Which bike?

What am I looking for?

I’ve got a rather retro GT Zaskar hardtail (usually running at 85 to 100mm upfront) and classic Cannondale Prophet (with 140mm front and rear). So I’m looking for something that will fit neatly between these two. I’ll probably beef up the Prophet to run in it’s free ride setting after this purchase, so I’ll be looking for something more trail than xc, but definitely capable of 6h/75km plus events.

A few questions that need answering.

100mm vs. 120mm vs. 140mm

Given I’ve got a 140mm Prophet it seems like I should be getting something different. Also as I’ve been riding the hard-tail in most of the longer events 100mm should be more than adequate, and if you look at somewhere like Cwmcarn then 100mm should be enough to have fun. But I do wonder if a modern stiff and light weight 140mm can climb and cruise with the best of the shorter travel machines?

26’’ vs. 29’’

Being a big lad, I’m guessing 29’’ wheels will just make the bike look normal sized. Suspect I might be sacrificing fun for speed? But I’ll have the prophet for fun still. Getting a demo seems the only way to answer this one.

Aluminium vs. Carbon

Carbon is sexy, light weight and the often talked about stiffness would be good. Again I suspect a demo is required.

9mm Drop Out vs. 15mm Thru

I’m pretty sure I’d prefer a solid thru axle rather than the traditional drop outs.

Some of the contenders

A far from complete list of possibilities.

Brand XC 100 Trail 120 Trail 140+ 29’’
Turner Flux   5 Spot Sultan
Santa Cruz Blur XC   Blur LT Tallboy
Cannondale Rush RZ 120 RZ 140 n/a
Lapierre X-Control   Zesty n/a
Giant Anthem X   Trance X  
Trek Top Fuel Fuel EX    
Scott Spark   Genius  
Gary Fisher       Hi Pro
Ghost RT Lector   AMR Lector  
Specialized Epic   Stumpjumper FSR  
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