Pinkbike Poll: Have Bikes Become Too Complicated?

May 30, 2013 at 22:09
May 30, 2013
by Mike Levy  
 
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Today's bikes are incredible machines that allow us to take advantage of the terrain in ways that wouldn't have been possible just a few years ago, and that impressive capability is due to advancements in everything from wheels and tires, to suspension and geometry. But taking a good look at most modern full-suspension bikes also reveals that they have become relatively complicated when compared to bikes of the ''good old days'', whenever those were. Suspension with near endless adjustments, seat posts that raise and lower at the push of a button, and more cogs than you can count on both hands... have things gone too far? Or is all this complexity justified by not only how well these bikes scale and descend challenging terrain, but also by how reliable many of them are?

Norco Sight Carbon
Norco's prototype carbon fiber Sight, a 140mm travel super-bike fitted with SRAM's eleven speed XX1 drivetrain, an internally routed dropper post, and high-end suspension. This bike was the stuff of dreams only a few short years ago.

The Future is Now

Picture this: you're ripping along a rough, rocky downhill. Your bike's tacky, high-volume tubeless tires, inflated somewhere in the low 20psi range, are providing loads of traction and there is no fear of them pulling off the rim thanks to their UST bead. Your electronically controlled rear suspension knows what type of impact is coming up before your rear wheel even makes contact with the bump, and it is adjusting its damping automatically for the best possible result. Your seat, which was lowered with a push of the button at the top of the descent, is poised to extend to full height as you approach a small rise in the trail, thereby allowing you to pedal efficiently and carry good speed up and over it. And your eleven-speed cassette offers such a wide range of gearing that you have no trouble pedalling back up to the top to do it all over again with your single 38 tooth chain ring.

Most of what is written above would have been pure fantasy only seven or eight years ago, yet it is pretty much accepted technology these days.

That progress doesn't come for free, though, and I'm not talking about how expensive some of today's high-end gear is. Bikes have simply never been as complicated as they are now, and that fact will continue to be proved true in the future. There was a time when anyone with an adjustable wrench and a hammer could rebuild the best suspension of the day, and all you needed was a tube of grease to refurbish your fork. Things have long since changed, though, with today's best performing dampers, with hundreds of small internal parts, looking like a combination of a priceless Swiss timepiece and the inside of a factory Supercross shock. Yes, it can swallow up the hardest landing with ease while also being able to erase the smallest chatter, but it also has four external dials and a maintenance cycle that makes looking after a newborn baby seem like a piece of cake. So is having that 4lb, six inch travel fork that easily trumps the performance of longer stroke DH forks of only a few years prior worth the added complication? Is the latest and greatest fork any more reliable?


The same question can also be asked of nearly any other component on our bikes. Keeping air in our tires was once a major battle, with pinch flats the bane of many riders' existence, especially those who frequent rocky trails. Today a rider can pick from any number of tubeless tires and easily tubeless compatible wheelsets and, with the help of the proper sealant, there is a good chance that any on-trail flat they might have will be plugged before they even realize that they've lost a few PSI. Dropper seat posts, once a component that many of us thought we would never require, have become near-standard equipment on many of the trail bikes out there. Gearing has gotten simpler in a lot of ways, with many riders turning to a single ring up front, but the number of cogs have increased in order to compensate. In short, vastly improved performance and reliability has ensured that the increase in complexity is entirely worthwhile. We've long left behind the days where rim sidewalls could wear out over a winter's riding season, crank arms and bottom bracket spindles that would wilt if you just talked about leaving the ground, and adjusting your headset required a massive open-ended wrench... I don't think that any of us are willing to go back in time.

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262 Comments

  • + 755
 technology hasn't gotten too complicated it has just gotten too expensive.
  • + 72
 I agree. We just need to attract more bikers to increase the market size.
  • - 213
 And increase trail erosion, then make mountain bike what a private gym set from TV market is: another piece of junk you didn't actualy want that takes room in your basement/garage - just grab them out of the street and give them expensive bikes - way to go SeeDaneSleep!
  • + 111
 Bicycles... Things got too complicated the day someone decided to add a second wheel.
  • + 88
 I agree, with all the new technology the prices are crazy, but lets be honest the complication has reward, lighter stronger faster bikes. Is the price tag worth it. Yeah im willing to spend the money, but companies can do more to make lower tier products (with relatively the same function as the top tier model but sacrificing some weight) for the person who doesn't have the money for xx1. and we need to bring the prices of the higher tier down to bring the prices of the lower tier down. Xt or X9 is still pricey. I don't think we should be paying 10k for an s-works. Something doesn't add up. I like where we are but it's out of the reach of too many riders.
  • + 21
 Sadly, you make alot of sense..
  • + 19
 I sort of agree, but I also remember spending 300+ UK pounds for a Bontrager Competition rigid fork in 1990, and 350ish UK pounds for a 1st gen Answer Manitou fork with a whopping 1.5" of elastomer travel. Specialized Epic Ultimates, Merlins, Kestrel were all stupid money. Sure you pay a bit more (bear in mind inflation over 20+ years), but the performance leap is insane.
  • + 24
 If you were to go back in time, like the article says, wouldn't you need more technology to do that ??
  • + 31
 Amen on bikes being too expensive but too complicated? With XX1 you ditch a front derailleur/chainguide for an extra cog. Seems simpler to me. Tubeless is not really any more complicated than tubes either. And if anything suspension has become a bit dumbed down in this latest iteration - Fox Float CTD being the biggest perpetrator with only 3 settings for compression. Maybe suspension companies should make sure all of those knobs have a noticeable impact to the rider.
  • + 22
 Just get a fully rigid cantilever brake 80's bike and add it to the quiver for like $200. Whenever you feel like you want to get back to the roots, or don't know if you want all the technology, or want to get better at smashing a fireroad at uncontrollable speeds take that thing out.
  • + 9
 Where is Steve jobs when we need the " iBike " basically a demo 8 with apple logos, only one exception... A $4000 price hike.
  • + 29
 and I love how we get a review on a $400 jacket right before this...ha
  • + 28
 Turning up the Dork level to 11 here. a 1989 Kestrel MXZ cost $2750. Add inflation over 24 years and you can buy a Ghost AMR Plus Lector 7700 which is both lighter, has disc brakes, 5 inches of suspension and the same groupset, albeit 24 years newer, and $700 cheaper. $2750 in 1989 = $4572 at today's prices when you add inflation into the mix Wink

www.retrobike.co.uk/gallery2/v/Manufacturer+Archive/Kestrel/Cat/MXZ

www.mec.ca/product/5030-470/ghost-amr-plus-lector-7700-bicycle-unisex/?f=10+50002+50013+4294955051
  • + 11
 There comes a point when its not a bike anymore, it becomes an entirely new machine and sport for that matter, for the racing side of mountain biking these technological improvements make sense. But we don't all ride world cup and no matter how much we want to be gwinning on all the world stages it will not likely happen for any of us PB users reading this. For us I think slowing bike technology a bit would do our side of the sport (the fun side) some good. I'm sick of hearing people say "I can't ride my bike because Its not 30lb electronically controlled rock crusher that soon enough will pedal itself" go buy a fu(k!Ng dirt bike!
  • + 17
 How am I supposed to charge my shock when the zombies come and there's no power companies?
  • - 19
 For the racing side of mountain biking, these technological improvements will get banned. But nerds will eat that like trolls eat wheel debate. Certain people will go to highest extents to make sucking on a bike feel easier, where actual fun comes from ability to do something on the bike. But well who cares, we don't need to buy it, just as I don't need to buy a MP3 player for 2$ at the mall and I'm still angry that someone made such shit and I am fully entitled to be so.
  • + 0
 The problem is that as all these larger companies move into this technologically advanced side of the sport and now there are less quality products available for the average rider.
  • + 6
 I've been riding for over 12 years now and to be honest I don't think bikes have become more complex at all - the only thing I can think of is are dropper posts. Generally, fork internals haven't changed much, or in case of Fox, are actually easier to work on (FIT). As for adjustibility, remember 5th Element shocks?

I can see designing and producing a bike being more complex these days, having to work with carbon and such high standards when it comes to performance but for the consumer little has changed.
  • + 52
 "Have Bikes Become Too Complicated?" HA, so have women but I still LOVE em!
  • - 25
 @ritchierocket - hehe good one. Yes women are complicated, and it's all exciting, the trouble is: once you finaly learn how to operate them, you're old, they're old and your body is all jelly and useless. So you just watch your kids girlfriends and realize that even if you were given the opportunity, you won't be able to ride them, so you can just wank with the technology, missing that fun, straight girl you were with for few weeks, you could talk and do all shit with, but ditched her for a prettier, more promising and complicated one
  • + 9
 Good bikes and parts have gotten less expensive. There are better more expensive bikes you can buy, yes, nothing wrong with that but lower priced bikes ahve not gone away and they are better than ever.
  • + 2
 the technology is worth it if your riding really does change thanks to it. the obvious problem is that because the tech going into these products like XX1, S-Works Demo, the Reverb and the Vivid Air is so innovative it costs the companies a shitload of cash to develop it, and then when not many people are willing to buy it- not because the products are unnecessary, but because they are so expensive. and this creates a cycle of where the demand is not enough for the companies to lower the price.
  • + 4
 some of this new tech is crazy..... and expensive if it needs a service or breaks ! personally i prefer the simpicity of a single speed dj bike, but each to their own !
  • + 26
 Darkstar is correct - bikes and parts have gotten less expensive. Far less

Fifteen years ago you could not buy a worthy DH bike off the shelf. You had to buy all the parts separately. My Mountain Cycle Shockwave with 6" Risse Champ forks and Pro Stop disc brakes, Race Face Turbine cranks etc etc cost me close to ten grand. And it needed constant maintenance and parts would brake and bend every race (as Mike says). These days, the lowest end Giant Glory is lighter, stronger, has a better suspension design and better suspension with more adjustment and it is A THIRD of the price of my Shockwave. And that's not taking inflation into account. It would be far less than a fifth of the price!

When I started racing DH, there were three classes - Beginner, Sport, and Expert. Only the top class of serious guys used proper DH bikes - they were out of reach for the rest of us. Anyone racing Sport on a full-suspension bike was considered a sandbagger. These days almost everyone at a DH race has a DH bike because anyone can afford one.

Bikes have NEVER been cheaper, stronger, lighter and better than what they are today. We've never had it so good.
  • + 1
 wooooo, bring back 45lb single pivots!!! aka 2000 marin b17
  • + 22
 Iamamodel (and a few others), you speak the truth. I've been making similar comments recently in other threads. Bikes are much cheaper now than they were 20 years ago. All the new riders have no clue. I'm not saying we don't get overcharged, but we get way more for our money now as anyone who has been riding for a long time can attest.

As for simplification, ditching the front derailleur and adding a dropper is means the same number of controls but a way better experience.

Too bad most suspension has gone backwards. A shiver was way more reliable than a current Boxxer or Fox. All the stock air shocks feel like shit and nobody seems to notice or care. Coil shocks are better than before but everyone is so obsessed with weight they will sacrifice the components that influence the quality of their ride more than anything else to save a few grams. And they put up with stupid service intervals for the same reason. Well, not me. Coils and oil (more than a dribble) thanks.
  • + 1
 Shiver was the best feeling fork I ever rode.
  • + 1
 people make it complicated. it's what we do. we are consumers with here today/gone later today attention spans. mtb is for adults. riding bikes are for kids. if i stare at my bike long enough instead of just riding it i lose sight of the latter.
  • + 5
 I don't disagree that the cost of the sport is a high barrier to entry or that a lot of product out there is insanely overpriced, but the bigger factor is that wages stagnated a long time ago compared to inflation. Your buying power is far more diminished these days and your disposable income is much smaller than it should be.
  • + 1
 My dad rode a fully rigid with V brakes at whistler. Nuf said.
  • + 3
 @will-castaneda

".... but companies can do more to make lower tier products (with relatively the same function as the top tier model but sacrificing some weight) for the person who doesn't have the money for xx1. and we need to bring the prices of the higher tier down to bring the prices of the lower tier down. XT or X9 is still pricey."

Yes Will, which is why shimano and SRAM and Shimano have affordable groups, maybe you’ve heard of them? Deore, SLX, X7 and X5. I know they don’t get much press here on Pinkbike but they work and will get you rolling on a 10speed drivetrain for not much money.

Remember that XX1 is not even a full year old yet. New tech takes time for trickle down. You don’t think the product teams at all the major manufacturers are trying to make things accessible to as many people as possible? Just be patient and all things happen in due time.

As the article mentions we have access to all this incredible technology. 10speed drivetrains cost no more than what a 7sp probably did 10 years ago maybe with the exception of inflation taken into account. Because this is our passion we pay too much attention to the stuff that’s new and pretty. I’d be interested to know how many of us are getting on car forums and wondering why the newest tech going into Ferraris is not also available on our Subaru wagons and Toyota pickups. Probably not many since we don’t give a shi*t.
  • + 2
 " I agree. We just need to attract more bikers to increase the market size."

Except the high price of entry may be the very thing (or more likely one factor) keeping our sport small.
  • + 2
 after YEARS of riding full suspension bikes and the last was a Devinci Dixon SP with the RS Reverb dropper seatpost


what I am riding now on the dirt?

a hardtail with 100mm forks and 1 x 10 gear, and regular seat post


really nice, really simple!!

maybe I should not explain? that its got a carbon fibre frame, Sram X-0 shifting with chain device, Sram hydraulic disc brakes with carbon fibre levers, "Body Geometry" saddle with carbon fibre rails, 29'er wheels and I am running tubeless conversion on Specialized dual-compound, kevlar beaded tires Wink


roll on the technology I would say Smile
  • + 2
 if the ibike was real you forgot something, they wouldn't let you have any tuning whatsoever in classic iphone style, anybody want to jailbreak an ibike?
  • + 5
 Waki...........fighting hard to be the new protour but a sour one go get a life or at least a bike and ride and all of your problems will dissapear.....really
  • + 1
 ah ya super 8 boi
  • + 1
 Ding ding ding. Right on the money ....... I mean credit.
  • + 1
 the way i see it, if you dont like all this new tech then dont ride it. just dont complain when i lap you.
  • + 1
 The constant moaning about the price of things needs to stop, get a good job, work hard, play harder. You can't live your life expecting great things for free, you get what you give.
  • + 2
 Riding in general Is getting to expensive. I ride somtimes with the fear of coming off and damaging my bike and that's not how it should work!!!!
  • + 0
 just purchased brakes (zee) for my dh rig that cost more than the brakes for my truck
  • + 4
 Good thing its not 1999 or you would have had to buy hayes brakes for $450 each end, plus new hubs which at the tIme only high end ones like hugi were available for $800 or more a set. So for $1700 you could get all setup with crap brakes. Now you complain about Zee when you could have bought deore which are miles ahead of original Hayes cost about $58 an end from CRC.

Do all you people see how stupid you sound now?
"it's getting expensive" - bullshit. You just want the good shit and even though it's cheaper than it has ever been you can't help yourself from bitching. Smarten up.
  • + 4
 I also guarantee they were not more than calipers,pads, master cyl for your truck.
  • + 1
 I wanna know where those X0 levers on the newsfeed came from because those are sick. Even though they're avids.
  • + 1
 I just wanna point out that I just rode my '01 manitou Travis fork on my '09 Canfield Jedi today on some of the rockiest steepest DH in the country and it worked fine.

Point being. You don't need the top stuff out there so why complain about the price? My rig cost me 2k. It rips with the best of em. Only thing slowing me down is my lack of skill.
  • + 4
 Amen ^ prime example.... Felipe on the supermarket bike!
  • - 2
 Everyone has it all wrong. It's call for profit organization. Busniess are all smarter than you and work together to bring out the highest yeld of margins. They're in it for PROFIT! Shimano has a conference with SRAM and on the conference call Shimano says, "how can we bend these people over" and SRAM says, "will just tell them it's R&D."
Where's all the non-profit organizations for mountain biking?
Maybe someone should start one...
  • + 1
 Shimano and SRAM don't even need to cooperate to keep the prices high, just the fact there's only two real players is enough. Having said that, I do think you're getting a lot of technology for the money so I doubt the margins are THAT high.
  • + 1
 I can't tell if Rider is serious.... if you are... what planet are you from?
  • + 1
 I'm just trying to make a point and that's going off the whole, " why is bike parts so expensive."
There is only two real big company's for components and they know they have no real competitors so prices can be insanly high knowing you will pay. Monopoly
  • + 1
 Yeah except that't not what's going on. First of all SRAM and Shimano have each other to compete with. Second yes, they are in this to make money, like any business. Third, there is most certainly r&d involved in making bike parts. Lastly, the prices are not insanely high. Like others have said, look at Shimano Deore or SLX, that stuff is worlds better than top end stuff of several years ago at an amazing price point considering the level of performance.
  • + 1
 That's a strange way of putting it..
[Reply]
  • + 111
 There's something about the bike being powered by the rider that makes the sport what it is. The moment that stuff starts to get powered electronically, that magic disappears.
  • + 29
 Add in a high five to that as well! Keep the bike human powered and free of unnecessary electrical crap!
  • + 6
 well said..
  • - 14
 sport for filthy rich kids...
  • - 9
 All you need is some $100 used BMX.
  • + 2
 part of me completely agrees with whats being said and the rest of me seems to think that i havent so much got a quibble with the electrical parts being on the bike its how they are powered.. everything that uses batteries is rubbish so i refuse to put my bike in a catergory with mobile phones, ipods or laptops that work fine until either the software crashes or they decide thy need more electricity from somewhere!!
  • + 5
 I'm going to go out on a limb here and get myself voted below the threshold:

As long as the electronics don't actually power my movement bring them on.
Shocks that adjust to the terrain without me having to think about it? Hand em on over!
Reliable Di2-style electronic shifting for my mountain bike? I will take some of that!
A dropper post that can adjusts without a button? Yeah, that too please.

Look, I'm all for a pure sport and whatnot but what defines the purity is how hard you charge that hill, not the technology you have to do it with. No electronic gizmo changes that. If you ride easier because you have more efficient suspension then that's your fault.
  • + 1
 @mwSLUGmtb I whole heartedly AGREE with your statement !!!!!!! almost 2000 for an air fork is just a wee expensive if you ask me !
  • + 4
 with every one talking about how biking could be moving away from being human powered and controlled... it makes me think of driving. with all the electronic gearboxes now and fancy suspension i feel you loose a lot of the raw experience whether it be doing a downshift with a clutch and standard gear box or just powering through something on your bike using your own raw power... i just like being one with what ever the machine is and all this assisting stuff gets in the way. just my $.02
  • + 2
 @tehninjo0: I agree with you completely. The electronic stuff that's being marketed to riders like the ones on PinkBike do not affect the human element of our riding whatsoever (I'm implying no one on PB would ever buy an electric bike haha).

One thing I am concerned about though is how clogged it gets. If an electric drivetrain was just as clean as a mechanical one, then fine. But it clogs up the bike. You have a bunch of wires all over your bar, and unless you have internal routing, a bunch of wires all over your frame, and a big ol battery smack dab in the middle of it. But a mechanical drivetrain itself also isn't that clean. I'm considering going to 1x on my XC 29er just so the bike is more simple. Di2 type shifting on my bike would be the polar opposite of a 1x. But other than that (and those components costing a fortune of course haha), I'm all for it.
  • + 2
 @mfbeast12 I hear you. Aesthetics are a huge component of our sport - for better or worse. However, as tech advances, you will see a reduction in the number of wires needed. What if one day your entire drivetrain could be electronic and wireless with a battery the size of a 9v block stuck somewhere to your downtube or chainstay, maybe?

@Rockurshoxoff95 whether you like it or not, innovative tech always starts at the top of the line and then trickles down. That's just how it works. To say I don't want better tech for anybody else until I can afford to buy it for myself is a bit shortsighted mate. Others buying it before you is what makes it affordable to you in the first place.
  • + 1
 so people buying a product before me somehow makes it cost less for me.. explain please ?
  • + 2
 @Rockurshoxoff95 Shimano is the perfect example: Most (all?) of their truly innovative product features begin at the highest end of their component line (e.g. the clutch on XTR derailleurs or electronic shifting for DuraAce) and then trickle down to the lower tiered gear with 1-2 years delay.

Two things allow for this:
1. Fast initial ROI from sales at a high markup (premium gear); and
2. Process improvements that lower production cost over time.

Both of them require people to buy the high tier gear in the first place.

Arguably, wider adoption of the product also lowers its perceived competitive advantage but this doesn't really become very relevant until much later when the product becomes standard on the more basic equipment tiers (e.g. SIS).
[Reply]
  • + 60
 How about a fourth option "Nope. People can ride whatever they want, and I'll enjoy my bike just as much."?
  • + 35
 Or this: "Don't care. I make my bike the way I want it on my budget."
  • + 1
 Im gonna go with that one, the options dont offer very much variety, because yes technology helps, but it cn still be utilized in certain ares like suspension where it is very helpful the more advanced it becomes, but it can also be somewhat pontless as dropper posts are quite unecesary, but are just kind of a dumb luxury. There needs to be a " some tecnology to actualy enhance my ride" box.
  • + 7
 MY BIKE MY RULES!!!!!!!!!!!!
[Reply]
  • + 22
 You're asking the wrong question Mike. Bike's haven't gotten too complicated as we have choices whether or not to use them. Maybe a better question is whether quality is improved. Bike companies continually do a good job f*cking up things that they should be able to design better. The rush to innovate seems to trump QA; the bleatings that things are tested are a joke

Example

the balls up that is Fox 2013 CTD

The continual utter shit that is Avid brakes

Everything that Crank Bros puts out except perhaps their stickers.
  • + 6
 To be fair there are some companies that introduce technology that seem to get it right Example Chris King particularly their hubs Shimano pedals X-fusion's Vengeance fork I'm sure everyone has their horror story of technological innovations that insult the consumer. That treat the consumer as a patsy. That's basically alpha prototypes released on the public at full retail take - it - up - the - ass prices. That's the problem. Not complexity in and of itself but complication for the sake of feeding the marketing machine. Complexity that is rushed and of poor quality.
  • + 1
 I've never had a problem with Avid brakes...
  • + 39
 I have not had a single problem with Avid brakes since I stopped using that shit.
  • + 2
 Leelau: I fully agree with you. I worked for 15 years at a company that simply just didn't learn from making the mistake to rush new designs on the market at full price. It wasn't bike parts, a totally different product but same situation. The customers became the guinea pigs for testing new innovations and designs. The returns on the first production run was ridiculous. I see the same cr*p in the biking industry with many products. Either badly designed or just rushed. Some get it right and some just don't.

I have a pair of old Juicy 5's, only thing I ever did was bleed them and they still work awesome. My Carbon Codes on my Turner however, worse piece of junk. I have changed seals, pistons, bleed job after bleed job and they just don't last.
  • + 1
 I like innovative designs that have a practical use. the problem i have with all this new technology is that these company's use us as test riders I.E. seat post droppers at a high price. how many times do we spend over a hundred dollars on a part that fails within a month. I agree how can rockshox put stickers on there forks that say not meant for jumps or drops when you the consumer pay 600$ for a fork. should i buy a 400 $ seat post that will likely fail and be warrentied or wait till they get it right. sell a product that doesn't need to be sent back 4 times.
  • + 1
 It becomes a race of who came out with the product first with disregard to the clients purchasing the product. Seat post is a great example, I still haven't gotten one but might be ready now.
  • + 2
 Avid 5's and 7's were very good brakes. Bad experiences with all else Avid.
  • + 4
 no even the crankbros stickers suck
  • + 3
 OK fine - well the CrankBros multi tool must be decent right? Even they can't screw that up can they?

Formatting came out weird btw

Example Chris King particularly their hubs; Shimano pedals; X-fusion's Vengeance fork - were examples of things that were done right
  • + 2
 Ha thats funny. I still have multiple sets of hayes brakes from 2000 that still work fine. Some have never been bled. Just sold my 2002 monster T. When i had it rebuilt. The guy at the shop was amazed. Bushings and everything were fine. Just put in seals. The quest for lightness is most of the problem. Oil is too heavy. Lol.
  • + 4
 To be perfectly honest, I love the $400 stickers that come with the free crankbros pedals.
[Reply]
  • + 14
 Pinkbike is starting to sound like Facebook. "How are you feeling today"? "Why are you riding that thing with two wheels?" All these dumb-ass questions designed to get a rise out of people and make a big debate. 29er this... 650b that. Not enough adjustment here. too much technology there... !!!!
[Reply]
  • + 11
 What I hate is the fact that you get criticized by many in the community if you don't have the newest stuff. Sure my bike frame is a 2008, yes the parts are not quite as new as yours, yes it weighs 36 pounds with only 6.8 inches of travel. Let me be, I may not have the top of the line Carbon frame, Air suspension, or have a 30 pound DH bike. But that does not mean I am a inferior rider or missing out. I enjoy my equipment and I have $7000 more then you....
  • + 1
 Ha ha ya i rode my super 8 and monster T for like 9 years. If it aint broke.
[Reply]
  • + 9
 I wonder if Mike ever bombed down a ski hill on something like what I had: A fully rigid cromo hardrock, with SIS thumb shifters, 1.5" tires that were harder than glass, pedals that didn't grip, grips that fell off in the rain, brakes that were merely a suggestion of friction, and a stem that twisted every 5 minutes. For us guys that actually rode these bikes day in and out in the 90s, sometimes a little technology is worth it. For every kid here that's complaining about technology, go have a look at your modern bike. It's a heck of a lot more advanced than you think. Bikes are more reliable, stronger, lighter, and simply put: More FUN. As long as it's me doing the pedaling, it's all welcome as long as it's better.
  • + 1
 For the record, I have a CX bike I ride on the trails when I want that 'back to basics' feeling.
  • + 2
 You know it, buddy! Newbies to the sport really don't get it!
  • + 2
 Amen Flip. And forks that don't snap on jumps!! (too soon?)
  • + 1
 Don't forget the introduction of having to have everything in Purple anodize. Flexy cranks and Panaracwer Smoke n Dart tires.
the first round of shitty suspension, RS1 and oil blow ups, Manitou and the only good on warm days elastomers.
Sometimes we look at the past with rose tinted glasses, but the reality is the present is almost always better. For us "old" timers who remember a lot of growth it is the emotion of those early days that make it better, it was not the technology we had.
Even my simple Surly rigid single speed is better then my 1988 hard rock was. better tubing, better Geo, better rims, better drivetrain and tires, by todays standards it is low tech and back to old school. If you remember old school you know its not.
  • + 1
 Totally! I was too poor to afford anything 'purple' at the time, but I'll take anything decent nowadays over the best back then. Unless it's for my wall.
  • + 3
 I know about the wall. would love to find an old Klien with the big pop can down tube, or a Rocky Mountain team frame in yellow and red.
  • + 4
 19 inch wide flat bars with a 135mm stem! handlebars that bent on 10 foot jumps, brakes that didnt in the rain, rims that didnt stay staight or round, JIS taper cranks that bent after a week, greasing your bearings once a week, helmets that were neither safe nor comfortable...and "grips that fell off in the rain!" newbs will never understand the motivation we had to ride back then. look at new school trails compared to what we rode 20 years ago! Remember pinch flats? I havent had one in years, I used to get one every ride.
  • + 2
 Yup. I remember shearing off a few square taper BBs. Even the Octo spline they came out with in the early 2000s was junk. I think every writer/rider who complains about advancements 'ruining the ride' nowadays should be subjected to one season on an entry level bike from the 90s. Maybe it's the reason guys like us are way more comfortable at speed than most.
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  • + 9
 One must remember that you don't HAVE to buy everything that is new. But when it is time to buy a new bike or part wouldn't you like the option of getting something that has improved while you were enjoying riding your last bike or part. If not, they still have all the old tech stuff to buy at lower prices.
  • + 1
 I agree. I see technology as pushing the bounderies of what a bike is capable of and can also trickle down to old models that are already in the market thus riders have better options when the time comes to change parts. You dont always need high end parts to be a better rider.
  • + 3
 ture dat, listen up folks... just because you can doesn't mean you should
  • + 1
 ...Unless you want to...
...And have the resources to do so...
And then why shouldn't you?
Unless they turn your electricity off, then maybe buying a new frame every six months is a bad idea.
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  • + 6
 Bikes are just like trains, planes and automobiles. As technology advances, they get better, and price for that increases, leaving the consumer with a better end product. It's a win win for the consumer, and the manufacturer. But it all comes down to personal preference.
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  • + 6
 I don't think bikes have allowed us to do more now than ever, just with more comfort and ease. Back in the 90's there was this new thing called Mountain Biking, you took your fully rigid bike and you climbed up hills, then you rode back down them. You did this from sunrise till sunset as often as possible. You jumped and railed and drifted as much as possible.. Things broke quite a lot... Then you got suspension forks, things got slightly smoother and faster, things got stronger but still they broke. Full suspension became more main stream and affordable by the late 90's and Mountain Biking was braking up in to multiple categories.

Then in the late 90's you had Freeride and DH, the full suspension designs had allowed for far greater speed and stronger more resilient components lasted longer and allowed for harder riding, but generally they weighed a lot. Suddenly, you stopped riding your bike uphill, you just pushed that, and started riding only downhill and 'freeride' lines. A few more years passed, travel got longer, XC bikes got super light and the people that generally rode them never got the wheels off the ground. They rode up fast and came down slower. A divide between styles was getting larger.

Fast forward to the late noughties and we have a new category, Enduro, or as I would prefer it be called, Mountain Biking.. Again we are riding bikes uphill, downhill, doing jumps, drops and everything else we fancy. after 20 years we are finally back where we started, Riding bikes all day, in all (almost all) disciplines. We go out in the morning and ride till we are tired, except that we can do it in comfort and things don't break nearly as often as 20 years ago. So no, bikes don't allow us to do more than ever really..
  • + 4
 But they are more complicated than they were in the rigid days, of course!. Suspension needs servicing, but not as much as it did when it was new born. Pivots became bearings instead of bushings, which again need less maintenance. In fact, I think the only thing that is a pain is dropper seatposts and that's because they are still in infancy, they need to progress a little. Most bikes only have one shifter nowadays, so that less complicated, and hydraulic brakes barely need touching unless your unfortunate enough to have Avids! I was adjusting my cantilever brakes before every ride nearly to make sure they pulled evenly! Then again, by the 00's most decent bikes didn't have serviceable bearing anywhere at all. Gone were the days of servicing your loose ball bearing headsets every few months or so, and hubs (except for Shimano, seriously Shimano, cup and cone is still not cool!) are pretty much all cartridge bearings. So yes, bikes are more complicated, but I guess they also need a lot less maintenance!

I'm sure if you wanted to ( and some people do) you can have 7 cables/hoses on your bikes now, with a full array of gears, brakes, suspensions remotes, and dropper levers. But most people don't, I suspect that most people actually have less cables/hoses now days than they ever did.
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  • + 5
 The inclusion of the Halson PDS review amused me. They made only a few hundred of those forks (and I own three of them) before the company had gone bankrupt after it had bled itself dry suing rockshox and answer-Manitou over patent violation (namely for their stealing the idea of using a skewer rod that threaded into the fork to hold the elastomer stack) and using it in the 1995/96 RS Judy and 1996 Manitou Mach-5 series. Manitou eventually settled out of court by agreeing to license the patent, and Rockshox simply switched to using plastic spacers with little tabs in the ends they called Jax spacers. Also the PDS models never had any sort of external preload of the elastomer stack. What it did have was 4 different 4" long MCU elastomers (2 per leg) which you could mix & match to get the desired spring curve you wanted. Using long elastomer stacks (more than 3 times the length of the fork travel) eliminated the ramp up problem that plagued earlier elastomer forks. Thanks to the thread-in skewers that fitted into the bottom of the sliders at the dropouts, you could swap elastomers in about 30 seconds, even out on the trail.
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  • + 4
 I buy new parts when I need them, had a 06 bike before, realised I need something better and a bit newer so I bought a 2011 Saracen Myst! Not everyone buy new stuff every year, people should buy things as and when they need it, not because they need the newest/best model...
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  • + 7
 I used to get off my bike to change seat height, I still do but I used to too.
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  • + 3
 In regards to people saying bikes are too expensive now:

15- 20 years ago you could still buy a $6000 bike, what was a gt team lts or a San Andreas worth by the time you put triple clamps and disc brakes on it, compare those bikes which were pretty high tech back in the day to a $6000 bike now. 6k is a lot easier to come buy now than it was back then, wages and the cost of living have increased, house prices have quadrupled (where I live anyway).

I think there has never been a better time to ride, bikes are so much more reliable and capable than they once were, especially for the money. It is so nice to have a bike I can ride xc on, go to the dirt jumps, ride to the shops and do the occasional dh run on.
I can't wait to see what we are riding in another ten years.
  • + 1
 Bugger. I just wrote the same thing but three hours after you. Even down to the Mountain Cycle...
  • + 3
 Unfortunately, wages in the US have remained flat with the cost of living rising (for most Americans).
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  • + 3
 Technology in the subject of mechanical advancements I say mainly yes to. Most things electronic like the new suspension control etc I don't like... I dont really want to see my fav wc biker laying into a course relying on a computer to dial his suspension for him. Imagine toshiba or samsung sponsoring for electronic components XD
  • + 2
 took the words out my mouth
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  • + 2
 Things look different if you look at them from different perspective.
Too complicated? No..
But looking at my frieds £3k ride parked next to his £3k ford it's difficult to comprehend what justify such a diference in what you get for your monies esp. gram for gram as far as monoes are concerned...
And I know that mass production brings down the price but when people say there is lots of engineering etc. involved in producing bikes... Well, really?
Anyway. Price is high but I pay it gladly.
Ride on!
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  • + 2
 yes bikes are getting more complex, but they are also becoming more specialized to the task. I think that the XX1 is a move toward hiding that complexity, and moving much of what is complicated about the bike out of sight and out of mind. Most machines as they mature generation to generation are going to do a few things such as become more task specific, complex, and intuitive. I think that we have seen bikes become very task specific and complex the next step is for them to become intuitive. I think that we are going to see more and more component that comes out requiring less adjusting by the actual rider.
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  • + 2
 Personally I think technology ruins the ride. I'm 28 now and I remember riding with rock shox that had 25mm travel, and the little dirt gators to stop crap getting in. When a 120 to 140mm fork was introduced. Riding was so much fun. Ya didn't get dislocated metatarsals on each ride... A short travel rear shock was good too. It's even nice as a downhill rider to get the hard tail out. Then ya remember what riding is about. Actually hving to select your lines better and becoming a better rider to get to the bottom. Now it's just 220mm back and front. Let the bike do all the work. I think it's taking the skill out the rider. Yes. Gwinn and Sam Hill are super fast. But we gotta remember all the young riders. That were in top 3 for short time... And the one old dog that I massively have resect for is Steve Pete. He had his time, he is the oldest rider about and STILL gives everyone a challenge. His career started on Shiite 25mm. And even now he's at the top. That guy don't care what he rides. Put a can of Stella at the bottom of the track. He could ride DH on a unicycle and still come up the top.
  • + 1
 P.s in this article. The one bit of tech I do love.... Dual ply tyres. No more flats!
  • + 1
 I've got said hardrock I'd trade you for your 'technologically advanced' bike! I'll even ship it free, because this is a charitable contribution for your riding enjoyment!!! Think about how much less your ride will be 'ruined' with a rigid bike with canti brakes!
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  • + 2
 I think evolution is always good. Today my bike is waaay more reliable than it was 10 years ago. I can take it to the DHtrack or go for a big cross country lap without taking a thousand tools or spare parts. The only thing that bothers me is excessive levers or cables attached to the handlebars. You don't need to change suspension setup every 2 minutes. All tecnology is good, just keep it inside the shocks and forget my handlebar.
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  • + 2
 I've ditched riding Mtb for 2years and gone back to learning real core bike handling skills on a 24inch Bmx cruiser. No suspension, no gears, no linkages, no maintenance no hassle. My ridings come on ten fold as a no frills bike makes you super smooth, efficient and pin point accurate in berm warfare, manualing, jumping, pumping and real flow. You trail centre clowns should try it one day instead of relying on a bikes technology to make you fast and 'Look good in the car park'.
  • + 6
 ya but that isn't mountain biking its humper jumper flicker biking on smooth terrain
  • + 6
 Sure Si, there ARE plenty of riders in the carpark with all the gear and no idea, but there are also riders who dedicate time and cash to their beloved sport.

Pro on good bike > Pro on shitty bike.

Spend the cash people... spend the cash! You WON'T be disappointed with lighter, stronger, better equipment!
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  • + 2
 Segmentation of parts, performance and technology has made us fear riding. Things like "owh i cant jump that, my fork is only a suntour XCT" and "I cant climb that, i dont have 10 speed" are being said more and more these days (at least where i am at).

I say keep the technology coming but keep on riding fearless!
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  • + 2
 In almost any consumer category, you pay a premium for the latest anf the greatest. With computers, the best is pricey. Go down two levels, get 95% of the performance and the price drops in half. Same with MTBs, Cars, Motorcycles, Snowboards, Televisions, Kitchen Cabinets etc. Live within your means. Buy what you like, and stop complaining that others can afford what you cannot, or want what you don't.
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  • + 2
 Started mountain biking in the 80's. No suspension,cantilever brakes, narrow handlebars, toe clips and spandex. Trust me its way better now. Nobody says you have to use everything that they make. Besides what better way to waste money than on pedal bikes.
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  • + 2
 If you want a simple bike, buy one. If you want a tech masterpiece, buy one. The choice is yours. High end bikes are pricey, simple bikes are not (with the exception of some......ahem.....Budnitz). If you just like to ride, buy a simple bike. If you want to shred on a technological marvel, do it. Just don't buy one and act like a victim in the process.
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  • + 2
 How about wheels that electronically change size...ooohhh and frame that can chang all angles/dimensions for any situation....and have it all controlled by a chip in my head so the bike can just morph into whatever I need for that section of trail. Call me when it's ready. Until then I'll be beating the hell out of my old hardtail!
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  • + 2
 If anything I think technology has gotten easier. Ok back in the day it was simple to set up certain things but it was also harder to maintain parts, reliability was no where near what we had today, If you wanted to change something you had to take things apart. Yes parts today's require riders to have more understanding of things like compressions but that has a plus side, once you understand it its actually much simpler as we can isolate adjustments, we can make changes without running into complex clashes, everything is significantly isolated and easier to tune without messing up another part. technology has also enabled us to have great performing parts out of the box, so even if you don't have the tech skills you can start with a base setting and still have a great ride, previously parts needed to be tuned to really get them working and not everyone had the ability to do this. more complex with no knowledge but less complex with knowledge.
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  • + 1
 Yes they have ! + more money for crappy components that will FAIL much sooner than later. suspension set ups and stupid multiple linkage frames are taking over. Get some pro's to ride huffy's and watch everyone jump on the band wagon. simplicity is were its at and getting back to basics. You are the machine that drives that thing between your legs.
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  • + 1
 I buy and build my bikes with as little tech as possible,so I can fix them myself from top to bottom,hardtail or full sus,see a lot of folks on all singing all dancing 5 grand bikes who can't ride for shit,you can still get low tech quality components,eg Lyriks
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  • + 1
 Evolution is always expensive, its just a matter of time before these technologies mature into more affordable series (who wants to debut a cutting edge technology on a mid range product?).
I think the problem is we, as mountain bikers, are now more tuned into technological progression than we were before.
Don't believe the hype, it'll trickle down quickly and these technologies will become more and more affordable for the every day rider.
-We have seen this trickle down effect with every product in the market
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  • + 1
 With dropper seat posts, two shifters, brake levers and most likely a bike computer, there's too much technology being put even in our cockpits... Keep it to the basics! If this keeps going like it has in the past even 5 years, we'll practically be pedaling Transformers up the trails! (If pedaling if even a thing then.)
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  • + 1
 Let's project this forwards a number of years. Your bike downloads your 3D route from the cloud, then takes you out on your ride. It knows every corner in precise detail, and the automatic steering takes the perfect line. The suspension compresses for you, the brakes are applied perfectly. The cameras spot fellow trail users, and the bikes' computers negotiate to avoid collisions. A few hours later, it delivers you, its passenger, back at the start of the trail. You've not worked, you've not thought, you've not learned anything.

This is my fear from all this technology - it's making things easier, and in the end, if that is taken too far, where is the fun to be found?
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  • + 1
 All I really care about is reliability, lack of maintenance, and most of all fun. I'm cool with new ideas & technology, and it's fun to watch these crazy bikes be developed, but right now it feels like things are just in flux and it's why I gravitate towards the simplicity of hardtails for XC/trail riding. A fox float fork doesn't demand (realistically) too much maintenace, and is pretty much set it and forget it. Tubeless tires have made pinch flats etc. a non-issue, so they're a no-brainer to me. It's these types of technologies that I embrace, but a lot of new cutting edge stuff I'm fine to sit back and watch develop. People get so hung up on "new" stuff, forgetting how much fun you probably had some some low-end piece of crap just a few years ago, riding basically the same trails. As the dust settles from new advances, I'll slowly buy in to the technologies that prove themselves over the long term. I want biking to be all about fun, and f*cking up a feature cause my new fangled ride has failed on me is not my idea of a good time.
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  • + 1
 1x11 pffft. Please manufacturers, take your small tolerance fragile sh!t and piss off. We don't need to be changing gears every second either.
Bring back 8 speed if you're going to keep pushing derailleurs on us instead of gearboxes. Just make it wide range. Save the perfect cadence, mega shift multi speeds for road.
Also is there a reason cages have to hang down so low, why not just have a shorter cage that goes backwards in the small cog?
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  • + 1
 My 1x9, no droper, tube tires, and only 3 cables coming out of my cockpit just want to smash trail and never let me down. Just keep fit add more pressure to the tires and you can ride anything, no worries. High end technology make sense to racers, the rest of us just want to have fun on our mountain bikes.
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  • + 1
 Technological breakthroughs, are most welcomed when there is an engine mounted on the frame. I see no engine. Of course you can't stop progress and those products as ideas/concepts are awesome. Yet, as mechanical implementations on a bicycle are a bit ''too much'' regardless the price.
Honestly, you need electronically adjustable suspensions so as to participate in redbull ramepage or stronger/lighter materials.
Just one more opinion.
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  • + 1
 I ride with two brakes and a 9spd shifter...like a lot of people on here... no ctd, travel adjust remote, front shifter/derailleur, etc. that said, when I see "technology" i think of the entire bike.... I'm sure we all love our progressive high travel air forks more than elastomer...same could be said for suspension platforms/linkages (you single pivot die hards out there excluded, respect!), suspension adjustability... it's all about catering to a rapidly evolving and flourishing sport, as well as specializing your product to meet the demands of a specific discipline...
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  • + 1
 40 year old now only got back on a bike a couple ov years ago ... always saying I wish I'd got into down hill 30 years ago but it's a fact that the bikes wern't around that long ago ... todays bikes are amazing and getting better all the time bring on the invention how can things get any better ?
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  • + 1
 Remote controls for fork and shock are an unnecessary over-complication of the cockpit. Also, I'd argue a 1X setup with a 10 or 11speed cassette and the remote for the dropper on the left is less complicated than a 2X or 3X setup without dropper.
  • + 1
 Yah, but I'd argue that 1x setup with 9 speed cassette is less complicated than the 10(you still get the same range) and certainly less complicated than the 11.
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  • + 1
 There's no such thing a set it and forget it anymore... Suspension is way more adjustable, but it seems like I have to constantly adjust my ride every time I ride... And paying $1000 for a fork??? Come on, this is now a rich mans sport...
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  • + 1
 I remember when things went to a 7 speed rear cassette...thought...why?...look where we are now! used to be able to buy a decent road bike for $700 and had everything the average rider needed and mostly wanted. then as time went on we became more obsessed with weight than a bunch of anorexic teenage girls. now we have endless travel on shocks, electronic shifting, multiple crank configurations that are not universally compatible, disc brakes on road bikes. no wonder single speed commuters have made a comeback... the bike industry needs to bring out something new all the time or they feel like people will actually get board of riding and breaking and wearing out parts. To much technology in the wrong places will eventually deter the average cyclist rather than have them embrace what we all love to do. And also ..let's face it. you can have the lightest, most nimble bike, but if ya don't have it in the legs...you still don't have it.
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  • + 1
 Sure bikes got more complicated, but IMHO they got more fun to ride. I can ride way more advanced trails on my mid range 2012 trek than I can on my mid range 1996 fully rigid alpinestars. I also don't end up with bruised palms at the end of every ride when I have bigger wheels and suspension.
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  • + 1
 Bikes are becoming very complex...that is part of what I like about. Sometimes I simply enjoy riding, sometimes I enjoy admiring and maintaining my bikes.

I became a mechanical engineer because I am huge slut for the "elegant mechanical solution" to any problem - look at hydraulic disk brakes, suspension forks, composite frames/components, etc. Bikes are an incredibly awesome, purely mechanical multipurpose machine. What more could you possibly ask for?!?

While I am a huge slut for the elegant mechanical solutions on bikes, I do not like the implementation of electronic components on my bike - the only exception being a suspension data logger I am working on right now. Electronics are just not as interesting to me, so I tend to avoid them. (My data logger is only going to be used so I can record changes in ride data as I customize the internals of my forks...that is the engineer in me.)
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  • + 1
 The market is expensive because the market demands it...simple economics.
Look at other sports as industries, in alpine ski racing the skis are custom made at the very top tier, they are so custom that the brand has to destroy them after their shelf life is over because they aren't the type of ski "the brand" would sell. Yet no one in that sports industry complains that they can't get that ski, but, the technology trickles down to the consumer. In F1 racing the car is a test platform as well as a race car. The custom carbon seats, pedal position, all made for the driver but the technology being researched and developed will trickle down to the consumer. Where do you think "paddle shifters" behind the steering wheel came from. Yet no consumers whine that hey can't get an F1 car for themselves or that its too expensive.
My point is this; encourage bike companies to develop high end products with the intention of the greater improvement of the industry. Let those technologies become available through affordable products. Great example is the introduction of the affordable Shimano Zee component package.
Don't let the manufacturers tell you what you need just because your favourite rider uses it, make informed decisions and speak with your wallet.
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  • + 1
 Work hard, smarter and strive to be better. It's what got me through college to earn more $$$ to buy a nice bike, what I do on my bike, building trails and what I expect from bike companies. Gota get up to get down! Progress will define the norm.
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  • + 1
 I don't think things are complicated, us older riders were buying bikes base on the components low - med - high price range. Now, we have to a bike according to our riding style and the trail conditions, short travel forks, long travel or in the middle, 26", 27.5" or 29" wheels, sram or shimano am as confused at buying a bike as I 'am buying new tires. My trail system consists of muddy to dry sandy and hard pack depends if I go after a rain or its dry with no rain for a week or two,so I like a all condition bike. I currently ride a 26" bike and its fun so no matter what you buy just have fun
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  • + 1
 The big manufacturers are making enough to bring the prices o their bikes/parts down. You see enough cars on the road loaded up with trek, specialized, orange and giant bikes and the trail centres are rammed at the weekend. Surely a mid range frame like alpine 160 or a remedy should retail at around a grand?
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  • + 1
 Friends and I were just talking about this today. Right now is a great time to be a mountain biker. The bikes are (for the most part, lets face it there are still a few duds out there) very reliable and when I started riding back in the day you dreamed of a 25lb xc bike now I ride a 25lb 6 inch travel bike. Bikes are so good at the moment. just few years ago people were freaking out about carbon dh bikes now they are everywhere and they are awesome. Bring on innovation.
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  • + 1
 Bikes have gotton way more complicated. I wanted to build a cheap reliable DH bike that i can just go ride with. That was a dream of mine about a year ago. I have put almost all of my savings which is about $400 into the bike. i cant afford a real DH bike so i made one from parts at used bike shops. At least once a week ill break a part and have to spend more money on some stupid little part that will set me back $50. I still have to buy a new rear shock because my old one has a 1 inch stroke that doesn't work for Marzocchi junior t. SO YEAH BIKES GOT PERTY DANG COMPLICATED.
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  • + 1
 One question about the progression of technology and look at the response hahahahahaha. The tech is cool for the people who appreciate it and can afford it. At the end of the day if you have a bike that suits the style of riding which you choose to pursue then id say you have it pretty well, any additional gadgetry can add enjoyment to the ride but its all subjective.

Dollar votes will determine which technological innovations stay and which fade to black but its clear that modern bike advancements (carbon frames, more breaking power and better control over suspension systems has lead to faster times on the world cup circuit so its hard to argue against technological advancement.

On the other hand if you have a blast riding your bike, regardless if it cost your 10 dollars or 10000 dollars the important thing is your out there having fun on your bike!
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  • + 1
 I think that bikes need to be a little bit more simple. 11spd is just too much. should be an 8spd drive train, with a chainguide in the front. ditch all the fansy lockout and travel adjustments. the dropper posts are cool but it's just more cable.
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  • + 1
 I started riding as a poor teenager. I saved up all pennies to buy bike parts and loved riding with my mates. The reality now is that everything has become expensive. People on Pinkbike should be thankful for two wheels and a saddle. If you have the disposable income to buy a £300 seat post, I recommend getting on a rigid bike to have a blast.
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  • + 1
 Technology is a good thing and only an old man can doupt it!!!
BUT, I WANT A QUALITY FRAME WITH GOOD GEOMETRY AND A GOOD FORK AND SHOCK. IF I BUY A BIKE WITH ALL I WANT I HAVE TO PAY EXTRA MONEY FOR EXPENSIVE DERAILLEURS AND OTHER LUXURY PARTS I DONT WANT!!!
CAN I HAVE AN AM BIKE WITH A X5 OR DEORE GROOPSET IN ORDER TO PAY LESS???
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  • + 1
 BIkes are much better now! stronger, lighter, but people need to use what they can afford to run. My biggest PEEVE working in a shop is people moaning that something costs too much to replace, when its worn out or is in need of a service. If you do not want to pay xtr money run something cheaper then!
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  • + 1
 It's not too complicated if you ride a hardtail frame built for the use of 2.35 tires, a 140-160mm RL fork that can take a 2.5 tire. Set the rebound, turn the lockout lever. Don't have a dropper, but I have guides for one. Never had an issue I couldn't figure out. I'm mechanically inclined. Most (95% or so) of my bike problems are common issues with actually riding a bike, worn chains, sprockets, dirty cables, etc. Which is not complicated at all. Know my way around fork rebuilding.

I've always thought, the more moving parts you have, the more things you have to pay attention too. I can see people who are not mechanically minded becoming overwelmed with all the "extras" the modern mountain bike has recieved over the years. Compression, rebound, low speed and high speed damping. Sag. Bleeding "non Hope Tech" hydraulic disc brakes. Adjustable seat posts, hydro and mechanical. These are the people that have a flashing "12:00" somewhere in their house in most cases. Suspension settings for me is easy, I have been around motocross for years, but I can see it being tough for someone that has never worked on things.

My brother had a nice Fox RLC and never adjusted the compression damping, turned it out actually. I rode it, dialled it to my liking, he rode his bike the next day and was all, "What did you do to my fork? This is the best it's ever worked". The clock in his van was 5 hours and 12 minutes fast btw.. Oh, I don't ride full suspension cuz I'm a simple man... and broke-ish or financially impaired if you like..
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  • + 1
 There is no going back in time and if we want simple bikes, they are more available then ever. I love my TransAM and 1X1 pugsley with no brakes for beach (simple defined). But they suck for lots of conditions so I have techno rides. This is a red herring argument. Are bikes too complicated? Really? There is no part of any of my 13 rides I can't service myself completely. The same cannot be said for anything else I own, outboard, snowblower, cars, ATV's, fridge, freezer. FnA man, all other industries are plagued with proprietary crap that is not exchangeable between models or user serviceable. Could you imagine how simple auto maintenance would be if only two companies made all the moving parts and they were mostly interchangeable and the only difference was the frame which required no service? I took an engineering class called design life engineering where you learn to plan for the failure of parts to create ongoing dependency on the company. Bike parts are interchangeable with common standards and we have one of the only industries not yet dominated by this crap. Rejoice in the simplicity of your complicated bike and ask yourself if dishwashers have got too complicated because when one part breaks we toss the whole thing away. It's not about complicated. VW bugs are complicated. Its about serviceability and interchangeability of parts and our industry rules the day on that so be proud.
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  • + 1
 I am sick and tired of reading WAKIdesigns reaching 20+ comments under each topic. So tell us who cares of what You are thinking that much? Please control it.

As for bikes' technical sophistication, it is sometimes so that new things are complicated to become simplier later on, when all of what is important is improved and all of problems are deleted. Let us remind ourselves the first hydraulic brakes used to stop a mountain bike. Is it still complicated today? Let they do their jobs designing, but let them remember the mwSLUGmtb's comment.
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  • + 1
 Personally, I think bikes are now even more versatile than they ever been and let you able to ride a 6 inch travel bike pretty much anywhere with adjustable angles, dropper post etc... On the other hand, there is the reliability problem. Some products go on the market before even being fully ready to handle abuse of average Joe and lack of maintenance. Anyways as long as I can ride my bike I'm happy!
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  • + 1
 It's like every other thing you can buy. Invention and new technique make it possible to have a way bigger choice on what you want to use. 5 years ago, you did not have to decide if you want electric and carbon things. Every sport gets bigger and every sport brings up some new things. This process makes it more complicated, but offers really the option to buy exactly what you want.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 There will be better solutions to some of the current clutter in the not-too-distant future. Yes, dropper posts and suspension controls are great, but I don't think they belong on my handlebars. I'm waiting for more active/smart components rather than having a bunch of extra crap clamped to my handlebars.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Technology rules! I say, keep pushing the boundaries, and enjoy the evolution of the bike. I am so impressed by how far we've come, and I am so looking forward to witnessing the further advancement of the sport. Clunkers? Who remembers re-packs, who remembers Ned Overend, Tinker Juarez, Missy Giove, Eddie Fiola, Dennis McCoy, Bob Haro?. MATT HOFFMAN??? They pushed the limits, and begged the question; "how much further can we take this?". Technology answered. Back in the 80's Guys like Gary Klein, Gary Fischer, Keith Bontrager, and Steve Potts made their indelible mark on the sport, and almost every bike we ride today is the progeny of their technological contributions. Bikes are only complex. Never complicated.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 bikes are too complicated.... if you decice that you must have every single bell and whistle availible bolted onto it and adjustable on the fly from the handlebars... if you don't feel the need for this then your bike probably isn't too complicated
[Reply]
  • + 1
 technology is freaking awsome and has helped so much with the progression of the sport but it kinda sucks being a mechanic having to remember all the new stuff that comes out and all the new sizes for everything haha but man keeps us busy and always learning
[Reply]
  • + 1
 The Technology is cool and im down with the cause but I'm tired of people (more like friends) on carbon bikes telling me my 2013 aluminum demo is a piece of shit. If I still blow your doors off down trails and in the air shut your damn trap, I'm just tryna ball on a budget over here.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 New technology is awesome, but simplicity is often better. I've started simplifying my bike about a year ago. Single chainring in the front, coil shock with no propedal, coil fork with no lockout - all set and forget. The only "complicated" thing remaining on the bike is a dropper seat post, which is well worth it on my HD unluckypete.com/2013/05/ibis-mojo-hd-evo-2
I also got rid of a bike computer, HR chest belt and everything that could distract me. Now I ride in the zone MUCH more often.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Mostly true. I think the innovations in braking, shifting, suspension, linkages, carbon fibre, tires, wheels, dropper posts etc... are awesome! But 3 setting shocks, remote lockouts are demanded by people who stare down at their suspension instead of riding. Ain't nobody got time to change settings mid ride!
  • + 3
 Stuff is getting very advanced, and quite frankly not very effeciently advanced. I mean to be honest, I do a few races for DH and still run an X7 or X9, I can make it shift nearly as well as an XO but I don't burst into tears every time I watch one snap.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I feel like another response of "almost" is needed. I'm all for dropper posts, new drivetrain innovations, etc but I refuse to have anything electronic that's vital to my bike functioning.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I dont think the bikes are getting to complicated, they are getting way more exspensive and there are a lot more options to choose from now with what brakes/ tires/ rims/ suspension/ or grips etc. thats the only real complicated thing i think there is now
[Reply]
  • + 1
 i can see having a extra cable for a dropper post. but when people have one going to their front shock and their rear shock and their post and their brakes and derailleurs its just becomes to much. I think Smile but hey if ya want 7 cables comin of your bars that's your call.
  • + 1
 agreed, I can't stand xc bikes when they have a bunch of cables on those super narrow bars, it's not that hard to reach down and put lockout/propedal/ctd on
  • + 1
 Hey man, some people want a jungle gym goin on up front, so instead of eiding a trail or some jumps, they can play like lttle monkeys on their bars! Yayyyyyyyy!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 That description at the top actually shows that technology has made riding simpler, there is less to worry about on the bike, no need to interrupt the ride to adjust seat height or suspension. if the technology were at the point where little training and a wrench and hammer are all that are needed, it probably wouldn't be advanced enough to handle the stresses of current riders. Its a bit like saying the horse and buggy is better than a car because its simpler
[Reply]
  • + 1
 My bikes never been simpler, simgle ring, one shifter, no fricken front d all the gears I need and as reliable as they come, I just ride, what Im totally sick of is what wheel size I should ride. I ride for me not marketing, not PB, or people here, I love tech where its appropiate, not because Im told to use it. Yes its gotten too complicated, but mostly because most people by into that BS, theyres good options for everyone at any price range if they used some sense and took repsonsibility for themselves.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I don´t give a f.ck, i just want to take the bike and ride but uhm,.....yes, complicated...i back to bikes a few months ago after a little 10 years brake...and when i started to search for a ride to buy i went crazy...too many options and made me a bit lost, i went for a nukeproof snap...simple and perfect ! now shes gone and im going for a DH and im really thinking about just go to the next LBS and pay when the bike need maintence Big Grin but in the other hand technology is inevitable and for sure help us when we need, every single bike part is better than was 10 years ago and will be much better in 10 years...unfortunally all that technology comes with a price and thats a high price.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 It's good to have the choices you have today. If you want to race and every second count you can have your front derailleur and buttons to lock front and rear suspension . On the other end of the spectrum you can ride a single speed with just a rear brake. Whatever your need is there are options. that's a good thing.

Personally I like to take advantage of today's technology but at the same time keep it fairly clean and simple. Air suspension, rear derailleur only with a gripshift and the leaver for the dropper post on the other side. Ohh and brakes of course Wink
[Reply]
  • + 1
 2 X 8 gears would be enough for me if I get to choose the ratios. 1 X 11 is better but not at $600. I CAN AFFORD this but I dont think its worth my time at work when I could be riding and not on overtime to pay for it if thats what I had to do, Seat posts that go up and down with handlebar control? Gimme a break. And silliest of all - battery operated suspension - batteries are for personal virators- LOL!.
What Im happy to spend on are compnents outside the ones Ive unhappily mentioned.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I think for everyone it's possible to buy a bike at a reasonable price. Now the world's choice of wheels is huge. If you stop for a moment to get so excited by all "marketing thing" and just to RIDE.
Designers and engineers alwais go for most "Cosmic" tehnology = expensively. It's their job Smile
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  • + 4
 KEEP THE TECH COMING IT DON'T SCARE ME !
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  • + 1
 Anyone notice that bikes are less durable nowadays an 8 speed chain lasts nearly a thousand miles longer than a ten. Also a 500$ bike now has a lot more too it than that of fifteen or 20years ago
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  • + 1
 I am one looking from the outside looking in. I do not have the $ to get any of this great MTB stuff, let alone a bike. I ride my 24" BMX bike on local trails. So most of this does not affect me. But one day I hope it does.
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  • + 1
 Just give a well functioning BB gearbox, my open oil bath bombers, and some nice steel or ti tubing welded together by brant richards or cy turner, and it`ll be all the bike I need for the next 30 years
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  • + 1
 After all this debate I still know deep in my heart why I started riding in the first place! Cause its so much damn fun no matter what your riding and of course the chicks dig it!
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  • + 1
 Who in there right mind dropper posts and bikes that are light And strong "going too far..."

Expensive or not there is some Awesome technology happening in bikes right now that makes them oh so awesome.
  • + 1
 Im not sure im reading your comment right but if your shitting on the dropper post. I did, now i have one. i use it so much you wouldnt believe. Its right up there with shifting. I dont think the haters know but there magic
  • + 2
 not shitting, love dropper posts!
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  • + 1
 Dude a few months ago you were all PRO electronics: www.pinkbike.com/news/2013-Predictions-RC-and-Mike-Levy-Weigh-In.html

Ride what you ride. Think about it too much and riding becomes a chore.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 you're ripping along a rough, rocky downhill. Your bike's tacky, high-volume tubeless tires, inflated somewhere in the low 20psi range, are providing loads of traction... 20psi...rockydownhill...yeah right
[Reply]
  • + 3
 We are so lucky to be riders of an era who get to enjoy the fruits of advanced technology.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 20 years ago we made ultralight cross country bikes .After not riding for a while and now starting up again it seems strange to me that we produce 40 pound bikes that do nothing but go down and cost twice as much .
  • + 4
 take a ride on one of those 40 pound rigs and you may understand
  • + 2
 I have .It was fun but now I,m faced with buying a new bike and I want to use it for everything .
  • + 1
 Just buy some ~120mm trail bike. More capable then either XC or DH bikes from 15 years ago.
  • - 1
 asiacharlie: you should go for a Nukeproof Mega Smile
  • + 0
 Mega TR. Would be perfect. Or Transition Bandit. Or better yet wait until they move them to 650b, as it seems that would be the standard (and it rides pretty much the same anyway).
  • + 0
 But please don't go with only 120mm...

Lord, we have enough advancements in suspension technology (see EVERY OTHER COMMENT in this article) that you can get at least 150mm F/R and still not sacrifice anything at all in the way of efficiency unless you're a racer.

There you go.
  • + 1
 120 -130mm is enough, especially if you go for one of the larger wheel sizes. But, yes 150mm forks (in 26 and 27.5) are almost as light now.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 the only main difference between bikes now and bikes in the 50's in the thumbnail is the fact theres a doss control, theres pretty much always been brake levers and gears date back all the way to the early 20th century
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Singlespeeder here. Pffff. Technology.

Just last night I got to mock a guy with a destroyed rear derailer. A smug look was all it took. Wink
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I think , some stuff makes sense some doesn't .
XX1 drive train ,dropper seat post ... are awesome they make sense are easy to use and improve my riding
but I don't need 5+ adjustment nobs on my fork
[Reply]
  • + 0
 from a mtb enthusiast stand point theyre getting more complicated but minus the geometry of the contruction of the frame and the pneumatics and hydraulic components of the suspension realistically todays bicycles are less complicated than the first motorcycle. once they start implementing automatic drivetrains computer controlled suspension and ABS then they will be too complicated. the real question is are they becoming to cluttered with unneccesary parts...absolutely and ofcourse the prices are ridiculous and resale after a 5 year period is insanely low compared to new prices but that is caused by the new "advancements' that you cant really tell are even there and of course and then saying that the oldish technologies which most new bikes still implement are "out dated." its all a fad
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  • + 4
 It's just more things to go wrong.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 "Nope, but I don't really pay too much attention to most of it" is missing as an obvious fourth option.
I am happy with what I ride, but I am totally fine with all developments.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I like the progression of bicycle technology. I do not however enjoy that all high end bicycles are carbon fiber. It is unfortunate that to get a good bike build on a aluminum frame you need to go custom(semi).
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Anyone remember that "square'ish" dropper post from the mid 90s? It had like 3 or 4 positions. Downhill/Climbing/Forward etc... The name totally escapes me. Someone has to remember it!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Surely it's neither too complicated or too simple. If you like all the gadgets then buy/use them, if you prefer things to be kept simple then run a single speed etc. I reckon there's something out there for everyone...
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  • + 0
 Not complicated enough. Give me a super lightweight & compact transmission, and I'll be happy.

Better yet, equip a DH bike with an electric motor recharged via a small gas turbine so I can go ride trails all day without pedaling.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Yeah bikes are too complicated.

We should revert back to print, steam engines and surgery without anesthetic.

Blank Stare
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Electronics is the step too far for me.
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  • + 2
 A wise man once told me "You can buy the bike, but you can't buy the balls"
[Reply]
  • + 1
 cant wait to something more affordable comes, to get rid of my front shifter/cable/hose/chainrings... one less thing on my handlebar
[Reply]
  • + 1
 More choice than ever, so another bollocks article written for the sake of writing. Buy a rigid steel single speed if things are too complicated. Job jobbed.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 "They have replaced skill and courage with money and technology." Mark Twight - Kiss or Kill
  • + 1
 sport has grown. stakes upped, times beaten. cruisers bombing down hillsides don't cut it anymore. that said, good quote.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 100mm hardtail, most complicated thing on it is a U turn fork that I dont touch from the setting its at.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Question is when do you start getting diminishing returns. Not yet for me - keep it coming. Sustainability is another issue though.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 1x11...put the dropper post actuator on the left (thumb) side!
Suspension uncomplicates technical sections, droppers keep me on the bike!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Bike parts is kinda like breaded computers. There good for the first week but then becomes moldy and outdated like a cellphone you would get off the shelf.
[Reply]
  • - 1
 20 years ago you could fix almost anything on a car wiv a hammer and a pair of tights, the same could be said for bikes... Probably. But as the most advanced race on the planet its in our nature to advance technologically. The days of cars being not much more than an engine, wheels and seats are long gone, computers rule the world and in the most part, for the better. Technological advances in cycling is inevitable, its gonna happen no matter what. My riding ability isn't world class by any means so if I could buy a bike capable of giving me the sense of adrenalin that the world cup riders get after a race, I'm all for that. If I ever want "back to basics", I'll build a single speed wiv mechanical disk brakes.
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  • + 1
 200th comment - Complicated - no - expensive yes. Don't deny the tech! Embrace it and let it unleash your inner Minnaar/Gwin/Atherton/Peaty/Hart/etc....
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  • + 1
 In some cases yes like all the new wheel sizes why? All the gears ect. No need. But frames are getting simpler look at my old v10 and comepare it to new style frames .
[Reply]
  • + 1
 It would be nice if the bicycle industry could go back to some sort of standard... A standard bb size across the board would be nice..
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Not for me! My dirt jumper has one speed and one brake! ahahahhahahaha
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Bikes can be as complicated as you want them to be. Buy into the hype and you are sure to find complications.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Had to find something to complain about.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Well I fix $34 million attack helicopters. So I have to say, no
[Reply]
  • + 1
 This article is what in the UK we call a BITE! Reel 'em in Pinkbike Technophobes and technojunkies unite!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Technology...Big wheels and sorcery I tell you!!!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Loose the f*cking switches, yea FD's are a pita too. Electrics? Preferably not.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 i believe it's already been said by a guy far better on a bike than me, "buying stuff won't make you a better rider".
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I struggle with this because look at almost every dirt jump bike. Single speed one brake and that's it.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 If it is too complicated, buy a rigid steel singlespeed with some bb7s. Works like a charm. Choice is good.
  • + 2
 I was just going to say this.. The great thing is that you can always just get a simple bike without all the farkles and bells and whistles.. I think its a good bike to have to be able to first, appreciate the new technology and second, to distance yourself from all of it for a little bit and get back to the roots of biking..
[Reply]
  • + 1
 the prices on some stuff is crazy, but if you know how to work on then there mot complicated at all
[Reply]
  • + 1
 HAHA My friend rode one of those Halson forks for a while. Talk about the gool old days.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I say less complicated. When was the last time you picked a cone wrench?
  • + 7
 Yesterday.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 simple things kinda have to get more complicated, before it gets simpler again. but simple doesn't always mean easy.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Like all things, tech is the future, although I'm still waiting for my Jetsons space car to come to market.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Go back to a standard bike then goes back to the rider and show the men from boys and women to girls
[Reply]
  • + 1
 there's nothing wrong with progression..
  • + 1
 Just when it's based on marketing, and short product longevity.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 There is a reason why I ride a Chromag Stylus with a 1x10....
  • + 3
 Because steel is real?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Technology is great! It's just too costly.
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  • + 2
 mmmmmm carbon everything
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  • + 1
 Biking is expensive, but hell, I like my green clean fun!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Complicated, like a girlfriend!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence
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  • - 1
 Choosing and customizing from the wide variety of technologies is nice when you want to increse functionality, otherwise why waste money on the unecesary( dropper posts)
  • + 5
 Dropper posts are functional. Thats their entire purpose. I use it all the time on my scratch for AM and DH. Dont confuse function with opinion.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Keep it simple, stupid.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Dropper posts are cool.
[Reply]
  • - 2
 I love gripshift! - would hate to see a trigger shifter mixed up in that lefthand bar mess above.
[Reply]
  • - 1
 Not yet.... but it's becoming dangerouslly close!!!
[Reply]
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