Is Highland rideable on a hardtail?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Is Highland rideable on a hardtail?

    It looks to cater more towards the DH/FR peeps.

    Just wondering if i'll be in over my head on my GT Avalanche?

    Thanks.

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    well, i'm sure you can..It might not be incredibly comfortable however...it's def pretty steep and gnarly on most trails....there are two trails that are off just to the right at the top of the lift (it starts as one trail), and that one might be a better start at least on hardtail.

    There are def a majority of DR rigs there - as it probably should be. I ride my Spesh Enduro there, which obviously has full suspension but also def isn't a gravity sled...and it does fine...

  4. #4
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    <---- This guy says yes. Spent a day there on my 29er hardtail (Banshee Paradox). Highland most certainly does not necessitate a dh rig. Squish might make it more fun and less tiring, and might encourage you to hit some of the larger stuff, but hey, run what ya got. You'll learn to ride your bike in a new way, and those skills will transfer to your trail riding. I saw a few other people on hardtails, fwiw. They did fine.

    It's definitely not steep and gnarly, on the whole. A couple trails are both, some are one or the other, but for the most part it's pretty tame. Very fun, but tame. And everything that isn't tame has a go-around line or can be easily avoided.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smelly
    <---- This guy says yes. Spent a day there on my 29er hardtail (Banshee Paradox). Highland most certainly does not necessitate a dh rig. Squish might make it more fun and less tiring, and might encourage you to hit some of the larger stuff, but hey, run what ya got. You'll learn to ride your bike in a new way, and those skills will transfer to your trail riding. I saw a few other people on hardtails, fwiw. They did fine.

    It's definitely not steep and gnarly, on the whole. A couple trails are both, some are one or the other, but for the most part it's pretty tame. Very fun, but tame. And everything that isn't tame has a go-around line or can be easily avoided.

    I agree...ride what you got. There once was a day when this stuff was ridden on non dual crown, 8 inch Bomber forks, right? I rode hardtail for years at Killington and other lift access places, and i never felt "lacking." Now i've probably bought the hype of the last few years (ahhh, but when i think of my Enduro, I def don't think "all mountain" is hype - it's a great feeling bike)

    But the caveat is your riding style - if you're going to case step ups, and do some fairly serious hucking and such, you can obviously break frame, harshly bottom out fork, etc etc.. Sounds like you probably just want to bomb down and hit some small stuff...when you talk to the people there, their company line is "we like you on six inches of travel" in terms of fork. But if you don't have that (Avalanche i can't recall), you will still be fine IMO.

  6. #6
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    rdtmk - Are you the guy who was recently looking for easy trails near Boston? Highland is doable on a hardtail, but it's no way near 'easy'.

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    Your question kinda scares me OP. If your riding history matches what I'd anticipate from an avalanche owner, Highland wouldn't be an easy ride for you regardless the bike. An expert rider could ride that bike down most of highland without breaking it or him/her self. A less expert rider would not have nearly as good luck.

    The question you really need to ask is "can I ride my GT Avalanche at Highland and not hurt myself or someone else bombing down the trails on a more appropriate rig?" My son reports being scared to death a bunch of times at Highland coming up on a beginner rider walking around a sketchy bit or generally going half the speed of his group of a half dozen accomplished down-hillers.

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  8. #8
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    How gnarly are the green trails at Highland? Any details?

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    Quote Originally Posted by hal brain
    rdtmk - Are you the guy who was recently looking for easy trails near Boston? Highland is doable on a hardtail, but it's no way near 'easy'.
    When I said "easy" I was referring to the absence of hills. I am woefully out of shape after having not ridden for 6 years but in terms of skill I am not lacking.

    I just looking for a fun trail to bomb downhill without having to work my ass off until I get back in shape.

  10. #10
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    Don't let anyone scare you away from riding Highland. The place is a blast and you see many different types of riders there. The green trails are fast and smooth with a lot of big berms. There are some short sections of rough rock gardens but are by no means unrideable on a hard tail. There new trail Happy Hour is also a great trail. Very fast and flowy with no big air jumps or drops. I ride Highland on a regular basis. Anyone that gets mad at someone for being "that guy" and slow needs to relax. We aren't pros and there will always be someone faster than us. No need to try to act superior than anyone. If something is unrideable then walk your bike but make sure you are off the trail. If you hear someone coming up fast behind you than pull well off to the side. My only pet peeve is people who stop on the bridges or drops to look at them. It can be very dangerous. If you want to check things out before riding them place your bike off the trail and use caution and common sense to stay out of the way while looking. The atmosphere and riders at Highland are great. I've never encountered anyone with a bad attitude. Maybe for your first time you should look into their "find your ride" program. It comes with a day pass bike and helmet rental and lessons from one of their coaches. It might boost your confidence to be on a bigger/longer travel bike as well as having a good coach to give you some pointers the first few times down the mountain. Or just ride what you got!
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    Sounds like ski/snowboarding etiquette basically. I'm going to my first lift service at Sunday River soon, can't wait!

  12. #12
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    Just be curteous on the trails and you wont have a problem. People understand that they will probably run into slower riders especially on the green trails. Most hare glad to pull over and talk and allow the slower riders to continue well ahead of them before starting back up. That's how our group of riders is.
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    I agree....Happy Hour and the Greens will be great....the top part of Happy Hour, up closer to the top of the lift (it might be called something else at that point), can be pretty steep (but not really rocky/rooty). The geometry on the Avalanche might not be perfect for that, but....just sit your ass way back and down over your wheel obviously!

    The Green trails (Meadow's End and Fancy Feast i think?) are totally perfect for bombing down, as you say....as someone mentioned, fun berms, nice little rock and root sections and small bridges and such....a great smooth drop down onto a bridge where you get alot of speed, then it shoots you up. fun feeling on that one. If you've not been riding alot, your legs are gonna feel it - multiple/rapid fire downhill runs seem to blast my legs more than hard climbs!

  14. #14
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    um yes i ride my ridge there
    had i little time to post today
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    You have to be careful OP, I share the same concerns as Hado. There's a big difference between XC and lift served trail systems, the green and blue trails out on an XC loop don't exist at Highland. It's all DH level stuff that is rated against their other trails. I have seen people scared out of their minds on Happy Hour trying to navigate the berms, and even on Fancy Feast (green trail) there is a rock section that could take you out if you're not careful.

    If you feel confident in your bike handling skills, by all means go; It is a blast. But if you're not at minium an intermediate XC rider, I would look to go somewhere else. Just an opinion of one person here, I spent a 5 years dealing with skiers that didn't know what they were getting themselves into while working at Snowbird, I'd hate for the same to happen to you. But hey, you can always walk what you don't want to ride.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum
    You have to be careful OP, I share the same concerns as Hado. There's a big difference between XC and lift served trail systems, the green and blue trails out on an XC loop don't exist at Highland. It's all DH level stuff that is rated against their other trails. I have seen people scared out of their minds on Happy Hour trying to navigate the berms, and even on Fancy Feast (green trail) there is a rock section that could take you out if you're not careful.

    If you feel confident in your bike handling skills, by all means go; It is a blast. But if you're not at minium an intermediate XC rider, I would look to go somewhere else. Just an opinion of one person here, I spent a 5 years dealing with skiers that didn't know what they were getting themselves into while working at Snowbird, I'd hate for the same to happen to you. But hey, you can always walk what you don't want to ride.
    Like I said i'm not worried about how technical the trails are. I know I can handle that aspect. I just want to go have some fun without killing myself on any climbs simply because at my current physical level I can't handle the climbs.

  17. #17
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    Uhh...there are no climbs.
    That's what the chairlift is for.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smelly
    Uhh...there are no climbs.
    That's what the chairlift is for.
    Yep, no climbs. When are you going?
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    Quote Originally Posted by smelly
    Uhh...there are no climbs.
    That's what the chairlift is for.
    Yes, which is why I asked about Highland in the first place...

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdtmk
    Like I said i'm not worried about how technical the trails are. I know I can handle that aspect. I just want to go have some fun without killing myself on any climbs simply because at my current physical level I can't handle the climbs.

    Your original question does not reflect that. Your orig question centers around whether a hardtail is doable at Highland; a good question. Then your question turns into whether a downhill park is going to have a lot of climbs; which isn't a great question. Kinda weird to change the nature of your question after a bunch of people try to help you. Also kinda weird that a good technical rider wouldn't know that a DH oriented park won't have a lot of climbing. That is why a few posters are concerned. Just know that what may be decent skills to one rider are beginner to another. I've known people that rode very easy trails and started to think they were good and experienced a nasty shock when they saw what others would only considered intermediate trails.

    FYI - Downhill / freeride bikes are meant to be ridden downhill, and they are heavy, which makes riding them uphill not very fun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by idbrian
    Your original question does not reflect that. Your orig question centers around whether a hardtail is doable at Highland; a good question. Then your question turns into whether a downhill park is going to have a lot of climbs; which isn't a great question. Kinda weird to change the nature of your question after a bunch of people try to help you. Also kinda weird that a good technical rider wouldn't know that a DH oriented park won't have a lot of climbing. That is why a few posters are concerned. Just know that what may be decent skills to one rider are beginner to another. I've known people that rode very easy trails and started to think they were good and experienced a nasty shock when they saw what others would only considered intermediate trails.

    FYI - Downhill / freeride bikes are meant to be ridden downhill, and they are heavy, which makes riding them uphill not very fun.
    My original question was due to the fact that I already knew Highland was a DH centric park and I wanted to know if any of the trails would be doable on my hardtail...

    When did I even ask if Highland had a lot of climbs? I don't recall ever asking that. You're making things up or simply not understanding what you are reading. I'm sorry to sound pissy but this kind of stuff is annoying.


    It is as simple as this:


    I am an experienced rider who is just getting back into the sport and out of shape.

    I want to find a place with no climbs so I can go out and have some fun until I get back into shape.

    I found Highland online, realized it is a DH oriented park, and wanted to know if there were any trails where a hardtail would be fun to ride.

    Period.

    Learn to read.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdtmk
    When did I even ask if Highland had a lot of climbs? I don't recall ever asking that. You're making things up or simply not understanding what you are reading. I'm sorry to sound pissy but this kind of stuff is annoying.

    Learn to read.
    Quote Originally Posted by rdtmk
    When I said "easy" I was referring to the absence of hills. I am woefully out of shape after having not ridden for 6 years but in terms of skill I am not lacking.
    You started the post mentioning your entry level hardtail
    You are not familiar with the trail system at Highland
    You have a fantastic ability to not want to listen to more experienced people who are just trying to prepare you adequately.
    The title of your post reeks of begineer.
    I also thought you changed the point of your post halfway through.

    Sorry, but this is how misunderstandings get out of control. Go to Highland, be careful and work your way up to things. Stay away from getting off the lift to the left until you have the right side trails dialed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum
    You started the post mentioning your entry level hardtail
    You are not familiar with the trail system at Highland
    You have a fantastic ability to not want to listen to more experienced people who are just trying to prepare you adequately.
    The title of your post reeks of begineer.
    I also thought you changed the point of your post halfway through.

    Sorry, but this is how misunderstandings get out of control. Go to Highland, be careful and work your way up to things. Stay away from getting off the lift to the left until you have the right side trails dialed.
    That was actually referring to another thread where I was asking about trails in Massachusetts since I just moved to Boston that that user referenced.

    Sorry for the confusion.

    I'm listening to every good piece of information given. I know exactly what i'm looking for and I just wanted to know if Highland is it.

    But most of this thread is people is assuming i'm a retarded n00b simply because I have an entry level bike.

    But it couldn't possibly be that the rig I built myself 5 years ago, the $1500 hardtail with full XT drivetrain got stolen recently and I had to make due with buying an affordable bike to ride. I'm sorry that makes me a complete idiot.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdtmk
    My original question was due to the fact that I already knew Highland was a DH centric park and I wanted to know if any of the trails would be doable on my hardtail...

    When did I even ask if Highland had a lot of climbs? I don't recall ever asking that. You're making things up or simply not understanding what you are reading. I'm sorry to sound pissy but this kind of stuff is annoying.


    It is as simple as this:


    I am an experienced rider who is just getting back into the sport and out of shape.

    I want to find a place with no climbs so I can go out and have some fun until I get back into shape.

    I found Highland online, realized it is a DH oriented park, and wanted to know if there were any trails where a hardtail would be fun to ride.

    Period.

    Learn to read.
    Apparently i am crazy.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdtmk
    But most of this thread is people is assuming i'm a retarded n00b simply because I have an entry level bike..
    I get this weird feeling from your thread that you are almost fishing for that sort of feedback.

    I'm sure everyone here knows someone who tears up trails on an entry level bike better than themselves on their better bikes. Maybe it isn't that you ride a entry level bike that would lead people to thinking you are a "n00b," but the nature of your questions. According to you; you read up on Highland online, see that it is a DH oriented place, and then come on here to ask if it is a good place to avoid climbing. Or..... you are trying to ask if the bike can technically handle the terrain. You are asking both and neither.

    I'm not really trying to be confrontational here. I'm actually quite fascinated and becoming quite a big fan of your writing style. It's like an abstract art.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by idbrian
    I get this weird feeling from your thread that you are almost fishing for that sort of feedback.

    I'm sure everyone here knows someone who tears up trails on an entry level bike better than themselves on their better bikes. Maybe it isn't that you ride a entry level bike that would lead people to thinking you are a "n00b," but the nature of your questions. According to you; you read up on Highland online, see that it is a DH oriented place, and then come on here to ask if it is a good place to avoid climbing. Or..... you are trying to ask if the bike can technically handle the terrain. You are asking both and neither.

    I'm not really trying to be confrontational here. I'm actually quite fascinated and becoming quite a big fan of your writing style. It's like an abstract art.
    I never asked if its a good place to avoid climbing. I already assumed so.

    I just wanted to know if any of the trails were mellow enough that riding them on a hardtail wouldn't be a totally brutal experience.

    Thanks to several people I now know that there are some less intense trails that would be suitable for a hardtail.

    I don't know why you would look into it any further than that... I just got annoyed with the people assuming i'm an idiot.

    I'm done with this thread. Hopefully i'll have some fun at Highland.

    Thanks to all the guys that helped.

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    I'd be curious as to how it goes for you. I've been interested in riding out there after reading on the boards that a full suspension XC bike would be fine.

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    not to step in the middle, but this somehow devolved into total miscommunication it seems. I can see it now. Someone else chimed in about the other "climbing thread," and it went from there. OP was right, everyone look through and you'll see.

    And we can all be ver ver happy now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by starry
    not to step in the middle, but this somehow devolved into total miscommunication it seems. I can see it now. Someone else chimed in about the other "climbing thread," and it went from there. OP was right, everyone look through and you'll see.

    And we can all be ver ver happy now.
    Thanks starry. I didn't mean to start something.

    Your reply got me very excited to try out Highland. Sounds like a fun time.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdtmk
    Thanks starry. I didn't mean to start something.

    Your reply got me very excited to try out Highland. Sounds like a fun time.
    Have you watched the videos on the website yet? They'll get you pumped for sure. Go to the trail map and click the trail names for videos.
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  31. #31
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    I wouldn't recommend a hardtail at Highland. Unless you are looking to jump. The non jumping trails (beginner) are very rocky. I would lose a few fillings without my 6" of squish. My Cannondale Prophet (in FR mode - 67.5deg HA) handled it really well. But a steep angled HT would be brutal. Good luck to ya. You can always rent a bike there if you find it too rough.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by starry
    not to step in the middle, but this somehow devolved into total miscommunication it seems. I can see it now. Someone else chimed in about the other "climbing thread," and it went from there. OP was right, everyone look through and you'll see.

    And we can all be ver ver happy now.

    I think his repeating that technical trails aren't an issue for him also made it confusing. He says it several times. But in the end he really wants to know if the trails are too technical. Which i now understand.

    Go back up and read Post #16. The guy he is responding to is giving him a very reasonable opinion that was not impacted by the other thread that you feel railroaded the topic. Then read his response.

    Clearly i'm bored, but I'm not crazy.

  33. #33
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    Video from Highland -

    http://www.vitalmtb.com/videos/membe...b1k3r1d3r,1391

    Happy Ending looks super fun. Second one would take a few runs for those tall doubles. It would be sweet to take a guide down the trails and maybe a lesson to get to know it.

  34. #34
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    I've never been to Highland, but those I know that have consider it more of a workout than grinding up your typical MA hill. The difference is that if you get tired and sloppy at Highland, you might get yourself a nice helicopter tour of the fall foliage.

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    Haha I'm sure! 20 ft air to 100 ft oak at 30mph.

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    Quote Originally Posted by idbrian
    I think his repeating that technical trails aren't an issue for him also made it confusing. He says it several times. But in the end he really wants to know if the trails are too technical. Which i now understand.

    Go back up and read Post #16. The guy he is responding to is giving him a very reasonable opinion that was not impacted by the other thread that you feel railroaded the topic. Then read his response.

    Clearly i'm bored, but I'm not crazy.
    In my defense I don't think "technical" automatically means big jumps and drops and suitable for FS only.

    You can still have a technical trail without all those things. And thats exactly was I was hoping the "easy" trails at Highland would be.

  37. #37
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    I agree, technical does not necessarily mean drops and jumps, i.e. rock gardens. I love tech but i don't do drops and jumps. However the Post 16 guy is clearly referring to DH obstacles and technicalities. I understand where you are coming from. I was just having fun with the confusion.

  38. #38
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    Bottom Line: Go to the Fells, ride/walk up the hills until you get in shape. By your own admission you're not in the shape to ride up any sort of hill; although Highland is [mostly] downhill, its still a major workout and the penalty for failure is alot higher.

  39. #39
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    This year was my getting in better MTB shape season. There were improvements, but there is still a long road ahead of me. I was getting in about three rides a week and apparently that still wasn't enough. I found that avoiding hilly places will do little to help improve your ability. But it also stinks to not be able to have the fun without all the pain.

    Spinning classes actually work pretty well. If your local gym has them, i like that you can just go whenever. I'm not one for classes, spinning is my first, but they are actually pretty good at getting you in shape and having the time pass by quickly.

  40. #40
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    Get a single speed...that will get you in shape!

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