Need help choosing a full-sus XC bike

Hi guys, I’m just getting into XC racing after mainly focusing on cyclocross for the past few seasons, and l’m looking to upgrade my bike. Currently I have an Orbea Rallon which I use for trail riding and a Specialized Epic hardtail for XC racing, however I’m moving to University pretty soon and looking to free up some space.

I’d like to buy a full-sus, 100mm travel XC bike to use for everything (XCO, XCM and trail riding), so want something that is reasonably slack (for an xc bike) and pretty light. What do you guys think my best option is?

I have between £5000-6000 to spend and would ideally like to buy new. A few things I’ve looked at are the Cube AMS SL 29, which is super light (sub 10kg), fairly slack and not too expensive. I also really like the look of the new Blurs, but it may not be the best value bike and it seems pretty heavy tbh.

Any advice is much appreciated!

That Cube looks pretty good (is it the one with XO1 Der, Magura brakes etc?) But no dropper post so that will add to the cost if/when you get one for it.

100mm and ~67° HTA has a few options in the Epic, Blur, Merida 96

It’s a great time to be choosing an XC bike in terms of how good the bikes are. I don’t know what it’s like in the UK, but it might come down to what bike you can actually land.

Have a look through here:


I have a new blur and love it. I would highly recommend it if you can get your hands on one.

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Yep that’s the one, I would for sure need to get a dropper at one point if I bought that. It’s crazy that brands are selling high end mtbs without droppers tbh.

It’s still pretty difficult to get new bikes in the UK as well, that may end up being one of the main decision makers…

Thanks for the help!

Don’t obsess over weight, it’s not the be all end all. Ideally you want to be sub 24lbs (11kg) and most pros aim for the the 22lbs (10kg) mark. But bike handling and your skills with fitness will make the difference. Any XC bike in your price range will be plenty light and capable.

I race Cat 1/Expert and I’ve lost plenty of times to guys who weigh 15 lbs more than me with bikes that weigh 5 pounds more. So weight is a consideration but doesn’t determine placing.

For you, I’d look into the “down county” market which there is plenty to choose from. Personally, I’m upgrading from my 2018 Scott Spark 900 RC World Cup to the 2022 Spark RC Pro (if I can get my hands on one).


Watching this thread with interest. I’m looking to get back into XC racing after a hiatus from a time when drop-bars and Tioga discs were all the rage!!! I’m currently riding a 2021 Trek Fuel Ex8 XT which is an awesome bike, but just not fast enough I don’t think for XC racing.

In the UK too, and it does seem availability determines choice.

I’d have a budget of about half the OPs…

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The Canyon Lux Trail is incredible value if you are considering 120mm bikes as well.

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I have been considering a 120mm bike tbf, I reckon it could be more practical outside of racing. I’ll be a bit gutted if I do have to get rid of my Rallon since it’s so much fun so having a bit more travel could be quite nice.

Do you reckon you’re losing much time over the course of a 1-2 hr xc race on a down country type bike compared to a proper 100mm travel piece?

None unless it’s super flat/non technical and you’re at the pointiest end of the field.

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Thanks man, something to think about. Those Lux Trail’s do look pretty nice and getting AXS gears and dropper for sub 6 grand seems like pretty good value. Also, it weighs pretty much the same as a 100mm Blur :hushed:

And flash wheels.

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I was able to find a 2018 Spark RC world cup with carbon wheels early in the summer after the hoopla of buying bikes kinda slowed down for under $3,500, dressed to the nines. I think it’s just over 22 with dropper. 68.5 HTA and this thing goes. I have pretty much topped all of my strava PRs on this over what I had on my trail/enduro bike going down some rowdy and flow trails here in CO.

I’m going to put the new fox 34 120 sc once it’s back in stock. I see no need to upgrade. I also have my enduro bike which I’ll probably uprade first anyhoo.

That’s still to be determined, but if you are it’s extremely marginal and nothing short of a pro should worry about.

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With how efficient suspension is set up nowadays I suspect that if there even is any time loss it’s probably due to tire choice. Most down county bikes come specced with burlier tires compared to their full race xc counterparts. So in similar tires I don’t think you’ll lose much, if any, time but gain more comfort and capability.

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Yeah you’re probably right, I suppose most bikes include a full lockout anyway so you can always use that if you really need to for any long smooth climbs and then take advantage of the extra 20mm on the descents.

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I think this is what Down Country is to me, and absolutely why I love it. I can hit all sorts of trails I had no chance on on my old Anthem, yet on race day it’s just as fast except for the most all out sections as an RC.

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Assuming the suspension is set up properly, how often are you using all the travel? I bottomed my 170mm bike a few times this weekend, and that is set up properly (Ohlins coil front and rear), no 120mm bike is going to replace that for my kind of riding.

But if you are rarely, or ever, fully using all 160mm, then going to a modern 120mm bike is probably going to be just fine. 120mm bikes are probably going to do most anything outside of what you might be doing on a lift assist bike park.

Probably very little, if anything. Any time lost would probably be due to the increased weight, which is probably going to be pretty tiny.


Mondraker F podium is my weapon of choice and it’s been great.
Few things to note after demoing bunch of XC bikes.
-Weight does matter
-Avoid 110mm if you don’t need it
-Slack head tube is a bonus but also have some drawbacks
-Dropper and lock out is a must if you are racing seriously.

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No. And it will make your bike more versatile. IMHO for most people a downcountry bike is definitely the better option. Two years ago I rode Pivot’s 130 mm trail bike (the bike was maybe from 2017). It put my (admittedly old) XC fully to shame in every. single. category.

Even if I were to get an XC bike, I’d probably do some modifications to make it more like a DC bike, e. g. 4-pot brakes are great.

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The brakes thing is an interesting discussion. I’ve seen some more gnar-riented DC bikes with 4-pot (at least in front), but from my discussions with my DH/Enduro mates the benefit isn’t there unless you are running super long descents, or at the very least running chunkier (less XC) tyres.

I got told it’s rotor size that is much more impactful. My Spark came with 180 front and rear and I can attest to it being more than enough stopping power.

That lines up with my experience. I can pull my bike up quickly with 2-pot, and if I were to try harder, it’s the tyres that are the issue. I don’t experience fade, but our longest constant downhill trails are only ~10min.

That’s XT 2-pot with ice tech 180mm rotors front and rear.