2013 Giant XTC Composite 29er 1 versus Cannondale F29 Carbon

Discuss light weight issues concerning mountain bikes & parts.

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by chiltonp

About to make the jump from road to MTB and am considering both of these options, (along with an Air 9) as my first true MTB. Unfortunately I may not be able to demo either. Which frame has the better rep around here and which bike would serve me better for the similar price? I've heard great things about the Lefty fork and I am assuming the Cannondale will be lighter.

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by skywalker268

I'd say go cannondale. The entry level carbon f29 has a nice xt/slx build kit with avid elixir 7 brakes and good tubeless ready rims. The lefty combined with the lighter frame is going to make for a much lighter nimbler build. Coming from a road background, i'll assume youd appreciate that more.

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by limba

I'd say the Cannondale and Scott Scale are the top two hardtails of the last few years. Giant, Niner, Spec, Rocky, Orbea, etc, etc all make nice bikes but I'd get a Scott or Cannondale. Cannondale has a lifetime warranty.

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by socratease

I'd say Cannondale's got a more dialed spec: they've been doing a good job in this area (more or less, pulling some moves from the Specialized playbook.) The leftys are light and stiff, and though I don't think they perform as well as the latest crop of suspension forks from Rockshox and Fox, the stiffness somewhat makes up for that in trail manners.

I like the Giant frames a lot: very stiff and spritely, and they have good value specs on them. The trouble is that none of the bikes are really spec'd the way I'd like them to be. As I work in a shop, my next build will be an XTC 3, new fork, new group, new wheels, sell the old stuff. As far as off the shelf, the XTC advanced sl 1 seems like a pretty nice spec. Considering the base model frame felt very similar to my s-works, I think this one would be a winner. Those wheels are actually pretty decent, too, if you use gorilla tape on them and some tires with a better supported bead than the racing ralphs, if you want to run tubeless.

As the difference is roughly a grand: I'd go with the giant and deck it with some really killer wheels. But that's just me.

Other brands:
Niners are sweet, but quite pricy unless you're gonna bling it out to tha max
Specialized's bikes are nicely specd, but their mid-level carbon bikes lack something compared to the sworksss or other top-end carbon
I don't particularly like the way Scott's 29ers handle.

to answer your question, though people here will strongly favor Cannondale, just look at the ~5 Cad/SS builds weekly

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by Liggero

I dont like the lefty fork. And i dont like a cannondale wirhout one. I would go for giant or scott.
Happy Trails !!!

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by michel2

+1 on giant

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by xcqckng

my money to giant

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by lampswitch

OP: Did you end up getting either bikes? I've narrowed my search down to these two as well. I'm leaning towards the C'dale but my only concern is the Lefty. I've heard great things but also heard that they can be a hassle even with the new hybrid design.

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by trailgumby

Not sure where you got with your purchase but thought I'd chime in on the "Lefty hassle" issue.

I've been running various model Lefty forks for the last 5 years or so. They do require periodic bearing resets, but that's really a 5 minute exercise with a Shimano external BB spanner every couple of months. It's really no harder than rinsing off your bike and much less hassle than cleaning a chain. In other words, two tenths of not much.

The more recent PBR and XLR forks are fitted with lockout blowoffs, so the days of blowing lockout seals are well and truly over.

I sometimes get to ride other bikes with normal forks, and the ones I would consider comparable in performance are 34mm stanchions, but then they're a lot heavier. My first ride on a XX SID forked 29er saw me go over the bars when the bike pulled left under brakes and I missed the entry line into a black-diamond rock descent. Getting back on the Lefty, I appreciated a bit more what I had begun to take for granted - the bike goes where you point it, even in the rougher stuff.

Yeah they look odd. But I kinda like the minimalism and out-of-the-box thinking and elegance of putting the air spring and damper together in the one cylinder. I get a few guys who say "I couldn't ride that ... looking at that fork would freak me out", and I think no wonder you fall off, you're looking in completely the wrong place. You need to be looking at the trail not your bike!"

The suppleness and lack of stiction on the trail can't be beaten - you get tyre contact with the ground like no other fork.

I looked quite closely at the Orbea Occam s30X for my first 29er, but ended up going with the Scalpel - the price/performance was just too good.

As for roof racks and transportation, I just use racks where you leave the wheel on. All good. :thumbup:

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