2013 Cannondale F29 2
I had a chance to demo a Cannondale F29 2 (aluminum from my LBS). It's a size Large with Lefty front suspension and XT drivetrain.
The reviews might be a little jaded as the tires were wrong for the conditions of a wintry NE but they're still something for someone interested in the bike.
The bikes awesome, even with inadequate tires it still climbed really well and handled muddy sections with little drama. The stock handlebars are about 4 inches too wide but I obviously couldn't cut them down. The Lefty works awesome and for some reason I just liked the view from the seat looking down, it wasn't weird at all. I've done two rides with it and I can say the things climbs like a mountain goat is really stiff. It's a fast bike and the best features are easily the brakes, the Magura's on there are just awesome.
Someone looking for a fast 29er hardtail should really consider this bike.
List on Cannondale's website is $2495. Sounds like a lot for a HT but the Lefty and XT make it worth it. Add in the brakes and geometry/frame awesomeness = home run.
I had the pleasure of riding the carbon 1 the other day...not mine :(
I got to say it made me wish I'd gone HT instead of duelly for my latest purchase. As you say it climbed like a m/f. It was so, so light. Almost as light as my road bike.
This was a $7,000 bike. That's Australian prices...so prob about $1.50 for you guys.
meh, flip a FS bike into lockout, platform or climb mode (whatever it's got) and you can climb just like a HT. HT is ever more an economic choice, it has no advantage any more besides weight. and since many people ride 30+ pound MTBs anyway... well, the FS weight isn't a serious issue.
re: bars 4" too wide... yes, I agree. everyone seems to think that DH width bars are what everyone wants and needs. on a trail bike, in the woods? really.