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  1. #1
    TNC
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    AM...the bike or the riding?

    It's been interesting to see all the comments about the all mountain issue. I got the impression, however, that we talked way more about the bikes than the actual type of riding. Don't ge me wrong...I do think the bike contributes an obviously important aspect to how one can ride, but is the type or location of the ride the most defining aspect of AM?...or to steal Lance's idea...is it more about the bike?

    For example I would generally rate Moab as an all mountain venue. Most all of its "classic" trails are relatively challenging if you do them with some "gusto"...going fast, staying on the bike, hitting most of the lines, etc. Of course the better a rider gets, the less capable his/her equipment needs to be. Looking at Shiggy's totally weird rigs that were in the back of that pickup, it's obvious that a good rider can ride all manner of bikes and get the job done, but I guess when we start talking more about the bike than the trail, we're talking about getting the best bike to make the ride easier...or at least a bike that allows us to be more aggressive when riding.

    There seems to be a tendency in most of us to want to brag...at least sort of...about how and what kind of trail/terrain we can ride on the least amount of bike...c'mon...you know we've all done it to some extent. This all mountain concept, however, has given us the opportunity to have bikes that are still relatively close to their XC-style roots, but that can go bigger, faster, and gnarlier with almost total reliability and capability.

    Going back to the Moab reference, I've gone there for over 10 years, every year. I've had everything from a 2" travel 33 pound bike the first year to a 41 pound 7" bike last year. My conclusions, allowed by the advent of some relatively light but strong, long travel bikes and components, have come down to the realization that the 33 pound 6" (or so) bike allowed me to do about as much as anything else and do it faster and easier "overall". So the 6" playing field for many all mountain bikes seems pretty logical to me. Awhile back someone on the site noticed that all 4 MTBs that I currently own have morphed into very similar 6" bikes....hmmmmmm.

    So where has my rambling interlude been heading? Though we will always be able to ride whatever we want wherever we're capable of riding it, maybe there is a perfect compromise tool for the job...the all mountain bike.

  2. #2
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    For me it's definitely the riding. In fact, "All Mountain" is really just a better description of "Mountain Biking" as it was in the beginning. Like you, I ride a lot of the same trails now on a 5"/5" bike that I originally rode on a rigid bike. I just feel less beat up now, and more in control.

    Thinking back on this, we used to ride down stairs and other urban-type stuff back in 1993, but we just called it riding. We used to ride 7 miles on the road to ride singletrack, that was also just riding.

    So I guess to me, "All Mountain" is in fact "Mountain Biking"... it's just an updated term for what a lot of us have been doing all along.

    The bike matters some, but it's more the riding you do on the bike that defines which definition you feel fits you best.

  3. #3
    ride hard take risks
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    I will have to say also it's about the riding i do. I enjoy places like Downieville, & alot of the local unknown trails that offer a good chalenge & thrilling ride. I made the mistake of over building my bike for my type of riding now i have to change components to fit the terrain i ride.

  4. #4
    TNC
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    Overbuilt...Amen.

    Quote Originally Posted by dogonfr
    I will have to say also it's about the riding i do. I enjoy places like Downieville, & alot of the local unknown trails that offer a good chalenge & thrilling ride. I made the mistake of over building my bike for my type of riding now i have to change components to fit the terrain i ride.
    LOL!...yeah that can happen. Look at my 41 pound MTB for Moab last year. In a few isolated places, this bike rocked. Overall though, I needed a hernia truss. On the other hand, check out the 28.5 pound red Bullit in all its XC glory. Extremism isn't always good.
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  5. #5
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    I would say it's the attitude of the rider. The successes of the intended adventure is determined by the ride and the equipment. Thats why for the kind of riding I do niether a lightweight XC racer nor a FR bike would be suitable. I ride to ride and sometimes I like to drop, push a hill, fly down a tech trail, climb a tech hill, cross a river or stream and ride the entire time.

    I've also seen this type of riding refered to as enduro, trail, backcountry and aggressive XC.

    My bike is an XCish "lightweight" steel hardtail with parts picked for durability rather than... lightweight

    I wouldn't huck my bike off a mountain or cliff but I will do 4-6 ft drops without fear.

    I wouldn't XC race my bike (actually I would ) but I can ride up any hill without the use of a lift or walking.

    I pick the bike for my riding which happens to be "all mountain"..which is really just all around MTBing.

    I like to call it "Mountain Biking Without Adjectives".

  6. #6
    ride hard take risks
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    Quote Originally Posted by TNC
    LOL!...yeah that can happen. Look at my 41 pound MTB for Moab last year. In a few isolated places, this bike rocked. Overall though, I needed a hernia truss. On the other hand, check out the 28.5 pound red Bullit in all its XC glory. Extremism isn't always good.
    Ya i rember those pic's. Dang diet is going to be prety pricey, at least i can consider selling some parts to make up the differance a tad. Like my wife says think with the big head!

  7. #7
    "Its All Good"
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    I would have to agree with slowride on this occasion. I believe AM is mountain biking. The tools we haev available to us now, allows us to enjoy it more (well no, not enjoy it more in that sense) it is not sucha mission shoudl we say. Back when it was simple, we didnt attemt those 5 -6 foot drops, not because we couldnt, we were nto set up too, and those times we did, our gear paid the price.

    Am rambling, but I dont have more fun now, it is still a buzz to ride,
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  8. #8
    is this thing on?
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    a friend of mine once had a shirt that on the front said "new school, old school". then on the back simply said "phuck school, just skate" and while I no longer skateboard, thats pretty much how I feel about cycling.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by slowride
    Like you, I ride a lot of the same trails now on a 5"/5" bike that I originally rode on a rigid bike. I just feel less beat up now, and more in control.

    Thinking back on this, we used to ride down stairs and other urban-type stuff back in 1993, but we just called it riding. We used to ride 7 miles on the road to ride singletrack, that was also just riding.

    While I see your point, and share a similar experience starting mtb riding in the early 90's, I can definitely say that I do not just ride the same trails but less beat up. I can now push myself to ride far more terrain than I was able to pull off on a full rigid bike with the old slacked out geometry. Places I would have carried a bike down through in the early 90's, I can now ride with great confidence.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by slowride
    For me it's definitely the riding. In fact, "All Mountain" is really just a better description of "Mountain Biking" as it was in the beginning. Like you, I ride a lot of the same trails now on a 5"/5" bike that I originally rode on a rigid bike. I just feel less beat up now, and more in control.

    Thinking back on this, we used to ride down stairs and other urban-type stuff back in 1993, but we just called it riding. We used to ride 7 miles on the road to ride singletrack, that was also just riding.

    So I guess to me, "All Mountain" is in fact "Mountain Biking"... it's just an updated term for what a lot of us have been doing all along.

    The bike matters some, but it's more the riding you do on the bike that defines which definition you feel fits you best.
    I definitely aggree w/ you!

    I used to do everything on this bike...jumping, trials, drops (albeit not very big), everything!
    91 Schwinn:


    Now I lug this pig to the same trails & same type of riding...I just come back not as beat up (maybe just a little more tired cause I suck at climbing )

  11. #11
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    Yeah, you're right... some of the stuff I consider overly routine now was almost unrideable before. I'm in Illinois so we don't have a lot, but after reading your post I thought of some places that 10 years ago not too many people would've had the balls to even try, that are now not exactly ridden by everyone, but are routinely ridden.

  12. #12
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    Rider definately. If someone rode with you, and rode all the same stuff as you on an XC rig would you say they're riding XC. What if they used a DH bike? Does that mean they're now riding DH?

    If they're riding it, then it's AM. The bike type is irrelevant. If they're walking it or they broke their bike, then the bike type becomes important as they didn't use the right tool for the job.

  13. #13
    Te mortuo heres tibi sim?
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    Rider. For sure.

    I'll ride either of my bikes on most things; most of the stuff is doable on my small bike, it just doesn't have the same "oops factor" as the big bike, in case I screw a line up.

    And it's all in my head. Either bike can take any abuse I'd care to dish out, it's my brain that isn't capable of making my body do it sometimes!
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Martin.mac.au
    Rider definately. If someone rode with you, and rode all the same stuff as you on an XC rig would you say they're riding XC. What if they used a DH bike? Does that mean they're now riding DH?

    If they're riding it, then it's AM. The bike type is irrelevant. If they're walking it or they broke their bike, then the bike type becomes important as they didn't use the right tool for the job.
    I have to disagree that bike type is irrelevant. Sure, I can show up to a DH race with a weight weenie XC rig and sign up to race. I might even be able to ride the course without dismounting. But, I will likely break countless components, be slow as hell and possibly have to walk many sections... not to mention the likelyhood of being seriously injured from using a bike not terrain appropriate. To say this is not relevant is a big oversight in my opinion. There are many many rides out in my area of the country that a terrain approrpriate bike is extremely relevant. I have my light XC hardtail that I use mainly for speed, training and light trail days. On all of my favorite "All Mountain" type rides this bike will definitely stay at home. Sure, I could take it for the ride, but I will likely walk many tech sections I can handle on my AM rig and probably break several parts on each trip. Not too mention being a some lower speeds than usual and still have les control. Sometimes I go riding with some friends who only have lighter XC rides that want to go to some of the more demanding locations. Everytime we hit a tech section that demands a more capable bike, these guys have to hike-a-bike in order to get through. So, while I might clean every section with no problem, they spent 30% of the day walking or carrying their bike. Seems to me like the bike is completely relevant when you really think about it.

  15. #15
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    I'd have to say it's a bit of both. Sure you could ride all the way up the mountain/hill and all the way down, but it's the lines you need to take on the way up and down and how your bike will handle them that makes it AM. I mean you could ride a fully rigid, built tough and it'd last as long as a FS rig, but I think you'd be pretty beat up at the end. Conversly you could ride a super light weight XC rig, but would prob break some parts taking AM lines.

    I think a nice 4-5" FS bike is the ticket for AM riding and you being able to ride up it all ('cept for lack or rider skill) and ride down it all (but once again for lack of rider skill) and maybe there's a 2-4ft jump/drop in there on ocassion, but basically within reason (6+ft drops/gaps etc) you ride whatever you come across.

    As said What MTB used to be - you ride up the mountain, you ride down it.
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  16. #16
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    I wouldn't say bike type is irrelavent, but I definitely think the rider is a bigger piece of the pie. I wouldn't ride a DH course on an XC bike for the same reasons I wouldn't ride a DH bike on an XC course. The bike dosen't fit the terrain.

    However, I had a buddy in TX that could out ride anyone in "All Mountain" on a fully rigid bike. The guy was an absolute beast. I ride an old hard tail because that's what I have and can't afford to upgrade right now. Sure a FS bike allows us to ride faster, longer, and harder while taking less abuse, but in the end the bike is only as good as its rider.
    Last edited by cameronm_99; 04-23-2006 at 05:30 PM.
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  17. #17
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    I think rider is the biggest factor. I started mtn biking in "93 on rigid.Evolving with the times.

    I'm currently riding a HT with 2.5" tires and 4-6" of travel up front. For me, this is what I enjoy. Personally, I like having to pick my lines more carefully.

    I did'nt like the bomber, run over anything approach with a 7" dually, not to mention, pedaling a 42lb bike uphill.

    However, everyone has different needs .

    As TNC said in the orignal post and to qoute Lance " It's not about the bike"

    See ya on the trail.

  18. #18
    "Its All Good"
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    Mojo your on the button, in the end, it is about riding, getting out there in the serene trails and enjoying ones self...................... We get caught up in all this other crap..
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  19. #19
    local trails rider
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    I do not race.
    I do not lose sleep over having somebody climb faster than me.
    If somebody descends faster than me, that is OK too.
    I do not plan to build jumps drops or ladders.

    I want to ride. I prefer trails to roads. I want to get to the top of the hill. I want to get to the bottom too, maybe on the other side of the hill. If there is a place for a little air along the way, I might take it if I think I'll survive it. I want to clear the rocky sections (up, down and level).

    I just say I ride the trails. I wish I did not have to put a label on what I do. Labels make things seem so restricted and official.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by mud'n'sweat
    I have to disagree that bike type is irrelevant. Sure, I can show up to a DH race with a weight weenie XC rig and sign up to race. I might even be able to ride the course without dismounting. But, I will likely break countless components, be slow as hell and possibly have to walk many sections... not to mention the likelyhood of being seriously injured from using a bike not terrain appropriate. To say this is not relevant is a big oversight in my opinion. There are many many rides out in my area of the country that a terrain approrpriate bike is extremely relevant. I have my light XC hardtail that I use mainly for speed, training and light trail days. On all of my favorite "All Mountain" type rides this bike will definitely stay at home. Sure, I could take it for the ride, but I will likely walk many tech sections I can handle on my AM rig and probably break several parts on each trip. Not too mention being a some lower speeds than usual and still have les control. Sometimes I go riding with some friends who only have lighter XC rides that want to go to some of the more demanding locations. Everytime we hit a tech section that demands a more capable bike, these guys have to hike-a-bike in order to get through. So, while I might clean every section with no problem, they spent 30% of the day walking or carrying their bike. Seems to me like the bike is completely relevant when you really think about it.
    I'm pretty sure I covered that with my last sentence.
    If they're riding it, then it's AM. The bike type is irrelevant. If they're walking it or they broke their bike, then the bike type becomes important as they didn't use the right tool for the job.

  21. #21
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    I agree with most people here, AM is just mountain biking, that we have all done all along. This is what most of the people I know do and always have done. However, the technology that has developed over the years has allowed for two things to happen:

    1. Specialist disciplines have developed - and more importantly, the bikes can be tailored more effectively to excell at those disciplines, i.e. DH, Dirt jumping, XC race etc. Back in the day, when races used to include XC, DH and trials etc, we used to TRY to modify our bikes as best we could, but we were limited by the equipment available. Not the other way around.

    2. General AM bikes (of all types) have progressed - and allow us to ride sections/areas/tracks that were previously impossible on our old bikes. We can ride harder, faster and far more aggressively than we ever previously could. I can ride the same lines today that I always could, but you cannot even begin to compare the speed I can hit them today (especially downhill) with my speed in 1989. And I think that the latest developments in body armour are starting to reflect this.

    The eveolution into different disciplines is also natural for any sport. We all ride, but some excell or prefer to ride one way rather than another. Now that we have the opportunity to tailor the bike to the riding, we do our best to do so. My current Enduro + 36s, which I ride all day, would absolutely murder my old GT RTS1 downhill bike from the early 90's, which I used to race DH on. Plus, we take for-granted now the longevity and durability of the parts. I cannot remember a circa 1989/1990 era sounday ride without at least one big(ish) mechanical failure - wheras today, if you are a decent grease-monkey, you can expect to thoroughly hammer your bike through 30+ miles of DH abuse without real incident.

    If I could chose, I would have a perfect bike for all disciplines. But I would still ride my same AM bike the most, most of the time.

    Labels are fine - but most of us just love to ride, as much as we can I suppose, on all types of trail. The confidence and ability that we have on today's bikes is just brilliant compared to the (not-so) good old days.

    Roll-on AM bikes for the 2010 season. Sub-30lbs, 8" bikes + discs anyone? Awesome.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Martin.mac.au
    I'm pretty sure I covered that with my last sentence.
    Ah, so you did! I completely missed that one sentence somehow.

    I'd say bike is %10, rider accounts for the rest.

  23. #23
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    1) All mountain (read as trail) bike

    2) All mountain(s)

    3) All mountain action
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  24. #24
    silly person
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    Yep, those pics sum it up beautifully for me.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Martin.mac.au
    Yep, those pics sum it up beautifully for me.
    Some people I know ride those trails on rigid singlespeeds! Some friends parents also rode those mountain on their roadie type bikes too! None of this Gary Fisher bull, 'I invented mountain bikes or riding'.

    Check out: http://www.rsf.org.uk/

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