2021 XC Bike Thread

Figured it’s time to make a new thread for this as we should see a few big releases in 2021.

I shared my thoughts on the 2021 S-Works Epic in an IG Live Q&A last night. It’s long, but if any of you have questions about how the bike compares to a handful of others, what I have changed, what I am planning to change, and details on the bike itself (including the brain), give it a watch.


Bike’s I’m looking forward to seeing this year:

  • New Scott Spark - Why did they wait to release it? Because last year’s releases were better than what they had, or did they strategically wait to one-up those releases, or was the wait purely for marketing purposes to coincide with Tokyo? Also, why is Nino running 110-130mm forks and running 120-130mm of rear travel on his current Spark, and what does that mean for the upcoming bike?

  • New Santa Cruz Blur - A new one is coming and while I want to see some crazy light implementation of the suspension design on their longer travel bikes, I’m not sure we will. But, I have heard it should be very light.

  • New Giant? - Seems like it’s been a while since their XC bike has been discussed as a true contender at the top spot. Would like to see them push the envelope.

  • New Trek? - The Supercaliber is innovative, but paired with dated geo and doesn’t feel very refined when riding (a bit bouncy and unplanted feeling).

  • New Yeti? - I’m not sure it will be a full-on XCO bike, and I can’t emphasize this enough – I have no internal insight or knowledge into this release – but I feel like they realized they left a lot of XC riders out when they replaced the 100 with the 115. Would be good to see them have a proper XC bike again.

  • New Canyon Lux? - The Lux is a generation behind in geo and needs an update. I still think something was wrong with Pinkbike’s climbing data, because if that was true, we’d see everybody moving to a Canyon Lux and winning every race, lol. But it would be cool to see such an approachable bike brand have a true competitor for XC.

  • New BMC Fourstroke? - I love the idea of the fourstroke, but the suspension damping was SO heavy. It made it ride too much like a hard trail and although it feels fast, it sacrifices a lot of momentum preservation and stability with that uber stiff damping. Also, it’s not the lightest bike. With Pauline on the bike this year, it would be awesome to see them release a new XCO weapon with their forward-thinking model.

Any others y’all are excited about / want to see?


I watched and enjoyed the IG video. I had to go on geometry geeks and compare a few of the bikes after. Interestingly the Epic has similar specs in several areas to the full Spark (non RC, like my new race bike) which explains to me why it feels so much like it rips.

I can really see that being a fast descender and being very fast with the Epic efficiency.

The Giant really seems to be behind on geo and travel.


Curious on the Blur as well. SC went too 'BRO for my taste on the Tallboy V4, which I had hoped would be a good XC/Trail bike. So, maybe the Blur will be that blend that I had interest in, with the latest geo and refined suspension like you mention.

I hate to guess this, but I suspect we are a full season out before seeing a new Trek bike. The Top Fuel and ProCaliber were new so recently, that I think we won’t see either until a 2022 model year.

Agreed on Giant, that they are prime for a new model/refresh to catch up to the times.


Yes! I agree. I think this was the product of model refresh cycles progressing and overlapping. The Tallboy got pushed up to make more room for the Blur. Now I would assume they’ll release a full XC rocket Blur and maybe a LT version of it to fill in the void left by the old Tallboy? Would be cool.


Yeah, the normal Spark is a good choice!

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Yeah, I love it. It’s ridiculous on the downs with how much it encourages more and more speed.

It’s a different beast to my Anthem with tight switch back turns and I’m still dialling the suspension to maximize the extra travel and mainten efficiency.

It’s great with the lockout.

It’s 13kg with Hunt Wide XC wheels in XL which seems pretty good for its capability for me for racing :man_shrugging:

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I’m most interested in this bike. Obviously there’s a new one coming based on XCO goals with the new teams.

Trouble is, with any new releases this year, what is the actual likelihood of obtaining a MY21 bike? My plan is to try, but to expect to be racing my Ripley this year. Not the worst situation, and I’ll get in line for a new XC bike and hope events pan out.


Are we quite sure about the Blur? I had been assuming we would see one (follows the general SC three year dev cycle, current iteration was released spring 2018) but was told that it was officially NOT coming out in 2021. Did I get bad info?

If no blur I’m hoping to buy an Epic Evo this year (it was supposed to be last year but Covid). If the intel on the blur is good and it really is coming out, I will probably wait to see the stats. I will assume it’ll get the same updated shock linkage now seen on the Bronson/Nomad/Tallboy/etc

I agree I was disappointed with the new tallboy. I’m sure it’s super fun to ride, but I have no need for a downhiller's XC bike, I already have a ‘big’ trail bike.


I’m fairly certain it’s coming out. Possibly a new highball as well.


Surely there’s a new one with the new XCO World Cup team?


I highly expect that’s the case, new team…new bike.


Since nobody has mentioned it, I want to share that the Orbea Oiz is very worth checking out. I have one on the way after testing it out against the Epic and Spark, and I’m coming from racing on an Epic for the past 2 years. The brain was too unpredictable on our local terrain, and the Oiz handled very similarly to the Epic but with more confidence. I had the option to try the BMC but never gave it a go–I wish I would have out of curiosity.


I bought the new Scalpel (2021 model released mid last summer) and will post my thoughts about it soon after all of the various parts come in :slight_smile:


Out of curiosity, what were the settings you were running on the brain?

Not a new bike for me, but I will give a Fox 32 a go on my Mach4SL. I like the 120mm of the 34 but prefer the steeper hta that comes with the 100mm fork.

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Most of my time on the brain has been on the 2.0 (2018/19), so not sure how well it correlates to the new setup. My favorite setting is in the middle, and I sometimes tweak it to be firmer for a race on smoother terrain. With the firm setting, I sometimes get surprised by it opening mid-berm or something like that, so I err toward finding the sweet spot where it opens predictably.

By the way your new Epic looks so rad! I’m looking forward to seeing it on the start line at nats, if all goes well in the world this year :crossed_fingers:

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I almost ended up on an Oiz M10 TR, exceptional spec and I quite liked the geo. The thing that swung it for me to the Spark was the extra descending confidence with the 67° HTA since I also use my bike through the local bike park.

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I have a feeling Rocky Mountain will be releasing a new Element this year, looking forward to it after being a bit underwhelmed by this years crop of XC rigs.

I decided I’m just going to throw a wolf tooth geoshift on my '17 element to get the head tube angle to 68deg and let it ride for another season or two. None of the current bike make me want to rush out and buy. Other than that epic evo maybe…


I got the SE and love it. Just trying to figure out a power meter option that works with the Ai offset.