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2015 Buyer’s Guide: Full-suspension XC mountain bikes

Ready to tie on a number plate this summer? Here are six bikes that can handle everything from short track to 100-milers

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The Epic is the only full-suspension — let alone 29er full-suspension — bike to win both a world championship and an Olympic gold medal. The carbon frame and fork, dressed with best-of-the-best parts, means the S-Works Epic is 100 percent ready to bring you home faster 
and fresher than ever before, in even the most demanding of endurance XC situations.

Frame: Carbon fiber; Specialized/FOX Brain shock with
 Autosag; PF30 bottom bracket; 100mm of travel
Fork: Custom RockShox RS-1 with Brain; 
100mm of travel
Component Highlights: Shimano XTR 2×11;
 Roval Control SL 29 carbon wheelset; DT Swiss rear hub
 internals; SRAM Predictive Steering front hub; Syntace
 F109, 6-degree riser stem; Specialized carbon 8-degree 
backsweep, 31.8mm flat bar; Command Post XCP carbon 
dropper post; full SWAT kit
Weight: 24.0 lbs

Yeti has optimized every part of the ASR to achieve a 4.2-pound frame. The suspension has been tuned for shorter travel with an updated, modified single-pivot design that has been honed over the past decade. This gives the bike uphill efficiency, but a lively, playful feel when descending; this bike is full of personality. Wheel size is optimized to accommodate tall and 
short riders — 27.5-inch wheels on the XS and S frames, and 29-
inch wheels on M through XL frames.

Frame: Carbon fiber; oversized pivot pins with Enduro
Max bearings; internal cable routing for dropper seatpost; 
PF30 bottom bracket
Fork: Fox Float 32 Factory; 120mm of travel
Component Highlights: SRAM X01; Shimano
 XT brakes; Stan’s NoTubes Crest wheelset; Thomson
 Elite stem; Easton Haven Carbon 740mm handlebar;
 Thomson Elite seatpost; Yeti WTB Volt custom saddle
Weight: 23.1 lbs

Over two years of development went into recreating this full-suspension 29-inch XC bike. Raleigh used that time to make sure they introduced a lightweight, stiff, efficient, and durable race bike. Multiple podiums on prototypes led them
 to believe they were on the right track; the Skarn is the fruit of their

Frame: Aluminum frame; carbon fiber link and seat
stay; Fox Float CTD, 100mm of travel; 142x12mm rear
Fork: Fox 32 F29 CTD FIT; 100mm of travel; 15mm 
Component Highlights: Shimano XT; American
 Classic MTB Tubeless 29-inch wheels; Clement FRJ 
tires; FSA Afterburner cockpit
Weight: 26.9 lbs

With stable geometry, high torsional stiffness, and Advanced Pivot System (APS) suspension, the Fourstroke FS01 is a great cross-country machine. Its mix of low weight and stiff efficiency, with a dose of flickable fun, is capable of taking riders to the podium after an anerobic hour and a half, and is equally at home on an all-day trail adventure.

Frame: Carbon fiber; Fox Float CTD Kashima, 100mm
 of travel; 142x12mm rear thru-axle
Fork: Fox 32 Float Remote CTD FIT Factory; 
100mm of travel
Component Highlights: Shimano XTR 2×11;
 BMC MWX01 by DT Swiss carbon wheelset; BMC MSM02 stem; BMC MFB01 carbon handlebar; BMC SP01 carbon seatpost; Fizik Tundra M3 saddle
Weight: 23.0 lbs

Proven on race courses around the world, the Scalpel is ready to toe the starting line, and is equally at home for the all-day rider looking for an edge over his riding buddies. The Scalpel utilizes zero-pivot seat stays designed to flex vertically while remaining extremely stiff laterally. A clamped
 15mm thru-axle in the shock reduces frame flex. The new Lefty
 Hybrid needle-bearing fork is light and stiff.

Frame: Carbon fiber; 100mm of travel; PF30 bottom bracket
Fork: Lefty Carbon XLR 100 29; remote lock-out; 45mm
wheel offset
Component Highlights: SRAM XX1; SRAM XX
 brakes; Enve Carbon Twenty9 XC wheelset; Cannondale
 OPI stem; FSA K-Force carbon handlebar; FSA K-Force 
Light carbon seatpost; Prologo Nago Evo X8 T1.4 saddle
Weight: 22.0 lbs

The Spearfish is an incredibly efficient ultra-endurance racing machine.
 The Split Pivot rear suspension provides 80mm of travel in the rear, 
paired with 100mm of front suspension. The frame features extremely short 437-millimeter chain stays, which keeps the bike nimble on tight singletrack. The overall geometry delivers a stable, non-twitchy ride that is great late in a 100-mile or 24-hour race. The frame accepts one full-size water bottle and is designed for use with 1x or 2x drivetrains.

Frame: Carbon fiber main triangle and seat stays; aluminum chain stays; PF92 bottom bracket; RockShox Monarch RT3 ML3 rear shock; 142x12mm rear thru-axle
Fork: RockShox RS-1; 100mm of travel
Component Highlights: RAM XX1; SRAM Guide RSC brakes; Stan’s NoTubes Crest rims with SRAM XO rear hub and Predictive Steering front hub; Schwalbe Racing Ralph tires; Thomson stem; Salsa Salt Flat carbon bar; Thomson Elite seatpost; WTB Silverado Race SL saddle
Weight: 24.4 lbs