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MTB #2: Hardtail or XC FS


This topic contains 3 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Noremac11 6 months, 2 weeks ago.

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    Looking for some opinions. I’m an Ontario boy and as such, I’m an XC rider (and so are you!), but I like jumping, trail smashing and going on trips. As such, I find myself on an over-forked Giant Trance. It’s absolutely brilliant in Quebec/BC and can handle a bike park in a pinch. That being said, it’s no quiver-killer. It’s just too much bike for Puslinch, the Hydro-Cut, and my local trails around Peterborough.

    So, I started dreaming of the hardtail. Doesn’t everyone? There is something so beautiful about all those cromo hardtails. Clean lines, with a big fork and meaty tires. Forums full of Honzo riders swearing its the best bike EVER! Dreams of berm smashing and rowdiness.

    And then, I was pulled from my reveries, by the memory of the actual berm smashing and rowdiness I got up to on my old Giant Anthem. If I had a dollar for every time I bottomed out that thing! That little thing was a go-kart on the trails. And the newest Anthem is an over-forked little trail monster right from the factory 130/110 with 27.5 wheels, fairly long reach. Basically the new Yeti SB100/Santa Cruz Blur but half the price.

    So, what do you think makes a better second mtb for Ontario?

    The hardtail? Low maintenance, cheaper, a return to line picking, more bro-cred, some deeply satisfying feeling that comes with a riding a hardtail that I don’t know about?

    XC Full-squish? I know they are full as hell, it’s the perfect bike for 90% of trail in Ontario, it’s comfy so I won’t leave it in the garage, lots of these coming onto the used market in the next month or two

    1. pic-1-of-1.jpg

    Santa Cruz



    interesting question. I had a similar thought last year. I had/have a trek remedy (frame cracked and was replaced with a fuel ex) and wanted something a bit more playful. Don’t get me wrong, I still believe that the remedy (140mm front and back, now a fuel ex, 140mm front, 130mm rear) is still the perfect Ontario bike but I began dreaming of a hard tail. I ended up buying a used chromag stylus (pike 2 step, 160mm/130mm -I keep it at 130mm) and love it. Rips the trails and has never felt under gunned in the don, puslinch, buckwallow, etc. but gives me a bit more play when hitting side hits and dirt jumps. As much as I love my full suspension 29er having a 27.5 aggressive hard tail has been alot of fun. I’ve had some long days on the chromag and don’t really miss the 29er (although my backs a bit more sore). I was hoping to do a few XC races and was thinking of putting some less aggressive tires on the chromag and ride that over the fuel ex.

    With that being said part of me does feel silly having two somewhat similar bikes. Ideally I’d sell the fuel and get something with a bit more travel for serious riding but have only gotten to blue once this year.

    One of the best things about the two rigs is that when one is in the shop you have a wicked back up bike or when a buddy is in town you have one ready to go for them.

    this is the stylus, https://www.pinkbike.com/buysell/2250067/. The guy I bought it from had it pretty dialled and other then having to replace the rear wheel , I haven’t made any changes



    Hmmmm sounds like a vote for a hardtail. I agree that having a second bike would be great to avoid the dreaded no mountain bike. I had so many mechanicals this season.

    I’d probably replace my trance with something a little beefier next time around if I didn’t need it to be the quiver killer it is now.



    I would definitely recommend a hardtail for your second bike, but that’s based on the trails I ride, and how I like to ride them. I’m also in the market for a new bike, but am having trouble finding one that truly suits my needs.

    I’m looking for a playful XC bike that would be comfortable hitting some dirt jumps.

    The main reason I want to get a 27.5 hardtail is the Don Valley is filled with tight switchbacks and I’d like the bike to be as maneuverable and playful as possible. It’s incredibly challenging to find a 27.5 short travel bike, and the majority of hardtails have a race oriented geometry. I want a hardtail with a slack head tube angle, low bottom bracket, and short chainstay. There are a handful of aggressive 27.5 hardtails, but most of these are “enduro hardtails”. These “enduro hardtais” have rather long wheelbases, extremely slack head angles, giant forks, and plus tires. All traits that make a bike less efficient at dirt jumping.

    10 years ago I would have bought a Devinci Hucker, Transition TransAm, Santa Cruz Chameleon, or many other “Freeride Hardtails” but this category of bikes doesn’t really exist anymore. Here are my current top picks (in no particular order), but they all have compromises

    Kona Honzo
    Nukeproof Scout
    Transition Vanquish
    Santa Cruz Chameleon
    Chromag Stylus
    Whyte 905

    Please give me bike recommendations

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