I ride a custom Litespeed Sewanee but when not racing of course I love to ride the local trails. Is there anything wrong with riding a cross country racing bike off of the race course on normal trails?
I ride a XC race bike on the road, on trails, and it suits me just fine. I LOVE the way it flies on the road- and roadies often do a double-take, when I blow by them. On trails though, a little rider finesse is needed. Because it is a race hardtail bike- I have to carefully watch everything I ride over, and pick my best lines. On the hills.....the bike just climbs like a billy goat on crack. Because of being a race bike- I also have to respect the massive speed this bike has on singletrack, with various types of terrain. This means I cannot make high-speed cornering like I would on a 120mm FS with 2.25 tires. Otherwise, the bike has really honed my trail handling skills and rider reflexes like you won't believe!
The good old Giant NRS was raced at the highest of levels in the past by guys like Adam Craig. It serves well as my only mountain bike. The wheels have gotten off the ground now and again, and the bike has been doing fine. It's not a weight weenie build though.
I tried having an XC bike and a trail bike for a while. It just didn't work. Switching back and forth messed me up when I'd first get back on one or the other (mainly due to the sharper handling).
The other thing that was goofy, is not knowing which bike to ride. I'd go through this mental gymnastics each time...well, maybe I want to be on my fast bike today so I can keep up with so-and-so....maybe I should ride the race bike to get used to it again before my race next weekend....maybe I should take the big bike on this trail, 'cause it's pretty gnarly and I don't want to beat up the carbon bike....
Now I just ride a nice alum XC race bike, and switch out my superlight wheels and pedals for race day. Much easier on my tortured brain, and more economical too!
Some may say that a 29er will work better on the trails, other will say it works wrose. You will have to get on it and try it out to see if you like. The biggest thing is that you buy a bike that:
If you fill those two needs, you will have a blast on the bike. If the 29er fits and is a steal, then i would say go for it.
And to answer your question directly, yes a 29er bike will work perfectly for xc. I believe the stumpy is marketed as a xc bike aswell
I am going into my second season on my 29er caffeine hardtail this year. Perfect XC bike for me here in the rocky mountains of Colorado! Even going to try the Leadville 100 with it possibly if I can get in. Just personal preference though. Got passed by 26 and 29 inch bikes last year.
It fits great, and I love it. And at $1,200 for an '08 Comp, it's not a bad deal. I was just a little worried because I know the shop was wanting to get rid of it, and I was afraid the guy was just trying to dump it on me when he said it'd be perfect for this area.
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