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Howdy folks --

My current XC bike is a 2013 Giant XTC 29er, which I love. I recently bought another dropper post so now both of my bikes have them -- loving the Giant even more now.

My only complaint about the Giant is that the geometry is pretty dated, namely the HT angle. My other bike, more of an enduro/light DH bike, has a 65 degree HT angle, and I really don't have any problems climbing with it. The HT angle on my Giant, conversely, is quite steep, and I don't see the point. I would describe my riding style as "very aggressive" even in XC type situations. I sometimes even ride it on more DH-oriented trails.

I've been thinking about just buying a new frame in the next year; one that is still nice and light, but with more modern geometry, bringing the head angle closer to the 66-67 degree range, super short chainstays, etc (actually the chainstays are pretty short on my XTC).

I don't necessarily want a "freeride hardtail" and likely won't be putting a much bigger fork on it. I currently have 4" of travel up front and it is enough most of the time. I'd just be moving all of the parts from the Giant onto a new frame.

I haven't looked at new bikes in a long time, so I don't even know where to begin. I wouldn't rule out steel if it wasn't too heavy. I don't need anything super high-end, just a reasonably-priced, dependable frame that balances sturdyness with light weight.

Please advise...
 

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Chameleon, Ibis DV9, Surly Karate Monkey (maybe too heavy?), Nordest Sardinha (steel and Ti available), Kona Honzo Carbon (can you get that as a frame only?).
 

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WillWorkForTrail
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If you're planning on moving parts around, you're going to either need to figure on buying a new set of wheels, or looking at frames that use your old wheel standard (if memory serves you're 135QR on a 2013 Giant XTC) which is going to put you back into dated geometry as well. If the XTC frame is otherwise pretty good, maybe consider an angleset as a low cost solution? Otherwise, realize that the XTC is an XC race bike, so a steeper HT angle is going to be the plan on such a bike. Yes, some of the newer ones with different fork offsets are going to be a little slacker, but the fork offset is part of what makes that work. So, depending the age of your other bike that's slacker, keep in mind if you throw your XTC's fork on something slacker it might get very strange very fast. In the end, if you needed a new fork and new wheelset to make a new frame work for you, it might be cheaper to buy a complete bike.
 

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Wanna ride bikes?
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^ agreed, many XC frames are also now designed around a 120 fork.

Op, you're kind of asking for 2 different things. A lightweight XC bike with a 100mm fork (only going to find XC race bikes in this category), and a slacker/more aggressive trail hardtail, which will have a 120+mm fork.

Maybe check out the DV9, Niner Air 9, Transition Vanquish, Kona Honzo, etc. Those bikes do not all fall into the same category to me, 2 are XC and 2 are trail IMO based on geometry and burliness of frame.

If you get to test ride any of these you may find that there is very little tradeoff for having a 120 fork and more "trail" geo. It's well worth the compromise IMO, stopping short of going with a 160mm Fox 36 on a Chromag or something. (which is also totally awesome but for very different reasons).
 
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