Looking to buy my first dual suspension mountain bike. The choices have come down to the '07 Specialized Epic Comp or '07 Cannondale Rush 6 w/ several upgrades.
I have seen the many positive reviews for both bikes. Test rode an Epic at my LBS that was one size to big (rode a medium, need a small, which the LBS did not have in stock) but the bike rode very well and I could tell that the small would be just right. I am coming off a Cannondale hardtail so the Brain Shock would be a very significant upgrade. My concern is with the multiple pivots (more maintenance) and the Brain Shock (proprietary rear shock). But I do like the design of the FSR suspension and how it isolates pedaling bob and still remains active. It will e my first Specialized bike.
I am waiting to test ride a Cannondale Rush. For some reason my LBS will not get the 07 Cannondales until sometime in October. Although I know the Lefty is a great fork, logistics wise, I will need to change the way I transport the bike, get a new rack, etc. So I want a standard fork using a reducer headseat, hence the Rush 6. The Rush 6 components come no were close to the Epics so I will need to do some significant upgrades (fork - Rock Shox Reba SL, shock - Manitou Swinger SPV or Fox RP23, cranks - at least Shimano Deore, ideally Shimano XTs, wheels - mavic X117 disc rims, tires - still deciding) to get it to a level I want it at. What I like about the Rush is the lower maintenance of the single pivot design. From what I have read there is also more mud clearance on the Rush. I have a cannondale hardtail and like Cannondales in general. Concerns are pedal feedback on the single pivot suspension. The upgrades will likely bring the total price to about the same level as the Epic and likely even more. The upgrades will also take time, maybe up to 2 years (this is how long it took me to upgrade my F300 hardtail to a component spec I wanted, so I have been through the upgrade bug before with a lower level bike, something I wanted to avoid for this bike purchase)
People say both bikes are rockets on the trail. The general consensus is that the Epic's ride is not "plush" and the Rush would be "plusher" ride. Coming from a 85mm hardtail, I have no comparison for "plushness."
I will be riding rooty, often muddy, very hilly, and somewhat technical trails of Hawaii. I do not intend to downhill race or huck large drops. Basically need a efficient trailbike. I am not the biggest guy also. 5'3 150 lbs.
Given these factors, what are the general opinions on these two choices