Ideal bike for Squamish-
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  1. #1
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    Sep 2019

    Ideal bike for Squamish

    I’m trying to figure out the ideal bike for riding in Squamish. Looking to buy a new bike and have received some mixed opinions on what bike works best for around here. There seems to be one group of people that advocate getting one of Enduro race style bikes, i.e. 29er 160-170mm of travel and another group of people that say it makes more sense to go for a less aggressive, lighter bike, such as a 140-150mm travel 29er. To me it initially made sense to get a full on enduro bike as the terrain here is quite rowdy so you’d want to lean towards a more downhill oriented bike but I’ve heard people say those bikes are designed for racing, i.e. getting down the hill as fast as possible and doesn’t necessarily lend themselves to tight and very technical terrain (i.e. lots of squamish and north shore) and that you’re better off with something a bit more nimble/lighter as there is a lot of climbing to be done but something that can still smash the very technical descents.

    I was originally looking at a Commencal Meta AM29 or YT Capra 29er but perhaps they are too much bike for around here?

  2. #2
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    Reputation: vikb's Avatar
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    Sep 2008
    Quote Originally Posted by jackl304 View Post
    There seems to be one group of people that advocate getting one of Enduro race style bikes, i.e. 29er 160-170mm of travel and another group of people that say it makes more sense to go for a less aggressive, lighter bike, such as a 140-150mm travel 29er.
    I'd go for the mid-travel 29er myself. I can ride anything I want to ride on it. It's not so much bike that easier trails are boring and the trails where it's just not enough bike are trails I am not going to ride anyways. Today's crop of 140-150mm 29ers are super capable.

    You could argue that the longer travel bike covers the same ground and has more margin of safety on the more difficult trails. I wouldn't argue against that. And if you really are going to be smashing out double blacks and pro lines in the Sea to Sky that's probably the bike you want. If you aren't out to search and destroy on the toughest trails in the area I think a long travel bike like that is overkill and not going to be as much fun to ride.

    As with a lot of things it really depends on what you plan to ride and how?
    Safe riding,


  3. #3
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    Reputation: CptSydor's Avatar
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    Sep 2007
    Yes, it really depends on your riding style, the trails you ride and your expectations.

    A 29er 160-170mm is a pretty big bike. I think there are 3 ways to full appreciate a bike like that. 1) You ride very aggressively on advanced trails (Hard single blacks to pro-lines in the 99er corridor 2) You are above average fit and/or don't care about going up hill fast. 3) You might do lift/shuttle access a bit more than the odd time here or there.

    A 29er in the 140-150mm, on the other hand says I still like to ride gnarly trails, but maybe a little more conservatively or don't care about slamming them all the time. I appreciate a big bike that climbs a bit better, which is how I normally access my trails.

    Both range of bikes are fully capable of providing a great riding experience in Squamish on virtually any trail your technical abilities are able to handle. And honestly the the difference is probably not going to be night and day, just late afternoon to dusk.

    For myself personally, if I lived in Squamish, I'd have a tough choice of which bike to pick. I live in the interior, but travel fairly extensively with my bike. I'm on a 150mm 29er (Santa Cruz Hightower LT). I've had it in Squamish and thought it was perfect for me, especially considering I'm not scared to pedal my bike on big rides. Still pretty much anywhere but the 99er corridor, it's a pretty beefy bike, but I have done some lift access and races some enduro on it. If I was in the 99er corridor, a 160-170mm travel bike would be a lot of fun. I probably wouldn't care too much about pedaling it around, but I wouldn't like to travel with it (for trail riding).
    Straight outta Rossland

  4. #4
    ups and downs
    Reputation: rockyuphill's Avatar
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    Nov 2004
    The Rocky dealer sells a lot of Altitudes and Instincts in Squamish. And for the die-hard BCBR racers a lot of Elements.
    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

  5. #5
    high pivot witchcraft
    Reputation: mtnbkrmike's Avatar
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    Mar 2015
    "We have always been drawn to short travel bikes with a gravity bias, so we reached out to our friends in Cumberland, BC to get ourselves the Druid for a few months of riding in Squamish, BC..."

    Spoiler alert. It did not disappoint.

    "...we never felt the need to use the compression lever on the shock to help with efficiency and very few can match its technical climbing prowess..."

    "Regardless of what section we rode and how we rode it, the Druid was planted and confidence-inspiring when we dropped our heels, and poppy and playful when we jibbed about. On the shorter punchy bits, the lack of pedal feedback meant we could put power to the ground easily without blowing our feet off, and the shorter-than-usual travel meant we could climb far more efficiently than the enduro bikes that tend to frequent the trail most of the time..."

    "Regardless of feeling a little badly about dragging a 130mm bike up the chairlift, the Druid took rougher trails in stride and was an absolute rocket ship on trails like Ninja Cougar. After being so fun on the rolling, playful trails in Squamish we were impressed that the Druid also felt planted and composed on such high-speed, abusive trails."

    "The Druid makes a strong case as the pound-for-pound most capable bike we have thrown a leg over. It is energetic and nimble at lower speeds, and as the speeds and terrain get more demanding, the bike lengthens and settles into itself. Forbidden has created an extremely versatile bike, and the Druid confirms that the idler excels in applications other than just DH bikes. In a place like the Sea to Sky corridor, the terrain is intimidating enough that many folks rely on a long-travel bike for the handful of gnarly bits within a given ride, but a shorter travel bike like the Druid is capable enough to absorb the heavy impacts, and much more fun everywhere in between."

    "...short travel “downcountry” bikes do not inspire the same confidence, nor can they withstand the abuse in a place like Squamish. The Forbidden Druid is truly a downhiller’s trail bike: capable enough for reckless abandon, efficient enough that a recreational cross-country race is not out of the question and playful enough that mellower trails are still engaging. The Trifecta suspension design is proof that the high idler concept is effective and efficient in places other than the downhill track, and we would bet our bottom dollar that a race-oriented 160mm Forbidden offering would be an absolute weapon. The Druid is a great option for anyone but is best suited to those looking for a mini-DH bike that will allow them to climb efficiently and descend like hooligans."

    That's only
    one review, but it's tough to find a bad one out there. I am not aware of even one. And in response to the OP's inquiry, this review followed a few weeks of riding in Squamish...
    2020 Kona Unit
    2019 Forbidden Druid
    2018 Kona Honzo ST 30th BDay SE
    2015 Kona Paddy Wagon Fixed Gear

  6. #6
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    Sep 2019
    Thanks for the replies. For style of riding, I do seek out mostly black and double black trails in the sea to sky. I don't fly down them though, mostly go at a "medium" pace. Maybe I should know the answer already but I haven't kept up with new bike tech.

    Looking at something like a YT Jeffsy 29 or Transition Sentinel now.

  7. #7
    roots, rocks, rhythm
    Reputation: Dawgprimo's Avatar
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    Mar 2004
    I would stick to a Enduro style with about 160 mm rear travel.
    As wheel size my personal choice would be 27.5 with a 2.4 - 2.8 tire.

    But that is just me.........
    97' Brodie Expresso
    00' Turner RFX
    08' Turner RFX
    13' Surly Troll
    15' Surly ICT
    20' Knolly Warden

  8. #8
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    Jan 2006
    Just got back a couple weeks ago from riding Whistler, Squamish and Pemby withmy brand new Yeti SB140, it was awesome! Climbed like a champ and held its own on the descents, i even spent a day in park with it, my first time!
    140mm rear travel, 27.5 wheels. I tend toward technical and “playfull” rather than bombing speedand “sending” it on jumps.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
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    Jul 2005
    I live in Squamish and I've been pretty happy with my Scott Ransom 170mm of travel, 27.5 wheels (but can go 29) on 2.6 tires. That bike can climb too

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