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Full suspension XC bike


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Hi guys


It is new bike time and I am stuck between a lot of bikes.  Pricing from between R48 000 - R65 000


2018 Cannondale Scalpel SI Carbon Eagle 3

2019 Cannondale Scalpel SI Carbon 4

2018 Giant Anthem Advanced Pro 1

2019 Merida Ninety Six 7000

2019 Momsen Vipa Race 2

2019 Scott Spark RC 900 Team

2019 Specialized Epic Comp Carbon

2018 Trek Top Fuel 9,7


The Trek and Merida both come in below R50 000.  Trek is GX 1x11 and the Merida XT 1x11

The 2019 Scalpel SI 4 is nice with space for two bottle cages, but has the heavy NX 1x12.  Has the new Lefty

The 2018 Scalpel SI 3 has on the Lefty 2.0, but has GX 1x12 and Monarch XX shock. Can take two bottles. Stock very limited

2018 Anthem can be had for below R60 000 and seems pretty decent.  Maybe the least XC type bike?

Momsen seems decent overall and can also take two bottles

Specialized also has the heavy NX 1x12

Scott also seems Ok, most expensive of the bunch.  GX 1x12


Does anyone ride any of these bikes or have an opinion?  Going to be ridden mainly XC, nothing to rough




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I've got the 2018 Specialized Epic Comp and it came with GX 1x12. I'm happy with it and it peddles so efficiently.


The Trek and Giant will also be great choices.

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When you say XC, do you mean true, circuit racing, 1.5 hours XC. Or do you mean marathon, XCM, like 3+ hours across the rocky terrain? Makes a big difference to bike choice.


If proper XC, then I would rule out bikes such as the Anthem. I have one, love it, super comfortable suspension, soaks up the small bumps, but not as efficient on climbs as the Scalpels, Epics, and Spark RCs.


If marathon, i.e. XCM, then most of those bikes will do. But if it was me choosing, I would go for one which can take 2 water bottles in the main triangle, to be able to fit a future dropper post. Such as a Epic or the Scalpel  :thumbup:  Most have great, modern geometry, so it mostly comes down to preference these days.

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I diagree that eh Giant isnt an efficient climber. Its a pretty good allrounder but I find the front end too be too long for the tight twisty XCO courses. It tends to push the front wheel so you have to get really physical with the bike to get the best out of it. This tends to sap energy.


The Scalple, Spark and Epic are the best XCO bikes in the bunch.


For XCM the Scaplel and the Epic top the list due to the ability to fit two bottle cages. If you prefer a camelback then the Spark goes back into the mix. The Giant is very comfortable so for stage racing the Giant anthem and a camelback or a Scalpel and to bottles plus a camelback.


Both the Scalpel and Giant use standard tune rear shocks making it easy to swap out but the Giant uses a trunnion mount shock that (the last time I enquired) the distributor does not carry stock of!!

The Scalpel uses a std tune RS Monarch XX which can be sap out for a Monarch Deluxe air can and volume reducers to play if playing around with the shock is in your future. The scalpel accepts quite a few shocks.


My pick would be the Scalpel

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FWIW, I own an Anthem although a lower spec'd version.  Mostly use it for xcm type riding and a bit of general trail use.  Really efficient climber, comfortable on long rides and capable enough for me on some of the rougher trail stuff.

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I'm also looking at a bike in the same price range. 


Narrowed it down to Scott Spark RC900 & Giant Anthem Pro 1. 


Leaning towards Giant Anthem Pro 1 as it seems the lightest of the lot with carbon wheels. I think the bike tips just under 11kg with pedals and tubeless based on reviews. 


Reason for maybe going Spark RC900 is due to the lockout system and having the 3 options.


Bottle cages, I find one bottle is sufficient to get you between water points. Never had to use a second bottle. Unless you going to do the ultra marathons, which is every now and then, you can put a bottle cage on your seatpost.

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Some very valuable opinions here. 

Zorro your list is droolworthy and in truth you cant buy a bad/crap bike these days.


If you like the look and the brand, go for it.



I did exactly the same exercise back in Feb and I narrowed it down to RC Pro and Anthem Adv 1.

After riding both and taking a closer look at the spec, i pulled the trigger on an Anthem. I've done a few events and I can easily say its the best all-round bike I've owned.

Edited by GiantTjop
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