FS 29ers – "xc" vs "trail bikes" ?
Riding CYB on my 9 year old Blur lat weekend, I decided it’s time for a new 29er FS, for the rides that will be a bit harsh, or just more fun, than on my trusty hardtail. My mates have carbon Tallboys but I’m not willing to pay the price for those.
Luckily there are loads of options in the £1500-£3k range, it turns out.
I thought I wanted a “trail bike” (120mm each end) – eg Giant Trance, Whyte T129.
But reading reviews, the “XC bike” format (100mm each end) look hugely capable and perhaps better for what I most enjoy which is fast flowy pedaly twisty singletrack. (Think Pink Heifer or Dreamtime at CYB). Bikes: Giant Anthem, Whyte M109.
I don’t jump, other than off the occasional step, but I do want a bike that can handle most of what I put it through, at least safely including a normal Alps trip. It doesn’t need to be brilliant at gnarr as long as it can get down it. It needs to be able to climb too.
I’m really a bit confused about categorisation between ‘xc’ and ‘trail’, it seems to come down to 20mm travel and a slacker head angle.
So right now I don’t really know what I want. Again.
Opinions/perspectives please, chime in ->Posted 5 years agosteve_b77Member
I’ve plumped for an Anthem X1, should have it in a couple of weeks to compliment my Kinesis FF29 HT; the Whyte is heavy and not as good spec for the same money IMHO.
You’ll be surprised what you can ride with ‘only’ a 100mm 29’er, I’m faster both up & down at places such as Llandegla and The Marin, also Lee Quarry too on my Kinesis than I was on my 26″ wheeled Nicolai Helius CC (130mm FS), so I can only imagine the Anthem is gonna be faster still, especially once it points down 😯
My non-trail center based riding takes in a lot of woodsy, rooty single track and again the 100mm 29’er is faster.Posted 5 years agoroverpigSubscriber
I can’t offer anything more than questions I’m afraid, but why a 29er?
I’m also intrigued by the notion that you don’t need long and slack bikes to get down technical stuff. I tend to agree that longer and slacker just lets you go down faster (with bigger consequences when you crash) but doesn’t actually let you get down anything that you couldn’t ride on a shorter travel, steeper bike.
That nicolai would be the perfect test of this theory I guess. A 71 degree HA with “only” 120mm of travel sounds as though it’s not going to handle anything too technical. But it probably does just fine in the right hands.
FWIW (which is basically nothing) my totally subjective and uninformed choice would be an Orange Gyro.Posted 5 years ago
Why 29s? I’m a 29 convert. I don’t want to get into 26 vs 29, but it’s 29 for me.
Why FS? Because I have nice HT (which I happen to run SS rigid but coud take forks/gears) so I want something “more different” than a slacker HT.
But it’s all to play for, perhaps I’ll go full circle and stick with my Blur.
@vinny, what do you call a ‘trail’? I was thinking this at CYB, the climbs are XC the descents are XC but a tiny bit steeper with a few tidy rocks.
I live & ride down south, I guess actually my experience of real ‘trails’ if that means the Lakes, Scotland etc, au naturel, is limited.Posted 5 years agowobbliscottMember
If you’re after a more XC orientated bike then the C’Dale Scalpel 29er looks great. I’ve got the hardtail Flash alloy 29er and to be honest I use it more like a trail bike than an XC and it handles it fine. It also climbs like a train, really irons out the trail and is extremely manoeuvrable when things get technical (every bit as manoeuvrable as any 26er i’ve had, if not more). If the Scalpel is anything like the Flash, it’ll be a real serious machine.Posted 5 years ago
That Occam is nice. But £7k .. nah. Yes an aluminium version could be interesting.
Nicolais and Oranges always look a bit girdery to me, but I haven’t ridden them. Yeah the Gyro could be a contender.
Scalpel – could be, thx for the idea. I don’t think I have a dealer local.Posted 5 years agodickieMember
Went to a bike demo recently at Dalby & tried a Pace RC129, Santa Cruz Tallboy, Santa Cruz Superlight 29er, Santa Cruz TRc, Scott Genius 720 (650b) but the best & last bike I tested was a Scott Spark 920 (29er). It just felt right, light & capable.
In WhatMTB? there’s a full range of short travel 29ers on test – the Whyte M109 won.
Or Salsa Spearfish custom build – frame £640.Posted 5 years ago
Matt, I was in the same boat last year. XC 29 or Trail version. From testing it was vey clear for me – XC bikes suited me much more thatpn trails bikes. Then like you, my head has been turned by Trance 29 ER. So doing a head to head demo of trance versus anthem to finally make my mind up!! I will report back!!! Of course, I am also complicating things by demoing a cube AMS 120 pro this week as well.Posted 5 years ago
Sorry Matt I have been away. I know about the store thanks. Looking forward to straight head to head on the same runs. One day bashing around SH, the other more XC stuff up and around Punchbowl area. Should clarify the mind.
Tried a davinci 26 last summer, nice bike v other 26 trails (stumpy, fuel ex) but why the extra price? Can’t see that one.Posted 5 years ago
Canyons look OK Gotama, have you ridden one?
So 20 hours later I’m thinking for a trailsy XC/ST bike rather than a full-on trail bike. As someone said at the beginning, most bikes can get down most things, pilot allowing, and I’m not an edge of the seat rider anyway. Also I quite enjoy a bit of a climb.
And I’m thinking max budget £3k and a tad, to include dropper, but happy to spend less. Value is king. I’m liking the look of the M109S especially those wheels, but overall it comes out a bit heavy.Posted 5 years ago
With your budget Matt, you should also try the Spesh epic. IMO head and shoulders above other XCs I demoed when it came to climbing. Flew up Pitch Fire Roads as if it had a motor on it. Fast down and very manageable – but the difference not as noticeable against its brilliant climbing ability. I demoed the epic expert carbon (but sadly 4k, which I won’t spend on a MTB)Posted 5 years agoroverpigSubscriber
As someone said at the beginning, most bikes can get down most things, pilot allowing, and I’m not an edge of the seat rider anyway. Also I quite enjoy a bit of a climb.
I think that was me, but would you really be comfortable riding down a steep technical section on something with 100mm of travel and a 71 degree HA? That’s a genuine question. I have no idea, but would be nervous of getting a bike that would exclude me from some trails.Posted 5 years ago
I think that was me, but would you really be comfortable riding down a steep technical section on something with 100mm of travel and a 71 degree HA? That’s a genuine question. I have no idea, but would be nervous of getting a bike that would exclude me from some trails.
I have no idea either!
(If I don’t like the look of something nowadays I walk anyway, I’ve served my hospital time and have nothing to prove).
@th yeah 4k’s too much, 3.5 is probably too. I’m going to go ponder and ride my 9 year old Blur a bit more. I’ll look at the Epic ta, somehow I don’t see myself on Spesh but that’s a bit of inverted snobbery partly. Cycleworks Leatherhead are doing a demo day in March @ Holmbury btw.Posted 5 years ago
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