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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking to switch my frame out for something longer travel for when I go to the mountains (2 bikes isn’t in the cards for me). My local trails definitely don’t need a ton of travel but a 150/140mm bike feels comfortable. However, my last bike park trip I was bottoming my bike out like crazy and am definitely pushing it to/beyond the limits it was made for.

My plan is to get something like a 160/160 or 170/160. This will be overkill for local stuff but will let me ride the parks and mountain trails (go at least twice a month) without killing my frame.

My current bike has a better pedaling platform (DW link) but the bike I’m considering is over 2.5 pounds lighter with a “worse” pedaling platform and longer travel. How noticeable, realistically, do you think the change will be since the less efficient platform will also be much lighter?
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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Weight doesn't play a big role as far as the frame is concerned. The amount of travel and suspension type are more dramatic, with the amount of travel being far more dramatic or important than the type of suspension. In other words a 100mm-whatever will always smash a 160mm travel DW-link bike uphill. Every day and Sunday. These days, less and less suspension designs suck for efficiency, so it comes down more to the amount of travel and whether you are running a coil or air shock (coil will pedal even less well).

1-2x a month at the park, yeah, a 170/160 rig starts to make a lot of sense. It's the amount of travel that you can ride anywhere (well, I do at least), but enough that you aren't totally under-gunned at the park. IME, when you go less than this at the park, you do start to get under-gunned fast and it limits what you can do in that terrain.

When I go on vacation to a park, I usually rent, because nothing is as good as a full on DH bike, but when you are closer to the park and go there occasionally, it still doesn't really support owning a full DH bike, but you want enough travel that you can enjoy the runs, not be beat up and fighting the bike down each time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Weight doesn't play a big role as far as the frame is concerned. The amount of travel and suspension type are more dramatic, with the amount of travel being far more dramatic or important than the type of suspension. In other words a 100mm-whatever will always smash a 160mm travel DW-link bike uphill. Every day and Sunday. These days, less and less suspension designs suck for efficiency, so it comes down more to the amount of travel and whether you are running a coil or air shock (coil will pedal even less well).

1-2x a month at the park, yeah, a 170/160 rig starts to make a lot of sense. It's the amount of travel that you can ride anywhere (well, I do at least), but enough that you aren't totally under-gunned at the park. IME, when you go less than this at the park, you do start to get under-gunned fast and it limits what you can do in that terrain.

When I go on vacation to a park, I usually rent, because nothing is as good as a full on DH bike, but when you are closer to the park and go there occasionally, it still doesn't really support owning a full DH bike, but you want enough travel that you can enjoy the runs, not be beat up and fighting the bike down each time.
That makes sense. I'm currently riding a 160/135 trail bike. It does well on local trails but is really killing me at the park (both lift serviced and pedal to the top). I'm starting to get into the chunky black tech trails and the 135 rear is really starting to hurt.

Im considering going to the process x and running a 160mm fork up front on local trails like Connor Fearon does and then buy the 170 or 180 air shaft for when I feel like having more up front for the park.
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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That makes sense. I'm currently riding a 160/135 trail bike. It does well on local trails but is really killing me at the park (both lift serviced and pedal to the top). I'm starting to get into the chunky black tech trails and the 135 rear is really starting to hurt.

Im considering going to the process x and running a 160mm fork up front on local trails like Connor Fearon does and then buy the 170 or 180 air shaft for when I feel like having more up front for the park.
170 up front with the right damper is extremely capable and modern bikes now have enough anti-squat (for the most part) that the front end doesn't lift off like the space-shuttle when you start climbing steeper stuff. Back in the 2000s, I also rode a 170/160 rig, but that was an absolute ***** to climb and you needed the "travel reducing" stuff like ETA, ECC, original TALAS, etc. Even though they would ride/climb funky with the fronts locked down, it was far better than trying to ride something steep with the fork all the way extended, you just couldn't keep the front on the ground or keep the front end going straight. This is still present of course, but to an exponentially smaller degree. Hence, climbing with that 170 fork is no longer a big deal.

If you are on 170/135 tough, you are really un-balanced and the tendency for the front to come up is probably magnfied a bit, as compared to if you were on a more travel-balanced rig. That's kind of the problem with over-forking the front. A little is ok, but more than a little and things start to get really wonky. Even on my XC rig, with 120 in the front and 100 in the rear, I notice a fairly significant decrease in climb-ability up tight switchbacks and stuff. In other words, the front end starts to get out of character with the rest of the bike. This is where "downcountry" with 140mm forks and 100mm rear can really start to get detrimental. Again fine going down, but not fine going up or in other situations.

The other thing is that quality of travel by far outweighs mm when we are talking about differences of 10 or 20, so it'd be better to get the best 170mm fork (or a cheaper one and a really nice damping cart like an Avalanche, or a Vorsprung upgrade) you can, rather than get a so-so one and then switch it out for 180mm. That extra 10mm won't do anything really, most of your performance is going to be coming from the damper at those travel lengths.

Another thing to consider is a bike that can take a coil shock. That is another step-up in terms of control in chunky stuff, without increasing travel. Yes, it pedals a little more soggy, but IME that's really more about feel and it's a fairly small difference in reality as far as time-to-climb. Again, it's not the amount of travel, say 170 vs 160, but the quality, and the quality of travel/action of a good coil shock like a Bomber CR is usually leaps and bounds above an air shock.
 

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Gigantic Hawk
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Personally, I will always choose pedaling efficiency over weight. My current bike is a Forbidden Druid that climbs amazingly well. The travel is a bit short so I think it will get bumped up with a Cascade link next year. My other bike is a Mondraker Foxy. It also climbs really well. The 150mm out back on the Foxy is really nice on park days.

I've ridden plenty of other bikes that do nothing but bob as I ascend. While I can get used to it, I'd rather not as it is quite annoying. Not only that, there can be a loss of traction when it is needed most.
 

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2.5 lbs is quite a bit if you are doing extended climbs but an active suspension (if you cannot put it it Climb mode) can also sap your energy. If you can put it in Climb mode and reduce the movement, that may work well. In that travel range, I'd prob choose pedal efficiency since I climb a lot....long climbs.
 
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