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  1. #1
    North Van/Whistler
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    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.
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  2. #2
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    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

  3. #3
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    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!

  4. #4
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    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.

  5. #5
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    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.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by csermonet View Post
    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
    I think Jeremy Mcgrath pissed around on a fully rigid all the years he was racing BMX...

    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

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snfoilhat View Post
    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...
    Just another redneck with a bike

  8. #8
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    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.

  9. #9
    usually cranky
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    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.

  10. #10
    Pivotal figure
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    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

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by motochick View Post
    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.
    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.

    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.

  12. #12
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    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.

  13. #13
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    I picked up a short travel bike also. 6.7" of short travel.
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  14. #14
    humber river advocate
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    Quote Originally Posted by StuLax18 View Post
    I picked up a short travel bike also. 6.7" of short travel.
    yup, makes sense... my current dh bike build is a 180mm-160mm tr250



    want to test this shock...

    Cane Creek DBAIR Suspension | Double Barrel Rear Shock



    on the bike...
    Last edited by singlesprocket; 11-29-2012 at 07:17 PM.
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  15. #15
    Rider, Builder, Dreamer
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    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.

  16. #16
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    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.

  17. #17
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    my one bike is big,
    on flat and uphill it's slow,
    but fast downhill, AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

  18. #18
    biking is fun
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    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.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by climbingbubba View Post
    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.
    yes.. agreed.

    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.

  20. #20
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    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

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by schlockinz View Post
    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?
    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.

    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.

  22. #22
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    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...


  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josie7 View Post
    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.

    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 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.
    Just another redneck with a bike

  24. #24
    RideDirt
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    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

  25. #25
    Slap happy crappiness
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    Quote Originally Posted by .WestCoastHucker. View Post
    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...
    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.
    That bike was sick though.
    I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

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