” treatment with 100mm forks, big tires, 750mm Easton bars, 70mm Thomson stem and flat pedals

    It started life as a “race bike” and frame is only 1.2kg, but with the changes I made its huge fun to blast around on and feels very fast / lively for trail riding


    Yes, in short. More flickable and easier* to climb, if that floats your boat.

    ( * depending on the climb. I find awkward techy climbs are a gnats tackle easier on a lightweight HT. )

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 57 total)

The topic ‘Can a racey cross country bike be fun?’ is closed to new replies.