How To Start Getting Into Downhill MTB?

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How To Start Getting Into Downhill MTB?
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Posted: Aug 13, 2019 at 7:21 Quote
I'm a huge fan on BMX and I love to ride these bikes hard and fast, on street, park, dirt, anything. However, my perspective for my one sport that I have such a great passion for has changed when, yesterday, I was invited to a Downhill MTB Park for the first time ever. I already knew about mountain bikes at the time and was not knew to bike skills at all. I thought I could handle myself pretty well. WOW! It was so magical! I was flying at 15 to 20 mph on easy to harder trails and I was LOVING IT! I would race ahead all of my friends and be miles ahead of them. I even jumped ahead on black diamond trails, but I did walk down for some parts, lol. I was just going all out, hitting moto whips on dirt jumps and everything! So, I know that my BMX passion and being able to progress as fast as I want will not be able to happen once I probably hit college and there on. This is really saddening to me because it was the first sport that really pushed me to do better than average and become the best that I can be. I was thinking of maybe switching to MTB once my BMX life is over because I feel that MTB is more relaxed in progression and easy to handle. BMX I'm constantly, every day, trying to get better and better, pushing myself even more. Plus, I keep spraining and breaking my joints on my body with falls, which makes me believe that MTB is more safer (if you are not flying off your bike everywhere). I really want to get into MTB, but when that time does happen, how will I start this new sport? Will I just buy a nice complete? or build a custom? Should I even get a downhill? Thanks. (Also, if any of you guys don't have a tip just share a story of the time when you started MTB and what happened for you that grew you into the sport.)

Posted: Aug 13, 2019 at 7:54 Quote
Hi mate I'm looking at getting back into dh too, but seems a lot of people these days are opting for a more enduro style bike with between 150-180mm of travel, so still more than capable of eating the same trails a dh rig would but with less weight and more playability

Posted: Aug 13, 2019 at 8:30 Quote
Thapitz wrote:
Hi mate I'm looking at getting back into dh too, but seems a lot of people these days are opting for a more enduro style bike with between 150-180mm of travel, so still more than capable of eating the same trails a dh rig would but with less weight and more playability


Travel? Like in the fork shocks? Sorry, I don't know really much about the designs or anything about mtb.

Posted: Aug 13, 2019 at 9:14 Quote
Yes mate something like a trek remedy 8, has 140/150mm front and rear, where as a full dh rig will have 200+mm front and rear travel,

Posted: Aug 13, 2019 at 18:46 Quote
Thapitz wrote:
Yes mate something like a trek remedy 8, has 140/150mm front and rear, where as a full dh rig will have 200+mm front and rear travel,

So, pretty much Enduro bikes are pretty much the same as dh bikes, but with less suspension travel and less weight? Are they generally cheaper than dh bikes too? Big drops shouldn't be a problem for enduros as well, right?

Posted: Aug 13, 2019 at 20:03 Quote
Like any other hobby, what’s your intention and budget?

Always using lift or shuttle to get to the top? Downhill bike. Want to pedal yourself to the top, ride to the local spot etc; enduro bike with at least (arbitrary number) 140mm rear travel.

Mountain bikes are much harder to build up, a lot more wrong size parts you can accidentally buy. Complete bikes will usually be cheaper if you’re sticking to a tight budget, but the individual parts won’t be as nice.

Of course there is also new versus used. Downhill bikes generally have a rougher life (higher speeds and bigger hits) and resale value can be quite low.

Eventually you’ll end up with a dh bike, enduro bike, the winter beater and that other bike you never ride.

Posted: Aug 15, 2019 at 13:35 Quote
SlavBMX wrote:
Thapitz wrote:
Yes mate something like a trek remedy 8, has 140/150mm front and rear, where as a full dh rig will have 200+mm front and rear travel,

So, pretty much Enduro bikes are pretty much the same as dh bikes, but with less suspension travel and less weight? Are they generally cheaper than dh bikes too? Big drops shouldn't be a problem for enduros as well, right?

No. Not at all.
People claim they can do the same. They can´t.
The arguments are always the same.
1) Pro riders ride them just like dh bikes. Yes, they´re pros and we´re not, so that idea just doesn´t even apply. Secondly there´s a reason why dh racers ride dh bikes and not enduro bikes.
2) I ride the same stuff on my enduro as on the dh. The problem here is, i´ve seen a lot of guys do this and claim this. They all got left in the dust and stopped progressing. It´s mostly slow riders who say that stuff.
Most people switch to an enduro because it´s hard to justify a dh bike if you´re not living near a park or are very dedicated to riding park/dh.
Most enduros can handle a few park days a year no problem, but their components get clapped out much faster and some lightweight designs don´t cope well with repeated big hits. They also tend to often have leverage curves that are designed for pure traction and pedaling efficiency and lack progression, whereas a dh bike is designed to cope with big impacts and generate a lot of traction. Enduros make a bigger compromise to achieve a lot of things, so anturally they need to give up something somewhere.
A dh bike is a specialist/luxury bike. You don´t need it, but it´s just plain better at what it does.
To make it maybe clear for a bmx rider.
You could do flatland on a regular street bmx if you´re good enough. A flatland bmx will make things much easier though. So if all you do is a few little tricks on the way to the park, don´t bother with a flatland bike. If you´re actually into it though, nothing beats a dedicated bike.

That said, the main difference is in strength and staright line stability in rough terrain.
A dh bike will handle a lot more punishment without giving in and it´ll be much easier to hold on to at ludicrous speeds due to more suspension travel and more aggressive geometry numbers.

Also, dh is not really different from bmx when it comes to health issues.
You´re just experiencing it as a beginner. Once you hit that comfort zone where pushing things doesn´t feel as ridiculous anymore, it´ll be just the same. WHat drop can i jump, what trick can i do to look better, how fast can i hit that rock garden/root section. You´ll off yourself less than on a bmx, but when you do be prepared to take a tumble down the mountain for a good bit. You change volume for intensity basically.
Also, after 15 years of dh i can tell you that the frequent vibrations and impacts do not play well with your joints. It´s a sport and it´ll wreck you just as bad as anything else over a longer period of time.

When it comes to bikes it´s kinda hard to recommend anything to a bmx guy.
You might like something a little more playful to adapt your bmx background better, but you may also benefit from the added straight line stability of a more dedicated race bike.
yzedf made some good points there and i agree. Go with a complete, it´s the better route in most cases.
I´d suggest looking at something like the Commencal Furious for a playful park bike that compliments your bmx roots.
Other than that choose whatever race inspired bike you like. They´re all good and it just comes down to price and components spec. For a beginner it really doesn´t matter as you don´t know your preferences anyway yet.
Grab a bike, ride it and have fun. Then after a few years get whatever you think fits you better. It´s just fine tuning from there really.

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