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  1. #1
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    Cool-blue Rhythm Is 6" of travel overkill for TX trails? Considering that I take a CO trip each year

    Hello fellow riders, first time posting so hopefully I get some good opinions! I was curious of everyone's thoughts on a longer travel bike for TX riding. I'm currently trying to decide which bike I should ultimately get, but I'm stuck on this factor. I live in Grapevine and ride majority of trails in the metroplex (I would consider myself a strong intermediate rider)

    In my eyes, 6" of travel is not necessary at all for the TX riding I do, but the reason I'm hung up on this is because I travel to Colorado at least once a year with a group of friends for riding and I'm tired of having to rent a BIG HEAVY DH bike every single time. I'd feel much more comfortable on my own bike, that I'm used to riding.

    Now because I can't afford multiple bikes at this point in time, I have to make the best decision for myself on a single bike, so back to my main question....

    is 6" of travel complete overkill for DFW trails? I'm worried about climbing becoming more difficult.

    What would you guys do in my situation?

    Would you opt for the AllMTN/Enduro bike that isn't necessary for TX but works great at a Colorado mountain resort or would you opt for the Trail bike and just continue renting each time you make a trip?

  2. #2
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    Yes, unless you are slow and don't give a shit.


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  3. #3
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    Edit: sorry I thought I was on a different local forum.

    Sweet spot for Texas is 120-130. I ride everything on my 100/100, and travel with the bike. I am faster on it than on a Bronson CC even on the flow tracks I have ridden in sante Fe.


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  4. #4
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    The only place I've seen in Texas that might warrant this much travel would be Emma Long in Austin, but I still don't think I'd want a super heavy bike.
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  5. #5
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    Shoot for the "majority". I'm with FJSnoozer, I'd rock a 120-130 range bike. That's also being slightly hypocritical though as I just picked up a 150mm travel bike that I probably will never get the most out of... but it sure is a hell of a lot of fun.

  6. #6
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    How often you travel to big mountain territory? If it's once to twice a year i would focus on what would make you happiest here in Texas. Could you make a 6 inch travel bike work in Texas? Sure. It will have a hard time competing against shorter travel bikes on efficiency, weight, playfulness, speed (with exceptions of the roughest of rough trails in Texas).

    Not sure what kind of bike you have currently or how rough of trails you are riding in Colorado/Texas so take my opinion as partially formed. The question becomes how do you enjoy riding? If you dont necessarily need a full on cross-country machine i feel like a aggressive low travel 29er is the ticket (transition smuggler, evil following, process 111) with around 120 rear and 130 front. The big wheels really do roll over roots and rocks very well and you retain short travel efficiency. Honestly, the wheel size thing is overblown, 29ers can be fast, playful, and flickable with aggressive geo. Shoot even in the Texas Enduro series you see guys winning classes on bikes within the 120-140mm range on some pretty chunky trails like Dinosaur Valley, Reveille Peak Ranch, and Flat Creek Crossing. Although you may already be on those bikes at this time. Not sure what kind of bike you have currently or how rough of trails you are riding in Colorado.

  7. #7
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    Being in Colorado, and not knowing what you need for TX beyond what I'm reading here, I'd recommend a lower travel 29er with good clearance, and a burly set of tires for when you come up here. Considering I used to ride everything I ride now on fully rigid bikes in the very old days, you can have a great time with a quality 120mm bike pretty much anywhere.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by danniel1332 View Post
    How often you travel to big mountain territory? If it's once to twice a year i would focus on what would make you happiest here in Texas. Could you make a 6 inch travel bike work in Texas? Sure. It will have a hard time competing against shorter travel bikes on efficiency, weight, playfulness, speed (with exceptions of the roughest of rough trails in Texas).

    Not sure what kind of bike you have currently or how rough of trails you are riding in Colorado/Texas so take my opinion as partially formed. The question becomes how do you enjoy riding? If you dont necessarily need a full on cross-country machine i feel like a aggressive low travel 29er is the ticket (transition smuggler, evil following, process 111) with around 120 rear and 130 front. The big wheels really do roll over roots and rocks very well and you retain short travel efficiency. Honestly, the wheel size thing is overblown, 29ers can be fast, playful, and flickable with aggressive geo. Shoot even in the Texas Enduro series you see guys winning classes on bikes within the 120-140mm range on some pretty chunky trails like Dinosaur Valley, Reveille Peak Ranch, and Flat Creek Crossing. Although you may already be on those bikes at this time. Not sure what kind of bike you have currently or how rough of trails you are riding in Colorado.
    I completely agree with you on 29ers, that's what I ride. My bike is not a great bike by any means. I used to BMX as a teenager but stopped riding for a while until I fell in love with MTB. As a gift after i showed my interest my father in law bought me an Ironhorse Sinister 6.2. (The blue one) as an introduction bike. I've put lowgrade rockshox (xc30 with 100mm)on it because the suspension that came with it was garbage and I still rock the spring that came with it for the rear suspension. I also upgraded the wheels, tires, BB and front derailleur. Low grade rockshox made a huge difference so honestly ANY bike, long travel or short, would most definitely be a huge upgrade! Evil is the company I was interested in because I like the idea and versatility of the "flip chip" technology they utilize. I feel like that might be something useful to me because it gives you the ability to slightly alter the geometry of the bike and swap out forks for whichever riding you were doing that day. I was looking at Insurgents though, but the Following is an amazing bike as well and probably geared more towards my riding. That being said my favorite trails in DFW are Texas Sunset at Big Cedar, EKG at Legacy and Northshore at Grapevine lake. I like to ride hard and my potential is great, I'm just not on a rig that I'm comfortable with riding as hard as I'd like to. I'm very playful on the trails and basically try to turn every root, rut and bump into some kind of pop off feature (until I'm out of energy of course lol).
    My trips to CO are annual and once to twice a year. While out there I ride groomed trails at a resort a friend of mine works at. (WinterPark) We ride blues, black diamonds and some double black diamonds....but then again I am on a super slack double crown DH rig and the "Cadillac" feel of it gives me so much more confidence knowing I'm on a bike that won't snap in half if I case it on anything.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harryman View Post
    Being in Colorado, and not knowing what you need for TX beyond what I'm reading here, I'd recommend a lower travel 29er with good clearance, and a burly set of tires for when you come up here. Considering I used to ride everything I ride now on fully rigid bikes in the very old days, you can have a great time with a quality 120mm bike pretty much anywhere.
    Thank you for the information. I was just worried about overworking my suspension out on a mountain. My bike does take a beating and my new one will only be rode even harder. Funny that you mention DH on a rigid, I actually got into a conversation with an old head at my LBS and he was talking about that same thing. I couldn't imagine that!

  10. #10
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    If your only up there one to two times a year i wouldn't worry to much about wear and tear on your bike if you get something that is aimed at aggressive riding (like a midtravel 27.5 or short travel aggressive 29er). There are a few dudes on youtube ripping up bike parks on a transition smuggler with the rear at 115mm and front at 130mm. Seems like a great compromise without losing to much for Dallas. You be surprised how much a well geo and great suspension could get away with. It feels like the understated advantage to more suspension at a bike park beyond the obvious is that Cadillac feeling you mention. Braking bumps which occur like crazy at a bike park are definitely muted which saves your arms from blowing up. But an aggressive 120-140mm should handle blue, black, green trails well until you are in full blown DH race trails.

    Now all that being said, i love rocks. The nastier the rock garden the better. So im willing to lose some efficiency for a bit more travel to bail me out when i mess up a rock garden (140/140 for me on my 29er). Im not to concerned with cross-country and i tend to cruise up the climbs at a moderate pace to speed down as fast as i can so im willing to compromise (i.e. overall slower speeds for the short speed bursts). I loved my short travel 29er (130f/111r), and im definitely slower on my current 140f/140r bike on most trails, but on the chunky stuff it feels right. My advice (i realize i chat alot haha) though would be demo days and ride as much bikes as you can to feel what matches your intentions at your home trails best.

  11. #11
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    I'm in San Antonio with an Enduro 29 with 160mm of travel. I also have a Rigid, so both extremes. Yeah, the E29 can be Overkill but I think people get too hung up on travel numbers ...there are other factors that contribute as much or more to pedalling efficiency. I can put lighter tires, ramp up the LSC and get on the podium in cat 2 XC races on the E29.

  12. #12
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    This caught my attention, because of the alphabet and the Texas forum right next to the Utah forum
    I live in Utah and frequently ride in Moab. I also ride the downhills at Deer Valley (which are NOT gnarly). I have a 5" travel (SB5) that works for me everywhere. I just throw different tires on for Moab. Something like that would be fine and there would only be rare occasions where you'd need to rent.
    I'd guess that any 6" travel bike that you could comfortably ride in Texas would probably have to be set aside for a rental in a place like Whistler, for example, so you'd have to rent anyway. Ride something optimized for 90% of your riding.

  13. #13
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    I've been to Colorado but I must like more going on a trip with my bike at Bellaire Texas. You can have a great time while stopping with some stores there.
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  14. #14
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    I ride 90% of Austin on a hardtail singlespeed with a 120mm fork. When I ride the squishy it is 140mm and feels like a lazyboy on the trails.

    6" is way too much, our trails are technical more than they are big drops.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harryman View Post
    Being in Colorado, and not knowing what you need for TX beyond what I'm reading here, I'd recommend a lower travel 29er with good clearance, and a burly set of tires for when you come up here. Considering I used to ride everything I ride now on fully rigid bikes in the very old days, you can have a great time with a quality 120mm bike pretty much anywhere.
    This is good advice and pretty much what's happened with me lately. I have a couple bikes but bought an Intense Primer 29er (140 up front, can be adjusted for 130 or 115 in the rear) to do endurance rides but I've been riding it more and more and being more impressed all the time. I have beefier tires for when I ride rockier terrain that I used to ride my 6" travel Pivot Mach 6 on.

    I'm not trying to talk you into a Primer or anything else for that matter but like somebody farther down in the replies, you should get the bike you want. That 6" travel mach 6 was my only bike for almost (2) years and I rode it everywhere./ I may not have needed 6" of travel but that didn't make my riding any less fun. It climbed awesome and I could keep up with all my friends on any bike I ride. Always better to have too much h suspension than not enough. Unless I was racing, I have ZERO desire to ride a 100mm travel bike.....anywhere.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harryman View Post
    Being in Colorado, and not knowing what you need for TX beyond what I'm reading here, I'd recommend a lower travel 29er with good clearance, and a burly set of tires for when you come up here. Considering I used to ride everything I ride now on fully rigid bikes in the very old days, you can have a great time with a quality 120mm bike pretty much anywhere.

    I didn't know I could use lower 29er down in TX trails.. This is sure a good advice and a trip tip for me.
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  17. #17
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    I ride around the Dallas area a few times a year, traveling for work. I've ridden in San Antonio, Austin, and other places as well.

    Yeah, 6" is overkill. On a few trails at places like RPR, for the 30 seconds you are actually going downhill, they might not be, but that's a lot of weight to be lugging around for such a constrained small area and short downhills. Some people justify this and I've even seen downhillers (on new downhill bikes) show up at Sansom-random-broken-glass-all-over-the-place Park. A 6" bike is going to be a drag most of the time out there.

    I would suggest something like the Pivot 429 Trail or Ibis Ripley. 115mm-120mm is not enough to make the bike feel like a dog on the more XCish stuff and it's enough to give you a little more cush for the gnarly stuff, plus the roll-over of 29 wheels will help with the gnarly too. My 100mm 429SL was perfect down in Austin on the tech down there, but a little more out of place at RPR, yet owning a 6" travel bike for their enduro-race series is way way hard to justify IMO due to the extreme distance to get down there, pay to ride, and so on. Unless you are traveling around the country much more frequently and riding in places where you can use the bike...

    Thinking back to my CO trips, a 429T or Ripley-style bike would have worked great for the days I did the more XC stuff. And by "XC stuff" I mean cimbing to the continental divide a couple times, some big climbs and descents around Breckenridge, shuttle runs in Breck, some awesome gnarly trails around CO Springs, etc. XC to me simply means you climbed up without assistance. I rented DH bikes at the DH parks, because on vacation that is the way to enjoy it, not be held back by the bike and not worry about screwing up your own bike, but I did several big rides in between on my own bike that I brought, and while it was a 150/150mm 29er, I would have been fine with less travel. In fact, in most cases I would be better off with less travel than the 6" travel Enduro 29 beast I was using at the time. Again, my 100mm SL racing bike would have been overwhelmed, but stepping up to the next style of bike, a 115-120mm trail bike, no problem and in many cases funner and more maneuverable. It takes serious chunk and steeps to make a 6" bike faster. You can always put slightly larger tires on the bike and slightly heavier duty stuff/slightly longer fork on that 115mm bike. Make sure to put a dropper on there too, that significantly boosts the bikes DH-ability. I would caution against going too-big on the frame-travel and intended usage though. Once you step up to 130-140mm travel, you are getting back to something that's just going to bog on the trails. When it's crappy hot and humid in Dallas, the one thing that helps is having a nice efficient bike I can mash on and get some decent speed and airflow. Pedaling around a wet-mattress would add to the misery.

    I'll say this too, from my experience, 6" of travel is the bare minimum for most decent bike parks. Sure, lots of people "run that they own", but those are usually one of two classes of people, experts that know they can't ride or ride as fast, the more challenging runs, that want to use the bike for a specific advantage or race (or their other bike is broke ) and those generally inexperienced with bike parts and the terrain there. There are very few, if any, grade reversals. You build up speed fast and need good strong brakes, much more than you need on flatter ground, good pedals-if you use SPD then some platform type SPDs. You don't necessarily need more than 6" of travel, but you need big beefy tires that are reinforced enough to not get sliced by rocks (and the same beefy tires are a huge drag on any xc ride, I've tried this with minions ), you need the suspension to absorb the jump and not bottom or kick you back up, you need the seat to go down low enough, and all sorts of other stuff. My local park is kind of tame, and my 6" AM/Enduro bike works decent there. Still, for the full on DH races, I basically don't have a chance, it's just not going to suck up the chatter and rocks at speed as well and allow me to launch and land in a huge pile of rocks and hold on/keep going. For these reasons, on vacations, I'll rent. I've switched out bikes multiple times at WP and brought back damaged stuff at Keystone, which is why I rent them with insurance. I want to be able to go do a big drop or jump and not worry about if my bike is going to handle it. There are disadvantages too, in terms of suspension setup and other factors sometimes, so it's a balance, but I'm firmly against riding anything less than an enduro type rig at a park. Given the choice, I'll go ride the trail-bike rigs up and down without lifts, because I think it's funner and much better suited to the bike's traits. The alternative IME is struggling to survive down each DH trail and generally not having fun because you are fighting the bike and only looking forward to the reprieve when you ride the lift back up.
    Last edited by Jayem; 09-04-2017 at 07:28 PM.
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  18. #18
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    I bought a 150mm bike while in the DFW area and didn't think it was overkill. Granted you can ride Rowlett Creek on a rigid SS, but most everything there is pretty fun on a longer travel bike. Plus if you travel, you will already be used to how your bike handles.
    We don't ride to add days to our life, we ride to add life to the days we have left here.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    I ride around the Dallas area a few times a year, traveling for work. I've ridden in San Antonio, Austin, and other places as well.

    Yeah, 6" is overkill. On a few trails at places like RPR, for the 30 seconds you are actually going downhill, they might not be, but that's a lot of weight to be lugging around for such a constrained small area and short downhills. Some people justify this and I've even seen downhillers (on new downhill bikes) show up at Sansom-random-broken-glass-all-over-the-place Park. A 6" bike is going to be a drag most of the time out there.

    I would suggest something like the Pivot 429 Trail or Ibis Ripley. 115mm-120mm is not enough to make the bike feel like a dog on the more XCish stuff and it's enough to give you a little more cush for the gnarly stuff, plus the roll-over of 29 wheels will help with the gnarly too. My 100mm 429SL was perfect down in Austin on the tech down there, but a little more out of place at RPR, yet owning a 6" travel bike for their enduro-race series is way way hard to justify IMO due to the extreme distance to get down there, pay to ride, and so on. Unless you are traveling around the country much more frequently and riding in places where you can use the bike...

    Thinking back to my CO trips, a 429T or Ripley-style bike would have worked great for the days I did the more XC stuff. And by "XC stuff" I mean cimbing to the continental divide a couple times, some big climbs and descents around Breckenridge, shuttle runs in Breck, some awesome gnarly trails around CO Springs, etc. XC to me simply means you climbed up without assistance. I rented DH bikes at the DH parks, because on vacation that is the way to enjoy it, not be held back by the bike and not worry about screwing up your own bike, but I did several big rides in between on my own bike that I brought, and while it was a 150/150mm 29er, I would have been fine with less travel. In fact, in most cases I would be better off with less travel than the 6" travel Enduro 29 beast I was using at the time. Again, my 100mm SL racing bike would have been overwhelmed, but stepping up to the next style of bike, a 115-120mm trail bike, no problem and in many cases funner and more maneuverable. It takes serious chunk and steeps to make a 6" bike faster. You can always put slightly larger tires on the bike and slightly heavier duty stuff/slightly longer fork on that 115mm bike. Make sure to put a dropper on there too, that significantly boosts the bikes DH-ability. I would caution against going too-big on the frame-travel and intended usage though. Once you step up to 130-140mm travel, you are getting back to something that's just going to bog on the trails. When it's crappy hot and humid in Dallas, the one thing that helps is having a nice efficient bike I can mash on and get some decent speed and airflow. Pedaling around a wet-mattress would add to the misery.

    I'll say this too, from my experience, 6" of travel is the bare minimum for most decent bike parks. Sure, lots of people "run that they own", but those are usually one of two classes of people, experts that know they can't ride or ride as fast, the more challenging runs, that want to use the bike for a specific advantage or race (or their other bike is broke ) and those generally inexperienced with bike parts and the terrain there. There are very few, if any, grade reversals. You build up speed fast and need good strong brakes, much more than you need on flatter ground, good pedals-if you use SPD then some platform type SPDs. You don't necessarily need more than 6" of travel, but you need big beefy tires that are reinforced enough to not get sliced by rocks (and the same beefy tires are a huge drag on any xc ride, I've tried this with minions ), you need the suspension to absorb the jump and not bottom or kick you back up, you need the seat to go down low enough, and all sorts of other stuff. My local park is kind of tame, and my 6" AM/Enduro bike works decent there. Still, for the full on DH races, I basically don't have a chance, it's just not going to suck up the chatter and rocks at speed as well and allow me to launch and land in a huge pile of rocks and hold on/keep going. For these reasons, on vacations, I'll rent. I've switched out bikes multiple times at WP and brought back damaged stuff at Keystone, which is why I rent them with insurance. I want to be able to go do a big drop or jump and not worry about if my bike is going to handle it. There are disadvantages too, in terms of suspension setup and other factors sometimes, so it's a balance, but I'm firmly against riding anything less than an enduro type rig at a park. Given the choice, I'll go ride the trail-bike rigs up and down without lifts, because I think it's funner and much better suited to the bike's traits. The alternative IME is struggling to survive down each DH trail and generally not having fun because you are fighting the bike and only looking forward to the reprieve when you ride the lift back up.
    I am inspired by the struggle and success as you've run around Austin, San Antonio and in any other dallas area. This probably pusrsue to set off my gear and have a run tour around the area.
    Last edited by reyg001; 09-04-2017 at 08:05 PM. Reason: correcting the apostrophe
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