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  1. #1
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    Would you use a 4X, dirtjump or slopestyle bike as AM bike?

    I have this thing about hardtail trailbikes. I think they look kinda boxy or squarish. Do you think we can get similar performance from a 4X, DJ or slopebike when used in rooty tropical rainforest terrain? (As opposed to standard XC or trail bikes)

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    Subscribed! Thinking of the same thing.

  3. #3
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    You can definitely use these for trail riding, but the bikes you described cover a broad range.

    Here are some things to keep in mind when looking at these frames:


    1. Seat tube length. These bikes typically have very short seat tubes. Make sure you can get the seat post extension you need to put you in a good pedaling position.

    2. The head and seat angles. You'll want something w/ a slackish head angle ( which may work out fine if you put a 120mm+ fork on the frame... 65-69 degrees is what I like). The seat angle should be somewhat steep, so when you put the seat up, you can get into a good pedaling position, and your weight isn't so far back on the climbs. Some dj/4x bikes have pretty slack seat angles.

    Other things to look for are to make sure it can run a derailleur (if you're going to use one), iscg mounts if you're running a chain guide (bb fit is another option) and the general fit (tt/reach). Otherwise, give it a go and see how it feels. These bikes can be quite fun and playful on the trail.

  4. #4
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    Not to derail this thread, but what about the other way around? That is, use a trail / am bike for 4x, dirt jump, pump track?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtngt View Post
    Not to derail this thread, but what about the other way around? That is, use a trail / am bike for 4x, dirt jump, pump track?
    Yes of course. Put the seat down and go. Some xc/trail bikes may not be as strong as a dedicated dirt jump bike, but on small-medium or smooth jumps, it'll be fine. Pump track anything will work.

  6. #6
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    if you are smaller it would probably work as those frames tend to be on the small side.

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    i use a '10 spesh sx/4x for trail rides. Rear brake and single speed with a thrashed revelation fork stepped down to 110mm. I'd opt for a long frame for the wheelbase stability you need for am kinda riding. burly as hell. I push on climbs but grin on descents.

    i think the other way around would be harder to convert. geometry and suspension would slow things down quite a bit. i'm sure there are guys makin that happen but my old ass couldn't.

    there are some cool hardtails that fit. Stanton Slackline and Transition is coming out with the PB&J

  8. #8
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    I ran a Slope style bike as a trail bike for a while. It was a bit heavy, and I never got full extension due to the short seat tube. But it was a fun bike on certain trails

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    I ride mine everywhere. Xc, am, dj, even take it to the bmx track everyonce in a while for a race in cruiser class.... Lol

  10. #10
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    I'd been riding a Spec SX 4x as a trailbike since late ''07 up until this past June. It was a blast, and with a loong seatpost, I was able to get full leg extension. When I sold my dh bike, I figured my main bike needed to be a little bigger, so swapped it out for a new Enduro, which does climb a bit better (excepting the 1x10 gearing I'm now running) and descend better thru chunky stuff. It's not quite as flickable though, and when I am able to ride dh regularly again, I might go back to a shorter travel trailbike.

    There are a few out there now that match the geo of my old sx (slack, low and short cs), but also have longer and steeper seattubes, which add versatility (no more need for an extra seat/ posts for dj'ing, better climbing). Blur TRC, Stumpy Evo are a couple of examples. But you'll likely find a better deal on a used 4x/ slopestyle frame. The Blur 4x even had a full length seattube, if I remember correctly.
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  11. #11
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    Yes!

    +1 on dump's answer. Seat tube is really important...you can find some special long size seat posts too

  12. #12
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    Yes. I have been running a Santa Cruz Blur 4X for my trail/AM bike for a few years and really like it for most of the trail riding I do. I like it because of its geometry mostly. It turns awesome, and is relatively stable through rooty or rocky terrain. I am able to get full leg extension (I am 5' 10"). I run it as a 2x9, but have found myself never using the granny and keeping the front derailleur mostly as sort of a chain guide.

    That said, I am in the process of building a trail bike that will be lighter, has a little more travel, may climb better, and has a little more stability at speed (based on wheelbase and suspension differences). I am going to hang on to the 4X for a while to see if my new setup is as fun. The great thing about the 4X for me is that it has a relatively short wheel base so it turns quickly and is very maneuvarable through technical terrain. My concern with the new trail bike setup is that it may be less snappy through pump track like terrain.

    If I find myself happy with the new setup I will sell the 4X as it would be too overlapping with those 2 bikes given the amount of time I actually have to ride. If I revert back to the 4X then my new setup will have been an expensive experiment and I will sell that.

  13. #13
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    I've seen people riding transition bottlerockets as trail bikes but its a 9 pound frame....that's pretty hefty. It pedals pretty well but its not as smooth in the really rough rocky stuff as a longer travel AM bike would be. I'd split the difference and look for a playful AM bike like a nomad, euduro or slayer. I've seen some pretty serious hucks on a nomad. They pop pretty good!

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    I ride with a guy who has a Yeti 4X. He rips on it. The geo makes for a fun trail bike. I really don't see a huge disadvantage to using that kinda of bike for AM use.
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    yes...

    i just posted a short review in the Pivot Forum about using the Pivot M4X as a trail bike... i was using a Transition Double before that. both bikes are a blast to ride on the trail!

    M4X as a trail bike
    i need to develop my crashing skills...

  16. #16
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    Thanks Dump for the good breakdown of points to consider

    And I share similar views to many here.

    Speed and timings are niot my priority, it is enjoying the trail and having the most fun at each terrain that matters to me and a shorter and quicker bike seems to be able to do that.

    It will feel different from the long travel AM that I am on now.

  17. #17
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    I'm right now building an old Cheeta slalom frame (found brand new in a bike shop attic) with a Fox 831 fork. I'm running a short cage x9 and an 8-speed cassette with single chain ring/bash. I plan to XC/AM this bike. I usually run a standard Cannondale XC set up but I'm convinced the compact frame geometry will give me something more than the bigger bike does. Do it and report back to us.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by C-Dale_Rider View Post
    I'm right now building an old Cheeta slalom frame (found brand new in a bike shop attic) with a Fox 831 fork. I'm running a short cage x9 and an 8-speed cassette with single chain ring/bash. I plan to XC/AM this bike. I usually run a standard Cannondale XC set up but I'm convinced the compact frame geometry will give me something more than the bigger bike does. Do it and report back to us.
    Nice, I remember that frame! Looked like a fun bike.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by rookie nick View Post
    I have this thing about hardtail trailbikes. I think they look kinda boxy or squarish. Do you think we can get similar performance from a 4X, DJ or slopebike when used in rooty tropical rainforest terrain? (As opposed to standard XC or trail bikes)
    You can mostly ride any mountain bike anywhere you'd like.... that is the beauty of them.

    The fact that you have an issue with APPEARANCES and ask a question about PERFORMANCE leads me to believe that you don't realize that these various categories bikes are designed to do certain things well. Rather than worry about what the bikes look like, it sounds as if you need saddle time on other bikes yourself because anyone else's opinion will be purely subjective.

    FWIW, I got into mountain biking thinking that I would trail ride on a 24" DJ bike.... there were certain spots where it was very fun, but I grew tired of it and realized that I wanted a "regular" hardtail.

    I have a pretty burly FR bike now, too. I have ridden the hardtail and the FR bike on many of the same trails and it always ends up being fun with either one.... just different. Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't.

    Without knowing more about your ability level, interests, or trails, all I can say is that if you don't NEED a DJ bike or a 4X bike or whatever, then you will probably be fairly well-served by a hardtail or trailbike from a reputable manufacturer.

    If you really just want a DJ or 4X or SS, then go buy it and have fun.
    You better just go ahead and drop that seatpost down to the reflector... the trail gets pretty rough down there.

  20. #20
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    Action pics of Rigids on technical terrain

    A lot of people with abnormally large testicles treat their rigid XC trail bikes like AM bikes.
    Ghisallo Wheels

    I'm really good looking.

  21. #21
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    Nukeproof Rook is a SS (slope style, not single speed) bike that does interest me for some trail riding. For some of what I do I think it could work. Look at the geometry you want, and match that with a bike.

    I would ask you what geo exactly you are going for?

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by patrick2cents View Post
    Nukeproof Rook is a SS (slope style, not single speed) bike that does interest me for some trail riding. For some of what I do I think it could work. Look at the geometry you want, and match that with a bike.

    I would ask you what geo exactly you are going for?
    I like quick (not necessary fast) geo that I can throw and flick around.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Six Pack View Post
    You can mostly ride any mountain bike anywhere you'd like.... that is the beauty of them.

    The fact that you have an issue with APPEARANCES and ask a question about PERFORMANCE leads me to believe that you don't realize that these various categories bikes are designed to do certain things well. Rather than worry about what the bikes look like, it sounds as if you need saddle time on other bikes yourself because anyone else's opinion will be purely subjective.

    FWIW, I got into mountain biking thinking that I would trail ride on a 24" DJ bike.... there were certain spots where it was very fun, but I grew tired of it and realized that I wanted a "regular" hardtail.

    I have a pretty burly FR bike now, too. I have ridden the hardtail and the FR bike on many of the same trails and it always ends up being fun with either one.... just different. Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't.

    Without knowing more about your ability level, interests, or trails, all I can say is that if you don't NEED a DJ bike or a 4X bike or whatever, then you will probably be fairly well-served by a hardtail or trailbike from a reputable manufacturer.

    If you really just want a DJ or 4X or SS, then go buy it and have fun.
    Mr Uncle,

    I have ridden many kinds of bikes, from flying pigeon delivery bikes, to bmx to xc to foldies to long travel AMs. Of course you can ride a bike (not just mountain bikes) anywhere you want it. It's just a matter of how the bike will fare and how soon it will give in. And how much enjoyment are you getting out of it.

    I have ridden enough bikes long enough to know what bike geo means to the rider and what each category do what they do. I post a discussion question to see the views on an unconventional practice.

    You already admitted you do not know what kind of riding discipline I prefer or what my experience is like so why judge on the fact that I talk about appearance? I think I ride long enough to qualify to want to look good (to myself) when I ride. FYI I am Asian and usually ride small size frames. What is small or too short for Caucasians may be just right in size for me - I mean the frame size.

    Yes I have encountered a problem earlier - I couldn't have full stretch on my pedalling on a SS bike. I rectified it by getting a 350mm seat post and cut it down to size a little so as to help the pedalling. I posted this topic in a very general tone cos I do not want to steer the discusion in any direction. I only wanted to address my main topic - I want to use a DJ/4X or SS frame for more than its intended purpose and wanted to see how many other think the same too. Why I do that? Cos it looks better. (I sold my XC HT bike cos I do not like it's squarish looks and I do not like spandex - personal preference here no offence)

    The only probable mistake I made is phrasing my topic too briefly. I should have said that I am gathering views to see how many think like what I think.

  24. #24
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    Slopestyle no question. Intense SS1 and new 2013 RM Slayer SS would be at the top of my short list. This is just SICKNESS: Rocky Mountain Slayer SS - First Look - Pinkbike

    Have FUN!

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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by rookie nick View Post
    Mr Uncle,

    I have ridden many kinds of bikes, from flying pigeon delivery bikes, to bmx to xc to foldies to long travel AMs. Of course you can ride a bike (not just mountain bikes) anywhere you want it. It's just a matter of how the bike will fare and how soon it will give in. And how much enjoyment are you getting out of it.

    I have ridden enough bikes long enough to know what bike geo means to the rider and what each category do what they do. I post a discussion question to see the views on an unconventional practice.

    You already admitted you do not know what kind of riding discipline I prefer or what my experience is like so why judge on the fact that I talk about appearance? I think I ride long enough to qualify to want to look good (to myself) when I ride. FYI I am Asian and usually ride small size frames. What is small or too short for Caucasians may be just right in size for me - I mean the frame size.

    Yes I have encountered a problem earlier - I couldn't have full stretch on my pedalling on a SS bike. I rectified it by getting a 350mm seat post and cut it down to size a little so as to help the pedalling. I posted this topic in a very general tone cos I do not want to steer the discusion in any direction. I only wanted to address my main topic - I want to use a DJ/4X or SS frame for more than its intended purpose and wanted to see how many other think the same too. Why I do that? Cos it looks better. (I sold my XC HT bike cos I do not like it's squarish looks and I do not like spandex - personal preference here no offence)

    The only probable mistake I made is phrasing my topic too briefly. I should have said that I am gathering views to see how many think like what I think.
    Well, aside from thinking your question was rather vague, I did respond to you that my DJ bike was not well-suited to my trails even though I originally thought it would work. On the other hand, now that I have a 26" hardtail and a FR bike, many people assume I don't ride the same trails with these two bikes, but the FR bike manages well enough on most climbs and I don't mind riding tough terrain on the HT (although obviously for XC race I ride the HT and for DH/bike parks/shuttling it is the FR).... So while a SS or a 4x bike is really designed with particular competitive pursuits in mind, I'm sure they could fair as well as my FR bike on a trail... whether or not you get the performance YOU are after is a whole other matter.

    And I don't wear spandex when I ride my hardtail.
    You better just go ahead and drop that seatpost down to the reflector... the trail gets pretty rough down there.

  26. #26
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    Hi SixPack, care to elaborate on why you feel it's not suited to your trails besides requiring a long seat post?

  27. #27
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    When I went back to MTB, in 2006. After being on a sabbatical for 12years. I wanted to build a DJ frame as an all purpose bike. XC,FR,AM. Wanted to start on a Yeti DJ frame. After going through the forums, and asking around. I built my self a trail bike converted to AM, I was happy with it as I developed skills slowly. Doing small jumps but no flicking of any kind just a regular jump. And notice that I'm having a hard time climbing (due to age and many other health issues and so on) so I build up a 29er HT and notice I climb better with. (maybe its just me).
    Now seeing this post makes me want to try out building a DJ to try if I can still flick a bike in the air like what I use to do duringy younger BMX years but scares me that I might end up breaking something inside.

    enjoying this thread and the reply.

  28. #28
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    My thinking is that the bike you ride heavily influences how you ride. Much the same way the stiff, narrow snowboard I picked up on sale encouraged me to go fast, carve and do straight airs, and the wide, soft (forgiving) board I picked up after that got me back to spinning off of jumps and having a lot more fun. IMO, a slack, low and short cs frame encourages throwing the bike around more, which equals more fun. I'm sure a more xc-ish ride would improve my speed up climbs, but if I'm not looking for rocks to air off of on the way down, then it's not worth it.

    So for me, if I could only have one bike, it would be a short travel 4x style bike that I could dj, light dh, and ride xc on.
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  29. #29
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    Man I'd say go for it. I feel that if you think of mountain biking like old guys bmx (I certainly do) that a bike like you are describing would work well. I'm a little taller and have to be careful to get seat height correct (and, after all, a bike like that begs for a dropper) but I will likely use a slope style bike for a build in the near future.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by dump View Post
    Pump track anything will work.
    Hard tails work MUCH better on a pump track.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by whodaphuck View Post
    Hard tails work MUCH better on a pump track.
    Definitely. By that I meant, xc/dj/4x hardtails - it doesn't matter.

  32. #32
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    I have bikes that covers most of the spectrum, and have had for quite a few years by now.

    Last summer I built up a 24" DJ bike, just to have a fun ride from time to time.

    By now that bike is the main ride of the stable.

    So give it a shot, you just might like it.

    Magura

  33. #33
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    Forgot to mention I got a chance to ride a Black Market Killswitch on some classic AM terrain - Ashland Downhill and it was an absolute RIOT! Rear shock locks out and it's basically a hardtail DJ bike then. Best of BOTH worlds! Really like that bike and may pick one up if I sell both my Redline and M3.

    Have FUN!

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  34. #34
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    Yes to old guys bmx!
    This thread indeed rake out some interesting answers!
    Thanks guys!

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaizer View Post
    Hi SixPack, care to elaborate on why you feel it's not suited to your trails besides requiring a long seat post?
    Well, it is not a put-down on DJers in general.... mine had 24" tires, which weren't suited to rocky, rooty trails, and not much variety of tires..... rim brakes which weren't suited to mud or creek crossings..... singlespeed and a heavy chromoly frame.... and most forks designed for DJing do not have the damping charcteristics that make a good "trail" fork.

    BUT if I'd had a 26" aluminum DJ with gears and disc brakes, may have been a whole different story for me..... the moral of my story is that I thought I was buying something that would suit my style (with an interest in BMX) and got something that wasn't really ideal.

    Also the front axle had no quick release, neither did the seat post. When I bought it, these things didn't seem like a big deal... but in a practical sense I found it annoying.

    HTH
    You better just go ahead and drop that seatpost down to the reflector... the trail gets pretty rough down there.

  36. #36
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    Hi Six Pack, thanks for elaborating.

    I was under the assumption that the shorter chainstay is the main deterrent though.

  37. #37
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    Both the SC Blur 4x and the similar geometry SC Blur TRc have been widely popular as trail/light short travel am bikes. So has their discontinued Nickel frame.

    With that said, if you're looking for a hardtail, the freshly redesigned Chameleon seems to be a copy of the geometry of the above bikes. At 4 lbs, slack head angle, and with some gearing options, it seems like a great HT trail/am bike.

    Santa Cruz Bicycles CHAMELEON

  38. #38
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    I always wanted to build a yeti 4x into a xc/dh rig. It would be light enough to run a 1x9 on (32x34/11 gearing) but yet so fun to whip around on the dh sections on the local xc trails. But I could never bring myself to drop the 2k$ it'd cost to build it and find out it wasn't that fun.
    "I'm the fastest of the slow guys"

  39. #39
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    Well, I did an el cheapo build, and found it to be so much fun, that I'm now working on an all out build.



    Magura

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    I am really interesting in getting a Deity Cryptkeeper to build as my ride with the kids, maybe hit a BMX track, and have fun on the local trails (I live in Iowa, no real mountains to speak of) bike.

    The biggest issue I have right now is that the frame needs a spanish BB which means I'd have to drop $$ on a new crankset.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaizer View Post
    Hi Six Pack, thanks for elaborating.

    I was under the assumption that the shorter chainstay is the main deterrent though.
    Not in my opinion. The shorter the chainstays the better. That's what I loved about my SX as a trailbike, and why my Enduro doesn't feel like a bus comparatively - they managed to keep the chainstay length relatively the same.
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    I am trying to track down a ss that will accommodate a front derailleur preferably with steeper angles. I ride more bmx style and a ss in the right configuration would be amazing.

    I don't sit down much so a low seat is a non-issue.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by 7stg View Post
    I am trying to track down a ss that will accommodate a front derailleur preferably with steeper angles. I ride more bmx style and a ss in the right configuration would be amazing.

    I don't sit down much so a low seat is a non-issue.
    A Fireeye Shortfuse 360 will sure fit your taste then.

    I got myself one about a year ago, just as an experiment.
    Now that bike is the #1 in the stable.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Magura View Post
    A Fireeye Shortfuse 360 will sure fit your taste then.

    I got myself one about a year ago, just as an experiment.
    Now that bike is the #1 in the stable.

    Magura
    Thanks for the idea.

    I may have miss-abbreviated, by ss I meant slopestyle. Ideally, I would like a Crosscountry/slopestyle bike, something like the Banshee Rampant with a front derailleur would be perfect.

  45. #45
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    The only bikes I own are a Specialized SX and a Nukeproof Snap, and so all of my trail riding is necessarily on a 4x or slope bike. The SX is really capable and really fun, but the lighter weight and full-length seat tube of the Snap have made it my go-to bike for anything with climbs. My "all-mountain" is not as gnarly as some other folks', but I have been hitting some of the best trails my area has to offer as hard as I can go, and loving it.

    Chainguide, 1x9, 33T x 11-23 road cassette, and no shame over pushing up any climb where a fit hiker would outpace anyone on a bike. The SX can run a front derailer, and that bike may someday be decked out w/ a more proper AM setup (1x11 or 2x9, dropper post).

    The Argyle on my Snap is wonderfully stiff, and I like it more than the lowered Lyrik on the SX. There is not a lot of "small-bump compliance" on an aluminum hardtail with a DJ/4x fork, but I've come to think that small-bump compliance should not be a major design goal that other aspects of performance are compromised to achieve. The bike is _fun_, and that is job #1. It's also raceable in BMX (doing pretty well in my district this season), 4x (pipe-dream), and dual slalom (haven't decided if the Snap or the SX is going to Sea Otter next year). If I didn't do all that type of riding, I'd be on an Ibis Mojo or Stumpjumper Evo and not posting in this thread. But gated racing and the bikes that go with it are what really get me going. Trail ride what you've got--Good luck!

    One more thing--I think all-mountain maybe be even more about good, wide tires than about long-travel suspension. Make sure you can fit the size tires you'll want. Some of these bikes are a little cramped out back.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by rookie nick View Post
    I have this thing about hardtail trailbikes. I think they look kinda boxy or squarish. Do you think we can get similar performance from a 4X, DJ or slopebike when used in rooty tropical rainforest terrain? (As opposed to standard XC or trail bikes)


    You can but don't expect it to ride or climb like an xc bike. You will be doing a lot of out-of the-seat-climbing for sure, even if you are short. Some good points have already been touched on here -short seat tube lengths, seat tube angles to slack for proper pedaling and 15.5" or less chainstays will make the bike super sketchy on downhills. So if you are going to do a lot of trail riding and not much dirt jumping or 4x racing a dj/4x frame might not be what you are looking for. That is, unless you get a custom frame made like I did. (which is probably exactly what you are looking for) Figure out what geometry you want and talk to Matt at stout bikes, he'll build something like this for you.



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    I think we sometimes get too hung up on all the sub-genres of mountain biking

    Obviously certain types of bike are more suited to certain terrain but at the end of the day a mountain bike is a mountain bike and as long as you adapt your riding style appropriately, you can ride anything

    I used to ride a single speed steel 24" wheel One On Gimp dirt jump bike very quickly cross country when I felt like it.. much to the annoyance of people on £4000 titanium XC / race bikes

    Just get out there and ride whatever you have available to you, bike wise and terrain wise

  48. #48
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    personally id use a slopestyle bike for AM just because thats my preference

  49. #49
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    I ride my p2 dj everywhere. I pretty much rip holes in local singletrack arse.
    2013 Specialized P 26 AM green/purple. Nuff said

    Giant Faith

  50. #50
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    this guy seems to manage just fine.

    http://www.pinkbike.com/video/277754/

    Sent from my LG-P930 using Tapatalk 2

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