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Hi everyone. New to the forums and been away from biking for many years. Getting back into it and now I see we have XC, all mountain, freeride, and DH types of mtb. :madman: Freeride and DH are easy enough to understand. But what exactly is XC vs. all mountain? I'm thinking that XC is doing your typical 'trail riding' and all mountain is a combination of all things.

I'm looking to get a new full suspension rig and I know I can eliminate the DH ones, but not sure if I should get a bike that is good for cross country or a good 'all mountain' bike. I mostly ride single track trails that go through the wooded areas and are rocky/rooty and feature many ups and downs (but no major climbs or downhills a mountain would provide - these are just 'hills' in Missouri). I'm thinking I probably want a XC bike? Thoughts? Insights?

Thanks!
Newbie Old Guy
 

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Funny, I am a newbie as well and am not up to date with the lingo. I would actually think that you might be looking for an AM rather than a XC. My 2 cents, literally.
 

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Ok, my .02.

XC and AM are pretty much similar, it's not a black and white line, but a gray one. I would think of AM as XC with some technical sections. The bikes should be a little bit more burly, but not as much as freeride or downhill bikes. Geometry is similar to XC, but a little bit more slack on some angles.
 

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XC bikes will be lighter and be faster and better at climbing, but won't be able to handle really technical terrain. A Full Suspension XC bike will have 3-4 inches of travel.

AM bikes will be a little heavier and stronger, they will have more travel 4-5 inches, and have more slack angles for better control during technical decents. AM bikes are designed to handle any terrain, just it won't climb as well as XC bikes, and won't decend as well as a DH bike.

Here are two similar bikes for you to compare, one is XC and the other is AM, note the weight, geometry and suspension differences.

XC: http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/bikes/06_xcpro.html
http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/bikes/06_xcexpert.html

AM: http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/bikes/06_xlt3.html
http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/bikes/06_xlt2.html
 

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See basically what's happened is specialization has been booming in our sport- At one point in time "mountain bike" meant anything that could keep on rolling after the pavement ended. Now the market is becoming more and more specialized. A little while ago it was downhill or xc.. But now those two terms simply represent opposite sides of the spectrum. The XC category is steadily becoming a finicky race bike setup, minimal suspension and emphasis on light-weight components. The all mountain leans slightly closer to the trail bike segment, a little more weight but as a result of beefier components and extra suspension travel.
 

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interesting comparison on sites. Reinforces above comments that its just more specialisation. my old FSR comp was an XC trail bike, but its geometry is really the AM of today. You ride the same sort of thing I do. i like the odd jump and feeling safe in steep rock, gnarly stuff, so my suggestion is for the AM style. My FSR climbs as well as my old XC hardtail, far as I can tell.
 
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