Is Whistler *that* much more enjoyable on a DH Bike?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Is Whistler *that* much more enjoyable on a DH Bike?

    Firstly apologies for a question that seems to be brought up before. Just looking to get more specific.

    I have a higher end enduro bike. Yeti 150 with DHX2, Vorsprung, Cushcore, DH casings. Its really setup to be bomb proof and go downhill as quick as possible while being able to get up the mountain.

    Which brings me to the DH question.

    Ive been thinking about investing into a DH bike for shuttle days and trips overseas to Whistler / Queenstown / Tasmania etc. Is Whistler / bike parks that much better on a DH bike - or is the Yeti good enough?

    Ive never ridden a DH bike before - so im unsure to what is feels like to ride.

    Im from Australia - so its kinda limited on the DH trails we have. https://www.maydenabikepark.com/ down in Tasmania would be the most DH orientated park we have.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    If you stay on the flow trails at Whistler then yes, a properly setup enduro bike is all you need, and maybe even better than a full DH bike. That said, the technical trails will wear you down, especially if youíre getting the massive vert all the way off the top of Garbonzo to the bottom.

    Iíve only ever ridden 180mm freeride/light DH bikes there thoughó never a full DH bike (never owned one). I rode everything there and had a great time.

  3. #3
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    THANK YOU for changing that title, I was about to have a grammar aneurysm.
    Oh, the Yeti would be hella fun on 90%, the other ten more so on a DH. Maybe just rent a few days, how long will you be there, a season?
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    Quote Originally Posted by rideit View Post
    THANK YOU for changing that title, I was about to have a grammar aneurysm.
    Oh, the Yeti would be hella fun on 90%, the other ten more so on a DH. Maybe just rent a few days, how long will you be there, a season?
    im actually thinking about doing the summer gravity adult camp. they have DH and Enduro camps available. i *was* leaning towards the DH camp as we just dont really get to do that here in Australia (more jumps).

    after that i was going to stay on another week in whistler and just use the bike to its full extent.

    back here in auz, im really limited to shuttle days etc.

    I was considering a Commencal Supreme: https://www.commencal-store.com.au/s...re-c2x28627346

  5. #5
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    An enduro bike will never replace a bike specifically designed to go downhill only.

    With that said if you donít have a reason locally to ride a DH bike itíll be good enough.


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    It comes down to your budgeting too, if you can pick up another bike no problem and have the space too, go for it. It is better, but every year the margin gets smaller as trails bikes get more capable.


    If you ask me though, if you don't have places you'd need it at home it would be kind of silly to spend thousands on something only for when you travel, and even then a trip to BC you should have a trail bike too because there's lots to ride. And travelling with two bikes would be a pain!

    Rent one and see what you think!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevin267 View Post
    you should have a trail bike too because there's lots to ride. And travelling with two bikes would be a pain!
    Thatís my viewpoint too. When I travel I like to ride both trails and park. Managing two bikes would get annoying in a hurry so I just use a long travel enduro style bike that can handle everything.

  8. #8
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    I know of some who have nice trail bikes and live near bike parks (Queenstown and Christchurch) who've bought used DH bikes just because park riding can beat the daylights out of a bike. So they figure they may as well thrash the beater and save the nice bike for when you need to pedal up.

  9. #9
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    A rig will forgive more errors than an enduro bike. So you will be able to hit the gnar safer with less chance of crashing. But it will only be the most chungery of lines that you are actually faster. For the most part your enduro bike will be faster. It will take more abuse before it brakes too.

    The upper limit of what is possible is higher on the rig. There will be some parts of the bike park that the enduro bike can't clean or it's just too risky to try.

    But the rig will suck more on the easier trails and be less playfull on the jumps and be useless in any flat/up.

    Second hand rigs are cheap as chips so picking one up for less than $2k is easy as.

    Also I like the idea of taking your enduro bike that will be sweet for 80% of the park and hiring a rid for a day or 2.

    Lastly the gap between rig and park build enduro is getting smaller and smaller....
    My slayer with 180mm up front is faster down all off my local dh tracks and is more fun. Sure there's some real chungery features the rid can slam through better. But the overall fun factor is higher on the slayer.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by onawave View Post
    im actually thinking about doing the summer gravity adult camp. they have DH and Enduro camps available. i *was* leaning towards the DH camp as we just dont really get to do that here in Australia (more jumps).

    after that i was going to stay on another week in whistler and just use the bike to its full extent.

    back here in auz, im really limited to shuttle days etc.

    I was considering a Commencal Supreme: https://www.commencal-store.com.au/s...re-c2x28627346
    Dude you're flying around the world to do 2 weeks of mtb in the best place. Buy the DH bike. Enjoy a fresh bike on a trip you're already throwing down $$$ on. If you decide it's not for you i'm sure someone will buy a 2-week-old bike off you. Worst thing, you found out you don't need a DH bike, and you kept 2 weeks of bike park laps off your yeti. It doesn't matter if you Need it, there's like no risk.

    Super jealous, btw.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by plummet View Post
    Also I like the idea of taking your enduro bike that will be sweet for 80% of the park and hiring a rid for a day or 2.
    This.. Take your Yeti and enjoy it. Then maybe rent a DH bike for a couple days in the park when you want to just see how the DH bike feels or when you want to try some of the bigger, higher consequence lines. Plus the SB150 will be perfect for all the non-park, West-side, Creek Side, Valley trails you might do..

    I've been tempted by the low, blow-out prices on 1-2 year old DH bikes I see in the classifieds, but I don't have any lift served stuff near me so it would sit most of the year.
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  12. #12
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    Way too many cool trails in the Whistler area to be limited to the park on a DH bike.

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    Screw the park at Whistler. Ride Squamish, that's where the fun's at!
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by eshew View Post
    Screw the park at Whistler. Ride Squamish, that's where the fun's at!
    thats on the cards too. i was thinking about staying a bit longer and doing a guided tour.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rynomx785 View Post
    Way too many cool trails in the Whistler area to be limited to the park on a DH bike.
    The park has more than enough riding to keep you satisfied for 1-2 weeks (probably more like 1-2 months). No need to go check out the other valley trails unless you are looking to pedal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gemini2k05 View Post
    The park has more than enough riding to keep you satisfied for 1-2 weeks (probably more like 1-2 months). No need to go check out the other valley trails unless you are looking to pedal.
    yeah - i was talking to my mate im heading over with. we are leaning towards getting a guided shuttle for squamish (see the best bits) and ride park after that.

    being time-limited (two weeks) with the goal of maximising our riding time - we kinda concluded we should stay at WBP. keep in mind a week of that is the adult summer gravity camp.

    so should be riding heaven really.

    the only curveball recently is that my coach here said at my level i will be pushing the limits of my bike - saying that i will get more out of DH bike.

    still cant justify the extra spend though. for example, my local bike shop gave me a quote for 2017 wilson DH bike. very decent setup for like 8k. this is an awesome bike - but for that same amount of cash i could take my family to nz at the end of this year and get more riding in.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gemini2k05 View Post
    The park has more than enough riding to keep you satisfied for 1-2 weeks (probably more like 1-2 months). No need to go check out the other valley trails unless you are looking to pedal.
    I have gotten to wear I enjoy earning my DH and when I finally make it all the way up there from Arizona, there are a few trails outside of the park I want to hit. No doubt that one could keep busy for a couple weeks in the park though.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gemini2k05 View Post
    The park has more than enough riding to keep you satisfied for 1-2 weeks (probably more like 1-2 months). No need to go check out the other valley trails unless you are looking to pedal.
    But the Valley trails are where the goods are. I go to whistler a lot and now a days hardly ever ride the park.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN View Post
    But the Valley trails are where the goods are. I go to whistler a lot and now a days hardly ever ride the park.
    If you had one day to ride outside of the park which trail(s) would you ride?

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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN View Post
    But the Valley trails are where the goods are. I go to whistler a lot and now a days hardly ever ride the park.
    yeah - we were thinking one or two days riding squamish with shuttles and a guide. however again - we dont get to whistler that much - so bang for buck riding seems to be WBP

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    If you had one day to ride outside of the park which trail(s) would you ride?
    If it's open into the mystic/Lord of the squirrels!

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    Quote Originally Posted by kevin267 View Post
    If it's open into the mystic/Lord of the squirrels!
    Awesome trail and awesome views. But if you're a true DH rider, the park trails will be more fun. Which is probably the case for every valley trail (although I've only ridden a handful).

  23. #23
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    I've been there 3 times. Every time we say that we wanna get outside the park... Pemberton, Squamish, The North Shore... Never happens. There's too much fun inside the park. You donít really want to leave.

    This past summer we did Mistic/Squirrls one day. Meh... 17km of straight climbing. Ended at 42km for the day. Fun, but not that fun. If you wanna get outside of the park, do Kill me, Thrill me.

    As far as what bike. 5 of us had 6" bikes, but 2 had DH bikes. We all had fun. But to those recommending 6" bikes, let me ask you this... Was the carpal tunnel you've gotten after riding Blue Velvet worth it? 😂 The intermediate runs have more braking bumps than Pennsylvania has potholes.

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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by LarryFahn View Post
    I've been there 3 times. Every time we say that we wanna get outside the park... Pemberton, Squamish, The North Shore... Never happens. There's too much fun inside the park. You donít really want to leave.

    This past summer we did Mistic/Squirrls one day. Meh... 17km of straight climbing. Ended at 42km for the day. Fun, but not that fun. If you wanna get outside of the park, do Kill me, Thrill me.

    As far as what bike. 5 of us had 6" bikes, but 2 had DH bikes. We all had fun. But to those recommending 6" bikes, let me ask you this... Was the carpal tunnel you've gotten after riding Blue Velvet worth it? 😂 The intermediate runs have more braking bumps than Pennsylvania has potholes.

    Ttyl, Fahn
    Were you on an enduro bike or a DH bike? I have heard a few people say that DH bikes really aren't much better on braking bumps?

    Headed to Whistler in September. I am planning on bringing my Sentinel but I will probably rent a DH bike for a couple days. The group I am going is planning on riding the park for 2 days and then pedaling the surrounding areas for a couple days.

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    The DH vs trail bike argument is changing every year as more and more capable trail bikes come out

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    Quote Originally Posted by rynomx785 View Post
    Were you on an enduro bike or a DH bike? I have heard a few people say that DH bikes really aren't much better on braking bumps?

    Headed to Whistler in September. I am planning on bringing my Sentinel but I will probably rent a DH bike for a couple days. The group I am going is planning on riding the park for 2 days and then pedaling the surrounding areas for a couple days.
    I've ridden Whistler on a 160mm enduro, 180/200mm mini-Dh, and a full on DH rig. Braking bumps suck no matter what, but less so on my DH bike.

    On the 160mm bike, when the braking bumps get really bad, my vision will actually go blurry on the braking bumps in the high speed berms on A line to the point where I have trouble seeing. I've never experienced that on my DH bike.

    If you rent a DH bike at whistler, I'd highly recommend doing a premium rental (more $$) as opposed to the regular rental bikes. The suspension on the higher end bikes is sooooo much better, and you'll be able to tune the air fork to your weight. The low end rentals run coil front/back with a spring rate about 100 lbs too stiff. They may give you a slightly softer spring in back, but they won't touch the fork.

    My wife and son have tried the standard rentals before, and they won't even use 1/2 the fork travel. I hopped on their rental bikes for a lap (I'm 40-50 lbs heavier and ride way more aggrressive) and it was awful. Way too stiff for me.

    I'd take my enduro bike with decent suspension any day over the low end suspension on the standard rentals.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by twd953 View Post
    I've ridden Whistler on a 160mm enduro, 180/200mm mini-Dh, and a full on DH rig. Braking bumps suck no matter what, but less so on my DH bike.

    On the 160mm bike, when the braking bumps get really bad, my vision will actually go blurry on the braking bumps in the high speed berms on A line to the point where I have trouble seeing. I've never experienced that on my DH bike.

    If you rent a DH bike at whistler, I'd highly recommend doing a premium rental (more $$) as opposed to the regular rental bikes. The suspension on the higher end bikes is sooooo much better, and you'll be able to tune the air fork to your weight. The low end rentals run coil front/back with a spring rate about 100 lbs too stiff. They may give you a slightly softer spring in back, but they won't touch the fork.

    My wife and son have tried the standard rentals before, and they won't even use 1/2 the fork travel. I hopped on their rental bikes for a lap (I'm 40-50 lbs heavier and ride way more aggrressive) and it was awful. Way too stiff for me.

    I'd take my enduro bike with decent suspension any day over the low end suspension on the standard rentals.
    Thanks for the feedback Sir!

  28. #28
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    Braking bumps suck no matter what bike you're on. But a lil less with more suspension.

    As far as the trail bike argument... People ride both enduro and DH bikes in the park. But there's a really good reason that there's 140, 160, 180, and 200mm bikes. Though 160mm bikes are ridden in the park, would you prefer a 120? The more the better. But like you said, 160's can be ridden.
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    Unless you're one of the maybe 5% that goes ***BIG*** in the park, there's no need for a DH bike in my opinion. We have one guy in our group that rides a DH bike but he's also the guy doing BIG drops and HUGE air. The rest of us ride 160-170 travel bikes (front suspension). I rented a full on, totally decked out Santa Cruz V10 last year and without a second thought, I had way more fun on my Intense Tracer. I rode all over the park, A Line 15 times, Dirt Merchant, Top of the World and into the Kashmir Ridge backcountry stuff. This year, I definitely won't be renting a DH bike.

    As far as off the mountain stuff, Squamish is awesome. Comfortably Numb is a BIG ride and once was enough for me. Yeah, you gotta climb Into the Mystic for the goods but coming down coming Lord of the Squirrels is a blast on a proper trail bike...one of the best 10 trails I've ridden anywhere. If you like riding wooden structures, ramps, teeter totters, etc that aren't death defying, 'A River Runs Through It' is an awesome trail that you can ride right from the village. If you want some lower key trails that are still super fun with plenty of hidden gems, spend at least a day riding the trails of the Lost Lake area which are immediately adjacent to the Village. My favorite is "This is Why Johnny Can't Read" which has some cool off-camber rock rollers.
    Last edited by k2rider1964; 2 Days Ago at 09:10 AM.
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  30. #30
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    In a perfect world - it would be nice to have 2 bikes - but money wise traveling - it cost too much.

    Many many people tell you these enduro bikes are capable of handling the trails and all that - the key word is capable.

    How I feel being older....riding an enduro bike - you are more tired and your hands are going to kill at the end of day. The Dh bike will be smoother, you will have less aches and pains....and with Whistler you ride so much faster because the flow is unbelievably smooth....the DH bike will save you when you make a mistake then if you are riding an enduro bike - not all occasions but a lot more.

    For me - I always will bring the DH bike to the park....
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    Quote Originally Posted by SHIVER ME TIMBERS View Post
    In a perfect world - it would be nice to have 2 bikes - but money wise traveling - it cost too much.

    Many many people tell you these enduro bikes are capable of handling the trails and all that - the key word is capable.

    How I feel being older....riding an enduro bike - you are more tired and your hands are going to kill at the end of day. The Dh bike will be smoother, you will have less aches and pains....and with Whistler you ride so much faster because the flow is unbelievably smooth....the DH bike will save you when you make a mistake then if you are riding an enduro bike - not all occasions but a lot more.

    For me - I always will bring the DH bike to the park....
    ^this right here. How many laps you do in a day makes a big difference too. I'm all about getting my money's worth when I am at Whistler, so I'm usually trying to be on the mountain when the lift opens to beat the mass of people picking up rental bikes and lattes, then ride til close, which in the summer is 8pm.

    That's a hell of a lot of laps, and if a lot of those laps are smashing the double black tech (not just endless laps of A-line) then being on a DH bike makes a difference. Then multiply that by riding many days in a row and it adds up.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SHIVER ME TIMBERS View Post
    In a perfect world - it would be nice to have 2 bikes - but money wise traveling - it cost too much.

    Many many people tell you these enduro bikes are capable of handling the trails and all that - the key word is capable.

    How I feel being older....riding an enduro bike - you are more tired and your hands are going to kill at the end of day. The Dh bike will be smoother, you will have less aches and pains....and with Whistler you ride so much faster because the flow is unbelievably smooth....the DH bike will save you when you make a mistake then if you are riding an enduro bike - not all occasions but a lot more.

    For me - I always will bring the DH bike to the park....
    Different strokes....I'm "old" as well and feel just the opposite. The DH bike tired me out more. I could feel the weight pretty much the entire time and with the 7 speed drivetrains, going up even a minimal incline was a PITA. To each their own.

    Enjoy the ride!!
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    I live fairly close to Whistler and have ridden Squamish, some of the valley trails, and used to log 5-6 full days in the bike park every year. I owned a downhill bike for about 3 years, then sold it, and then bought a new one because I missed riding it in the bike park so much. My buddies and I are high level riders, and in my opinion nothing ever really replaces the feeling of riding a full-on DH bike in the park.

    When I sold that first DH bike, I had read the forums and talked to other guys in the park on trail bikes, and made the call to sell and ride my 160mm enduro bike. No matter how rad your enduro bike is, though, you'll notice a difference when you're riding full-tilt. Sure, Whistler is full of flow trails now, but the reason that I go back is not to lap A-Line for the billionth time, but to get uplifts to ride Original Sin, Afternoon Delight, In Deep, Schleyer, Whistler Downhill, etc. - the true classic DH trails. If that's the style of riding, you'll appreciate the unapologetically DH-oriented nature of a true DH bike.

    That all said, I sold the newer DH bike after only a year because I just wasn't riding it much. It saw 5 days in Whistler, and otherwise maybe 1-2 other rides. With Whistler becoming such an overcrowded mess, I was looking elsewhere for steep and tech riding, and all of it is more accessible on a bike that you can pedal. It also meant I wasn't getting the time on the DH bike that I needed to get fully comfortable on it, so some of its advantages were overcome by me not being as comfortable as I could have been.

    SO - if it was me, I'd bring the Yeti for Squamish and valley trails and maybe even Pemberton, which really are amazing trails, and then just rent a DH bike for the bike park days. And for those days, I'd splurge on a top-level bike. If you're the type that is super particular about setup, you might find bike rental frustrating as it requires adapting to a new bike, in which case you can at least try it for a day and still fall back on riding your Yeti if you find it more comfortable.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by zhendo View Post
    I live fairly close to Whistler and have ridden Squamish, some of the valley trails, and used to log 5-6 full days in the bike park every year. I owned a downhill bike for about 3 years, then sold it, and then bought a new one because I missed riding it in the bike park so much. My buddies and I are high level riders, and in my opinion nothing ever really replaces the feeling of riding a full-on DH bike in the park.

    When I sold that first DH bike, I had read the forums and talked to other guys in the park on trail bikes, and made the call to sell and ride my 160mm enduro bike. No matter how rad your enduro bike is, though, you'll notice a difference when you're riding full-tilt. Sure, Whistler is full of flow trails now, but the reason that I go back is not to lap A-Line for the billionth time, but to get uplifts to ride Original Sin, Afternoon Delight, In Deep, Schleyer, Whistler Downhill, etc. - the true classic DH trails. If that's the style of riding, you'll appreciate the unapologetically DH-oriented nature of a true DH bike.

    That all said, I sold the newer DH bike after only a year because I just wasn't riding it much. It saw 5 days in Whistler, and otherwise maybe 1-2 other rides. With Whistler becoming such an overcrowded mess, I was looking elsewhere for steep and tech riding, and all of it is more accessible on a bike that you can pedal. It also meant I wasn't getting the time on the DH bike that I needed to get fully comfortable on it, so some of its advantages were overcome by me not being as comfortable as I could have been.

    SO - if it was me, I'd bring the Yeti for Squamish and valley trails and maybe even Pemberton, which really are amazing trails, and then just rent a DH bike for the bike park days. And for those days, I'd splurge on a top-level bike. If you're the type that is super particular about setup, you might find bike rental frustrating as it requires adapting to a new bike, in which case you can at least try it for a day and still fall back on riding your Yeti if you find it more comfortable.
    interesting take.

    travelling over from Australia - im looking to get the most bang for buck for my riding. north America in general is around 10 years ahead in regards to access to trails, riding etc. the closest thing we have available to us thats similar in riding to whistler is a place called maydena bike park. roughly a 2-hour flight and few hours drive away.

    we also have another bike park available around 10 hours drive.

    other than that - there are some options around for DH stuff - but limited.

    i was of the same opinion - just hire a bike for when im there. 2-week hire price high end is 3k Aussie peso. might as well spend a bit more and buy a dh bike for that. one week of that (when im doing the course) is roughly 1.5k for a santa cruz v10. im doing summer gravity camp btw.

    and there lies the conundrum really.

    i took my family over there last year - which they all loved. my wife especially loved it - so next trip we have planned (besides the one im doing this year) is probably 2022 - where it will be a probably a few months trooping around bc for your summer into fall. so we are defo heading back.

    to add more info, my coach, here in aus (who is pmbi level 3) rekons i will max out the yeti pretty darn quickly in whistler and that a dh bike will be my best bet.

    however to add to the confusion - i then took that information and contacted Andrew Shandro - and he said try the enduro bike first and then hire a dh if i need one.

    my ability level is that im pretty good on tech (lots of that here in auz) single to light double black. however i suck on bigger jumps and drops.

  35. #35
    trekker
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    176
    With how little you will ride DH, I would definitely buy a cheap, used one. 8k for a 2017 is not cheap and you'll want something new in a couple years.

    FWIW, I haven't ridden in Canada, but I've ridden NorCal bike parks on a 150/160mm enduro bike. For my first time, my hands were dead after 6-8 runs on the first day. The last 4 weren't much fun because of the pain. I wouldn't have been able to ride a second day. A DH bike would have helped a lot with my overall enjoyment.

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