New XC MTB for 2020 - What to Get?

I’m already planning and scheming on my race season for next year (something like: Austin Rattler --> a bunch of XC events --> then hopefully Leadville) and it’s time to figure out what bike I’m going to ride next year. Given a recent move and the focus of these events, I am likely going to get a true XC bike. (My current bike is more of an attempted quiver-killer but I will probably divide and conquer with an XC bike and something enduro-ish).

As I start to research, just curious what others are looking at for 2020 XC bikes? Let me know!

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Some existing discussions:

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Personally, I’m looking at the Trek Supercaliber. Carbon frame, a little bit of rear shock. I just need to find one to demo.

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Hands down, Scott Spark RC or Specialized Epic. 2 best XC bikes going right now. I rode the Epic at Leadville in 2013 and had a great race. Been riding a Spark RC lately and its great too.

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Spark RC. Did have an 18 epic and liked it but the Spark to me feels more stable and plush at the same time. If that makes sense. The Sparks are stupid light also. My WC came in at 22.9 for a large with pedals. My advice is to go ride them if you can though. Who cares what I think :grin::+1:

Mike

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I had the Epic and sold it. Not a great XC race bike IMO.

Canyon Lux is a far more capable XC bike. I haven’t ridden the Scott but it definitely seems to do the trick at the World Cup level.

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Thank you @mcneese.chad - my search skills clearly need work. These are all great links - thank you!

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I rode the Spark at lunch today - holy cow it is amazing. Before I pulled the trigger I wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing any alternatives. The new Pivot is super interesting but oddly not competitive on price versus the Spark.

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I have a pivot with live valve waiting for me. I switched to this one from the epic for live valve and a more slack geo.

I plan to ride it this weekend and I’m sure I’ll talk about it plenty in the coming weeks :joy:.

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Happy to help. Searching is something I have a knack in doing fairly well.

  • My trick is using Advanced Search, include the Category (and a Tag if possible), then add a few key words.
    • Try to use “generic” ones that you expect others have used, and avoid using too many that overly restrict results.

Here is how I found the ones above, and I just skimmed the results for the ones I linked:

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Another vote for Spark RC. I’ve had mine a couple years and I use it for XC MTB and gravel racing as well. It’s a very lightweight and efficient pedaling bike for full suspension. The double lockout makes it full rigid front and back when you are on pavement or smooth dirt/gravel. I did Austin rattler on it last year and Leadville Stage race also. I’m doing Ratter again and Leadville on it in 2020. I think it’s the perfect Leadville bike unless you are set on a hard tail. That new Trek looks interesting though…

I was debating between the spark and the new Epic, but didn’t care for the brain on the epic. The only thing I don’t like on the scott is it only has room in the triangle for 1 bottle. I have another cage mounted on my top tube which looks dumb, but works well.

On a side note, the Austin Rattler course changed venue last year and it’s a bunch of short and steep punchy climbs now. Very little time to get in a groove and pedal if that’s your thing. Not technical, but more technical than the old course and much more technical than Leadville.

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Definitely want to hear more about the Rattler. There was a huge storm and a rainout/shortened event last year, right? WOuld be curious to get more insight about the course; haven’t had a ton of luck in researching.

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Yeah, we had a big thunderstorm come through during lap 2 of 3. They basically called the race as most people were just a little into lap 2 (preventing many from starting lap 2). Nobody who started lap 2 knew the race was called, so we rode through the storm without knowing it was last lap until less than a mile to go. A little frustrating since the rain was long gone, but the organizers handled it the best they could.

Anyway, the course is lots of short up and down. Not chunky technical, but lots of loose downhills with turns at the bottom, some being off camber with no good traction. Lots of speed-zapping stuff where you work for everything. There is not much riding at steady power, it’s mostly on or off. The venue is known for it’s granite sections and you hit a few of them in the Rattler, but not the technical stuff. It’s the go-to spot to ride after it rains because the granite is like riding on sandpaper, crazy traction.

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Lot of Specialized Epics at Leadville.

Didn’t notice the bikes at Austin Rattler, too busy watching the lightning.

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Scott Spark and Yeti SB 130

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Got my training/winterbike yesterday an Orbea Oiz M10. Can’t beat value for money on this one. I’ll get my custom-painted Oiz M-LTD in December but that’ll be my racing bike so it really doesn’t matter that it arrives that late.

The coolest thing about Orbea is that you get custom paintjobs via MyO-program included in the price, which is by far the most competitive prices on the net.

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I have a 2019 S-works epic I got in December. finally got to use it around march, and did the Austin rattler with it, and qualified for Leadville at the race (finished 23rd overall, 3rd in 30-39 with a 3:25. I didn’t know the race was called until I was starting my 3rd lap. even though it rained hard, the course was still very ridable. I got a red corral spot for Leadville, and finished leadville in 8:33. the race went trouble free for me. I took it relatively easy up Columbine and got passed by a bunch of people, but made a lot of ground back on the return. the bike worked fantastic… only wish I had a power meter for it. and currently its getting the front shock rebuilt under warranty (beat the piss out of the bike, has around 1300 miles, Leadville, Austin, a 6 hour endurance race, and 5 short track MTB races).

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Why do you say the epic isn’t a great XC race bike?

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+1 for the Spark RC 900 WC, I absolutely love mine and have no complaints. I have used it for the past 2 years and race XC and MTB 100s. I only have 1 bike, so I use my Spark in races and bike vacations to Colorado, Utah and Scotland. Not only is great to race with, but it hasn’t held me back following guys on full trail/all mountain bikes.

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The Spark is spec’ed very well for the price. I’m looking at the 900 series (120mm fork) and the only bikes I have found with the same price/spec are the Orbea’s (other than direct to consumer brands). Spec, Trek, Pivot, Yeti, Santa Cruz, etc. all are priced higher for lower specs. In my area the dealers for those brands are better and more established - that is worth something but I"m not sure it’s worth this much.

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