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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been to the XC race threads and asked about wheel size and now I am in between HT or FS. I have chosen the 29 over the 27.5 which for me felt too much like my Salsa 26" in the real rocky areas.

I am 46 now, havent riden or raced in over 7 years and will be getting back into racing. So I am looking at the Giant bikes since my LBS sales them and they work with my sons high school team. So I want to support them if I can.

I am looking between the XTC Composite 29er and the Antham X 29er 1. Both have good components for what I am looking to start with and they are only 100.00 different in price from each other.

I would be ok with each bike really. But I need to make the decision. I will be racing XC and most races run about 45-60 minutes in length and I will race the longer 100k race in Terlinqua next Feb if they still race there. Its mostly desert sand and gravel single track but its a long ride and has a really long climb. I am in Texas so a lot of rocky areas on many courses we race on and I really do not like technical rock gardens. Never been really comfortable with them. But the 29er let me blast right over what I used to work through on my 26.

So, a heavier FS for comfort or lighter HT for speed? Unless the FS will keep up then its a no brainer. I would like to ride both of them to compare but the shop doesnt have them in stock and I dont know anyone riding them right now since I am just getting back into MTB riding.
 

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Hardtails are the weapon of choice for shorter races, but it's really an idividual decision. One major factor is budget. If you spend les that say $3000, a FS bike will be fairly heavy whereas you can get a nice light well equiped HT for about $2000. Also consider how much experience you have, if you're new to the sport or racing, weight won't really matter, and you'll develop better skills on a HT; example taking better lines and saving energy, then when and if you upgrade to a FS bike, you'll be getting the most out of your tool, and not useing the suspension as a"crutch".
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I raced for a few seasons back until 2007 and then stopped for a few reasons. I raced the beginner or now called Cat 3 class. Normally top 10 within a few minutes of the leader. I was much faster on flowing tracks vs the technical tracks. Never been real good at the technical areas, but could hold my own. At my age I am looking for a forgiving bike. I do want to keep the weight down and want to compete the best I can. Hell, I want to win. LOL I am very competitive and thats my issue in deciding. I think I might be faster on the HT due to weight but with a half bad back the FS would be better for my health. My Salsa 26" FS bike was 23 lbs. All carbon fiber except the frame with top components and Crossmax SL wheelset. I just couldnt get comfy on the rock gardens are downhill rock areas on the 26. Thats why I am going to 29" and not the 27.5".

The HT will be 24 lbs vs the FS being 27lbs. Its just a tough debate I have going on in my brain right now. To be a little faster on the HT and dread the techy areas and be in pain after the race or be a little slower "maybe" on the FS but have more confidence in the techy stuff and not hurt as bad the next day.
 

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If you're getting into racing... get both!!!
and by that... I mean get a Specialized Epic!
My favorite bike i've ever ridden for racing!
It's every bit as fast, stiff and responsive as a hardtail, but you get the added benefits of having rear suspension as well!
I will never go to a regular suspension or hardtail after racing an epic
the advantages are outrageous
 

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Things are progressing with the development of carbon frames in hard tails, so you should demo some. Trek's Superfly line has compliance engineered in now that broadens the comfort and usability range into fs territory but retains trail feel. Check for a Factory Demo Day in your area.
 

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Id have to say that you should go with the anthem. I currently ride an xtc composite, coming from an aluminum scale 29er. Not sure how you can get the xtc down to 24lbs unless upgrading. My xtc composite 2014 is 25lbs even with pedals, and upgraded stans arcex wheels. (not tubeless though).
just my 0.02$
 

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Weight is overrated, at least when you are talking about a modest 3lb difference and beginner level racing. For me the loss pedaling efficiency with a FS is the key. I climb and accelerate considerably faster on my HT.

I can't speak for the XTC but my carbon HT is pretty forgiving (on the body) in rougher terrain. As for speed going downhill, I ran it through a long rock garden section last weekend. I was only 6 seconds off of my top time on my enduro rig.

Also, a dropper post will help you with confidence in the rock gardens. Being able to get the saddle completely out of the way makes a HUGE difference. I am actually considering putting one on my HT... which I know makes the weight weenies cringe.
 

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Full Suspension all the way !
 

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Being able to navigate a rock garden fast on a hardtail is unfortunately not a skill that most have. I can navigate them pretty quick, and I still find the advantages in the Epic.
You get the overall climbing efficiency of a hardtail and the bump soaking, stay in the saddle cranking through bumpy section advantages of a full suspension.
I can navigate sections through bumpy turns and straights, seated (or almost so) and hammering, or recovering, while my hardtail friends are struggling to find their seat between bumps and roots so they can recover. But I can also rocket up any climb the same way they can because of the Brain's incredible suspension design.
Seated climbing or standing, I am climbing a hardtail and descending a full suspension.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yea, I agree. I tried to order the Anthem x 29er 1 this am and Giant is completly sold out. Now I have other decisions to try to make like maybe another brand. I would go with an Epic but I do not have an outlet for specialized that I can get the same deal as on the Giant. The Giant is very near cost.
 

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WOW! I ordered my Anthem X 1 29er in Oct, took 3 days to come in. I got it for $2400 which I thought was fair. Im glad I didnt wait if they are indeed sold out! I will say I dont race but rode a Hardtail for far too long, Im 48. I love this bike and do not really notice the extra weight compared to my hardtail 22 lbs vs 27lb Anthem. It pulls hills I could never make up with the hardtail. It also rolls over things much better and I can stay in the saddle more of the time. The suspension works great! If I could not get the Anthem my next choice would be the Trek Fuel EX8 @ $2500. I feel these 2 bikes offer great bang for the buck!
 

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The Epic should be pretty comparable as far as price goes. MSRP is $3300. So It is a tad higher than the $2900 price tag of the Anthem X 1, but a lot of dealers list the bikes about 10% lower than MSRP (depending on the shop).
You can get last years model for probably a killer deal as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Yep, it sucks they are gone now in my size. They have other sizes though as well as another model whch I really dont want.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well its all final now. After much looking and finding out that the Giant Antham was sold out, I looked for a Salsa Spearfish and they are also sold out. I ended up getting a great deal on a Specialized Epic Comp today. If the rain holds off I will get to try it out tomorrow.
 

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I was at Bonelli Park today for one of the biggest XC races of the year as a spectator. It was classified as an HC race which had the best of the best riders there. From my observation, on that particular course more than half were full suspension, but still a lot of hard-tails too. Almost every single Race bike was a 29er, but there was a smattering of 650b too. Geoff rode a FS for the win, and Karerina Nash on a hard-tail. We all know different races may have more hard-tails. Being over 50 now, I too wanted some suspension, and yet also the firm feel of a hard-tail. I just got my first real XC bike having come off a Stumpjumper FSR 26. I really liked the Stumpy, but I am loving the 29er!
 

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Sweet ride!
I've got the comp carbon Epic from 2013
And I just picked myself up some of those Carbon wheels too! They're AMAZING!
Taxman - If you do any upgrades to that bike, BUY THOSE WHEELS! They're fantastic!
 

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Hey what are you guys paying for the Roval Carbon wheelsets ? I know it's MRSP is $1700 for the Sl version and $1200 for the standard. Are you getting breaks at the LBS ?
Sweet ride!
I've got the comp carbon Epic from 2013
And I just picked myself up some of those Carbon wheels too! They're AMAZING!
Taxman - If you do any upgrades to that bike, BUY THOSE WHEELS! They're fantastic!
 
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