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  1. #1
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    Advice for Bikes

    My question is: can you race (not legally, but as in, is it a good idea to do so) to race a 120 mm trail bike such as a Spesh Camber or Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt in a high school race, maybe with the shock hard or should I just scratch this idea?

  2. #2
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    You can, but no...it's not a good idea. There are many things that should be discussed and I'm not going to be able to do your question much justice just by typing here.

    Most high school kids can only afford one bike, especially a nice bike so I always tell the kids to get the bike that makes them happiest. If you like to ride rougher trails in your own time, then get a bigger bike. However, you need to realize that the bike will be a hindrance to your race performance. Just like anything else in life, there is a proper tool for any job. A 120mm travel trail bike is not an XC race bike.

    Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk
    I'm a mountain bike guide in southwest Utah

  3. #3
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    Ok, got it.
    Thanks for the input!

  4. #4
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    A 120mm trail bike will do just fine in any kind of XC race you want to use it in. Get some racy tires if you want, otherwise, just ride it. 99% of the result will be you, not the bike.

    If you're on a budget though (and don't already own a bike) and your mail goal is racing, just buy a hardtail. Cheap, fast, and perfectly competitive for anything but enduro/gravity events.

    -Walt

  5. #5
    J-Flo
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    A good number of kids in the NorCal League ride 120mm bikes -- Tallboys, Cambers, 5010/Solo. A rider on our team made Sophomore podium twice on a Camber last year. I've also seen some kids on even bigger bikes (e.g., even Hecklers, SB-66, Mojo HD), they are having fun and usually not going for podium. As noted above, it is not the ideal XC race machine. But so what? A bigger bike helps on the descents and more technical courses, and the goal is to have fun anyhow. What matters is what bike will the kid most want to ride. If his or her goal is speed and possible victory, then a more XC-oriented short travel or hardtail is best.

  6. #6
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    Utah: I have a freshman who placed first three time in a row on a trail bike, he switched to an XC and placed second in the fourth race. Trail will be fine. ;-) It's more about the rider than the bike.
    Coaching: http://wgcmtb.org
    Riding: Santa Cruz Superlight 29
    Riding: Airborne Griffin
    Riding: Motobecane Cross Outlaw XV

  7. #7
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    FS doesn't make a lot of sense for the high school racer.

    Its less competitive on most courses.
    Its more expensive to purchase.
    Its more expensive to maintain.

    I'm on my 5th NICA season and thre has only been 1 race where a FS presented an obvious advantage. That was the first year at Stafford Lake where the newly cut course was so rough there were extended sections where it was too rough to pedal in the saddle. At that race coach's and parent's FS bikes were getting drafted.

    HOWEVER, FS bikes are a lot more fun. There's definitely an argument to be made for having your race bike be FUN! Fun bikes get ridden further and more often which is great for the overall well-being of the athlete.

  8. #8
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    Metamorphic really hit the nail on the head here. NICA race courses have to follow a specific set of guidelines, and one of the big ones is that they be easy enough for all the middle school riders to do. A full sus is just not necessary for 95%+ of any NICA race (certainly none of ours in Alabama last year). That being said, for normal trail riding outside of NICA races a full sus is definitely going to be more fun than a hardtail, so if you're getting the bike for everything but will also be racing it, go for it

  9. #9
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    Oh yeah 120 is fine for sure, I got 3rd place on my 2008 specialized stumpjumper in my 2nd Nica race.

  10. #10
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    This Past season, 2 people on my team rode Specialized Cambers, one rode a Santa Cruz 5010/Solo. All three of the made it to state Championships. If you want to look at how they did, go to racerite.com under results. Plate numbers 4010 and 524 have Cambers, 4006 has a 5010. They are all competent riders but encountered bike or health problems throughout the season. (Bear Creek Team)

    I don't know about other Leagues, but in Colorado, bikes range from from 80mm hardtails to 160mm bike like the Santa Cruz Nomad. It all depends on what type of bike you enjoy riding and how confident you feel riding it. Here is the bike I raced this past season. 80 mm hard tail. This was my first season of training or racing ever. I had to adjust a few things on the bike to get the setup right the first couple races, but I never felt like I needed a different bike to perform better. Get to know one bike really well, and own that. Let the bike you have be an advantage to you.

    Advice for Bikes-cccsouth-4036-x3.jpgAdvice for Bikes-cccsouth-2186-x3.jpgAdvice for Bikes-2015sc-1368-x3.jpgAdvice for Bikes-5ds_9320_1800x_freshman-x3.jpgAdvice for Bikes-2015_co_hs_eaglestate_freshmen-104-x3.jpg

  11. #11
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    Back when I was a NICA coach saw many kids on FS rigs, the ones using long travel bikes didn't did as good; 120mm isn't long travel in my book.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    A 120mm trail bike will do just fine in any kind of XC race you want to use it in. Get some racy tires if you want, otherwise, just ride it. 99% of the result will be you, not the bike.

    If you're on a budget though (and don't already own a bike) and your mail goal is racing, just buy a hardtail. Cheap, fast, and perfectly competitive for anything but enduro/gravity events.

    -Walt
    Legit

  13. #13
    used to be RipRoar
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    If that is your only choice than yes for sure! better to smile than not.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdhutch5454 View Post
    My question is: can you race (not legally, but as in, is it a good idea to do so) to race a 120 mm trail bike such as a Spesh Camber or Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt in a high school race, maybe with the shock hard or should I just scratch this idea?
    My daughter placed 2nd in the Colorado South Conference (Sophomore) and finished 9th in the State Championship on a 27.5 pound 120mm Ibis Ripley with a dropper post, whilst wearing baggy shorts. This earned her an upgrade to Varsity. The only changes we're making for Varsity are a wheelset upgrade and an e13 9-44t cassette.

    So the short answer is yes, you can, and you can be competitive.

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