I just moved to Philly recently and am looking to get an XC bike for riding/racing. I’m debating between getting a hardtail like the santa cruz highball , specialzied epic HT or a dual suspension XC bike like yeti asr, santa cruz tallboy, or specialized epic. Also anyone familiar with the Mid-Atlantic Super Series? I’ve been riding the wissahickon trail system in philly on my trail bike, and want to know if it is more or less technical than the ones in the MASS race series. Thanks!
I’d go with a full suspension. It looks like Yeti is discontinuing the ASR, or at least they aren’t listing it on their website any longer. Competitive Cyclist is closing out the “Beti” version of the ASR, which just means it has some purpley/pink writing on it. Good deal if you can ride a large frame and don’t mind the color.
The Tallboy is much more of a short travel trail bike than a true race bike. It’d be a good all-around bike, but if XC racing is your thing, I’d steer you away from it. XC racing isn’t nearly as popular as it used to be, which is why smaller to mid-sized manufacturers (Santa Cruz, Yeti) are focusing their efforts on trail bikes.
The Epic is a good bike, definitely a straight up race bike though. Another one to consider is the Rocky Mountain Element, I rode the shit out of one this summer, and I really, really liked it. Basically, it splits the difference between the Epic and the Tallboy. More trail worthy than the Epic, but not as slacked out as the Tallboy.
Other options to consider: Specialized Camber, Giant Anthem, Salsa Spearfish, Pivot Mach 429, Kona Hei Hei
I’m a Philly local and I’d second getting a FS. The Wiss has a range of tech and a full sus would work fine there. I’ve ran both HT and FS in Wissahickon. Both will work but I’d reach for the FS first. Upstate PA riding is rocky and technical as hell, so the FS will help you in that way, if you choose to venture up there. Other MASS systems I’ve ridden are Iron Hill (Delaware) which can get super techy, more than the Wiss, and Fair Hill (Maryland) which is similar to the Wiss as it can go from mild to gnarly pretty quickly. A big reason I got a full suspension bike was so I could ride Fair Hill and Iron Hill more often.