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XC Race Bike Vs Trail Hardtail | Which Is The Better Mountain Bike?

XC Race Bike Vs Trail Hardtail | Which Is The Better Mountain Bike?

– Race bike. – Real bike. – What’s the difference
between a race horse? – [Blake] And a workhorse? I’ve been riding this bike a lot lately, but I’ve always wanted to know what it’s like against a race bike. – Well they’re both hard-tails. – [Neil] Let’s find out. (upbeat techno music) – So the bike I’m riding
today is a Canyon Exceed CF SLX. They’re top of the range
cross-country race bike. It’s a carbon fiber bike,
it’s a premium bike. Comes in over 4000 pounds, and it does have some upgrades as well. I’ve got some Shimano Di2 electric gears, I’ve got a power meter, I’ve
got some FSA carbon wheels. I’ve got some proper race
tires, some ContiCross Kings. It’s stiff, it’s fast,
it’s super lightweight. It only weighs 20 pounds.
It’s a tool for a job and that job is winning
cross country races. – All right, it’s my Nukeproof Scout Comp. It’s a 27.5 wheel. It’s
got a wide trail tire. I’ve been called out on this. It’s a 2.6, so it’s a wide trail tire. It’s an aluminum frame or an “aluminum”. I’ve got a dropper post on this bad boy. It’s the biggest one
that Crankbrothers do. It’s 160 mil drop on that. I’ve got a short stem. I’ve got wide bars. It’s aggressive. Got a 140
mil travel up the front. It’s an all around hack bike. It costs 1699. Practical, it’s durable, it’s affordable. It’s
basically a work horse. You can abuse this thing. (upbeat techno music)
(both panting) – [Blake] I can hear it goin’ on, eh? – So I’m definitely not
a cross country racer. However, I do like having a
super premium carbon fiber bike. Feels like we’re pedaling up here and I’m sure I’m putting in
less effort than you are. – You are one for premium,
but I’ll tell you what. What yours is good at is acceleration. And yours gets up to
speed way more than mine. – 29. Lightweight, fast rolling tires. I’m doing a 100 mile ride next week. – Oh yes! – In a day. – Yeah? Which one? What
one are you taking? – I definitely think I would much rather do it on this bike than on yours. I’m sure it’s possible on
yours, of course it is. But…I feel like I want the
easiest bike to do it on. – Yeah, I would’ve gone for
that being super lightweight. Mine…super aggressive. But I look like I’m having
a bit more of a comfy ride when it comes to a
rocky section like this. – I tell you what, there’s
not much to this track. But every little rock
and bump, I am feeling it in my thin tires, carbon
frame. I’m kinda stretched out. – Yeah. – Yours looks a bit
comfier, should we say? – Yeah, I’ve got 140 up front,
I’ve got a Wide Trail tire. It’s a 2.6. I can run a
bit of a low tire pressure. – I’m feeling 100 mil up front. – It does feel like a proper
cross country bike, this. It’s a bit old school in its angles, got a steep head angle… – Long stem. – Yeah. – 90 mil stem. She’s fast, though
(grunts) – Hey! Racer–premium, premium Neil. (driving rock music) (horse whinnies) – Let’s go into the woods. Where XC and dropper post don’t mix. (driving rock music) (clatter of bikes on terrain) – Wow, this is where this
bike comes into its element. Super aggressive, you
can jump it–hoo-hoo-hoo, head angle’s really slack on it. So you can lay off the
back of a dropper post– which is good…and keep
over the back tires as well, (grunts) lowers the grip. This 2.6 is… I can run over the little
bit of low pressure. It lowers the grip, and the
weight of the bike as well. Makes a lot of difference, keeps that bike super planted on the trail. I love it! I feel like I’m having a bit more fun than Neil. Hey, Neil! – It definitely feels pretty
dicey on this bike in here. Head angles steep, which is nice
and agile in the slower stuff. In the fast stuff, oh…it just feels that a little bit more sketchy. I’m getting rattled, the bike is stiff– and that is not forgiving on this stuff. 29 is good, though. 2.2 tires. I don’t wanna say this
bike isn’t really tough, but…definitely on jumps and rough stuff, it feels like you really can’t
punish the bike too much, ’cause it would be super easy to puncture. 90 mil stem feels long. No drop post means it’s actually
pretty flippin’ challenging trying to keep up with Blake.
But…I have a nice challenge. (driving rock music) – Ho ho ho! Wow! Hey? What did you think of that? – Well, it’s good, I know,
like, my bike is expensive. You can’t argue with that.
But you’d always be able to spend loads of money on
fancy, exotic mountain bikes. What do you get for your
money? You get carbon fiber, you get a lightweight bike. It does what it’s designed
to do really well– just be super light, be super fast. – Stiff. Yeah, exactly. Whereas mine is like
half the price of that, but the usability of this thing is nuts. So, a bit of a jack-of-all-trades,
but a master of none. But it is the master of hacking. – Well, I say it’s half price. Some things it does much
better, like going downhill. Things like, commuting, actually use that as a day-to-day bike. – Yeah, and you can go to the pub, you can just leave it
outside, you can lock it up, whereas that–I wouldn’t want… – I wouldn’t feel safe
– to leave that. – And if I spend four and a bit grand, Then I wouldn’t be wearing
my chain out commuting, that sort of thing, so,
swings around about. – Yeah, I do like this, I do like that. I’ve never ridden one of them. I should have a go…so… – It’s super light. – I feel like it’s going
to be quite twitchy. (Blake laughs) – It’s a race bike, so
they’re always designed to do one thing very well, but it does kind of make
them slightly niche. – Yeah, slightly. A bit like a sports car. – It is. Sports car, you can
use it to go to the shops, but it’s not going to be as
comfortable as something else. – [Blake] Exactly, especially
when it gets a bit rough. Whereas mine is a bit like an
SUV, a sports utility vehicle. It’s versatile. You
can use it on anything. – So, I’m like a race driver,
you’re like a soccer mum. – A soccer dad. – And an ass. We said ass. – We said ass. So, yeah,
and you’re a stallion. (Neil laughs) – On that note, on the Froso video, we see me slog myself to
death for 110 kilometers in the Italian Dolomites
on this very bike. Kick over to that button. – Oh yeah. And if you wanna see how hard I can push this bike and find its limits which I think, we can
still push it harder… Click just down here. – Thumbs up. – And we’ll see you the next video.

100 comments on “XC Race Bike Vs Trail Hardtail | Which Is The Better Mountain Bike?

  1. The Canyon seems somewhat on the tall side for the rider, also on what tyre pressure is it, 5 bar?
    Obviously the nukeproof with the dropperpost (which IMHO is cheating 😉 ) will probably take more of a beating, but I'll go for a XCO bike all the time (luckily i have a Focus Raven and a Kona HeiHei Race).

  2. This video was sickkkkk, guys! And I love how Blake is.. well, he’s Blake 🤟🏽😈 cheeky bugga.. I love the man! That wheelie riding through that bushy section was the best for me.. all in slow motion too. I can’t feel bad for jake, I’m sure he has an enduro of his own too, anyways 🙂

    Cheers, guys! Sexy post!

  3. My local trails and singltracks are completely flat. You have to pedal all the way through without decent, try to accelerate out of every corner with a heavy fully and you'll be at the lbs soon for a carbon Hardtail 29er…

  4. I've installed a 150 mm reverb on my xc carbon racing bike. I feel much more in control on downhill parts now, without being afraid of getting thrown over the bars by the saddle.

  5. Next video – make Blake ride the light twitchy race bike and see if his "rough and tumble" style can adapt 🙂

  6. I gotta say, I have a full enduro bike, and a hardtail (or workhorse). And something I've notice is that even though the enduro bike is the spoiled bike (the one I've spent the most money on) it's the hardtail the one I ride the most, and the most versatile. I use it for commuting to work, XC, and even enduro (when the other bike is at the workshop), and I just love it!. Yes, you'll go slower than a full enduro bike, or a XC bike, but that won't erase the smile on your face. Actually, I'm most likely to change my enduro bike in a near future than my hardtail.

  7. Neil should have just manually dropped his seat, I guess the whole experiment is to test the differences but if you have tools, dropping the post shouldn't be a problem

  8. I have a 600 Canadian dollar norco hardtail (350 ish pounds) and its amazing but i'm nervous that i made the wrong buy and that i should have gotten a full sus bike…. Y'all think it's ok? (100mm shock)

  9. A 29 pound hardtail?  F..k that.  My Intense Spider weighs about the same, cost just a fraction more, and has 130mm at each end.  It'd stomp that donkey, climbing or descending.  I have two 26" Nuke Proof hardtails from the early 2000's, like 'em, but they are not anywhere near as capable as my Spider.


  11. OK, here's a question for you. You said you were riding the Canyon in a 100 mile event. Then, later in the video, you said you could feel every single bump and rock on the trail. The Nukeproof is more comfortable and soaks up more trail bumps. Over 100 miles, then, which is really better? The lighter bike that beats the snot out of you or the heavier bike that doesn't fatigue you nearly as much from trail. bumps? Would the offset in pushing the heavier bike over those 100 miles be better than the constant vibration fatigue to your whole body by riding that ultra-stiff and utterly unforgiving Canyon for 100 miles?

  12. 29 lbs for a hardtail is too heavy, especially at that price point. One of the reasons I like my hardtail is it is lighter and climbs better. If you need 140 travel in the front you might as well get it in the back too and ride plush.

  13. XC bikes are usually more affordable, I've got a 1000 € xc bike myself (scott aspect 920) and it handles really well on the trail inspite of the 100 mm of travel, that's because of the plus size tires that absorb a lot of shock and make the bike more forgiving, I know that for any future bike I'll own, I'll probably make it a priority to change the tires to something bigger if it doesn't have big ones already, changing tires is probably the best "cheap" upgrade you can give to your bike that makes a big difference to the kind of riding you have, so in my opinion the trail hardtail if priced at around 1600 isn't the most compeling option, a good entry level XC should be bought at around 700 and could totally ride trails (with no big drops), if fitted with right tires. Testing out a 1700 € good quality enduro full suspension that was lended to me by a friend, I'm pretty sure that for more extreme trails, the full sus is the way to go instead of the similarely priced trail hardtail, but of course, some riders will prefer the hardtail for it's easier maintenance, less weight and perhaps different handling so your choice I guess, both seem fine to me

  14. started riding on a 140mm dually (merida 140) for a year, and recently purchased a 100mm travel hardtail. My riding on the merida dually has increased in pace rapidly after I started riding the xc hardtail on the same trails.

    Understanding the fundamentals of bike control is paramount to transferable riding skills.

  15. Depends what you want to do… Jumps and drops and DH get blake's bike… If you want to ride fast and prefer climbing and going long distance and not jumping or going on technical downhills get Neil's bike. By the way I just found a carbon hardtail race bike brand new with x0 components and it is under 1500 new. So it all depends.

  16. Very simple: When it´s a CC-race, i will go for the CC-bike. For the fact that my last CC-Race was in 1998 and i never did a marathon, i will always choose the "work-horse" because it will take me everywhere, with proper comfort and speed, creating the fun i need.

  17. I just realized the cameraman is likely also on a bike riding these trails with you guys LOL no one ever thinks about the cameraman

  18. Neils bike – chicken and broccoli. Blakes bike – steak and chips. Both make you full. One of them is more fun on the way.


    Subscribe 🚴‍♂️🚴‍♂️🚴‍♂️🚴‍♂️

  20. Would love to see you guys do a comparison on frame material in an all-mountain aggressive hardtail, carbon vs alu vs. steel.

  21. Seems like Neil didn't want want Blake to ride that expensive bike. Lol Blake : "I should have go" Neil: " Hell no just change the subject".

  22. Perhaps only the experts or the one who's riding bikes for years could see the difference between an XC or Trail bike. For newbies like me, as long as it has air fork (or sometimes even coil spring fork), I'll pedal it like hell regardless of terrain as logn as not water nor snow.. haha.

  23. Xc bikes look fun I want to try it but at the end of the day I'm perfectly content with my trek 6500. Ya that's right I'm still rocking them 26 inch bonetaggers and I'm not ashamed

  24. Just sharing my first bike check vid of
    my Enduro Hardtail. For those who are out of budget to buy a full suspension, THIS IS A RIGHT TOY for us.
    Like and Subscribe
    if you love the video.

  25. We used to do this with bog standard Raleigh bikes from Kay's catalogue. Three speed, no suspension and thin wheels. No need for all that flash gear.

  26. I just don't have the fitness to exploit it or the biking hours per week available to justify the canyon. Would have to be the Nukeproof for me.

  27. Anybody else love watching these guys ride?  And I also love their conversation.  Super appreciate the videos GMBN posts…

  28. It's so frustrating this choice. I like trail but what I do most is XC (and I actually need to go to the top of the hill by xc trails), so there is no good choice after all 🙁

  29. Interested in a nukeproof scout to replace my giant xt2 which is too small and xc style, are they just a great all rounder, can you go hard on the trails and jumps, but then cycle home, my giant is 26" would 27.5 scout feel boring… ??

  30. I have a cross country and i smash my friends uphill and when riding second we start sending down trails I nearly die I hit a big root and all I hear is clunk.

  31. I know this video is somewhat old but doesn’t anybody have some nice recommendations for trail hardtails? Nothing too expensive , maybe in the mid range of the companies line up

  32. I want to ride in forrest things, what is best budget bike I can get? 😀 On small trails, perhaps some wild downhill tracks.

  33. take the aggressive one – it‘s more capable and cheaper. would always go for the slack, enduro hardtail. though, a good carbon frame is always nice 👍

  34. I ride just as aggressively on my XC bike as anyone on a hardtail or full suspension trail bike without being left behind.

  35. Great video guys, this really helps, I'm about to buy a new bike and trying to decide between two Whyte models, the 629 and the 905, both a lot of money for me to spend and I want to make the right choice, I'm guessing the 629 having a steeper head angle than the 905 would be a bit like comparing these two bikes in the video in terms of ride purpose… I do like the 629 and at the moment I'm basically riding xc and distance type riding as opposed to downhill all mountain type riding, I will never have the ability to grab air and thrust down everest but it would be nice to have a bike that could cope with it if the same bike would be comfortable for my fitness and xc type riding. I'm still undecided and unsure which way I will go with the choice between the 629 and the 905, but this video kind of puts the two types of bike into perspective. Any suggestions to other bikes similar to the Whytes would be appreciated as I'm a bit of a newbie to this. Cheers.

  36. It’s probably not easy to keep up with Blake Sampson on a trail full of jumps and doubles no matter what bike your riding!

  37. I ride a Trek Roscoe 8 27.5+ hardtail. It's much like the Nukeproof in this video and I love the ride and cornering ability. XC bikes are awesome on flats and straightaways, but I'm all trail rider all the way.

  38. is the frame on the nukeproof scout 275 sport, the same frame as on the nukeproof scout 275 comp, just with different paint?

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