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  1. #1
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    Justifying Suspension

    Hey All,

    I recently went through a bike purchase process.

    2017 5010 C S Build - 130/130 travel
    2017 Giant Trance Advanced 2 - 140/150 travel

    Both bikes are considered "trail" bikes by the manufacturers, and have very similar geometry. They even rode the same, since the Giants maestro suspension climbs so good. The Trance did NOT feel like it had more suspension... only very slightly with the fork.

    So my question is, do you focus more on travel numbers, or geometry and intended use when buying a bike? Also, if you're somewhat "overbiked" because of this, how do you justify it? Better to have it in case you need it?

  2. #2
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    I have a first generation 5010. It is a nice bike, but for most riding I perfer my HT bikes. It is better suited to most of what I ride. I still like the 5010, but it is overbiked based on my trails and riding style. By "overbiked" I mean heavier, less efficient pedaling and not as sharp handling. When I take it on certain trails it is joy to ride, but other is more of a chore. I can't say if ether bike is over biked or not since I have no idea of your trails and riding style.
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  3. #3
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    Over-biked is good if you honestly use it every once in a while, don't want to worry about over-stressing the bike, and want that extra confidence a more capable bike gives you. If you don't use all the travel very often, don't mind replacing a bike sooner rather than later, and have the skills necessary to push a bike to its limits, then get the bike for 95% of the trails you ride. Geometry can make a bigger difference than suspension, but it's not extra weight that you're carrying around, either.

    Personally, I get bored if I'm over-biked on most trails, because it takes the challenge out of the trails. I try to get the bike for 95% of the trails I ride, but put on more aggressive tires and maybe a bigger fork for that other 5%.

  4. #4
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    Yeah. I do go on some rougher rocky rooty trails, but I'm not a hucker. Just small drops and jumps. So I justify the extra suspension as a confidence booster and so I'm not beat up after a ride. Also I see it as it being there if I need it or decide to up my game. I think 130-140 is a good trail bike suspension in the rear and nowadays seems to pedal very good.

  5. #5
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    I don't think there is any justification needed. If you like the cush, ride it and enjoy. If you feel like it is dragging you down, use "over-biked" as justification to make changes

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejewels View Post
    So my question is, do you focus more on travel numbers, or geometry and intended use when buying a bike? Also, if you're somewhat "overbiked" because of this, how do you justify it? Better to have it in case you need it?
    I have 2 mountain bikes, a 150/160 Warden, and a 130/150 Endorphin. The Warden is overkill for some trails, and the Endo is underkill for some. I tend to focus on fit, geometry, and frame strength nowadays. Justify, that's BS, you have to ride it, not anyone else. There was an article by Mike Levy on Pinkbike a while back that suggested that you should pick a bike that will improve your weakness as a rider, not reinforce your strength. I tend to agree with this philosophy. Right now I am riding the Endo mainly because the Warden made me a better descender.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  7. #7
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    Yeah that's what I was thinking getting a bit more travel than I need.

  8. #8
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    I subscribe to the theory of buying a bike to my weaknesses. I'm somewhat over-biked, however I'm quite fit and so can handle hauling it up the climbs. It means that I actually enjoy my riding more though - I'm comfortable enough going up (and still have to slow down to match some of my riding buddies), however it gives me confidence going down hill and has saved my arse a couple of times.

    The only time I regret it is for pure XC stuff, where I'm losing out a bit (mostly weight, because IMO the extra travel itself doesn't "cost" much as you can adjust it to suit).

  9. #9
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    Travel is marketing shorthand. If i'm going to look at suspension behavior to tell me how a bike will behave... i go on linkageblog and see what the leverage ratio looks like. Otherwise bike behavior is like 80% geometry and a 130mm hardtail with the right geo is a pretty savage descender. 20mm of travel is only relevant if everything else is identical.

    It's all about execution, which is why demoing bikes is so important.
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  10. #10
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    Up to now, I've tried not to be over biked. In fact, being a little under biked makes trails more challenging - hence the single speed, which I rode rigid until my elbows started complaining. Which leads me to my first tip, don't get old, if you can figure out how to do that. I say up to now. I mean, I consider myself an XC rider even though I haven't raced in years. But that's probably mostly because for a while a bike was a bike, and if you raced it you raced it, then you could get a bike, which you could race XC with, or you could get a bike with suspension would you didn't want to climb hills on, but was "great" downhill, so those were downhill bikes. And for a long time, even after you could get XC bikes with suspension (that climbed well even!) everything else was still a "downhill" bike. Since I was never a "downhill" guy, I was an XC guy. What I've recently discovered is that folks like me, even if we aren't hucking stuff, can go fast enough to overwhelm the suspension on an XC bike pretty easily because of size/weight. The problem is when you overwhelm the suspension on a bike designed with suspension and it keeps taking hits, it tends to break things. I feel like a trail or all mountain bike is more suspension than I "need" (obviously, if I can ride it on a rigid SS, any suspension is more than I "need") but I'll be looking into 130/140 travel 29ers just to have a whole bike that's built to a point where it will actually hold up to the way I ride. So, if you want justification for suspension, I guess it's "I'm too old to ride it without suspension, and any less suspension breaks things."

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottzg View Post
    Travel is marketing shorthand. If i'm going to look at suspension behavior to tell me how a bike will behave... i go on linkageblog and see what the leverage ratio looks like. Otherwise bike behavior is like 80% geometry and a 130mm hardtail with the right geo is a pretty savage descender. 20mm of travel is only relevant if everything else is identical.

    It's all about execution, which is why demoing bikes is so important.
    so how do you see what the leverage ratios are between the bikes and compare?

  12. #12
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    I'll suggest don't overthink it. Try stuff on trails and buy what feels best.

    I got there because two parents same height are sharing bikes with each other and our teenagers. We're in a season with the parents really working at fitness and skills and doing some travel too. Your bike engine and your attitude is the amazing difference. One ride I'll be on a new Fuel EX 9.9 and the next an old steel hard tail with Deore or a rigid fat bike. I make it all work.

    On specifics, our Remedy 29 has more travel than the Fuel EX but in reality that 10 mm rarely makes much if any difference. The more playful vs more travel bike is what stands out.

    If you climb a lot you might not like a super short chain stay as much. Our Kona and the new style Fuel have that and there's a bit of thought never given when climbing on the Remedy 29.

    This scenario of sharing the bikes and moving from bike to bike has been really good for me to realize how much of a good ride depends on the rider and attitude. Given the choice and especially if trying to keep up with better riders I do chose the lesser travel plastic bike.

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  13. #13
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    As already said, no need to justify anything, if that's what you want and enjoy and you didn't need to go into hock to afford it, then at you.

    Me personally, I HATE being over biked, really can make your area trails feel just too easy, which for me is not fun being able to just sit aboard a sofa and do no work. Most of the guys down here have 130-150mm travel bikes, I ride a 105/130mm bike most of the time if riding with others of my skill level and I enjoy myself, but I also enjoy taking out the Rigid on those exact same trails, I can ride all of the trails, just have to go a bit slower and feel it a bit more after.

    I also have a 130/150 bike which was my only bike for a couple years, I rode all the same trails without issue, though climbs required a bit more effort and the downs weren't as challenging, but I enjoyed riding it, but I much prefer my newer, shorter travel bike and rigid. When I went to Crested Butte, CO last year, I took the 105/130 bike, and it was good for most of the trails, sometimes a bit under gunned, but to me that is more fun than being over gunner most of the time.
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  14. #14
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    All good points, thanks guys. It's funny when you always see that one XC guy on a hardtail huck something someone won't do on their enduro bike. So yeah I think a lot is the rider and marketing is king

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    I think aside from the type of trails you ride, it also matters who your riding buddies are. I bought a full suspension bike but ride with mostly XC guys on hardtails or rigids that weigh 5-10lbs less than my bike. After a while, it's no fun being the guy everyone has to wait for. If I stay in this area, where singletracks rather than gnarly downhill courses rule, my next bike will be a lightweight hardtail. But your situation might be different.

  16. #16
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    eventually, as budget permits, get 2-3 bikes for different purposes and trails.


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  17. #17
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    I am completely happy with a rigid singlespeed or fatbike, on any ride.

    Anything 'softer' [gears, front susp, rear susp] is just a bonus. So...
    get whatcha want and run what ya brung.

    I also have a hardtail and soon will
    have a 6 inch AM bike and it won't matter what I take on the trails a bike is a bike
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by 127.0.0.1 View Post
    run what ya brung.
    This may be the dumbest saying ever. How is possible to not do this???
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bickle View Post
    This may be the dumbest saying ever. How is possible to not do this???
    stand by I'll come up with something dumber...won't need to wait long
    "Eating Spam, and Oreos, and drinking Thunderbird, baby" -Baby Huey/James Ramey

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bickle View Post
    This may be the dumbest saying ever. How is possible to not do this???
    I like "It was in the last place I looked" you only would be dumber for look elsewhere.

  21. #21
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    My only Bike is 140/140. It's good for some of my trails (the ones I like to ride. But it's also overkill for some. I may get a second bike. But for now I don't care. It's kinda fun to see the looks of people when I ride a bike with a coil shock on a trail a cyclo-cross bike could do.

  22. #22
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    My Full-sus is 120/120 and is working fine for the riding I do. I almost bought a bike with more travel, 150/150 I think it was, but it was heavier and I will never do the kind of riding that needs that much travel. I bought a bike that was suited to my riding, it's kinda simple.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cerberus75 View Post
    My only Bike is 140/140. It's good for some of my trails (the ones I like to ride. But it's also overkill for some. I may get a second bike. But for now I don't care. It's kinda fun to see the looks of people when I ride a bike with a coil shock on a trail a cyclo-cross bike could do.
    The looks you get from bike 'underkill' are fun too, FWIW.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    My Full-sus is 120/120 and is working fine for the riding I do. I almost bought a bike with more travel, 150/150 I think it was, but it was heavier and I will never do the kind of riding that needs that much travel. I bought a bike that was suited to my riding, it's kinda simple.
    I think it's also about how the extra suspension helps mellow features rather than never using it. I noticed my suspension going through the full cycle just going through rocky terrain.

  25. #25
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    Those few times when you are riding a bike where its in over its head and you pull it off with skill... that right there is a rush.



    You will "justify" being over biked by being slower, and developing less skills, and ultimately having less fun. You may get down the hill 1 second faster than your riding buds, but they'll roll their eyes as they wait for you at the top of every techy, steep climb watching you pushing your bike instead of riding it.


    What most riders don't understand is how extremely capable most longer travel bikes are these days. I may rarely see one out of a dozen riders pushing their 6" rig to the limit.

    Having more bike than you need, for most riders, IMO is a waste. How ofter are you breaking frames, blowing up shocks, crushing wheels on your 5" travel bike? If the answer is "not often" then don't go looking for more bike.


    The joy that comes from melding with a well set up bike dialed to one's local terrain is immense. By "well set up" I mean, proper suspension design that is properly tuned, correct tires run on the correct size rims at the correct psi, correct bike geo, etc...

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J View Post
    You will "justify" being over biked by being slower, and developing less skills, and ultimately having less fun. You may get down the hill 1 second faster than your riding buds, but they'll roll their eyes as they wait for you at the top of every techy, steep climb watching you pushing your bike instead of riding it.
    Generalising much?

    I'm often overbiked, however I'm the one at the top waiting for my riding buddies to catch up. Most of them are more capable on the downhills than me, however the bike sort of compensates and means that we ride together more. I dunno about you but to me that = fun, and that's why I ride.

    What most riders don't understand is how extremely capable most longer travel bikes are these days. I may rarely see one out of a dozen riders pushing their 6" rig to the limit.
    What is "the limit"? Do I need to break something? Today I hit some technical XC stuff, I would've come close to going through the rear travel, on the front I probably used 140mm of the 160mm of travel - I took some diff lines and popped off some little jumps because I know the bike can take it. If I was at "the limit" I'd be less inclined, esp on a solo ride - I do my best to avoid the hospital (not always successfully).

    How ofter are you breaking frames, blowing up shocks, crushing wheels on your 5" travel bike? If the answer is "not often" then don't go looking for more bike.
    IMO you should never be "breaking frames, blowing up shocks, crushing wheels". That to me is contradictory to your next point:

    The joy that comes from melding with a well set up bike dialed to one's local terrain is immense. By "well set up" I mean, proper suspension design that is properly tuned, correct tires run on the correct size rims at the correct psi, correct bike geo, etc...
    You choose a bike for you and your trails, and if you're breaking stuff often well then IMO you stuffed up, either by choosing the wrong bike and/or not knowing its limits. If you wanna go blast through chunk on your XC HT and break things before justifying "more bike" then be my guest, however getting the appropriate bike FIRST is a hell of a lot cheaper.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J View Post
    You will "justify" being over biked by being slower, and developing less skills, and ultimately having less fun.
    There were two main reasons I bought a full-sus. I like my hard-tail and I knew if I kept doing drops and jumps on it that it would break. I was also struggling with a lack of skill over said jumps and drops! The full-sus compensates for my skill deficiency, it's like having a safety net, so I can ride it harder and faster than my hard-tail on the same trails. The down-side is that it's less fun.

    It is less fun because it is less connected to the ground. If you think of cars it's the same deal. No one buys a big, soft saloon/sedan car for the fun for driving. It's more comfortable than a sports cars but the latter's stiffer suspension gives you more feedback and is much more involving to drive.

    That's what you need to think about, what you want from the bike. Do you ride mainly for the fun of it? Are you out of your depth on a hard-tail, are you getting beat up on long rides, do you want to ride bigger stuff? Is it just your ego that wants a bigger big ;0)

  28. #28
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    What phreaky said! And if it was about ego I'd be looking at the nomad or the reign. These are still trail geo bikes with average travel I was talking about. Especially the 5010.

    I'm surprised no one has said suspension is more than just how big you go or how gnar you get, brah. You could technically ride a hardtail down a double black right? Just much slower and more painful.

  29. #29
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    I focus on intended use which will then provide an ordering for weight, geometry, and travel requirements.

    Enduro? then travel, geometry.

    XC? then weight, geometry. More travel can actually be a liability.

    Bottomline is there is no right answer. Everything involves tradeoffs. To get more of something, you usually have to give up something else and nobody knows your personal priorities.

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    Another point I forgot to mention was the marketing. Why is it when I watch some XC races they are going over rock gardens and seemingly more trail/AM stuff? Some of the so called XC trails look like trails people will buy an all mountain bike for! Maybe the marketing dumbs down XC for smooth non technical single track? This then begs the question of what actually is a XC trail and what is a trailbike/AM trail.

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    An XC bike will never take a rock garden as well as an enduro bike. But most typical XC tracks are not rock gardens for half the course. They might have one section maybe two. Over a 2 hour race is the ability to save a couple seconds on the rock garden worth a couple more pounds of suspension weight, and pedal bob? Maybe for super gnarly tracks but for most courses, no.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejewels View Post
    Another point I forgot to mention was the marketing. Why is it when I watch some XC races they are going over rock gardens and seemingly more trail/AM stuff? Some of the so called XC trails look like trails people will buy an all mountain bike for! Maybe the marketing dumbs down XC for smooth non technical single track? This then begs the question of what actually is a XC trail and what is a trailbike/AM trail.
    Xc race tracks, especially at the olympic level, have gotten more and more technical over the years
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    So maybe it's more about how much of it you encounter on a given ride?

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejewels View Post
    So maybe it's more about how much of it you encounter on a given ride?
    Here's a simple way to look at it. Lower weight and pedal bob equals more horsepower for straights and climbing. It also increases your mpg. So do you want more suspension or more horsepower and endurance? Depends on your discipline and where you ride. If you are mostly pointed downhill and go up via ski lifts, horsepower doesn't matter. For most XC riders, the opposite is true.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejewels View Post
    Another point I forgot to mention was the marketing. Why is it when I watch some XC races they are going over rock gardens and seemingly more trail/AM stuff?
    Because "XC" means cross country.

    On most of the XC races I've done in my life, the terrain has truly been XC, not some virtually-paved dirt track. I'm not even sure where that happens mostly, I know of a few race series that have that in specific locations, but generally not the rule in most places in the West. That means lots of rooty, rocky, etc., interspersed with big climbs, but often with big descents. I've done plenty of races recently where I loved having my dropper post on my XC bike, from my last XC race at 15 miles to the one before it at 100 miles.

    But, here's the kicker, even if you are a bit faster on the downhills, they make up so little of the race in terms of time that an advantage here isn't a big advantage at all. I consider my descending skills above average, but that doesn't do much in an XC race, even one with some pretty big descents. You simply spend so much more time climbing, so being .1mph faster on climbs will put you way further ahead than being .1mph faster on descents. I'd also say that those of us that are experienced DHers tend to ride ALL of our bikes downhill at similar speed. Sure, it's slower on my XC bike, but not by much. I tend to ride the XC bike like the DH bike and take a lot of the same jumps, stuff that most people would shy away from.

    So my point is, if you want to race XC, the shorter travel more efficient ride almost always wins hands down. If you want to have more fun on the DHs, a bit more travel is usually nice, to a point, and after that point the weight and travel of the bike can actually slow you down a lot more on gradual downhills. A good 5" bike is a decent all-arounder for most people, making sure it fits you well and is comfortable to ride on for longer rides (rather than something too short/cramped that seems fun going downhill, but again you spend a lot more time on it in other terrain so a slight advantage in DH isn't usually worth it, especially since modern geometry is so much better). If you want the bike to do dual-duty with some park riding or actual DH stuff (that other people use DH bikes on), 6" of travel is probably a good idea.

    I mostly ride a 170/160 "enduro" ride, I bought the frame specifically because it had good efficiency and wasn't too heavy. I like to rip on the descents and take advantage of the terrain. Oh, there's a built-up stump-jump? I don't mind if I do! I'll occasionally take it to the park or do shuttle runs, but most of the time I'm just riding it on XC stuff and rides with big climbs and descents. I ride hard and the way I like to ride requires a bit more beef than a straight XC bike. I couldn't justify this bike if I lived in the midwest or other flat areas, but for here, it works well and I like it. I also have a 100mm XC race bike for racing. I generally use it for just that and occasionally just to switch stuff up, but if it's a long epic ride, I'm going for the enduro bike every time, I simply just enjoy it a lot more. I went with the XC bike over a hardtail because I couldn't stand the pounding on the race courses on a hardtail. Some people can, but it just got too much for me. I feel these two bikes cover everything that I want and it's rare for someone to show up on my rides with a "totally XC" bike and equally rare for any of the aggressive racer dudes to show up for XC races with enduro rigs. It all depends on where you live and what you like to do.
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  36. #36
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    Justifying Suspension-imag0529.jpgJustifying Suspension-imag0535.jpg
    - I have extreme opposites; I have an FSR ride for the mountains near home (North Georgia) where there are some wicked obstacles but I also have a rigid SS 29er for the less-punishing rides......I rode a HT Titanium for a long time but decided having two bikes would better suit my overall needs so it became my SS ride.........
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  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by phreeky View Post
    Generalising much?

    I'm often overbiked, however I'm the one at the top waiting for my riding buddies to catch up. Most of them are more capable on the downhills than me, however the bike sort of compensates and means that we ride together more. I dunno about you but to me that = fun, and that's why I ride.



    What is "the limit"? Do I need to break something? Today I hit some technical XC stuff, I would've come close to going through the rear travel, on the front I probably used 140mm of the 160mm of travel - I took some diff lines and popped off some little jumps because I know the bike can take it. If I was at "the limit" I'd be less inclined, esp on a solo ride - I do my best to avoid the hospital (not always successfully).



    IMO you should never be "breaking frames, blowing up shocks, crushing wheels". That to me is contradictory to your next point:



    You choose a bike for you and your trails, and if you're breaking stuff often well then IMO you stuffed up, either by choosing the wrong bike and/or not knowing its limits. If you wanna go blast through chunk on your XC HT and break things before justifying "more bike" then be my guest, however getting the appropriate bike FIRST is a hell of a lot cheaper.

    Well, we are in America, where the average guy is driving around an F-250 sized pickup so he can pick up the latest vid-game at Wally World or bag of Doritos at the mini-Mart. Any drawbacks? Poor truck doesn't even have a scratch in the bed or a dent in the tailgate; nor is there a callous on that sad dude's hands. He'd be better off in a Geo Prizm.


    Riders can get a little bent if you suggest they are over-biked. Really, its ok. Most of us (myself included) have had over-bike-itis at one point - often due to bland local terrain.


    Frames and parts break sometime (but shouldn't "often"). If they didn't it means they are un-necessarily overbuilt.


    All that said, rigs in the 150mm range are incredibly versatile these days and one is not giving up too much even if they are using one on a xc ride. And, if you've got the motor to push that rig, the more power to ya.

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    You justify suspension when the rescue helicopter frequently plucks ridersfrom the area
    ...

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zowie View Post
    The looks you get from bike 'underkill' are fun too, FWIW.
    I was like that till this year, was on a 120 hard tail. With enough tokens in the fork to limit travel.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by 127.0.0.1 View Post
    stand by I'll come up with something dumber...won't need to wait long
    LoL ...

    I recall hearing folks of my parents generation (they are early and mid 70's) complaining about how they dislike;
    "It is what it is. " and I kind of understood that.

    Then I heard my wife's Doctor say it and it had more cred. Context has much to do with certain sayings or idioms.
    In the Middle Ages, the biggest mistake was not putting on your armor because you were 'just going down to the corner.'

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejewels View Post
    You could technically ride a hardtail down a double black right? Just much slower and more painful.


    That's why I have a h/t bike w/ 120mm. Good excuse to not be found on steep dangerous terrain or;
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    In the Middle Ages, the biggest mistake was not putting on your armor because you were 'just going down to the corner.'

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    I'll echo what Cotharyus said. I'm getting older and on the heavier side at 210lbs, so I find more suspension allows me to have a better ride and keep up with younger/lighter people.

    Also suspension designs have gotten so good that you often don't pay much of a penalty for having all that extra travel. I currently ride a 2017 model bike with 150/150. It pedals better than my last bike which was only 120/130 and is about the same weight. It's nice to have that extra travel for park days or whatever.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bickle View Post
    This may be the dumbest saying ever. How is possible to not do this???
    Sounds smarter in New England.

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    Ride what you like and is comfortable. MA rider here, pedaling a 150 mm enduro all the time, sometimes the front sus fatty. Lots of chunk here, never ever felt like I had too much bike. A 125 mm shock or fork weighs so much more than a 150 mm set up? Not in my book. For me there are hard tails, 4" race bikes and everything with more than 4" of travel falls into " trail" bikes. Lots has to do with rider skill and technique. On groups rides, people will show up with everything. Fat, plus, hardtail, 26, 27.5, 29ers, SS and so one. Nobody cares what someone else is riding. Just keep pedaling. YRMV .

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bickle View Post
    This may be the dumbest saying ever. How is possible to not do this???

    It's a metaphor. Be happy with what you have.
    I brake for stinkbugs

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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Ride what you like and is comfortable. MA rider here, pedaling a 150 mm enduro all the time, sometimes the front sus fatty. Lots of chunk here, never ever felt like I had too much bike. A 125 mm shock or fork weighs so much more than a 150 mm set up? Not in my book. For me there are hard tails, 4" race bikes and everything with more than 4" of travel falls into " trail" bikes. Lots has to do with rider skill and technique. On groups rides, people will show up with everything. Fat, plus, hardtail, 26, 27.5, 29ers, SS and so one. Nobody cares what someone else is riding. Just keep pedaling. YRMV .
    Being in MA you get it! Not sure if you've ridden CT at all but if you know Cowles park or Nepaug thats a good example. Still a lot of rocks and roots and technicals. Super fun. I'd say being overbiked a bit here in New England makes more sense than the midwest. I think its all relative in those terms.

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    It's been pointed out out a few times here that a lot of this depends on your priorities. Not sure why there is still so much confusion. If you are a hardcore XC guy and have taken out most of your riding inefficiencies through proper training and good bike handling, there is no way you will be faster on an Enduro rig than an XC bike in a 2 hour XC race. This is why you don't see most Cat 1 guys riding big pogo sticks. So it is not just about "rider skill and technique" because the skills gap is very small at that level.

    On the other hand, most weekend warriors who aren't doing hardcore training, don't race and don't care about Strava, being on an enduro bike can be fun and make it more enjoyable. There is a lot of low hanging fruit in inefficiencies to exploit so yeah, the better rider can be faster on the enduro rig than the less skilled weekend warrior on an XC bike. If you fall under this category and you are having fun, no additional justification is needed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hesitationpoint View Post

    On the other hand, most weekend warriors who aren't doing hardcore training, don't race and don't care about Strava, being on an enduro bike can be fun and make it more enjoyable.
    You said it best right here IMO. I am so much faster and can ride with a lot less effort on my wife's lightweight XC bike compared to my heavier AM and even heavier yet DH bike......BUT it just isn't as fun for me. I've always ridden a bike with more suspension than I HAVE to have, and I like it that way.

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    Never raced, but used to ride FS, doing long rides on back country trails. It was mainly just for comfort and not getting beaten up on rugged hiking trails etc not developed for cycling etc.
    Back then, 4 to 5 inch travel was considered pretty much extreme.
    I don't think you need to worry about 120-140mm being too much on modern bikes. Most systems work well, have reasonable weight and should be able to handle most trails.
    Now days I'm back into riding, but am on a rigid Fatty as sand is the main issue locally. Even then I still hanker for a plusher ride and the sheer look and feel of a FS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir kayakalot View Post
    You said it best right here IMO. I am so much faster and can ride with a lot less effort on my wife's lightweight XC bike compared to my heavier AM and even heavier yet DH bike......BUT it just isn't as fun for me. I've always ridden a bike with more suspension than I HAVE to have, and I like it that way.
    I think the majority of riders would agree with this. I used to feel that way, too. Now, either due to my skills evolving or testicular fortitude eroding, being over-biked makes most trails boring for me. It's nice to have for those few times when you can use the bike to its limits, but it just isn't worth it to me when the other 95% of my riding is dumbed down.
    Last edited by mountainbiker24; 08-15-2017 at 07:36 PM.

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    Its almost as if a less experienced rider should get more suspension. Using the start of my thread for an example: as a massive generalization, you're more apt to see a less experienced rider on a cheaper Trance with a tad more suspension, than a more experienced, good rider on a smaller travel, more expensive elitist brand/bike like a SC 5010 or Tallboy.

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejewels View Post
    Its almost as if a less experienced rider should get more suspension.
    Yeah, that's a valid argument. I got a full-sus partly for that reason.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    Yeah, that's a valid argument. I got a full-sus partly for that reason.
    Thats why you always see the veterans on hardtails doing big stuff that the enduro bros don't do!

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    But it's pretty logical that more experienced riders don't lean on suspension as a crutch as much. They are able to handle the bike better, choose better lines and just be generally 'lighter' on the bike.

  55. #55
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    I love my Trance but am building a hardtail with many of the parts I changed on it for tamer trails, gravel roads and around town riding. Great to have options when it comes to bikes! It's a lot about the rider as others mentioned.
    2015 Giant Trance 3
    X-Fusion Sweep RL2 160mm fork
    Straitline Defacto pedals
    Renthal Fatbar with TV 40mm stem
    Ergon Grips

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by kazlx View Post
    But it's pretty logical that more experienced riders don't lean on suspension as a crutch as much. They are able to handle the bike better, choose better lines and just be generally 'lighter' on the bike.

    While that makes sense it's not always true. The longer I ride the harder I push my bikes. I trust the suspension more, trust the tire's grip more, etc... I learned to set up my suspension better, tire's better, cockpit better. All this allows my to trust my rig more and ride it harder.

    Pros generally don't ride lighter. Many up the psi in their shocks. Look at Rude and Gwin and how they smash tires.

    Not to say we havnt all seen newbies (been there myself) bombing down rutted out double track on beater hard tails with their back ends bashing into rocks and ruts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J View Post
    While that makes sense it's not always true. The longer I ride the harder I push my bikes. I trust the suspension more, trust the tire's grip more, etc... I learned to set up my suspension better, tire's better, cockpit better. All this allows my to trust my rig more and ride it harder.

    Pros generally don't ride lighter. Many up the psi in their shocks. Look at Rude and Gwin and how they smash tires.

    Not to say we havnt all seen newbies (been there myself) bombing down rutted out double track on beater hard tails with their back ends bashing into rocks and ruts.
    This is going to be discipline specific. For downhill and enduro, nobody who is interested in being competitive is going to ride a hardtail.

    But for XC, you see hardtails even at the pro level. You do see full suspension bikes for XC for the rougher courses, but it's designed to reduce fatigue and improve pedaling over rough terrain rather than to bomb the trail Aaron Gwin style

  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by hesitationpoint View Post
    This is going to be discipline specific. For downhill and enduro, nobody who is interested in being competitive is going to ride a hardtail.

    But for XC, you see hardtails even at the pro level. You do see full suspension bikes for XC for the rougher courses, but it's designed to reduce fatigue and improve pedaling over rough terrain rather than to bomb the trail Aaron Gwin style
    I can't bomb down the trail like the XC pros on hardtails, I can do it for very short spurts, but to do it like they do means a crazy amount of abuse on my wrists, fingers, feet, legs and back. It is possible to ride these downhill at nearly the same speed, but it hurts IME. Leave that for the younger pros that can't feel it/can take it.

  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J View Post
    While that makes sense it's not always true. The longer I ride the harder I push my bikes. I trust the suspension more, trust the tire's grip more, etc... I learned to set up my suspension better, tire's better, cockpit better. All this allows my to trust my rig more and ride it harder.

    Pros generally don't ride lighter. Many up the psi in their shocks. Look at Rude and Gwin and how they smash tires.

    Not to say we havnt all seen newbies (been there myself) bombing down rutted out double track on beater hard tails with their back ends bashing into rocks and ruts.

    I agree, I haven't even graduated to full suspension yet but I rode rigid forever and when I first got front suspension I was instantly taking harder (rougher) lines and going a fair bit faster.
    I brake for stinkbugs

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J View Post
    ...You may get down the hill 1 second faster than your riding buds, but they'll roll their eyes as they wait for you at the top of every techy, steep climb watching you pushing your bike instead of riding it...
    Not on my 27.5 lb 650B 160mm sled, 66 HTA and all. That thing is a ROCKET to the top. I can't remember the last time I pushed that bike up anything (well, anything rideable on any bike, that is). Nobody I ride with waits at the top for me, and nobody waits for any of my buddies on 150-160mm aggressive geo (albeit lightweight carbon) bikes.

    That's not to say that I am some climbing animal. Far from it. My point is that it has been my observation that the longer travel bikes these days don't give up all that much on the climbs. I think the bigger knock might be a dead feeling on tamer stuff (which mine definitely is not - it's "poppy" as hell).

    All that said, what I am interested in at the moment is experimenting with different wheel and tire sizes. I suspect I may like a lower travel 29er.

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