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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2-3 times a year I was hoping to take my SJ Evo to some downhill (Mammoth or Northstar for those familiar). Is it enough? I'm about 240lbs geared up, bike has a 140mm RS Revelation front and 135mm rear travel. I'm running Butcher front/Purgatory rear or HR II 3C front/HR II dual compound rear lately, could buy some DHF/DHR's if necessary.

I don't ride that hard and was hoping to take my own bike so I'd be familiar with it. Am I good to go or should I rent? Cost is not an issue (short of buying a dedicated DH bike, not doing that).
 

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Glad to Be Alive
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My wife has the SJ Evo....no way would I ride it at those parks...first off I think you will beat it up for your weight and second ...IMO it doesn't have enough smooth travel to help you through rock gardens and such


that being said...if you stick to the easy trails and fireroads you will be alright...any DH trails I would say forget it....rent or look into getting a used Kona Stinky or Operator for around 600 to 1000 bucks.....way cheaper then renting 10 days
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I see. I have my front fork and rear shock set to the pressure recommended for someone 20-30lbs lighter than me and I'm still only using 75% of the travel. I don't know if manufacturers over-shoot how much air you should use as a way to cover their ass so people aren't bottoming out suspension or if I'm just riding too conservatively... I was thinking that the bike would be capable for more than the AM trails I'm throwing at it if I still have travel left to go...
 

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Trail Ninja
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There's trails for bikes of all types at Mammoth. You may be able to ride about 80% of the park relatively comfortably with it, as long as you ride to the bike's limits and you yourself aren't the bike's main limiting factor. A trail with a single jump apparently qualifies for double black diamond, so don't get scared away by that designation.

I did mammoth with a 100mm XC 29er. My favorite run was "Off the Top", hop onto "kamikaze", take lower "shock treatment" to "richter", and do that optional hill at the end. Only did the other side to explore each fork once, where Brake Through goes to Paper Route ends up, since they shuttled you back to the main lift from there, but did Flow a few times including the drops, and also did lower Twilight zone doing the jumps practically blind (first time, without scouting the landing). The other times I did upper twilight, I just skipped the lower part and rode back towards the main lifts.

There were a few trails that gave my bike trouble like Upper Shock Treatment, mainly due to a couple areas that could lead to endos if you go too slow. Actually passed by someone who busted their collarbone there at the last turn on it on that one, so I think many people have trouble on that. I shied away from Techno rocks, since it has a sketchy entrance to the drop, and of course I skipped that optional drop off the side on the way to twilight zone (I'd do techno rocks before that one). Jill's Jumps... didn't even try to ride it, but the guys waiting at the lifts were talking about how the bottom drops are exposed and sketchy if they get caught by a gust mid-air. I had trouble on my 29er clearing the tables on Recoil as it had some odd rhythm I couldn't get down from short to long to short again, etc. and I kept losing speed casing them, so I wasn't attracted to the notion of hitting bigger air jumps.

You can technically ride everything there, if you have decent skill. Those tires are super sufficient; I went with less, but of course I wasn't trying to race. There's plenty there that you can ride to work your way up to bigger stuff, building confidence. Perhaps hook up with a vet that knows just how hard the the trails are and will choose which to test your skill on.

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Mine's the one way on the right. Buddies are on matching Enduro (26).

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Buddies getting psyched up at the top.

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Moving on after checking up on the guy with the broken collarbone, on Shock Treatment.
 

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Glad to Be Alive
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I see. I have my front fork and rear shock set to the pressure recommended for someone 20-30lbs lighter than me and I'm still only using 75% of the travel. I don't know if manufacturers over-shoot how much air you should use as a way to cover their ass so people aren't bottoming out suspension or if I'm just riding too conservatively... I was thinking that the bike would be capable for more than the AM trails I'm throwing at it if I still have travel left to go...
you don't ride hard enough......like i said the easy trails you will be ok....the rockier trails no way....you will just be a slow road block
 

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Trail Ninja
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Well, hearing about how hard you push your suspension (not hard at all), you would probably enjoy all the trails coming off of "Off the Top". My fav run is likely doable for ya. Even Upper Twilight Zone has a few small drops and if you stop there, that's not cool, considering it's a narrow ladder leading into it without anything on the side to step off onto. Prob just better off staying off of them, in consideration of others. Brake Through and Paper Route are cool too.

They rent bikes up there too (DH, FR, and even XC bikes), but I doubt the bikes will suddenly transform you into someone that can ride the tougher trails. You won't be able to enjoy half the trails if you're scrubbing speed whenever you see something that worries you; if you slow for ruts, rocks in the trail, bermed corners, steep parts, etc. you're gonna be on the brakes like half the time. You should practice becoming comfortable going over rough terrain and turning, and hitting big bumps, at speeds over 20 MPH. The nice thing about bike parks is that you can actually ride without hitting the brakes much. During my last visit, I think slow people in front of me was what caused me to use my brakes more than anything else, but I did ride Off the Top a lot (and fast). :cool:
 

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I've only been to Northstar and I "think" a person with above average ridings skills can ride a majority of the runs on a trail bike, especially a groomed trail like Livewire. My friend who shreds faster than me rode his hardtail Intense Tracer... he just had to make frequent stops from fatigue (having to handle the big hits with his arms and legs).

I also rode with a crazy 59-year old guy and he did ALL the trails we did on his XC-type 29er. And even crazier was that it was his first time @ the resort. He's pictured on the left and his "small" bike is on the right. That guy cray-cray (He'll cut you like a fish).
 

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Note that you'll either need tubeless, run much higher pressures, get DH casing OR ALL OF THE ABOVE to prevent pinch flats. It's a given for resort riding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Note that you'll either need tubeless, run much higher pressures, get DH casing OR ALL OF THE ABOVE to prevent pinch flats. It's a given for resort riding.
Currently tubeless with all tires mentioned in the original post.
 

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Stand back
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If you're only going 2-3x a year, rent a dh bike. It won't be your bike, but you're not used to riding your bike in that type of terrain anyway, so I don't think that matters too much. I rode my first big bike (7" travel freeride bike) with 2.7" tires when I first got it at Angelfire and could not believe the stuff that bike would monster truck over. Slack headangle plus wide, doubleply tires equals a lot more forgiveness. You can ride pretty much anything on a SJ Evo, but you'll learn faster, have a lot more fun and save your bike some wear/ tear by renting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Cool, thanks for the suggestions guys.

Was hoping the extra travel/slacker geometry of the Evo would be enough but if I have to rent that's fine. I've never ridden a 26" bike (assuming 26" is still pretty much the only thing offered for DH bikes)... is that going to be a learning curve? I was 6'6" 270lbs when I started riding 6 months ago so just LOOKING at one felt like it would be a kids bike so I went straight for 29.
 

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Glad to Be Alive
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Honestly.....6 months.....I wouldn't do it at all....lots of people will say they ride this , but realityfor your evo you compromise a loy to be able to ride those parks unless you are on the easy trails. COULD I RIDE those trails on an Evo.....yeah but you gwt beat up by end of day and you need to be a better then average rider......trust me...rent or buy a used bike...you will have way more fun
 

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Well how about this? Bring your EVO and try it out for a couple of runs. If it doesn't work then rent. You may be surprised at how capable your bike is (and your skills) on friendlier trails like Northstar's Livewire (or Gypsy if you take it easy).
 

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Glad to Be Alive
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Well how about this? Bring your EVO and try it out for a couple of runs. If it doesn't work then rent. You may be surprised at how capable your bike is (and your skills) on friendlier trails like Northstar's Livewire (or Gypsy if you take it easy).

yeah tife Gypsy and get runned over by guys pinning it...not a good call....and livewire with people going fast to make the tables....come on guys he can ride it but he is endangering himself to faster riders
 

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yeah tife Gypsy and get runned over by guys pinning it...not a good call....and livewire with people going fast to make the tables....come on guys he can ride it but he is endangering himself to faster riders
Hahah! You're right... he doesn't have to hit those trails in particular. There are some easier intermediate trails to make it down the mountain. I just mentioned those two because that's where my buddies took me on Day 1, straight from the parking lot (I started two years ago at a ripe old age of 43). So I will modify my suggestion to starting with blue trails perhaps?

As far as your comment on endangering himself on those trails, I think it will become quickly known if a rider is up to "reasonable" pace within one run down that trail, and usually, if they feel like they get passed way too often, they don't go back (or they become more aware and look for gaps in the flow of riders). I remember because I was that guy two years ago. It wouldn't have mattered if I was on a DH bike or my AM bike, I was going to be slow. OP, if you are going to ride more difficult trails at some point, just know that there might be riders breathing on your back so the most prudent thing is to find a wide open spot and pull over (not on the trail itself if you can avoid it).

Lastly, most of the trails have very good sight lines, and very good/fast riders recognize beginners on the trail and have the responsibility to adjust their speed accordingly (and wait for the opportune time to overtake). We all need to observe safety and courtesy, regardless of experience.

Just my opinion... this is not gospel.
 

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I dont think going to a different bike will make much of a difference, i know it didnt for me. I only ride downhill once or twice a year so my skills in that area are average at best.I borrowed a buddies downhill bike and it did make me feel more comfortable on the terrian i still couldnt do all the drops and such. So i still like the ride the trails but i am very aware of riders behind me so i can get out of the way or ride the gaps. The only way to get better at them is to ride them and other riders should respect that, they were all there at one time, just dont be a nuisence.
 

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Just rent. Slacker angle, more suspension, more confidence, more fun.

I consider myself a "descent rider" and have had the chance to try few bike parks.
Just got back from New Zealand from an AM (call it Gravity Enduro if you wish) trip and had the chance to ride the Gondola Bike park. Fast & Steep and sooo much fun but after few runs I was missing my DH rig.

I ride a 2013 Enduro and it did well, VERY well but you know what, you need the right tool for the job.

So defo take your Stumpy and try it but with a proper DH rig you are going to maximize your experience.
 

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I think it depends on how you intend to ride at a DH park. I rode Nstar on my enduro a couple runs on the first day, then got a rental bike (now I'm addicted and have a DH bike). If you just want to ride xc without pedaling uphill, take your xc bike and ride the easier trails.

If you want to get aggressive and try the bigger jumps and the technical stuff, then definitely rent a dh bike. Nstar on a dh bike is more like riding a dirtbike on a fun motocross course the doing a mtb ride.

The extra suspension with a dh rental bike will save your ass if you come up short on a jump, or get over your head in a technical section.

I guess it boils down to this - if you are going to a dh park to get an amazing adrenaline rush and go bigger and faster then ever before, get a rental dh bike. If you want a nice xc ride in a beautiful area, bring your xc bike.

Just my .02.
 
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