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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking for a 29er hardtail as something different to my 29er FS (Spec Epic) and was looking at these three bikes:

Scott Scale 29er Elite
Giant XTC 29er 1
Cannondale Flash 29er 2

I know the Giant and Cannondale are each about 400 dollars more but I also get a front through axle and tapered head tube on the Giant and some other features such as the lefty fork on the Cannondale.

I was just looking for feedback on ride quality, geometry etc. from anyone who has ridden any of these bikes. I'll be riding the bike on xc trails, some beeing pretty rooty others beeing smoother with lots of loose over hardbpack. Thanks!
 

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Will be intersted in the responses as well. It feels like the Scale 29 Elite is a better value but maybe I am wrong.

I am about to purchase the Scale 29 Elite in a Medium size. I could ride the Large size, but the standover height has my frank and beans resting on the top tube. I am 5' 11" tall with a 30-32" inseam and about 185 lbs clothed. The size medium, with the reflectors and plain jane platform pedals, weighed in at 26 lbs 10 oz at my lbs. The reported 25.5 lbs weight must be without any pedals and without the reflectors.

I have not ridden the Giant, but I rode a Cannondale Trail SL 29er 2 (similar price to the Scale 29 Elite and similar geometry to the Flash Alloy 29er 2), along with the Scale 29 Elite. I did not notice a handling difference due to the head tube angle difference (69.5 degrees on the Scale 29 Elite versus 71.0 degrees on the Trail SL 2). Maybe it's because the bikes were at 2 different shops so I had to drive all over town to ride them both.

I'm sure the Flash Alloy 29er 2 is lighter than the Trail SL 29er 2 (29.5 lbs at local lbs), so is probably about the same weight as the Scale 29 Elite.

Anyway, good luck to you!
 

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I have scale 29 pro in size large. I like it better than the medium. I'm the same size as you are. I found I was hitting the seat on the medium when out of the saddle.
 

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I bought a scale29 elite and let my girlfriend ride it on the trails after we left the lbs. We were back at the lbs the next day buying the 2nd one so we both could have one. With stans wheelsets, saddle, carbon bar and carbon seatpost our bikes weigh 24lbs a piece.

The Scotts a great ride, never had a chance to ride the others.

By the way I'm 5'11" 32 inseam and ride a large. My girl has a medium and its kinda cramped and the bars get into my knees pedaling thru turns. The biggest difference in scale29 sizes is tt length.
 

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I have scale 29 pro in size large. I like it better than the medium. I'm the same size as you are. I found I was hitting the seat on the medium when out of the saddle.
Interesting. I will have to ride a large and medium back to back and see what I think. Never thought about hitting the seat when out of the saddle...

Thank you for posting that!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I bought a scale29 elite and let my girlfriend ride it on the trails after we left the lbs. We were back at the lbs the next day buying the 2nd one so we both could have one. With stans wheelsets, saddle, carbon bar and carbon seatpost our bikes weigh 24lbs a piece.

The Scotts a great ride, never had a chance to ride the others.

By the way I'm 5'11" 32 inseam and ride a large. My girl has a medium and its kinda cramped and the bars get into my knees pedaling thru turns. The biggest difference in scale29 sizes is tt length.
How does the rear end of the Scott Scale Elite feel? Harsh or some soak up with lower air pressure over roots and such? Does the geo stretch you out low in the front?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I am a noob but really enjoy my Flash 2, can't compare to the others but just giving a thumbs up to the Cannondale
How do you like the lefty fork? I've never ridden one. On the flash how does the rear end feel? Some vertical compliance in the back or does it beat you up over roots and such?
 

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My 2012 elite is more forgiving than her '11. It definitely soaks up some trail chatter. With the reba up front it feels the same front and rear going over small stuff and gravel.
 

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lefty fork is awesome. its so smooth i can't imagine riding a bike with a different fork now. but it does require more maintenance then a standard fork. Also, i would look into the save seat post from cannondale that flexes a little bit. It really does work. I think any bike that you choose is going to work well. I have had a good experience with my flash. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
My 2012 elite is more forgiving than her '11. It definitely soaks up some trail chatter. With the reba up front it feels the same front and rear going over sm
all stuff and gravel.
How does the bike handle/feel with the 69.5 head angle? Most 29er HT's are 71 degrees and I was wondering what difference it would make. Thanks!
 

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I have a 2011 scale pro and I love it. Great geometry, decent parts, super light and extremely fast. My vote would be the scale, best value for the price. Also the 2012 with the 2x10 would be sweet
 

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I rode around all three of these bikes this weekend and they are all very different. The Scott Scale and the Giant sit at opposite ends of the spectrum, with the Giant having a much steeper head angle (71.5 vs 69.5), and much lower bottom bracket. With the Giant and Scott setup for me, the seat, BB, and bars looked close to 1" lower on the Giant. The stock bars and stem on the Giant also gave it a much more stretched out feel. If you love one you will likely hate the other. Personally I much preferred the Scott, which has more of a relaxed trail bike feel, seemed like it would be much more confidence inspiring descending gnar with the slack HA and the wheel further out in front. The Cannondale Flash splits the difference between the other two bikes geometry and fit wise. Really I think you'd need to ride all three, they are different enough where it might not come down to which components you like best.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Strader,

Thanks for the review and input. I definitley prefer a more upright trail position on my bikes. I don't like the traditional stretched out xc geometry. I'll for sure take a look at the Scott. How harsh did the rear end feel? Did you sense any vertical compliance in the frame over small stuff?
 
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