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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Best XC race rig for $2.5K: which HT?

that eternal question again...
what makes for the best value bike in a serious XC race rig (with some SuperD racing) for under $3K (or frame only, from $600 to $1500):
a XC FS or a XC HT...and if HT: which type of frame: aluminum (Kona Kula Supreme frame), titanium (Dean), carbon (Giant or Orbea), or steel (Seven Sola Steel, but too much $$?)?
profile: Expert Class
passion: XC racing & epic XC "technical" big mountain rides
[*]
riding style: grew up on riding 20.5# al. hardtail at Downieville (Pauly Creek-Third Divide), Boggs, Lake Sonoma/BillyCross, NVDC, Tamarancho/Fairfax.
favorate part of riding: anerobic sprints over the hills; fast climbing.
budget: tight...on student budget, so has to balance xc race lightness with reliability/durablity...on one bike to rule them all...

nice bonus: fit 2.3"/2.4" UST tires!!
 

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TrailNut said:
that eternal question again...
what makes for the best value bike in a serious XC race rig (with some SuperD racing) for under $3K (or frame only, from $600 to $1500):
a XC FS or a XC HT...and if HT: which type of frame: aluminum (Kona Kula Supreme frame), titanium (Dean), carbon (Giant or Orbea), or steel (Seven Sola Steel, but too much $$?)?
profile: Expert Class
passion: XC racing & epic XC "technical" big mountain rides
just for kicks: SuperD racing
riding style: grew up on riding 20.5# al. hardtail at Downieville (Pauly Creek-Third Divide), Boggs, Lake Sonoma/BillyCross, NVDC, Tamarancho/Fairfax.
favorate part of riding: anerobic sprints over the hills; fast climbing.
budget: tight...on student budget, so has to balance xc race lightness with reliability/durablity...on one bike to rule them all...
I just picked up a Gary Fisher Ziggurat 06 leftover. They were going for 3k and they are now around $2400 if you can still find them. They are an aluminum HT with Carbon stays and the full SRAM X0 package with Bontrager Carbon Cranks. It's a really solid race bike straight out of the box. It'll go well with my Klein Palomino XV FS bike that I usually race with. It should be fun. Now is the time to buy though. Find some leftovers for sure.

Ryan H.
 

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One bike to do it all? You really have to go with a full suspension rig if you need one bike to do it all. You cannot race competively on a hardtail on some of the really bumpy rocky Norba National Courses. I was at one race and out of maybe 100 experts and pros maybe 4-5 guys line up with HT's. Since they were mostly big team racers they had HT's at their disposal.

I think you could probably get a one or two year old "pro" fs on Ebay for a reasonable price. Looking at new bikes the Iron Horse Azure is being sold by Randall Scott and Performance at a nice price. For around $2000 maybe less you can get a race grade FS rig. I havent talked to anyone racing one so I dont have any info. This year I did notice several guys running Carbon XTC frames on some of the smoother courses. The Epic still seems to be the bike of choice for race FS. The Salsa bikes are also popular at the race level.
 

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Short Travel FS

Would have to say if you're looking for one bike to handle it all a short travel FS is the way to go. I would have to say for a budget of what you've got the GIANT Anthem is one bike you should give a test ride, prob be able to pick up an '06 at a nice discount now too. Frameset is about $1,200-$1,300 US and cheapest complete bike is around $2k Anthem2 '06 Not super light but somewhere around 26lbs stock with good, strong components.

There's other bikes but I don't think they fall into your price range for a complete build or even the frameset. Best is to gather the "list" of bikes you'll get proposed here and try to test ride as many as you can.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

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TrailNut said:
Them super cool Scotts are about $6000, more than twice our max budget

best value :

In a NEW FS XC bike:
2005 Azure expert: RS cycle.com
http://www.rscycle.com/s.nl/it.A/id.7604/.f?sc=7&category=55
$1499 complete bike.

I challenge you to find a better combination of parts spec and frame for the $. Used sure you might be able to do better, but new in the box, dunno.

However... for a do it all for Super D, the 2004 Hollowpoint has adjustable travel between 3.75 and 4.5". Get two forks a 80mm for racing and a 110-120 for downhilling. It's heavy compared to an XC racer but for what you're looking for be prepared to make compromises in all aspects.

I've owned a Hollowpoint and now own an Azure. I adored that hollowpoint. Still trying to get the Azure dialed in, but it's fast and tight for sure.
 

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ashwinearl said:
best value :

In a NEW FS XC bike:
2005 Azure expert: RS cycle.com
http://www.rscycle.com/s.nl/it.A/id.7604/.f?sc=7&category=55
$1499 complete bike.

I challenge you to find a better combination of parts spec and frame for the $. Used sure you might be able to do better, but new in the box, dunno.

However... for a do it all for Super D, the 2004 Hollowpoint has adjustable travel between 3.75 and 4.5". Get two forks a 80mm for racing and a 110-120 for downhilling. It's heavy compared to an XC racer but for what you're looking for be prepared to make compromises in all aspects.

I've owned a Hollowpoint and now own an Azure. I adored that hollowpoint. Still trying to get the Azure dialed in, but it's fast and tight for sure.
The problem with the Azure, and I haven't personally tested this, is that you can't run large volume tires on the frame. Its a problem for a bigger guy like me who likes to run 2.2's.
 

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New Superlight?

I don't think anyone has recommended the new Santa Cruz Superlight yet... probably the lightest and highest quality FS frame for the money. The '07 design changes are claimed to make it stiffer. The top-tube has been lengthened to be more "normal" I guess (it was on the short side). That frame should cost about $1100 I think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
k.i.s.s.

as i read these posts (thank you) i realize again that our family still cling to the notion of HTs making the fastest and most reliable XC race rigs which climbs the fastest over most situations.

my ideal of a full suspension would be a DHR bike: Giant Comp DH or SC V10, etc.

we grew our bike handling skills on HTs and got weaned on racing them. no doubt light xc fs are just as fast, but xc HTs are still the fastest and most durable climbing rigs, for the money. pardon me for having such a closed, retro, mind about xc fs for serious xc racing.

for $2500 range, I still think the HTs are viable as XC racers, for most XC courses.

Those of you younger racer that grew up racing (and winning) on XC FS, such as da SC Blur, bravo for you!

goal is to have the fastest & lightest budget minded XC race specialist, then just deal with SuperD.


we'll be looking for two frames or bikes...
 

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Weird

You would recomend getting 2 forks instead of just getting a U-turn REBA or some other adjustable fork and save the hassle and money of switching out forks - weight penalty is neglible.

ashwinearl said:
.................However... for a do it all for Super D, the 2004 Hollowpoint has adjustable travel between 3.75 and 4.5". Get two forks a 80mm for racing and a 110-120 for downhilling. It's heavy compared to an XC racer but for what you're looking for be prepared to make compromises in all aspects..
Yeh those are very good specs for that price :eek: Actually a damn decent build IMHO. Anyone know what the frame weighs?? Anyone ever deal with RSCYCLE through their online store??
ashwinearl said:
best value :

In a NEW FS XC bike:
2005 Azure expert: RS cycle.com
http://www.rscycle.com/s.nl/it.A/id....=7&category=55
$1499 complete bike.
 

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The made in Taiwan Azures with Frame/shock are around 6.3lbs. Not super light but not too bad for the money.

Agreed with previous poster that rear tire clearance can be an issue. Again, everything is a compromise.

Also agree somewhat with the notion of hardtails being the best choice for racing. Even with all my time devouted to fs lately, a hardtail with a front disc and a good fork is a pretty damn good machine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
problem with HT: tire blow up or rim damages

kbiker3111 said:
The problem with the Azure, and I haven't personally tested this, is that you can't run large volume tires on the frame. Its a problem for a bigger guy like me who likes to run 2.2's.
there is one big con to racing HTs:
tube blow ups or, when not carefully inflated for tubeless: rim dishing', taco-ing, or denting.
I'm a heavy weight, so when I ride fast through rock gardens, I usually pay the price: either blown tubes or rims....

my ideal HT will allow 2.3"/2.4" knobby tubless tire option while having a lighter weight 2.0" tired wheel as an option for trails I know to be smoother
 

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Jeff Hall ripped up the WORS course this last weekend on his Salsa El Santo. Not sure which fork he was running but you could set this bike up as a 4"x4" bike that will be a great XC racer. Not sure how good of a Super D but should be OK if doing that just for fun.
 

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here's what I settled on

Very racey bike. Of course there are tons of good bikes, but I chose this after owning a Hollowpoint. I loved the ride of the Hollowpoint, but it was more bike than I needed for
my riding style/terrain. This is trail/race worthy.



 

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Buy a giant xtc composite. I own one. Its very light, ant the most responsive of any bike ive tried. Rear suspension makes for a smoother ride but if you dont need it avoid it like the plague. It sucks morre energy than you can imagine. Instead of rear suspesion look at steel if the conditions demand it
 

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cannondale rush, 110mm travel front and rear, excellent pedaling bike. comes stock with decent components (depending on which model), however it can relativley cheaply be made lighted in some areas.
 

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I've been puzzling through the same question for like, oh, a year or so now. Here's how my thinking is trending in terms of an all round race bike.

I got a great four inch fork on my formerly headshok equipped bike last year. That made a huge difference. I think a good hardtail with a solid, four inch fork is a far more capable ride than you might assume at first blush.

The other change I think about is getting a frame with a slightly slacker head angle with this much travel, like one of the Kona Kula frames. That plus a low riser bar would seem to make a really stable ride that you could let rip a little more in the technical stuff.

I also lust periodically for a FS rig, but for the money, I think a hardtail with a four inch fork is a great compromise.

I'm also incredibly curious about 29ers as all around bikes.
 
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