Difference between 120mm and 140mm for XC/Trail/AM - does it even matter

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Difference between 120mm and 140mm for XC/Trail/AM - does it even matter
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Posted: Sep 6, 2010 at 12:23 Quote
Hi All...For 2011 a number of bikes have moved to 140mm travel (Stumpjumper [comp] and Marin Mount Vision) while others have remained at 120mm travel (Giant Trance [125mm] and Trek Fuel).

What's the difference between these, where / when would I perceive a difference, how big of a difference, what trail types are they best suited for?

I know this is an incomplete question as there are many other factors that influence overall performance than just fork / shock travel.

As a side note, I'm getting back into biking after 10 years and plan to be riding in the foothills of the Rockies (Calgary). I'm currently thinking about the Stumpjumper (140mm) and Giant Trance X2 (125mm). I'm really trying to decide if the different travel on these 2 bikes should factor into my decision. I'm eaqually concerned about climbing as descending.


Posted: Sep 6, 2010 at 16:27 Quote
good question as i found myself riding shorter bikes better than long travel ones .after owning many DH full machines, i set up a all mountain with 160 mn,
that s all i need !!
well to answer to your question , 120 and 140 is actually a big difference !
depending of the type of ride you doing 90 per cent of the trails will be fine with 120 mn, of course i am talking about riding and enjoying the trails, not setting up a time run .
but the 140 mn will give you an edge in roots, rock garden and landing the jumps, it is a versatile lenght that you will feel confortable with it .
120 will be ok for playing about and climbing anywhere ,
140 will make your bike alive, reactive and forgiving in gnarly difficulties and esay to climb too with propedal on.
i rode a specialized enduro 140 mn, faster than my turner dhr...in the 2 alpes in france, or dusted my friends with the hardtail of my wife, fitted with a 32 on the front. so it depends of the rider, not specially on the inch of travel .
but 140 mn is perfect for going up and coming down in a dh style, no problems.
it depends of your ride and the risk you are willing to take, like speed and negociating the technical stuff, without care to bust your frame, fork or balls
the specialized will be a good choice, the fsr system is good and the warranty is ace

video filmed 1 year ago, look at the fork , it is set up at 130 mn, because i forget to set it up !!!, no problems

Posted: Sep 7, 2010 at 16:52 Quote
Thanks for the insight krazyjey...you rides look amazing.

Posted: Sep 8, 2010 at 7:20 Quote
thanx for the ride, hope you will found your 140 mn for a good price, it is definitly worth it, especially if your fork is set for a lenght adjust and the back shock with pro pedal , let me know how you getting on

Posted: Sep 8, 2010 at 13:56 Quote
Dan, can you tell us anything about your riding style/preference - the types of trails you like to ride? Crazyjey is used to DH bikes, so considers a 160mm AM bike "short travel", which might be a different view than someone used to a 3" XC race bike.

To answer your question, yes and no. There's a difference, but 120-140mm of travel is not a huge range, the geometry and suspension design are at least as important too, not to mention setup.

I also live in Calgary, and I love the rocky/rooty trails around here. I ride an '01 Stumpjumper FSR (4" XC bike), and until recently also had a Reign X, which was great for resort riding, but on our local trails, mainly let me ride downhill faster than the XC bike, while suffering more on the long climbs. If you're talking about "trail" riding (not shuttling Moose Mtn etc) a 5" trailbike like the Trance X would be a great choice, in fact it's at the top of my wishlist. FYI the Trance X1 comes with a Talas 100-120-140mm fork, so that would give you some setup options for different trails.

FSR is a good suspension, but does tend to squat a bit on climbs, during cornering, etc, so Specialized uses propedal/brain-fade shocks to correct for it. Maestro bikes have anti-squat built-in, so they ride higher on climbs and in corners, without needing much shock damping. Stumpjumper and Trance aren't the only very good Trail bikes on the market right now either - Banshee Spitfire (Bow Cycle has some), Santa Cruz Blur LT, Marin Mount Vision, Devinci Remix, etc, etc.

Posted: Sep 8, 2010 at 15:04 Quote
@brianl , good point you have,i appreciate your comment on that but ....
my bike is a devinci hectik 3 at the moment for adapability and pleasure to ride anything, but i am riding anything that s rideable ( those days a hardtail witha 32 )

but in my world of ride from sunday morning to performance a F.SR. system willl suck it all from 90 to 220 back end.dh rider or xc !! end of !!

my friend on his New 120 mn....and me on a hardtail , 130 mn on the front
my friend is new to bike , i have to coach him about the ride, didn t care either, we are motocross riders Bru !!! it did upgrade to a 140 mn at the ned

Posted: Sep 8, 2010 at 18:37 Quote
Hi brianl....Riding style is the question. I'm 40 yrs old, getting back into it after 10 years and all my buddies think I'm nuts. Most riding was in Ontario. In Calgary, only rode Powderface a few times. I don't know the trails here to well, but love being in the mountains.

So the key for me is versatility until I land on "true" preferences and a regular riding group. Kananaskis will be most likely riding area and hope to focus on:
- Good longer non-technical uphills (maybe less than Powderface's grueling 3km climb...I'm out of shape) as well as some short (50 metre?) technical uphill where line is key
- Moderate and twisty, but not extreme downhills, 1.5 foot drops max
- lot of rocks / roots / with good chucks of quick technical singletrack
- sections of "cruizy" hardpack where you can pop off the rollers (it's just fun)
- will have to be able to do a few days downhilling at the ski hill parks too (kids love it, but Dad can still kick thier B*tt)

I hope that helps a little. Appreciate everyone's thoughts (sorry for the location specific references above)

I'd prefer to avoid the adjustable lenght forks (especially Talas) due to relability concerns (sorry, I don't want to start a debate on this in this thread)

I agree with everyone's view on geometry and set-up. I met someone that said his 120mm Trance downhills WAY better than his 140mm Rocky.


Posted: Sep 9, 2010 at 10:15 Quote
Do you have a budget in mind? That often creates a "shortlist" of locally-available bikes to choose from, which sometimes makes the choice fairly obvious (based on parts spec or fit etc). Right now, 2010 bikes are going on sale, and some leftover '09s are reduced even more. If you want you can PM me for some specific Bike Shop names and deals I've seen.

The "Trail Conditions for Albertans" discussion has lots of local trail information:

For Resort riding, if you find yourself progressing to bigger drops and/or serious DH runs, it might be worth renting a DH bike, and save the Trail bike for trails. Or, there are 6" AM bikes that can handle a bit more of everything - Giant Reign, Devinci Hectic, Specialized Pitch/Enduro, Banshee Rune, etc.

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