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  1. #1
    mtbr member
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    What terrain justified an ALL MOUNTAIN bike ?????

    Okay, I currently have a kick butt hardtail with excellent components that I use both off road and for the occasional neighborhood spin. In the coming months I want to be buy an additional bike........full suspension this time.

    I reside in Florida and primarily ride at two dedicated mountain bike areas. Although the state is very flat, both areas were built on old phosphate mines which means alot of small quick hills (less than 30ft. high). These trails are very highly acclaimed within our state and our host of numerous riders within the state.

    The terrain consists of plenty of roots, rocks, quick and steep ascents/descents with the occasional 2 foot drop (not much chance for true hucking/aerial play). It's probably the most some of the most aggressive trails you'll experience in Florida.

    Based on that, would you get a full suspension XC or All Mountain bike?

    Put another way...........can all the all mountain bike handle decent on the occasional tame trail? and can the XC bike handle short but very steep climbs/drops?

    Please help a newbie out....

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    I already rode that
    Reputation: SuperNewb's Avatar
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    What do most of the riders use at those places maybe you can judge it from that. 4-5" is prob more then enough for what you describe but it depends on your own riding style/terrain.

    Ride a few bikes and see what you like best then go from there. As to weather an AM or XC fs bike , its both the same to me so pick either one.
    Riding F/S since oct 94'

  3. #3
    ColoradoCoolBreeze
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    IMO and AM bike is a Heavy Duty XC bike.
    How much do you weigh and how fast/agressive do you plan to ride?

    That will determine if you need an AM bike.

    For me,
    AM bikes just (((Rock))) and I would have one even if I only did concrete bike paths.

    hth
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  4. #4
    SuperInstigator
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    I'd say one of those five inch travel 24 hour enduro XC race bike would fit the bill. I don't know your budget, but I was just reading bike, and I saw the Felt Virtue, GT I-Drive, Marin Mount Vision, Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper FSR, and Trek Fuel. All these are 5 inch travel bikes, just to give you an idea.

    Other bikes to consider would be the Giant Reign, an Ibex Atlas, a Kona Dawg, Santa Cruz Heckler (a inch or so too much travel), Ironhorse MKIII, etc...)

    These bikes will handle 2 feet drops with a little more confidence than a <4 inch travel XC race bike. It will be a little more comfortable for your not quite XC yet not enough for AM riding.

    Budget?

    Good Luck!
    Tim
    I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
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    Thanks everyone.

    It seems many have full suspension rigs............haven't really paid attention if most are XC or AM.

    5" seems plenty for this application and should suffice for the occasional trip to the mountains.

    5'11" 190lbs.

    I think I'll give the 'all mountain' bikes mentioned a good hard look.

  6. #6
    mojo mofo
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    Also have a look at the Ibis Mojo.

  7. #7
    squish is good
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    Quote Originally Posted by SingleTrackLovr
    IMO and AM bike is a Heavy Duty XC bike.
    Thats funny because I always think of mine as a Light Duty DH bike that pedals good.

    As you have noticed their are varying degrees of All Mountain depeding on turrain or the bike your using, it's really just the gray area in between XC and DH and there seems to be alot of gray area. I think your on the right track looking at a 5" trailbike, I ride a Reign (6")in the Cascade mountains of Washington State and sometimes I feel like it's almost too much bike.

  8. #8
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    I haven't really kept up on this, and it does seem like there is a fair amount of overlap and blurring between categories. With that disclaimer, I think an important difference between a "XC" and an "all-mountain" bike might be the beefiness of the frame. Even with 5" of travel, I'm not sure a pure xc rig is designed for regular doses of 2 foot drops.

  9. #9
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    Cannondale Prophet. Full suspension. New (with basic components) for little over $1K. Perfectly all mountain; although I'm upgrading mine to be more FR/DH worthy. And this is coming from an ex-Floridian...

  10. #10
    Praise Bob
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    I ride in Florida primarily at Santos and Alafia, and have found that the terrain definitely lends itself to owning an "All Mountain" bike. I am sure that people that have not ridden here dont beleive me. We might not have extended climbs or downhills, but the terrain is very rocky and rooty with rollercoaster style steep technical drops and climbs.

    Parks like Santos have north shore style stunts and some big drops ( 15ft +). I dont know what your price point is, but the SC Heckler is a great bike and so is the Nomad. I own an Ellsworth Moment, and my wife owns a Titus Motolite, both of which perform great in this enviroment. Since you wont have any long uphill efforts anywhere in FL you can afford to own a slightly heavier bike that can take the abuse that our technical trails dish out.

    my .02

  11. #11
    ride it like you stole it
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    I have a Kona Dawg Supreme, beefed up a little bit so its a more sturdy FR steed and I beat the snot out of it (I am 5' 11" and 180lbs). I do jumps, drops, north shore style stunts, downhill, you name it. I am not doing anything huge but do hit an occasional 4-5 foot drop/jump. It handles everything I throw at it. It does have a more beefy frame than a XC bike but is still extremely pedal friendly for trails. A bike with 5-6" of suspension and a beefy frame will take quite a bit of punishment.

  12. #12
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    A well built 4" XC bike would be nice to have there. I would not get a 5"-6" bike till I got to rougher terrain like in MT, CO, some CA trails, UT, and rocky East Coast trails. A slack bike with long travel may be a bit heavy and a bit sluggish to ride fast and handle the nimble trails you describe.

  13. #13
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    Im on board with the 4-5" travel bike. An all-mountain bike is really overkill for what your describing. I rode a 00 Gary Fisher sugar (2.5" front and rear) bike for years and wouldnt think twice about a 2-3 foot drop. I never had any kind of problem (im 6'1 170). Id be more worried about the wheels than the frame in the 2-4' drops. As long as you dont get something with a steep head angle you'll be loving life with a 4" bike.

  14. #14
    Fat guy on a bike
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    To me the factor i look for is not so much the amount of suspension travel, but the head angle and geometry of the bike. An all mountain bike should have a slack enough of a head tube angle that when you come to the downhill part of the ride, that you aren't fearing going OTB too easily because your weight is too far forward. Likewise it shouldn't be so steep that you are losing control climbing because your front wheel is always lifting up.

    Travel is a luxury really. You don't need it, but it sure is nice. It mostly helps by giving you more choices in what line to take down a trail, and being possibly over all faster.

    How big a drop you want to tackle is a combination of both suspension travel, your weight, and the bikes toughness. Generally higher travel bikes are tougher because they are marketed at taking certain abuse.

  15. #15
    Cannondale Snob
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    If your talking about Alafia and Boyette, your HT will likely do just fine. I only went FS because of the damned roots that plague a few of these trails.

    That being said, I'd second the Cannondale choice. I went with a Rush instead of a Prophet, and I love the bike. Drop by University Bicycles in Tampa (on Fletcher Ave) and check out their selection.

    I've also ridden Santos, and the 110mm (4.3") travel is plenty. My bike weighs 27#s and it could easily go into the 25# range without becoming unreliable. This definately puts it in the XC/AM category and could be raced in the endurance races in the area.

    One of the best cyclists I ride with rides a Trek 8500 HT and puts us all to shame...
    '06 Cannondale Rush 1000 4" travel 27lbs
    '04 Cannondale F600 SOBE -STOLEN!
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  16. #16
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    You're correct..............it's primarily Alafia and Boyette with a trip to Santos hopefully upcoming.

    My hardtail is around 26lbs.............

    I guess I'll just sit back and ride that bike until I find a sweet deal on craigslist or ebay.

    My bike handles that stuff well.......just thought the FS would handle the drops with greater ease. Either that or I have a small bit of money at my disposal that I'm looking to blow !!

  17. #17
    ride hard take risks
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    Ride out the HT it's a great builder of reflexes.
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  18. #18
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    very good question. I agree with the dogonfr and some others - ride the hardtail. that should be plenty for the types of terrain and riding you have mentioned....

    All mountain is a blurred concept....its open to interpretation. it ranges between XC and FR. so you can have like an XC/AM to a FR/AM bike....

    Now, before going to the AM terrain, I would ask people - What consist the XC terrain...Does XC terrains have roots, rocks, small drop offs, or small jumps...

    To me a well equipped XC bike can take a lot of abuse. more than most people would agree. The thing is there is always the "need" for sexier gear...and All mountain bikes (frames) are beefed up to satisfy that visual crave....with just a little more sturiness...

    so, with an AM bike you get a bit more sturdiness with a serious weight penalty....an XC bike will climb a lot better than an AM bike...but an am bike would be more stayable on the downhill section....specially if the downhill section is technical (another stupid and confusing word)...by technical I mean very steep decent with larger obstacles and gaps (all mountain bikes handles it better with a slacker head angle - 69 or 68 as oppose to 71 on an XC bike). also a longer wheel base on a AM bike will make it more stayble on a rough decent...Also a longer travel and beefed up frame helps the AM take bigger jumps and drops....But, from your post it does not sound like you are doing big jumps...

    Keep in mind that the AM bike will probably be at least 5-8lbs heavier than an XC bike. So, the XC bike will climb a lot better (here 71 head angle is an advantage for the XC BIKE). and you would have to haul less weight.

    if you are riding a quick handling singletrack type terrain where fast handling is important...an XC bike will do better than an AM bike. with larger travel and slacker head angle the AM bike would feel lazy on turns and swichbacks....

    so, the point is if you want a bike that you can take to more challenging terrains...if you want to own a heavy duty bike to show off or brag about.......go for the AM.....but if you want a bike that truely satisfy your riding needs (performance on the trails).....an XC bike will be plenty.....

    It may not be practical for you....when I was reading your description I was thinking that Jamis Dakar XC line would be a perfect bike for that situation...
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  19. #19
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    Get a Chumba XCL.

    http://www.chumbaracing.com/xcl.shtml

    Really stiff frame, tough and rigid where it counts. Will handle anything Florida has to offer without being total overkill, but you can take it to Colorado or Utah and tear it up there as well.

  20. #20
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    I generally agree with Orca. To me one of the biggest and most underrated factors on an AM bike is that the slonger wheelbase really helps you from faceplanting on really steep drop-ins where there are technical rocks on the way down. Yes, a weight penalty but definately beefier. Also, high speed stability is better on the AM bike.

  21. #21
    s62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orca
    so, the point is if you want a bike that you can take to more challenging terrains...if you want to own a heavy duty bike to show off or brag about.......go for the AM.....but if you want a bike that truely satisfy your riding needs (performance on the trails).....an XC bike will be plenty.....
    haha, that's not at all biased. I had the same delimma as the OP, and considered it for awhile. I ultimately chose to go the route of AM, as I have the option of handling rougher terrain anytime I want with a bike that still climbs and handles well. I've got a Jamis Dakar XLT 2.0 coming, and my experience with those is great. They still climb well, they're aren't sluggish or too heavy, and they can bomb like no XC dreams of. The weight penalty is there, but doesn't wind up affecting me adversly. I easily trade the extra few pounds for the added terrain I can handle and the smoothness and capability of the downhill. The extra effort that goes into climbing isn't huge, and frankly, I'm not worried about breaking a sweat.

  22. #22
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    I have no idea what the hell this catagory/forum is for.

    Methinks it's not for people who ride all terrain, it's because some people DON'T ride all the terrain and they need seperate catagories.

    So this is not the "all mountain" forum, this is the "cross country forum for people that really ride cross country, up and down, rough and smooth". The people who stick to the flat terrain need their own catagory called, "cross country".
    "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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  23. #23
    s62
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    No, all mountain is a distinct catagory. AM differs from XC in that AM anticipates small to medium drops and rougher terrain in general. It's not just an issue of flat versus up and down... at all. The geometry is different, the travel is different, the needs are different. Somewhere between FR and XC is all mountain, but AM itself varies...

  24. #24
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by hardway
    Get a Chumba XCL.



    Really stiff frame, tough and rigid where it counts. .
    Really? If it's stiff and rigid where it counts, then what special considerations did they take into effect when they designed it with the horst-link? The pivot in between the rear hub and the main pivot contributes to a lot of flex, and unless something special like needle bearings, bushings for lateral rigidity, or double bearing sets exists, then I have doubts that it's "rigid where it counts".
    "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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  25. #25
    ride hard take risks
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem
    Really? If it's stiff and rigid where it counts, then what special considerations did they take into effect when they designed it with the horst-link? The pivot in between the rear hub and the main pivot contributes to a lot of flex, and unless something special like needle bearings, bushings for lateral rigidity, or double bearing sets exists, then I have doubts that it's "rigid where it counts".
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