Help with new XC bike decision

I live in CO now, and love it, but used to live in the Midwest. I miss those rolling trails! My local XC races have a very different profile.

The downhills are long, but not very technical (in the MTB sense; lots of fast turns tho, so what roadies would call technical :grin:).

The fast guys are running either a short travel full sus XC rig, or a XC hardtail. For slower, older guys like me, the long downhills are easier on a rig with a little longer travel. The dropper also helps - about one-two inches makes a huge difference on the fast descents, making the bike easier to move around.

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Ugh, I would hate to race that all up then all down profile. The punchyness of our XC races makes tactics interesting and the race engaging.

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Didn’t mean to imply that MI course are totally pancake flat, but compared to many other regions where people might be racing XC, it’s way less hilly, and the prevailing thought would be that a dropper is not necessary. There’s no denying that, on average, the MI race courses are far less technical than in other regions, and more about maintaining speed in smooth corners and the odd ‘rooty’ area.

My point is that even on those trails, I think a dropper is an advantage, and worth the weight penalty. If they’re an advantage on the non-technical trails, they should be a no brainer when the downhills get longer, steeper and more rocky.

Yep. The uphill is basically a time trial, where the fittest is fastest - no tactics to speak of.

And on the downhill, there’s no real tactics either - the most skillful descender is fastest, as people (for the most part) are pretty good about pulling over and letting faster people pass.

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Another shout out for the spark RC, with a dropper. It’s pretty darn light and pedals really well. I also like the lockout that makes the bike rigid front and bake, great for standing climbing.

Essentially an over forked XC full sus bike, usually 120mm travel in the front and 100mm in the rear, plus a little slacker in the HTA.

Such as:

Yeti SB100
Intense Sniper
Rocky Mountain Element
…and many others.

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Wondering what the OP ended up demo’ing and what his thoughts were. I was also in Moab demo’ing XC bikes. I was looking for 110-120 up front which led me to the XC/TR group of bikes.

I found sizing to be a bit of a head scratcher as brands are also over the place and everyone has a different opinion so I ended up trying both the L and XL in most bikes. I tried:
Canyon Lux - good bike for the $ but L was too small and XL just a tad big. not a good fit.
Orbea Oiz M10 TR - I really liked this bike and XL fit well
Fezzari Signal Peak XL - good fit but seemed more Trail than XC. Seemed a little heavy and slow relative to other bikes but some of that could have been setup.
Scott Spark 910 - Loved this bike. XL was too big. L fit well. Fast, handled well.
Spec Epic Evo - tried this in L and it was a little small. Could never get on the XL.

At the end of the day I am probably going to get the Spark 910 or the Oiz M10 TR but I really would like to check out the Blur before making a decision.

Unfortunately some brands were not there (Santa Cruz, BMC, et. al) and many brands did not bring their XC bikes give that it was Moab.


I would say that you already have tested more bikes then most of us so i am sure whatever bike you pick you will be very happy with it. For me, i love my Oiz M10 TR!

I just came here to say BLUR


Exactly this. Put a dropper on whatever you end up with, you will not regret it.

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I’ve had the Pivot Mach 4sl since just before they were announced and I’m still absolutely smitten with it. Once my XC season was over (I switched to an enduro focus in June) I made it a little more downcountry and it’s an absolute killer general trail bike. It’s great for KOM hunting. :laughing:

I’ve been riding a Tallboy the last few years. Apparently i was downcountry before it was cool and didn’t know it. :joy:


@kryton57 - do you have the RC? I’m trying to decide between a RC 900 Pro and the 910 (non-RC). I’m fairly light (150 lbs) and do XCM events on a hardtail currently. So I’m looking for more cushion and am leaning towards the RC Pro + a dropper post. Thoughts?

Well @jmm, which did you go with? I’m also considering the Spark 910. Are you planning to do XC races?

I ended up with a 2019 XL Orbea Oiz M10 TR. was a coin toss with the Spark 910 but the Oiz was on clearance and the dealer wouldn’t budge off MSRP on the Scott. Both of these bikes have good specs for the price but the Oiz is lighter Only the Canyon Lux has a better price/spec ratio but it just didn’t fit me and is more race bike. My son just bought a 2020 Lux.
I love the Oiz. Added some Mavic carbon wheels that were also on clearance. Also swapped the stem for a 0 degree. Planning to upgrade the cassette to X01 and the rotors to XT and put stock stuff on a backup set of wheels. Have a set of Maxxis Aspens in the garage I’ll use for races. I also ordered a Squidlock remote from Orbea although it looks like I may have to wait a while on that. I’ve signed up for the MTB division of a local gravel grinder and the Austin Rattler. Hoping to get into Leadville.
What I love about this bike is it is perfect for my local N. Texas trails and also light enough to give me a shot at Leadville.

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I do indeed have the RC and could write pretty much the same as JMM wrote about the Oiz. Mine is a 2018 so the Oiz wasn’t available with the geo and spec when I bought my Spark.

I love my Spark. I race XCM - and 12h Nationals - on it and it’s fantastic. Light, very capable and for me the twin lock is the perfect system for a bike like this. On open mode it descends and cushions like a bigger bike; in trail mode it’s also very small bump compliant so you lose none of the comfort but is very snappy on a acceleration and through single track and lockout is well, lockout. The cool thing is you have that all at the click of the lever at your thumb.

I think at the current time a choice between a Spark, Oiz, RM, Anthems and a few others are quickly tricky and may come down to personal preference. The only thing that put me off an Epic for example was the reported “clunk” of the Brain activation - I’m far too paranoid to have odd noises happening so that’d be head issue for me! The one thing I would say is look at the head angles - 68 degrees or less gives you more confidence downhill in the main - I also have a 65.5 degree hardtail - and this newer slacker geo is a real benefit to confidence and boost to ability

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I had a plan to hang up my Blur for this time of year when I’m not racing in favor of a trail bike. Budget isn’t allowing that, so instead I threw on set of trail tires, and I’m always running a 150 mm dropper. On all but the steepest and tech trails this bike is amazing. I was going to shop for a different race bike this year but I’m going to rail this thing for another season. I’m running a 120 fork. I really recommend this bike and unlike a Scott, Specialized, or Orbea it doesn’t need a remote. :grin:

That said, I do like how Horst link and Modded single pivots ride in general, but for a race bike they nailed the pedal efficiency / plushness ratio pretty well with the Blur.


Thanks again, @kryton57! Seems the Spark RC is a little steeper than 68 and the non-RC a little slacker. I have a 27.5" hardtail with a 69.5 HTA so either way I’m looking forward to a bike that’s a little more forgiving in geo and suspension. Might stick to RC due to weight factor and slap on a dropper. Lots of choices, perhaps too many.

What sort of hardtail do you have that has a 65.5 HTA? The BMX kid in me wants a Nukeproof Scout Race for it’s simplicity and fun factor, looks like a fun ride!

The nukeproof is great. But I got a discount Clockwork Evo from sunset mtb in Cardiff. looks even better in real life.

I wanted a simple bike to teach me some technical skills / bravery to translate onto my race bike and it does - it’s very awesome.

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Slight derail here: How did you run the dropper cable on the Blur? I’ve got one as well and was going to add a dropper. Did you do internal? If so, does the cable and housing fit through one of the grommets where the housing enters the frame?