Cross Country Reviews and News


2018 Giant Factory Off-Road Team Bikes


See the rigs being raced in XC, enduro and downhill this season.

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Intense Sniper XC and Trail released


Intense launches 100mm XC and 120mm Trail Sniper, designed to rock your race season to the next level.

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Partners in Grime: Felix Burke and Quinn Moberg


For many, completing post-secondary schooling is a difficult task. For others, training and racing through Canada’s grueling winter weather is overwhelming. But what about doing both?

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Bontrager Kovee XXX TLR 29 wheelset review


High end carbon wheelset is race ready out of the box with a single purpose in mind: help make you faster.

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Trek Roscoe and X-Caliber hardtails reviewed


Trek’s budget-friendly hardtails have evolved on two distinct paths, an affordable XC steed and a fun trail machine. Born out of the same frame, find out how these two bikes compare.

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  • jc says:

    Some goofy geometry info listed, if indeed they’re the same frame. No way that adding 2cm of travel to the fork will change the seat tube angle by more than 1 full degree – even on the smallest size frame.

  • brian tunney says:

    I’m not a strong enough enthusiast to know a lot about bikes and handling etc…. so I like a bit of the feedback to how the subtle differences can make almost the same bike one format versus the other.

    I’m most impressed with the specs and comments on these as compared to my trail oriented bikepacker or adventure bike, steel, 1×11, Recon, Schwalbe and coming in a shade over 30# at $1199 new, a few months ago.

  • Jon Dahl says:

    I’m thinking about the rear hub “boost” 9*141 ??? Where in the aftermarket can you buy a new rear wheel if it gets broken. Why go back to QR when thru Axel has come to stay…. sad.

  • Bret says:

    Was really tempted by the Roscoe 8…solid build for the price. Ended up stretching the budget a tad more and got Diamondback Release 1…I’m so glad I went full squish.

  • Gordon says:

    I’m somewhere between XC and novice trail. I like long days out in the British country side but also like to dick around on the trails. Does the Rosco also work well on the road as well as the trail? I like the idea of having the dropper post and bigger tyres but suspect this combine with the 1×11 would make it really difficult on a long day out. What are you thoughts?

    • John Mac says:

      Gordon, I’ve got the Roscoe 9 (which is available in the UK) as my do-it-all bike. It handles roads fine albeit not at the pace that a 2-by bike could due to gearing, but where it shines is on climbs with some proper granny gears that help your legs keep churning. The plus size tyres (2.8″ rather than 3.0″ mentioned in the article) also eliminate any concerns over drain grid gaps (the enemy of skinnier hybrid/roadie tyres) and roll over most things with ease. Speaking of roll over, given the plus size tyres, some will say that they roll like 29ers rather than 27.5, but all I can say is that I have not had one single bad ride or found fault with the bike at all so far.

  • Izzy M says:

    The Trek website lists the X-Caliber’s BB as being lower than the Roscoe’s. So the statement about trail hardtails being lower than their XC counterparts isn’t correct in this case.

  • Izzy M says:

    Just found this on the Q&A portion of the X-Caliber on the Trek website:

    Can you swap wheels between 29 and 27.5 plus like on the roscoe models? What is the maximum tire witdh.
    Verified Reply – Luke @ Trek
    No, this is not recommended. The tires will not fit in the frames that already use 27.5″ tires. The 29er X-caliber has less fork travel than the Roscoe which will make the bottom bracket height too low for ideal riding performance if the X-caliber were to use 27.5+ wheels. 2.4″ tires are the maximum recommended tire width for both the 27.5 and 29er X-caliber bikes.

    So apparently, the X-Caliber and Roscoe frames are not the same frame.

    • tom says:

      yes you can swap wheel sizes the boost 141 is the same as 148 but with quick release
      trek has wheel sets ready to go

  • Ricardo Torrado. says:

    Me hice a la roscoe 8, y es destacada su respuesta en caminos difíciles y descensos pedregosos. La supensión es poderosa y la transmisión suave y fiable. La estética es impresionante, generando comentarios de los compañeros de ruta. El precio es mucho menor al de la competencia, y destaca en componentes frente a esta.

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Rocky Mountain Element BC Edition review


Rocky Mountain’s new Element BC Edition is an XC race bike that’s fully embraced the benefits of trail-oriented geometry and components.

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  • Ralph says:

    Saris, do you know of any changes between the 2017 and the 2018 Element?

    Thx,

    Ralph

  • Andrew says:

    I just bought a leftover 2017 Element 970 and LOVE it!

    Ralph – I’ve confirmed that the 2018 Element is the same as 2017, save for the Element 95 (formerly 950) which now has an aluminum rear end.
    I also know that they’re replacing hollow main pivot bolts with solid ones but I’m not sure if 2018s come with the new solid bolts or not.

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Scott Spark 900 review


If you like riding mountain bikes uphill and downhill with equal precision and efficiency, the Scott Spark is a serious no-compromise option.

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  • alias says:

    Interesting that the Author complains twice about the dropper post actuation, saying that one must slightly alter their grip to use the remote.

    Is the author aware that you can rotate the lever towards the rider? This alevieates the ‘problem’ of needing to adjust your grip.

    FYI

  • Kai says:

    Actually on the new sparks the dropper lever and the twinloc share a clamp, which makes it impossible to put the dropper lever in a good position without messing up the twinloc or putting it into your brakes. Also with the way Scott designed it if you push the dropper lever all the way down it hits the twinloc lever.

  • blubike77 says:

    I have a 2017 Spark 910 which I’ve ridden for the past several months now. I live and do most of my riding on the Front Range of Colorado – and for the kind of riding I like to do – long-ish rides with plenty of climbing and fast descending, usually on rockier terrain (call it technical-ish XC) – the Spark is a fantastic bike. This summer I rode the Spark 910 in the 2017 Breck Epic six-day MTB stage race in the Breckenridge, CO backcountry – and found the bike near-perfectly suited for that race / style of riding. Sure there were times a pure XC bike would have been an advantage, and times an all-mountain / enduro bike would have been better-suited – but overall the Spark handled everything, most of it really well. Personally I love the TwinLoc suspension feature and use it all time. Admittedly the cockpit is a little busy with the TwinLoc, dropper, and shifters (and I have the 2x drivetrain to boot!) — but you get used to all the levers and cables and I like having all that control and functionality at my finger tips. But that’s just me. Bonus – having a front shifter moves the dropper button over to the over side of the bar, over the rear shifter, where it eliminates the placement issue described in the review. Pros: Very fast, very capable bike. Perfect for fast, technical XC riding / trail riding. Cons: Bottom bracket sits low (more pedal strikes than I’m used to), rear suspension setup is finicky (still not convinced I have it right – may try removing the volume spacer this review describes), wish the bike was a little lighter for long, steep climbs. Other: Stock wheelset is very nice for OEM build (nice alloy hoolps laced to DT Swiss hubs essentially DT 350’s) but at 20mm internal width are a little narrow for this bike’s sweetspot … 22mm to 24mm internal width would be a better spec. Tires: The Maxxis Forkaster 2.35’s that come on the bike provide excellent braking, climbing and cornering traction in just about every condition, including the always-challenging loose-over-hard (and bonus points for the EXO sidewall protection) … though I’d dispute the notion that they’re a fast-rolling tire. I switched to Maxxis Ardent Race 2.35 (front) and Ikon 2.2 (rear) tires for the Breck Epic which rolled noticeably faster in most conditions while giving up little in terms of traction and control in the widely variable but mostly dry conditions of that race. I’ll put the Forkasters back on for winter as they’ll undoubtedly be very good in snow/sloppy/muddy conditions. All in all the 2017 Spark is a top choice for XC / technical XC / light all-mountain riding … or what most of us call mountain biking.

  • Russ says:

    I’ve just purchased a 2018 model Spark 900 here in Australia and retain my well used 2012 but upgraded Spark Pro 100mm. Obviously over the past 5 years there have been improvements in geometry thinking, suspension, 1×12 gearing etc but I have to say this bike for non-racing is much more enjoyable and confidence inspiring than I ever thought. Loving the dropper post too. I can pop the front wheel easier and, aware that some reviewers think otherwise, I also think that it climbs very well – you just need to get over the front wheel. The slacker front with 34mm forks is amazing – but I do catch myself thinking, if this is good, what a would a quality 2018 150mm trail bike be like. Then I remember, I like a bike that can help me climb, go the distance, and I’m not throwing myself off one metre ledges! Loving it. But I’m neutral on the twin loc levers, always have been, and the torx clamp and general integrated design with left grip is rubbish.

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DT Swiss Interbike 2017


With three main MTB wheel families (XC, all-mountain, enduro) and multiple price points within each family, DT Swiss has all your riding bases covered.

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  • Larsv says:

    The guy looks a bit confused.. So many names/numbers and wheelsets!

    I wonder why DT still uses the 1200/1501/1700 numbers. Wouldn’t it just be easier to ditch those numers and rename them to their classic hubs number? 180/240/350. They would save money on decall plastic too. 🙂

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Pivot Cycles Interbike 2017


Straight from Interbike in Las Vegas, here’s Pivot front man and lead designer Chris Cocalis running through the company’s hottest bikes, starting with a very special 10-year Anniversary Edition Mach 5.5.

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  • Scotch Hennesy says:

    I’ve been riding and racing mountain bikes non-stop since 1990. The years of turning pedals in the hills have put me on top of the very first Manitou fork, ATAC stems, Anza bar ends, Cannondale HeadShocks, Triple rings down to single rings..etc. Of all my bikes throughout these ever changing years, my Pivot Trail 429 is by far my fave. I sold my Cannondale Scalpel team model in order to buy this amazing ride. I gained some weight for sure; but inherited a work of art that is so much fun to climb and descend on. I’m a loyal Pivot guy for many years to come.

  • Marty Arnwine says:

    I may have to sell a kidney for it, but damn that 10 year anniversary 5.5 is a sweet ride!

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Whyte Bikes Interbike 2017


The Whyte Enduro team will have a secret weapon in 2018 – the S-150 Works is their “out of the box” race bike for all-round events. Find out about that bike and much more.

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Five bikes we’d rather own (and cost less) than an iPhone X


The new iPhone retails for a thousand dollars or more. Turns out, you can get a whole lot of bike for that kind of money. Here’s our five favorites.

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Stung by the Steamboat Stinger


With 7000 feet of climbing, 90% singletrack, zero pavement, and two primary ascents that crest above 8000 feet, you better bring your A game if you plan to stay near the front — or just finish.

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  • gg says:

    How much of this race is on fire roads or gravel roads ?
    The 7 day BC Bike Race pretty much claims the same, but at least 50% is on grinding logging roads.

    BTW – 2nd pic shows start line on pavement or is that the wrong pic ?

    • Jason Sumner says:

      90% claim is very close if not spot on. There is very little time on fire road. And yes, race starts with ~50 feet of pavement, then transitions onto gravel road before heading into singletrack. That section of pavement is not repeated on lap 2.

    • Chris B says:

      gg – seriously it’s 48 miles of trail in 52 miles total. Of those 4 miles of “not trail”, it’s perhaps 50 feet maximum of pavement at the start, then a mix of rough jeep roads and a little bit of smooth gravel on the back side of the course.

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Kestrel introduces carbon 29ers


One of the top names in carbon fiber frame construction is getting into the mountain bike game — and offering some screaming deals in the process.

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Specialized Epic first ride review


The Specialized Epic is one of the most successful race platforms in history, so how do you improve on a two time gold medal winning bike?

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  • tyrebyter says:

    I think I know what you meant, but “sits behind the axle, which puts it closer to the moment of inertia” does not mean anything. Maybe you mean being further from the pivot amplifies the acceleration sensed by the brain?

  • I'mRight says:

    How can you talk about weight reduction and not tell us what the bike weighs?

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Specialized Chisel hardtail launched


Want to race XC on a budget? Specialized’s new Chisel hardtail might just be what you’re looking for.

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  • Chris says:

    2012 called…they want their geometry back.

  • dan says:

    This is just a classic butt joint weld. Thats nice and all that they can use hydro forming to make it but its nothing special that has been common practice since before my grandfather was born.

    • John says:

      You completely miss the point. The point is not the butt joint, the point is the hydroformed lugs that move the welded joint away from the head tube (or BB), requiring less heat and an easier joint that looks better. Lighter, stronger, prettier and far more reliable. This is about hydroforming, not butt welding.

  • NordieBoy says:

    Looks like a next generation racier Crave or less racey Epic Hardtail.
    I like it.

  • Highway Star says:

    NO 26″, NO SALE.

  • peper says:

    You put any good NICA rider on one of these and they’d be hard to catch. I think these are a great ride if you’re on a budget. NICE

  • 25lbs&counting says:

    Who is this built for? 69.8 HA? Been a long time since rode a XC bike, but I thought XC courses were becoming more technical…run a 120 mm fork to compensate for angle? I was really pumped up till I saw the geometry numbers.
    Any chance Specialized will offer the Fuze in frame only options?

  • Slyham says:

    I wonder if they will discontinue the Epic HT in allow. I don’t see any benefit of getting that model and it is more expensive.

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2018 Pivot Mach 4 goes Boost


The Mach 4 is one of those bikes that’s difficult to categorize. With 115mm of suspension on tap, it looks the part of an XC race bike, yet it rolls on 27.5” wheels. For 2017, it’s gone boost and received additional updates.

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  • Angry Bee says:

    This is not news worthy…….it was Boost last year……so now it can fit 2.6 tires. How about a face lift on that front triangle and 10mm of travel……that would be news worthy for sure.

    • Fred says:

      I have an M4C, just purchased a month ago. The fork went boost but the rear was still 142. The fork did increase 10mm to 130 from 120 as standard before. The really low standover is a great feature.

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Niner SIR 9 trail bike launched


News out of the Niner camp today. The Colorado-based bike maker has re-released its original steel classic, the SIR 9, in a redesigned, ready for anything form.

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BMC Agonist XC race machine first ride


XC courses are getting more technical so BMC addresses the category with a very fast and capable machine. And it’s comfortable enough to handle the long courses of Leadville and Downieville.

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  • Don says:

    If you add a dropper, you’ll probably be glad that the remote for the shock is on top of the bar, so you can put the dropper remote underneath since you’d tend to use the dropper a lot more.

    The bike still seems pretty steep for an “aggressive xc.” A head angle a degree slacker would have made more sense. Even the 100mm Scott Spark RC is 68.5deg now.

  • Tom says:

    Add a dropper, wider bars, and a shorter stem, and presto, you’ve got….a slightly under-suspended trail bike.

    This bike will be a rocket for it’s intended use: endurance racing (once you add a Fox 34 fork, that is)!

  • TimB says:

    the bike doesn’t need a dropper full stop. Its a marathon bike which means 70-120km rides for multiple days. You really don’t want the extra maintenance during stage races. K.I.S.S….
    Get over yourselves and droppers. They’re great on trail bikes. Leave it at that.
    And the bars are plenty wide enough btw…

  • Goahead says:

    Weight please?

  • zipp23 says:

    for some reason everyone is trying to deform every discipline into trail. xc: add a dropper, cx: add a dropper, road: add a dropper, tt: add a dropper….I suspect a conspiracy…

  • Andrew says:

    Suppose if you want a dropper (Fox Transfer), wider bars, shorter stem then go more for the 120mm Scott Spark. But for a *more agressive XC racer* doing marathons I still think no dropper, ~720mm bar and ~90mm stem about right for the application. But heck who cares? All these parts are cheap enough, easy to get hold of and at least then you have a full choice.

  • Andrew says:

    Ouch, poorly researched. See the bike comes with 720mm bar and 70mm stem out of the box which one can’t fault for anything XC.

  • Ernesto says:

    You can use the Magura vyron elect…dropper post wifi….no needs any cable…I’m using on my rocky mountain element…very happy !

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Fastest bikes at Vail GoPro Mountain Games


Last weekend saw a bevy of MTB racing action at the GoPro Mountain Games in Vail, Colorado. Click through to see an expansive photo gallery of the bikes that carried riders to enduro and cross-country victory.

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Fezzari offers new return policy, scales tall mountains


The Utah-based direct-to-consumer seller makes a huge range of bikes, including a great selection of mountain and road bikes. Find out more about what’s new and cool.

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8 new pedals for XC, trail, and enduro riding


In the market for new pedals? Here are seven of our favorites from Crankbrothers, Xpedo, OneUp, Kona, Deity, and VP.

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  • Frank says:

    @ Josh: It looks like the pins on the alloy One-Ups are the bitey-er set-screw style.

    I’m really more of a clipless guy myself, but I also definitely notice that I get a lot more traction from the set-screws in my Crank Brothers pedals compared to my Xpedo Spry pedals.

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10 hot new suspension products for 2017


Mountain bike suspension continues to get better and better. Check out some of the latest developments from BOS, Cane Creek, Fox, RockShox, and more.

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  • mojo au gogo says:

    when i find a fork that weighs less than, and performs better than the MAVERICK DU32 i’ll buy it until then no///

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Orange Mountain Bikes making way to USA


Offering a wide range of bikes, from modern geometry hardtails to full-on downhill sleds, there is a new player in the U.S. market. Orange Mountain Bikes is coming to America.

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Focus Jam trail bike a departure from usual XC focus


Germany’s Focus is better known in the U.S. for their support of cyclocross and XC racing, but the brand is now also gunning to capture a piece of the ever-expanding trail bike market.

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Fat Chance updates Yo Eddy, debuts new cross bike


To say that the cycling world was ready for Chris Chance to make a comeback would be an understatement. The reception to his Kickstarter campaign aimed at resurrecting the much-loved Fat Chance brand was exceptional and since then Chance has quickly ramped up production of the Yo Eddy.

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