1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    Freeride vs Down Hill

    How do these two styles differ? Thanks

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    I went there first but was still a confused since they said Free ride bikes are lighter so you can climb. So that crossed the boundary with All Mountain? thanks

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    I sort of thought Downhill was more about racing, whereas Freeride is more about doing tricks while going downhill.

    So, a Downhill racer wants to get down the mountain as fast as possible by picking the best lines. A Freerider on the same course, or similar course, would not be as concerned with picking the best lines, but would rather hit as many jumps as possible to get big airs and do tricks.

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  6. #6
    Let the bikes in!
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    either way, both require a sturdy pair of balls

  7. #7
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    I don't know about you guys, but either way.... I like going down ...
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  8. #8
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    Freeride bikes are usually heavier and more bulk than DH bikes. Neither are fun to climb because of the geometry.


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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    Freeride bikes are usually heavier and more bulk than DH bikes........
    I think you got that bit backwards. . .
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  11. #11
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    Freeride vs Down Hill

    Quote Originally Posted by scatterbrained View Post
    I think you got that bit backwards. . .
    They are the same type of bikes, but when separate the 2 sub categories then DH is racing and Freeride is purpose built stunt bike.

    Pit each top of their class together then Freeride bikes would finish last in a downhill race and DH bike would not last a season on a repeated Freeride stunt.

    The reason that Freeride bike can climb is because they usually equipped with 2 front rings instead of a one ring set up DH bikes. Most DH bikes also equipped with road cassette unlike mega range cassette on Freeride bikes.

    Which part did I get it backward.


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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mevadus View Post
    ... a Downhill racer wants to get down the mountain as fast as possible - - - A Freerider ... would rather hit as many jumps as possible to get big airs and do tricks.
    This.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  13. #13
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    You'll see a good bit of crossover between these styles, across both equipment and riders. Race bikes tend to be a little lower and slacker than freeride bikes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    They are the same type of bikes, but when separate the 2 sub categories then DH is racing and Freeride is purpose built stunt bike.

    Pit each top of their class together then Freeride bikes would finish last in a downhill race and DH bike would not last a season on a repeated Freeride stunt.

    The reason that Freeride bike can climb is because they usually equipped with 2 front rings instead of a one ring set up DH bikes. Most DH bikes also equipped with road cassette unlike mega range cassette on Freeride bikes.

    Which part did I get it backward.


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    In general downhill bikes tend to be heavier and a bit bulkier with slacker geometry than freeride bikes. For a quick example take a look at the Santa Cruz Nomad (Freeride) vs the V10 (downhill).
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    Freeride vs Down Hill

    Quote Originally Posted by scatterbrained View Post
    In general downhill bikes tend to be heavier and a bit bulkier with slacker geometry than freeride bikes. For a quick example take a look at the Santa Cruz Nomad (Freeride) vs the V10 (downhill).
    Nomad is an AM bike not Freeride, Santa Cruz free ride would be driver 8, vs the v10 carbon DH. For intense it would be Uzzi Freeride vs socom, 951, or m9 DH bike. For giant it would be faith Freeride vs glory DH.




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  16. #16
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    I was under the impression that freeriders will grudgingly pedal their bikes uphill in order to go down and downhillers always pay to play. (?)

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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    I was under the impression that freeriders will grudgingly pedal their bikes uphill in order to go down and downhillers always pay to play. (?)
    I think of it as the bikes freeriders' ride are able to be (begrudgingly) pedaled up hill while DH bikes really don't like to pedal uphill. Both types of riders can often be found pushing bikes uphill depending on your region.

    DH = fast as possible, always.
    FR = hit some jumps, man.
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  18. #18
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    I've spent a good amount of time DHing and have seen first-hand riders clean multi-mile, steep, nasty climbs riding full-on DH race bikes. Climbs that I would be more than shocked if 1 poster in 100 here could clean on a 20 lb XC race bike; no exaggeration. Unlike most dedicated XC riders, who pretty much stick only to riding that fits within their niche, many 'DHers' ride anything and everything, and are often much more well rounded bikers in general.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    Unlike most dedicated XC riders, who pretty much stick only to riding that fits within their niche, many 'DHers' ride anything and everything, and are often much more well rounded bikers in general.
    They should change the category names around then because that's just confusing. Or maybe we just need a few more categories? I prefer "mountain biking" myself, point a to b and whatever lies in-between.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    Unlike most dedicated XC riders, who pretty much stick only to riding that fits within their niche, many 'DHers' ride anything and everything, and are often much more well rounded bikers in general.
    Conversely, I have seen many DHers who are unable to pedal an ant hill, or are unable to take a good line on a hardtail to save their life.

    Categories are great ways to simplify things, but that doesn't mean everyone fits squarely in the categories.

  21. #21
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    How exactly can you tell someone is a "DHer" when you see a rider on a hardtail having trouble picking lines on an XC trail? Sounds like an odd scenario to run into 'many' times.

    My point is, the folks with whom you'll cross paths out riding DH are very, very likely to also ride regular trails, on a regular basis, on a regular bike. In addition, many also dabble with BMX, dirt jumping, "freeride", etc. The percentage of people that ride DH frequently that also regularly take part in other disciplines is probably damn near 100%. That applies even more to serious DH racers.

    Hit up your average shop or club XC 'training' ride and you'll find the majority of folks stick pretty exclusively to that style of riding, or if they do change it up, are much more likely to ditch MTBing altogether and hit the pavement than they are to hit the DJ's or chairlifts.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by moefosho View Post
    Conversely, I have seen many DHers who are unable to pedal an ant hill, or are unable to take a good line on a hardtail to save their life.

    Categories are great ways to simplify things, but that doesn't mean everyone fits squarely in the categories.
    Yes it's true. I don't really know of any lazy DHer put them on the same trail bikes they can clean anything as far as I know. I don't ever questions the DHers about line choices, it may be not the line that XC riders are using but that's the line they choose. Heck I'm no DHer but I don't choose the XC line on my HT either.

    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    How exactly can you tell someone is a "DHer" when you see a rider on a hardtail having trouble picking lines on an XC trail? Sounds like an odd scenario to run into 'many' times.

    My point is, the folks with whom you'll cross paths out riding DH are very, very likely to also ride regular trails, on a regular basis, on a regular bike. In addition, many also dabble with BMX, dirt jumping, "freeride", etc. The percentage of people that ride DH frequently that also regularly take part in other disciplines is probably damn near 100%. That applies even more to serious DH racers.

    Hit up your average shop or club XC 'training' ride and you'll find the majority of folks stick pretty exclusively to that style of riding, or if they do change it up, are much more likely to ditch MTBing altogether and hit the pavement than they are to hit the DJ's or chairlifts.
    I'd consider the FR and DH riders to be the top of skill level, may be not endurance but still loads of horse power. Many people think that DH is about sitting on the saddle and coast downhill, it's far from the truth. We are talking pinning the way down in the red zone while cleaning heart skipping obstacles, I have a lot of respect for people who do the discipline, I don't have the nerve.

    All my bike clinics instructors had been world class DH riders, (Joe Lawwill, Jared Rando, Tara Llanes) I can tell you they kick a$$ on the trail riding and XC stuffs. It's not a joke or insult when people say XC guys can't corners, because majority can't. That's why DH guys who race XC like Adam Craig kick A$$

    BTW, Tara and Jared were on their Giant Anthem 26er with semi slick tires and doing white knuckle speed descend on the trails where many are doing slowly on their 6" trail bikes. To add insult to injury Tara was doing it recovering from a broken wrist.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    Nomad is an AM bike not Freeride, Santa Cruz free ride would be driver 8, vs the v10 carbon DH. ....
    I got that classification directly from the Santa Cruz site, but I guess they don't know what they are talking about. Personally, I've done both.
    Long before people were sending it big on 26" FS MTBs, we were doing all of that on BMX bikes. Trails (aka dirtjumping), street/urban, park (aka skate parks/ramps), flatland (no MTB equivalent there that I know of) all done on fully rigid 20" wheeled bikes. Sounds a lot like freeride huh?
    Now I do that on a hardtail 26" bike, as well as DH riding. However, I can't run the pro lines with my hardtail, or my FS trail/AM bike. That's where the DH specific bikes come in. The big hit 8-10" travel suspension is needed to soak up huge rocks, roots, etc at speed; huge, brass balls speed.
    Believe it or not, you don't need that insanely burly suspension when dropping into a transition, riding a skinny, a ladder, a berm or just sending big over a set of doubles. What you need is technique and skill.

    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    ...........
    My point is, the folks with whom you'll cross paths out riding DH are very, very likely to also ride regular trails, on a regular basis, on a regular bike. In addition, many also dabble with BMX, dirt jumping, "freeride", etc. The percentage of people that ride DH frequently that also regularly take part in other disciplines is probably damn near 100%. That applies even more to serious DH racers.

    Hit up your average shop or club XC 'training' ride and you'll find the majority of folks stick pretty exclusively to that style of riding, or if they do change it up, are much more likely to ditch MTBing altogether and hit the pavement than they are to hit the DJ's or chairlifts.
    This is very true.
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  24. #24
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    Freeride vs Down Hill

    Quote Originally Posted by scatterbrained View Post
    I got that classification directly from the Santa Cruz site, but I guess they don't know what they are talking about. Personally, I've done both.
    Long before people were sending it big on 26" FS MTBs, we were doing all of that on BMX bikes. Trails (aka dirtjumping), street/urban, park (aka skate parks/ramps), flatland (no MTB equivalent there that I know of) all done on fully rigid 20" wheeled bikes. Sounds a lot like freeride huh?
    Now I do that on a hardtail 26" bike, as well as DH riding. However, I can't run the pro lines with my hardtail, or my FS trail/AM bike. That's where the DH specific bikes come in. The big hit 8-10" travel suspension is needed to soak up huge rocks, roots, etc at speed; huge, brass balls speed.
    Believe it or not, you don't need that insanely burly suspension when dropping into a transition, riding a skinny, a ladder, a berm or just sending big over a set of doubles. What you need is technique and skill.
    I hear you, it's just the way they can make more money. Santa Cruz listed it under AM, but on the description it's in between???, whatever that mean. At the end of the day op was asking what the difference, and that's the difference, IMO.



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  25. #25
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    Mimi is correct.

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