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  1. #101
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    Having a full bore DH rig and a very challenging local dh mountain gives me my DH fix on the high speed, steep, chunk. That lets me enjoy a medium travel bike (150f/135r - 27.5) on the regular trails. Even though are trails are quite challenging they are quite pedally, so I'm not into lugging more bike than I need just to hit a feature or two a bit harder. Think of riding Mag 7... I'd take a more nimble, pedal friendly bike over a longer travel rig. I'd have more fun on most of the trail and just pick my lines more carefully on the way down Portal.

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  2. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bickle View Post
    I also believe that the next bike should cater to your weakness, not reinforce your strength. Better climber than descender, get a better descending bike.
    I totally agree with this! Iím a much better descender than climber...thatís why Iíve been riding a 125mm bike for the last three years. I just broke that frame, now Iím giving a 150mm bike a try...I might be selling it soon

    https://www.pinkbike.com/buysell/2376217/
    Last edited by griz; 05-22-2018 at 06:25 PM.

  3. #103
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    I used to ride a SC Superlight and thought I needed more travel for the trails I really liked; so i transitioned in a rig that was more in the right direction (Blur TRc). Turns out this gave me way more confidence than my skills. While it made the chunk more exciting, it really sucked for the long climbs. I probably would have been happier with something a bit more XC and less trail, so I could enjoy the longer rides. Though humping this up and down the hills did improve my cardio. #Silverlining

  4. #104
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    There's obviously not one answer for everyone, given the differences in trails, the skills, fitness, and purposes for riding.

    That said, if I had to only own one mountain bike, I don't think I would be satisfied with anything less than 150-160mm travel. I currently own a 165/170mm 27.5 "enduro" bike (Nomad 3), and a 140mm 29 hardtail (Chameleon). I bought the hardtail to pull my baby bike trailer and to occasionally mess around on the local trails. I previously rode ~130mm "trail" bikes (Ibis HDR, Stumpjumper).

    My reasoning for picking the big bike:
    * I don't like bottoming out constantly, and did on all of the short travel bikes
    * I can still climb fine on the big bike (all my climbing PRs on the local trail are on the 170mm bike, not my hardtail)
    * the suspension on the bigger bikes is more tuneable and works better for me
    * I like the slacker head angles found on longer travel bikes
    * Having more travel available to me gives me a literal cushion to grow my skills into

    The one interesting thing I've noticed is the reluctance of many manufacturers to slacken up the head angles on shorter travel (and hardtail) bikes. I feel like for riding fast, flowy trails with occasional sudden features, having a slacker head angle dramatically improves the ride quality of the bike. My Chameleon has been long forked to 140mm (from 120mm stock) and bumped up to 29 wheels from plus, and it's still only ~67.3 degrees. It makes plowing into poorly dug water bars unpleasant. Coincidentally, my old HDR had the same HTA, and I felt the same way. The 65 HTA on my Nomad lets me blast right through the same features. Sadly, the only hardtail frames I'm seeing with <66 HTAs also still have pretty short reach numbers. Maybe what I really need is a Transition Smuggler for bike #2...

  5. #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andeh View Post
    There's obviously not one answer for everyone, given the differences in trails, the skills, fitness, and purposes for riding.

    That said, if I had to only own one mountain bike, I don't think I would be satisfied with anything less than 150-160mm travel. I currently own a 165/170mm 27.5 "enduro" bike (Nomad 3), and a 140mm 29 hardtail (Chameleon). I bought the hardtail to pull my baby bike trailer and to occasionally mess around on the local trails. I previously rode ~130mm "trail" bikes (Ibis HDR, Stumpjumper).

    My reasoning for picking the big bike:
    * I don't like bottoming out constantly, and did on all of the short travel bikes
    * I can still climb fine on the big bike (all my climbing PRs on the local trail are on the 170mm bike, not my hardtail)
    * the suspension on the bigger bikes is more tuneable and works better for me
    * I like the slacker head angles found on longer travel bikes
    * Having more travel available to me gives me a literal cushion to grow my skills into

    The one interesting thing I've noticed is the reluctance of many manufacturers to slacken up the head angles on shorter travel (and hardtail) bikes. I feel like for riding fast, flowy trails with occasional sudden features, having a slacker head angle dramatically improves the ride quality of the bike. My Chameleon has been long forked to 140mm (from 120mm stock) and bumped up to 29 wheels from plus, and it's still only ~67.3 degrees. It makes plowing into poorly dug water bars unpleasant. Coincidentally, my old HDR had the same HTA, and I felt the same way. The 65 HTA on my Nomad lets me blast right through the same features. Sadly, the only hardtail frames I'm seeing with <66 HTAs also still have pretty short reach numbers. Maybe what I really need is a Transition Smuggler for bike #2...

    Very, very good insight.

    It's a good time to be a mountain biker. When one chooses long travel or short travel/hardtail, it's good to think of "What's the downside."

    In the old days (5-10) years ago, the downside of long travel was big. Bikes were pigs, high up in the air and didn't pedal well. Now one can get an Ibis Ripmo or Hightower LT and pedal all day. They're not rockets but they can climb efficiently. And when the trail gets interesting, there's smiles for miles.

    On short travel, the downside is sketchy descending when the trails turn technical. This seems to be changing now too with bikes with geometry similar to trail/am bikes. Wide bars, dropper posts and grippy tires are becoming available.

    Soooo, one can go either way or right in the middle as bikes widen their sweet spots and control their downsides.

    $$ is still a big issue if one tries to go for big travel that is fairly light. But... it is actually better than 3-5 years ago. YT Capra today at $5k is better than the Specialized S-Works Enduro of 4 years ago at $10+k.
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  6. #106
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    At Sea Otter, I was at dinner with the Niner crew and their sponsored riders (me, Amanda Nauman, Kirt Vories, Rebecca Rusch), and Amanda posed the same question, limited to Niner bike options, of course. We all (riders and employees) said that if we had to pick one bike, it would be the RIP9, which is Niner's 150mm rear, 150-170mm front option. I did add the caveat that in the Bay Area, my answer would be adjusted to the Jet (120mm-130 R-F) because most trails aren't exciting enough to offset the reduction in pop of the short travel bikes. But we all agreed that 120-150mm bikes these days are so fun, capable, light, and pedal-able that you can't go wrong picking one in that range, provided you aren't into gaining precious seconds while racing.

    As far as I'm concerned:

    90-115mm = XC race bike. Why own one if don't race? Unless all you ride is MidPen and EBRPD.

    115-150mm = broadly (trail), pick one based on whether your local trails lean more towards XC or DH. This is the bike everyone should own. Sometimes you'll have too much bike, sometimes too little, but there is nothing out there that you won't be able to ride with a balanced mix of skill and fitness.

    >150mm = You live somewhere super rocky and steep, like to shuttle or go to bike parks, and uphills are just something you deal with to get to the fun part of riding. Regardless of how good suspension designs are these days, there will be rides in boring/poorly advocated places where this much travel makes a ride less fun, either because the "pop" is lacking on smooth trails with many grade changes, or downhills aren't rowdy enough to offset a long climb on a heavier bike with slightly less efficient pedaling.
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  7. #107
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    I agonized over this decision and decided to go for a 150 front, 130 rear bike (Yeti SB5). I demoed a ton of bikes before settling on the SB5. A few things that influenced my decision:

    - I'm a relatively new rider (about 1.5 years of serious experience) and I'm still progressing my skills. Before the SB5 I was riding a 100mm travel 29er hardtail, and I don't yet feel comfortable with air or high speeds; in the month since I got the SB5 I'm just starting to push my downhill speeds and get a little air on the trail beyond the few "safe" spots on trails I'm familiar with where I'd let go of the brakes or air it out.
    - I spend a lot more time climbing than descending, and I enjoy that. I love pretty much all aspects of mountain biking, but I think what I really love most is the sense of accomplishment I get from cleaning a tough steep section or grinding out a long uphill. Maybe this is because I've always been a better climber than descender, and given I'm progressing in both I think I'll remain that way. I also see the most benefit from this aspect of mountain biking in the rest of my life -- fitness, reduced consequences eating/drinking, mental health, grit. And the SB5 is stupid light and climbs everything well with the shock wide open -- my GX build is 27lbs with pedals.
    - I'm not all that price sensitive. At the end of the day, while I don't want to waste money and see the value in saving a few thousand to go towards travel or upgrades, if the best bike is $5K I'm getting it. The aforementioned health benefits and fun of having a bike I love to ride everyday are worth the price tag.

    So why'd I go with the SB5? I know the majority of my riding is going to be in the Bay Area on local trails which are multi-use and pretty smooth, in particular on the small network of singletrack we have in San Francisco that I ride on weekdays. The top end of what I ride in the Bay Area (Demo, Skeggs, Water Dog, JMP) is about perfect for a mid-travel bike; so far I've had tons of fun on the SB5 at those spots. I haven't ridden it out of town yet but I'm sure it will do fine, though I'm sure I'd be happier with a long-travel bike where I'm traveling I don't need to ride the gnarliest lines or as fast as possible. I wouldn't go to a bike park with the SB5, I'd rent in that case.

    So, to finally answer the original question raised by this thread, I tried to go Goldilocks and ended up with a bike that's pretty fun for my weekday fitness rides, perfect for my local weekend rides, and pretty fun for gnarlier out of town stuff. I'm happy with my decision!

  8. #108
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    IMO it really helps to have ridden trails requiring a bigger bike, to be able to truly enjoy a smaller bike on most trails.

    Begin on a XC/trail bike and learn basic skills and develop fitness. Transition to a Enduro sled or get a DH bike and learn how to ride at speed, ride steep gnarly stuff, and get comfortable in the air. Then realize that you want a risk-reward ratio skewed further away from risk and you get a slack trail bike with burly components. Now you have the skills and fitness and experience to be able to ride everything everywhere at an acceptably fun level.

  9. #109
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    I raced at Wilder on a fully rigid 26" vintage bike - it was fun and I was able to ride everything, but I don't recommend it all the time. I have an old Tallboy, set up as an XC-ish bike 100r/120f - I can ride everything just fine, competed in some CES events, but I'm not all that fast on it except on smooth trails. I just picked up a new Remedy, mainly since it felt capable and fun for park days, some enduros, etc and the long travel 29ers just felt too unwieldy around here for my 5'7" stature. Nice to have choices, and if you want a play bike for not a whole lot of coin, pick up something aluminum.

  10. #110
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    Course, there are the guys on longer travel bikes just going for straight speed and going straight through everything and there are guys on smaller travel biked popping off every little trail variation to the point where it is painfully slow forward progress. There are others too, but I've seen these extremes many times
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  11. #111
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    Quote Originally Posted by Californiagrown View Post
    IMO it really helps to have ridden trails requiring a bigger bike, to be able to truly enjoy a smaller bike on most trails.

    Begin on a XC/trail bike and learn basic skills and develop fitness. Transition to a Enduro sled or get a DH bike and learn how to ride at speed, ride steep gnarly stuff, and get comfortable in the air. Then realize that you want a risk-reward ratio skewed further away from risk and you get a slack trail bike with burly components. Now you have the skills and fitness and experience to be able to ride everything everywhere at an acceptably fun level.
    In post 74 I stated the opposite. IMO beginners need the extra safety margin that a slacker HTA and a bit more travels brings. If my Pipedream Moxie with it's 65.5į HTA was my first bike I would have a lot more original skin.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  12. #112
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    Too much bike VS Too little bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bickle View Post
    In post 74 I stated the opposite. IMO beginners need the extra safety margin that a slacker HTA and a bit more travels brings. If my Pipedream Moxie with it's 65.5į HTA was my first bike I would have a lot more original skin.
    I think itís location specific. If I lived on Vancouver island I might want a longer travel and slacker bike.

    Here on the Front Range I can knock out top 5% DH times on the vast majority of trails on an XC bike. Same with where I lived in the mountains of western VA. The trails just arenít that steep or nasty.


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  13. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bickle View Post
    In post 74 I stated the opposite. IMO beginners need the extra safety margin that a slacker HTA and a bit more travels brings. If my Pipedream Moxie with it's 65.5į HTA was my first bike I would have a lot more original skin.
    Perfect advice. Safety margin, highest probability of success and fun. Dropper posts and tires that actually grip for beginners and beyond.
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  14. #114
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    Too much bike VS Too little bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Perfect advice. Safety margin, highest probability of success and fun. Dropper posts and tires that actually grip for beginners and beyond.
    Isnít fun a subjective thing?

    To me, slogging up a hill on a 160mm 29er with dual ply DH tires is the polar opposite of fun. If I had to choose between a 100/100mm bike and a 160/160mm for doing Hymasa/Ahab laps, Iíd take the former 95% of the time.

    Thereís something to be said about flying both up and down the hill.


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  15. #115
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Isnít fun a subjective thing?

    To me, slogging up a hill on a 160mm 29er with dual ply DH tires is the polar opposite of fun.
    Thereís something to be said about flying both up and down the hill.


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    Great counter point. With you on this.
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  16. #116
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Isnít fun a subjective thing?

    ...

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    Yup. Hence this post. Thriving on this forum, All Mountain and General. There's no right answer.
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  17. #117
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    Iíve travelled a lot this year. I rode BC (Victoria, Cumberland, Squamish, Whistler, Kelowna, Banff, Jasper, Revelstoke, Nelson, Rossland, Fernie), NZ (Rotorua, Nelson, Queenstown) and many of the best trails in the western US (CA, OR, WA, ID, MT, UT, NV, CO, NM, AZ).

    For all these, a nomad with 165mm and 170mm up front was the do-all bike for me, and I did some long rides and big climbs. It climbs great for me and obviously descends even better. Back home (Santa Cruz) I ride this bike the most although I also ride my hard tail and rigid single speed a decent amount. Iím curious about some of the shorter travel 29ers (like The Following), but I donít know if I could give up the bigger bike for daily driver and traveling.


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  18. #118
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    Too much and too little

    Too keep the lights on, frame manufacturers would have you believe they've FINALLY hit upon that carbon Unicorn with their "latest and greatest", this year's creation, but, I think the amount of suspension travel and head tube angle get WAY too much blame and/or credit for a bike's degree of utility. And most people buy that premise hook line and dropper.

    I find that suspension tuning, wheel/tire choice, and rider position can broaden the range of bike's applications. The Huffy [first generation Niner RIP9 RDO. 130f/125r] is a number of different animals, depending upon what it's shod with, and the rear shock tuning/choice, allowing it to be anything from an XC/endurance race bike to a trail/enduroy anywhere kind of bike that I'm not resentful of being on somewhere during a ride. The common denominators being it's always fairly light [sub 26 lbs], and fairly nimble, with a sub 46" wheelbase.

    There is something to said for developing what already exists. What Porsche did with the 911 and Ford did with the GT40 being automotive equivalents to the points I'm trying to make: The basic frame is well, just the starting point, and it's up to us to explore it's possibilities fully.
    Last edited by jms; 05-23-2018 at 07:03 AM.
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  19. #119
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    Too much bike VS Too little bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by Samo831 View Post
    Iíve travelled a lot this year. I rode BC (Victoria, Cumberland, Squamish, Whistler, Kelowna, Banff, Jasper, Revelstoke, Nelson, Rossland, Fernie), NZ (Rotorua, Nelson, Queenstown) and many of the best trails in the western US (CA, OR, WA, ID, MT, UT, NV, CO, NM, AZ).

    For all these, a nomad with 165mm and 170mm up front was the do-all bike for me, and I did some long rides and big climbs. It climbs great for me and obviously descends even better. Back home (Santa Cruz) I ride this bike the most although I also ride my hard tail and rigid single speed a decent amount. Iím curious about some of the shorter travel 29ers (like The Following), but I donít know if I could give up the bigger bike for daily driver and traveling.


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    Agree, agree, agree. If you travel to the finest destinations and really attack these unfamiliar descents, stay safe, and climb the next day, you can really benefit from these new long travel bikes.
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  20. #120
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    Agree on the margin of error.

    Iíve only been riding for 2 years, Iím 42, and mediocore. Iíve found fear is my biggest obstacle. When Iím on, I am a decent rider. When my brain is in lizard mode I walk trivial stuff, tense up, go OTB, and donít have fun.

    Moving to a slacker longer travel bike has put the lizard to rest a bit more. It still shows up at strange times - slightly off camber still freaks me out for example. And I was tired and walked a joke of a line this weej that I canít figure out why I was scared of.

    To the point of a bike addressing weakness. - climb or descend is all better when Iím not scared. Ibis ripmo is putting my lizard brain way more at ease.

  21. #121
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    Quote Originally Posted by oteich View Post
    Agree on the margin of error.

    Iíve only been riding for 2 years, Iím 42, and mediocore. Iíve found fear is my biggest obstacle. When Iím on, I am a decent rider. When my brain is in lizard mode I walk trivial stuff, tense up, go OTB, and donít have fun.

    Moving to a slacker longer travel bike has put the lizard to rest a bit more. It still shows up at strange times - slightly off camber still freaks me out for example. And I was tired and walked a joke of a line this weej that I canít figure out why I was scared of.

    To the point of a bike addressing weakness. - climb or descend is all better when Iím not scared. Ibis ripmo is putting my lizard brain way more at ease.
    Absolutely. If we're not chasing uphill record times, then a bike that saves us is not a bad idea. I think it is a wayy better safety device than a helmet actually and put to use much more often when pushing outside the envelope.

    The other thing is knee pads. More clothing than needed but a good margin for error or talent.

    And for me, who's put in rock face in Squamish or a rooty crack in Italy every once in a while (for work) something that has saved me from the ground more than 10 times.......... flat pedals. More pedal than I need but comes in handy.



    "Iíve only been riding for 2 years, Iím 42, and mediocore."
    My best advice to you is strive to become a better descender. Mountain biking is a skill sport and just doing it can only get you so far and it can take a long time. Take lessons, always think about what you did wrong and right.

    I was self-taught aka self-taught-wrong for 25 years and it's when I sought out help and improvement that I became a better descender. Equipment is the very important 5%, 95% is that pilot.
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  22. #122
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bickle View Post
    In post 74 I stated the opposite. IMO beginners need the extra safety margin that a slacker HTA and a bit more travels brings. If my Pipedream Moxie with it's 65.5į HTA was my first bike I would have a lot more original skin.
    For me, to really enjoy the next step up in technology with bikes or skis, i need to be skiing or riding the previous equipment at the limit it is capable of. when i have reached that limit, and then hop on something much more capable i all of a sudden have a huge amount of progression in a matter of laps or days. Its a really cool feeling to all of a sudden jump up a few levels in ability because of your equipment and the new found confidence it gives you. I wouldnt get that progression jump if i started out on such capable equipment, i probably would have just settled in to what was comfortable.

  23. #123
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    Too much bike VS Too little bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Absolutely. If we're not chasing uphill record times, then a bike that saves us is not a bad idea. I think it is a wayy better safety device than a helmet actually and put to use much more often when pushing outside the envelope.

    The other thing is knee pads. More clothing than needed but a good margin for error or talent.

    And for me, who's put in rock face in Squamish or a rooty crack in Italy every once in a while (for work) something that has saved me from the ground more than 10 times.......... flat pedals. More pedal than I need but comes in handy.
    Yes - I wear knee pads most rides and ride flats (Canfield are the best btw).


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    Quote Originally Posted by Samo831 View Post
    Yes! I wear knee pads most rides and ride flats (Canfield are the best btw).


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    Currently recovering from a broken patella. Knee pads are a great thing and would have made the last 3 months much more fun for me.

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    OMG yes on flats. When I started out 2 years ago I 'of course' went with SPD. Riding the switchbacks up Tamarancho I kept falling and couldn't clip out fast enough. Which made me tense. Which made me fall more. Which made me tense...

    I swapped to flats and immediately fear went down and riding went up.

    +1 on lessons and knee pads. Have done both a LLB and a day with Ian, and enjoying my POC Airs.

    As I talk to other friends getting into MTB, they often start out thinking about 'optimizing' - go fast, why SPD are better, lighest bike, etc. For those of us without the mad skillz, I'm pushing the opposite. Get safe, and get better.

  26. #126
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    This is an amusing read. What stands out to me is not nessesarrily people riding over under biked. They are choosing bikes for their desired riding style, technical ability and available tracks they ride often.

    The XC guy wants to blaze up and survive the down so he chooses a bike to suit. The guy living in a location with mild tracks finds the mid to low travel bikes best. The more risk adverse guys who dont hit the real tech lines find no need to 160+ bikes and why should they? they aren't hitting the lines that make those bikes shine. Then theres the line hitters, the guys that live for the down, they will be on the 160+ bikes unless their local tracks aren't tech enough for those types of bikes.

    Lets pose a theoreticall example. On the same trail that had a solid climb and a technicalish descent. We take the XC guy who climbs the track like a demon then survives the down maybe getting off for a few sections, the mid travel risk adverse guys climb nicely, descend better than XC but they dont hit all the "A" lines or maybe dont go as fast on some sections. Then the line hitter on his 160+ bike survives the up then smashes the down.

    Who is over biked and underbiked in this example? You could argue XC guy is underbiked for the descent yet he loves the climb, You could argue mid travel guy has the best of both
    worlds but he does neither climb or descent particularly fast. You could argue that 160+ line hitter is over biked for the climb. But he is grinning like school boy boy whos just discovered pornhub on the down.

    Who has the has the right bike for the job? All of them. They have chosen the bike that suits their style and personal joy. Nobody is over or underbiked.

    There are so many ways to ride even the same track. None are better than the other. Just different.

    He who grins the most wins! if you arent grinning and the bike you are riding isnt the right one for you or the track then get another bike that makes you grin! Its that simple

  27. #127
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    Quote Originally Posted by plummet View Post
    This is an amusing read. What stands out to me is not nessesarrily people riding over under biked. They are choosing bikes for their desired riding style, technical ability and available tracks they ride often.

    The XC guy wants to blaze up and survive the down so he chooses a bike to suit. The guy living in a location with mild tracks finds the mid to low travel bikes best. The more risk adverse guys who dont hit the real tech lines find no need to 160+ bikes and why should they? they aren't hitting the lines that make those bikes shine. Then theres the line hitters, the guys that live for the down, they will be on the 160+ bikes unless their local tracks aren't tech enough for those types of bikes.

    Lets pose a theoreticall example. On the same trail that had a solid climb and a technicalish descent. We take the XC guy who climbs the track like a demon then survices the down maybe getting off for a new sections, the mid travel risk adverse guys climb nicely, descend better than XC but the dont hit all the "A" lines or maybe dont go as fast on some sections. Then the line hitter on his 160+ bike survives the up then smashes the down.

    Who is over biked and underbiked in this example? You could argue XC guy is underbiked for the descent yet he loves the climb, You could argue mid travel guy has the best of both
    worlds but he does neither climb or descent particularly fast. You could argue that 160+ line hitter is over biked for the climb. But he is grinning like school boy boy whos just discovered pornhub on the down.

    Who has the has the right bike for the job? All of them. They have chosen the bike that suits their style and personal joy. Nobody is over or underbiked.

    There are so many ways to ride even the same track. None are better than the other. Just different.

    He who grins the most wins! if you arent grinning and the bike you are riding isnt the right one for you or the track then get another bike that makes you grin! Its that simple
    Very good analysis actually.

    It's a question of 'what floats your boat'. And realizing that there are other angles of the sport aside from what you do. The tech is really attacking the overbiked side or 150-170mm. That is the most difficult problem to solve and we come from mountain bikes roots that were basically road bikes.

    And it's good that the progression of trails is delivering some great descents. Of course the old steep trails are always good.
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    You adapt to the terrain with what you got. Set up properly, you can make just about any bike work on the majority of trails you ride. I've ridden with dudes on hard tails down Georgetown who blow away dudes on long travel bikes. The rider's experience and skills will determine the bike's capabilities. A novice rider on a hard tail in Georgetown would straight up die doing what i've seen friends do.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2_nDekAyZY that being said, you should definitely buy a Tues lol.

  29. #129
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    Anybody remember Paul aka 'fourarmcrank'?

    He always had too much bike. Always rode a 170mm or 180mm travel 40 lb. bike. Everybody would always tell him he had too much bike.

    But then he would crush us all on the downhill.

    When it came to the uphill though, he would smoke us all. Extra hard.

    Older, unassuming dude. He was next level for sure.
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  30. #130
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    I usually ride, and absolutely love my rigid bikes for the Bay Area. I have a 26Ē full-suspension rig that I also have fantastic rides on, but I feel much faster on my sans-suspension rigs. That being said, Iím going to buy a new longer travel 29er next month and I canít wait.
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  31. #131
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Anybody remember Paul aka 'fourarmcrank'?

    He always had too much bike. Always rode a 170mm or 180mm travel 40 lb. bike. Everybody would always tell him he had too much bike.

    But then he would crush us all on the downhill.

    When it came to the uphill though, he would smoke us all. Extra hard.

    Older, unassuming dude. He was next level for sure.
    Paul J remembers
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  32. #132
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    I keep thinking to sell my 26" SC TRc for something with less travel (100-110mm) since I typically don't ride beyond the peninsula. The problem is I spent a ton on that bike back in the day (pre-wife) and can't see myself spending that kind of money now. The new Blur looks great, but $$$ and I end up with components that are worse than what I've got now (XT all around including upgraded to 1x11).

  33. #133
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    So... I entered an xc race on the last weekend on my 165-180mm bike,

    I got 3rd out of 20 in my division and 7th fastest lap times out of 58 starters.

    Absolute madness that i could be even remotely competative on such a bike. The lines are truely blured now when it comes to bikes. So many good bikes are available across the spectrum. big travel doesnt mean terrible pedalling any more.

  34. #134
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    Quote Originally Posted by dchester View Post
    You adapt to the terrain with what you got. Set up properly, you can make just about any bike work on the majority of trails you ride. I've ridden with dudes on hard tails down Georgetown who blow away dudes on long travel bikes. The rider's experience and skills will determine the bike's capabilities. A novice rider on a hard tail in Georgetown would straight up die doing what i've seen friends do.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2_nDekAyZY that being said, you should definitely buy a Tues lol.
    Yep.
    Put another way, swim fins and a bigger life preserver doesn't make one a better swimmer.
    Last edited by jms; 05-24-2018 at 06:53 AM.
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  35. #135
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    Quote Originally Posted by plummet View Post
    So... I entered an xc race on the last weekend on my 165-180mm bike,

    I got 3rd out of 20 in my division and 7th fastest lap times out of 58 starters.

    Absolute madness that i could be even remotely competative on such a bike. The lines are truely blured now when it comes to bikes. So many good bikes are available across the spectrum. big travel doesnt mean terrible pedalling any more.
    Congratulations. That ain't easy.
    No, it proves, once again, up to a certain point, "it's the horse, not the chariot". Something I learned a long,long time ago when I had my a$$ handed to me in a CX race by a guy in tennis shoes on a Trek hybrid.
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  36. #136
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    Quote Originally Posted by Menso View Post
    115-150mm = broadly (trail), pick one based on whether your local trails lean more towards XC or DH. This is the bike everyone should own. Sometimes you'll have too much bike, sometimes too little, but there is nothing out there that you won't be able to ride with a balanced mix of skill and fitness.
    We agree. And based on your experiences with the first generation RIP9 RDO @ D'Ville l believe, they're still relevant as an all rounder/Endurance race bike for events like this:

    https://www.pinkbike.com/news/2018-g...ad-report.html
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  37. #137
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    as far as the pro and cons, my attitude is: I can always add more air to stiffen suspension up if I'm riding where I don't need it all, but I cannot add suspension to a bike that does not have enough for the trail I want to ride.

  38. #138
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjhiker View Post
    I keep thinking to sell my 26" SC TRc for something with less travel (100-110mm) since I typically don't ride beyond the peninsula. The problem is I spent a ton on that bike back in the day (pre-wife) and can't see myself spending that kind of money now. The new Blur looks great, but $$$ and I end up with components that are worse than what I've got now (XT all around including upgraded to 1x11).
    I had that bike!!

    I say do it. Get ourself a new 29er. Geometry, suspension, dropper will be noticeably better. Eagle GX now is a very good 1x12 and is affordable.

    As for your old bike, sell it and don't look back.
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  39. #139
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    Too much bike VS Too little bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by plummet View Post
    So... I entered an xc race on the last weekend on my 165-180mm bike,

    I got 3rd out of 20 in my division and 7th fastest lap times out of 58 starters.

    Absolute madness that i could be even remotely competative on such a bike. The lines are truely blured now when it comes to bikes. So many good bikes are available across the spectrum. big travel doesnt mean terrible pedalling any more.
    Indeed. The downside now on big travel can be low. You can take it to Whistler the next day.

    It's a different story now compared to 10 years ago. Or less.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Agree, agree, agree. If you travel to the finest destinations and really attack these unfamiliar descents, stay safe, and climb the next day, you can really benefit from these new long travel bikes.
    Agreed. There's nothing worse than traveling for great riding and feeling underbiked and uncomfortable. A travel bike is very different from a local trails Bay Area bike for me.

  41. #141
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    Gotta disagree with what seems to be the prevailing attitude here as it applies to being over/under-biked.

    Call me old fashioned but I still subscribe to getting more skill rather than buying more travel.

    Its like fishing... you can catch both a small fish and a big fish on a little hook, but you can't get the small fish on a big hook.


    Again, I like big bikes and spend about 1/3 of my time on a DH rig, so I truly get how fun a big bike can be. But even on the most demanding trails (non-lift assist) how much of that terrain is making the most out of a bigger bike?

    Between bigger, steeper features you will always have tamer, pedallier, sections. That stuff I dig ripping up on nimble shorter travel bikes. I dig tech climbing and "no-dab" challenges. That stuff just ain't nearly as fun on a big rig. For me.

    On the other hand I still get a huge smile cleaning the rugged steeps on less bike. I'm OK with using finesse and skill on a smaller bike and giving up a bit of the high speed capability of a big bike. Sure, I dig plowing through the chunder on big bikes, but not that much more than I dig finessing it on a smaller bike.



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  42. #142
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    Interesting thread and something I've been thinking about a lot lately. My only FS bike ever, has been my 2016 Bronson, which at 150 f/r is a bit over biked for most of my local riding at Annadel, but feels really good in SC and Tahoe.

    Now I'm debating if I want to try and stay with 1 do it all bike like a Bronson / HTLT or maybe Yeti 5.5 or really go for some seperation and get a lighter trail bike like a Yeti 4.5 or 5 or 5010 etc and then a bigger bike like a Nomad 4.

  43. #143
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    Anyone in norcal ride a trek slash? (the newer 9.9)
    A lot of the reviews make it sound like its way too much bike for around here, but ive seen a couple guys riding them around. Thought id ask in here as it could definitely be a ďtoo much bikeĒ situation for me, although ive found the limit of my sc hightower quite a few times around here

  44. #144
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    I've got three bikes right now and they're all highly specialized... So i'm either over biking or under biking... I look at it this way... i ride my gravel bike for when i want to work on decision making, and ride the DH bike for when I want to work on my response time... Also ride the gravel bike for when trails are going to be more populated with hikers and dogs...

    The third bike is my everesting road bike...

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  45. #145
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    Quote Originally Posted by sosburn View Post
    Anyone in norcal ride a trek slash? (the newer 9.9)
    A lot of the reviews make it sound like its way too much bike for around here, but ive seen a couple guys riding them around. Thought id ask in here as it could definitely be a ďtoo much bikeĒ situation for me, although ive found the limit of my sc hightower quite a few times around here
    I honestly think there is rad trails everywhere in California if you know where to look. No such thing as over biked if thatís the type of riding you like doing.

  46. #146
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    While descending is, imho, more fun, I do get a better sense of accomplishment when I can make it up some awful climb. I don't end up with a smile like on the DH trails, but making it to the top without dabbing or more often stopping to rest. Is an epic feeling unto itself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    I think itís location specific. If I lived on Vancouver island I might want a longer travel and slacker bike.

    Here on the Front Range I can knock out top 5% DH times on the vast majority of trails on an XC bike. Same with where I lived in the mountains of western VA. The trails just arenít that steep or nasty.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I too am finding this the case. As trails in my area of the PNW are getting groomed out it is seeming that the amount of bike I really need is becoming less and less.

  48. #148
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjhiker View Post
    While descending is, imho, more fun, I do get a better sense of accomplishment when I can make it up some awful climb. I don't end up with a smile like on the DH trails, but making it to the top without dabbing or more often stopping to rest. Is an epic feeling unto itself.
    Since the whole flow of this thread revolves around "why your existing bike sucks and what new [less versatile] bike is best for you", you're probably not going to find too many sympathetic souls in this thread. But, FWIW, if you're looking for a GREAT all rounder and on budget, I'd advise looking in the classifieds here [or on Pink Bike] for a first or second generation Tallboy [or Niner Jet 9 100mm travel version] frame [whenever the 142mm thru axle back end appeared], update the rear shock, find a good set of tubeless compatible wheels, buy a current generation Fox or DVO [or 2017 MRP Stage - a Ribbon w/o the "fart" button], Shimano 985 or newer XT brakes, and flavor the drivetrain to taste. If you're careful, you can likely get it done for @ $3k and have a bike that is light, versatile, durable and efficient.
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  49. #149
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    Quote Originally Posted by jms View Post
    Since the whole flow of this thread revolves around "why your existing bike sucks and what new [less versatile] bike is best for you"...
    Very classy jms
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post

    It's a different story now compared to 10 years ago. Or less.
    Disc brakes! Dropper posts! Actually adjustable suspension! Frames that don't break on 3 foot drops! what a world we live in

  51. #151
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjhiker View Post
    While descending is, imho, more fun, I do get a better sense of accomplishment when I can make it up some awful climb. I don't end up with a smile like on the DH trails, but making it to the top without dabbing or more often stopping to rest. Is an epic feeling unto itself.
    That's the beauty of riding. There's appreciation for the different facets of it. And if you ride for a long time, you may find magic in one aspect at different periods in time. And the more angles of it you appreciate, the bigger your smile for a longer period.

    I think the most ultimate pursuit of all is cornering. It is the easiest to perform but the hardest to master. And impossible to perfect.

    "You never really own a cornering. You just rent i."

    Or is that 'golf swing'.
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  52. #152
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Very classy jms
    Thanks. better? I keed. I keed, FC.

    And having acknowledged your displeasure, can you argue against the merits of what I've written?
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  53. #153
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    For me I prioritize to the bike that fits my desires the most. I take my XC racing the most serious out of anything. If I could only afford one bike, that would be my only bike. But I can afford more than one, so my XC bike gets priority for maintenance and upgrades while the remaining bikes get what is left over.

    If I could only pick one bike, it would be the bike that fits my desires the most. Sure, an XC HT is WAY underbiked for the style of riding I do on non racing weekends, but it still makes me happy.

    If XC wasn't so important to me, I would be investing all my money into my E29. That bike never fails to bring a smile to my face. Because of my XC fitness I have no problem with the idea of doing a 10,000' (biggest climbing day so far is 8200') day on it so that I can enjoy some chunk on it. I'm known in my group to be the stupid one, tending to take the more advanced lines or the bigger jumps. People tend to think I am far younger than I really am...

    So I would pick the bike that you desire for you first. The only thing holding you back is yourself. You don't need 160+mm to go out and ride, nor do you need an XC bike to go race XC. But having the bike for the discipline you care about the most will make you happiest I think.

    My only regret was getting the E29, I should have got a 170mm 650B Enduro instead. Otherwise, I don't think I have a bike purchase regret yet. They all make me happy.

    In short, pick the bike that will make YOU happy. There is no over or under bike.

  54. #154
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewalk View Post
    For me I prioritize to the bike that fits my desires the most. I take my XC racing the most serious out of anything. If I could only afford one bike, that would be my only bike. But I can afford more than one, so my XC bike gets priority for maintenance and upgrades while the remaining bikes get what is left over.

    If I could only pick one bike, it would be the bike that fits my desires the most. Sure, an XC HT is WAY underbiked for the style of riding I do on non racing weekends, but it still makes me happy.

    If XC wasn't so important to me, I would be investing all my money into my E29. That bike never fails to bring a smile to my face. Because of my XC fitness I have no problem with the idea of doing a 10,000' (biggest climbing day so far is 8200') day on it so that I can enjoy some chunk on it. I'm known in my group to be the stupid one, tending to take the more advanced lines or the bigger jumps. People tend to think I am far younger than I really am...

    So I would pick the bike that you desire for you first. The only thing holding you back is yourself. You don't need 160+mm to go out and ride, nor do you need an XC bike to go race XC. But having the bike for the discipline you care about the most will make you happiest I think.

    My only regret was getting the E29, I should have got a 170mm 650B Enduro instead. Otherwise, I don't think I have a bike purchase regret yet. They all make me happy.

    In short, pick the bike that will make YOU happy. There is no over or under bike.
    Great post!!! Find what's valuable to you!

    If one XC races and wants to win or to do the best they can, then they have to be underbiked! It's the very definition of it. Or one can ride the razor's edge of perfect bike for the uphills and downhills. But that's a unicorn.

    And XC race are won and lost on the uphill. Since that's where 80+% of the minutes are? XC racing can also mean achieving personal records or ranking high on the Strava leaderboards.

    But if one doesn't care about that, then there's the other side that's good to explore.
    Last edited by fc; 05-25-2018 at 01:02 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    I had that bike!!

    I say do it. Get ourself a new 29er. Geometry, suspension, dropper will be noticeably better. Eagle GX now is a very good 1x12 and is affordable.

    As for your old bike, sell it and don't look back.
    Even if I could get $2k for my TRc, not so easy convincing the wife that I should spend an add'l $2k on a new bike.

  56. #156
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    And XC race are won and lost on the downhill. Since that's where 80+% of the minutes are? XC racing can also mean achieving personal records or ranking high on the Strava leaderboards.
    I assume you meant uphill.

    It is rather surprising how I am not much faster descending on my enduro than on my HT. But I am always looking for the fastest, most efficient line on the XC bike, whereas on the enduro I am always looking for the most fun way. I never attempt to KOM downhills on the XC, but have a few ones I am proud of on the enduro. I did get a climbing KOM on the 35+ pound enduro...on a pretty brand new trail (yes, I lost it)

  57. #157
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewalk View Post
    I assume you meant uphill.

    It is rather surprising how I am not much faster descending on my enduro than on my HT. But I am always looking for the fastest, most efficient line on the XC bike, whereas on the enduro I am always looking for the most fun way. I never attempt to KOM downhills on the XC, but have a few ones I am proud of on the enduro. I did get a climbing KOM on the 35+ pound enduro...on a pretty brand new trail (yes, I lost it)
    fack, let me edit
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  58. #158
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjhiker View Post
    Even if I could get $2k for my TRc, not so easy convincing the wife that I should spend an add'l $2k on a new bike.
    You'll get $1k unfortunately. So just keep riding that thing.
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  59. #159
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    fack, let me edit
    You meant until it rains

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    Quote Originally Posted by RBoardman View Post
    I honestly think there is rad trails everywhere in California if you know where to look. No such thing as over biked if thatís the type of riding you like doing.
    Yeah that's kinda where i'm at, having a hard time finding demos of bigger 29ers around here so it's hard to know how they'll compare to my current rig, and with my move to davis in the fall, the riding situation is going to be quite different haha. I'll have to get you to show me some more stuff in SC to make my trips down there more eventful

  61. #161
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    Quote Originally Posted by sosburn View Post
    Yeah that's kinda where i'm at, having a hard time finding demos of bigger 29ers around here so it's hard to know how they'll compare to my current rig, and with my move to davis in the fall, the riding situation is going to be quite different haha. I'll have to get you to show me some more stuff in SC to make my trips down there more eventful
    Oh ya, Davis kinda sucks for riding. Going to be driving to find anything worthwhile. But you will be reasonably close to Tahoe.

  62. #162
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    I love my Yeti sb6c but sometimes it's too much bike, so I'm building a sb45c to go with it.

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  63. #163
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Some other factors are:

    Are you a simple guy or are you highly technical and fascinated with research, settings and materials of new bikes?
    Are you happy just to get out and ride or are trying to beat your uphill records? Or are you trying to descend faster/radder?
    Do you just ride in a couple convenient spots or do you try to find new terrain each time?

    First options above usually go with 'less bike'.
    I've been fascinated with research, settings and materials for at least 15 years. But perhaps ~10 years ago I accepted that there's a gap between what's new and available, and what will provide significant benefits to me. Dropper? Good treads? More tune-able suspension? Check! All of these (dropper especially) helped me re-imagine what can be done on a mountain bike.
    Is the optimal scenario one in which we use 95% of our equipment's capability, with that 5% providing a buffer for safety? Kind of like assessing the o-ring on your fork stanchion after the roughest part of your ride: You want to know if you're using what you brought to it's/your fullest.
    From riding singlespeed, I learned quickly the benefits to attacking climbs early, braking less to maintain momentum - almost as a matter of survival. This made me faster / more efficient on my geared bikes. Meanwhile the improved tech mentioned above has opened up the door to descending differently. The difference is that the learning process is intentional: Lots of good stuff on here over the years (remember all the threads about 'pumping' a few years back?), GMBN and other online resources have given me things to think about while riding. Haven't worked with a coach yet but I imagine this would help riders learn and improve faster than changing bikes.

  64. #164
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    I've got an SB6 and a Tallboy 3 and my latest takeaway is that they're really not that different, in terms of Strava times. SB6 is surprisingly fast going up and the Tallboy is surprisingly fast going down. I just PR'ed Cobblestone at Annadel on my Tallboy and beat my SB6 time by fifteen seconds. I consider that one of the jankier trails around and would've thought that the long travel bike would take the cake. Just goes to show that it's the rider, not the bike. Rude could probably beat my time on a BMX bike.

    You can really ride anything, anywhere these days. It's just about what makes you comfortable. I just can't do hardtails anymore because my lower back can't take it.

  66. #166
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    Quote Originally Posted by jms View Post
    Looks just right...
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  67. #167
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    Great post!

    I currently ride a 130mm rear, 150mm front Evil Calling as my primary bike. It needs to be said that not all 130mm travel bikes are created equal. I have ridden other flavors of 130-140mm travel bikes and they tend to be more trail oriented. The Calling between its progressive travel and geometry, allow it to handle more than I originally expected. I have tinkered with a number of bikes over the past 2-3 years ranging from short and long travel, short and long geometry, as well as wheel size. It allowed me to appreciate different approaches to suspension and geometry. Owing to timing and transitions between bikes, I got the Calling and HD4 with the notion the Calling is my trail bike and the HD4 is my big bike. I always ride the Calling regardless of the type of trail, as it just handles it without any issue and while being a lot of fun. The HD4, being a playful longer travel bike, provides more stability and cush allowing for more speed, etc, but at the expense of being boring of the less aggressive aspects of the trail network.

    I tend to ride the Calling with DPX2 air shock. I do have an 11-6 shock for the Calling and it turns this trail bike into another beast with the coil shock.

    Though I like shiny new bikes in my garage, I find when I tend to ride 1 bike, my skills and confidence improve much more than switching between bikes. There are just subtle minor movements that develops with muscle memory when staying with one bike.

  68. #168
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    Quote Originally Posted by SikeMo View Post
    You can really ride anything, anywhere these days.
    Amen. I used to think that you needed bigger bikes for more trails and then I witnessed Porkstacker out on a fat, steel bike climbing Rocky Ridge and then later in strava noticed he was towards the end of a 50mi ride.

  69. #169
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjhiker View Post
    Amen. I used to think that you needed bigger bikes for more trails and then I witnessed Porkstacker out on a fat, steel bike climbing Rocky Ridge and then later in strava noticed he was towards the end of a 50mi ride.
    LOL!

    Iíve since moved up to aluminum, and added a 120mm travel fork instead of fully-rigid:
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  70. #170
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    I currently have 2 bikes, a Pipedream Moxie 29 long slack steel hardtail, and a Knolly Endorphin. They are in the same class w with similar geometry but differ in wheel size and obviously one has rear suspension and one doesn't. I have been keeping up with my crew that are on Troys, Spartan, and 134s. I get bounced around peddling over big roots and rocks, and a bit on rough descents, but If I had to live with just the HT I could. Hardtails are rare here, and 140-160mm bikes are very common. Am I underbiked on the Moxie? I'm not sure anymore.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  71. #171
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    Great topic; I've given it some thought on my last few rides.
    As many have said, strokes for folks/horses for courses but I am coming to the opinion that less travel is more. (Here will I equate more travel with higher/safer downhill speed relative to less travel/hardtail.) My reasoning being:

    -Going fast is a means, not an end.
    -Reduction of travel can always be off-set by increase in skill.
    -Feeling like I'm going faster (like through rock garden on a hardtail) > actually going faster (like that same rock garden on full sus). E.g., I was becoming too casual descending on my full sus in spots where I have to really pay attention on my ht.
    -Low correlation between hoots/hollars and PRs on strava. Or put another way, raw time over a particular stretch of trail, though loosely related, is a poor proxy for fun and satisfaction.
    -Most important (to me) are the intense focus, the fun factor and sense of satisfaction of surviving/nailing another descent, which are all often heightened with less travel.
    -Less important considerations are less weight, fewer parts/cheaper for ht.
    --The worst part about going faster is my ride is over sooner.

    For any given set of trails one rides on any given bike, as one progresses in skills, the difficulty level of the trails will only decrease. Depending on the degree of tech in your area and your rate of skills progression, one can outgrow the sense of challenge. Trails of higher difficulty will become further afield (by definition), so they will be ridden less/less conveniently.
    I went the classic route of starting on a mid-cheap hardtail/crap 80mm fork for the first few years, to my "big" 130/110 full sus. Now, some year later, I'm bored riding the fully on all but a tiny percent of the (legal) trails* locally. I now think of it now as my Sierras/Utah big-country bike.
    I don't think I could have really appreciated what full/more suspension actually does for me without learning how to do without it first.
    It's not an upgrade if you have never managed without/less. You're just spoiled and get off my lawn.

    And BTW, suspension is not the only way to over-bike. I'm back to the hardtail now, but I'm over-flat pedaled, over 510'd, over-tired, over-rimmed/hub'd and am considering getting over-hydraulic-braked. Heck, even my 3x9 is over-geared.

    * Caveat: There are a couple local spots that feature massive jumps that a proper big 160+ bike is for, but I will not likely jump them ever. And it is not because my suspensions are too small...
    "I may not be fast descending, but I'm pretty slow climbing."

  72. #172
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leopold Porkstacker View Post
    LOL!

    Iíve since moved up to aluminum, and added a 120mm travel fork instead of fully-rigid:
    Hell of an upgrade. I think the bike I saw you on back then was some orange fat bike.

  73. #173
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    Do you want a bike that will complement your strengths or one that will support you on your weaknesses?

    A: i want both.

    Are you advancing your skillset each time you ride or are you perfectly happy to pedal and just get out.

    A: the answer to the question again is, both.

    Are you riding local, simple trails only or you seeking out the most challenging terrain in the area and going on road trips at every opportunity.

    A: since i don't own a car, it's local, simple trails only. however, there are trails available to ride within my pedal-from-my-doorstep range which are not so "simple". i do plan on making a few road trips this summer but i think my five inches of suspension and 2.35 tires will serve me just fine.


    Where do you stand in this spectrum and what choices have you made? Happy or looking to play in the other side?

    A: last august, i purchased a marin hawk hill with 120mm at both ends, plus a dropper post i had installed back in march. it was my first experience with a "modern" mountain bike and the first dualie i'd owned since 2009. before, i was on a marin pine mountain 29'er with a 100mm reba up front and nothing but chromoly and rubber as rear suspension. i find i'm riding the hawk hill far more than the pine mountain and i have not touched my fully rigid singlespeed since last july.

    at any rate, i'm perfectly happy with 120mm on each end given where and how i ride--even if i road tripped to bear valley or downieville, i think i'd be happy with the suspension i have. my thought is for what i'm doing, anything much more than what i'm riding at the moment would be a tad much.

  74. #174
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    There's the old adage that simple, no travel, under-equipped bikes will IMPROVE your skills.

    I'm not sure I agree with that.
    I absolutely do NOT agree with it. I've heard that for so many years. I rode rigid for over 10 years, and I love it. But riding rigid makes you a good rigid rider, thats it (that is if you push yourself). If you transfer to a 160mm full squish you have to adapt your style to maximize the bike. You have to learn about suspension compression and letting the suspension to the work. I will watch guys on 140 mm travel bikes dodge rocks left and right when they should be looking through the obstacle and trust the bike to handle it. And all the absolutely BEST riders I know have started out on full squish and thats what they ride. Not to say they can't hop on a rigid bike and rip it up.

    One more thought. A couple of the top bike handlers in my area have moto background. Talk about the extreme opposite from riding a rigid bike. Sheesh.
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  75. #175
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    A good line on a hardtail isn't necessarily a good line on an enduro rig. If your racing enduro, the best line is the fastest one.
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  76. #176
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    I absolutely do NOT agree with it. I've heard that for so many years. I rode rigid for over 10 years, and I love it. But riding rigid makes you a good rigid rider, thats it (that is if you push yourself). If you transfer to a 160mm full squish you have to adapt your style to maximize the bike. You have to learn about suspension compression and letting the suspension to the work. I will watch guys on 140 mm travel bikes dodge rocks left and right when they should be looking through the obstacle and trust the bike to handle it. And all the absolutely BEST riders I know have started out on full squish and thats what they ride. Not to say they can't hop on a rigid bike and rip it up.

    One more thought. A couple of the top bike handlers in my area have moto background. Talk about the extreme opposite from riding a rigid bike. Sheesh.
    Very good points!!

    Suspension doesn't make a rock disappear. It just manages it. A good rider will still learn how to steer very well with suspension.

    And a good rider doesn't have to seek the smoothest line in the world. He scans all the options available and chooses the best option for setting up for the next corner, jump or feature.

    One can learn on a rigid for sure. But one can learn a lot more from a bike ideally suited for the trail.
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  77. #177
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    Quote Originally Posted by shekky View Post
    Do you want a bike that will complement your strengths or one that will support you on your weaknesses?

    A: i want both.

    Are you advancing your skillset each time you ride or are you perfectly happy to pedal and just get out.

    A: the answer to the question again is, both.

    Are you riding local, simple trails only or you seeking out the most challenging terrain in the area and going on road trips at every opportunity.

    A: since i don't own a car, it's local, simple trails only. however, there are trails available to ride within my pedal-from-my-doorstep range which are not so "simple". i do plan on making a few road trips this summer but i think my five inches of suspension and 2.35 tires will serve me just fine.


    Where do you stand in this spectrum and what choices have you made? Happy or looking to play in the other side?

    A: last august, i purchased a marin hawk hill with 120mm at both ends, plus a dropper post i had installed back in march. it was my first experience with a "modern" mountain bike and the first dualie i'd owned since 2009. before, i was on a marin pine mountain 29'er with a 100mm reba up front and nothing but chromoly and rubber as rear suspension. i find i'm riding the hawk hill far more than the pine mountain and i have not touched my fully rigid singlespeed since last july.

    at any rate, i'm perfectly happy with 120mm on each end given where and how i ride--even if i road tripped to bear valley or downieville, i think i'd be happy with the suspension i have. my thought is for what i'm doing, anything much more than what i'm riding at the moment would be a tad much.
    Good to have more than one bike!!!
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  78. #178
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyNil_Rider View Post
    Great topic; I've given it some thought on my last few rides.
    As many have said, strokes for folks/horses for courses but I am coming to the opinion that less travel is more. (Here will I equate more travel with higher/safer downhill speed relative to less travel/hardtail.) My reasoning being:

    -Going fast is a means, not an end.
    -Reduction of travel can always be off-set by increase in skill.
    -Feeling like I'm going faster (like through rock garden on a hardtail) > actually going faster (like that same rock garden on full sus). E.g., I was becoming too casual descending on my full sus in spots where I have to really pay attention on my ht.
    -Low correlation between hoots/hollars and PRs on strava. Or put another way, raw time over a particular stretch of trail, though loosely related, is a poor proxy for fun and satisfaction.
    -Most important (to me) are the intense focus, the fun factor and sense of satisfaction of surviving/nailing another descent, which are all often heightened with less travel.
    -Less important considerations are less weight, fewer parts/cheaper for ht.
    --The worst part about going faster is my ride is over sooner.

    For any given set of trails one rides on any given bike, as one progresses in skills, the difficulty level of the trails will only decrease. Depending on the degree of tech in your area and your rate of skills progression, one can outgrow the sense of challenge. Trails of higher difficulty will become further afield (by definition), so they will be ridden less/less conveniently.
    I went the classic route of starting on a mid-cheap hardtail/crap 80mm fork for the first few years, to my "big" 130/110 full sus. Now, some year later, I'm bored riding the fully on all but a tiny percent of the (legal) trails* locally. I now think of it now as my Sierras/Utah big-country bike.
    I don't think I could have really appreciated what full/more suspension actually does for me without learning how to do without it first.
    It's not an upgrade if you have never managed without/less. You're just spoiled and get off my lawn.

    And BTW, suspension is not the only way to over-bike. I'm back to the hardtail now, but I'm over-flat pedaled, over 510'd, over-tired, over-rimmed/hub'd and am considering getting over-hydraulic-braked. Heck, even my 3x9 is over-geared.

    * Caveat: There are a couple local spots that feature massive jumps that a proper big 160+ bike is for, but I will not likely jump them ever. And it is not because my suspensions are too small...
    Right on buddy. That was my objective. Let folks share and think about this topic.

    Reflect on your situation and find out the best tool for you. Or, break out of your shell and try something a little different to extract more from our biking lifestyle. It's more than a hobby.
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  79. #179
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    In my view geometry trumps travel. Remember when Evil released the Following and people were blown away by what a 120mm bike could do on the downs? Just like long stroking the Hightower to make the OGLT didn't make that bike stomp the DH more than before. Focusing on travel without looked at the geometry makes for an incomplete comparison.

    It's going to be a while before I again will have enough spare time to warrant more than one bike. I like to go long, I don't mind climbing and I ride for the downhills. I like tech. Bikes like the Hightower, Switchblade (when they first came out) and now a Ripmo or similar fit my bill. I'm also intrigued by the down-country rigs. Definitely a 29er if you only have one rig.

    _MK

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  80. #180
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    Gotta say Iíd give up all our best modern bike for many of the trail systems I encounter outside the BayArea. I spent 2 weeks in Oregon last summer and I couldnít believe how it felt to be on such amazing, endless trails. I wouldnít have cared what bike I was on.

    After 20 years of grinding the same (mostly fireroads) trails over and over again; Iím just so mind numbingly bored with the vast majority of Bay Area options. I can see all this amazing terrain from my front porch and none of it is legal to ride.

  81. #181
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    Quote Originally Posted by MK_ View Post
    In my view geometry trumps travel. Remember when Evil released the Following and people were blown away by what a 120mm bike could do on the downs? Just like long stroking the Hightower to make the OGLT didn't make that bike stomp the DH more than before. Focusing on travel without looked at the geometry makes for an incomplete comparison.

    It's going to be a while before I again will have enough spare time to warrant more than one bike. I like to go long, I don't mind climbing and I ride for the downhills. I like tech. Bikes like the Hightower, Switchblade (when they first came out) and now a Ripmo or similar fit my bill. I'm also intrigued by the down-country rigs. Definitely a 29er if you only have one rig.

    _MK
    Yeah, geometry is a big deal indeed. It's cool now that the same geometry will be available on a 120mm bike and a 160mm bike. A rider can have that same position and use the same descending and cornering techniques on bikes of different capabilities. Both have a dropper, short stem, slack head, steep seat angle. Not identical of course but proportional.

    But when the speed of the trail is fast and the terrain gets gnarly, then travel rules.
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  82. #182
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    Great thread. I feel that more important then how much travel you have is, how you actually use your suspension. I nerd out on air pressure of shocks, forks, and tires. When everything is working together you can do a lot with what you got. If I ride a bike with more or less travel. It doesn't make a difference if that travel and tire pressure isn't tuned to my riding style the bike isn't going provide me with the feedback I'm looking for.
    Keep pedaling no matter what

  83. #183
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    I am currently on a hardtail with a 140mm fork (65.5 HTa, probably 67 sagged?). For most of the local trails I ride (Auburn/Granite Bay/El Dorado Hills), it works and I always have fun and challenge myself.

    My main gripe is the loss of momentum/speed when it gets really rocky. I like picking the technical lines, but my body and rear end of the bike takes a beating. Climbing technical sections, or climbing in general also gets tough. Not sure if it is the bike geometry, my fitness level or both.

    I want to ride more trails in Grass Valley, Nevada City, Downieville, SC, Yay Area, but I currently feel under biked and need to pickup a full squish bike. Currently looking at a 27.5 YT Jeffsy, but there are so many other good bikes to choose from.





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  84. #184
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    Quote Originally Posted by T.Max View Post
    One Bike to rule them all.
    160-170mm trail bike with suspension that can be adjusted to near lock-out for the vanilla trails, and a full Party-Mode for when it gets moar serious. With just one bike (that is clearly a bit much for the Bay) I can push the envelope when the terrain allows for it, and when I'm out adventuring, its on my rig that I know well both mechanically and in terms of trail feel.
    I'd like to read some in depth comparison of LT bikes with their shocks in open/trail (partial lock)/locked modes vs mid travel bikes with their shocks open. Are shocks designed to be ridden hard in trail mode? Is it OK to lock it out and dirt jump it?

    If the shock makers say OK to riding their shocks hard when fully and partially locked out, then the next thing I'd like to read about is the slow speed handling and acceleration of LT bikes for dealing with tech climbs. If you can put an LT bike's shocks in trail mode with a remote, and then it is nimble at slow speeds, and can accelerate quickly, and pop off stuff, then I would agree that there aren't many downsides to going the "overbiked most of the time" route.

    Also, I think a lot of the "little downside to being overbiked" opinion comes with the privileged assumption that you we are buying a $5k+ bike (and people have alluded to putting budget aside in this thread). So, it would be more clear to make the budget explicit in the article. A discussion of pros and cons for people with less of a budget could be interesting in the article too, but that may be too much to cover.

  85. #185
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skeggs1993 View Post
    I'd like to read some in depth comparison of LT bikes with their shocks in open/trail (partial lock)/locked modes vs mid travel bikes with their shocks open. Are shocks designed to be ridden hard in trail mode? Is it OK to lock it out and dirt jump it?

    If the shock makers say OK to riding their shocks hard when fully and partially locked out, then the next thing I'd like to read about is the slow speed handling and acceleration of LT bikes for dealing with tech climbs. If you can put an LT bike's shocks in trail mode with a remote, and then it is nimble at slow speeds, and can accelerate quickly, and pop off stuff, then I would agree that there aren't many downsides to going the "overbiked most of the time" route.

    Also, I think a lot of the "little downside to being overbiked" opinion comes with the privileged assumption that you we are buying a $5k+ bike (and people have alluded to putting budget aside in this thread). So, it would be more clear to make the budget explicit in the article. A discussion of pros and cons for people with less of a budget could be interesting in the article too, but that may be too much to cover.
    Very good points.

    We have suspension now that is well-supported in wide open mode. So nosing in to a drop, it doesn't blow through its travel and pitch the rider over the bars. There's volume spacer snow too and low speed and high speed compression on these forks.

    For rear shocks, the old ones were just awful in Trail Mode. Good to pedal but not good to descend. They were basically suffocated shocks in Trail Mode. But now, the DPX is good and the DPX2 is a sweet shock that can be descended aggressively in Trail Mode. That Rockshox Monarch is ok too.

    As far as weight and stiffness, as you go bigger, everything gets heavier/flexy. But this is now solved by carbon fiber, bigger stanchions, thinner walls, better materials, tpi and wheel builds. But the downside is....... MONEY. It all costs more if you want a 160mm travel bike under 30 lbs.
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  86. #186
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    Most "lockouts" actually just turn the LSC all the way closed, and will still move if you hit hard enough. So they absolutely can be ridden that way.

  87. #187
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    I've always wondered what leads people to buying too much or too little bike? For example, what type of test ride(s) did you go on prior to pulling the trigger compared to what types of trails you're riding *now*. I started with a SC Superlight, and thought I needed more travel, so I went with a TRc, now I'm doing much longer rides (less chunk) and so different trails (and better skills) mean I don't need as much travel (or slack). When I did my test ride, I rode a bunch of chunk (Rocky Ridge & some places in SC), but now I could do that trail on much much less bike. So, in my mind, I didn't count on skills improving as much. I do wish I went on like a 30-40+ mile test ride on the TRc, as I would have probably opted for a bit less bike (more XC-ish).

    I blame my test rides.

  88. #188
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    I fantasize about all the locations I want to take my new bike and then ride locally and see if it's fun.

    At least that's what I ended up doing this time around.

  89. #189
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    Testing the too much bike theory at Fremont Older bike parkToo much bike  VS   Too little bike.-img_8064.jpg
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  90. #190
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Testing the too much bike theory at Fremont Older bike parkClick image for larger version. 

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    Must be "leg day" for FC.

    I can't see that it has been addressed in this thread but I like to consider wear and tear on bikes that are conventionally thought of as too short in travel for really rough trails. I know a lot of you can ride a UCI DH track on a hardtail but doing so will take a greater toll on the bike and components than a proper DH bike. To say nothing about the toll it will take on your body but since some of you covered that I'll consider it addressed.

    I have friends that live on a very tight budget so a couple of $5k bikes in their quiver just doesn't make financial sense for them, or me. So I usually try and guide them to overbike a little to help increase longevity of the bike and components. When I say overbike I'm not talking about travel only. There is a HUGE difference in DH smoothness and capability between my old Spider 275c and my Calling yet both are 130 travel.

    Just something else to consider if you can't afford or simply don't like replacing parts often.

  91. #191
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    I know it was only a tangential point of this thread, but:

    While trying to relearn how to ride a rigid bike over the last week I quickly realized that a lot of how a hardtail had taught me to be smooth is in weight transfer technique that isn't right for a full suspension bike. With my hardtail, to get smoothly through rough stuff I really load the bars to take advantage of the suspension I do have up front and to get weight off the back wheel so it floats better. Unless I was doing something wrong back then, that is not how I rode my previous FS bike. So what's the point of starting with a hardtail then?

    (It only took 20 yards on a rocky trail with a rigid fork to realize that loading the bars is not a good idea! Consequently my legs and back are tired from contributing more, and from trying to manual over rocks to save my arms)

    Or maybe my biggest takeaway from riding rigid is that I want a burly 160mm bike. Ok, and a rigid bike. Too much and too little might be just right

  92. #192
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    Why isn't something like the Cannondale Jekyll more popular because it can be both a trail and enduro bike with modern geometry? Or something like the shape shifter?

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    Scott makes a bike like this also. The truth is, they are not a shinning star in either category, unless you pay for the top of the line model. So, on a lower tier model in the short travel mode, tons of bikes are better, in the higher travel setting, again a ton of better bikes, without sacraficing anything. Also, as human, we tend to be set it and forget it.

  94. #194
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    Quote Originally Posted by jacksonlui View Post
    Why isn't something like the Cannondale Jekyll more popular because it can be both a trail and enduro bike with modern geometry? Or something like the shape shifter?
    Complicated, proprietary systems that are fairly unrelieable, hard to swap in aftermarket parts, expensive, and look weird.

    A flip chip will do the same thing as the shapeshifter, just not on the fly, and without the crazy complicated, easy to break technology.

  95. #195
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    as reaches are gettin longer and seat tubes gettin steeper, do you think most folks bikes that they bought a few years ago are relatively outdated? w/newer geos, dat slacked head tube/steep seat tube 120-140mm rear 29er is becoming a pretty sweet quiver killer around here and probably most of da Sierra.

    got pretty burnt out on a lotta full suspension stuff livin/ridin in sc area for da last 20+ years. on a busy Saturday sitting at the bench on top of u-con you could probably see a $1mil of bikes roll by in the time it takes to finish a beer. but then u'd see some of those folks walkin down da rocky steep parts w/their plastic Bronson's and fancy Italian clipless shoes as you passed on ur 71 degree head tube angle rigid 29er.

    it's like the bike industry has had all the technology in their back pockets forever, they just dish it out in little pieces. but now you don't have to wait, unless your selling all ur old stuff to get da new new.

  96. #196
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    Quote Originally Posted by nativeson View Post
    on a busy Saturday sitting at the bench on top of u-con you could probably see a $1mil of bikes roll by in the time it takes to finish a beer. but then u'd see some of those folks walkin down da rocky steep parts w/their plastic Bronson's and fancy Italian clipless shoes as you passed on ur 71 degree head tube angle rigid 29er.
    LOL i don't ride a rigid bike but the amount of walking bronsons is laughable some weekends

  97. #197
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    Quote Originally Posted by sosburn View Post
    LOL i don't ride a rigid bike but the amount of walking bronsons is laughable some weekends
    I wouldn't laugh at someone walking their bike, whether it's a pos or a fancy bike.

    Folks have their own skills, risk profile and monday duties. I do know that a good bike can save one from a few injuries.

    fc
    IPA will save America

  98. #198
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    I wouldn't laugh at someone walking their bike, whether it's a pos or a fancy bike.

    Folks have their own skills, risk profile and monday duties. I do know that a good bike can save one from a few injuries.

    fc
    my bad, didn't mean it was funny that someone is walking their bike, i meant the AMOUNT of people walking is, just a comment about how busy it gets there. We all have to walk sections some times...

  99. #199
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    Walking sketchy sections with sharp flat pedals is a skill unto itself!

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    I rode a 2006 Stumpjumper with 130mm front and 120mm rear travel for almost 9 years. My most frequent ride was 10 miles on the road (slightly uphill) to the trail, then 5 miles on hilly dirt, then 10 miles back home on the road.

    I just bought a 2019 Stumpjumper with 150mm travel front/rear, and 2.6" wide tires. This bike is awesome. It's a ton of fun on the trails. As more-of-a-bike-than-needed for local trails such as Skeggs and Dirt Alpine, it's super fun. It makes all of my trail rides more fun, including Demo.

    However, riding on the road with those big tires and low tubeless pressures is definitely not as enjoyable as before, and I am often now driving to the same trail that I used to ride on the road to.

    I'm very happy with the new bike, but it's led to a change in my riding habits.

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