Thanks for the input, a lot of contradicting info, but it does help, and I see I need to do some more thinking.
It depends on what you want to do.
Personally based on the bikes you listed I'd choose the frame more to suit the terrain you're going to ride/have access to. eg is it steep nasty technical WC type courses? Smooth fast jump lines? stuff like that.
If I had access to full DH courses, (eg MSA WC type courses) I'd go with a big bike.
If the trails were smoother then you'd probably have more fun on something like the UZZI/highline etc.
Right now, all we have in the area for lift accessed riding is Ski Bowl
, which isn't too bad, but not great. It's very loose and rocky. There are plans to build a "World Class" bike park at Timberline
, but I really have no idea what the plan is for trails. I'll probably decide based on what they put in at Timberline.
Rider skill trumps bike every time. A bigger bike can make terrain easier, but it can also get you in over your head quicker. Big moves with no skills = big injuries. I recently got my first DH rig after years of riding hardtails, shorter travel bikes, and rigids. The speed the DH rig is capable of is truly scary. If I did not have the skills from the other kinds of riding I have done, I can see myself being turned into hamburger on this thing.
The "small bikes" you mention are not all that small. If I was in your position, I'd not really bother with the full DH rig, as you can do everything you want to do and are likely to do on the "small bikes" you mention.
When I first started riding the Shore, I was convinced I needed lots of travel to ride. Now I do it all on the hardtail - Whistler too. Brakes are more important than travel. Skill is more important than the bike.
Of course this does not mean that I encourage the riding of crappy bikes. Your equipment does put a limit on what you can do with it. If I am going to be riding agressively, I sure won't be on a Wal-Mart special. Put a good rider on a crappy bike and it will do more than most people expect of it. Put a crappy rider on a good bike and you will have a banged up good bike.
This is kind of what I was thinking. I'm a pretty aggressive trail/AM rider and ride the lifts a couple times a summer, so the next progression seems to be the "Smaller" bikes I mentioned, but didn't want to get a FR (Bullit/Uzzi/Highline) type bike to outgrow it skill wise in just a short time, but I guess it would be better to out grow a bike than break my neck on something I can't handle.
have you seen the price for the Cuervo on the Ventana website?
I did see the marked down prices for the Cuervo on the Ventana website, wish I could justify it right know.