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  1. #1
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    Limits of a 120mm full suspension bike

    Sounds a little off topic, but since many describes all mountain as riding style I think it' s good in this topic.
    What do you think, where are the limits? (drop height, jump height, rock gardens, everything you can think on) I know there are many 120 full susser with different parts, but I'm talkin about bikes on the Canyon Nerve AL 7.0's level.(don't hold you back suggesting bikes in this price range)

    Canyon | Mountainbikes | Nerve AL 7.0

    Limits  of a 120mm full suspension bike-nerve-al-7_c1044-1-.jpg

  2. #2
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    Really, the only limit is you, and how comfortable do you want to be for how fast you are riding.

    I now nothing about that brand, but it's got great components on it. I'd huck it pretty hard for sure.

  3. #3
    TXTony
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    Seems more like a xc/trail bike to me..and yeah a riders skill level and the way they ride can have a lot to do with where and how hard a bike is pushed. Thinking a bike in the 140-160mm travel range is more of a all mountain rig that an be used for hucking, gnaring, and so on..just my opinion..my all mountain rig is 160mm with 20mm axle and such..that said Canyon seems to make good bikes

  4. #4
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    As was already said, it depends a lot on your abilities. Look at the trials guys, they can land an 8 foot drop on a hardtail and make it so smooth it looks like it got sucked up by 8 inches of travel. I am a lousy rider; I ride a fairly beefy full suspension and I still make the landing of a 2 foot drop look like I fell off a cliff.

  5. #5
    Come on, dare me!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hurkinite View Post
    As was already said, it depends a lot on your abilities. Look at the trials guys, they can land an 8 foot drop on a hardtail and make it so smooth it looks like it got sucked up by 8 inches of travel. I am a lousy rider; I ride a fairly beefy full suspension and I still make the landing of a 2 foot drop look like I fell off a cliff.
    Good humor, there!

  6. #6
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    I think more than the suspension travel, it's about

    1. The rider, as always.
    2. The geometry
    3. The frame and component durability

    I ride in a group sometimes with a guy on a single speed 80mm travel hardtail. He not only beats everyone UP the mountain, but down as well. I've ridden Downieville with him on some rough sections (Baby Heads, Butcher, Big Boulder), and it's the same story. He has the ability to ride smoother than I do on my 150mm travel bike.

    The other point is that some of the new 120-130mm travel XC bikes are actually slacking out the head tube angles like the Santa Cruz Blur TR and the new Trek Fuel EX. Where head tube angles used to be in the 69-71 degree range, in these bikes they're 68 degrees. What that does is make the bike handle better in the steep and fast downhill sections, allowing you to go faster and feel more in control. Which brings us finally to:

    Durability of the frame and components is a critical consideration if you're talking about high speed rock gardens, small jumps and drops. Some of the lightweight XC bikes are not made for this and are aimed squarely at XC racers and smoother trails. They tend to favor light weight and pedaling efficiency over durability. Pivot bearings on these bikes will wear out faster, the wheels specced on these bikes will not hold up as well, and overall they just aren't up for the abuse. Fine bikes they are, but if you're slamming through rocks and sticks and doing the occasional drop and jump, they just won't last. But there are 120mm bikes out there that are built for real abuse, so just select the bike that suits your riding style.
    "Got everything you need?"

  7. #7
    Appalachian Singletrack'n
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    As said it depends on the rider. I have several friends who have moved from Nomads to TRCs lately and they are attaching the big lines as fast and aggressive as ever.

  8. #8
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    too many factors. you can huck a XC bike, if you know what youre doing, but it wont last as long as a AM or FR/DH bike

    i think about bikes like this...

    XC = for racing, climbing, laidback trails
    Trail = go anywhere bike
    AM = go anywhere (but you like DH more) and you want to do some stunt work
    FR = go anywhere, plus you want to do MAJOR stunt work
    DH = you like flying DH
    2010 GT Avalanche Expert

  9. #9
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    I really wouldn't worry about the limits of a 120mm bike... likely you will feel uncomfortable on it before you reach the limits of what it can take.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by patrick2cents View Post
    I really wouldn't worry about the limits of a 120mm bike... likely you will feel uncomfortable on it before you reach the limits of what it can take.
    ^^^This. I've found my TRc to be an extremely confidence inspiring bike, but when it gets overwhelmed, I know for sure.

    Most bikes in the 5" range these days are very, very capable of taking some decent abuse so long as you don't ride like a hack all the time.

    IMO, tires tires tires tires and good suspension are the best help if riding a smaller bike out of its territory, though it still all comes down to the rider.
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  11. #11
    Bicyclochondriac.
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    The only think that this bike might hold you back on is doing drops and jumps, it's likely not designed for that. However, it has little to do with it being 120mm, more to due with the stoutness of the frame and wheels. I would say that if jumps and drops are something you plan on seeking out, get something else. Again, it is not the travel, but the lightweight build and intended purpose of the frame.

    Other than that, if you can handle it, the bike will. XC bikes are fine to go slamming though rock gardens, they have been doing that for decades. The limiting factor there will be how much YOU can take.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  12. #12
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    with a skilled rider you can kill it on a 125mm travel bike:


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  13. #13
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    Generally considering jump size in vertical drop to flat landing, 1 foot for every inch of travel. Yes there are exceptions like hardtail were the rider is the suspenion. But without over pressuring full suspension for all around trail, it's a fair generalization.

    Otherwise rider ability and fitness.

  14. #14
    Bicyclochondriac.
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    Quote Originally Posted by derby View Post
    Generally considering jump size in vertical drop to flat landing, 1 foot for every inch of travel. Yes there are exceptions like hardtail were the rider is the suspenion. But without over pressuring full suspension for all around trail, it's a fair generalization.

    Otherwise rider ability and fitness.
    As an upper limit for rare, occasional drops this sounds reasonable, but NOT for drops on a regular basis. Most 4"-5" bikes with typical builds (particularly wheels) are not going to handle regular 4' and 5' drops to flat on a regular basis.

    I would definitely NOT use that bike/build posted (120mm = 4.7") for frequent 4.5' - 5' drops.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  15. #15
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    It also depends on the type of drop! Drop to flat or drops to a transtion.

  16. #16
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    IMO as long as you have a good wheel set and skills you can handle 5 foot drops and most jumps on a 5" bike. Kinda funny seeing some posters tell you you need a 6, 7 or 8 inch bike for these kinds of things (mostly because of the beefy wheel sets and other components).

    If you are routinely bombing DH on rough terrain and doing huge drops, yah, you probably want more suspension. But modern frames in this category should be able to handle medium drops and most jumps. I ride with a guy that has insane skills and will do 8-10 foot drops on a singlespeed steel 29er without a second thought.

    As people have said it comes down to the rider, really; and durable parts.
    Last edited by mizzaboom; 03-20-2013 at 10:51 AM.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoHeadsBrewing View Post
    I think more than the suspension travel, it's about

    1. The rider, as always.
    2. The geometry
    3. The frame and component durability

    I ride in a group sometimes with a guy on a single speed 80mm travel hardtail. He not only beats everyone UP the mountain, but down as well. I've ridden Downieville with him on some rough sections (Baby Heads, Butcher, Big Boulder), and it's the same story. He has the ability to ride smoother than I do on my 150mm travel bike.

    The other point is that some of the new 120-130mm travel XC bikes are actually slacking out the head tube angles like the Santa Cruz Blur TR and the new Trek Fuel EX. Where head tube angles used to be in the 69-71 degree range, in these bikes they're 68 degrees. What that does is make the bike handle better in the steep and fast downhill sections, allowing you to go faster and feel more in control. Which brings us finally to:

    Durability of the frame and components is a critical consideration if you're talking about high speed rock gardens, small jumps and drops. Some of the lightweight XC bikes are not made for this and are aimed squarely at XC racers and smoother trails. They tend to favor light weight and pedaling efficiency over durability. Pivot bearings on these bikes will wear out faster, the wheels specced on these bikes will not hold up as well, and overall they just aren't up for the abuse. Fine bikes they are, but if you're slamming through rocks and sticks and doing the occasional drop and jump, they just won't last. But there are 120mm bikes out there that are built for real abuse, so just select the bike that suits your riding style.
    Blur TR, Fuel EX are Trail, not XC class bikes

  18. #18
    Helmetless Crasher
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    120mm is fine for just about anything if set-up properly.


    Rider skill is the limiting factor.

    Obviously, you can go faster over the big stuff with a bigger bike.
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  19. #19
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    I find this post interesting because I too have pondered how much abuse my bike can handle. This Stumpy FSR S-Works was a custom build up, and since I started riding a couple years back, I have found that I enjoy chunky, sometimes steep mountain type riding that perhaps my bike was not designed for. So as my bike evolved into where it is today (finally done), I went tubeless, shorter stem, massive brakes, dropper post, and some of the modifications that allow me to better handle the type riding I enjoy. Being a 120mm carbon fork and carbon frame, and the fact I weight 220, I was concerned about durability. Even with the stupid light rims and my substantial mass, I have not had any wheel issues or any other failures so far on this 25.4 lb size L bike. At just over 50 years old, I'm not huckin and getting too crazy, but I have found a build that allows me to ride more aggressive without breaking. I will admit that a true "AM" bike many here ride will be far stronger, more solid feeling than my bike, no doubt.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Limits  of a 120mm full suspension bike-dsc_7711.jpg  

    Last edited by trmn8er; 03-20-2013 at 10:05 PM.

  20. #20
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    Put it this way, I rarely bottom out my 130mm 'trail' bike. But find the head angle, wheel set and tires are the biggest factors that keep my from ridin what I would on my big bike. Just gotta be flowy and think light and avoid obvious hard knocks like drop to flat.
    Keep the rubber side down

  21. #21
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    I ride a 575 and I'm awesome, therefore I recommend a 575. Wasn't that an easy decision?

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoban View Post
    Really, the only limit is you, and how comfortable do you want to be for how fast you are riding.

    I now nothing about that brand, but it's got great components on it. I'd huck it pretty hard for sure.
    There are definitely limits to a 5" travel, lightweight trail bike. Don't jump off your house with it, and don't do consistent shuttle runs with it. Riding it like a freeride or downhill bike will break a cross-country/trail bike fairly quickly, despite being smooth and "light" on the bike.

  23. #23
    Raymond Donald Franklin
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    I did this 4-ft drop to flat on a 112mm travel bike. I don't do this on daily basis - was just testing to see if the rear shock would bottom out with a home-made air can spacer.

    Like some have been saying, I think it's more of a function of how the frame is built. I'm not inclined to do this on a lightweight XC bike. The bike in the pic is GT Distortion (basically same construction as a Sanction).

    The bike OP posted appears to be capable of taking some abuse.


  24. #24
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    Thanks for the many answers! It really depends on the rider skill and the terrain. I sould go on demo days and test 120mm and 150mm full sussers. The highest mountain in my country is nearl over 1000 so maybe I don't need a long travel bike, however this would be a "one-time buy" and I couldn't afford to sell the bike for half price and get a new for the same. I really should test them. My riding skills aren't the best, but it' hard to have much confidence on a 80mm hardtail which wants me to fly away on every bump and rock I hope after the change my confidence will get a huge boost For now I have to spare all my money for a long time to get one of those beauties.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailrider24 View Post
    Thanks for the many answers! It really depends on the rider skill and the terrain. I sould go on demo days and test 120mm and 150mm full sussers.
    - snip -
    I really should test them.
    Absolutely. Ride every bike you can between now and making the purchase. Rent, demo, borrow, just don't steal. The more different bikes you ride, the better of an idea you'll have as to what you actually want. There's too much money involved to risk it.

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