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  1. #1
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    XC Threshold... Basically AM

    So at what point would one consider an XC trail/ride pushing the limit into AM?

    I love riding XC but I find myself pushing my bike to its potential for such... to the point where I'm basically riding AM on a light framed hardtail.

    Any thoughts on this?

    Have you pushed your hardtail to its limits? If so, what kind of trail are we talking about here?

  2. #2
    usually cranky
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    am is a bike type, not a riding type.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul View Post
    am is a bike type, not a riding type.
    You know what I mean...

    Let me rephrase. At what point would you no longer be able to use a hardtail on a trail that would be best suited for an AM bike...

  4. #4
    usually cranky
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    never. you can ride the same trails with a 160mm bike or a rigid. it all depends on the rider.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmpgh View Post
    You know what I mean...

    Let me rephrase. At what point would you no longer be able to use a hardtail on a trail that would be best suited for an AM bike...
    Chainspotting: Old School Throwback. Search it on Youtube.

    It always brings me back down to reality when I watch old videos of dudes on machinery waaaaaaaaaay inferior to mine do things waaaaaaaaaaaaay superior to what I do.
    Just keep pedaling, don't stop pedaling.

  6. #6
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    When you start braking weight weenie XC components

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmpgh View Post
    You know what I mean...

    Let me rephrase. At what point would you no longer be able to use a hardtail on a trail that would be best suited for an AM bike...
    When your butt hurts?

    I think there are a lot of AM hardtails out there, with longer travel forks. The one in particular I am thinking about is a mustard yellow Curtlo. There are also many full squish bikes intended for XC. I think the answer is really up to the rider and the preference for HT or a squishy rear and how squishy or lack thereof is just right. Kind of a Goldilocks question.
    No fuss with the MUSS

  8. #8
    jp4
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    Re: XC Threshold... Basically AM

    And remember, it wasn't all that long ago (I guess it depends on your age) when most all mtb's were fully rigid and the trails generally far less groomed then they are today. There was no xc/am/dh, just mountain biking.
    Most trails can be ridden on most bikes, but as to which is faster, easier, or more enjoyable, that's a different question.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbhammercycle View Post
    When your butt hurts?

    I think there are a lot of AM hardtails out there, with longer travel forks. The one in particular I am thinking about is a mustard yellow Curtlo. There are also many full squish bikes intended for XC. I think the answer is really up to the rider and the preference for HT or a squishy rear and how squishy or lack thereof is just right. Kind of a Goldilocks question.
    I had to ask since the trails at a ski resort near me won't let you ride a HT for any of them (granted some are DH)... and some are smoother than my local trails. Just wondering why they would post a limit like that for any other reason than inexperienced riders who don't know what they're doing.

    And my butt hurts a lot

  10. #10
    Ow!
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    OP, went through that a few years ago. I have a custom steel XC HT that I started taking drops. First up to 2 feet, then 3 feet, then entertaining more. I would come to a wash on a mostly XC trail and, instead of easily dropping down the bank to the bottom, I would launch. I came to the conclusion that my fancy, expensive XC frame wouldn't handle that for long.

    So, I bought an On-one 456. Problem solved. When I feel like launching on my XC trails, I take that. When I don't, I take the XC bike. The 456 does well for XC, just not as well as the XC bike. But I certainly have more confidence in the 456 if I launch than with the XC bike.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul View Post
    never. you can ride the same trails with a 160mm bike or a rigid. it all depends on the rider.
    QFT! For me, I just prefer a full suspension on rougher trails. I used to believe that there was NO WAY a hardtail could be ridden at speed over some of the chunk on our local trails. Ha, little did I know!

    A guy showed up to a group ride on a single speed hardtail with a 80mm fork. Skinny dude, looked to be in good shape, so I figured he'd do all right. He absolutely FLEW up the climb, which was rocky, rough, and a literal pain in the a$$...or would have been if he actually sat in the saddle at all. The guy pretty much stood up and made that climb his *****.

    Fine, I said, as we neared the top of the climb! He's a good climber, skinny XC guy, definitely in good shape. But now it's going to get rough going downhill over pretty much constant rock gardens, technical features, and pinch-flat-inducing rough sections. But nope, wrong again. Guy PINNED IT downhill and beat us all down, although a couple of us were within visual of him. He had unreal control of the bike, I don't think he ever sat down, and just hopped and flowed over everything in the trail.

    I later found out this guy races single speed in a lot of the MTB races around these parts, and usually takes 1st place. In addition, he finishes just behind the top 5 in the geared class of riders. So long story short, it is without a doubt the RIDER not the bike. For comfort though, I prefer my full suspension. And I have no delusions that I am, or will ever be, a podium finisher.
    "Got everything you need?"

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoHeadsBrewing View Post
    QFT! For me, I just prefer a full suspension on rougher trails. I used to believe that there was NO WAY a hardtail could be ridden at speed over some of the chunk on our local trails. Ha, little did I know!

    A guy showed up to a group ride on a single speed hardtail with a 80mm fork. Skinny dude, looked to be in good shape, so I figured he'd do all right. He absolutely FLEW up the climb, which was rocky, rough, and a literal pain in the a$$...or would have been if he actually sat in the saddle at all. The guy pretty much stood up and made that climb his *****.

    Fine, I said, as we neared the top of the climb! He's a good climber, skinny XC guy, definitely in good shape. But now it's going to get rough going downhill over pretty much constant rock gardens, technical features, and pinch-flat-inducing rough sections. But nope, wrong again. Guy PINNED IT downhill and beat us all down, although a couple of us were within visual of him. He had unreal control of the bike, I don't think he ever sat down, and just hopped and flowed over everything in the trail.

    I later found out this guy races single speed in a lot of the MTB races around these parts, and usually takes 1st place. In addition, he finishes just behind the top 5 in the geared class of riders. So long story short, it is without a doubt the RIDER not the bike. For comfort though, I prefer my full suspension. And I have no delusions that I am, or will ever be, a podium finisher.
    Great story there!

    I had a similar one the other day. I was about to leave the park when a younger kid shows up and asks if there are any trails... I said you him, covered in mud, let's go... Took my bike off the rack and we went over to a technical section that leads to the main trailhead. This kid has a Wal-Mart bike and I swear any time I had trouble climbing or getting over roots, this kid was right behind me. Turns out he is a racer also and he was returning a friends bike he had fixed.

  13. #13
    Wasting time
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    I think that unless you are pushing the bike to the point where its breaking, itl will do everything you need it to. Think of all the stupid stuff you did on a HT as a kid
    2012 Diamondback Recoil

    -I keep finding more bikes I "need"

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMauler View Post
    I think that unless you are pushing the bike to the point where its breaking, itl will do everything you need it to. Think of all the stupid stuff you did on a HT as a kid
    Oh god... the fire jumping is coming back to me now

    On another note, I think I'm just going to have to have both! An XC for most local trails and the AM for everything else

  15. #15
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    when?

    when youre willing to spend the $ for an AM bike
    2010 GT Avalanche Expert

  16. #16
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    Who cares. Just ride your bike on what you want. If it breaks, get something a little beefier, oh well.

  17. #17
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    the transition point you might be looking for is the point you start breaking stuff.
    thats the part where you look for burlier stuff. before that, you're alright.

  18. #18
    Bro Mountainbiker
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    I have had a 19 pound Ti XC race bike for a while. Loved riding it up and down the mountain. Jumps and drops included (within reason).

    Just got a honzo and It feels good to be on a bike that is DESIGNED to go downhill and hit jumps and drops. I am much more confident.

    Overall, my riding style diddnt change much. Just my speed and confidence.

    If you are enjoying the DHs more than the ups, and you dont race XC, there is no reason in owning an XC bike.
    Raised in a Chicken-Coop by Chickens

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheepo5669 View Post
    I have had a 19 pound Ti XC race bike for a while. Loved riding it up and down the mountain. Jumps and drops included (within reason).

    Just got a honzo and It feels good to be on a bike that is DESIGNED to go downhill and hit jumps and drops. I am much more confident.

    Overall, my riding style diddnt change much. Just my speed and confidence.

    If you are enjoying the DHs more than the ups, and you dont race XC, there is no reason in owning an XC bike.
    The XC bike was my second bike after getting back in the game. The trails I ride every other day are all up and the occasional down, but down fast! so I really had to find the right bike and thankfully my LBS gave me about 25% off and I jumped. I love that bike now and it's perfect for my local trails.

    I'm just not "allowed" to use it at my nearby ski resort on their trail since some are DH... stupid right? I guess it's a liability.

  20. #20
    human dehumidifier
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    I kind of straddle the line in the other direction - Gen1 N9 1x9 w/100mm that I ride on what I'd consider XC trails. It works fine. Better than fine actually. It makes the ride fun.
    But if you close your eyes it becomes so easy to see

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheepo5669 View Post
    I have had a 19 pound Ti XC race bike for a while. Loved riding it up and down the mountain. Jumps and drops included (within reason).

    Just got a honzo and It feels good to be on a bike that is DESIGNED to go downhill and hit jumps and drops. I am much more confident.

    Overall, my riding style diddnt change much. Just my speed and confidence.

    If you are enjoying the DHs more than the ups, and you dont race XC, there is no reason in owning an XC bike.
    Yes! Same here, sold my XC and bought an Honzo, I didn't even know there was a difference in mountainbikes. My Honzo is so much more fun to ride!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmpgh View Post
    At what point would you no longer be able to use a hardtail on a trail that would be best suited for an AM bike...
    Short answer? When you start breaking stuff.

    The key is that you used the term "no longer able"

    Of course, if you are not leaving the ground more than a couple feet, you are not likely to break stuff just because it is a short travel HT. And if you do, you can simply beef up what is breaking (most likely wheels) and still ride an xc ht over whatever you want.

    However, I think what you are really trying to ask has more to do with enjoyment and control. Well, that's up to you. If you would like something with slacker angle, more travel, wider tires, etc, then get it. If you are timing yourself on the way down, you don't need a very rough trail for a typical "AM" bike to save you some time over a typical XC HT. On the other hand, is that all that matters to you?

    MTB is different things to different people. That's why you see people riding everything from rigid ss to 6" FS bikes on the same trails.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmpgh View Post
    I had to ask since the trails at a ski resort near me won't let you ride a HT for any of them (granted some are DH)... and some are smoother than my local trails. Just wondering why they would post a limit like that for any other reason than inexperienced riders who don't know what they're doing.
    I'm thinking it is a liability issue. While one could argue back and forth over whether a ht is any more dangerous than a true DH bike, the restriction probably does keep a few folks off the trails who might not be ready for them.

    Or perhaps it is to bolster bike rentals?
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  24. #24
    human dehumidifier
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta View Post
    Or perhaps it is to bolster bike rentals?
    Bingo.
    But if you close your eyes it becomes so easy to see

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta View Post
    I'm thinking it is a liability issue. While one could argue back and forth over whether a ht is any more dangerous than a true DH bike, the restriction probably does keep a few folks off the trails who might not be ready for them.

    Or perhaps it is to bolster bike rentals?
    I think it's the latter... Bike rentals are $75 with a $35 all day pass (with lifts)... Spending $110 every time I want to ride (probably about 10 times this summer, let's say) is more than half of what I can get on a used bike I will slowly upgrade... Is it worth it? Maybe... Or maybe I'm finding an excuse to buy another bike

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