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.
mtn. biking 101
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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    How much can this Hardtail take......

    So several months ago, i bought a Trek X-cal 7. Great bike, i've had lots of fun, ripping it up on the loads of single track we have here in Western PA.

    Anyhow, i discovered a downhill/freeride area, at a local county park. Can a bike like this handle the type of punishment that downhill has to offer? I was at this place today, and was a little sketchy about what i should and shouldn't do on this bike. A lot of drop offs, jumps, and whale tales! I was very selective about what i chose to do. Just curious to see what some of you more experienced riders think. And pleas dont respond with get a new bike! That's out of the question.

    Should i be concerned riding on this type of terrain without a FS bike? Here is a pic, of one of the dropoffs.

    How much can this Hardtail take......-img_20140825_143938_636.jpg

  2. #2
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    I'm no expert by any stretch, but it really is more about the landing transitions. I've got an X-Cal 9, and I do a few 2-3 foot drops, onto a basically flat landing, and it doesn't seem too jarring. Its not what I bought the bike for though, so I don't get too crazy. Look at the jumps the BMX guys do, on a fully rigid little bike, its all about what the landing looks like.

  3. #3
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    An XC (ie designed to be light and climb better than other types) isn't the funnest way to do park type stunts. The part about xc bikes (including Full suspension XC) being light means they can't hold up as long to big drops/jumps. You can be selective and you should be fine to practice some skills but that bike was not optimized for this style of riding.

  4. #4
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    delete (double post)

  5. #5
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    Ok that is what i was thinking, and my objective here is to refine my skill set to make myself better when I'm on the trail. With that being said, this downhill stuff is really fun! This downhill course was professionally made, and i can see the attraction that so many have to this style of riding.

    Maybe one day i will have the resources to buy a downhill bike! There is also a ski resort out this way that has a really nice downhill course. How much does a nice DH bike cost?

  6. #6
    local trails rider
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    Trek says:
    """""
    Our new X-Caliber 29 hardtail mountain bikes benefit from over 15 years of 29er R&D. They're the lightest, fastest, smartest 29" hardtails on the market.
    """""
    ... which suggests that you might want to keep your jumps and drops small, or the landings very smooth. It isn't necessarily about how high you fall. It is more about how you land.

    There are hardtails out there that can take lots of abuse. I don't think this one is one of those.

    "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"

  7. #7
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    You don't have to go all DH, get a long travel (~6" travel) trail bike and enjoy the ride. I used a Giant Reign X for mini DH and bike parks, the bike handled everything I could handle and even more.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hardeho View Post
    I'm no expert by any stretch, but it really is more about the landing transitions. I've got an X-Cal 9, and I do a few 2-3 foot drops, onto a basically flat landing, and it doesn't seem too jarring. Its not what I bought the bike for though, so I don't get too crazy. Look at the jumps the BMX guys do, on a fully rigid little bike, its all about what the landing looks like.
    ^^This

    Forget the Geometry handicap for now. If you have good skills and land softly you can do this jump all day, weeks, months. It's the landing that determine the strength and durability of the bike. I saw the vid that pro was using road bike to do the trial stuffs, very impressive, he'd say a hardtail is plenty strong for him. I'd bust the BB, chainstay, and head tube on the first landing

  9. #9
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    I love forums when you actually get an insightful response! Case in point, prior to this DH trail there is a "Skills Area" that has a variety of drop offs, some as small as 1 to 2 feet, that land you flat on the ground. I find those landings much more punishing, than the 3-5 foot drops that land on on a downhill grade (As shown in the picture above).

    I just dont want to be the guy sitting on the side of the DH trail with bent rims and the rear derailleur laying on the ground. Maybe throw in a bent rotor and one of the calipers hanging off the bike (LOL)!

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