The Argument for Long Travel Bikes - Opinion

Dec 18, 2012
by Dylan Sherrard  
 
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You've read Mike Levy's article on why he feels shorter travel bikes make more sense for most riders, and now you can can read the flip side to his thoughts. Dylan Sherrard and Mitchell Scott collaborate on an argument about why long travel bikes trump their smaller stroke siblings. Remember, all of us here at Pinkbike ride for the very same reason that you do: fun. Despite what it might read like below, they are not trying to rain on anyone's parade. With that in mind, the words beneath this disclaimer are a rebuttal to the recently aired 'Argument for Short Travel Bikes'. Have a read of Levy's Argument for Short Travel Bikes before taking in Sherrard and Scott's words, then weigh in with your own thoughts in the comment section below.

Words by Dylan Sherrard and Mitchell Scott

Talent vs. Travel
Bigger equals better. Plain and simple. That is, if you’re not holding back, and actually riding aggressively. Sure, certain essential bicycle skills are better learned on a shorter travel, easier-to-ride bicycle. And yes, newer riders may indeed find themselves in over their heads on a big travel downhill rig. But when it comes time to take those essential skills to the big leagues, when the buttercup in you wants to buck up, it’s time to go deep.

Big bikes exist for one simple reason - pushing limits. It’s that passion to ride in directions very few have ever dared to venture. Often times, this means getting in over your head and relying on your chosen tool to guide you out of the darkness. If you want to write checks that your ass can’t cash (which is really a fun thing to do) then a big bike is the buddy you’ll need to stand up against a dead pine’s punch to the face.

Matt Miles Photo c Sun Peaks Resort
  Dylan Sherrard writing a check that can only be cashed aboard a big bike. Small transition? No transition? No problem.


You’re Not a Bro
So, you think my bike is overly aggressive and limiting my riding experience? I bet you think my jeans are too tight and my music is too loud too. But you can hold your breath, because I do what I want. And that’s who big bikes are for – riders who want to get loose and do whatever they please.

Modern big bikes are slack enough to turn off the fear factor on even the steepest of slopes. Their combination of extra low bottom brackets and crazy short chain stays lets them corner on a dime. Sitting back into the flickable cushion of a big bike when approaching the scariest part of your local track simply feels confidence inspiring. You're at the helm and approaching the storm full tilt. Nothing to fear, the captain will go down this trail gracefully aboard his ship.

Get sideways, go too deep, learn things the hard way and garner a wealth of real-world shred knowledge that no mortal can scribble in a novel for you to study. If you’re against this way of thinking, it is foreseeable that if we were to one day meet in a parking lot at the bottom of a shuttle road we would not become bros.



Opening up possibilities on a long travel bike makes tame trails more fun.
Sorry Bro, My Trails Are Way Too Fun
I agree that if your shuttle trails are flat and featureless then perhaps a big bike is overkill. It is highly likely that without some sort of challenging terrain a bicycle with longer stroke suspension will rob you of your optimum cycling experience. That being said, while the trails my friends and I ride on big bikes may not be the burliest, and we could obviously ride them on smaller bikes, we have a total riot smashing them to smithereens aboard our longer legged companions.

We adapt and push forward at an ever increasing pace, learning to ride with more speed, style, and fluidity each time we hit the trails. Rather than throwing down pedal strokes and clipping our feet as we’ve so wrongfully been accused, we find ourselves lost in the art of pumping and popping and feeling the explosion of speed created between our ankles when 200mm of finely tuned suspension flows through corners and sucks up the backsides of endless transitions.

And jumping? Everything is a jump and anything is a landing aboard a big bike. With suspension that makes short work of the sketchiest obstacles and the most abrupt transitions, we point our front wheels toward whatever we choose and take flight across the least likely of spaces. It takes quick calculations and elevated handling skills, but our bikes always make up for what we lack. Aboard these long travel marvels of engineering we find ourselves free to make tracks further up banks and lower down hillsides than a smaller bike would ever be able to.


Why Not a Big Bike?
Why limit ourselves? Why waste time arguing amongst each other about who has the most technical attack and who is most fluid? This is freeriding, remember? We should leave our scorecards and biased judgements at home.

Obviously, we are all undoubtedly capable of riding our trails on smaller bikes. Who knows, maybe we would become comfortable on these less adequate steeds and need to remove another inch of travel and steepen the head angle another touch further. And then someday, years down the line, we would find ourselves celebrating the use of bikes like we rode in the 90’s, slapping modern bicycle technology across the face, all for the sake of bragging that we did it with less.

While you are damn right in believing a smaller bike to be quicker handling, more efficient pedalling and snappier around tight turns, each of these characteristics shares an inverse relationship with speed. You cannot feel the surprise of pulling G’s around turns, dropping into lengthy manuals or losing what you thought was traction without the help of speed. It’s not one or the other; it’s both speed and surprise in unison that makes a ride exciting. But, once the trail turns to tunnel vision, quick handling translates to sketchy and nimble sounds a lot more like just plain twitchy. So why should I choose to ride a bike that doesn’t inspire confidence in myself? Why resist innovation? Evolution? When there is a bicycle available that will allow me to reach that sought-after state, I will choose it over its less able competitors without a second thought.


Big Bikes Going Big


Views: 122,405    Faves: 2,493    Comments: 134

Filmed and edited by Silvia Films


Skill, Elevated by Suspension
I firmly believe that larger bikes with more suspension will not hinder a rider’s skills. They will not betray us and leave us lonely on the trailside while our friends blast off down the trail, whooping and hollering about the greatness of their proper short travel bicycle. A bigger bike will help celebrate your finely tuned skills and allow your riding to push forward with more speed and more power than you may expect yourself to be capable of. Everyone has a limit, but often times I feel that riders can benefit from a slightly more aggressive bicycle. Learn how the longer stroke behaves and take time to become familiar with its characteristics. Get acquainted with twisting the red and blue knobs adorning your dampers and rediscover your trails with a sense of confidence and capability you never realized you had.

Life is short, trails are even shorter, and I don’t believe there is a single moment spent on the trail when it is acceptable to settle for mediocrity. We should all ride the bikes we find most comfortable, and enjoy them without worrying about what others think.

Have Dylan and Mitchell proven their point that long travel bikes make more sense for most riders? Or does Levy's argument that shorter travel bikes are the ticket for the average rider hold weight?

311 Comments

  • + 345
 Next up: The Argument for No Travel Bikes. Gotta love everyones' different take on what they enjoy. Road bike, CX bike, XC bike, all mountain bike, DH bike... It doesn't matter. We are here cause we love bikes, plain and simple.
  • + 103
 Yeah so i'm pretty sure the whole article was written just so that Dylan could post that video of himself riding to the front page again.
  • + 13
 when my dh bike got stolen i used my rigid dirt bike for dh, lets just say it was intersting to say the lease, with only one brake and smooth dirt tyres
  • + 65
 I think big travel bikes are better, but can hold you back.

Keep this in mind; buying a super nice bike that is way better than you, can spoil you. You might end up relying on the bike to do all the work for you. Buying a less capable bike teaches you many things, and then upgrading feels like gold!

Just don't spoil yourself when you're just starting out.
  • + 182
 The obvious solution is to own at least two bikes, but preferably around at least 5 or 6.

You gotta have a long travel bike for shuttle days, freeriding, trip to Whistler, etc...

A short travel bike is necessary for long XC rides or maybe even the occasional race.

Then you've gotta have your trail / AM bike, cause they are the best all-around bike for having fun when you have to climb but also get some air.

Next is the old hardtail that is good for winter rides, riding to the store for beer, or just staring at it and remember the good old days.

If your young you might also want a dirt jumper, if your old like me then you probably might despite a road bike or CX machine to mix things up.

If you care about the environment or want to stay in shape them you need a commuter bike with fenders for riding to work.

Almost forgot about the old bmx bike from the kid days, can't give that up cause that's where it all started.

Anybody who only rides one bike is missing out on the important things in life.
  • - 10
 1. Long Travel Bikes 2. Dylan Sherrard Season Ender ---------------------------------------------------- Big Bikes for Life!!! Q.E.D.
  • + 5
 Is that an Entourage or an Operator? The Entourage has a few small travel traits like shorter stays that make it snappier (twitchier). Some of those tricks would be easier on a Bass. I thought the argument was against Dh rigs not big bikes. What counts as a big bike now that AM bikes have 6.5 inches now. Just jokes big bikes rule. I used to make climbs on my 41 pound 7/6 inch rig that my mates on hard tails couldn't. The weight of my Dual crown fork stopped me from looping out and the big roots that made them dab were just little bumps for me. Look at Brett Rheeders Trek with that Talus 180 weighing 32lbs or maybe even less and doing tailwhips. I'd bet on that in a battle of the bikes at ALL disciplines of offroad Racing/Competing. Thats what we need to decide this a huge super XC/Enduro/4x/DH/SS/Big Mountain Freeride super slugout with just one bike and the best riders of each disipline.
  • + 3
 aprender con poco recorrido mejorar con largo
  • + 4
 I did an alleycat cyclocross race last weekend... There was about a 30 stairset down a hill with a kink in the middle. Lets just say 8" of travel would've been nice then. Fully rigid carbon bike, in the drops, on 30c tires was sketchy as f***...
  • + 48
 Next up, the argument for the Penny Farthing.

"Penny Farthings rock. With their ridiculously steep and twitchy geometry, and obscenely high centre of gravity, the Penny Farthing is the ultimate tool for developing balance and bike handling finesse. Not to mention, all the women love to see bad-ass dudes hucking their meat on these beasts. Penny Farthings FTW!"
  • + 6
 You need to add a fat bike to the list for winter time shredding.
  • + 1
 I live in the in between world. Got a Giant Faith which can handle any downhill trail that a full on DH bike can handle and if I wanted to I can ride uphill , albeit a tough climb due to weight. The bike came with a dual chain ring set up (which I removed because I use my bike for dh) and I could stiffen up the suspension and keep the peddle bob to a minimum making it a capable climber with a good leg workout to boot. To each their own but my thrill comes from going as fast as possible and hucking and sliding every jump and corner possible
  • + 10
 Here's what I think: doing multiple forms of biking helps you develop complementary skills in each of the other disciplines. It's like cross-training. You get skills from xc, dh, dirt jumping, trials, etc that you can't get from the other disciplines but which support all of them. I say, do what you like best but know that the guys who do something else are legit too. And maybe even try it because if you're like me you'll like them all! As far as the bike you choose, I've found if you can afford to it's better to have the right back for each job. But I've also been a broke ass kid before and did all my riding - xc, dh, ds, and trials - on one bike and still loved it.
  • + 9
 At the end of the day it is simple. Ride the bike you want to ride, it solves so many problems!
  • + 8
 What we really need to do away with are the trolls who post on every single vid since the Short Travel Bike article - "You don't need a dh bike for that bro." Stop trying to make up for you lack of manhood by judging others. I like this article because it says yes, there are some limitations but more importantly do what feels good and Who gives a crap about what you think, I'm gonna go shred some trails. On that note, I wish it would stop raining so I could go shred some trails!
  • - 4
 snapped my frame in whistler this year ended up riding the park for two weaks on a dj bike with broken forks slick tyres and pretty much no stopping power was amazing to get skills back as you had to go fast on steep tech and then transfering what id learnt on to the dh bike was awesome, I completely agree with this article
  • + 4
 Then there are those of us who only ride one bike because we can only afford a cheapie craislist deal Wink I've done some pretty sick DH on my old GT RTS-3 (with blown forks no less) and it's always a blast. Never touched a downhill bike in my life.
  • + 2
 yeah man, so true! the best thing about MTB is the versatility and i love evey kind of it!
  • + 4
 i think its not anything to do with which trails you are riding its how you ride them that counts, even on seemingly boring trails, you can make it worthy of a dh bike with a bit of vision
  • + 1
 I think you have to have;
1. A Dh bike - They have their place on Dh trails and are fun.
2. An AM/Enduro bike - They have their place on the trail, and are slack enough to be thrashed
3. An XC bike - Make your own speed, travel and enjoy the world of flatter trails (Saddle up, skinny tyres and clipped in of course)
4. A HT -HT's are great for the skills, and for thrashing, getting loose etc on more simple trails
5. A DJ bike - They have their place from their name.
6. A BMX - 1 brake or no brakes, take it to the DJ's, Pump track or skate park for giggles
7 A road bike - Get real, roads are for cars, god made dirt, and made it to be ridden Smile

This is what I tell the wife anyway, I don't have a road bike coz it was rammed down my throat as a kid until I turned senior when I saw the light, getting my first MTB. Road bikes now can be ace, my bothers all carbon one is ace, but you gotta be going 60mph+, 70mph if you have the melons, then it is fun.
  • + 6
 dont be daft a modern 120-130 bike can be used for most things with some minor adjustments, so all you really need is a 7or8 inch big bike and a 4/5 inch trail bike ive used my giant trance x on some tracks and jumps that are beyond its calling, so you dont need 5 bikes, you can get away with two without being stupid, main port of call would be the smaller bike and if youre feeling silly go for the big bike Smile
  • + 9
 I just find this article to be more about bashing the short travel bikes and saying "bigger is better and f*ck the rest". It's very slightly nuanced and sometimes understates that it's more about what brings you pleasure in riding then what you actually ride, but in the end the message just feels like it's big bikes or nothing else.

I can somewhat relate to this mentality, because that's how I used to feel towards mountain biking. Yeah sure the very (very very) occasional XC ride was fun, but never so much as Sundays on the hills riding down as fast as you could. 25-30 days per summer of just roots, rocks, mud and berms was all super sweet but I just felt my skills plateauing after a while so I decided to buy an AM bike, a mid-range travel bike that climbs well and descends more then decently... GOD did I just discover what I was missing. Not only did AM make me discover a part of mountain biking that I had overlooked, it made me a better rider all-around, especially when hoping back on my DH sled.

Smaller bikes (like AM bikes, which we're the focus in the first article) force you to think more while riding, not always saying "ah screw it, i have more then enough travel to rough it out" and actually realizing that there are smoother and faster lines on the mountain and even finding jumps and trannies you'd overlook on a big bike. Bring those new found skills to your DH riding and you have a winning formula right there. Better line choices and crazier transitions then ever before.

All in all, it is about what makes you have more fun, but all I can say is that owning two bikes is what made my riding more fun, small bike to train and push your skills and then big bike to exploit and improve those skills even more.
  • + 10
 Point is, YES your jeans are too skinny.
  • + 2
 Very well stated. All true. Funny enough there are trails that i've liked on my all marketing AND Dh bike. And both teach me about the other. However most of my progression has been at DH speed aboard a DH capable bike, can't lie.
  • + 1
 Riding my 08 trek 3700 down some dh trails and then goin back to 8 inches you actually get to find a faster line on the short travel then when you ride with the dh you get a really fast smooth line but bottom line shred it with what ya got
  • + 5
 Holy shit son!!!! PROTOUR!!!!! Man of wisdom!!!! most + props ever for him, and I agree with him a 100%
  • + 0
 I cant wait for the argument on fixed gear bikes...
  • + 2
 honestly, i use my slope bike for everything. for dh just soften up the suspension, and for uphills and longer rides just throw 9 speeds on it. one bike solution for everything
  • + 12
 Wow. Protour has over 100 props... This is surely a sign of the end days. Apocalypse here we come.
  • + 1
 Argument for no travel bikes and 1 wheel Smile

m.pinkbike.com/video/290816
  • + 2
 dylanlikesbikes: You're absolutely right. I'm selling my RTS when I go to college in 2 months and I'm getting a slope bike that I plan on using for everything. I hate it when people tell me that I need a different kind of bike or a different fork or whatever, because the fact is I can't afford it! Some of my (old) riding buddies used to have 5 different bikes that they used, and if we were going out to a different place they were like "oh wait... let me grab my other bike". Stupid if you ask me. I've had to work my butt off for all my bike money, and these rich kids get their parents to buy them all the fancy stuff and then they tell me I should get the same. the fact is, I can keep up and that's good enough for me.

OK, done venting. Sorry 'bout dat :-}
  • + 3
 I fully agree that for those chutes or rootier sections a DH rig is purpose built. But there is no way that a 'big rig' is better for jumping. Have you seen downhillers try the dirt jump at your local? It's like watching my grandma drive. Sure, on a long travel bike you can huck 60 footers, but there is way less skill involved than riding a set of steep lipped DJs. On a DH bike its about manning up and doing it. On smaller travel bikes its about putting in the time and crashes to learn how to dump the nose, control the rear end in the air, and actually pump transitions. Compared to a hardtail or slope bike, the only pump you find on a DH bike is for the tyres.
  • + 1
 I had the 1 bike fits all once, everything from XC to racing Dh on my SC VpFree with Totems on.
She was 32lb at the lightest and 367lb for racing. 75 mile coast to coast 1 week, Fort Bill racing the next.
Air shock for XC/AM and a Avalanche coil shock for Dh.
She was good, but always a compromise.
  • + 3
 OK: I don't disagree with what this article is saying, but I have to say this:

"Obviously, we are all undoubtedly capable of riding our trails on smaller bikes... And then someday, years down the line, we would find ourselves celebrating the use of bikes like we rode in the 90’s, slapping modern bicycle technology across the face, all for the sake of bragging that we did it with less."

DH/FR bikes are not the only products of "modern bicycle technology," shorter travel bikes have just as much, if not more in some cases, of technology going into their existence, so someone who rides a sub-20-pound hardtail is not "slapping modern bicycle technology in the face." They might not have as much fun but that bike is a technological marvel.
  • + 4
 Holy sheet. Protour is making sense.. No more cold ones for me tonight.
  • + 1
 Haha @chaindriven. There's a first time for everything, right?
  • + 0
 snapped my frame in whistler this year ended up riding the park for two weaks on a dj bike with broken forks slick tyres and pretty much no stopping power was amazing to get skills back as you had to go fast on steep tech and then transfering what id learnt on to the dh bike was awesome, I completely agree with this article
  • + 1
 It's funny how most of the "latest suspension designs" were around in the early 90's from companies like AMP . There is nothing new under the sun as one wise man said.
  • + 4
 dude this thread died almost a year ago..
  • + 2
 Dude then dont answer haha
[Reply]
  • + 88
 i think this 'rebuttal' missed the point of the of the first article. So you live on the door step of some of the best FR trails in the world and spend your days ridding them, I'd want a big bike too. if you didn't, like a large percentage of riders, would you still carry the big flag? a lot of us would love only needing to own long travel bikes to have fun
  • + 21
 I totally agree. What the previous article basically said is that there is no point on having 10 inches of rear travel if your trail is not that burly
  • + 12
 Exactly. Here where I live, the closest mountain is only 550 meters high. And for a mountain like that you really don't need a full on DH bike. It's just an overkill and I can go way faster on my 5" bike than most of my friends with their DH rigs.

The point is that people need to be real - no big mountains, no need for 62 HA and 10" travel. But hey, if you need a DH bike because you think that you will be faster (and to show off occasionally), it's your decision.
  • + 15
 And this isn't even a rebuttal, this is ranting about how bigger is better.

(it is in some cases but in most not)
  • + 12
 i think that the other article focused on the fun factor more than anything else. it never rebuttal-ed the use of adequate suspension for terrain. rather focused on riders getting back to their roots and having fun on a bike no matter what the travel length is.
  • + 6
 Well put Wasabi Jim! This article has some good point but it's a bit longish and vague - I prefer Lee McCormacks take on it:

www.leelikesbikes.com/big-bikes-are-rad-and-heres-why.html

To me big bikes are for DH racers, some people who live in proper mountains and to be rent in a bike park.
  • + 2
 i have a big bike (NP scalp) but very rarely get to take it to trail centres or 'proper' mountains, but i still have more fun on it than any other bike ive owned, because of the confidence it gives me to do pretty much anything. even more urban riding, im more than happy to be the first one off a slightly sketchy jump/drop, or down a massive set of stairs at top whack, becuase the bike lets me. trying the same thing on my short travel bike (kona bass) it just doesnt feel as happy doing it, or i dont with less travel/burliness. it all depends on what you ride. if getting out in the hills on a 20mile epic is your thing, then yeah, a DH bike is overkill, but for general messing about and having fun, DH bikes are unbeatable
  • + 3
 The two articles do address different points. I can see the reasoning behind both. My local trails can be ridden on either bike. They are gravity driven but include a mix of drops, jumps and rock gardens that highlight the strengths and weaknesses of different bikes.

I recently added a big bike to my menu and love it. It took a while to start getting the most out of it, but it has done two things: 1. Given me confidence to hit things I wouldn't ordinarily have done, and 2. Allowed me to the read the trail differently and open up new lines that applies to long and short travel bikes. There is no doubt I am a better rider after getting some big bike experience.
  • + 2
 yeah, even though my local black run is only 1 minute long, hitting it on a big bike is more fun, due to not being rattled about over the copious amount of rocks, and not being as bothered about landing zones after drops
  • + 26
 Not sure if this was a rebuttal or just a smart-ass response. Every time a good point was made it would finish with something about going big, broisms, or tight pants. It's nice to see a response but you can tell by the tone that his tight pants might be in a bit of a wad over the previous article.
  • + 0
 but surely thats the culture of big bike riders? i know up at the trails, everyone on bigger bikes hangs around, chats, laughs and encourage each other, watching as someone hits a line in a new way, or just goes big, whereas the red route riders (we have both) kinda just stand round, and dont socialise too much with other riders.
i understand where you coming from, but maybe hes right to be a bit miffed, the other article was pretty damming of big bikes, and big bikes for a lot of people are just too much fun to let go.
  • + 12
 Fair enough, I just think the point would have gotten across better if I could not read the bitterness in the author's words. Like I said, there were good points...it was just every one seemed to have to finish with a snide remark at the end. Certain styles of riding come with a certain attitude I suppose, but as a guy who smokes dudes in tight jeans on 8 inch bikes on my 6 inch bike it kinda hit home. I am not bragging about myself, just saying that sometimes people think because they have the 8 inch bike, a full face, and a flannel that they are "doin it". The author kind of represented "that guy" with some of his words. If he kept that attitude out of the article I would have taken his words a lot more seriously.
BTW: I in no way assume I could ever smoke the author on any trail, but I can smoke plenty of dudes who convey the same attitude that is in this article.

As for the social aspect, you may be right. Guys on big bikes seem to push the stoke on each other a bit more at the trail centers. Good on 'em.
  • + 3
 I'm all for shorter travel bikes mainly because of the weight. I'm pretty small and don't weigh much, so a 20kg DH bike is a bit hard to control. But my 12kg bike with 5" of travel is better suited to me because i can throw it around and still do all the local DH trails. Lighter is faster
  • + 9
 "my jeans are too tight
up the backsides
ride in directions very few have ever dared to venture
the explosion of speed created between our ankles
it’s time to go deep.
meet in a parking lot
lost in the art of pumping and popping and feeling the explosion
allow me to reach that sought-after state"

Salute
  • + 1
 Tjquinn you nailed it with attitude vs actual skill. Oh man it's so true in every aspect of life, attitude and belief is a lot but it is always what you actualy do that makes you who you really are and what eventualy sets you apart from others. Cheers man!
  • + 6
 In my eyes that wasn't what I would call a well thought out and written article. I can sure see the point Dylan is trying to make, which summed up seems to be that big bikes let you push your limits further than small travel ones do. The problem is that he actually fights against his own points. Dylan for instance writes "we find ourselves lost in the art of pumping and popping and feeling the explosion of speed" when talking about 200mm travel bikes on relatively smooth tracks. Doesn't that sound more than anything like ripping your local trails on a mid travel AM/enduro rig while a full on DH sled would feel sluggish and simply not pop from berm to another the way a shorter travel bike with a good geo does?
  • + 2
 I agree with your point about the attitude, but I do think it goes both ways as well. I have out-climbed a fair number of people on my DH bike that obviously thought they were pretty elite with their fully rigid or short travel bike and spandex plastered with corporate logos, but I am far from the tight jean "bro" stereotypical big bike rider. Both sides have their sterotype eliteist attitude, but I think most of us fall in the middle, I know I do. I rode a short travel Rocky for several years before I decided to get a DH bike end of last summer, and I have loved it. It may be more forgiving of mistakes in line choice, but I feel you have to be more exact on big lines to keep it clean and free from pedal strikes, as well as giving me many new line choices that I hadn't even considered before. I will be the first to admit that my long travel DH sled is probably overkill for a lot of the trails I commonly ride, but I would not trade it for some of the burlier trails around and more big mountain type riding that I am trying. In the end, I know there are plenty of people out there that can smoke me on much less bike than my DH bike, but I ride it because its what pushes me to improve and makes me happy, and in the end I think thats all that matters. It shouldn't matter what kind of bike we ride or what we ride in, we all ride to have fun, so why should it matter how we achieve that?
  • + 3
 it works this way in my opinion: you need both, short and long travel bikes. If you ride big bike you get sloppy in time, you will notice that when you get on smaller bike. At the same time sitting on small bike for a longer time makes you loose some bit of confidence. Sorry there is no best answer...
  • + 2
 To be honest I think you just described the pros and the feeling of riding a big bike better than Dylan did with that whole article, well put. All I hope is that people would be critical about their bike choice instead of jumping on a big bike with out thinking first what actually suits best your tracks and you as a rider. Sometimes a slack mid travel bike can outperform, be more fun to ride and allow you to progress faster as a rider than a DH bike would. This sure isn't always the case, but when it is, you better not go for a 8" DH sled just because your friends ride them. You need to have a strong personal preference.
  • + 1
 Btw. my last reply was to WRMMT and I definitely agree with you Waki. Too bad our pockets are not made out of money Frown
  • + 2
 What's all this about tight jeans and big bikes? I've never seen that trend. short travel/slope style/dirt jumper types are the only ones that rock tight jeans
  • + 3
 I don't think it missed the point so much as it restated it. Mike was saying that BIG bikes are for BIG shit. Dylan said the exact same thing.
  • + 3
 kanioni - it is quite simple: if you don't live close to the lifts, or at least decent mountains, and can afford only one bike, then choosing a Big Bike is just not a good idea. If you live in some hilly area without lifts you will spend masses of time out with the bike, not on the bike. You just can't learn much this way, you will come to a certain level of riding and plateau. Off course you might find an Atherton in you, and spend masses of time building and riding, but sorry, I doubt many have their size of balls to truly skip common sense and dedicate themselves to biking completely. What you need to be good and have lots of fun is as much time as possible ON the bike. And it has to be a quality time. If it is a bike related activity, but off the bike, it better be a workout at home or gym.

People might like it or not but DH bike is the least versatile kind of mountain bike. It is excellent in one thing and sucks at everything else. A sub 20lbs XC racer can cater more sorts of terrain and tasks. You can ride down a Champery DH track on XC racer but you won't do one lap on XC race without being lapped by everyone else, even if they were on enduro bikes.

Money is no object... its how you manage them. It is better to own an average do-it-all bike, even a HT with 120-140 fork, and spend the remaining money on trips to bike parks and DH rig rental
  • + 5
 Plus this guy seems to make it seem like riding shorter travel bikes on the same trails is easier than riding a longer travel bike, which is not the case. And he talks about popping off of every lip and such, which works much better on a shorter travel bike. I agree that this article missed the point of the first one, and most of the points in this article are very poorly supported and can be easily proven wrong by anyone who rides. Either way, we ride cause we love it Smile
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  • + 53
 Oh crap, now its on, WW3
  • + 81
 This kind of debate has no right or wrong answer, at the end of the day you ride what you feel is right for you!
  • + 14
 Well put Russ
  • + 8
 ive always ridden big travel bikes, as most of the race tracks around my area are near on impossible to ride with anything less, however when my dh bike was in for surgery not so long ago i had the chance to ride my friends nukeproof mega, and have to say riding the big trails with that bike put the fear back into my heart and showed me how much fun it is to be pushed out of your comfort zone.
  • + 23
 Next, people are going to be questioning the wheel barrow I ride down hill..... is it the best wheel barrow for me? I don't know
  • + 6
 That depends.... how much travel does your wheel barrow have? What size wheel is it running? What tread pattern does the tyre have? Does it have thick or thin grips? What is the frame made of? Do you wear a full face or piss pot whilst using it?
  • + 3
 "Life is short, trails are even shorter, and I don’t believe there is a single moment spent on the trail when it is acceptable to settle for mediocrity. We should all ride the bikes we find most comfortable, and enjoy them without worrying about what others think."

why bother? ride what you got and ride it fast!
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  • + 46
 All I have to say is, screw what all you guys think I'm just gonna ride my damn bike and be happy with it.
  • + 2
 oh the joy of long travel

"my jeans are too tight
up the backsides
ride in directions very few have ever dared to venture
the explosion of speed created between our ankles
it’s time to go deep.
meet in a parking lot
lost in the art of pumping and popping and feeling the explosion
allow me to reach that sought-after state"

Salute
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  • + 30
 I'm definitely a short travel rider all the way... but this article was super fun to read.
I can definitely see both sides!
My wallet can't though :/
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  • + 18
 While I love my big bike...short travel article owns this one. This guys is just bitter and angry...first guy actually makes valid points based on fact, as well as his own opinion. This is pure opinion.
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  • + 12
 Levy's 'Argument for Short Travel Bikes' certainly made a better argument in my opinion, i'm squarely in the middle of both camps, i only have one bike so its a mid travel for everything. Does me just fine. The only statement in this discussion that really needs to be read is the last sentence.
  • - 1
 i get the short travel bike argument but most of it is revolving around weight and most modern dh bikes can be built pretty light, also why should we need to make bikes lighter don't wish for a lighter bike wish for a steeper trail Smile
  • + 0
 I have two bikes a 7"freeride(26er) and a 5"allmountain(29er) and if i bought a third i think a hardtail dj would roundout the stable nicely, variety is the spice of life, ride everyday my friends!!!!
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  • + 13
 That's why somebody found Enduro bikes. They can descend, they can uphill and got the perfect amount of travel that you need!
  • + 1
 Depends where you live, and what you can, in my area 120mm bike is way better for everything, even FR and we have some really technical shit around. Its just that it can take up to 1,5h into the woods to get to best riding spots. But if you really want one bike then 140-160 is the best, yes.
  • + 1
 no i think you will find that they have the perfect amount of travel YOU need alot of people ride stuff that would be possible but not as pleasureable on that kind of bike
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  • + 15
 Screw all of you, I'm taking up a unicycle.
  • + 2
 but with how much travel
  • + 5
 8", of course.
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  • + 8
 Love riding my trail bike and I ride it almost everyday, but there is something to be said about the big rig, and it is said here. They just straight up let you go faster, smash corners harder, drift further, and scare yourself more. They are just straight up fun, and I wouldn't have half the fun on my trail bike if I hadn't acquired the skills and confidence on a big bike.
  • + 1
 how come more and more DH events are won by HT and small travelled bikes? sorry but while i have been entering races over the UK in the last year I have noticed the increase in smaller bikes coming in top places now, and my fastest times are on my all mountain. I think their statements may have a point.
  • + 3
 Your problem here isnt the bikes. once again its that the tracks that are being raced just are'nt gnarly enough. If it is possible to ride it faster on a AM bike then you need a different track to race...
  • + 1
 yeah, most UK DH isnt big enough for a DH bike. something like an intense SS2 would be prime as a UK DH bike. though i use my DH bike as a FR bike, just riding stuff to see if its rideable (usually is, sometimes really isnt lol)
  • + 7
 i bet no pros will bring a bike less than 8" travel to Fort William Big Grin
  • + 1
 Where are these races? The only time I've seen a shorter travel bike win a dh race was when an elite who had switched to enduro showed up and destroyed the senior class at his local track. Same goes for the british rounds, not seen or heard of anyone taking a hardtail or all mountain bike and doing really well.
http://www.pinkbike.com/news/Madison-Saracen-2012-Part-6-video.html That's one of the tracks we race on in scotland, my friend used to come along on his hardtail but he's seen sense now ( he earned the nickname: mad max).
  • + 3
 @dhridernz that's the the central point made in the original article about why short travel is better for most people... Most people live near trails better ridden with shorter travel bikes therefore shorter travel bikes are more suitable for most people.
  • + 2
 If a dh bike makes u happy then get one it's your money dude!!!!
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  • + 10
 Compared to Mike Levy's insightful and informed article, this article reads like it was written by high school slackers
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  • + 7
 I don't see it as an even discussion. The guy who practices on a HT and then short travel is going to have better control on the long travel beast. He'll be slower on his HT yeah, but when he goes lift access on a DH bike he will end the day faster than the guys who went from training wheels to big sleds. He'll be able to take better advantage of every good thing about DH mentioned here.
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  • + 10
 who gives a shit if you love riding what bike you ride pin that
  • + 2
 this man speaks the truth. straight up
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  • + 6
 My base skills came about years ago aboard a BMX..where your body is the only suspension you have. What I have found now years later with MTB....and being lucky enough to have a DH sled and a shorter travel bike..is that they compliment each other...both articles seem to force a choice between the two...my experience is that each bike makes the other help you increase your skills and vice versa. What do I mean? I hit a trail with my AM bike, roll into a berm with reasonable speed, hit a couple of features, a small rock garden...then some loam. Fun...but thinking after "man..I coulda hit that harder"..so you run again and do it. Come back the next day with the big bike..same section...your confidence is higher, you rip into the same bit faster than you ever would have on the AM bike...and go hell yeah at the end of it. Aware or not..you learned a few things...you pushed and broke the limits you created the first time around on the AM bike....now you come back day three on the AM bike...ride it..surpassing the initial ride with ease..the Big bike showed you what you could do....now you just came back and did it with new "limits". You can go alot faster through stuff than most people think...you just need to know you can do it. It's the like the Coyote standing in mid air over a canyon...he doesnt actually fall until he realizes he is in the air. Meep Meep!!
  • + 1
 total agreement!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • + 1
 Absolutely. Owning multiple bikes is a great way to boost skills- I decided to get back into riding spring 2011. Picked up a $900 Marin HT and rode it all season. That winter, I picked up my first fully, a 5" Kona, for $1050. Rode it for 2012, and realized I was able to "Go Harder" on my HT. A month ago I picked up an Entourage for $2k. I'm hoping it will help me "Go Harder" on the Trailbike. I feel like a coupon king when i look at my stable- all were purchased with full warranty. Sure, I could have spent this on an Enduro or whatever, but in the end I feel I'll be a better rider with a quiver like this.

I also get to persuade non-biking friends to hit the woods with me. (priceless)
  • + 1
 @OldSkoolAK that is without a doubt the best part of having a quiver. It's really nice to be able to turn someone else on to the sport, or have a steed for a friend to ride when they're visiting from out of town. I'd take a couple mid-range bargain bikes over a nice top-tier one any day.

In my quiver they're all short travel though Razz
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  • + 5
 This not really a rebuttal to the previous article so here is my own quick simple argument: if you want to become a better rider the only way is to push beyond what you feel comfortable with. This means lots of bruises and an occasional fracture. It also requires a whole lot of balls to try something you've never done before. In this case a slacker, longer travel bike can boost your own self confidence in pushing further and most importantly it covers up your own inevitable mistakes and lets you can try again a minute later, rather than 6 months later after recovery. In short if you want to learn you can learn much faster on a bike that is more capable than you are for the simple reason that it allows you to make big mistakes without punishment.
  • + 1
 exactly. I was afraid of taking my feet off my pedals on my DJ in the air, but the 8 inches on my DH gave me the balls to start doing it. The overkill on travel soaks up the mistakes as well as the fear.
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  • + 5
 Big bikes are incredible, when you first get one you feel empowered. Like what was once impossible is now doable without reservation.
I think a big bike on a gnarly trail is the most fun I can have. But Mikes is hands down the stronger argument. Skill is skill, Cam McCaul backflips a beach cruiser on gaps bigger than most of us even consider. You get better by riding, u can push ur limits on whatever bike u hop on, some more on hardtails, some on 8" rigs, some on motorcycles.
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  • + 4
 These "articles" are ridiculous. While we can all likely agree that Pinkbike has seen its ups and downs in terms of legitmacy over the years, it is clear that we are currently on a downswing. How would this comparison look if the bikes were taken out of the story? Would anyone else, in other industries, give this review any more than a passing glance? Doubtful.

When the industry decides to get its head out of its own ass and start acting like a mature, respectful organization, maybe we will see real change. Change that is better for everyone, not just the sick-gnar-gromtards that see articles like this as some type of standard or benchmark in the overall progression of the sport/industry.

Take a look at any other segment of the consumer marketplace. Automobiles, computers/electronics, furniture...hell, even clothing manufacturers are doing a much better job at growing their industry in a way that has a clearly planned strategy and model for future growth. Sure, plenty of other products have celebrity endorsements and even use consumers input in their advertising and marketing campaigns. But the difference is that there are lots of very intelligent folks that have a clear vision for where they would like their product/business/company/industry to be in 5, 10, 15 years.

"We" in this sport/industry are lacking this direction and execution. 'Tis sad. The potential that we collectively possess as stewards of this fine sport is immense. The actual execution and realization of that potential...not so much.

Having said that, articles such as this are a good thing. Rider opinion, especially those that accurately and concisely convey true characteristics of bikes/equipment, are vital for this growth. HDR pics, sick "edits", exotic product picture backdrops....all these things are great and definitely grab and keep consumer interest, but there is more out there that is required for things to really take off for all of us.
  • + 5
 Both were clearly suffixed "- Opinion." They are opinions, not articles. In the more "refined" circles you seem to desire for the sport people call them op-eds.

As for your thoughts on the matter - what is it then? Good or bad? You say that "These 'articles' are ridiculous" yet you also feel that "articles such as this are a good thing."
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  • + 6
 The short travel article was much better quality and far more intelligent. This one reads like a butthurt teenager wrote it.
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  • + 4
 Even if you are more of a centrist (as many above seem to be), its sometimes fun to argue an extreme point of view. However, if you don't make your points well (which Levy did and the current authors did not), you just sound like a dumbass.
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  • + 7
 Annnnd THIS is why I love Pinkbike!
  • + 12
 I don't own a bike with more than 5" and I ain't even mad.
  • + 2
 most badass pb article ever
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  • + 3
 Not that I care what you ride but this is written pretty.... I don't know... shitty. It's not a rebuff. Longer is if you don't wanna hold back blah blah is not an argument. Again, ride what you will and enjoy it. There are no facts to support anything in this opinion. Ironically, in certain instances it actually proves the contrary argument. For example, "but our bikes always make up for what we lack". This is exactly what the other article is arguing. Even worse, in some instances he brings up issues that weren't even included in the original debate. Just sayin.
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  • + 4
 I wish people would stopping saying/thinking that full squish bikes were manditory equipment for fr and dh. You can ride any dh trail on a hardtail if you have the skills to back it up.
  • + 1
 That isnt true at all actually...or maybe it is and you wont have any fun riding around 4mph..
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  • + 3
 I guess we can sum it up:
There are those who want to become more skillful, that will make them faster and better rider in a variety of terrain.
And there are those who take a bigger bike to become faster, they usually are pretty fast straightlining and rather slow in corners.
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  • + 3
 The beautifull part is that we all get to spend our hard earned cash on what we like , and all bikes are fun. If you can afford a big dh bike , than you can usually afford a nice used hardtail dj bike with it - and have fun on both.
Short-travel/hardtail requires and builds skill quicker , but is it more fun ? Not necessarily , so if you need a big bike or just want one , it's cool as long as you're out riding.
It is funny though to see some champ who can't ride his way out of a wet paper bag "shred" trails on a dh bike that skilled guys shred faster on hardtails. But like I said -it's your money and as long as you're havin' fun .
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  • + 3
 This set of articles is the most BS thing I have ever read the last article was BS and this one has not made the situation any better. People need to stop being a$$holes and stop judging other people its about riding your bike and having fun, I dont judge anyone different no matter what they ride in my group of riding friends we have a scalp a dh720 a remedy a da bomb slopestyle bike and a 24seven DH bike no one judges anyone and we all just go out and ride our bikes the only difference is some of us can ride up hills lol. People who are that opinionated about this subject need to stop being snobs and remember what they bought the bike for "having fun" if you bought your bike so you could look down on others and be an a$$ you need to sell up as you bought it for the wrong reasons.
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  • + 3
 Short travel, long travel, no travel. As long as your feet are making circles, you're creating the true meaning of travel.
...as in forward momentum...exploration and freedom from the daily grind...a healthy escape. From $6000 carbon dream bikes to Walmart specials...we're all connected to this amazing and progressive sport...no..lifestyle. let's quit creating false divisions and go spin...
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  • + 7
 Sit back, grab your popcorn, and watch the butthurt begin.
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  • + 3
 I would be willing to bet, most of the Pro's started on a shorter travel bike or no travel for that matter and as they got better, so did technology. As we get better, so do the toys! I didn't have a big bike to start. I started with a P1 All Mountian and dirt jumped the heck out of it. Then Bought a Dirt Jumper- Went to Highlands Mountain bike park. I used my hard tail on all of the trails- Hellion, Cat Scratch....on dirt tread! The lift attendant just smiled. I felt out of place, but wth, I had fun. Yes, it jarred my teeth clean out of my head, but when I was done, it was awesome and I got to see how good I really was- now, I own a full suspension bike. It's relaxing, smooth and used as it was intended. My DJ? I still ride it almost anywhere.

point is really, have fun. just ride.
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  • + 2
 Bring the right tool for the right job. Park and shuttle runs need a burly bike, the ride to the grocery store needs a cruiser, and pedal accessible riding needs something in between. Opinions can be too generic, so know what you're up against and plan accordingly.
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  • + 5
 "our bikes always make up for what we lack" This is not a rebuttal. He only strengthens Levy's argument.
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  • + 4
 Once there was a time, where we all would call it "Freeride" and it didnt matter what you rode or did.....
that was a good time.
  • + 3
 Yes, it's true. The main fact is, that people always think they have to use parts and bikes like pros. But goddammit, when i see a 15 year old fat child on a Giant glory with an average speed of 5mph and at least 9 paceplants on one run and a guy with a f*ckin old bike who rides 9 times faster, i think something is completely wrong.

All those peolple who ride only 3 years or less and say: "I need a better bike, my Demo two is not that good like a trek session 9.9" should be slaped with an old tire until they realise that nearly every dh bike is a good thing. Same with crosscountry. Oh no, my bike is more than 14 kilograms. Come on dude, get strenght in your legs and do the job like a man.

Everyone should ride the one thing which he likes the most.
  • + 1
 thats true.but do the thing you like on the bike you like.and ignore the fat kid on the glory Smile
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  • + 3
 1st I don't think Dylan Sheppard is your "average rider"
2nd Not everyone lives with epic riding terrain in their back yard
3rd why freakin argue about short vs long RIDE BOTH!!!
4th JUST RIDE!!!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 When the short travel article came out i thought exactly this, as someone relatively new to the sport (or any new skill really) there is a need to get that feeling of enjoyment out of it sooner than later. By getting hung up on technique, 'bad' habits, the most appropriate bike for my skill level, etc; I can add an necessary level of difficulty. I would compare it to learning to play guitar on an electric over an acoustic- its a bit more expensive but it is much easier to learn on. So if longer travel makes my think less about my lines then thats ok for now because as my obsession with biking grows, those are the details I am going to love thinking about when the time comes. For now im just having a blast getting down the trail at speed, and ill take all the help i can get to do it.
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  • + 2
 Some of my cronies ride long travel bikes on XC trails. They blow the doors off everyone and have a lot more fun hucking it off of random obstacles all over the place To each their own- who cares if it is heavier! On the flip side, I know of one guy who took a hardtail 29er to a DH event and won the damn thing- much to the dismay of the other participants. Whatever you've got, ride it like you stole it Cool
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  • + 2
 I have, ride and race a true red blooded downhill bike and i will not change that but i see the other side, there are many local tracks that are simply not made for the full DH rig, eg flat or with uphill sections but i have ridden the same tracks on every thing for 140mm to full 200mm bikes and it really in my opinion comes down to taste, i loved riding the liteville 601 with its fun and very flickable nature on on of my local tracks but then at the same time also loved schreading with my ghost DH, some sections you can take faster on one bike and others on the other bike. due to last minute disasters i have also ended up having to use a 160mm enduro to race one of the ixs cup races last year and yes i was out gunned but man did i have fun trying to keep up with the big boys, its also a big highlight when you can post a faster time on your enduro that the guys on there DH rigs. anyways i enough rattling on from me, my point is simple, ride what you want, but make sure you ride it hard!
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  • + 2
 I seriously find it ridiculous to compare a long travel bike, say DH, to an All Mountain bike, to an XC bike. Each has it´s intended use, I mean no one would even consider riding a marathon on a DH bike, right? No one would ever consider riding a XC bike on a 100% downhill track, why? It should be pretty obvious ...

Although some of us are not as lucky to have enough terrain for DH use, and the same trails that we ride with the DH bike can be ridden no problem with an AM bike (have ridden the same DH tracks than the DHllers in Mex City with my AM Bike -of course there are limits to an AM Bike, but be careful, don't hit the big stuff and its 100% rideable), the difference is: the speed factor. It depends on what I want from the ride/weekend, just blasting at full on speeds? take the DH bike... want to throw some pedaling around and earn my turns? Take the AM rig....

It is not a case of this VS this, rather, a Long Travel Bike and a Shorter Travel Bike, are plainly and simply complementary. (When the terrain and finances allow it).
[Reply]
  • + 2
 i would love to have a big bike but for me its just not possible, there is no way I would ever be able to afford one or be able to ride it, something like a jump bike on the other hand is perfect as I can ride that anywhere, on the streets or down my local jumps so for some people maybe a smaller bike is more practical to allow them to ride which surely is more important than anything?
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  • + 2
 they are all fun! Just ride bikes and ride what you have available to you. I shuttle trails with a group that has everything from a 29er bandit to a nukeproof scalp hanging off the tailgate and I think at the end of the day everyone's smile is the same size
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  • + 2
 The bottom line is...... well I grew up on a bmx bike. Bmx bikes make well not make but force u to commit and be smooth. Im a firm believer that you cant just jump onto a dh bike without any bicycleing background or Moto background. And if you rode xc and road thats still a hard transition to a big travel bike I think. If I wanna not worry about casing or just really hurting myslef well... a big bike helps relieve me of that worry. I always tell myself hey u can over clear it u have suspension lol. but hey if you wanna shred Dirtjumps that are really vert u have to have a hardtail. Its common knowledge lol. And by all means buy another bke if u wanna shred xc or AM or DJ/street.
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  • + 2
 I like a balanced debate. I dislike basic spelling mistakes and poor grammar. You write a cheque not a check!? If you're going to write an article for *uck sake at least uphold the common good and CHECK your spelling! Then go ride your bike.
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  • + 2
 I'm fortunate to own 3 bikes. A Single Speed totally rigid Specialized P1, a Specialized Pitch All Mountain 6 inch full susser, and a Kona Entourage (only 6.7 inch, but feels closer to a DH rig then my 6 inch Pitch.
I find that if I just ride 1 bike all the time my skills do change to suit that bike, but on the Kona I can get lazy. What I love doing is doing something I haven't done before on the Kona, then do it on the Pitch, then do it on the P.1. I can ride my local downhill trails on my P1 as quick as most of my friends on a DH rig, but without a big bike I wouldn't have learnt those skills.
I also do a fair bit of coaching and I find if I put a beginner on a full suss they get up to speed quicker, confidence imprioves faster and they enjoy it more. If I'm coaching more advanced skills like pumping the terrain to maintain/gain speed, the P1 translates back sooo much better then a big bike, and the timings are more obvious.
Long and short, there's no right bike for everything, get out there ride what you got, if you have to chose one, buy one for the bits you enjoy the most, if you're fortunate to have more then one then make sure you make the most out of all of them, and don't let that BMX you have in the back of the shed go to waste, ride it and have fun.
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  • + 2
 I like a balanced debate. I dislike basic spelling mistakes and poor grammar. You write a cheque not a check!? If you're going to write an article for **** sake at least uphold the common good and CHECK your spelling! Then go ride your bike.
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  • + 2
 Well, I ride these bikes for another reason. I ride mtbs since 93, racing since 95. Suspensions, brakes, wheels etc started to be good long time ago, but the new school geometry of these bikes make them the bikes I've been waiting all my life. If you ask me, the geo is one of the biggest improvements in the short history of our sport. Spot on! And no, I don't wear skinny pants
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  • + 2
 If I could only have 1 bike, a big bike it would be. The majority of my riding is sketchy , rocky DH ridden on a demo 8. For the groomer freeride twisties a SX trail and a FSR for the XC days and my scabbed together Flow for the DJ days. Bottom line ride what suits you best for what your terrain has to offer, both ends of the spectrum have their pro's n con's. I don't wanna ride my Demo for a family rode ride nor do I wanna ride hard tail DJ down a sketchy DH run ,where I use every bit of 8'' of travel. So in reality this argument is not as much of an argument as it is dumb, just ride whats best for you as if anyone gives a shit what your riding anyway. If you can hang then we can be BRO'S. If you don't like me for the bike or bikes I ride, Then just don't roll with me BRO. I'd rather be cool with people no matter what they ride than to have hang with a bunch of narrow minded Dicks.
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  • + 2
 Well, for a place like where it looks like Dylan and Mitchell ride where apparently shuttles are not a problem at all, by all means, I'd love to have them myself and an 8-10 inch front and back bike. But for many of us that's not the case, and if I have to pedal up to enjoy the downhill, no matter how gnarly it is I'm going to have to choose a shorter travel bike which I can pedal without dying attempting it. The trails I usually ride are indeed big bike suitable, and downhill riders around here train on them, but while they have teams/dads that shuttle them to the top time and time again on their cars, most of us around here don't have that option, so as much as we'd like to rock a big bike it's not even an option for us. I myself ride a 160mm front and back Mondraker Prayer, with a double chainring, tolerable on the ups and absorbing enough on the downs. Do I miss the extra 40mm and downhill oriented suspension and geometry on the gnarlier/rockier sections? Absolutely. Could I even try getting up to the top with it before though? Nope (sure, I could push it up, but all I may gain from the extra suspension will be taken away by extremely tired arms and legs after pushing up for 10km or more.

And by all that I mean that yes, big bikes kick ass, but where they make sense, not everywhere just for the sake of development and size.
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  • + 2
 Thank you for challenging the previous article. I totally agree with you. Why limit ourselves? as long as we are going big or riding trails with roots why don't we get a big bike? they will give us the confidence to go faster and bigger, and make us a better rider. And sure, having a nice bike doesnt make you a better rider and that its the indian not the arrow or whatever but if you gave an indian a machine gun im pretty sure he would kick ass.
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  • + 2
 You can still ride pretty agressive stuff with a hardtail just you can't go bombing through gnarly rock gardens or you'll most likely snap the frame. With that big heavy downhill rig if you don't have a shuttle your going to have a pretty boring hour or so before you can ride. The best thing really to do is get a bike with something with 5 or 6 inches of rear travel. That way you can ride to the top of the mountain on XC trails then back down the DH track.
  • + 1
 my thoughts as well.
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  • + 2
 I love my Big Hit, but I love my 140mm Stumpy even more, it's my favorite bike in the world because I take it down plenty of DH trails with ease and climb up them if i want to. If it wasn't for the Stumpy, I would be a lot worse on the big bike. They help each other and hey, they're bikes and people ride them for that initial rush. Nothing feels better to me than taking my trail bike down some impossible looking line and looking back up from the bottom. It feels great doing so on a smaller bike with the seat slammed down with the suspension fully opened up. Sure, I raced my Big Hit in all the collegiate DH races this season and hardly rode my Stumpy in competition, but for the sole purpose that I was racing. The trails were totally small bike friendly but it was a race and I needed the speed. What I'm saying is there's a bike for everyone and every type of riding, just up to you to figure out which to pull out of the garage that day.
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  • + 2
 I have an Enduro Evo with 180mm forks and coil rear shock. Also have a steel On One hardtail with a 6" coil fork.

That's all I need for DH to XC and everything inbetween. My hardtail goes down all the trails the big bike does
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  • + 2
 Why give a f*ck?!!!! If you can afford it & you like it & you're not hurtin' anyone else, then whatevs. A hardtail is the most versatile vehicle, period. Doesn't make it better, just different strengths & different weaknesses. Most riders on any kind of bike aren't pushing that bikes capabilities too close to its limits.

Colin Winkelmann jumped a BMX 116 feet. Even now, I've heard of no one on any kind of suspended bicycle to go that far. I think Kyle Strait tried on snow & crashed. Mike Montgomery has big plans (150' gap & 100' backflip) but it hasn't happened yet (AFAIK). The biggest bikes on the hill are always the ones seeing the least of their potential. Even the guys hitting the biggest shit in the sport & pulling the gnarliest tricks over it are usually on a smaller bike.

That was a cool video & all, but I've seen way bigger shit on hardtails. None of that was "big" by any standard. Watch an MX video if you wanna see what big is all about. A DH bike has anywhere from 75% to 100% of the travel of an MX, & lacking the power of a motor means also lacking the weight. You come down hills big enough to match MX speeds but don't hit MX sized shit. Robbie Maddison dropped 100' on his MX in Vegas. BMXers launch 30' out've quarters. Sorry guys, but goin' big ain't something that riders of DH bikes have learned how to do yet.

I wonder what Mike is gonna ride for those records he wants to break.
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  • + 2
 I find these debates funny. On one hand everyone is up in arms because long travel makes riding easier, and allows people to push their limits. On the other hand, they use the same argument against 27.5 or 29" wheels that they compensate too much for lack of skill, and people should learn to ride better rather than use a large wheel crutch.
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  • + 2
 Mountainbiking is such a hugely diverse sport, arguing amongst ourselves about bike travel and how many inches you "need" is pretty pointless. Where you live and what kind of terrain is nearby makes all the difference. I'm pretty lucky that I have access to most kinds of riding, and just lately I finally have a three bike stable to handle everything, a DJer for messing around streets and small stuff, a 5 incher for long peddling days, and my DH rig for freeride spots or trips to the mountains. Just ride what's right for your terrain!
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  • + 2
 such a bro article.. love it.... anyhow who cares ride what you like / can afford and enjoy.... take out the jumps / the gaps / the hips / the roots or take in the scenery and the blood sweat and tears whislt you grind your arse up the steepest of climbs... at the end of the day as long as it puts a smile on your face y've hit the sweet spot.
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  • + 3
 Totally nailed it: "If you suck, a big bike will help you suck bigger and faster. If you rip, a big bike will help you rip at a higher level." and: "Flow (capital F) happens at the intersection of challenge and ability."
I came across this guy a few years ago reading Mastering MTB Skills. Both thumbs up!!!
  • + 2
 H0L33 5H1T!!!! That's the best article I've yet had the pleasure to read in the MTB world about technique and going fast. He even talks about where your head is, which if you've studied things like flow states and situational awareness you know they are the absolute foundation to going fast. Absolutely killer!
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  • + 6
 I can only afford one bike so why not have one that can do it all
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  • + 2
 "You cannot feel the surprise of pulling G’s around turns, dropping into lengthy manuals or losing what you thought was traction without the help of speed."

These aspects are far from lost on a short travel bike, dependant on track, happens far more often.

But all it comes down to is right tool for the job and fun. I short travel bike will be wank on fort will just as a DH is wank on your typical trail centre, despite how apparently "fun" monster trucking apparently is.
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  • + 2
 Why is there debate at all? I mean, if we're here to have fun and gently poke at each other for what kind of bike you or you or you own, then fine, let's have some fun. But there's no debate. Big hills need big mil's for big thrills. Pretty simple. But the world's built with more than just hills. Isn't that why mankind uses his brain to produce things under the umbrella of technology? Hence why a lot of folks own more than one kind of bike. Depends on what you're riding that day. But some of you will say this is about owning only one bike, so which is it? Well, too bad. I don't have to answer from that POV because I own more than one. I work for a living, and spend my free $ how I want to on what matters to me. So I own a hardtail. I own an XC. I own an enduro. I own a DH. And I get to use the one that makes sense for the ride I'm about to do. And we're all here to ride. Aren't we?
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  • + 2
 There was a time when a Blue Bananna seat two wheeled thrill ride turned into a Huffy "STU Thompson" BMX. This lead to an addiction of thrill seeking adventures that lasted until you broke something. After joining the U.S.Army iwas was introduced to the mountainbike. I was introduced to HANS NO WAY REY which solidifed my passion for GT Bicycles knowing my favorite company was expanding not fading away. John Tomac showed us how to be a cross country rider, yet was one if not the GODFATHER of downhill. At one point I owned no less than 6 bikes. M-F I'd hit the track on the PK RIPPER mixed with trail on my FUELER, and the weekends was cross country suffering with the occasional single track sessions with terrain. That was Germany. Once I got to Ft.Lewis WA and took a trip to Vancuver B.C. life and my love for the ride changed. To be continued...
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  • + 1
 I started out riding dh on my xc 120mm travel bike and had plenty of crashes from running out of suspension on landings or rough sections of track. When I finally got my 200mm dh rig I was amazed at the difference in handling when things go wrong. I've had quite a few moments that I've salvaged and stayed on the bike but would have definitely crashed if I was on my short travel. Each bike has its place. If you want to go fast down hill and over big jumps, drops and gaps then I believe the long travel is a must or at the very least insurance that you'll make it back home. haha.. If you want to climb and ride flat trails with mild descents then short travel is the way to go. I love the big travel. Feels like riding a trail bike without the noisy engine..
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  • + 4
 this article sure was a lot more angsty than the last one. sounds like someone got offended
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  • + 1
 I said this already, but I'm going to reiterate: BEST TOOL FOR THE JOB!

This was proven to us during Crankworx at Whistler back in August. The Air DH was won by Steve Smith on a 6" Devinci Dixon. The Jeep DH was won by Steve Smith on an a "Big Rig" Devinci Wilson.

A Line may as well be a paved high way. I loved it! Fast and fun as hell, but nothing a 6" AM/Enduro can't handle. And it seems Steve Smith understood this, yet he did ride a different bike come Sunday in the Jeep DH!
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  • + 1
 I wish we had more trails in socal that were dh bike worthy. We need to do a ton of climbing here as its short n steep.
Ie., laguna=4-6" sub 30#.(hike a bikes).
To me dh is like moto and xc/am is like snowboarding w/mountaineering.
You just want the right tool for the day.

But for folks like mt bike action mag to say dh bikes are for closed course only is absurd!
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  • + 1
 I'll be honest I like short travel bikes, the other article was more friendly than this, you have your opinion and I have mine and I felt the whole article like you were trying to shove your opinion up to my ass wether I like it or not. All I read was"if you don't think like me then I don't like you".

With this said I'd like to share my opinion, I believe that shorter travel bikes are good for light DH and FR if you're a "pro" then you must have a full sus bike. We won't become vros if I don't share your way of thinking? Nice one mate...
If you ride have enough experience for riding a good trail you'll be able to do it with both bikes(I'm not talking about WC lines, just regular ones)
  • - 2
 Oh and I believe nobody has said this yet



"Bigger is better"


That's what she said Wink
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  • + 1
 i got reign x1 and kona dowg,
it is not attractive too go with reign on e simple trail and it is not safe to go wit kona on a speedy harsh trails (if you do that you will Increase the damage of the bike and your self)
so the best solution is go and ride the bike until the max of capability of the bike.(not less not farther)
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  • + 1
 I think it all depends on what your after. You can have fun on a long travel bike on a mellow trail. If your a aggressive rider you can get away with a long travel bike. If your a racer I think the long travel bike will be better, but if just purely for fun the short travel bike will be better. My opinion is a long travel bike will be smoother a ride enabling you to concentrate on technique and line choice at speed. A short travel bike will rattle your brains out and you will go into survivor mode a lot more instead of looking for lines or practicing your technique. My thinking is ride like race practice going fast. Short travel for fun, long travel for race or big moutain riding.
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  • + 1
 has nothing to do with travel. its all about geometry. travel is judge by the terrain your willing to ride. geometry is judged by iif you plan to be ridding down a hill or up a hill. simply put buy a bike that suits your geographical location
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  • + 1
 I like the mid travel AM/Enduro bikes... 6 or 6.5 inches suspension, with the proper builds, lite enough to race xc and tough enough to do some DH... I do agree with protour's comment that more bikes are better, allowing you to go out and specifically whatever you like, but if you gotta have just one... go mid travel... big enuff for some big stuff, small enough to ravage the beaten path!! Big Grin

Also, this is just one mans' opinion.
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  • + 1
 Debate Topics: Which is more FUN?=impossible to argue as the answer is ALWAYS correct depending ONLY on who you are ask. Which is a better learning tool for beginners who want to learn/improve FR/DH, or Aggressive Trail Riding skills?=Big Travel Bikes..Evidence=Every rider (including myself), and all the bike skills camps I've seen/observed offering instruction in these disciplines, use big travel bikes for a couple of reasons...they provide the CONFIDENCE TO TRY, and they are MORE FORGIVING OF MISTAKES..every newbie that I have helped, instructed, etc..has ALWAYS PROGRESSED faster and more safely on a big travel bike-specifically when they are attempting to learn on a shorter travel XC or All mountain rig and then are given the big travel bike to attempt all the same skill sets. Which is a better learning tool for XC, All Mountain, Slopestyle, Trials, etc?=The bikes that are used for those disciplines...SO...Are big Travel bikes limiting or hindering our riding progression?..I think the answer is YES if they are used for for their UNINTENDED PURPOSE and NO If the goal is FASTER, DH/FR OR AGGRESSIVE TRAIL riding...Which is better if if my local trail system doesn't have GRAVITY/FR-ISH trails?=not relevant to this discussion/argument because that is a rhetorical question (answer is obvious). So..IMO, I think big travel bikes are a better learning tool in the GRAVITY arenas and DO NOT limit our skills progression in ANY type of aggressive riding.
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  • + 1
 This article somehow managed to make me wanna go out right now riding my bike. I Just bought my first FS but haven't really had chance to ride it yet, because it's winter here, too much snow and cold. Damn Big Grin These articles were kinda nice, since I own both bikes HT, nice NS Traffic and that recently bought FS Kona Entourage.
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  • + 1
 Big bikes are cool some guys are just adrenaline junkies who are total big mountain riders and need it too push their gravity limits to the max all the way down and whether its speed or when hucking it.

My rushes are different from back in the day, now I look at making it all the way to the top and pushing the bikes limits and mine all they way down plus mainly riding park. My fun consists of chasing the dh riders and seeing if I can keep up and beat them down. Plus the cool factor sets in when they see a guy with a short travel bike riding by.
For me, I can push my limits by seeing how little travel I can get away with which makes me a better rider by having to land it right everytime. Plus having family I cant afford to get hurt I dont rebound back like silly putty like I used to. Now its more like snap, crackle, pop!

I think this is why they created AM bikes (my personal fave choice) with high volume short travel shocks for whomever wants to kill it up, down and every which way. and in any situation.

Everyone has a different view on what there favorite freedom of expression is and how they can best channel it. I will never knock down guys or gals for wanting to go big or go home! They are Rad in their own way!
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  • + 3
 When will Silvia films being out a full length movie? They seriously know how to film bikes, just a shame I can't watch all their segments as a full film!
  • + 1
 Yeah Good Clip though. The fit the flow of the bike pretty much seamlessly. More good work from Kona too
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  • + 1
 pretty obvious answer to the first article. I ride one DH & one awful fun hardtail. Two bikes is perfekt for me, three would be too much to take care of. You make your perfekt world i do mine Big Grin

I liked the first article, it wa inspiring for me as i was building my firt Pro HT trailbike. It finnsihed now & i never had so fun.
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  • + 5
 This article confirms the first one.
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  • + 1
 I'm not sure that there can be compelling general arguments about whether long travel or short travel bikes are better for off road riding. Without knowing the type of terrain that a rider intends to ride we lack the standard from which choice of a suitable bike can be determined. The writers are right of course that long travel is better. But, if you get right down to it, even XC riders are not against additional travel. They are against unnecessary weight. It is just that travel is expensive in terms of weight. I am not sure what the "average rider" might be capable of. I am sure that even strong riders typically won't be too interested to be spending their time pedaling heavy bikes up hills.
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  • + 2
 O.K., Dylan and Mitchell. We get the point that you guys think you're awesome. Your video perfectly proves that longer travel does NOT make sense for most riders, since most riders do not/can not ride at your level.
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  • + 1
 The obvious choice is both. Earlier this year I tried to replace my big bike with an all mountain bike. At first pedalling pumping and getting wild on a smaller bike and smaller trails was a blast, same feeling of getting rowdy but less risk. But as I became more comfortable with the bike bike, and more bored with the trails, i started venturing places a pedally bike had no business going, eventually i just started shuttling with and destroying my am riding with guys on big bikes. This SUCKED. However there was an upside:
upon getting back on the big rig i felt like a cross between jesus, superman, and someone that could shot lasers out of their dick. pedally bikes gave me super powers.
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  • + 1
 All this argument about long-short travels, big-small bikes is not about the bikes. It's about skills and self delusion. All those videos are great, I see hardtails sliding out of shape on the steepest of steeps, and Huge DH specific machines doing backflips on a baby-butt-smooth pumptrack. Great riders can ride most anything on most any bikes, then it's just about surviving the journey or enjoying the moment. Bikes are pieces of art, but bikes don't just ride themselves. So get out and ride this 25lbs X-country whip until your a*s bleeds or drop this 45lbs through a roots infested forest until your forearms go numb and build some skils!!!
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  • + 1
 Application/intention, or just simply what's it gonna be used for.
Gnar, rough, steep, technical downhills? Downhill bike... Climbs, fire roads, moderate descents, up, down? Shorter travel bike... C'mon, don't tell me you'd rather ride a Stumpy vs. a V10 in the park? Didn't think so.
  • + 2
 Exactly^^^ Would you sharpen a pencil with an axe when you have a knife? There will always be the right tool for the job, but you can get by with what you have. Fortunately, I live where you can and often want different bikes. Many of us do. Some aren't as lucky. Care for a hatchet?
I think it's safe to say though that we all learned to ride on a hardtail. Remember how much fun that was?
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  • + 1
 I am lucky enough to own 3 different bikes with different lengths of travel, but if I ever had to pick just one it would be my full DH rig. While short travel bikes have their place I do agree with this piece and for me there is no better feeling than blasting down a trail on my Glory.
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  • + 1
 As an all mountain rider a majority of the time, I believe its all about preference. Some trails I wont hit unless I have a downhill rig, but I don't ride a down hill bike on a cross country trail with no huge drops. It all just depends on the trail and the type of bike you like to ride. I use different bikes for different trails. All that matters is you are having fun.
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  • + 1
 yes yes we all know that shorter travel bikes are more efficient blaa blaaa blaa

the fact of the matter is that nothing puts a bigger smile on my face than going a bit nuts on the downhill bike, i know i could probably ride the same track on my xc/trail bike a bit slower but the fact of the matter is im having more fun and as far as im concerned thats the end of it
yes short travel ones can be fun after all its still riding so its still all good,
haters can go ahead and "neg" this comment wont change a damn thing its all about the big bike,
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  • + 1
 I really enjoyed reading both articles. It invoked the love of the sport on both sides of the fence. No one is right or wrong it's purley opinion. But that being said reading the argument of why the long travel bike is king was like reading Penthouse letters. It got me excited reading some of the descriptions that it made my heart racing day dreaming of ripping down some gnar letting the bike do its thing. The part that really got me going was "You cannot feel the surprise of pulling G’s around turns, dropping into lengthy manuals or losing what you thought was traction without the help of speed. It’s not one or the other; it’s both speed and surprise in unison that makes a ride exciting"
Big bikes FTW
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  • + 4
 mutual exclusivity is ridiculous; own as many bikes as you can and pick the right one for your day of riding.
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  • + 1
 I'm older, 47 to be exact. I like my 8" travel bike, a.k.a. a big bike. I started with a RM Oxygen hardtail, a Judy with about 3" of travel that added some thrill to the ride i had never experienced before. Fun stuff! I was introduced to freeriding in both Rossland, B.C., and the North Shore. I became a huge fan of all the trail features and technical riding they had to offer. I had fun, spandex and all, climbing technical trails and rolling over a super steep line. I love to jump now, I sucked at it in the early years, but that never stopped me from trying and crashing. Good times! I had lots of fun on my twitchy, short travel, hard tail, but i chose to push to new speeds and heights and that needed a new tool, the Santa Cruz Bullit with WC Boxxer! Ya Buddy! Too much bike for me at the time? Of course, kind of, not really. But i progressed quickly and to a level of confidence that inspired my riding friends to try things that they thought was impossible for them. My bike now is an 8" freeride bike, not a downhill bike, always fun to have on any trail i chose to ride. I push up some of the climbs around Rossland, my home now, but i can climb more of the trails each year without stopping. My final point and i don't think this was touched on yet, is that my bike is so comfortable! I don't get beaten up like the short travel chunder bikes that other people are on! They tell me over and over how efficient there bikes are and laugh about the pushing and slow pedaling i do on some trails. Mike makes a solid point about smaller travel bikes being more all-around for the trails that we ride, but i am willing to give that up for pure comfort and speed through the rough trail sections i ride. Also seems that some people assume that a big bike is not used for slow, technical downhill. Not so for me, i actually seek out the technical trail features that require a lighter touch and in my opinion the big bike is a great ally. Cheers.
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  • + 4
 I don´t agree much usually with Mike Levy but this article here is utter crap...sorry.
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  • + 1
 i ride a 150mm bike all year round as i can do anything on it really near me...and then in summer i usually buy a DH bike for the summer cos i spend afew months out in morzine,les gets and then sell the bike when i get back for the price i brought it for (i get cheap bikes at work) but u only really need a DH bike for mountain resorts, i ride mt 150mm bike at hammsterly DH track with complete ease all the time!
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  • + 1
 I'm a firm believer that most people I encounter on trail are on bikes far beyond their own skill levels. I ride a 6.5" travel SS2 with air suspension front and rear and have no issues keeping up to most people on 8-9" travel bikes. I come from a BMX background and first honed my mountain biking skills on a hardtail. I watch guys just blindly slam their front wheels into anything and use nearly every inch of their travel when I hop and flow through most technical sections. Too many people rely on their bikes to soak up the majority of their screw-ups.
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  • + 1
 "That being said, while the trails my friends and I ride on big bikes may not be the burliest, and we could obviously ride them on smaller bikes, we have a total riot smashing them to smithereens aboard our longer legged companions"

This is one of the most important points here. I see people always saying stuff like "back in the day we hit those trails on 4-inch bikes or hardtails etc". Or people talking about how they hit this gnarly trail or that gnarly trail on a short travel and whatnot. To me the point is that just because you can ride a trail with less bike, doesn't mean that's the only way or the best way to hit it.
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  • + 1
 Coming from a trials background I know the importance of learning things on a 20 inch mod bike and then taking that skill to the stock 26 inch bike. I think a big bike serves as the mod bike in this case in the way that it allows you to easily try new techniques,drops,jumps, etc that might normally be too difficult on a smaller bike. Once properly learned a technique should be able to be exercised on any bike. But really it's all fun, and all about learning and trying new things ,and whatever gets you there is great!
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  • + 2
 Just ride the bike you love to ride. I really dont care if somebody rides a big bike or a bike with less travel as long as your having fun on your bike! People are looking to much to each other !
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  • + 1
 for once 'its not about how big it is, its about how you use it' is true. doesnt matter whether you have 10 inches or 2 inches, if you enjoy using it, whats the problem. i have a bike with 4 inch of rear travel for some days and one with 7 inches for others, and dont ride anything too extreme. i just ride for a bit of fun really.
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  • + 1
 this article is as silly as the ''short-travel' discussion. bikes are fun, and that is why we ride. period. (though this entry may be more foolish sounding with the "skatepark f**k you if you dont like it' attitude that seems to cover certain aspects of our sport, bro)
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  • + 1
 Use the right BIKE for the right ride, regaurdless of what you're doing. There is a bike for every type of rider thats the best part of our lifestyle. All the great riders (known or unknown) pick the ride they need for what they do.
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  • + 1
 I ride a bike... who cares what it does or doesn't do, who cares if i can push further or not. This guy is a douche, anyone else that thinks they have to prove why they ride a certain bike is a douche. Jeez 12inches of epeen means nothing
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  • + 1
 I downsized my trail bike so that I could ride the local trails faster. This doesn't mean small bikes are better. Just that a 4" travel bike is optimal for the type of trails and riding in my local parks. A bigger bike will merely slow you down and result in less fun. Meanwhile, my big bikes are still in the quiver and when I drive somewhere to ride, it's normally to place where a big bike is optimal.
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  • + 1
 a bit late but ...
in the 80's dirt bikes went from short travel to long travel = unsustainable ecological damage to the trails = closures.
in the 90's snow machines went from short travel to long travel = unridable trails = speed limits & closures
in the teens MTBs go long travel ... tell me how is this any different from dirt bikes & snow machines?
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  • + 1
 i rode trails on my DJ and thought i was ripping. my first ride on my long travel bike i found myself going twice as fast with more ease. the more travel lets you have more fun without worrying if those set of rocks are going to buck you off your bike.
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  • + 1
 Well this is a funny one lol. I could agree with you guys about being faster on short travel bikes and not needing all that travel....... But I've just built my demo 8 up now and cannot believe how quick it is its shocking to think I was on a dh rig, I've had a trek session old big hit demo7 even older marin b17 ect ect. And none of them compare to how quick and light this beast is, and it still pedals around. technology has improved our rides FACT
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  • + 1
 I think you can't compare short with big travel bikes because they are made for complete different riders, terrain and situations.
It all depends on what you ride and how often but the right thing is to have at least 2 bikes a short travel (120mm) or even a hardtrail for all mountain long rides and a big travel (180mm) for those fun moments on bike parks or if you live close to real mountains. and of course a commuting bike to go to work but that's another story.
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  • + 1
 I want to ride whatever you tell me to ride. What is in fashion now neon pants and 29er dh bikes with 129mm of travel. Cool heres 10k I want in on that. You sure I going to jump better now and ride faster right? All those years racing 20" expert I didnt really learn anything. Jumping 30' throw ups on a bmx bike is nothing compared to thrashing some pump track berms aboard a 650biatch machine. Where can I buy a bern helmet, neon yellow shorts and a matching 29er extreme pumptrack machine?
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  • + 1
 Why do people argue about this, we ride what we want to ride and have fun whislte doing it. People who ride a hard tail or a small traveld am bike as quick as downhillers such as my self then it means there a tallented rider, theres just no need to argue about it !!!!!!!!!
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  • + 1
 I think that, though dh bikes are probably more fun to rip down a singletrack downhill trail built for xc, the question of if the trail can hold up to that kind of abuse comes into play. Respect your trail builders, as Strength in Numbers has taught us. Also, think about the hikers coming up the hill? Sherrard, you might have pristine trails in your backyard, but 90% of mountain bikers have to use multi-use trails and slow down on every corner to check for the 65 year old with his walking stick.
  • + 1
 I actually do LESS damage to the trails with a big bike. The bike doesn't drift as easy, and I almost never use the brakes because you don't need them. I understand that not all riders will ride that way though.
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  • + 2
 sometimes its just fun to get on the monster truck bike, and smash things. I ride a downhill bike, and a race bmx, and as much fun as that bmx is, and as much as it makes me a better rider. my downhill bike is just more fun.
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  • + 1
 I think that most people can not afford more than 1 bike so why get a bike that can not do everything. It is easier to get a bike that can handle everything. Instead of spending twice as much getting 2 bikes.
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  • + 2
 does it matter how much travel you have if you're out there having fun? no not at all.
go ride and stop with the squabbling....
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  • + 4
 I would love to shred on a big bike... can someone please give me one?
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  • + 1
 The only thing that should hold these bikes sales at bay is price, they cost abit too much, a 1k euro decent full should hold no reasonable argument against it. That is if you would not ride it on a road.
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  • + 2
 Could not care less about this argument,at the end of the day it's the riders choice about what bike/travel suits him/her the best
  • + 2
 Thats how I feel about it , my bike is over kill for my local trails ( RIP ) but when I go away for uplift days it's perfect , just RIDE Razz
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  • + 1
 He would've been much better off using Kenny's segment from FTIO...half of that video was groomed dirtjumps, where most of the top pros, given the choice would be on a short travel bike anyway.
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  • + 3
 Downhill bikes are perfect for downhill. but you want to get back up again!? no chance!
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  • + 0
 Well. I love to ride. So I have a bazillion bikes. I love and shred them all from my bmx to my carbon roadie to my coves. Im not loaded, so all were used/ pieced together via PB / Craigslist / Ebay and generous lbs's. Hell I even have a k traxx/ surly built up. If I could only have one...... My cove foreplay.
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  • + 5
 Big bikes all the way!!!
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  • + 1
 Ride whatever you have got as fast as you can on the trails that you love the most and stop worrying about the politics of it all....Thats what riding is supposed to be about!
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  • + 1
 MTB quiver is like skis, depends on the day. But 29er circus bikes are still the gayest things I have ever seen, I guess they have an XC place. Personally I'm addicted to the pedal up, so 6X6 is my go to.
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  • + 3
 I have 4 bikes. ranging in travel and geometry for the trail o the day. It's all about the quiver. :-)
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  • + 0
 When I read Mike Levys article a while back I was honestly pretty disappointed to see someone attacking DH rig riders unprovoked. I firmly believe that there is beauty in someone buying a DH rig, dreaming of going big like the pros, and then with time and practice DOING IT! I felt that he had no right to slander people for chasing that dream. But now that I see this post, i am much happier now to see someone sticking up for us ballzy peeps that like to go big! Its all in the name of FUN!! EVERYONE IS ENTITLED TO THEIR OPINION, AND EVERYONE IS ENTITLED TO GO OUTRAGEOUSLY BIG ON A DH RIG IF THEY HAVE THE BIG BALLS THAT IT REQUIRES!!
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  • + 2
 I ride big bikes cos I'm big like my bike :-D
There's only so much you can do with spring rates/air pressure on a shorter travel bike when you're 6ft2 and 250lbs :oP
[Reply]
  • + 4
 Got me so stoked!! Just want to go out and shred the big bike
[Reply]
  • + 1
 its all personal preference! the more time we waste arguing about it and writing articles about it is riding time we have wasted. ride whatever you want and have a blast doing it!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 You can do alot with short travel bikes, but if you are riding the more difficult terrain you might as well use the big bike to minimize mechanicals and broken parts. Big bikes tend to be more durable.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 big bikes=more weight
more weight=more muscle building
also, big bikes=more work
more work + more weight=more effort
more effort=better results
therefore, I desperately need a big bike
[Reply]
  • + 2
 may i present the argument for, for gods sake, just shut up and ride your bikes
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I would love a bigger bike, although money can be an issue for $3000.

I'm starting to think enduro bikes are the best of both worlds
[Reply]
  • + 3
 More bullshit on pb. It's all about using the right tool for the job.
  • + 0
 Right on! It really is that simple.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 The correct answer here is, and there is a correct answer, ride whatever you want to ride and just have fun!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Reading this it made me feel like any other bike except a 200mm dh rig has been written off and it makes me sad.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 My Tracer 2 is way too much bike for the stuff we have here in Omaha. I wish there was a way to switch out links to get like four inches of travel.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Lol. To each his own, but this article comes off as someone who got butt-hurt over the title of the last article, but didn't actually take the time to read any of it.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Gotta go with the DH ride. If it can make Dylan look like a ripper it's got to help even the most timid rider step it up.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Ride what you want. Just remember. Dont be a SKIDIOT,
[Reply]
  • + 1
 dh bikes are fun, but you have alot more control with lighter bikes. dont get me wrong i have a downhill bike ,but i can sure fly on my enduro bike.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Stupid arguments guys. Can we get some more product reviews instead? I'm tired of these highschool essays that no one gives a f*ck about
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  • + 2
 vimeo.com/40560345

Please explain again how a short travel bike will hold you back?
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I see it as if your new to the sport get a hardtail and then get a dh if you want to go further
[Reply]
  • + 2
 im buying my grandma a 2013 carbon v10 with full dvo suspension for Christmas
  • + 7
 Is your gran single? 3
[Reply]
  • + 3
 No one will ever agree on this.
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  • + 4
 Ridiculous article
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Ride it like you stole it...... who cares how much travel it has.........ride on bro!!!!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Well now, this is exactly why they have the ALL MOUNTAIN bike now isn't it? problem solved!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Don't let the bike control you, YOU control the bike otherwise you wouldn't be better at it whatever travel the bike has, big or short.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 for me it all depends on the speed the track can be ridden. if the gradient allows for a dh bike to be ridden with enough speed to be fun then i use it. simples...
[Reply]
  • + 2
 You can push your limits on any bike FFS....
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I ride a 4x4 travel bike myself and cant' wait to get a huge downhill rig and start bombing trails.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 It doesn't matter if big or small bikes, just make them cheaper so we can all have both!!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Ride what you want..... where you want...... how you want.....!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 i was hoping someone would write something like this up
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I think Freeride bikes r my favorite 7 inches of travel and full steering capability! Love em. Smile
[Reply]
  • + 2
 If bigger is better, when will the downhill 29er become available
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Wow, nice blog, this is exactly the way i see it.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Nonsense!-you`ll get answer to this question when we will know: who we are, why we`re here and where are we going!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 someone teach that man that arguements need to end in a conclusion, GREAT WORDS nonetheless
[Reply]
  • + 1
 IT´S LIKE: Why go to space with a bada** space ship if there is a bunch of airplanes around the atmosphere.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Not even close to as effective of an argument.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Frisbee rules!
  • + 0
 Long or short travelled?
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Ummmmm, Just ride your bike.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Crappy article, seems like it was written by a kid trying to prove that the bigger toy is the best one.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I'd race my DH bike in a XC race to make the haters hate
  • + 8
 always sad to see the DH chugging along a mile behind like the fat kid in gym class. No hate, but pity for sure.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Horses for courses bro Wink
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Funny thing is , i agree with both articles...
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Just like the last article: more aptly named "Best tool for the job!"
[Reply]
  • + 1
 "Life is short, trails are even shorter..." I like that!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Solution: mid-travel bikes (aka 6-7 inch travel)
[Reply]
  • + 1
 and that's why I not ride BMX... Big Grin
[Reply]
  • + 1
 More Travel=More Fun! Nuff said.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Crack open a fresh Bailey's. I'm Old Gregg!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Short vs long? The real question is who only has one bike?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Longer travel also makes for better sex! Just a thought XD
  • + 1
 What's that suppose to mean??
[Reply]
  • + 1
 This article reminds me of WalMart. Bigger is better. Uhhhh, ok.
[Reply]
  • + 0
 if i met this guy in a parking lot at the bottom of a shuttle road, we would become bros!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Nice piece 100% agree. Just need more bikes thats all Big Grin
[Reply]
  • + 1
 More pedal time and less speech.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 ALLELUIA !!!!
[Reply]
  • - 1
 This is easy...... Just buy three bikes, HT, trail bike and a DH......... I've been rockin three bikes since 2001.......
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Hey man, you're wife already told you : size doesn't matter.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 BEN HOWARD - THE FEAR!!! Look him up. He's one of the best artist out there.
[Reply]
  • - 1
 Well said! Big bikes for the win! Dylan Sherrard is husband material!
[Reply]
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