Sea Otter: Cross-country race bike round up

Lightweight full-suspension XC race rigs have come a long way

Cross Country Sea Otter Classic

2015 Sea Otter Classic

Full-suspension cross country bikes spotted at Sea Otter that are equally at home between the tape, or at the trailhead.

Full-suspension cross country bikes spotted at Sea Otter that are at home between the tape and at the trailhead (click to enlarge).

With full-suspension, short-travel cross country bikes weighing in lighter than ever, and pedaling with near-hardtail efficiency, we’re seeing pro racers and weekend warriors alike choose the extra squish. For the benefits of added traction and increased comfort, there’s no need to take a weight penalty. A full-suspension rig is great way to get the most value out of your bike so that whether you’re ripping a buff race course, or checking out technical trail, you’ve got the ride to match in just one set-up. In that spirit, here are eight full-suspension cross country bikes we spotted at the Sea Otter Classic that are equally at home between the tape or at the trailhead.

Hot off the press: the new carbon Skarn is just two weeks out of the mold.

Hot off the press: The new carbon Skarn is just two weeks out of the mold.

Raleigh Skarn Carbon

Raleigh launched its hybrid carbon/aluminum full-suspension Skarn at Sea Otter last year. This year, we spotted the next generation under their tent, and out on the trails. The full-carbon prototype is just two weeks out of the mold. Boasting 100mm front and rear travel, and 32mm wide tubeless wheels, it will come in two versions, a Shimano SLX/XT build for $3,500 and a new Shimano XT version for $5,000.

Cost: $3,500–$5,000
Available: August
Wheel size: 29er
More info: www.raleighusa.com

Though no production date has been set, the full-suspension Revolver is already in action under the Norco Factory Team racers.

Though no production date has been set, the full-suspension Norco Revolver is already in action under the Canadian bike maker’s pro racers (click to enlarge).

Norco Revolver

The new full-suspension Revolver has evolved from the race-ready hardtail version. Though no production date has been set, this hot red paint job—a clear progression from its “white bike” prototype status—would seem to indicate Norco is getting close. The Factory Team racers have been giving positive feedback, and Haley Smith reports her team build is weighing in at around 20 pounds.

Cost: NA
Available: TBD
Wheel size: 27.5 and 29er
More info: norco.com

The Edict has been welcomed as an extremely popular part of Felt’s lineup this year.

The Edict has been welcomed as an extremely popular part of Felt’s lineup this year (click to enlarge).

Felt Edict 1

With Felt’s “checkerboard” carbon design, you get good looks that are also stronger and lighter (just 23.3 pounds) than unidirectional carbon. The full-suspension Edict has a vertical shock, single pivot flex stay design that claimed to make it better for climbing and more supple over small bumps. With a low weight and race-worthy spec (RockShox SID, SRAM X0/X1) this bike can be raced on Saturday and go trail riding on Sunday.

Cost: $5,500
Available: Now
Wheel size: 29er
More info: feltbicycles.com

Kona Hei Hei Supreme: Fitness sold separately. Barry Wicks not included.

Kona Hei Hei Supreme: Fitness sold separately. Barry Wicks not included (click to enlarge).

Kona Hei Hei Supreme

Weighing in around the low 20s, this Kona bike has won the BC Bike Race, Trans Rockies, Canadian marathon national championships, and even some enduros. With 100mm of travel in the rear and a 100mm RockShox SID up front, it’s a ripper with a Pacific Northwest pedigree.

Cost: $6,000
Available: Now
Wheel size: 29er
More info: konaworld.com

Continue to page 2 for more XC bikes from Niner, Pivot, Rocky Mountain, SCOTT and Trek »

About the author: Kristen Gross

Kristen Gross loves bikes, all sorts, and above all, XC mountain bikes. She races in the pro category and gets a lot of joy from teaching others the way of the trail as a mountain bike skills instructor—especially women who are just discovering cycling. She is a USAC-certified coach, and she runs her own freelance writing business based in Carlsbad, Calif. You’ll find her either writing or riding, bringing over 10 years experience to both. Why does she ride? To offset her addiction to Coca Cola and Lay’s Potato Chips.


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