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Topic - Which new MTB?

cousin nick - on 06 Jan 2013
Currently have a modified 1998 GT Zaskar hardtail, but thinking of changing to something newer with disks and probably 29" wheels.

Me: 50y.o., 75kg, 5'11".
Mostly ride XC around the SW (mixture of forestry tracks, bridlepaths, singletrack) plus more gnarly stuff on Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor.
I like the idea of a carbon hardtail, but can't decide whether to go for full suss as a concession to age!

I love the Zaskar - climbs like a goat and is fast on cleaner ground. However the fairly aggressive XC race style of the Zaskar puts body weight forward, which makes it (or rather me) less confident on steeper downhill.
I also ride SWMBO's Cinder Cone, which although a bit small for me, is the reverse of the Zaskar - great on the downhill singletrack, but becomes very light on the frontwheel during steep climbs.

Does that mean I need an 'All Mountain' rather than XC bike?

Only just started looking. LBS is a Spesh dealer and I like the Stumpjumper comp carbon 29" but also the Epic and Camber full-sussers (in alloy). Obviously open to other brands (Santa Cruz Tallboy alloy?)

Budget: well, interest rates are bu99er all at the moment so my savings are earning very little and I might as well have some fun with them. Therefore I'm inclined to spend up to 3k.

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