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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Thread: Noob Question

  1. #1
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    Noob Question

    Plainly, what is the difference between XC bike and a downhill bike?

  2. #2
    My bike is rusty..
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    Its based off fork and frame geometry...

  3. #3
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    • DH puts a lot more of your weight back, and the geometry makes it more like a chopper.
    • DH has a lot of front and rear suspension travel (XC may be a hardtail meaning no rear suspension - and even may not have any in the front).
    • DH bikes are much heavier.
    • DH bikes have different gearing (usually only one chainging - the one in front).
    • DH bikes tend to have fatter tires (2.35 or 2.5 vs about 2.1 with XC).


    To quickly recognize them just look for the big tall triple crown fork on a DH bike (that extends up high like a motorcycle's).
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patterson View Post
    • DH puts a lot more of your weight back, and the geometry makes it more like a chopper.
    • DH has a lot of front and rear suspension travel (XC may be a hardtail meaning no rear suspension - and even may not have any in the front).
    • DH bikes are much heavier.
    • DH bikes have different gearing (usually only one chainging - the one in front).
    • DH bikes tend to have fatter tires (2.35 or 2.5 vs about 2.1 with XC).


    To quickly recognize them just look for the big tall triple crown fork on a DH bike (that extends up high like a motorcycle's).
    I second what he said with the addition of the seat being angled more upwards

  5. #5
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    To put it really simply,

    Downhill bikes are built strong. Weight of bike (which tends to be more of a deal in XC bikes; the lighter the better) tends to be less of an issue, with bikes weighing maybe even twice an XC bike's weight. Downhill bikes - (thinks aggressive riding, going downhill at 30mph, with roots, landing off ledges 4 feet high +, etc...)

    XC bikes are more focussed on being energy efficient, and putting less importance on downhill strength.

    XC bikes have less suspension (cushioning) so a bigger focus on pedalling efficiency (imagine running on foam compared to firm ground!).

    Downhill bikes have a lot of suspension so the jolts don't feel as jarring.

    A good way to tell the difference is:
    tires: Downhill bikes tend to have thicker tires for grip. XC bikes have thinner tires to save weight/rolling resistance.

    suspension: the fork (the front suspension unit connected to the front wheel) has more travel (amount of cushioning to offer; you can see the difference in these two images)

    www(dot)cheapbikeparts360.com/images/b/6987(dot)jpg

    brimages(dot)bikeboardmedia.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/fox-racing-shox-40-downhill-suspension-fork(dot)jpg

    Brake rotors: Downhill bikes have bigger rotors for greater stopping power. XC bikes have less need of the power and can benefit from the lack of weight that a small rotor offers.

    Fork angle: Forks are placed at an angle on all modern bikes. XC bike's forks are more vertical (around 70*) while downhill forks are more slanted (60* + degrees).

    Seatpost angle: the same holds with the seat post (the post the seat is on)

    Just read around, google, look at images; I think you'll find way more than you need.
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  6. #6
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    These are all great points. One final thing would be to ask of some examples of XC bikes and Downhill. I'd like to look at them as well. Thanks all for posting...

  7. #7
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    One more factor is the weight of the whole set-up. XC bikes are way lighter but DH bikes are really tougher.

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