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menace to myself & others
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, it seems like this'll be the year I finally replace my 1998 $300 hardtail with something newer and better (i.e. something that doesn't suck).

Here's my situation: I bought a cyclocross bike this year and really caught the racing bug. Now I wanna try some XC mountain bike racing.

I am looking for something in the $1500-2k range. I'm pretty small (5'5, 150), so an especially burly bike is not super important. I ride mostly NorCal singletrack, and don't do a lot of flinging myself off cliffs or anything. I am thinking full-suspension, but I am not totally sold, so I'm open to a hardtail, if appropriate, although at 37, I am thinking it might be a good idea to get something that cushions my aging bones a little.

So far, I am thinking about the Giant Anthem, the Santa Cruz Superlight and I think I could stretch for the Specialized Epic. I haven't tested any of them yet, but I am trying to figure out whether I am missing any other choices and what other people's experiences are. And I haven't thought that much about hardtails at all.

I would really prefer to buy locally, and the Giant would come from the store where I bought my cross bike, so that's an attraction. I live in San Francisco, though, so I think I can find a dealer for pretty much anything.

What should I know, and what am I missing?
 

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LBS Manager
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1,918 Posts
Try an Epic

If the Epic fits you and you want a race bike particularly when you are comming off a hard tail I think its the best choice. The Giant is a great bike but I just think the brain shock rear end is the perfect transition bike from hard tail to suspension.
 

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lover of trees
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85 Posts
Ventana Pantera?

Is an option. You can buy one from Cambria...the frameset is on sale from $1300 for $700 and change. You could have it built to your specs or how about this link below?

ebay pantera for cheap

It's something to consider opposed to the SC Superlight. I'm 5'7" and it fits me well and it's great for me. Looks like a good part spec and this would probably go $2500 new or so.

More info in the Ventana forum or under the reviews here.

:cool:

The maestro would probably feel like it has more travel than the superlight/pantera. The pantera has lockout w/its rear shock. I dig my Ventana...haven't rode the Maestro. The Epic (as mentioned above) might be a good ride to consider as well if you want something a little more akin to a hardtail.
 

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menace to myself & others
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372 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well, the Titus is out of my price range (the frame alone is what I can pay for a whole bike).

The Pantera looks interesting, but a) I am not sure what it gets me over one of the other bikes on my list, and b) I can't find any info about it on the Ventana site.
 

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The devil is an angel too
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7,330 Posts
I have tried a Giant Trance -same Maestro suspension as the Anthem, more travel- and I can tell you that it rides very nice. It seems like the Anthem is getting "rave reviews", as in: oh-ah is the best racing FS bike in the world ever! The Superlight has been around forever and it will have less maintenance -I guess, being a single pivot and all.

I would suggest you try to test them all -Anthem, Superlight even the Epic- and pick the one you like, don't get caught in the "this suspension is better than that one" trick. Fit and feel are two very personal things and what's a deal breaker for one (like some brake jack) could not be a deal breaker for other. A couple more things: look for an NRS, they are being phased out this year, so left over 05's should go for cheap and they are supposed to be nice "hardtail feeling" bikes. And I think you should also consider a steel hardtail, like the Kona Explosiff, which will be a tad less expensive than a fully suser and less harsh than aluminum.
 

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ride hard take risks
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25,423 Posts
sashax said:
Well, the Titus is out of my price range (the frame alone is what I can pay for a whole bike).
Ok so i'm a moron & cant tell the differance between complete bike & frame only :D.
My search will have to continue, by the way those Giants are nice bikes too :cool:.
 

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ride hard take risks
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25,423 Posts
The Giant NRS is a very nice bike, friend has had his for about 4 years & he rides XC, huge rocks, almost anything with it. The reviews say it is for XC only & can not hold up to hard riding, my friend & i had a great laugh when we read that, guess what you dont know wont hurt :D. He still ride it hard. Marin is worth looking into since it is local. They are also very good with support, possible sponcership! It's not a world beater on the XC circut but sometimes you can blow peoples minds when you whoop them on a bike that cost 1/3 theirs did ;). Yell if you need more suggestions :)
http://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/030.000.000/030.000.000.asp?year=2005&model=11135
http://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/030.000.000/030.000.000.asp?year=2005&model=11147
http://www.marinbikes.com/bicycles_2006/html/bikes/bike_specs/specs_rift_zone.html
 

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Registered
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Hello,
I work in petaluma at sonoma mountain cyclery ( pretty close to SF) and im buying a Giant Anthem 2 tomaro, im extremly excited! my boss rode the bike when andy our giant rep came in with it, he said the suspension design is awsome, it runs with more sag though so it wont feel like a hardtail like the pervious NRS did ( now if pinkbike addict guys are going to jump on me becasue they disagree about the nrs im not going to argue back, its really dumb too to argue like 12 year olds on the internet). but back to the bike, the bike is extermly agile becasue of steeper head tube, and its streched out longer for more of a XC feel ( more streched than the trance i mean) . the anthem is a full out xc machine, adam craig helped design it, and the first time he raced it he won iceman. the the anthem is lighter than the epics. and probably cheaper, but im not for sure. the anthem 3 runs for $1600, Anthem 2 $2300, Anthem 1 is priced well at $4000 ( complet with all top of the line XC componetery).
i highly recomend the anthem, especialy if you got the racing bug, these bikes are light, fast, and just plain sexy! but if your interested come down to petaluma and order one! tell them Jesse sent ya, ( i need a raise lol) but if you want to be riding soon order in the next 2 days becasue anthems are running low, giant is starting shipping back up from winter break on the 5th, so order soon or your going to be waiting till may, or april! good luck!

-Jesse :cool:
 

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ride hard take risks
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25,423 Posts
sashax said:
Well, the Titus is out of my price range (the frame alone is what I can pay for a whole bike).
The Pantera looks interesting, but a) I am not sure what it gets me over one of the other bikes on my list, and b) I can't find any info about it on the Ventana site.
What ja buy hu hu what ja buy :D
 

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Too Kool for Skool
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321 Posts
giant anthems are supose to be great bikes. not sure bout price (too lazy to check) but i thik its in ur range
 

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theg1ant said:
giant anthems are supose to be great bikes. not sure bout price (too lazy to check) but i thik its in ur range
You certainly get bang for your buck with Giant. I forget which magazine rate the Reign as the best 2005 all-mountain bike for two grand.

Cannondale Rushes are adored around here too.
 
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