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  1. #1
    fc
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    Too much bike VS Too little bike.

    Talking about bike rear travel, does one purchase (or use) a 0-100mm bike, a 130mm or 160+?

    I want to develop an article that is point/counterpoint on this subject maybe.


    It's classic personal preference but it's good to draw out the issues that affect this decision. It's a very cool story because there are merits to each side and it's really cool that the rider has a choice now. It just takes some insight to bring out the motivation from each corner and how it can benefit the rider.

    Do you want a bike that will complement your strengths or one that will support you on your weaknesses?

    Are you advancing your skillset each time you ride or are you perfectly happy to pedal and just get out.

    Are you riding local, simple trails only or you seeking out the most challenging terrain in the area and going on road trips at every opportunity.

    Where do you stand in this spectrum and what choices have you made? Happy or looking to play in the other side?Attachment 1198682
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Too much bike  VS   Too little bike.-screen-shot-2018-05-18-6.45.20-am.png  

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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Talking about bike rear travel, does one purchase (or use) a 0-100mm bike, a 130mm or 160+?

    I want to develop an article that is point/counterpoint on this subject maybe.


    It's classic personal preference but it's good to draw out the issues that affect this decision. It's a very cool story because there are merits to each side and it's really cool that the rider has a choice now. It just takes some insight to bring out the motivation from each corner and how it can benefit the rider.

    Do you want a bike that will complement your strengths or one that will support you on your weaknesses?

    Are you advancing your skillset each time you ride or are you perfectly happy to pedal and just get out.

    Are you riding local, simple trails only or you seeking out the most challenging terrain in the area and going on road trips at every opportunity.

    Where do you stand in this spectrum and what choices have you made? Happy or looking to play in the other side?Attachment 1198682
    well, to me a 6 inch bike is (was) too much. I am XC hardtail rider (x-racer) and been jonesing for a fully for a long time, but everything on the market had some climbing compromises, so figured will stay on hardtails.

    well Brian Berthold with his kickstarter bike, I wrapped my head around that linkage design and figured, OK that is the solution.

    and it is. I now have a 6 inch bike that climbs better than a hardtail, no lies, no smoke and mirrors. but when I point it downhill, or at any chunder or roots, it eats it up handily. go back to climbing steep previously impossible stuff, this bike climbs it with gusto and I am making lines I couldn't before. it is not mushy when you are on the rivet. it is just a bit heavier overall but I can just power past that.

    so, in my case, this is a rare example. not everyone can get thier hands on this bike, and it is not yet mass produced. I cannot compare to any other fully because all other fullys do have some compromise when climbing, therefore not attractive to me (climbing is all I want to do, ever)

    --------------

    Do you want a bike that will complement your strengths or one that will support you on your weaknesses?

    -compliment my strength as someone who aims for climbs and aims for roots and chunder

    Are you advancing your skillset each time you ride or are you perfectly happy to pedal and just get out.

    -always advancing my skillset, or maintaining it

    Are you riding local, simple trails only or you seeking out the most challenging terrain in the area and going on road trips at every opportunity.

    -I don't road trip much because locally I have rocks and roots everywhere which I grew up as 'normal riding' but looking around I see it is much tougher than what a lot of people go drive to seek out and ride and later brag about. my local chunk is awesome

    Where do you stand in this spectrum and what choices have you made? Happy or looking to play in the other side?

    I play both sides now. hardtail XC is still preferred, but now I have a 6 inch la-z-boy bike that climbs like stank, so I got best of both worlds now.

    [my first ride on the new AM bike, I saw how slack the front was and the wheel was way out in front, I said Oh noes I messed up this thing is gonna pedal like a DH bike and suck. NOPE, it does everything extremely well and the slack front is not a detriment. it stands up and changes geometry by 4 degrees when puttin in the guatts.]


    summary: if you like the feel of how it rides, it is perfect for you.


    [[see below, MSU Alum comment...this new bike I have fixes that problem]]
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  3. #3
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    In my case, I'm predominantly a climber. Too much bike (too much travel) would hurt my performance. If I were predominantly focused on downhill performance, too much bike would be slightly to my advantage, or a neutral influence.

  4. #4
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    Too much bike will have a tendency to make trails boring, feel sluggish, and cover up mistakes.

    Too little bike (rigid SS) can make boring trails fun, will feel snappy and quick, and will make you pay for and learn from your mistakes.

    95% of the time, I choose to have fun and ride rigid SS

    The other 5% of the time go to the other extreme and ride my full suspension 29+ plus bike with 30x50 eagle gearing
    Last edited by coke; 2 Days Ago at 09:41 AM.

  5. #5
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    I go the opposite way as the above: too much bike isn't enough. Or "sure, it's overkill 90% of the time, but the other 10% it's just-enough-kill" I really hate wussing out on a trail because I don't have the right bike, and I'd rather walk a climb than be afraid to hit a downhill.
    But I'm not concerned in the slightest how long it takes to get up a hill. In fact, I'm not really worried about how long it takes to get down either, just that I generally have more fun riding down fast.

    With today's shocks and frames, efficiency isn't a function of travel the way people seem to think it is. All that shorter travel really gets you is less weight - ignoring the fact that longer travel frames tend to have more aggressive geometry. I think it's somewhat fair to ignore that as shorter travel bikes are getting longer and slacker.

    I'm currently on a 140mm 29" because that's as big as 29ers got when I bought it. If I were going to buy a bike today, it would probably be a Capra 29 - the idea of a 170mm 29er makes me a little tingly.

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    I think the most important factor to consider is your style of riding, not just how much bike you need to clear a trail or feature. The important tool in making a decision is experience. You should probably know what it feels like to ride a 170mm enduro bike with a 64* HTA before you buy one. Same thing goes for buying an XC race bike for casual riding.

  7. #7
    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by coke View Post
    Too much bike will have a tendency to make trails boring, feel sluggish, and cove up mistakes.

    Too little bike (rigid SS) can make boring trails fun, will feel snappy and quick, and will make you pay for and learn from your mistakes.

    95% of the time, I choose to have fun and ride rigid SS

    The other 5% of the time go to the other extreme and ride my full suspension 29+ plus bike with 30x50 eagle gearing
    Very good insight.

    I like the 'mistakes' insight. Covering up mistakes is a huge deal for many but they are never 'covered'. Rather, you are saved from mistakes. This could mean you're riding tomorrow or not limping to back to work. Or saved from the hospital bill.

    Someone told me this is age related. When someone is 19 and a bulletproof, they can crash and bounce around and get up and ride on. A 40+ year old may not fare as well.
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  8. #8
    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy3220 View Post
    I think the most important factor to consider is your style of riding, not just how much bike you need to clear a trail or feature. The important tool in making a decision is experience. You should probably know what it feels like to ride a 170mm enduro bike with a 64* HTA before you buy one. Same thing goes for buying an XC race bike for casual riding.
    Yup!!!

    A big one is goals and motivation. What is important to you and your style of riding?

    Are you trying to get faster uphill or get better downhill? Are you trying to do both?

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    There's also a huge amount of overlap. On all but the tamest XC trails I'm just as fast or faster on my Hightower LT than my trail oriented hardtail.

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    I think the premise is fundamentally flawed.

    I think too much bike is decided by front end height/fork height. A 100mm bike with a 160mm fork is a lot of bike, and you'll be right there with anyone else on a 160mm fork. I dont think having 130, 150, or 160 rear travel to match will make a substantial difference.

    I just sold a 160mm rear travel frame for a 140mm travel frame, the 140mm is in every way more capable, and more bike.

  11. #11
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    My current bike is a 125mm full suspension trail bike, my former was a 100mm hard tail that wasn't enough anymore, i'm 54 I need some shock absorption. Right now I don't feel the need for more travel, the terrain I like to ride and my skill level doesn't warrant it. So my next bike will most probably have around the same suspension travel. Why suffer the extra weight and loss of climbing effectiveness since I don't need more travel ?
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  12. #12
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    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  13. #13
    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy3220 View Post
    There's also a huge amount of overlap. On all but the tamest XC trails I'm just as fast or faster on my Hightower LT than my trail oriented hardtail.
    Correct! We are in an age of "What's the downside of more travel?" 5 years ago, every 10mm came with a huge detriment. Now, the climbing and agility compromise is not as much. Money is an issue though as these light and stiff long travel products can be pricey.
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    I want to ride up the hills without stopping, but don't care if it's fast. On descents I want to go fast.

    Most importantly, I never want to say 'ah, can't hit that on this bike. I'll bring the big bike next time.'

    As a result of the above I don't think too much bike is ever an issue, aside from full-on dh bikes. Bikes all climb damn well these days, buy the one that descends best IMO.

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    Too big is now about too much wheelbase and too low a bottom bracket for your trails -suspension travel just isn't the factor it once was. Some of the new short travel 29ers are insanely competent coming down and a lot of 6 inch bikes are very efficient pedalers going up.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Correct! We are in an age of "What's the downside of more travel?" 5 years ago, every 10mm came with a huge detriment. Now, the climbing and agility compromise is not as much. Money is an issue though as these light and stiff long travel products can be pricey.
    Yup, my new Trek Slash is 29-30 lbs with flat pedals and DD casing rear tire. It climbs incredibly well, both for technical climbing and pedaling efficiency.

    In comparison the '14-'16 27.5" Slash was not as capable both uphill and downhill. The pre-'14 26" Slash was again not as good as the 27.5" bike in all ways. Modern bikes are expensive but are less compromised for sure, this definitely changes the more vs less bike issues as well as the want/need to own multiple bikes. My Slash can go out and do long rides as well as gnarly DH without any changes to it at all.

    I also credit wheels and tires for this. While I think they are lagging behind vs frames, rims are lighter and stiffer (both Al and C) and we have tires like Maxxis DD that offer a much wider sweet spot vs previous tires. Remember the pre-EXO Maxxis days? SIngle ply tires were unsuitable for difficult trails and dh tires added several pounds, especially if combined with DH tubes that weighed 1-1.5 lbs each!

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    Interesting topic. I have nothing to add apart saying I'm actively debating this with myself these days.

    I've always been underbiked. In the past, I've had 6-7" FR bikes for full-on DH riding. I don't have a DH bike anymore, but I'm now on a 5.7" trailbike (Pivot Mach5.7c) for (mainly) lift assisted AM/Enduro riding with good climbs mixed in.

    I am getting a bit older (42 next week) and I'm contemplating changing for a full-on Enduro rig in the next few months. I am thinking about a RM Slayer or Devinci Spartan. That would be just perfect for the downs, but I would be clearly overbiked for the mellower parts and the ups. I suck at climbing anyways, so sucking a bit more may not matter at all. I am just afraid I would loose some of the fun in the mellower parts.

    I will need to try a Spartan to figure it out. I guess also the specs of the upcoming Troy 2019 will be the deciding factor for my next bike.

  18. #18
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    So FC this is coming from the perspective of having a 1 bike quiver (never stated), correct? Ultimately there are multiple variables that play into it, such as;
    - riding style (are you an aggressive rock garden charger? do you prefer flow trail and avoid rocks roots? Are you careful about picking your lines or do you just "send it" while pinned?)
    - NORMAL riding terrain (where do you ride 85% of the time, and how does it play into your style)
    - Budget!!! (yes this matters to a lot of people because it may be the last or first determining factor between which bike someone can get)
    - goals and motivation (like you said, are you always trying to improve? are you a strava junky? or are you just out there to pedal and have fun without worrying about the other stuff?)
    - and lastly, did you or did you not like your current/last bike?

    I think that last one is the most important of them all. For someone that currently rides and had a bike this plays into a lot of what @Gravityaholic was saying. I started out on a 100mm steel hardtail 29er as I thought that was what would suit my needs for my local trails. What I found after 3yrs on that bike was that I loved the feel of the steel but the geometry and travel of the bike was not setup for my location and 90% of my riding. I then went to a 130mm rear Horst-link full suspension (bike I am currently on) and started blowing my old times out of the water. The difference in feel, and genre, of bikes was substantial for what I NORMALLY ride. I have yet to find a trail that has overwhelmed my current bike (now 5yrs old) and continue to progress my skills and attempt to make myself a more competent rider and skillful rider at that, all while still have fun. No I don't send it off huge gap jumps, but I do love technical terrain and the challenge such places provide. For all of that, plus climbing my current bike has been great.

    However, for my 40th next year I plan on building a new bike and I find myself bouncing between wanting a 140mm+ rear suspension frame and a 120mm frame. Why? Well, a lot has changed since my bikes geometry came out and thus a 120mm bike may do just the exact same as, or be more efficient, than my current bike. On top of that, I am too anal retentive to just walk into a shop and say "Ooooh I like that one" take it for a demo and then plop the cash down. For me, part of the fun and challenge is building the bike with the components I WANT, and that normally comes after LOTS of research, cost benefit analysis, and more research with regards to all my points I stated above.

    So for next year, I am torn between two bikes; a Transition Smuggler type (120/140) or Transition Sentinel type (140/160). On top of that I have been looking into a steel full suspension (specifically Cotic FlareMAX vs RocketMAX) because I miss the feel of my steel hardtail on the terrain but without being able to demo that, I am hesitant.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    seeking out the most challenging terrain in the area and going on road trips at every opportunity
    ^This. My bike is set up firm for around 40% of riding being tech/big hits. Being over-biked for the other 60% isn't really a problem.

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    Letís not kid ourself. Unless you are a pro, you are over-biked and thatís the way it prob should be any way.

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    Oh god I hate that phrase, too much bike. One of my pet peeves, along with feeling "in" the bike instead of "on" the bike and "confidence inspiring." It's all industry jargon with almost no meaning.

    There's no such thing as too much bike. There are bikes that are heavier than you'd like, have more suspension travel than you'd like, have tires that are larger than you prefer, or are physically larger in some dimension than you like, all of which can be considered "too much bike." What the hell do you mean?

    It seems like most people using this phrase are just talking about suspension travel, but honestly I find very little difference between bikes based solely on the amount of travel. Mostly shorter travel bikes feel like they have stiffer suspension, but you can make the longer travel bike feel the same way by adding more air or volume spacers. Usually the bigger difference comes down to geometry, not suspension travel.

    If you're talking weight, there's typically not a huge difference just based on differences in travel. Hell, even all mountain hard tails are approaching the 30 lb mark, which is about what my 150mm travel enduro bike weighs. So what the F are you talking about, too much bike?

    Now I have an old hardtail that weighs like 25 lbs, has 100mm of front suspension, 26" wheels, and a steep 71 or so degree HTA. I guess that might be too little bike for most people, maybe? I can tell you it certainly makes trails more challenging, but that's mostly due to HTA and a hard tail that will buck me off if I don't get things right. It's those characteristics and its overall weight that make it fun and challenging, not being "underbiked" or some other bullshit.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gumby_rider View Post
    Letís not kid ourself. Unless you are a pro, you are over-biked and thatís the way it prob should be any way.
    In my experience, many ride the same bikes/trails as the pro's, it's just the paychecks are going much faster. But I get your point..

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    150-160mm does it just fine for me. The trails I love to ride are best with that amount. I have plenty of XC trails near me that I don't ride, not because I'm over biked, but because I don't enjoy XC trails...Boooring.

    My favorite trails can be ridden with less travel (I've done 80-140mm) but it's hard on the bikes & suspension & me. I'd rather feel over biked on boring trails than under biked on the trails I enjoy.
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  24. #24
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    I have an Air9 RDO HT and an Anthem 29er X Adv FS, both with with 120 front forks and droppers.

    I've been under-biked on a few trails like Downieville. I just have to go slower, pick better lines, or find more talent. More bike is like an oversized tennis racquet. You don't always need it, but the larger sweet spot makes the game more enjoyable. Dropper posts and larger, knobbier tires did this for me.

    Regarding talent, I took a three day class with A Singletrack Mind. I'm still improving from that class years ago. Training is more valuable than a new bike.

    I was considering a new FS XC bike, so I demoed eight bikes over two weeks, four at Trailhead Bikes Santa Teresa demo and four at Sea Otter. A few were better, but not $6K better. Once I upgraded my rear shock to a Debonair RT3 at Sea Otter, it was like riding a new bike.

    Until my wheels start leaving the ground on purpose, I'll stick with what I have now. I find it takes at least 5 years before the improvement is significant enough to justify the upgrade.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Correct! We are in an age of "What's the downside of more travel?" 5 years ago, every 10mm came with a huge detriment. Now, the climbing and agility compromise is not as much. Money is an issue though as these light and stiff long travel products can be pricey.
    one downside I haven't seen yet is [knock wood]

    am going much faster in places, and need to be extra responsible not to crater.
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    Honestly the most fun bike I own is a Fat Caad 2 on 4.4 Jumbo Jimís in a size small when I ride mediums in everything else. That thing makes any trail a blast. All it wants to do is pop off of things, manual and skid around everything. I still think nobody does aluminum as well as Cannondale especially when it comes to bottom bracket stiffness.

    I have a Yeti 4.5 and just got a an Orbea Rallon. Whatever they call that ďlong and slack progressiveĒ geo it just plain works wonders in a longish travel 29er. I personally from a 29er standpoint think the new crop of bikes like the Rallon and Ripmo make short-mid travel 29ers obsolete depending on your terrain. They can pedal, climb and corner so well that I think the question should not be if you will be overbiked, but rather do you really need a bike with less overall capability.
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  27. #27
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    I've been riding a Firebird since 2011 and I also ride a first gen Niner Jet with 3" of travel which my dad gave as a back up bike. I realized for 50% of the rides 3" of travel was plenty, but also realized that the other 50% it was not close to being enough.
    The other aspect I realized was that on the xc bike it wasn't so much the travel as it was the geometry that hindered me.
    Unless its fast & chunky the Firebird was over kill considering most of the rides are single track with little xcstuntry mixed in.
    Most of the og freeride lines and trails are gone in CT so all the drops are under 5' and have transitions to boot. The few areas with gap jumps are buff and you can hit them on a hardtail.
    So that brings me to my current bike an Evil Calling. Its poppy, playfull and can handle all but the really fast & big stuff my 7" bike could, but with out making the trail ponderous. That was the big difference I noticed, that I missed the playfulness of less travel. Plus I wasn't lugging 7" and 34+lbs uphill, which in CT is often due to the terrain. It might be different if I had an hour uphill and an hour DH at speed.
    Modern bikes, especially companies like Evil, are blurring the lines of what we traditionally consider to be the realm of bigger travel bikes.
    So for me its geometry & capability of frame & suspension characteristics over long travel.
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  28. #28
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    It seems that all of the new 29ers are either LT 140-150 or ST in the 100 range.

    I know there are still some middleoftheroad options, but new bikes seem to be more capableóthe ST bikes are getting more aggressive, and the big bikes can pedal.

  29. #29
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    I was a lightweight hardtail fan for many years. I watched friends have various problems with FS bikes. I tried a couple that I didn't mind.

    I bought a 100mm dually and loved it....apart from more pedal strikes.

    I'm now on a 150mm 27.5 dually and love that.

    Recently demo'd a Spec Epic and loved that too.

    But I'm 220+ kitted up, don't race or have great bike skills and ride everything from smooth fire roads to rocky single-track and chunk and so for me the 150mm bike is what I enjoy. Again, apart from the increased pedal strikes. (Stumpy)

    If a bike climbs and descends and handles and stops and I enjoy it, not much else matters.
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  30. #30
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    Over biked, under biked -- too hard to quantify unless someone rides the same trails all the time and nowhere else. Personally I'll err on the side of having a more capable ride.

    I prefer a burly long(ish) travel 29er.
    Many of my riding buds prefer a lighter mid-travel 27.5".

    They may think I'm wrong, I may think they're wrong.
    Neither of us is wrong. We're all having the fun we want.

    As for being "over biked," except for riding a bonafide DH bike around on XC trails, I personally feel being over biked is hard to do. Even burly long travel bikes can climb well and feel playful these days.

    It breaks my heart anytime I see anyone pushing a bike up a hill instead of riding it. Doesn't have to happen.
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  31. #31
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    Confidence inspiring is not marketing BS, it's for real. When I got a Warden 3 years ago steep and chunky suddenly wasn't so steep and chunky, and now I ride the same trails on an "enduro" hard tail. I retired 5 years ago and recently started a PT job at my LBS repairing bikes and selling a few things. After a repair I test ride the bike and some bikes inspire fear, even in the parking lot. If a bike can scare me, it just makes sense that another can give confidence. A couple came in yesterday and are looking to start riding and my boss showed them a few options and discussed the riding here. I discussed this with my boss later, and my view is that a beginner here should start off with 150-160mm of slack goodness and then try a lesser travel bike after they have progressed. I can probably pilot an entry level HT here but a newb is going to be miserable and possibly hurt.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  32. #32
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    I think geometry has as much of an impact on what terrain you can actually ride safely than simply suspension travel.
    A long slack bike with short to medium travel can let you ride pretty much any terrain. Adding more squish just lets you ride it faster.

    Having ridden a Mojo Geometron I think my ideal bike would employ that geometry in a 130 to 140 mm 29er package.
    My typical rides are around 5 hours an involve plenty of long steep climbs and flat trails to get to the really fun stuff, steep technical and fast downhill.
    I had a Mach 429 but it was too short and steep for the riding we now do. That was swapped for a switchblade which I love, it gives up very little on the climbs to a dedicated XC rig but is in another league when descending.
    I Bought the Geometron as an uplift/bike park rig but it peddles and climbs way out of proportion to what you would expect for such a long travel bike. It does dull more moderate trails down though with 170mm of travel and it's a big lump to carry when hiking up steep pitches but I can happily peddle it on the same 5 hour loop as the switchblade.

    for the majority of my riding, I love the weight, suspension efficiency and ground covering ability of the switchblade but the Geometron geo is a game changer. It allows me to try crazy new lines that I simply wouldn't dare on a smaller more XC biased bike or even the switchblade for that matter.
    Most of the time I prefer to have" just enough bike" which is 135 mm 29 er but as the bones get older and trails get wilder it's nice to have the option of being overbiked for trying new lines. Having been " underbiked" on the 429 I will never go back down that route, out of true rear wheels and regular over the bar excursions are experiences I don't enjoy. It's just not worth it when more capable bikes climb so well.

  33. #33
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    For my personal bike I prefer a hardtail or a shorttravel fs, either with a 120-140mm fork.
    It works well for my area and preference to quick and snappy bikes that pedal well, going up is half the fun

    For enduro/park riding I usually just get a rental.

  34. #34
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    if you like to climb, go small. if you like to descend, go big. both, both

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bickle View Post
    Confidence inspiring is not marketing BS, it's for real.
    Not marketing BS - industry jargon. It doesn't mean anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bickle View Post
    When I got a Warden 3 years ago steep and chunky suddenly wasn't so steep and chunky, and now I ride the same trails on an "enduro" hard tail. I retired 5 years ago and recently started a PT job at my LBS repairing bikes and selling a few things. After a repair I test ride the bike and some bikes inspire fear, even in the parking lot. If a bike can scare me, it just makes sense that another can give confidence.
    Sure, but why? What the hell does it mean? My old hardtail is scary because the steep HTA and 26" wheels mean I have to get that front wheel up over big obstacles or I'm going OTB. But then again, on tight twisty, smooth stuff, it's super responsive, much easier to control than my big travel enduro if I have to make a tight turn. So is it confidence inspiring or scary? I'd say it depends on the terrain I'm riding.

    Confidence inspiring is what people say when the bike feels comfortable on whatever they're riding. It doesn't mean anything other than "I like this bike" which is why the phrase annoys me. It communicates nothing about the bike or how it rides.

  36. #36
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    Quote: 'I'd rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.'

    'Born to ride!'
    "Mountain biking: the under-rated and drug-free antidepressant"

  37. #37
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    For me, it's all about having a comfortable cockpit. I don't do 8-foot drops anymore. My trails don't wander up giant hills or mountains, but there's a fair bit of steep climbing in the rolling hills of the midwest. Just no 2hr climbs with beautiful 45min descents OTW back.

    That said...lot's of our drops here are to flat...or nearly flat. Pisses 200+ lbs Clyde's like me off. 9/10 of my rides and choices don't require much if any suspension or even adj. seatposts...but good line choices. If I choose to venture on to the drop trails or jump trails...I would be less concerned with high speed downhill suspension performance and more the ability of the suspension to suck up boulder/cliff drops to nearly flat without nuking my wheelset.

    I'd be fine on something like a DBR Mission Pro...I only say that because it's a rather rudementary suspension design that most people wouldn't necessarily intentionally choose any more...but people have a hard-on for hating on brands like DBR and I could get one right now for like $2199. Its a long-legged 160mm travel 36mm stanchion bike that will take some vertical abuse. My dream bike? Heck no...but I'm just stressing the necessity for suspension travel over modern techno whizbang designs that cost a newborn baby, but handle successive DH style hits with aplomb. I'd be happy on a last gen SantaCruz Bullit built with a 180mm fork that only weighs 27-28lbs, but can take a vertical hit like a SpecDemo. (BTW, the last gen Bullit had a 27lbs build kit with a 180mm RS Totem air...that's wicked!)

    The other 90% of my trail choices are well served on a nimble but strong hardtail or a 130mm'ish travel 29x2.5" setup that could gobble up all of the rock-strewn rolling / flat / punchy-climb types of trails we have around here. Most of the time it's just pedal, pedal, pedal. There's no long DH to enjoy.


    If I had one bike to rule them all, it'd be something like an S-Works Stumpy...but if I skipped just one trail network around here, then the Camber would be more than adequate...and maybe even better served by the Epic.

  38. #38
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    Where would you rather compromise? Personally, I don't mind being a bit under-biked on a trail of two, because I have enough skill and experience to compensate enough to get me through it. I also like to have enough bike to handle whatever I want to do on any trail I might ride that bike on. For me, if I was going to have one bike for every trail from Wisconsin to North Carolina, it would be a 120 front/100mm back full-suspension bike. I'm not sure if it would be a 29er with 2.4/2.3" tires or 27.5 with 2.6/2.4 tires. There might be a drop or two I wouldn't feel comfortable hitting, but it wouldn't limit which trails I would ride, and it wouldn't diminish too much fun on more tame trails.

  39. #39
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    You might be in the minority on this one.

    Quote Originally Posted by kpdemello View Post
    Not marketing BS - industry jargon. It doesn't mean anything.
    I disagree. I use this phrase myself. It describes my current bike compared to my previous bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by kpdemello View Post
    Sure, but why? What the hell does it mean?
    It means the bike is more capable. Not more comfortable. Safer. Like when a longer top tube, shorter stem and slacker HA combine to assure a rider that (s)he won't do an endo when attempting a wicked steep drop in. Or when a long wheelbase and superior suspension combine to make landing jumps more secure. These are examples of a bike that inspires confidence.

    Quote Originally Posted by kpdemello View Post
    Confidence inspiring is what people say when the bike feels comfortable on whatever they're riding. It doesn't mean anything other than "I like this bike" which is why the phrase annoys me. It communicates nothing about the bike or how it rides.
    Think about what you just said. It makes little sense to anyone who's ridden a bike that makes skill advancement difficult followed by a bike that makes attempting new skills easier. I'm one of these riders. Modern bikes are, well, confidence inspiring. Why not embrace this simple truth?
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  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by chelboed View Post
    I'd be fine on something like a DBR Mission Pro...I only say that because it's a rather rudementary suspension design that most people wouldn't necessarily intentionally choose any more...but people have a hard-on for hating on brands like DBR .....
    Just moved from a 10 year old 26er, 3x9 w/120mm of travel to a 2017 Diamondback Mission 2.0 27.5 w/ 160mm. Can't believe what a difference wheel size and geometry made. Have much more confidence on the chunk (Colorado Front Range) and it pedals uphill real nice. Got into it for $1900 at the beginning of the year. Could not be happier!




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  41. #41
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    Here's my other perspective:

    You can ride a lot of bikes fast, possibly faster than you should. I was amazed in some XC races how fast I was taking a hardtail downhill, to the point where I thought I really had no business doing so, and it was rattling me to hell in the process. When you push your shorter-travel bike to the point where it feels like it's about to snap in half, you need more travel, for safety, for comfort, for flow, etc. Sometimes you get a shorter-travel bike that is well damped and makes a lot out of the minimal travel it has, sometimes you area able to boost just a bit over the rockiest sections and are able to pick and choose and come down where it's a little smoother, so you can leverage the lighter weight of the bike and responsiveness, but if you get it in to choppy and rocky terrain where there is no such option, you might reach that "limit" where you are just being pounded. At that point, it's no good for the bike and the rider IME. This is where it gets real sketchy for races and stuff. Yeah, in an Enduro race or something else you might actually be able to go faster on this bike, because on the flat sections you'll make up a few seconds and only lose fractions of seconds on the steeper stuff, but this is where you ask yourself "at what cost"? At chewing through shock bushings every race, bearings, significantly shortening the life on some parts, etc, and at the end of the day it's just not the bike you wan't to be on all the time. So if it feels like it's about to "snap in half" when you start to push it, you need more travel I mean, theoretically you are overbiked unless you push that lighter bike as fast as it can go each and every time and you never go over the line that constitutes abuse/over-stress, but that's just not realistic. So you *have* to be overbiked to some extent no matter what, otherwise you'd be breaking the bike all the time. How much just depends on how close you want to ride that line and with what kind of margin of safety.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  42. #42
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    My experience with newer suspension designs that climb well regardless of suspension travel is that geometry as it impacts handling is a more important consideration. Longer-travel bikes with handling that is not overly slack are still fun to ride on a variety of terrain while bikes that have slacker head angles and long wheelbases (regardless of suspension travel) might have handling that is less responsive when not descending.
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  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spectre View Post
    My experience with newer suspension designs that climb well regardless of suspension travel is that geometry as it impacts handling is a more important consideration. Longer-travel bikes with handling that is not overly slack are still fun to ride on a variety of terrain while bikes that have slacker head angles and long wheelbases (regardless of suspension travel) might have handling that is less responsive when not descending.
    What's your opinion of steep seat tube angles?
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  44. #44
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    At 58 I still ride aggressively and challenge myself both cardio and technique-wise. There's a fair amount of tech, climbs, obstacles, etc where we ride so plenty of opportunities to try something new. For experienced riders, you adapt to any bike but your basic riding style will be similar. That being said, we all try to find the bike that 'fits' our situation best so we don't have to adapt. Since 2012 my best fit is AM type bikes with around 150mm travel (see sig). I prefer a bike that's good all round vs one that excels at one extreme or the other. The newer bikes in this category are great all-rounders and my Kona Process 153 has been awesome...the different geo is working for me. It climbs great despite it's heft and getting over obstacles and downhills are a blast. A burly and reliable design is of great importance to me too. I need XL frames and have broken a few over the years so I am willing to sacrifice a little heft for reliability. A smaller rider with similar riding style as me may feel this Kona is too much bike.
    07 Kona Dawg Supreme
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