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  1. #1
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    Why is a longer travel bike 'too much bike' for general use?

    I hear these types of phrases all the time online on what bike to buy threads, and continually in reviews of longer travel/enduro bikes. "If I had to buy just one bike this one is a bit much." "XYZ is great going downhill but on regular trails you'll feel a bit overbiked." and so on.

    I was even swayed a bit myself by this when looking at buying a bigger bike for some of the gnarlier trails here in the PacNW. "Well, I'll keep my hardtail for regular riding and break out the HD4 for bigger days."

    But funny thing happened. I got this new bike and rode a few shorter loops that involved some climbing (1k-2k vertical) and I was doing pretty decent. Like 2 minutes slower than my carbon hardtail, but oh well. And it machs when you point it down.

    Then yesterday I did my end of summer epic. 30+ miles and 5700+ vertical. And this was *NOT* a pure XC ride, it included rocky, rooty downhills, flow trails and jump lines. I'm thinking the whole ride, "Do I even need to keep my hardtail?" With the 150-170mm bikes climbing better and better due to geo improvements and 50 tooth cogs, outside of XC racing why would you NOT want something that RIPS downhill and can keep you out of trouble if you make less than perfect line choices?

    From yesterday's ride, about to drop in for some steep, rowdy action after a 2000+ foot climb to get there.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Why is a longer travel bike 'too much bike' for general use?-raging3.jpg  


  2. #2
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    Overbiked almost a thing of the past?

    I suppose "overbiked" could be interpreted in all sorts of ways, but there's a three week old thread that covers a lot of perspectives.

    Maybe "inappropriately biked" would be a better term.

  3. #3
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    I think it just depends on where you're riding. If someone lives in an area with little elevation, then a 150-170 bike might not feel sprightly enough for all the flat pedally stuff. If I lived in Florida or Ohio and my trails generally didn't have any long, steep and gnarly sections then yea, maybe a longer travel bike would feel a bit dull. I don't think it's so much a question of climbing anymore.

  4. #4
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    What's general use? XC bikes are optimal for XC racing. DH bikes are optimal for DH racing. There are a range of travels and geos between those two extremes that are optimal for the variety of riding intents and trails between those two extremes. Choose what you believe will be optimal for your riding intents and trails. Depending on the range of riding you do, one bike may be too much of a compromise, so you may want several.
    Do the math.

  5. #5
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    Sure, if you are in an area where the terrain trends towards an extreme you can ride something appropriate. I'm not here to tell anyone that one type of bike is best for everything. Just making the point that if you're in an area that has a mix of riding types and want one bike that can handle everything I feel like the longer travel bikes have caught up enough in the climbing area to make them a great choice for a do-it-all.

    Didn't see that other thread. Aside from the dick waving it covers a lot of what I was getting at.

  6. #6
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    If there are two bikes that can do the same things, equally well, without giving up any capabilities, I'd be inclined to go with the one that has greater travel. I'm not sure that's a realistic scenario. If nothing else, it would ease the pain on my skinny 66 y.o. butt.

    Yeah, "dick waving" does capture the essence of that thread!

  7. #7
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    I was never so happy as the day my Pivot Mach 5.7 frame broke so I could trade it in on a Mach 4.

    Why? My local rides have a ton of sustained climbing and plenty of tight switchbacks. Literally, 2/3rds of my typical ride time is spent climbing. Many of our trails are NOT built to modern standards WRT grade. Climbing on that longer travel bike felt like driving a school bus. I missed the nimble handling of a shorter travel bike.

    Sure, I'm a bit slower on the downhills now but the fun of having to pilot the bike instead of just letting it roll over stuff makes up for it - I can still go fast enough to get really hurt in a crash. And it's much more enjoyable on the up.

  8. #8
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    IME, suspension has never helped me ride something that I couldn't ride on any other MTB; more or less travel = a very small change in advantage. Suspension has allowed me to go faster on some trails, and it has forgiven most of the mistakes that high speed can create. So, because I'm not out for all-out speed, and we hardly have any real drops around here, suspension is just another "thing"... to maintain, or adjust. It doesn't really improve my MTB experience. And often, it just insulates me from the trail (=boring). The only way to spice things up is to go faster, or ride man-made stunts that are bigger than natural terrain features. All that, to me, starts to appear contrived...less organic...distracting from what I want from the experience.
    "General Use" is a little vague, but I am guessing that most people could get by with much less for what is considered the Joe Blow average for "general use". (i.e. - suspension is more often bought for comfort rather than control) YMMV

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  9. #9
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    I've sold both my XC bikes (hardtail and suspension) and my dual crown DH bike, and I've never missed them a bit.

    wherever I go ride, I ride my 160/150mm 29er enduro bike. Living here in CO, of course a lot of the terrain I ride is perfectly suited to this kind of bike, but even where it isn't I don't care. I just love this machine, don't want to ride anything else, and it does everything "good enough" to be an enjoyable machine for any trail.

    Even when out visiting family and friends in the midwest, and ridding trails like Palos outside of Chicago or the Midland City Forrest back in Michigan, never once did the thought "oh i'm overbiked" cross my mind. I was just like "yay I love ridding this bike!".

    bikes today are amazing. to think that you can have a 30.5lb bike that pedals great for flat ground and climbing, but still have 160mm of travel, big powerful brakes and grippy/durable 2.5 minion tires thats ready to smash through anything on the downhill just blows my mind.

    so yeah, the days of being "overbiked" are kind of over as far as i'm concerned.

    now, maybe your the kind of rider that -never- goes to a bike park, and maybe you just don't ride very aggressive even when the opportunity presents itself, so maybe your ideal bike will have a bit less travel and a weigh a bit less than -my- ideal bike. but to each their own, I think these days any given rider can find his or her own quiver killer and have the one bike that's perfect for it all.
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  10. #10
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    I agree with OP. I recently sold by 27lbs XC 29er for a 30.5lbs trail/enduro 27.5er and am happier than I expected to be.

    I tend to ride the same trails over and over and I nerd-out on my Strava times. What I have found is I am both slower and faster on the ascents depending on if it is technical or not (faster on tecnical ascents on trail/enduro). The descents are all faster and more fun.

    I also no longer ride my road bike since I bought a gravel bike. It seems that the new styles really are a quiver killer for me.

  11. #11
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    When I was in the 60's I rode a bushido. Seemed like the future, a long travel disc brake equipped mountain bike. Before the fracturing of mountain biking into so many different segments.

    Then I used a SC Bullit as my all arounder. It was competent for epic desert up and downs, XC style trails and that sort of thing. However I had to size it longer to keep myself comfortable on the longer segments and it was a little tougher to maneuver around on the tech DH trails, a little too long but not slack enough. I suspect that now as long as you can handle the pedaling comfort, the most travel would be the best travel.

    I would love to get one of the NAILD bikes to try out. Seems like the best of all worlds, great ascending and great descending. Like the mullet of the mountain bike world. The business up, party down.

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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_slacker View Post
    I hear these types of phrases all the time online on what bike to buy threads, and continually in reviews of longer travel/enduro bikes. "If I had to buy just one bike this one is a bit much." "XYZ is great going downhill but on regular trails you'll feel a bit overbiked." and so on.
    It all comes down to "different strokes for different folks" honestly.

    I've tried to love longer travel bikes. I really have. But I can't.

    Every time I ride one, they feel too sluggish on the climbs. Sometimes, despite that, I'm still faster up the climb than usual...but I just don't like the feel. I feel like if I'm on a trail that's not properly burly, that I'm just "floating" through the trail with a disconnected feeling from the terrain. I like to feel the terrain more. And when I am on something properly burly, I don't feel comfortable pushing the bike as hard as it's capable of being ridden. I feel like I have to expend significantly more effort to "hold it back" within my comfort zone.

    For me, I feel like a 140mm bike is my "ideal" zone considering how I ride. Not all of those, either. Some are a bit too downhill-focused for me, even. But I can totally see why some people would feel like a rigid ss fits their riding ideally. Or how some people feel best with a 100mm FS.

    This old vid seems relevant to the discussion going on here and in the other thread.



    Of course, Rocky Mountain is presenting it as entirely a good thing, but what's funny is that the bike advertised in the vid isn't even at the level of what OP has now.
    Last edited by Harold; 2 Weeks Ago at 08:40 PM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fleas View Post
    IME, suspension has never helped me ride something that I couldn't ride on any other MTB; more or less travel = a very small change in advantage. Suspension has allowed me to go faster on some trails, and it has forgiven most of the mistakes that high speed can create. So, because I'm not out for all-out speed, and we hardly have any real drops around here, suspension is just another "thing"... to maintain, or adjust. It doesn't really improve my MTB experience. And often, it just insulates me from the trail (=boring). The only way to spice things up is to go faster, or ride man-made stunts that are bigger than natural terrain features. All that, to me, starts to appear contrived...less organic...distracting from what I want from the experience.
    "General Use" is a little vague, but I am guessing that most people could get by with much less for what is considered the Joe Blow average for "general use". (i.e. - suspension is more often bought for comfort rather than control) YMMV

    -F

    About 10% of the trails I've been on so far just completely kick my ass on an XC hardtail. I cannot do them without either crashing or getting off the bike multiple times. I call them the local All-Mountain trails. The other 90% of trails are no problem. But if I want to be a 'better' rider, it's not just going to be skill that tames those 10% trails, it's going to be a different bike or some big change on the current bike. So, this maybe hard to answer, but if hypothetically I bought a 160mm hardtail (I don't care about the back), would that be any better for drops compared with putting on 27.5 x 2.8 tires to cushion the front? Currently I have 120mm on the front.

    So in other words is there some kind of qualitative equivalency for a standard tire (let's say a 2.35) on a 160mm front fork AM bike...to a + tire on a 120mm XC/trail bike? Can the + tire provide enough cushion to make up for the shorter fork? Or does 160+mm completely rule downhill for 1-2 foot drops and other AM-level obstacles?
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by richj8990 View Post
    About 10% of the trails I've been on so far just completely kick my ass on an XC hardtail. I cannot do them without either crashing or getting off the bike multiple times. I call them the local All-Mountain trails. The other 90% of trails are no problem. But if I want to be a 'better' rider, it's not just going to be skill that tames those 10% trails, it's going to be a different bike or some big change on the current bike. So, this maybe hard to answer, but if hypothetically I bought a 160mm hardtail (I don't care about the back), would that be any better for drops compared with putting on 27.5 x 2.8 tires to cushion the front? Currently I have 120mm on the front.

    So in other words is there some kind of qualitative equivalency for a standard tire (let's say a 2.35) on a 160mm front fork AM bike...to a + tire on a 120mm XC/trail bike? Can the + tire provide enough cushion to make up for the shorter fork? Or does 160+mm completely rule downhill for 1-2 foot drops and other AM-level obstacles?
    So.... I can answer this I think since I have a 120mm fork, dropper post equipped hardtail that can run either 29er or 27.5+. When I run it 27.5+ I've got 2.8" rubber on there. I think a lot of people would be surprised at what an 'all mountain' hardtail can do. That said, it's still a hardtail Going through root/rock gardens at speed you're gonna feel it. Jumps with nice landing are great. Hucking to flat or casing a jump SUCKS.

    You can definitely have fun and ride 'all mountain' on a hardtail, but you'll be giving up something in speed, comfort and big hit capability. I don't think that putting a 160mm fork on a hardtail is gonna help more than beefy rubber will.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by richj8990 View Post
    About 10% of the trails I've been on so far just completely kick my ass on an XC hardtail. I cannot do them without either crashing or getting off the bike multiple times. I call them the local All-Mountain trails. The other 90% of trails are no problem. But if I want to be a 'better' rider, it's not just going to be skill that tames those 10% trails, it's going to be a different bike or some big change on the current bike. So, this maybe hard to answer, but if hypothetically I bought a 160mm hardtail (I don't care about the back), would that be any better for drops compared with putting on 27.5 x 2.8 tires to cushion the front? Currently I have 120mm on the front.

    So in other words is there some kind of qualitative equivalency for a standard tire (let's say a 2.35) on a 160mm front fork AM bike...to a + tire on a 120mm XC/trail bike? Can the + tire provide enough cushion to make up for the shorter fork? Or does 160+mm completely rule downhill for 1-2 foot drops and other AM-level obstacles?
    what?

    there's no equivalency to anything. Rear suspension has its place and it changes a whole lot of the dynamics of how a bike rides. You can't just ignore it. I'd do 1-2ft drops all day on an xc hardtail, too. Hell, I've even done stuff in that range (curbs and retaining walls and such) on my rigid steel commuter bike with rack, full fenders, and 35mm tires.

  16. #16
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    To OP's point, I am a bit of a case study myself. Had a not terribly old carbon hard tail that I never rode any more and a 140/130 bike that I always rode.

    Started trying more drops (nothing crazy, 2-3 ft) on some of my regular rides and found that I was blowing thru my travel. Decided to sell the HT and pick up a lightly used LT 29er, figuring I would ride it on my rowdier rides but would still ride my 140/130 bike as my everyday bike.

    Turns out, I like the LT 29er so much, and find the compromises to be so few that I find myself constantly going with it. If I didn't want a backup bike I would sell the other one.

  17. #17
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    If you like having fun on the trail popping off roots and rocks, then a long-travel bike might not do that since it will just level that stuff.

    Smoothy trails may not be quite as fun with a longer-travel bike.
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

  18. #18
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    One reason is that older linkage designs and shock technology had a hard time preventing pedal bob and keeping you from blowing through travel and causing pedal strikes - not something you have to worry about when bombing a downhill. Now the horst link patent is expired, we have high performance adjustable shocks, and suspension design knowledge is common, lots of companies make longer travel bikes that are fun to pedal.

  19. #19
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    More specifically, your carbon HT is probably more fun at Olallie than the HD4. Tiger and Raging? Not so much.
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by euroford View Post
    I've sold both my XC bikes (hardtail and suspension) and my dual crown DH bike, and I've never missed them a bit.

    wherever I go ride, I ride my 160/150mm 29er enduro bike. Living here in CO, of course a lot of the terrain I ride is perfectly suited to this kind of bike, but even where it isn't I don't care. I just love this machine, don't want to ride anything else, and it does everything "good enough" to be an enjoyable machine for any trail.

    Even when out visiting family and friends in the midwest, and ridding trails like Palos outside of Chicago or the Midland City Forrest back in Michigan, never once did the thought "oh i'm overbiked" cross my mind. I was just like "yay I love ridding this bike!".

    bikes today are amazing. to think that you can have a 30.5lb bike that pedals great for flat ground and climbing, but still have 160mm of travel, big powerful brakes and grippy/durable 2.5 minion tires thats ready to smash through anything on the downhill just blows my mind.

    so yeah, the days of being "overbiked" are kind of over as far as i'm concerned.

    now, maybe your the kind of rider that -never- goes to a bike park, and maybe you just don't ride very aggressive even when the opportunity presents itself, so maybe your ideal bike will have a bit less travel and a weigh a bit less than -my- ideal bike. but to each their own, I think these days any given rider can find his or her own quiver killer and have the one bike that's perfect for it all.
    I couldn't agree more. I ride a 31 pound 155/160 mm travel bike (Knolly Warden) and absolutely love it. I have used it for everything from XC Marathon to whistler bike park. Sure, XC/DH bikes would have been more appropriate for these rides, but I never wish I had a different bike. It is absolutely perfect for 95% of my riding, and still fun for the other 5%.

  21. #21
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    Why is a longer travel bike 'too much bike' for general use?

    Personally, I like being fast both up AND down the mountain.

    As such, a light 120/120mm bike will be my next bike. Set up right, it can get me up and down in the top 1 and 3-5-%, respectively. Which is how I like to ride. Imagine that.


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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curveball View Post
    If you like having fun on the trail popping off roots and rocks, then a long-travel bike might not do that since it will just level that stuff.
    Yep. Those were too other things I didn't like about my longer travel bike;

    - long wheelbase made it a bugger to lift the front end up onto ledges (i.e. Rabbit Valley and other slick rock areas). I actually developed a pretty bad case of tennis elbow from it one year.

    - harder to flick/bunny hop. Just soaking up roots and rocks at 25 mph is fun but I get just as much thrill weaving/hopping over them at 22 mph. And it seems low to mid 20s on my forested trails is about as fast I care to go.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by dir-T View Post
    And it seems low to mid 20s on my forested trails is about as fast I care to go.
    That's the fastest I care to go on smooth singletrack trails.

    I have zero desire to go that fast over fields of furniture-sized boulders. I'm perfectly content riding slower and with more finesse over that stuff. Or even walking it if I don't like the approaches or landing zones. I'm certainly not going to be hucking drops taller than I am, though I've got no problem rolling down something like that if it's doable. I'm also not going to be getting huge air on massive jump lines. I'm perfectly happy with the smaller stuff.

    All of that is exactly why I just don't get any extra enjoyment out of riding long travel AM bikes.

    I love that long travel bikes are available. But I also love that there are mid travel bikes and short travel bikes and no travel bikes. You can get just about anything you want these days. So if someone just loves that 170mm bike, then sweet! But if someone else loves that 120mm bike, then sweet! Or if someone loves that rigid bike, then sweet! But if someone tries a different bike and says, "it's sweet in these situations, but it's too much for me in these other ones" that's also entirely fine. I should EXPECT as much. Anytime you want to consider someone's opinion on a bike or a trail or whatever, you need to know the frame of reference they're coming from. A review is just as much about the REVIEWER giving the opinion as it is about that which is being reviewed.

    So let's say I'm curious about a given bike and I go reading a bunch of reviews about that bike. The reviews look like they're all over the place. A bunch of glowing ones. A bunch of lukewarm ones. And a bunch of negative ones. For argument's sake, let's say equal numbers of all of them. I need to figure out some more about the reviewers themselves. Which of those reviewers likes the same stuff I do? Which of those reviewers rides most similarly to me? Once you start figuring those things out, you can start applying weights to those reviews. Say you're an enthusiastic local enduro racer. You can weight the opinions of xc guys lower than those of fellow enduro racers.

    Let's say you're visiting a new place with a diverse selection of trails and asking about the local trails on the relevant regional forum here on mtbr. Are you just going to go on there and ask for the "best" trails? Of course not. You're going to start off by saying that you enjoy x, y, and z in that order. You're going to mention the bike you plan to ride. You're going to set up a frame of reference. That way, the locals can match trails to that sort of riding. You're not going to send a beginner down a bunch of double black downhills alone. You're not going to point a bikepacker to the local shuttles or bike park. You won't send someone who rides exclusively resort downhills out to a 2,000ft technical singletrack climb.

    Maybe if the review is a professional one, they should do a better job of setting up their frame of reference for every review. But it's no secret that "professional" magazine reviews are pretty much trash anyway. It would be nice of Joe Shmoe amateur blog reviewer would set up their frame of reference for each review, too, but I have even less expectation that he'll do that. It shouldn't be difficult, though, to look at either reviewer's body of work to get an idea where they're coming from.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curveball View Post
    More specifically, your carbon HT is probably more fun at Olallie than the HD4. Tiger and Raging? Not so much.
    I always ride the HT at Olallie, haha! Long travel is pointless there and I love riding SS up that grind and down the flow as well.

    That said, don't sell the HD4 short. It's no 5010, but it pops off little hits and manuals just fine. This is not me.


  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_slacker View Post
    I always ride the HT at Olallie, haha! Long travel is pointless there and I love riding SS up that grind and down the flow as well.

    That said, don't sell the HD4 short. It's no 5010, but it pops off little hits and manuals just fine. This is not me.

    I kind of wish I had a carbon HT for Olallie. Not really sure where else though.

    I was being pretty general about popping off stuff. I mean, in the broadest sense that a shorter-travel bike may be more poppy than a longer-travel one.
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_slacker View Post
    I always ride the HT at Olallie, haha! Long travel is pointless there and I love riding SS up that grind and down the flow as well.

    That said, don't sell the HD4 short. It's no 5010, but it pops off little hits and manuals just fine. This is not me.

    That must be Jeff Weed.. that guy is ridiculously talented. Fun to watch.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by mannyfnz View Post
    That must be Jeff Weed.. that guy is ridiculously talented. Fun to watch.
    Yep, has to be.

    His riding is really amazing. He could make any bike appear to be the most fun thing on wheels.

    I really dig watching his videos.
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

  28. #28
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    Yup, it's JKW. That guy is crazy talented and has an awesome riding style.

    The HT is good for Olallie, Grand Ridge and I ride it a lot out at Tokul. Tons of the blues out there are HT friendly. Up megawatt and down midtown. Flowtron. Derby and Roller Derby. Even crazy ivan just skipping the bigger jumps on lower. All of this assuming you've got a dropper.

  29. #29
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    I have a 2017 aluminum-framed rigid carbon forked Stache single speed (I built it this past winter) that I absolutely adore. I also have a 2016 Fuel Ex 29 full carbon that i like a lot (120mm front and rear).

    I am considering getting another Stache and selling the FEX. There is something about how I work with the Stache that is better for me than how I ride the FEX. I had considered a new generation LT 29er, but I am thinking not at this point.

    The new Stache would be a full carbon bike with gears and a dropper. Two things that would improve the abilities for longer rides over more challenging terrain.

    I ride mostly "blue" and "black" rated terrain and trails. There are times when I ride "double black" stuff, but that isn't super often. I can ride technical terrain on the rigid single speed now, but having some suspension and gears would give me more access to that stuff (mostly because of distance factors; 30+ miles on a rigid SS can be rugged). I generally ride that stuff on the FEX now.

    We have lots of "loose over hard" and "kitty litter: surfaces around here (northern New Mexico). For some reason, the 3 inch tires and the hard tail just work better for me.

    What do you all think?

    (BTW, my interpretation of the OP's use of "general use" means 'what you ride the most.' If you ride in the bike park the most, get the tool that works there the best. If you ride buff single track, get the bike best for that. In other words, get the bike that fits 80-90% of your "normal" rides and how you ride.)

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    That's the fastest I care to go on smooth singletrack trails.

    I have zero desire to go that fast over fields of furniture-sized boulders. I'm perfectly content riding slower and with more finesse over that stuff. Or even walking it if I don't like the approaches or landing zones. I'm certainly not going to be hucking drops taller than I am, though I've got no problem rolling down something like that if it's doable. I'm also not going to be getting huge air on massive jump lines. I'm perfectly happy with the smaller stuff.
    .
    "Furniture-sized" boulders. I like that. That's what I really like to ride. Fast. So that's why I have a bike with 180 mm of travel at both ends. The problem is, more and more of those trails are getting sanitized in the name of "flow" and/or everything that's newly-built shys away from that style of trail experience. So in a way, I'm overbiked on a lot of trails on which I happen to be riding that bike. It's a bit of "I selected the bike that is ideal for the trails I wish I had."

    Lately I've been having just as much fun riding my 29" hardtail on even technical trails. It is MORE fun on the flow trails, since they don't have anything for my suspension to do. Yesterday I used it on a DH-ish trail and didn't even bother to drop the seat from climbing height. It was a great time, and it was only about a minute slower than my top time on the enduro bike.
    Dear U.S. Forest Service: Please ban all wilderness in my riding areas.

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    Sorry... Double post. I like hammers, but I'd rather use a knife sometimes. Different tools and whatnot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Curveball View Post
    If you like having fun on the trail popping off roots and rocks, then a long-travel bike might not do that since it will just level that stuff.

    Smoothy trails may not be quite as fun with a longer-travel bike.
    This. Less technical trails are more fun on shorter travel or no travel bikes. Long travel takes the challenge out of those trails, which is why I mountain bike.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fleas View Post
    IME, suspension has never helped me ride something that I couldn't ride on any other MTB; more or less travel = a very small change in advantage. Suspension has allowed me to go faster on some trails, and it has forgiven most of the mistakes that high speed can create. So, because I'm not out for all-out speed, and we hardly have any real drops around here, suspension is just another "thing"... to maintain, or adjust. It doesn't really improve my MTB experience. And often, it just insulates me from the trail (=boring). The only way to spice things up is to go faster, or ride man-made stunts that are bigger than natural terrain features. All that, to me, starts to appear contrived...less organic...distracting from what I want from the experience.
    "General Use" is a little vague, but I am guessing that most people could get by with much less for what is considered the Joe Blow average for "general use". (i.e. - suspension is more often bought for comfort rather than control) YMMV

    -F

    That is really well said.

    Especially that part about trails or features making the riding experience seem contrived.

    The longer I ride the more I migrate away from highly sculpted, manicured trails - be it DH riding or trail riding.

    Riding things like man made wooden features prickling with nails and chicken wire is starting to seem hokey.

    People may retort, "yeah, but it's fun". So was burning ants with a magnifying glass...

  34. #34
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    About the vague term 'general use', what I mean by that more specifically is that in the past longer travel bikes were reserved for days when you're gonna ride trails that are extremely rough/challenging, DH parks, etc. But they didn't pedal well so you needed a different bike if you were gonna do an XC loop or an epic like I did in the OP.

    For instance back in the day my park/goin big bike was an Intense SS1, DHX coil rear and Lyric coil front. 1x9 with 34 front ring. Pre dropper post days, the seatpost wasn't quite long enough to get full extension. I actually tried to use this as a 'one bike' for a year. I lived in tahoe at the time and you can imagine how it did up some of those big XC climbs. I tried hard but ended up walking it quite a bit. It really wasn't fit for 'general use', but it was awesome at N*, on jump lines and steeper trails. I eventually ended up picking up a superfly carbon hardtail and switched back and forth.

    But these days I think I would not have had to go the two bike route given how the long travel bikes pedal. It's worth noting that the same thing has happened on the XC and trail side of things. Where you used to have bikes with stupid steep HA and high seats that were waiting to send you OTB unless you rode the steeps with your stomach on the seat or butt rubbing the rear tire. Now you can get a low/mid 20's lb XC rig with 120mm travel, dropper post and wide enough tires to not worry about excessively babying it on steep/rough stuff.

    Personally I'm currently on the side of wanting a bigger 'general use' bike, but of course you can go the other way and ride a lighter, faster climbing XC or trail bike as a do it all. Or you can continue to have a quiver.

    About riding manmade features vs natural ones, I don't get the hate. I like riding everything from more raw trails with natural gnar on to the other side hitting built features in a bike park. And I'm 44 so I COULD go full grumpy old man but I don't have it in me. Park is fun AF, makes me feel like a big kid.

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    I just converted my 160/135 trail bike to a 170/165 enduro rig. It'll be interesting to see how I like the change.

    If it isn't as fun, then I'll just change it back over. Versatility is cool.
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

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    I agree with you but I'll play devil's advocate and say for a young fit rider something light and responsive and yes harsh if you mess up can be a lot of fun. If your bike deadens everything it can get a little bit too mellow until you hit mach dangerous when it becomes exciting again :P
    At the current time if my bike deadens a jolt to the lower back or knees at the expense of feeling like cheating I am ok with it :P

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by mannyfnz View Post
    I think it just depends on where you're riding. If someone lives in an area with little elevation, then a 150-170 bike might not feel sprightly enough for all the flat pedally stuff. If I lived in Florida or Ohio and my trails generally didn't have any long, steep and gnarly sections then yea, maybe a longer travel bike would feel a bit dull. I don't think it's so much a question of climbing anymore.
    depends where you are in ohio...

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by richj8990 View Post
    About 10% of the trails I've been on so far just completely kick my ass on an XC hardtail. I cannot do them without either crashing or getting off the bike multiple times. I call them the local All-Mountain trails. The other 90% of trails are no problem. But if I want to be a 'better' rider, it's not just going to be skill that tames those 10% trails, it's going to be a different bike or some big change on the current bike. So, this maybe hard to answer, but if hypothetically I bought a 160mm hardtail (I don't care about the back), would that be any better for drops compared with putting on 27.5 x 2.8 tires to cushion the front? Currently I have 120mm on the front.

    So in other words is there some kind of qualitative equivalency for a standard tire (let's say a 2.35) on a 160mm front fork AM bike...to a + tire on a 120mm XC/trail bike? Can the + tire provide enough cushion to make up for the shorter fork? Or does 160+mm completely rule downhill for 1-2 foot drops and other AM-level obstacles?
    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J View Post
    That is really well said.

    Especially that part about trails or features making the riding experience seem contrived.

    The longer I ride the more I migrate away from highly sculpted, manicured trails - be it DH riding or trail riding.

    Riding things like man made wooden features prickling with nails and chicken wire is starting to seem hokey.

    People may retort, "yeah, but it's fun". So was burning ants with a magnifying glass...
    Quote Originally Posted by shekky View Post
    depends where you are in ohio...
    To all of these^^^^^

    I still prefer rigid. And a 2ft drop, to me, is a normal day. So no, there's no equivalent. I'm not what you'd call a purist, but I do have my preferences. And as far as Ohio goes, I can't think of any course with more risk/reward than the Mayhem Enduro course near Zanesville. I bypassed some of the big stuff, but at the same time I couldn't help but notice the riders clearing the big stuff all had braces and bandages holding themselves together.
    But if I had the "perfect" bike for the Enduro course, everything else would be sleepy.

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curveball View Post
    If you like having fun on the trail popping off roots and rocks, then a long-travel bike might not do that since it will just level that stuff.

    Smoothy trails may not be quite as fun with a longer-travel bike.
    We have a local trail that I have worked and ridden for nearly 18 years. Most of that time, I have been on a rigid SS of some sort and IMHO, the basic character of the trail has changed very little, if any at all. It is common on the local social media to hear someone state that they just rode that trail in the first time in years and complain it has been dumbed down. In the good old days.....blah, blah, blah. The bike they used to ride and what they ride now seems to never be considered into that equation.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianU View Post
    We have a local trail that I have worked and ridden for nearly 18 years. Most of that time, I have been on a rigid SS of some sort and IMHO, the basic character of the trail has changed very little, if any at all. It is common on the local social media to hear someone state that they just rode that trail in the first time in years and complain it has been dumbed down. In the good old days.....blah, blah, blah. The bike they used to ride and what they ride now seems to never be considered into that equation.
    Watch this:


  41. #41
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    For me it's largely personal preference, and has a lot to do with your local trails. Some guys I know ride 150-160 bikes on the same trails I ride on my rigid bike. Do they need that much travel? No. Can I do as many bigger jumps and drops on my bike? No.

    They obviously prefer to have a little too much bike, I much prefer to be slightly under biked.

    Do I want to push around a long travel bike so I can hit 2-3 features on a 3 hour ride? No.

    However, I've done a couple trips this year to locations with more elevation and more aggressive trails than we have locally. If I lived there I would have a longer travel bike. But I would not give up the SS/hardtail/under biked option.
    Rigid SS 29er
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  42. #42
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    As many have pointed out I think the over-biked phrase is largely outdated now that suspension and geo has made significant gains, which is why I think Enduro has become so prevalent. With modern suspension that has all but removed the dreaded bob and better geo, longer travel isn't such a hindrance for your average non-competition rider.

    As someone pointed out above, 140mm is probably my golden travel range, but I ended up going more travel for the durability aspect. Im an intermediate rider, who rarely exceeds 25mph or drops over 3ft, and my M6 is probably more bike than I will ever correctly use. The two reasons I went bigger was:

    1. I can beat the piss out of it without worrying about the frame or shock/fork and have a very minor penalty when it comes to climbing

    2.I have an old back injury that a plusher suspension makes a tremendous difference with.

    Injury aside I just feel that the more common phrase should be under biked. To me the climbing penalty isn't nearly as problematic nowadays as the frame durability and or downhill comfort level is. I managed to break a SJ frame at the rear triangle and blow out a 120mm rear shock on 2 different bikes prior to my newer bike. That being said for pros/racers over biked will always be a legit issue. For the common guy I just dont see it being a huge issue now.

    Caveat to address onespeeds point above... my comments only apply to riders/areas that are actual technical/mountain terrain. If I had flatter more XC riding or bike path style trails id def say you can be over-biked without a doubt.

  43. #43
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    For years I had ridden every single one of my local trails on a rigid single speed. Left the sport for almost 10 years and then started riding them again on the same bike.

    I sold a vehicle and decided to buy myself a new bike. 150mm travel front and rear.
    It is a little slower going up, waaaaay faster going down, and much more comfortable to jump and huck.
    Occasionally I do miss the simplicity of the SS but I am enjoying being a little "over biked".

  44. #44
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    We are all searching for that one bike that does it all for us. The manufacturers have gotten so much closer.

    My Gen 1 Bronson was an absolute turd climbing compared to my current Yeti 5.5 with similar or even less descending ability and I hope that my next bike offers at least some additional improvement.

    This is all in the span of 5 years in the bike industry.

    I am going to add that it seems a little silly to buy a XC/ light trail bike and put Enduro tires and/ or a longer fork on it. Conversely if you have a big travel bike, placing fast rolling trail tires on it seems counter productive.

    The tires should match the terrain. and rider's aggression level, and therefore the bike itself. This seems like a good litmus test to me if you are under/ over biked.
    Last edited by Suns_PSD; 2 Weeks Ago at 11:37 AM.

  45. #45
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    The conclusion I came to in the overbiked thread and seems similar here is the following.

    Being overbiked is in the eye of the beholder. The more xc/pedal inclined you are the more likely you will feel overbiked with more travel. The more dh/descend orientated you are the less likely you will feel overbiked. Of course there is a 50 shades of grey in-between.

    Also the more agressive your local terrain the less likely you are to feel overbiked.

    The last factor I guess would be crazy factor. What is the hardest feature you hit? If you hit the big lines often then you are less likely to feel overbiked. If you bypass all the gnarly and stick to easier trails then you are more likely to feel over biked.

    Oh then there's the Swiss army knife guy who wants to optimise the trail with the one of the many bikes he has in his quiver.

    Me, I live for the down. I want a bike to hit any and every feature I find on the trail. I seek out and inject the gnar into even the most pedal festy rides. The steeper the rootier the gnarlier the better! The highlight of my ride is that ball tappingly steep gnar or that rediculous off camber rooty section I just cleared. I am happy to ride for hours and hit a couple of features in an otherwise tame ride. It will be those features the makes me grin the most!

    For that reason I want the most capable descending bike that still pedals well that I can lay my hands on.

    It just so happens I have my unicorn bike. It's a Rockey slayer 165mm rear, 180mm front. Pedals as good as 140mm bikes but owns the downs in all but the most stupidest dh lines. Even then you can still ride that stupid dh line, just not quite as fast as a rig.

    Do I feel the need for a lower travel bike? No.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by plummet View Post
    The conclusion I came to in the overbiked thread and seems similar here is the following.

    Being overbiked is in the eye of the beholder. The more xc/pedal inclined you are the more likely you will feel overbiked with more travel. The more dh/descend orientated you are the less likely you will feel overbiked. Of course there is a 50 shades of grey in-between.

    Also the more agressive your local terrain the less likely you are to feel overbiked.

    The last factor I guess would be crazy factor. What is the hardest feature you hit? If you hit the big lines often then you are less likely to feel overbiked. If you bypass all the gnarly and stick to easier trails then you are more likely to feel over biked.

    Oh then there's the Swiss army knife guy who wants to optimise the trail with the one of the many bikes he has in his quiver.

    Me, I live for the down. I want a bike to hit any and every feature I find on the trail. I seek out and inject the gnar into even the most pedal festy rides. The steeper the rootier the gnarlier the better! The highlight of my ride is that ball tappingly steep gnar or that rediculous off camber rooty section I just cleared. I am happy to ride for hours and hit a couple of features in an otherwise tame ride. It will be those features the makes me grin the most!

    For that reason I want the most capable descending bike that still pedals well that I can lay my hands on.

    It just so happens I have my unicorn bike. It's a Rockey slayer 165mm rear, 180mm front. Pedals as good as 140mm bikes but owns the downs in all but the most stupidest dh lines. Even then you can still ride that stupid dh line, just not quite as fast as a rig.

    Do I feel the need for a lower travel bike? No.
    Do you live in Squamish by chance?
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

  47. #47
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    MA rider here, I never have too much bike. Or even think about it too much. Chunk, rocks, big and small. No real mountains in Eastern MA, just some short punchy ridges and hills. Boulders, rocks, car sized and house sized. And all sizes in between. 6 Inches travel front and rear on a 29er enduro works just fine.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curveball View Post
    Do you live in Squamish by chance?
    Nope. I'm In NZ.

  49. #49
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    I did something similar to the OP. I had a short travel XC/ trail bike ( 27.5 SC BlurXCc) which I loved. I demo a Turner RFX and completely fell in love with it, felt like I was giving up very little on the climbs, despite it weighing 6 pounds more and have 60-70mm more travel.
    I finally did purchase the Turner a couple of months ago and have no regrets.

    When I first showed up on my weekly group ride( Thursday night world champs), usually 25-30 miles, 2500-4000 ft elevation, all of my peers were saying and asking why I bought a bike like the Turner, when I should have bought a more xc/ trail orientated 29er, which seemed to them as the " bike that fits our terrain". I now am at the front or close to the front on climbs and drop mostly everyone on the descents.
    I can even ride the local bike parks with no reservations, something I couldn't do on my old bike.

    FYI, I do live in an area with a lot of climbing and descending, some very tight, technical trails and 3 bike parks within a half hour.
    EXODUX Jeff

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by plummet View Post
    The conclusion I came to in the overbiked thread and seems similar here is the following.

    Being overbiked is in the eye of the beholder.
    Yep! I ride short travel XC bikes. I like picking a line and I'm more of a climber than a downhill bomber. If I rode your bike, I would be overbiked. But that doesn't mean you are overbiked when you ride it.

    I've actually been throwing around the idea of getting a rigid bike. I know it will be slower at times, especially descending but I've been thinking that maybe I've been putting too much emphasis on speed lately and it would be a nice change from my main bike.
    Quote Originally Posted by Oh My Sack! View Post
    Remember, there's always quilting and knitting if pedalling becomes too tough.

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by plummet View Post
    Nope. I'm In NZ.
    Friend of mine spent a winter in NZ during his "offseason" (he works on a pro trail building crew in the states, so our winter, your summer) and he brought his AM hardtail and pretty much rode everything around Nelson on it. Not sure whether he felt over- or under-biked, but I know he used to ride a longer travel FS and generally likes his hardtail better. He definitely likes chunk and air, too.

    I dunno that you can say it's entirely up to the rider, as to whether they're overbiked or not. That's certainly part of it, but I'd say that the terrain can't be ignored. The blending of rider and terrain into the rider's style is the biggest determinant of the bike that a given rider is likely to prefer.

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    Meh the term overbiked is useless and silly.

    Ride what you want. There's no penalty for being "overbiked" whatever that means. Many of today's 150mm bikes pedal and climb better than hardtails from a decade ago.

  53. #53
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    I don't believe in being over biked. I have several bikes (6+). While my 5" trail bike is my primary go-to, I still ride the SS, the HT, the fatty, and the DH bike occasionally.

    If you have finite number of trails you ride 90% of the year, riding a different bike provides a different experience. Especially with the fully rigid SS, these different experiences only enhance your overall skill set.

    The older bikes with suspension are proving to be more difficult to maintain; 26'rs, non tapered forks, 9sp drive trains but still I would never consider parting with them. Too much time, love, and memories wrapped up in those. I imagine they'll end up adorning my personal bicycle museum once they're retired from rotation.

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    Friend of mine spent a winter in NZ during his "offseason" (he works on a pro trail building crew in the states, so our winter, your summer) and he brought his AM hardtail and pretty much rode everything around Nelson on it. Not sure whether he felt over- or under-biked, but I know he used to ride a longer travel FS and generally likes his hardtail better. He definitely likes chunk and air, too.

    I dunno that you can say it's entirely up to the rider, as to whether they're overbiked or not. That's certainly part of it, but I'd say that the terrain can't be ignored. The blending of rider and terrain into the rider's style is the biggest determinant of the bike that a given rider is likely to prefer.
    Yeah, it occurred to me that it might be thought of as a relationship between the bike and terrain being ridden.
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by plummet View Post
    Nope. I'm In NZ.
    Oooh, can I come down there and ride with you? NZ riding looks beyond awesome.

    We may do a vacation down there within the next couple of years.
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

  56. #56
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    Depends on your local geography. This is less than five minutes from my house and I've been riding it since 2003. I have a mid travel and a SS hardtail in the quiver for other local trails.


    https://youtu.be/fKwHS5sPtYc
    Ripping trails and tipping ales

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    I dunno that you can say it's entirely up to the rider, as to whether they're overbiked or not. That's certainly part of it, but I'd say that the terrain can't be ignored. The blending of rider and terrain into the rider's style is the biggest determinant of the bike that a given rider is likely to prefer.

    What i mean by that is that only you can tell if you are over biked. It will depend on the trail, your style and what you enjoy. If you deem that your bike is fit for purpose, then it is!


    2 guys riding the same trail could ride completely different bikes and both feel they have the right tool for the job. They are both correct. The man who is incorrect is the man telling you your bike is wrong for the trail when you know its right.

  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by chazpat View Post
    Yep! I ride short travel XC bikes. I like picking a line and I'm more of a climber than a downhill bomber. If I rode your bike, I would be overbiked. But that doesn't mean you are overbiked when you ride it.

    I've actually been throwing around the idea of getting a rigid bike. I know it will be slower at times, especially descending but I've been thinking that maybe I've been putting too much emphasis on speed lately and it would be a nice change from my main bike.
    Yep. Each to their own. If i rode your bike i'd be, sweet this rips uphill like a mofo. But what that hell is all this bouncing around on the down? Dammit i need to slow down and rider conservatively argh... oh shit I better not hit that gap or stupid gnar section. I would feel underbiked.

  59. #59
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    Why is a longer travel bike 'too much bike' for general use?

    I agree in the too each his own mantra. Different strokes, different folks. It really depends on how a what you ride.

    For me, I like my 120/ 120 low and slack 29r trail bike as my do all main bike. Itís an Evil The Following v1 that Iíve had over 3 years now. I slacked it out even more with a -1 deg. Works angle set headset. I ride it in the higher geo setting with a 66.6 degree HA and 74.8 degree SA. Itís a great do it all bike and an amazing berm smasher in this geometry configuration.
    Last edited by manitou2200; 1 Week Ago at 05:09 AM.

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hurricane Jeff View Post
    I did something similar to the OP. I had a short travel XC/ trail bike ( 27.5 SC BlurXCc) which I loved. I demo a Turner RFX and completely fell in love with it, felt like I was giving up very little on the climbs, despite it weighing 6 pounds more and have 60-70mm more travel.
    I finally did purchase the Turner a couple of months ago and have no regrets.

    When I first showed up on my weekly group ride( Thursday night world champs), usually 25-30 miles, 2500-4000 ft elevation, all of my peers were saying and asking why I bought a bike like the Turner, when I should have bought a more xc/ trail orientated 29er, which seemed to them as the " bike that fits our terrain". I now am at the front or close to the front on climbs and drop mostly everyone on the descents.
    I can even ride the local bike parks with no reservations, something I couldn't do on my old bike.

    FYI, I do live in an area with a lot of climbing and descending, some very tight, technical trails and 3 bike parks within a half hour.
    And you're riding at 5000' to over 8000' elevation.
    Ripping trails and tipping ales

  61. #61
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    Vader, where is that trail in the video? terrain looks somewhat familiar. I
    EXODUX Jeff

  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hurricane Jeff View Post
    Vader, where is that trail in the video? terrain looks somewhat familiar. I
    Crestline. You drop in off Hwy 138 and finish on the same highway at Silverwood.
    Ripping trails and tipping ales

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    I remember seeing the Bushido is a bike shop window in Santa Monica in 1987 or 88. Coming from a motocross background, I thought about how cool it was( also how impracticality was)
    I believe it got stolen from that bike shop soon after, never to resurface.
    EXODUX Jeff

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    I wonder how many people are buying big travel bikes based on market hype. Should anybody shorter than a given height be on a 29er' with 150 mm of travel? I don't know. That's a helluva a lot of bike to toss around if you're not Greg Minnaar.

    Long travel bikes are evolving, I get it. But after 5 years destroying my neck handling a 35 pound sled, I'm ready to lighten/shorten the load.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 802spokestoke View Post
    I wonder how many people are buying big travel bikes based on market hype. Should anybody shorter than a given height be on a 29er' with 150 mm of travel? I don't know. That's a helluva a lot of bike to toss around if you're not Greg Minnaar.

    Long travel bikes are evolving, I get it. But after 5 years destroying my neck handling a 35 pound sled, I'm ready to lighten/shorten the load.
    Are reviews hype? I was finding limits on my shorter travel bike and when I started reading reviews online the hype was that the longer travel bikes are getting much better at pedaling uphill. I picked one that most reviews said was good at that and..... it turned out to be true.

    It's strange you mention weight of the bike destroying you, for me at 44 not having enough suspension through the rough stuff is way harder on my body than moving the bike around. That said with the evolution of these bigger bikes, you can, with enough $$ and an eye towards the right components, get yourself a 28ish lb 160/150mm shred sled. That's not XC light but it's not 35 lbs either.

    Granted if you don't need the suspension and slackness you can also get yourself a 26-27lb trail bike or a stupid light XC whip too. Or you could have all 3.

  66. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curveball View Post
    I just converted my 160/135 trail bike to a 170/165 enduro rig. It'll be interesting to see how I like the change.

    If it isn't as fun, then I'll just change it back over. Versatility is cool.
    Shred Dogg to megatrail right?

    Yep. I love that about the GG bikes. I have two shocks and four different configurations, giving me essentially four bikes in one with rear travel between 135mm and 165mm.

    I also have a plus hardtail and a full on DH bike. So as far as being overbiked it depends what youíre looking for and what you consider fun.

    I love the hardtail for the super smooth rides and the snow. But for anything with rocks, it beats me up.

    I ride a big bike in the parks, or sometimes the enduro setup. Just depends on what Iím riding and what my comfort level is that day.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kpdemello View Post
    Meh the term overbiked is useless and silly.

    Ride what you want. There's no penalty for being "overbiked" whatever that means. Many of today's 150mm bikes pedal and climb better than hardtails from a decade ago.
    That's nonsense.

  68. #68
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    Why is a longer travel bike 'too much bike' for general use?

    Quote Originally Posted by mountainbiker24 View Post
    That's nonsense.
    Apparently people donít believe in physics around here.

    If he were to qualify that statement, by saying ďthey climb well for what they areĒ, or ďminimal penalty compared to 120mm bikes of a few years agoĒ, it would be true. Or better yet: ďThe penalties are small enough that Iím able to write them off.Ē

    But, otherwise, itís just laughable.


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  69. #69
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    This discussion always comes down to speed. It is not about speed, it is about fun.

    On steep, rough trails, a long travel bike with aggressive tires is an absolute hoot. But the reality is most trails are not steep, or rough enough for a big bike to come into its own. The vast majority of mountain bike trails are pretty low grade and pretty smooth. You take a long travel bike on those trails and they pretty boring. The bike just doesn't work on that terrain, a long travel bike take those trails and effective paves them.

    Whereas a short travel bike can be super fun on lower grade smooth trails.

    Right now I have two MTBs I ride. One is a 160mm travel enduro bike and the other is a hardtail with a straight post. Which bike I choose is based entirely of what trails I feel like riding. And honestly the Enduro bike is as much on easy trails as the hardtail is on super aggressive trails.

    This is why the 120-140mm bikes are popular. They don't excel on super aggressive trails and they don't excel on low grade smooth trails, but they are fun to ride everywhere. I call them vacation bikes. They work on everything from the steep aggressive trails in Whistler corridor to super fast flowy trails of Oregon.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    Watch this:

    Great video. I like how it's a bona-fide "old guy" having the moment of revelation, which I guess is the whole point of the video. Makes me think of the "kids" that think any bike made before 2015 is an ancient deathtrap relic that is only good for about 8 mph on a paved boardwalk. It's all about having fun....nothing more, nothing less.

  71. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by stripes View Post
    Shred Dogg to megatrail right?
    Yes. I'm down with a cold now, but I'll try the Megatrail as soon as I feel better.
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

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    Big slack,

    I think Iím just trying to convince myself to buy another bike like youíre suggesting - right tool for the job. There are some nicely specíd carbon scouts kicking around the inter webs. And as Iím turning the corner on my youth, maybe the big bike plushness will be better on my health than a trail bike. I donít know.

    Maybe itís time to change up the riding style too and back off a touch.

    Pedal efficiency and plushness now being offered at stupid light weights are pretty cool especially with wagon wheels. However, handling on a shorter wheel base is part of my thinking too. Glad youíre digging the new ride.

  73. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by chazpat View Post
    Yep! I ride short travel XC bikes. I like picking a line and I'm more of a climber than a downhill bomber. If I rode your bike, I would be overbiked. But that doesn't mean you are overbiked when you ride it.
    "You must spread some reputation around before giving it to Chazpat again"

    Possibly the most significant sentences in the whole thread. But, if I pass you on the canal path on a 140 bike, I may throw elbows...
    Rigid SS 29er
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  74. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_slacker View Post
    It's strange you mention weight of the bike destroying you, for me at 44 not having enough suspension through the rough stuff is way harder on my body than moving the bike around. That said with the evolution of these bigger bikes, you can, with enough $$ and an eye towards the right components, get yourself a 28ish lb 160/150mm shred sled. That's not XC light but it's not 35 lbs either.

    Granted if you don't need the suspension and slackness you can also get yourself a 26-27lb trail bike or a stupid light XC whip too. Or you could have all 3.
    Wait is 44 YO, old?....I donít think so. A big bike is a big bike. Geo and materials have lightened them some and suspensions have progressed in pedaling efficiency but theyíre still big bikes. Yeah, I had a very good DW, 180mm, 36-38 lb. bike. It was fun and a pretty amazing pedaling bike for its weight but it was still 38 lbs.

    ....Or you could have a 25-26 lb. 120/ 120 trail bike with a 66 deg. HA a crush most everything. Itís not a 21-23 lb XC bike but if thereís climbing or real pedaling to do youíd be so far off the back with your big bike that weíd probably have to bag shoot you and leave ya for the crows. Youíre not going to be having as much fun when youíre off the back and trying to keep up. Fun is in the eye of the beholder as long as everyone is on the same or a similar page.

    I have nothing against big bikes, Iíve owed plenty and enjoyed them. I also love my hardtails and rigid bikes. If you live where you frequently shuttle or ride bike parks, have nothing but chunk or you enduro race itíd be crazy not to have a bigger bike. Otherwise....


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  75. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    "You must spread some reputation around before giving it to Chazpat again"

    Possibly the most significant sentences in the whole thread. But, if I pass you on the canal path on a 140 bike, I may throw elbows...
    Then you can forget the hookers and blow, my friend.
    Quote Originally Posted by Oh My Sack! View Post
    Remember, there's always quilting and knitting if pedalling becomes too tough.

  76. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by chazpat View Post
    Then you can forget the hookers and blow, my friend.
    It's the apocalypse, all previous agreements go out the window. No grudges.
    Rigid SS 29er
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  77. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by manitou2200 View Post
    Wait is 44 YO, old?....I donít think so. A big bike is a big bike. Geo and materials have lightened them some and suspensions have progressed in pedaling efficiency but theyíre still big bikes. Yeah, I had a very good DW, 180mm, 36-38 lb. bike. It was fun and a pretty amazing pedaling bike for its weight but it was still 38 lbs.

    ....Or you could have a 25-26 lb. 120/ 120 trail bike with a 66 deg. HA a crush most everything. Itís not a 21-23 lb XC bike but if thereís climbing or real pedaling to do youíd be so far off the back with your big bike that weíd probably have to bag shoot you and leave ya for the crows. Youíre not going to be having as much fun when youíre off the back and trying to keep up. Fun is in the eye of the beholder as long as everyone is on the same or a similar page.

    I have nothing against big bikes, Iíve owed plenty and enjoyed them. I also love my hardtails and rigid bikes. If you live where you frequently shuttle or ride bike parks, have nothing but chunk or you enduro race itíd be crazy not to have a bigger bike. Otherwise....
    44 isn't old, but stuff sure does take longer to heal.

    Dunno how many 25 lb 120mm bikes with 66 degree HA there are out there. A really $$ Evil Following? But will it really crush most everything, or will it get you through the blacks and double blacks with good lines and some biological suspension?

    I know this pretty well coming off a 130/125mm bike that definitely was capable of riding some of these trails but nowhere near capable of taking the same lines at the same speed as the big bike. I mean, I could ride the hardtail down the same trails if I was really masochistic.

    Not sure what this off the back stuff means, sounds like roadie talk. I'd probably ride the HT for that sort of thing.

    All I'm saying is, per your last paragraph most of the trails I ride are steep, or fast, or gnar or all of the above. I love riding the SS hardtail but gun to my head and having to choose only one bike I'd keep the HD4 no question.

  78. #78
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    We need more options for shorter travel bike with long, low, and slack geometry.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

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    Why is a longer travel bike 'too much bike' for general use?

    Quote Originally Posted by big_slacker View Post
    44 isn't old, but stuff sure does take longer to heal.

    Dunno how many 25 lb 120mm bikes with 66 degree HA there are out there. A really $$ Evil Following? But will it really crush most everything, or will it get you through the blacks and double blacks with good lines and some biological suspension?

    I know this pretty well coming off a 130/125mm bike that definitely was capable of riding some of these trails but nowhere near capable of taking the same lines at the same speed as the big bike. I mean, I could ride the hardtail down the same trails if I was really masochistic.

    Not sure what this off the back stuff means, sounds like roadie talk. I'd probably ride the HT for that sort of thing.

    All I'm saying is, per your last paragraph most of the trails I ride are steep, or fast, or gnar or all of the above. I love riding the SS hardtail but gun to my head and having to choose only one bike I'd keep the HD4 no question.
    The problem with any trail rating scheme is that itís relative to other trails in the area and is determined by a small group of people. Youíll have some trails both over and underrated. Then you have crowd-rated trails.

    This is the example I always use. To me, a double black diamond trail isnít even rideable on an XC bike. But just a few years ago, it was part of a stage race. And ridden very quickly by those people. IMO, that kind of rating should be reserved for trails where I push or take a lift up to the top.





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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    The problem with any trail rating scheme is that itís relative to other trails in the area and is determined by a small group of people. Youíll have some trails both over and underrated. Then you have crowd-rated trails.

    This is the example I always use. To me, a double black diamond trail isnít even rideable on an XC bike. But just a few years ago, it was part of a stage race. And ridden very quickly by those people. IMO, that kind of rating should be reserved for trails where I push or take a lift up to the top.





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    A trail rating is never based on what type of bike that can ride it. Usually it's based on the consequence of failure. Yes, you could ride a double black diamond on any bike. Crash though and you'll get really hurt.

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  81. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    A trail rating is never based on what type of bike that can ride it. Usually it's based on the consequence of failure. Yes, you could ride a double black diamond on any bike. Crash though and you'll get really hurt.

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    My point was that they are subjective assessments of risk and consequence made by random people of unknown ability and confidence. Crashing wearing pads, full face and chest protector, or crash wearing lycra? It's all relative AND relevant.

    Another example that's closer to you. For a while, Zen was rated double black on TF.
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  82. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    My point was that they are subjective assessments of risk and consequence made by random people of unknown ability and confidence. Crashing wearing pads, full face and chest protector, or crash wearing lycra? It's all relative AND relevant.

    Another example that's closer to you. For a while, Zen was rated double black on TF.
    Generally trails are rated based on a set of established standards so that the ratings are consistent (e.g. Whistler trail standards). Not sure about your area but there is probably something similar.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cerebroside View Post
    Generally trails are rated based on a set of established standards so that the ratings are consistent (e.g. Whistler trail standards). Not sure about your area but there is probably something similar.
    Established standards like that exist, but don't always reflect local conditions.

    There absolutely is a difference regionally between what those different things mean on the ground. It gets especially vague when crowd-sourced trail ratings like TF and MTBP get thrown in, and people posting reports don't have to adhere to any sort of standard.

  84. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    Established standards like that exist, but don't always reflect local conditions.

    There absolutely is a difference regionally between what those different things mean on the ground. It gets especially vague when crowd-sourced trail ratings like TF and MTBP get thrown in, and people posting reports don't have to adhere to any sort of standard.
    That's all true, just saying that (at least where I am) they are not subjective or done by random people. Ours were done by paid contractors through Rec Sites and Trails BC. Difficulty is assessed by measurement of grade, height, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    My point was that they are subjective assessments of risk and consequence made by random people of unknown ability and confidence. Crashing wearing pads, full face and chest protector, or crash wearing lycra? It's all relative AND relevant.

    Another example that's closer to you. For a while, Zen was rated double black on TF.
    I knew what you were saying.

    Another example near me is Gooseberry Mesa. It's a double black. Easily done on a 100mm XC bike, in lycra. No one wears body armor other than knee or elbow pads and you only wear a full face if that's all you have. The consequence for failure in some sections though is 300 feet of epic descent.

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    Are we really now arguing about trail difficulty ratings, completely missing the point of the post?

    The point was that you can ride many steep gnarly trails with mandatory features on a hardtail. But they're easier to ride faster and probably with more margin for error on a bigger slacker bike. If those are the types of trails you ride the marginal speed/effort pedaling the bigger slacker bike to the top is well worth it. And that pedaling penalty has narrowed, making the choice not such a hard one IMO.

    That doesn't mean you can't accept the pounding/bottoming/getting knocked off line, etc. that'll happen on a 120mm trail bike for a faster/easier trip up the hill. It's your tradeoff to make and I applaud you for doing more with less as an SS rider.

  87. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_slacker View Post
    Are we really now arguing about trail difficulty ratings, completely missing the point of the post?

    The point was that you can ride many steep gnarly trails with mandatory features on a hardtail. But they're easier to ride faster and probably with more margin for error on a bigger slacker bike. If those are the types of trails you ride the marginal speed/effort pedaling the bigger slacker bike to the top is well worth it. And that pedaling penalty has narrowed, making the choice not such a hard one IMO.

    That doesn't mean you can't accept the pounding/bottoming/getting knocked off line, etc. that'll happen on a 120mm trail bike for a faster/easier trip up the hill. It's your tradeoff to make and I applaud you for doing more with less as an SS rider.
    Discussions evolve and have side conversations. They always come back around. Relax.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cerebroside View Post
    That's all true, just saying that (at least where I am) they are not subjective or done by random people. Ours were done by paid contractors through Rec Sites and Trails BC. Difficulty is assessed by measurement of grade, height, etc.
    lol, I don't think I've ridden a trail whose ratings were decided by professional contractors. The professionally-constructed trails I've ridden had difficulty ratings generally determined by the land manager, and the contractor basically followed those instructions. I HAVE ridden trails whose difficulties wound up being less than intended during planning stages due to various reasons. I HAVE ridden trails that have become more difficult over time due to erosion, soil compaction, etc and trails that have become easier over time due to sanitization. I have ridden trails whose difficulty ratings were determined after consideration of grade, height, width, and other measurables. I have also ridden trails older than I am, whose difficulty ratings predate the standards you reference.

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    Quote Originally Posted by big_slacker View Post
    Not sure what this off the back stuff means, sounds like roadie talk. I'd probably ride the HT for that sort of thing.

    All I'm saying is, per your last paragraph most of the trails I ride are steep, or fast, or gnar or all of the above. I love riding the SS hardtail but gun to my head and having to choose only one bike I'd keep the HD4 no question.
    My point was more about riding a big bike on everything and having to suffer trying to keep up with a crew of friends that are on shorter travel bikes on a more pedal'y, climbing intensive ride.

    It can go the other way also. I remember getting out of the shuttle to ride the whole enchilada one time and the group selection i was in included a very fit couple who we just met on 100mm XC bikes, when the rest of our group were riding our 140mm bikes. The couple climbed well and beat me up to the top of Hazard but once we started descending we never saw them again. We waited for them on LPS but they were so far off the back that we gave up waiting. We weren't riding as a group per say but out of courtesy we were trying to include them.

    I guess my last post was more of a rant, so sorry about that. I'm personally fond of 120-130 bikes like my Following as all-rounders but ideally as you stated before it would be nice to have one of each. I just think a big bike for me would not get ridden that much, just like my last big bike.

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    "Big" bikes these days typically have some type of well designed suspension and most likely some type of platform shock. My 160/150 bike climbs well enough that unless I'm trying to hang with the high school team, it's my bike of choice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cerebroside View Post
    That's all true, just saying that (at least where I am) they are not subjective or done by random people. Ours were done by paid contractors through Rec Sites and Trails BC. Difficulty is assessed by measurement of grade, height, etc.
    In the US, particularly in CO, what you describe is such a rarity as to be effectively non-existent.




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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    lol, I don't think I've ridden a trail whose ratings were decided by professional contractors. The professionally-constructed trails I've ridden had difficulty ratings generally determined by the land manager, and the contractor basically followed those instructions. I HAVE ridden trails whose difficulties wound up being less than intended during planning stages due to various reasons. I HAVE ridden trails that have become more difficult over time due to erosion, soil compaction, etc and trails that have become easier over time due to sanitization. I have ridden trails whose difficulty ratings were determined after consideration of grade, height, width, and other measurables. I have also ridden trails older than I am, whose difficulty ratings predate the standards you reference.
    Not quite sure what point you're making here. I'm just saying that trail ratings don't have to be completely subjective. If the trail mentioned is rated double black it may be because it was rated against a standard that categorizes it like that, not just because some random rider thinks it's pretty hard.

    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    In the US, particularly in CO, what you describe is such a rarity as to be effectively non-existent.
    Rare here too, but that wasn't really my point.

    Edit: Assuming you're talking about bringing people in for assessments. I think that's just because they were short staffed. Parks and Rec people assigning difficulty based on standards is normal for stuff they manage.

  93. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    In the US, particularly in CO, what you describe is such a rarity as to be effectively non-existent.

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    It would be nice to say that in BC we have "proffesionals" doing the trail rating but we don't.

    My wife is president of the kamloops bicycle riders association and we work pretty closely with rec. sites and trails getting trails built and existing ones sanctioned. The people fr omrec. site and trails have actually never been on any of the MTB trails. The people making the difficulty rating are knowledgable local riders. Same is true for nearly every single riding location in BC.

    My experience is trails marked double black are the hardest local trails. In Kamloops our trails are not crazy difficult and our double blacks would be single blacks or even Blues in the Whistler corridor. Just for reference a trail like Captian Ahab would be rated blue by Whistler standards for technical difficulty but black for risk factors (like falling off a cliff).
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN View Post
    It would be nice to say that in BC we have "proffesionals" doing the trail rating but we don't.

    My wife is president of the kamloops bicycle riders association and we work pretty closely with rec. sites and trails getting trails built and existing ones sanctioned. The people fr omrec. site and trails have actually never been on any of the MTB trails. The people making the difficulty rating are knowledgable local riders. Same is true for nearly every single riding location in BC.

    My experience is trails marked double black are the hardest local trails. In Kamloops our trails are not crazy difficult and our double blacks would be single blacks or even Blues in the Whistler corridor. Just for reference a trail like Captian Ahab would be rated blue by Whistler standards for technical difficulty but black for risk factors (like falling off a cliff).
    Probably depends who you have running things locally then. They're crazy picky about compliance up here (PG), and I know a few other places are similar.

    Anyway, apologies for getting this thread way off topic. Point was just that ratings don't have to be arbitrary.

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    I have a 120/100 XC ish bike, a 170/160 I bought for park use, and a 100/ht fat bike. On most of my trials I can ride any one of the 3, and I often choose based on mood. If I want to go fast, XC. Use that for casual racing too. If Iím goofing off or want all the tourists to say ďcool bikeĒ I ride the FB (which Iíve also raced for fun early in the season). If I want to experiment or session some features I ride the LT bike. Fun to have choices.

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    All comes down to your trails and what you like to do on them. Plenty of people overbike where I am for our tame "XC" type trails that easily shredded on 100mm bikes or HTs. I think the overbiking thing is somewhat funny...there are no downsides only upsides to 150mm low/long/slack bikes? It's basically the '90s again where everyone was told my the industry that a XC race rocket slammed HT was the best bike for all conditions...well now it's these big bikes. Same thing on the opposite end of the spectrum. Here, the "rowdy XC" bike is probably the best setup for our trails no matter how you ride them but hey, ride what you want and have fun..that's really all the matters anyway. They balance climbing efficiency, fireroad riding, and tech. My Niner RKT (90mm) wet up with a 120mm 34 fork handles it all well without having to slog a 30+ pound monster bike around for the few DHs (if you want to call them that) that we have.
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

    2018 Niner RKT 9 RDO - enduro AF

  97. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_slacker View Post
    Are we really now arguing about trail difficulty ratings, completely missing the point of the post?

    The point was that you can ride many steep gnarly trails with mandatory features on a hardtail. But they're easier to ride faster and probably with more margin for error on a bigger slacker bike. If those are the types of trails you ride the marginal speed/effort pedaling the bigger slacker bike to the top is well worth it. And that pedaling penalty has narrowed, making the choice not such a hard one IMO.

    That doesn't mean you can't accept the pounding/bottoming/getting knocked off line, etc. that'll happen on a 120mm trail bike for a faster/easier trip up the hill. It's your tradeoff to make and I applaud you for doing more with less as an SS rider.
    Well said. I completely agree. 160mm travel all day every day for me. Works perfectly for the trails I ride the majority of the time.

  98. #98
    ccm
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    I knew what you were saying.

    Another example near me is Gooseberry Mesa. It's a double black. Easily done on a 100mm XC bike, in lycra. No one wears body armor other than knee or elbow pads and you only wear a full face if that's all you have. The consequence for failure in some sections though is 300 feet of epic descent.

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
    then there are some flat low consequence trails I know in BC that only 1% of these forum readers could ride with any flow
    think about lots of wet roots and sharp corners between just enough straight and relatively smooth sections to get your speed up
    any slips or loss of momentum and you get stopped
    Whistler Trail standards don't work for these trails. Extremely technically challenging but of low danger or consequence
    Too big a bike would limit the ability to keep your speed up and you would therefore not have the momentum when you really need it

  99. #99
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    You can't have a bike with too much suspension like you can't have a girl with too much ass. It's just a matter of knowing how to handle it all.

  100. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by mk.ultra View Post
    You can't have a bike with too much suspension like you can't have a girl with too much ass. It's just a matter of knowing how to handle it all.
    Only if you donít care about going uphill even moderately well.

    The idea that there are no trade offs is just ridiculous.




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