The argument for short travel bikes - or - does my ass look fat on this Demo 15?
Seems appropriate to put this in the heartland of gear masturbation central
The Argument For Short Travel Bikes - Opinion - Pinkbike
Last edited by LeeL; 11-28-2012 at 12:52 PM.
ill go ahead and post what i posted on pinkbike..
"I firmly believe that if you don't know how to ride a short travel bike (or hardtail) with skill, you won't be able to ride a long travel bike with skill either."
^^^^ I disagree wholeheartedly with the above statement. Mike Hopkins anyone? He consistently jokes about his lack of skill on a hard tail, yet he crushes it harder than almost anyone on a DH bike. Do you think Ryan Dungey, Jeremy Mcgrath, Ricky Carmicheal, or James Stewart pissed about on hardtails before they decided they could race moto? That was a stupid remark by Levy. I fully believe that skills on a hardtail will transfer to bigger bikes, but just because you can't crush it on a hardtail doesnt mean you wont be able to crush it on a DH rig. Just my 2c
who cares? they just want people to buy more bikes! and we should! bikes are awesome. ride what you like and when you like. just be safe!
Ya, buy more bikes! I just bought another bike....my first ever BMX 20in, and only 35 yrs late. Never too late to learn new skills, I hope it will help me in my DH adventures, if not, I know I will have a lot of fun riding it.
Our riding is still mediocre to say the least that it will count as a "take my word for it" statement. Still a student in this dh/fr thing. But, here's my opinion (sucks).
I currently ride a Demo 7. My bud rides a 2010 Demo 8, he rips/rails (roosts) easily compared to me. He blasts out of the berms quicker and with less pedal strokes. I have to put in some pedal strokes just to keep up (making me spend more energy or probably just my inferior riding). Given that we are both out of shape and same skill level. When we reach the bottom of our trail I'm whizzing, feeling like having an asthma attack, having to spend more energy trying to keep up. A full DH compared to a "fr bike" has it's advantages on corners and straights in my opinion.
I do agree, however that transitioning too early on a "big bike" with xc skill's is calling for it. Believe me I know guys that have the latest dh bikes but look so stupid just riding berms. And too many excuses not giving an effort to hit some trail features. They have the equipment but lack the skill or just plain refuse to grow (skill wise).
A dh/fr bike will only be rendered overkill or useless if the rider himself doesn't have the passion, balls, to ride it as hard as his skill's permit.
Last edited by darkzeon; 11-28-2012 at 03:19 PM.
I think Jeremy Mcgrath pissed around on a fully rigid all the years he was racing BMX...
Originally Posted by csermonet
BTW, the article was a piece of advice, to the thousands of kids the world over who are into gravity-oriented riding but aren't riding highly tech terrain frequently, that _they_ might have more fun and grow more as riders if they made a non-DH bike their daily driver. Short travel, defined in the article as anything less than 8". That PB thread has hundreds of posters who seem not to realize this, and this mtbr thread shares its problem
Which I found hilarious, cause a 7" FR bike is short travel...
Originally Posted by Snfoilhat
Just another redneck with a bike
Here in Ontario, the only use I'd have for a full-on DH bike is hucking big drops, for everything else I have way more fun on a 5-6" travel bike, or even a hardtail. The shorter travel bikes are more nimble and make it easier and more fun to pop off the jumps & drops we have, and they're lighter as well which makes it less tiring to get in a day's worth of riding. There's nothing really rough enough around here to beat the crap out of me if I don't have a long travel bike, and nothing steep & long enough for the geometry of a DH bike to really shine.
On the other hand if I lived in Quebec and rode the WC DH runs at Bromont and Ste. Anne on a regular basis, I'd want a long travel bike. Not because I can't ride those courses on a shorter travel bike, I can, and in fact I've done so many times on a hardtail, but because that's where a DH bike shines and makes things more fun. Plus they're stronger and made to take the abuse that a balls-out run on that kind of terrain will dish out.
As for skills I have to admit I'm pretty old school, grouchy, and biased. I think everyone should ride a hardtail with flats until they get all the fundamentals down; picking lines, weighting the bike for best traction, using the entire body to absorb impacts & bumps, knowing how to let the bike move under you and get loose without freaking out, how to fall without getting hurt too seriously, and a few other such things before moving on to other bikes. Getting all those basics down will make you a better rider. Is this the only way to success and fun? Absolutely not. Some people I ride with came from a motorcycle background and went straight to long travel bikes without missing a beat. A few others went from skis & snowboards to DH biking. And they kick butt at it.
in one sense i get his point but is a fuel really gonna stand up in whistler? only a handful of short travel fr bikes out there.
Actually, the article states that 5" or less is what he considers short travel. Gotta read a little further down the sidebar...I tend to agree with everything the author is saying, especially the very first part about why we all ride: It's FUN! If you're happy riding your DH bike on everything then go for it. MIne tends to hang on the rack most of the time while I have fun on my "small" bikes
Desert Sunset Calls/Upward, Pain, Perseverance/Welcome Solitude
I started racing BMX in the cruiser class this spring right after I crashed out at Sea Otter (on a step-down I didn't know how to do), and it quickly became something just as important to me as mountain biking. In addtiton to that, I have gotten way better at MTB from the awesome amount of sprinting, jumping, pumping, and the inherent repetition of BMX.
Originally Posted by motochick
Motochick already has a bike, but to anyone else reading this, while the cruiser class is traditionally raced on 24" rigids (and at the highest levels these are universal), at the district and state level of BMX you can be totally competitive on a mountain bike, especially a 26" four-cross hardtail or a dirt jumper (you may need to gear up a single-speed DJ bike). The only relevant rule is no handlebars over 30". I can't say enough good things about it for mountain biker cross training.
Having raced XC for ten years before buying my first freeride sled, I can say that the freeride bike is the funnest bike I've ever owned. Skill set aside, I find it more difficult going from the long travel bike back to my XC bike BECAUSE I don't have to pick lines, and the bars seem ridiculously narrow, the XC bike is sans thru axle which makes feel it like a noodle. The winter forces me to ride XC "under the lights" and I need the exercise anyhow, but the weekends belong to the jump line and hoofing it back up to the start.
I picked up a short travel bike also. 6.7" of short travel.
2011 Giant Glory 01
2013 Pivot Firebird
2004 Turner Rail - Stoled
Last edited by singlesprocket; 11-29-2012 at 07:17 PM.
"the vinyl basement"
I think some valid points are made, and each reader is going to see what he wants to see in the article.
My big bike is a Jamis Bam that I built up with a Totem in front, so 8" rear, 7" front with a 65 degree HA and middle of the road BB height. I built up this bike after riding consistently for 3 years. It was the 3rd bike I built up from the frame. While to me some of the stuff I ride is gnarly, I know damn well that there's plenty of stuff that I would wreck myself on if I was dumb enough to try it. I'm reminded of that every time I go to Plattekill, which is about the only place I've ridden where I starte wishing I had at 63 degree HA and lower BB.
While there are some relatively big descents around my town (500' vertical if you know where to look), that bike functions mostly as living room decour. The 150mm travel Remedy is the one that's out a few times each week, hitting 5'6" drops, step-downs, gaps, and what bit of technical stuff we've got here. There are also a couple spots on single track where I can get almost spun out in a 34-11 gearing. This to me is infinitely more fun than lugging the DH bike around for the VERY few things that I wouldn't hit on my Remedy.
I guess I'm also fortunate in that I build most of the new public trails in my town. While this allows me to build the trail that suits my bike, I also need to keep the majority of riders (XC 29ers) in mind. Still, I can't complain in the least.
Just depends where you live and what you ride.. IF they made good DH bikes in the 90's, I would have bought one then.
I can ride both just fine, but to me, its like two different sports.
It is silly to see big bikes where they don't belong, I love to laugh (on the inside) at the folks on their DH bike on porcupine, that would absolutely suck in my opinion.
But really, do what you want and who gives a crap what that guy has to say.
I recently rode my small bike at our shuttle area and honestly, it was just scary, it is big bike territory for sure and its scary when people show up with the wrong gear.
my one bike is big,
on flat and uphill it's slow,
but fast downhill, AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.
biking is fun
I get the point of what he is trying to say in the article but the way he approaches it bugged me.
He kept saying the reason to use a shorter travel bike to begin with is because it is harder to ride in some situations but that it will make you better because of it. He then states multiple times that the reason you shouldn't use a DH bike is because it is harder to carry speed and to turn. He contradicts himself.
Originally Posted by climbingbubba
A DH bike carries speed on a proper DH trail and you have to learn to turn on a berm (which I never did in my first 15 years of mtn biking).
Each type of riding has different techniques to learn.
It just talks about people buying 8+" bikes. It doesn't really get into the fact that most of the short travel bikes he's talking about are way overkill for most people. How often do you see that kid riding an enduro or a reign on XC trails, and slowing down when things get steeper and technical?
Just another redneck with a bike
I am fortunate and live in Colorado, but I don't have enough money for every kind of bike that I would need for the variety of our terrain. There are certain trails that my Enduro is a bit of overkill for, however, I bought a bike based upon the kind of riding I prefer to do and that usually involves technical climbing and descending. I would rather be a little slower going up (and I am a good rider with 20 + years under my belt, and many hardtails) for the thrill of going down on a mini DH bike. I actually think a full suspension bike climbs better, the rear wheel sticks more.
Originally Posted by schlockinz
So, yes, some bikes are overkill for some trails, but that doesn't mean that is the only trail that bike is being used on.
i kill it all on a hardtail with 20mm up front or a 150mm(front and rear), heavily modded, "dh" bike. both are custom built around my ideal geo...
that said, it's really different strokes for different folks. no two people ride alike, so their bikes don't need to be alike either...
I was talking about the guys that buy a 6-7" bike, then ride it on only on trails that are suited for a full rigid and NEVER take it elsewhere. Although, it if weren't for them, I'd have a harder time finding nicely used parts. Having a one bike quiver killer is completely different.
Originally Posted by Josie7
Just another redneck with a bike
I got a 180mm coil fork and shock for the DH days and i got air for the local trails regardless what kind of trails they are. I just like having fun
Weren't you riding a 24" Nemesis mini-travel bike last time I rode with you? Like 4in all around or something? Is that the bike you're talking about/still riding? At the time I thought you were crazy, but 5 years later I only ride that trail on my 4in trail bike.
Originally Posted by .WestCoastHucker.
That bike was sick though.
I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.
A few years ago you could huck easily any 5"-6" travel bike. But most had the heft to take it.
Now if you huck a 5"-6" bike, you will most probably destroy it.
It is true that many of us ride bikes that are more capable than we are, but then there's the other side of the spectrum and many riders would benefit from a shorter travel bike but they would simply destroy the current crop of short travel bikes even if they have the skills (unless your surname is McAskill).
The Bottlerockets and such are very few and apart and now the mentality is that if you have a 6" that weighs more than 30lbs it's "too heavy" (I'm exaggerating, but you get the point) and they end up being rather fragile for the demands of aggressive riding. Most 6" bikes are glorified trail-bikes that will not take repeated jumping and gnar riding. There are a few exceptions but it's not like you have a big palette of choices.
We riders have been pushing weights on bikes and components to the point where durability is compromised for "performance" (whatever that means) so you really have to be a gifted rider to ride aggressively a 5"-6" of today's bike and make it last a couple seasons.
So yes... there are poseurs like me that are over-biked and then there are the ones that would destroy a "proper" bike.
Are you referring to builds more than actual frames? I don't think its tough to find a newer 6" frame thats plenty burly. Personally, I went from a gen 1 Nomad in 2006 to a gen 2 Nomad to a Mojo HD last year. The HD is the lightest(by just a smidge frame wise) and certainly the most burly, stiff and without doubt durable. I think a lot of the other 6" bikes out there are equally as rugged as the HD, and most likely better than the previous generation of the same bike. As long as you're not putting Stans crest wheels with rara's on there then you should be good to go. I occasionally ride my HD with DH wheels and tires at the bike parks on the same lines as my actual DH bike. You obviously cant go as fast but the only limiting factor is skill. It makes for a different experience which is just as fun as riding a big bike. I think that is what the article was about at the end of the day. Sure, they are marketing the lighter builds these days but you put a proper gravity build on these newer frames and they are just as capable, if not more than older 5 and 6" bikes.
Originally Posted by Warp
Last edited by elsinore; 12-01-2012 at 08:27 AM.
Both... I still think that there are not really short travel burly frames that can really take the abuse. And the second statement brings my argument home.
Originally Posted by elsinore
For the average level of skills, you'd probably kill most of today's rides in a season riding gnar stuff.
The DH. Parks I ride have trails that vary from smooth and flowy to steep and gnarly. I would rather have a bike that might be overkill for some of the trails rather than a bike that won't be able to handle the really rough stuff. I,like alot of people do not have the funds to have multiple $3,000.00 plus bikes. It would be nice to have a different bike for every type of trail but the fact is the economy and the cost of owning multiple bikes just isn't realistic.
Yup, same reason I rode the Glory everywhere. The Turner was a solid frame, but crappy components so it was relegated to light duty. Insurance money from it getting stolen is the only reason I could think about getting another bike. So I guess now instead of an 8" bike I'll be riding a 6.7" bike on most trails, regardless of how technical they are.
Originally Posted by Rob-Bob
Who cares what you ride, as long as you're out riding.
2011 Giant Glory 01
2013 Pivot Firebird
2004 Turner Rail - Stoled