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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sorry if this is the wrong forum but im trying to decide what type of bike I should be looking at, an XC or more of a trail/AM bike. This video is a trail nearby that I usually ride in this area a couple times of week. Is this more trail or xc or what? I just call it all mountain biking but id like to get a bike that suits this area.
There is a massive climb to get to this downhill btw but its 70% pavement. It seems meatier tires and rear suspension would really help me on my current hard tail, these XC tires make me ride fairly slow as im afraid to go off hill (I have). I think a 29" wheel would not be nimble enough but who knows. It doesn't look very steep but there is a bit of a grade.
Thanks for any tips.

 

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i think of them this way, for the most part

xc = superlight race bikes with around 4" of suspension travel
trail = go anywhere bike with around 5" of travel (these sell the most supposedly)
am (or enduro) go anywhere plus medium stunt work with around 6" of travel
freeride = crazy stupid sh!t stuff ;) 7" or more travel
dh = downhill slayin 7" or more travel

as you go from xc bikes, all the way to dh bikes, the bikes get tougher, heavier and have more laid back geometry, and have tougher components on them
 

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that is a pretty tame trail so you could get an XC bike. Do you feel like you need more travel on your current hardtail or do you just want a FS?

i'd go with a trail bike. more fun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm not sure. Its hard pack dg and ruts so very slippery for my tires. Perhaps I can just add more aggressive tire. Id like to take it faster but feel I would slide of trail with current setup.


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You can't tell much from a video like that unless it is super rocky and technical. Looks to me like anything from 100mm HT to a 150mm trail/am bike would be fine, it really depends on the experience you want. An argument could be made for many different types of bikes.

I think it is a mistake to think of terrain as being XC, trail, or AM. It's not the terrain. It's how you want to ride it.

IMO, unless you are getting shuttled to the top, or if there are significant jumps or drops, "XC", "Trail", and "AM" are not useful terms in describing terrain. They describe bikes, and any one of those kinds is can be very much appropriate, it depends on how you want to ride it and what your priorities are. I think the tendency to use XC-Trail-AM to describe trails has led people to believe that some sorts of bikes are inherently better for certain types of terrain. In my experience, that is not the case (except for the above mentioned scenarios).

Also, you can run an otherwise "XC" bike with meatier tires.

All that said, I think that bikes marketed as "trail" tend to strike a happy medium that leave most people, well........ happy.
 

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Look at it this way as well. A cross country or trail/all mountain bike will not make a huge difference in the ability of the bike to track straight or to not slide of the hill.

The tires will.

A "Cross country" bike is lighter, with less suspension so as to take less energy when pedaling.
A trail or all mountain bike is a little heavier, with longer suspension travel, and a little slower handling (less twitchy on the front end)
A downhill bike will be much heavier (who cares, I'm not trying to ride up hill after all, right? It's a DOWNHILL bike!) and it will have suspension that is much beefier than a cross country or all mountain bike.

You can ride all of those bikes cross country, and you can ride all of them downhill. BUT, the XC bike will not be able to go as smoothly or comfortably downhill, and the downhill bike will make your legs 30" in diameter uphill.

If the terrain there is all similar to that, a 29" will NOT be a problem at all. Will it help? Not necessarily. I like both my 26 and my 29.

Personally, I would say tires would be important - but whether the bike is "XC" or "Trail" really is not going to make much of a difference in those conditions.

If you really want a new bike, I would go with a "trail/all mountain" type. They will be a little more difficult to go uphill, but they are pretty much capable of anything very well. For those conditions however, I would PERSONALLY hammer that stuff on a hardtail or full suspension XC bike for the pedaling efficiency.
 

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^Agree with the post above overall.

If you got a more trail oriented bike I don't think your climbing would be disadavantaged at all on that trail. Some of those little steeps, you just need to approach them with more speed and you'll get up no problem, full suspension might help more there.

Is this in SoCal?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks all. Yes this is socal. This is probably one of the more tame trails, its also the longest though that's all down hill. I have a cheap HT so maybe for now ill put on some meatier tires and keep riding. This video does not show the brutal uphill I had to pedal to get to the downhill part. I think a trail bike would be nice. A fs bike seems nice but the maint seems like a pita but im sure its fine.
 

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Thanks all. Yes this is socal. This is probably one of the more tame trails, its also the longest though that's all down hill. I have a cheap HT so maybe for now ill put on some meatier tires and keep riding. This video does not show the brutal uphill I had to pedal to get to the downhill part. I think a trail bike would be nice. A fs bike seems nice but the maint seems like a pita but im sure its fine.

watch this this vid...

Single Pivot Maintenance | Santa Cruz Bicycles

the Heckler has been around for a long time and is well loved

Heckler | Santa Cruz Bicycles
 

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Suspension maintenance is usually wayyyyyy overblown in my experience.

Also, all of the "trail/All mountain" bikes I am aware of, have the CTD rear shock, which allows you to lock out the rear suspension for even better climbing efficiency.

It DOES make a difference.

I highly, highly, highly doubt the extra 2-4 lb of bike will affect anyone noticeably. The extra weight of a trail/AM bike will not make your climb suddenly hard to make.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Dude-
Why did you bypass all the jumps??? :nono:
Ha. I went down hard last week, not fun. Those landings are flat for a hard tail. I look for sweet spots. I have a c7 issue so prefer not to crash hard as my main hobby is surfing.


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I think it is a mistake to think of terrain as being XC, trail, or AM. It's not the terrain. It's how you want to ride it.
thats exactly how i see it. describing a bike in these terms gives you a general idea of its geo and weight/strength. a single trail can have all of these features.

when buying a bike i ask: what is the trail like 80% of the ride? are you going to ride steeper trails with more rocks/roots/ruts in the future? are you looking to own one "do it all" bike or have 2 or more bikes for different trail types, maybe shuttle and park lifts?

OP - i agree with a lot of the posts above - few extra lbs, a slacker HTA and a little more travel will not make the climbing much worse. def worth the trade off on the downs.
 

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I would first try meatier tires and wider bars/short stem. That, and bumping my fork up from 100mm to 120mm made riding my XC oriented hardtail more fun/less scary Slacker HTA and more confidence with those tires.

I then swapped most of the parts over to a steel "all mountain hardtail" very large, very grippy tubeless tires. I also went from crappy brakes to hydros. Much more fun for me. The brakes, the angles, the extra compliance from the steel, and the grippy tires were awesome. I feel like I have more travel than I do with the big tires and steel. It's nice. I felt way more confident and enjoy ride much more. Then I threw on a 150mm fork (which the frame was designed around) and I feel like it enhanced everything, particularly my confidence on the steeps and rougher stuff. Now, you may not need all that much travel for that trail, but if you get a more trail/am oriented bike, chances are the angles will be more relaxed and I love that. I lost a little pedaling up, but the tradeoff for when the trail pointed down was more than worth it.

Kind of just thinking aloud, but first, why not try beefier tires? Relatively low cost investment and who knows, that could be all you were looking for. If you find yourself wanting more, a trail/am full suspension bike could be the ticket for you (especially if you want a little cushion for those jumps). Might climb a little slower, but I don't mind that tradeoff at all. Unless you're looking to win races on the climbs, I think slacker angles and more travel aren't a bad thing at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks all. Im 6'1 202. Its a pos bikesdirect windsor cliff 4900 xc28 fork slx deraileur blah blah. Its not a horrible bike and not too much different than my 2009 sj comp ht i sold last year it seems ride wise. I did add a race face stem and ea70 685 bars with sram foam grips with some welgo mg1 pedals. Its not horrible. I got the bike for 309 shipped on a special to get back into things. Im looking for a nicer bike now but no rush. I run tire at 38 psi. They are vee rubber trax 2.1. Obviously i did this on a budget. Got me back into mtb which is all that matters. I used to ride a lot in the past.


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It could be just the video being on your helmet but a few quick thoughts:

Trail looks really smooth for the most part, you could just get a hard tail. Cheaper and lighter, etc.

and

If you have back issues, perhaps a FS ride would help ?

For a tight budget, you can get a 26" bike that is out of favor right now and have a lot of fun. For that reason and the trails I ride a lot slower and more technical I ride a 26" myself. But I had a bit more budget and built a Trance X from a used frame. I've seen some pretty nice FS rides 26" on sales sites for about 500-600.
 
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