Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 20 of 262 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,680 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I love mountain biking. My addiction began nearly two decades ago, when for the princely sum of $100, I purchased my friend's well-ridden 1997 Stumpjumper hardtail with a 100mm elastomer fork. On my first ride, I struggled mightily, pedaling through an unmarked, rocky, rooty trail with tight turns and steep climbs. And I fell. More than once. But man, what an adventure.

1944930
1944932
1944937


We have come so far. Bikes are amazing. Those old trails that were so difficult on hardtail bikes with 71 degree head tube angles and 26" tires are a breeze on modern, low-end full suspension bikes. But with all this progress, though, we have a new crop of riders that are, to be frank, spoiled and fragile.

These folks buy $6,000 carbon superbikes with 150mm of top-quality suspension and use them to tear down flow trails, believing their ability to rail bermed corners at high speeds makes them skilled riders. On many occasions, I have suggested trying something different only to be met with, "well it's marked black diamond, it might have some features that are too difficult." In my day, we didn't have trail ratings. We just rode until we hit something too big to deal with, then we got off our bikes and walked.
1944933
1944934


After finally getting them out on some gnarly old school tech trails, one says to me, "Oh, these aren't real mountain biking trails." Oh really? Because I can tell you for a fact they were cut by mountain bikers for mountain bikers.

Don't get me wrong. I enjoy a good flow trail. But there's something fundamentally missing from a carefully curated dirt ribbon with supportive berms on every turn and perfectly sculpted tabletops. To me, that's not real mountain biking, That's an amusement park ride complete with safety bars and routine inspections to ensure nothing can go wrong. Real mountain biking is raw. It's difficult. It's dangerous. It's an adventure.

1944936
1944935


So, here's to the old days of getting lost in the woods without GPS. Here's to climbing mountains and riding steep gnar on hardtails with garbage forks. Here's to hard work, sweat, and adventure. Here's to the true spirit of mountain biking.
 

·
Professional Crastinator
Joined
·
6,824 Posts
Being a professed curmudgeon myself, you have my sympathies. However, I have yet to have someone "argue" with me as to what is a MTB trail. Fortunately, even here in NEO, we still have some challenging terrain, and some unique trail features that are not really duplicated elsewhere - and a lot fewer people ride them.

-F
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
406 Posts
I am with you. Don’t get me started on the pack of teenagers on eBikes I see in Bentonville…

That said, everyone get’s their Fix differently. Going mach-chicken down flow trails is what they see on YouTube so that is the Sport to them.

It is also a bit of a self fulfilling prophecy when many of the new trails built are buff wide smooth trail.

My old man rant is more todo with the lack of middle ground at many new trail centers; either it’s flow/jump or black double diamond widow makers.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,799 Posts
I get the OP's point, and as long time rider, I tend to agree for the most part. The transition to trails being more 'flow-oriented' (add that to the buzzword thread if it's not there already) and the bikes being ridden on them has been a bit ironic. That said, flow get's harder the faster you go.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
442 Posts
One good thing is that here in Colorado the non-flow old school trails built for hiking or mining way back in the 1800's are not loved by the tens of thousands (yes, CO has easily 50K+ new MTBers in the last 10 ten years). These are the generally unmarked boulder and talas strewn trails that go all over the mountains here sometimes with no obvious end. VERY FEW riders I bring to these trails ever want to come back as they don't like the required hike a bike, steep rock drops with no obvious lines, lack of berms, creek crossings, and generally ass busting nature of taking 2 hours to go 5 miles. But that is OK!!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
577 Posts
old curmudgeon here as well. Te begin, get off my lawn. Got my first MTB the day Yellow Jersey in Madison got one in and never looked back. Moved to Vail a couple years later and all we had was hiking trails and horse paths. Big fun, not all of it good for biking.

But man, if you haven't gotten out on some good flow trails ( I always ride to the top, I'm from the earn your turns school) you need to get off your high horse and try 'em out - it's a kick in the a$$.

As some old guy with a crappy voice said once, the times, they are a changin'.

plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

Variety is the spice of life.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
12,429 Posts
I have a similar story only mine starts 30+ years ago with rigid bikes and friction thumbshifters and where trails were made by cows, hikers, water, and wild animals. I appreciate flow trails, I appreciated technical climbing, I really appreciate trails that are built to last, but mostly i appreciate my disc brakes and tubeless tires. I might have suspension but I do appreciate technology and trail building skill way more than I did back in the 80's.

The best thing about trails today is I don't worry about erosion ruining the trail or poorly made jumps or someone driving their motorcycle up a climb. I love a technical climb as much as a technical descent but I also love a smooth ascent and a fast bermed flowing descent. Just as I wouldn't give up my discs or tubeless tires I wouldn't give up these things either.

Lots of folks have no experience riding cantilevers, 1.9 tires, skinny rims, long stems, toe clips, and triple chainrings but it doesn't make them any less mountain bikers than I am. I can't hit big doubles but that doesn't make me any less a mountain biker than these people on their carbon super bikes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,852 Posts
It's all good. I enjoyed it before we had commercial MTBs, making stupid unsustainable trails, and being foundational in an area to make the sport sustainable and friendly for everyone. There's plenty of easy and sadomasochistic f*ckry to go around. With so much available, be careful criticizing stuff that promotes a lot of happiness and well being for others.

A year ago when I thought the crowds and scene were getting to much at dusk over a post ride beer each ear caught two very different conversations. One ear caught some older complainers. The other ear caught a girl tell her dad it was the coolest thing in the world. For that girl telling her dad a safe fun place to ride was so cool, I'll suggest complainers shut their pie holes. Kids bike programs in my area are far more accepting of kids who would not be loved or even accepted in conventional sports so there's a reason for complainers to shut up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,799 Posts
It's all good. I enjoyed it before we had commercial MTBs, making stupid unsustainable trails, and being foundational in an area to make the sport sustainable and friendly for everyone. There's plenty of easy and sadomasochistic f*ckry to go around. With so much available, be careful criticizing stuff that promotes a lot of happiness and well being for others.

A year ago when I thought the crowds and scene were getting to much at dusk over a post ride beer each ear caught two very different conversations. One ear caught some older complainers. The other ear caught a girl tell her dad it was the coolest thing in the world. For that girl telling her dad a safe fun place to ride was so cool, I'll suggest complainers shut their pie holes. Kids bike programs in my area are far more accepting of kids who would not be loved or even accepted in conventional sports so there's a reason for complainers to shut up.
But these kids would have been accepted in the complainers era as well. I mean I get your point, but that's a bit non-sequitur.
 

·
since 4/10/2009
Joined
·
37,052 Posts
Thankfully I live in an area where rugged stuff is the norm and the expectation. So I've never heard the complaints from people who ride flow trails almost exclusively. Flow trails here exist, but they're fairly new and smaller trail systems (mostly on private land, too), so we don't have locals who grew up riding nothing but flow yet.

I don't lament the growth of trail ratings, though. Before trail ratings, the barriers to entry for riding mountain bikes were exceptionally high. You had to be REALLY comfortable with Type 2 fun. Nowadays, because of trail ratings, maps, and rider reviews, I know where to go to get my Type 2 fun. But if that's not the experience I'm seeking, then those same resources help me choose my experience. I get what you're saying that it makes it easy for people to avoid challenging themselves more. But do they have to? If someone is comfortable with where they are, what's wrong with them staying in that spot? The vast majority of us do that at some level, anyway. I don't really have any desire to get massive air, for example.

I DO wish that more people respected the land, the trails, the locals, the builders, the land managers, etc. But this is a MUCH wider problem than just mtb, though. But the inundation of public lands in the past year has illustrated how bad it really is. Trash, feces, overcrowding, treating each other poorly, etc. I'm glad it appears to be calming down some, at least. There still appears to be a real shortage with campsites still, however, but hopefully the folks getting out and using them are taking better care of them now that the rush is calming down.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,799 Posts
old curmudgeon here as well. Te begin, get off my lawn. Got my first MTB the day Yellow Jersey in Madison got one in and never looked back. Moved to Vail a couple years later and all we had was hiking trails and horse paths. Big fun, not all of it good for biking.

But man, if you haven't gotten out on some good flow trails ( I always ride to the top, I'm from the earn your turns school) you need to get off your high horse and try 'em out - it's a kick in the a$$.

As some old guy with a crappy voice said once, the times, they are a changin'.

plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

Variety is the spice of life.
Yellow Jersey in Madison?

When Lance won the tour?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
577 Posts
Yellow Jersey in Madison?

When Lance won the tour?
Yellow Jersey in Madison.

When Greg LeMond won the Worlds. I'm oooooooollllllllddddd. Lance was just a punk kid who hadn't done his first tri back then. :)

Hinault and Fignon were the guys to beat then - Lance was still a good chunk out from his first asterisk.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
91 Posts
30 years of riding. All I know is that all of the trails hurt when I fall down. New bikes are so much faster everywhere, so the falls hurt more. I primarily ride New England rocks and roots. Flow is a nice break from high speed root chatter now and then. Falling down still happens...sigh
 

·
BOOM goes the dynamite!
Joined
·
6,804 Posts
I like what I like and most times that overlaps with what OP said, but not always and not necessarily every day. Variety is good as long as everyone's having a good time and showing respect to each other and the trail/land.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
585 Posts
As always... variety is key! Although I agree that there's too much emphasis on machine built flow trails nowadays, they are stupid fun to ride and depending on where it is, they can actually be "technical" in that in order to ride them correctly, you need to be able to carry speed, corner well, and manage air... But give me Downieville style hand built adventure any day of the week!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
577 Posts
30+ years of riding for me, started in Western Mass at college and then on to Breckenridge. Did the Santa Cruz thing next, then SoCal in Orange County, now back in New England. I clearly remember being a newbie myself, and now work at at my LBS part time just for fun when I have a break in my consulting business. I purposefully ride with crews of new riders to show them that "old school" perspective whenever I can. I absolutely love when I hear one of the 21 year olds call back to the pack that there is an "unrideable" feature ahead. Just show them it can be done, and I assure you these young'uns that only know manicured berms and tabletops will absolutely take on the challenge. I've seen this happen myself, and when these big air berm slappers get the rock crawling and drops-to-flat skillset into their game they are super fun to ride with. Honetly, they often don't even see that big rock slightly off to the side of the trail just begging to be cleaned, they are lining up the next berm in their mind, it's a completely different mind set they are mostly unfamilair with. They help me with kickers and doubles, and I show them my take on how to go up, onto, and off of glacial erratics/ boulders. And believe me, they learn fast! OP, I get what you are saying, but these "kids" happen to come into the game now as it is, its not really their fault. I personally love that they all stop and wait (because they are often faster than me!) to see how I'm going to hit a big technical feature. I'm embracing the role, and I love teaching the kids (and newer riders) what is actually possible. And I readily admit to have learned a lot following them down "flow" trails with jumps and gap launches I would probably not have tried on my own. I was them once, hopefully they will do the same down the line in 30 years.
 
1 - 20 of 262 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top