Canadian Cycling Magazine

Cross Country Bikes


Intense Sniper XC 29 Elite $8,995

A sniper is a skilled marksman who works from a far-off distance. The Intense Sniper is also designed to be a skilled marksman, but it wants to be right up front, railing turns and leading races. Built on a full carbon 29er frame with JS Tuned suspension, the Sniper Elite offers a long wheelbase and a slack head-tube angle that is balanced by a 44-mm offset. Suspension comes by way of a 100-mm-travel Fox Factory 32 SC Performanc­e fork and the same travel in the back with a Fox Factory dps Performanc­e rear shock. There’s also a Kindshock Carbon dropper seatpost for the perfect saddle height in any riding situation. The e-thirteen xcx carbon wheels wrapped in race-proven 2.25" Maxxis Rekon tires are brought to a stop with Shimano XT hydraulic disc brakes. Shifting power comes from a 1 x 12 sram Eagle drivetrain and a 34-tooth Truvativ Stylo Carbon crankset. Completing the lightweigh­t build are a mix of Intense carbon and alloy cockpit parts. Need more incentive to pull the trigger on a Sniper? mec is throwing in two years of bike service and an Intense gift box full of goodies such as torque wrenches and a shock pump. (

Trek Top Fuel 9.7 $5,200

The Top Fuel lineup from Trek has been a stalwart competitor on technical singletrac­k trails around the world. Available in range of builds, it’s designed to be a platform that’s more than capable on a race course, but comfortabl­e on a long, challengin­g trail ride. The 29er carbon-fibre frame offers 115 mm of rear travel, while the Rockshox Reba fork’s 120 mm of squish can easily handle the bumps. When it’s time to climb, a quick twist of the remote lockout turns the Top Fuel rigid. The 9.7 build is available in two colours and five sizes, and includes a sram NX Eagle 1 x 12 drivetrain and Shimano hydraulic disc brakes. Bontrager’s Kovee Comp 23 tubeless-ready wheels have a 15-mm thru axle up front and 12-mm in the back and are wrapped in 2.4" Bontrager XR3 tubeless-ready tires. A Bontrager 150-mm dropper seatpost (100-mm for the small frame), and alloy handlebar, stem and saddle complete the package. (

Specialize­d Epic Hardtail $2,999

It’s hard to argue with Specialize­d’s claim that the Epic Hardtail is the best value in cross country racing. Built on the same lightweigh­t carbon chassis as the brand’s top-end Pro model, the Epic Hardtail remains a go-to race platform whose short wheelbase and slightly relaxed head-tube angle makes it a ripper on singletrac­k race courses. While the 100 mm of travel from the Rockshox Judy Gold fork is well-tuned for racing, a quick flip of a lever locks it out completely. Shifting power for the sram 1 x 12 drivetrain comes from a SX Eagle lever. You can bring the Specialize­d XC 29 wheels to a halt in a hurry with the Shimano MT-501 hydraulic brakes. The Epic Hardtail is available in five sizes with the Specialize­d alloy cockpit parts all sized to match. ( specialize­—dandakin

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