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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got out of mountain biking back in 08 due to moving, marriage, etc. I just had no time for it anymore. Flash forward to a few mos ago and I got back into it. Back then most people hit my local trails on 100-120 mm bikes. 120 was probably the sweet spot. The downhill guys who made runs to the bike park on the weekends ran 150-160 mm bikes. All of that made sense for the types of riding people in both classes were doing. The terms Enduro and All Mountain were out there but never really made sense to me because the bikes in that class still weren't robust enough to take to the bike park, and were way overkill for most singletrack and trails in my area. Nowadays I hit the same trail systems I used to ride at and I see people pedaling around heavier 150-170 mm bikes and I can't help but ask myself why. I'm on a hardtail currently and I'm not getting beat up in the least, although I do plan on buying another full suspension within the next 6 mos.

I just can't understand why everyone seems to be riding these huge long travel bikes on flowy singletrack with long climbs, etc when they could get away all day every day with 130mm travel and a lighter bike. I guess it would make sense if they had one bike to do it all, but most have seperate bikes they take to do the downhill stuff.

In my opinion the type of riding that most of us do is XC. Whether we choose to admit that or not is another thing I guess. Now we have to call it "Trail" because it's like saying XC is a bad thing or not cool enough maybe. Even before I got out of mountain biking 12 or so years ago people seemed to know that most of these new bike industry terms were just being used to sell bikes.

All this being said, am I the only one who thinks most people are pedaling around way more bike than they need, or is there a benefit to all this extra travel that everyone is buying to ride what 120 mm forks and shocks won't even come close to bottoming out on?

Just curious what other riders take on this is as I navigate the different websites and see what different companies are offering as far as bikes go. I'm seeing cooler bikes out there like a Santa Cruz 5010 for example, and finding myself considering it because I see other local guys riding them and I'm like,well if they can make the climbs on that then so can I. Then I'll pull myself back and say wait a minute, the Tallboy would make more sense, or a Stumpjumper. Maybe I'm rambling but I'm just trying to figure out how much everyone's bike choices are influenced by marketing and just overall hype. I also wonder how many people probably bought the wrong bike and don't even realize that they'd be happier on a lower travel, slightly lighter rig.
 

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It's all trends, heavily influenced by the bike companies. They need to keep making new things, it's the nature of capitalism. Trends are starting to swing back the other way, with companies putting out more short travel offerings. And "trail" isn't cool enough anymore either. Now it's "down country" which is so cool it's sickening. If you are happy with less, go with it.
 

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I don't know about everyone else, but I did it once. Bought a highly rated 140mm 29er for a my all-rounder. There were some trails I got my mileage out of the configuration, but in some ways it was a barcalounger on wheels. Still didn't climb great especially compared to my hardtail (obviously) and was heavier and more maintenance work. In the end I'm just a hardtail guy and like the added challenge, but I probably would have loved a 120mm-ish playful bike.
 

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Honestly, I think the term XC has evolved to mean very short travel, very light bikes meant for the short track, while the term Trail has come to mean what we thought of back in the day as XC (I have been mountain biking since the 1990s).

Also, bike geometry and suspension design have changed, meaning that a 140mm bike works pretty well on flowy, up and down singletrack.

Newer trail bikes also allow you to try drops, roll-offs, and jumps that would have you over the bars and into the woods on an old-fashioned XC bike. More local trails feature these sorts of things now because the bikes have changed.

Newer trail bikes tend to be heavier, yes, but people seem willing to pay that penalty for something they feel is a bit more fun.

Now, I do feel most bikes come with ridiculously aggressive, wide and heavy tires that slow things down unnecessarily (2.4 seems plenty wide to me, and would have been consider a tractor tire when I started mountain biking), but tires are easy to change and to each his own.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Honestly, I think the term XC has evolved to mean very short travel, very light bikes meant for the short track, while the term Trail has come to mean what we thought of back in the day as XC (I have been mountain biking since the 1990s).

Also, bike geometry and suspension design have changed, meaning that a 140mm bike works pretty well on flowy, up and down singletrack.

Newer trail bikes also allow you to try drops, roll-offs, and jumps that would have you over the bars and into the woods on an old-fashioned XC bike. More local trails feature these sorts of things now because the bikes have changed.

Newer trail bikes tend to be heavier, yes, but people seem willing to pay that penalty for something they feel is a bit more fun.

Now, I do feel most bikes come with ridiculously aggressive, wide and heavy tires that slow things down unnecessarily (2.4 seems plenty wide to me, and would have been consider a tractor tire when I started mountain biking), but tires are easy to change and to each his own.
I'm with you on this. My bike came spec'd out with a 2.3 front and rear. Swapped for a grippier 2.3 rear and a 2.5 front because although my bike rolled fast, the rear didn't hook up too well. Paying the price now because my bike rolls terribly now on anything but the downs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I don't know about everyone else, but I did it once. Bought a highly rated 140mm 29er for a my all-rounder. There were some trails I got my mileage out of the configuration, but in some ways it was a barcalounger on wheels. Still didn't climb great especially compared to my hardtail (obviously) and was heavier and more maintenance work. In the end I'm just a hardtail guy and like the added challenge, but I probably would have loved a 120mm-ish playful bike.
I think most people would agree with this 100 percent but would never admit it. I think 130 is gonna be the sweet spot for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It's all trends, heavily influenced by the bike companies. They need to keep making new things, it's the nature of capitalism. Trends are starting to swing back the other way, with companies putting out more short travel offerings. And "trail" isn't cool enough anymore either. Now it's "down country" which is so cool it's sickening. If you are happy with less, go with it.
Down Country. I havent heard this one yet but I'm sure I will. Another term that if you ask 50 people what it means you will probably get 50 different answers.
 

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I got out of mountain biking back in 08 due to moving, marriage, etc. I just had no time for it anymore. Flash forward to a few mos ago and I got back into it. Back then most people hit my local trails on 100-120 mm bikes. 120 was probably the sweet spot. The downhill guys who made runs to the bike park on the weekends ran 150-160 mm bikes. All of that made sense for the types of riding people in both classes were doing. The terms Enduro and All Mountain were out there but never really made sense to me because the bikes in that class still weren't robust enough to take to the bike park, and were way overkill for most singletrack and trails in my area. Nowadays I hit the same trail systems I used to ride at and I see people pedaling around heavier 150-170 mm bikes and I can't help but ask myself why. I'm on a hardtail currently and I'm not getting beat up in the least, although I do plan on buying another full suspension within the next 6 mos.

I just can't understand why everyone seems to be riding these huge long travel bikes on flowy singletrack with long climbs, etc when they could get away all day every day with 130mm travel and a lighter bike. I guess it would make sense if they had one bike to do it all, but most have seperate bikes they take to do the downhill stuff.

In my opinion the type of riding that most of us do is XC. Whether we choose to admit that or not is another thing I guess. Now we have to call it "Trail" because it's like saying XC is a bad thing or not cool enough maybe. Even before I got out of mountain biking 12 or so years ago people seemed to know that most of these new bike industry terms were just being used to sell bikes.

All this being said, am I the only one who thinks most people are pedaling around way more bike than they need, or is there a benefit to all this extra travel that everyone is buying to ride what 120 mm forks and shocks won't even come close to bottoming out on?

Just curious what other riders take on this is as I navigate the different websites and see what different companies are offering as far as bikes go. I'm seeing cooler bikes out there like a Santa Cruz 5010 for example, and finding myself considering it because I see other local guys riding them and I'm like,well if they can make the climbs on that then so can I. Then I'll pull myself back and say wait a minute, the Tallboy would make more sense, or a Stumpjumper. Maybe I'm rambling but I'm just trying to figure out how much everyone's bike choices are influenced by marketing and just overall hype. I also wonder how many people probably bought the wrong bike and don't even realize that they'd be happier on a lower travel, slightly lighter rig.
I freely admit I have more bike then I need but I can afford it and enjoy it so I'm not going back. I could have saved quite a bit of money going with an aluminum frame and lesser components. Referring to travel, I've settled into 130/120 and it works great for me.

Though i usually ride solo, the people I do ride with seem to have decided 130/120 or something close is plenty of bike but none of us are doing DH anymore.

I own a 2021 SC Tallboy and will be riding my son's 2015 SC 5010 today while my riding buddy in NorCal (I live in the Northeast) has not graduated from a 29" hardtail and he'll be lending me another HT when I visit in the spring.
 

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Maybe I'm rambling but I'm just trying to figure out how much everyone's bike choices are influenced by marketing and just overall hype?
They totally got me. "Get a steel singlespeed" they said. "It will be fun" they said.

Turns out they were right, now I have 6 ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I freely admit I have more bike then I need but I can afford it and enjoy it so I'm not going back. I could have saved quite a bit of money going with an aluminum frame and lesser components. Referring to travel, I've settled into 130/120 and it works great for me.

Though i usually ride solo, the people I do ride with seem to have decided 130/120 or something close is plenty of bike but none of us are doing DH anymore.

I own a 2021 SC Tallboy and will be riding my son's 2015 SC 5010 today while my riding buddy in NorCal (I live in the Northeast) has not graduated from a 29" hardtail and he'll be lending me another HT when I visit in the spring.
My question is more about the travel though. Moneywise, all nice bikes now are expensive. Thats another whole topic. I have no problem spending the money on a nice bike especially with the lifetime frame warranties now. I just dropped 2700 on a hardtail. If you told me 12 years ago that in 2021 I'd do that I'd have called you crazy. I think the travel on most bikes is just way overkill and peoole would probably have more fun on 130mm than they realize. Thats really what I was getting at. I'm already budgeting around 5k give or take for my next bike. I just wanna tey and find the seeet spot of having a capable bike that dosen't have all this extra weight and travel that I will never need.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
They totally got me. "Get a steel singlespeed" they said. "It will be fun" they said.

Turns out they were right, now I have 6 ;)
I have a feeling that even when I buy a full suspension I will end up riding my hardtail just as much.
 

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Yes.

People buy whatever is trending at the moment and make stupid buying decisions.
If I look around me, it's full of carbon bikes with Recon forks and low-end brakes around the 2000€ mark. Why do people buy this when they could get a Fox 34 and decent brakes with an alu frame for less than that and with a dropper to boot? because carbon is trendy.

Oh yes... carbon is also more comfy. And rigid. They claim a 30% increase in rigidity every year. If that was true, current bike frames would be like Rocco Siffredi on viagra when he was 20.

Don't forget that 29ers are faster, 1x is better and don't miss on the opportunity to buy a motorbik... I mean an ebike.


IMHO, there have been only 3 meaningful innovations in mountain bike since they were invented:
  • Hydraulic discs.
  • Suspension forks.
  • Dropper posts.

The rest is full of crap.
 

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I have to agree with this post. My buddy bought a bike that has way more travel than he had before and the bike is much heavier as a result. On our ride yesterday it was clearly hurting his climbing ability.

I couldn’t help but think he would’ve been better off buying something less burly.

20+ years ago I had an Intense Uzzi SLX which was kind of a tank back in the day but back then Freeride was the cool thing. It had a coil shock and can’t remember how much travel it had. Probably way more than I needed. I now ride a V1 Pivot Switchblade and it suits me well. It has 135mm of rear travel and the fork has 160mm. Compared to the Uzzi it feels like a feather. The Pivot was the first bike I bought since re-joining the sport and after having that intense for so many years. When the time comes to buy a new bike again I could see myself going with something with less travel upfront and maybe a bit more in the back just to balance it out. Just have to see where I’m at and what bikes appeal to me then.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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I think some people think more is better.... obviously its not unless you need it for your terrain.
I think a bunch of people buy bikes for what they think they want to do, not what they actually do. They buy the bike to take to teh bike park, that they have done twice in the last 5 years, instead of for the trail they do every other week that is 30 minutes from their house.

I'm not expert, and I was out of the sport a while, but it seems XC no longer means what it used to mean. It now is basically race XC bikes and everything else is trail. Downcountry is marketing obviously, but it seems an effort to make short travel cool again and differentiate from the weight weenie race machines. Despite feeling like its manufactured marketing, that is the sweet spot in biking for my area. You could ride a hardtail, but a 120/130 trail bike is really where its at, and 150 is too much unless you travel.
 

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For me I went from a 2003 DS @ 125mm/125mm to a 2021 DS @ 130mm/140mm so not too much more travel. The differences in Geo and tech improvements are noticed, but overall
I'd say I'm not overbiked. Ride/buy/use what you feel is required for most of your riding terrain and don't worry about what the others are using.
 

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2021 Rocky Mountain Altitude A70
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I'm not really a fan of "overbiking". For me all you need to make a bike more capable are some meaty tires, a solid suspension fork, four piston brakes, a dropper, and a wide bar. More suspension only makes it so you can ride faster on rougher terrain.

Last fall my full sus bike (160/155) was in the shop for more than a month and I only had my hardtail, a 130mm/67.6* HA trail bike. Before then I never really realized how much extra energy I had to exert to climb some of my local trails, and the lighter weight of the hardtail made some descents easier as well. After having almost as much fun on some double black trails as on my full sus, I realized that my main mountain bike is simply too long legged for how I like to ride pedal access trails. Since then I've decided that going back to a 130mm full sus bike for my "trail" bike would help me enjoy XC riding again and balance out my trips to the bike park.

I think that the sweet spot of full suspension bike travel is around 140mm, for most people who even need a full suspension bike. Now if you want something different, that's totally fair, but given frame design and suspension technology, that's a big enough platform to tackle all the XC tech you'd want, can still have a great time on jump/flow trails at the bike park, and not be too much to handle on a climb.
From there, go for a bike with less travel if you prefer climbing, and more travel if you want to hit harder lines, bigger features, or race enduro/DH.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Yes.

People buy whatever is trending at the moment and make stupid buying decisions.
If I look around me, it's full of carbon bikes with Recon forks and low-end brakes around the 2000€ mark. Why do people buy this when they could get a Fox 34 and decent brakes with an alu frame for less than that and with a dropper to boot? because carbon is trendy.

Oh yes... carbon is also more comfy. And rigid. They claim a 30% increase in rigidity every year. If that was true, current bike frames would be like Rocco Siffredi on viagra when he was 20.

Don't forget that 29ers are faster, 1x is better and don't miss on the opportunity to buy a motorbik... I mean an ebike.


IMHO, there have been only 3 meaningful innovations in mountain bike since they were invented:
  • Hydraulic discs.
  • Suspension forks.
  • Dropper posts.

The rest is full of crap.
I remeber when I swore I'd never buy a full suspension. Ended up buying one and realizing what all the hype was about. Definitely made riding enjoyable for me, but I think people are going way too far when choosing how much travel they really need. As far as carbon goes, I wouldn't even consider it unless aluminum bikes disappear altogether.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I have to agree with this post. My buddy bought a bike that has way more travel than he had before and the bike is much heavier as a result. On our ride yesterday it was clearly hurting his climbing ability.

I couldn’t help but think he would’ve been better off buying something less burly.

20+ years ago I had an Intense Uzzi SLX which was kind of a tank back in the day but back then Freeride was the cool thing. It had a coil shock and can’t remember how much travel it had. Probably way more than I needed. I now ride a V1 Pivot Switchblade and it suits me well. It has 135mm of rear travel and the fork has 160mm. Compared to the Uzzi it feels like a feather. The Pivot was the first bike I bought since re-joining the sport and after having that intense for so many years. When the time comes to buy a new bike again I could see myself going with something with less travel upfront and maybe a bit more in the back just to balance it out. Just have to see where I’m at and what bikes appeal to me then.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
This is definitely what I was getting at. Now your friend can post about how much travel his cool new bike has, and show up at the trails woth this monster of a bike, meanwhile the actual riding he is doing suffers because of it. He bought into the marketing and hype, which is easy to do these days, and it sounds like he would be so much happier on something else and he may not even realize it. It's what I'm trying to avoid when choosing my next rig.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I think some people think more is better.... obviously its not unless you need it for your terrain.
I think a bunch of people buy bikes for what they think they want to do, not what they actually do. They buy the bike to take to teh bike park, that they have done twice in the last 5 years, instead of for the trail they do every other week that is 30 minutes from their house.

I'm not expert, and I was out of the sport a while, but it seems XC no longer means what it used to mean. It now is basically race XC bikes and everything else is trail. Downcountry is marketing obviously, but it seems an effort to make short travel cool again and differentiate from the weight weenie race machines. Despite feeling like its manufactured marketing, that is the sweet spot in biking for my area. You could ride a hardtail, but a 120/130 trail bike is really where its at, and 150 is too much unless you travel.
The first 2 lines of this comment literally sum up my whole entire post. So much truth in what you said.
 
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