‘Twas a good weekend…
On Saturday, after riding & coaching with the local high school mountain bike teams, I headed on over to Folsom Bike and to my surprise my new 2014 MTB race frame was waiting for me in the delivery room: An XTC Advanced SL hardtail frameset. Last year I split my MTB races between a full-suspension Anthem and a XTC Composite 29’er that I converted into a single speed with the use of a tensioner. I loved ’em both, and since the majority of the races that I focus on are very much suited for a hardtail, I decided to race with the Advanced SL version of the XTC Composite in 2014.
What are the differences between Giant’s Advanced SL and XTC Composite 29’ers? On the surface, it seems like not much, as they are both carbon 29’er hardtails that are both very light, stiff, and “race-able”, but the devil is in the details.
For one, the Advanced SL uses a higher grade of carbon than the Composite 29’er. The XTC Composite 29er, uses T-600 carbon fiber to create a frame that is extremely stiff, but yet lighter than an aluminum frame. The Advanced SL however uses Giant’s highest grade of carbon fiber manufacturing technology (i.e. Advanced SL) to create a frame that is even lighter and stiffer (where needed) than their other carbon technologies, but can also be built up with more vertical compliance (say in the seat stays) to lend a bit smoother of a ride (smooth is fast!). Also the manufacturing process of Advanced SL layups allow Giant to build these frames with larger sections of carbon fiber, which reduces the amount of junctions, resulting in a lighter frame. You can read way way more on the differences between the layups on Giant’s website here: Giant Composite Technology
There are some other differences between the XTC Advanced SL and the XTC Composite such as internal cable routing on the SL and their new seatpost system which does away with a traditional seatpost clamp in favor of a more integrated clamping system. But they both share Giant’s OverDrive 2 tapered headtube, PowerCore bottom bracket, and MegaDrive downtube.
I’ll probably race this in both geared and single speed configurations again this year depending on the particular race….
Speaking of single speed…..
On Sunday, was the season finale of the Sacramento Cyclocross series where I was able to secure the overall season title in the Single Speed A division. It’s been awesome racing with everyone and it was great to share the podium with Jay Sturges in 2nd and Clint Claassen in 3rd…definitely going to miss good times that Sacramento Cyclocross has been this year. I’ve now been able to grab this overall single speed title in 2010, 2012, and now 2013….maybe next year I will switch to gears. One last cyclocross race to go with the NCNCA District Championships in Monterey in just a week and a half. Although I have a bit of Achilles Tendinitis flaring up right now, so I may have to skip that one…we will see… -Ron