2017 XC Bikes that Don’t Suck

Longer travel enduro bikes have received most of the spotlight in recent years.  Despite the rise in popularity of enduro, XC bikes are still out there and not only capable, but exploding with some exciting new options for 2017.  Thankfully some bike companies haven’t forgotten this breed and are continuing to develop new bikes that are blurring the line between xc and trail.

These 2017  bikes are more capable than traditional 100mm travel bikes as the terrain gets more rowdy, yet pedal and climb extremely well.  Dropper posts, stiff forks and relaxed geometry are the theme among these that give a more capable feeling XC bike.  With these new combinations, I honestly can’t believe why anyone will still choose to ride a traditional xc bike with wimpy forks, non dropper posts and 120mm stems.

Rocky Mountain Element BC EditionRocky Mountain Element BC Edition $5999 – 120mm front/110mm rear travel

The Element BC edition main highlights are the gold standard trail fork/Rock Shox Pike at 120mm, wide 800mm bars and short stem.  Combined with a longer top tube (so you can run a short stem), 68 degree headtube and dropper, the Element is quite a fun bike on the trail.   The bike is also my top pick for an XC bike given its value, adjustable geometry and great suspension.

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Rocky Mountain Element BC Edition
Rocky Mountain’s Ride 9 adjustable geometry (lower shock mount) is super nice to attain optimal ride qualities for each riders specific needs.

Santa Cruz TallboySanta Cruz Tallboy  $6599 (with Race Face/DT wheel set) 120mm front/110mm rear travel

The latest rendition of the Tallboy sports modern trail geometry and the ability to run 27.5 plus or 29″.  The 27.5 plus is a nice option and definitely is fun to ride with gobs of traction and confidence.  The new Tallboy sports an updated 110mm’s of rear travel with a 120mm travel Fox 34 for added confidence as things get rough.

Kona Honzo CRKona Honzo Carbon $3599  120mm front travel

For the hardtail holdouts who want to shred, the ultra short rear end, 12omm Fox 34 and great build give this bike a great trail personality.  This bike is certainly fun on the trails that aren’t too gnarly.

img_1742Kona Hei Hei DL 29 $4699  120mm front, 100mm rear travel

With similar geometry and build, the Hei Hei is a great option for those wanting a little more cush than the Honzo offers.  I had great fun riding many trails aboard this steed that I previously only rode trial or enduro bikes on.

Scott Spark RC UltimateScott Spark Ultimate 120mm front/110mm rear travel

The new Scott Spark for 2017 definitely looks interesting on paper with long and slack modern geometry.  With freakishly low weight and Scott’s remote twin lock system this one is sure to catch the attention of the racer.   My short ride on the trail told me two things about the bike.  It has a really long reach and a long seat tube.  For most riders, the top tube length may be remedied with a short stem, but the long seat tube will have many riders needing a shorter 100mm dropper.


These bikes truly represent a flavor of rides that could give xc’ers that advantage they’re looking for on the downhills and most definitely will give them a bigger grin on the trail.  These versatile new short travel bikes are sure to please whether it be at the xc races or on your epic adventures.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. cmrn

    Scott frames do suck. The frames are too light and fatigue crack in months. There is now downtube protection to this day. Scott is very stingy with warranty replacements. Scott’s carbon bikes are for sponsored riders.

    1. Chad Davis

      I have heard they’ve had some issues with the new Spark. That sucks. Maybe we need a follow up “xc bikes that do suck” :)

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