Ask Pinkbike: Loose Crankarms, Dumping my DH for an AM Bike, Direct-Mount vs 4-Bolt chainrings and Bike Vacationing in Finale

Mar 4, 2015
by Pinkbike Staff  
Ask Pinkbike Header

Here at Pinkbike we get inundated with all kinds of questions, ranging from the basic "Can I have stickers" to more in-depth, soul searching types of queries like if you should pop the question or what to name your first child. Ask Pinkbike is an occasional column where we'll be hand picking and answering questions that have been keeping readers up at night, although we'll likely steer clear of those last two and keep it more tech oriented.



Loose Crank Arms

Question: Pinkbike user mobstar76 asked this question in Norco forum: Several of us have purchased Norco's Bigfoot fat bike and have had issues with the bike's Samos crankset coming loose after several hours of riding. I've had the crank bolt back out three times now, and the crank has fallen off while riding. This happened even after applying red Loctite. It seems that Norco went really cheap with the bottom bracket, and I'd like to know how many people are having the same issue.


bigquotesWell, I'm not sure if you're going to like my answer, but your crank problems could have been easily prevented. There are two versions of the Samos fat bike crank, one with a 24mm diameter steel spindle and one with a 30mm diameter aluminum spindle, and I'm going to hazard a guess that your bike has the former. The issue is that the steel spindle is obviously quite a bit more robust than the aluminum crank arm, so when your non-drive side crank bolt comes a bit loose after the first few rides, which is far from uncommon as things seat in, the crank is no longer held snug on the spindle. That loose interface allows the arm shift on the spindle, which then deforms the aluminum. No amount of Loctite or leverage on the hex key is going to keep the bolt from coming loose after that, and the only solution is to replace the arm for a new one. This was a much more common issue back in the days of square taper bottom brackets, but still isn't unheard of. In an ideal world everyone would check the important fittings on their bikes after the first ride and every now and then moving forward, but that's not a realistic thing to expect. I'd recommend heading to the shop where you purchased your bike to see if they can help you out in any way, especially if it's a recurring problem on bikes that have all come from the same place - there may be an issue with the assembly. - Mike Levy

Norco Samos crankset

The Samos crankset isn't particularly fancy, but it shouldn't cause any problems in the long run.






Dump my DH Machine for an AM Trailbike?

Question: Calsdal asks:All Mountain and Cross-Country Forum I am selling my DH bike and my XC bike to get an all-mountain bike. I wanted to know if AM bikes can cope with DH trails?

bigquotesThe answer is a qualified, "yes." The gravity riders I know spend almost all their riding and training time on relatively lightweight 160-millimeter-travel all-mountain bikes. Recent developments in suspension design and competition among bike makers to fill the emerging, yet still nefarious market for long-travel enduro racing bikes has resulted in a crop of single-crown offerings that can be ridden by a competent bikehandler down almost any trail or situation that was once considered the exclusive domain of traditional DH machines. Santa Cruz's Nomad and the Yeti SB6c are two examples. Please re-read the "competent bikehandler" part because, while the modern enduro racer is intended to be ridden at speed on DH trails, its secondary mission - a bike that can also comfortably climb and accelerate - significantly erodes its durability in a crash and eliminates most or any cushion in its handling department which could be used to save your bacon when you make a big mistake. DH bikes are, with some exceptions, rarely ridden to maximum potential by their owners. Their popularity at bike parks is largely due to the fact that a forced error at speed or down a precipitous drop can often be salvaged, because DH bikes have so much extra handling in the bank when they are being ridden by average Joes. I think you'll ride an enduro-style bike more often than the two in your present stable combined, because you won't need to organize uplifts, or choose your bike according to the potential severity of the day's ride. - RC

Green River Utah images by Joey Schusler
Shawn Neer riding his Yeti SB6c at Green River redefines the term, "all-mountain." Photo by Joey Schusler.
See the rest of Schusler's pics here




104 BCD Adaptor for Race Face Cinch Cranks?

Question: Pinkbike user silverfish1974 asks in the Bikes,Parts, and Gear forum: Anyone know if you can get a 4 bolt adapter to use a 4 bolt single chainring with Turbine Cinch cranks? I have seen an adaptor but I'm not sure if that's for a double chainring set up only. I was thinking can I use my 4 bolt chainrings that I have first. I can't seem to find out the answer, can't find the adaptor I think I'd need and can't see any pictures of people doing it.

bigquotesYes, Race Face does offer an adaptor that will allow you to run a four bolt, 104 BCD single ring. It's mainly designed to allow riders to run multiple chainrings with a front derailleur, but by removing the little ring and the spacer it sits on you'll be able to run a single ring. However, at almost $60 USD it's a bit pricey. I suppose it depends on how many 4 bolt rings you have laying around, but I'd be tempted to skip purchasing the adaptor and to pick up a direct mount narrow wide ring instead. It'll save you a few grams, and it looks a lot cleaner as well. - Mike Kazimer
Race Face Turbine
Race Face's Cinch-equipped cranks can be set up to run a four bolt single ring, but the direct mount option is a much more elegant way to go.




Finale going riding.

Question: Pinkbike user von-rumford wonders in the Europe Forum: Title says it all really. Myself and a few mates are hoping to organize a cheap trip to Finale Ligure, Italy, in summer and thought you guys might have the inside info on it.


bigquotesThe word cheap is not synonymous with Italian holiday, but it can be done. Flying to Nice is simple from many UK airports and should be cheap, if booked in advance. Get the bus from the airport to the train station, then the train along the coast to Finale takes about an hour and a half. True money savers would then build their bikes on the train, put all the other luggage in to their roller bike bags, and then pedal from the train station to their accommodations with bags in tow - so, no taxi fees! Eurocamping Calviso has self-catering bungalows to rent with kitchens, so you can prepare your own food from the supermarket on the cheap. Handily, the nearest supermarket to the camping is Dico, which is one of the cheapest in town, and it's on your way to and from the beach.

You can either pedal to the top, or use a shuttle service such as Finale Freeride where a day's riding will cost 40 Euros. Finale Freeride boasts private trails on the 'Defender Tour' as well as all the other trails in the area. They also have a bike wash and self-repair station for post ride maintenance, which could be helpful if you only have enough baggage allowance for basic tools.

One thing to bear in mind is that Finale gets pretty hot in the summer months, maybe you could try a cooler taste of Italy by heading to the mountains nearby in Molini di Triora. The altitude here will keep the temperatures down, and if you fancy a little more luxury and convenience, a package trip with Riviera Bike starts from 595 Euros. This includes airport transfers, shuttles, guiding, secure storage and workshop. Generally, the guides in Molini offer free drinking help and advice every night in the local bar.
- Paul Aston


Behind the Lens interview images by Matt Delorme

Sun, sea and enduro. Finale Ligure is one of the best bike destinations in Europe.





Have some unresolved tech questions? Jump in the Pinkbike Forum and we'll look to answer it for next time.


132 Comments

  • + 53
 Yes, modern Enduro bikes are very capable, but in my opinion they just don't replace DH bikes!
I spend a lot of time on my Enduro bike, but every time I get to ride my DH rig I have such a big grin on my face, it's just so much faster and it can take such big hits, it amazes me every time.
I've been in a bikepark with my Enduro bike and followed some friends who were on their DH bikes (they ride about the same speed as me) and I was able to keep up, after I got used to it, but the track was pretty easy, you could double most stones and roots, I had no fun that day, though.... The bike just felt like it was out of it's comfort zone (it could've been ridden faster/harder for sure, but it's not designed for this) and I was really scared of breaking something. Things like breaking bumps, which are just a bit annoying on a DH bike, felt sooooooo harsh and everything was shaking and rattling.
I love my Enduro bike on my local trails, which are some of the hardest I know, but it felt totally out of place on a DH track or bikepark.

So what I'm trying to say is: Yes, you can ride an Enduro bike at speed on bikepark DH tracks, but it doesn't feel too good and it'll show a lot of wear!

I feel like I spend too much time on my Enduro, so I started building some little tracks near my place, I can get there with my DH bike in 10 minutes. It's very short and nothing special, but fun and will allow me to spend more time on the big bike.
  • + 22
 I stopped being an a*shole and finally accepted that though an "enduro" (seriously? f*ck this word) bike might be a better "do-it-all" bike, there still is no one-bike-fits all for any equation. I limited myself for a long time to one all-mountain bike, and tried to convince myself it was the most economical solution, and for some it may very well be. I just said f*ck it and stopped telling myself my budget only allowed for one bike. I worked extra on the side and saved for a long time so I could get a dedicated DH bike. Was it expensive? Yes. Do I feel more confident and push myself harder at bike parks with it? Yes. Hitting Whistler on an AM is still fun, but I would've been happier renting a DH bike and getting laughed at by the dudes on Hecklers. Even though you can still get through every run without eating it, you fear for your life on an AM in many situations that you don't even think about on a DH bike.

Multi-bike quivers people. Yes if you tell yourself you can afford two bikes you'll find a way to get another. I convinced myself it simply wasn't an option for way too long, but I'm glad I now own two bikes. It is what you make of it. Yes you can get away with a long travel "enduro" bike, but you'll eventually end up like me wishing you had a DH rig every time you're at the bike park.
  • + 15
 Fully agree. Sold 2 bikes (DH, older AM) to get a shiny new AM (ain't gonna use the e-word). I love the bike, but there's no way I can travel the same speeds on DH trails without fearing for my life or the bike itself. It just can't handle the same abuse. When money allows one day, I'll get me another DH
  • + 14
 This^ If you have a DH bike, never let it go, unless you are switching it for a new one. They are just so damn fun.
  • + 8
 I rode Whistler on my Nomad 4 times. I really enjoyed it but then I rented a v10. Totally different game and yes, a lot more fun. I since bought a used v10 which I use at Whistler, Stevens Pass, and some local trails. Super fun!
  • + 3
 The 2 bikes in my quiver used to be a Mojo SL and an Iron Horse Sunday. I found the Mojo wasn't quite up to the task of some of my local trails and immediately fell in love with the Tracer and the confidence it gave me. I thought to myself that hey maybe this bike can even replace my Sunday at my local bike park (Big Bear/Snow Summit).

The short answer is it doesn't even come close. And everything that was mentioned in PBs response as well as Anchoricex's is true. I go faster, smoother, and safer on the Sunday and that all adds up to just more fun. With the incredible decline in DH bike prices there's no way I'm selling my Sunday which I built up new in 2013 (NOS frame + new parts). The one day of riding the Tracer at Summit took felt quite taxing on the bikes components and it simply didn't feel bulletproof the way it does on even the most rugged AM trails in my backyard.
  • + 2
 I have two bikes; Transition Covert (AM) and Transition BLT (DJ).

Absolutely love this combination and have fun anywhere I ride. From skateparks, dirt jumps, pedalling XC to shuttles and DH park laps. Would I be faster on a DH bike? Probably... But I still have a sh*t eating grin at the bottom of any hill.
  • + 5
 Sorry to interrupt the DH circlejerk but my experience is the opposite. Brought my AM bike to bike parks around here for shit and giggles and to be honest, every time I ride the DH bike now it feels as lively as a senile cow.

The am bike is 10 pounds lighter, accelerates so much faster, pedals better, pumps better and is more "efficient" all around. Hell there is this 30ish feet jump here I have to pedal all the way to the lip to clear with the dh bike, like 12 pedal strikes. With the AM bike if I give more than 5 strikes I am certain to overclear. Translate that on a trail and riding is generally more effortless and I fly over sections I had to roll through previously.

The gnarliest of the gnarly tracks will be better on a DH bike but I hardly ever come across anybody when I ride those so it tells me that very little people actually need a big bike. Maybe if I lived in B.C. I'd be singing a different tune but considering most people probably couldn't push an enduro bike to its limits, some should really take a look at the mirror before making statements about what sort of bike is justified or not.
  • + 8
 I don't understand this whole dh bike vs am, just ride the bike you want to ride. I get a laugh very time I get a dirty look from an enduro guy as I'm pushing my dh rig up the trails, I even had a guy go by me say to me and my buddy and say, "downhill is dead" aren't we all here to just ride bikes and have fun? Bike racism!
  • + 2
 Think there is a big difference between the two but the question is can an AM bike be used on DH trails. Yea it won't be as nice as a DH rig but you can and still have fun doing so.
  • + 3
 What about a FR 180mm kinda do-it-all? I mean, complaints about not being very fun at speed on dh tracks for AM bikes? Well FR is made for this stuff, and with some of the right components they can get up an uphill... this could be a fun DH orientated AM option for you guys? Thoughts?
  • + 2
 @PLC07: Well it depends on the track for sure. I've got a few Enduro trails here which are near a tarmac road, so we shuttled there with our DH bikes once. That wasn't much fun either, even though some parts are quite rough and there was nearly no pedalling, there were too many tight corners.

But I don't think you need the "gnarliest of courses" to have fun on a DH rig, it just depends if it's more about speed and maybe a bit rougher terrain. The bikepark track I rode wasn't hard at all, everyone could've rode down there, but you could ride it very very fast, and that's what made it so uncomfortable on the trailbike. It was less stable, but I was okay with that, but I felt like it was nearly bottoming out every 20m and I could feel the wheels flex etc..
But my experience is, that bikepark track f*uck up the bike way more than some proper natural DH tracks anyway, because of alle the braking bumps and normally the ground is really really hard from the thousands of riders.
As I said in another comment, I use my Trailbike to ride the local DH race track quite often, but I wouldn't bust out 20 laps a day on that track with that bike, I ride it liike 1-3 times a week for one lap and I've already broken enough stuff on that track (derailleurs, lots of spokes, rear rim, etc).
  • + 1
 It also depends on the bike itself. If your vision of an am/trail bike is a sub 25lbs 29er then yeah, maybe it's going to fall apart real fast but honestly, my "heavy" duty trail bike seem to be about as reliable as my dh bike so far so this seems like a non issue.

Yes, even though I ride my setup relatively stiff, the 160mm front and the 145mm rear suspension will bottom more often than its 200mm counterparts on the DH rig but like I said, the small bike is so much more efficient (read: faster) all around that I wouldn't trade it for the big one unless the trail really really calls for it. It's a different type of fun and I really like it... But I also love busting out the big bike for the big stuff. The "taming of trails" and the "appealing to the masses" phenomenons really give me less and less reasons to bust out the plower though.

The mtb crowd is weird. "I like 27.5 wheels because its slightly faster but please don't take away my inefficient oversized suspension travel!"
  • + 2
 When I get down to only two bikes I have to see the doctor for tablets. It can get rough.
  • + 2
 DH bikes are safe fun. Period.
  • + 6
 Well like the saying goes " if you have a 9inch penis, do you wish for it to be 6 so that it can do-it-all?"
  • + 2
 Maybe you're onto something here, @Bird-Man
  • + 25
 and many people haven't ridden a proper DH track with an am bike.. otherwise this conversation would have never taken place
  • + 1
 I've ridden Whistler with my 29er Stumpy FSR... but then shortly after picked up a DH rig. I could handle everything on it, at slower speeds, but I felt the whole thing was going to explode under me at any point. Of course I feel the same way about the DH bike at whistler sometimes too haha
  • + 1
 @giustino Maribor with Nukeproof Mega. The only part where I was literally dying was the roots section in the beginning, Everything else was fine and fun. Also it makes you think way more about the line choice, because every little mistake has a direct impact on your hands and legs.

I owned a v10 and rode it a lot, so I know the difference between an AM and DH specific bike when it comes to proper DH tracks, but still hey, it was super fun and a good training. Smile
  • + 15
 DH rigs are meant to take punishment! All mountain bikes will not last if u choose To ride DH trails. Dude just keep your DH rig and man up all u gotta do is push your DH rig to the top of the mountain then shred!
  • - 17
flag riggadon (Mar 4, 2015 at 9:33) (Below Threshold)
 Why do you feel AM bikes will not last as long as DH bikes? Personal experience has shown that's not true
  • + 17
 cos they are lighter with less travel? How do you think they achieve that without losing strength? magic?
  • - 14
flag simooo (Mar 4, 2015 at 10:26) (Below Threshold)
 strength does not equate to durability.
  • + 9
 ok...
cos they are lighter with less travel? How do you think they achieve that without losing durability? magic?
  • - 8
flag riggadon (Mar 4, 2015 at 10:49) (Below Threshold)
 @gabriel-mission9 Are you saying that a frame will fail earlier because it is lighter? All mountain frames are designed to bare massive loads without failing just like DH frames. Clever frame design can make an AM frame nearly as strong as a DH frame.

Yet I never see forums full of people complaining that their AM bike broke because they rode too much DH. I don't see any reasoning behind your point and you haven't tried to explain it, beyond "cos they are lighter with less travel"
  • + 18
 Why does a DH rig weigh more than an am rig? A lighter DH rig is definitely a faster DH rig, so if they can be made lighter without any loss in strength or durability, why haven't the manufacturers cottoned on to this yet?

Yes, I am saying a frame will fail earlier because it is lighter. It is indeed possible to make a frame heavier without it being any stronger (you could fill it with concrete, or give it 17 different adjustable geo options) but to make a frame that has already had all the unnecessary fat trimmed off lighter, you have to take a hit on strength and durability.

Or use magic.
  • - 13
flag riggadon (Mar 4, 2015 at 11:12) (Below Threshold)
 I'm not following what you're saying
  • - 6
flag simooo (Mar 4, 2015 at 11:18) (Below Threshold)
 The thing is, every DH bike is designed never to fail, with people doing stuff like rampage, they cannot afford a high profile frame failure.
With that in mind, everyone who is riding a DH bike is paying that weight/strength penalty. Nobody in this thread will be hitting stuff that big and pushing the bike that hard.

When you consider the average joe you probably could get away with an AM bike, as it is over engineered in the same ways that DH bikes are.

Of course there are the high profile racers which are somewhere in between and do need a DH frame to take the abuse, but probably 98% could get away with an AM bike, the remaining 1.999999% for DH racing and the top 0.000001% for rampage type riding.
  • + 3
 less material = less durability

Unless you have waste material in silly places (adjustable geo options or whatever). But seeing as most high quality bikes have had all the unnecessary fat trimmed off these days, the only material left is structurally important
  • + 19
 An AM bike will not last as long as a DH bike if ridden on ' proper ' DH trails , that is undeniable , how can it even be argued ?
  • + 1
 Like I said earlier, frame design is a big part of the strength:weight ratio. A new alloy, with a new frame design could increase strength yet shave weight. less material= less durability is not true, it is not an absolute. You are underestimating the power of engineering.
  • + 3
 There's also the question of, how much less abuse can that AM bike take, compared to the DH? If it can take 90% the abuse of a DH bike, then it's got to be enough bike for at least 60% - 70% of the population.
  • + 9
 @riggadon
I am not underestimating engineering, of course I understand that a change in material or some engineering breakthrough can increase strength and shave weight. But this same material will be applied to DH rigs as well as AM rigs. The DH bikes will still most likely use more of this new wonder material, due to the higher durability required of them. More material = more durability.

More durability means a longer lifespan, not just one off impact resistance as required by rampage. 3 years of smashing through brake bumps is going to cause a lot more fatigue than 1 monster drop, landed skillfully. I am not inclined to buy a new rig every couple of years, and I am inclined to smash it through brake bumps as fast as possible. A DH frame will last me longer AND allow me to hit brake bumps etc faster, no matter how good a rider I am.
  • - 4
flag riggadon (Mar 4, 2015 at 11:55) (Below Threshold)
 @gabriel-mission9

I think we're going to have to agree to disagree. The fact that people still rock DH and XC bikes from 2005 shows that most bikes are very durable and will last.

As far as what you want to ride thats personal preference and we wont come to a resolution
  • + 2
 @gabriel-mission9 Sure. But you're also restricted to trails that you get to the top of with a DH bike. I have far more trails available to me on a 160mm bike, which is probably true for most people. So if you can only afford one bike, there's a choice to be made, based on if there's a enough DH bike worthy trails available to you. For me, it's a no brainer: main bike is 160mm bike, & the DH bike is only something I own if I can get into a used bike cheaply enough.
  • + 8
 @riggadon , the fact that people still ride bikes from those ages does not only show that they may be durable , but can also show that the people don't ride them often , or in at any exciting pace.

I have been through a frame a year for the past 3 bikes , on bikes considered to be tough monster trucks , yet all 3 of them cracked in under 1 year , I'm a fairly mid pack rider , nothing mental , not some wanna be josh bender hucking off cliffs , don't crash often just a guy who rides as often as he can on DH tacks.

There is no way an enduro bike will last as long if ridden in the same manner unless you slow down and back for the sake of preserving the bike.
  • + 8
 Agree to disagree that an AM bike is somehow just as durable as a DH bike? Well, I certainly do disagree, so sure, I can live with that...

And at Groghunter, yes for sure a 160mm rig will get you TO a lot of trails faster than a DH bike. I agree completely, and I really would like a bike like that (well, maybe 140mm, so that I can actually enjoy riding it up a hill). The only point I am trying to make is that a DH bike will get DOWN a legit DH trail faster than an AM bike under the same rider. And if you keep on hitting the same trail over and over until one bike breaks, its gonna be the AM bike that breaks first.
  • + 1
 depends on the bike too I'd say. I rode primarily DH on my rune for the last two years, aside from general maintenance I've had no problems.
  • + 1
 @gabriel-mission9 Sure, a DH bike is still faster & more durable, on trails that actually push it. My point is, what it takes to push a bike hard enough to need DH levels of durability & capability is high enough bar, nowadays, that the negatives of only having a shuttle/lift bike far outweigh the positives of that durability & capability, because you're not really using that capability 90% of the time. Contrast that with the positives of being able to ride trails that would otherwise be impossible, or at least miserable to get to the top of, & a DH bike is not the first bike most people need in their quiver.
  • + 1
 Enduro expert Evo . . . Yes. Might need to put 175 cranks but you can Pedal it up.
  • + 7
 On the speed front I agree, it takes a lot to put an AM bike out of its depth these days. Saying that, I think any trail that has enough of a gradient that pedalling ability isnt the limiting factor on speed, can be ridden at speeds on a DH bike that an AM bike is going to be less comfortable at. Even if its just a straight line down a hill, the DH bike is going to inspire more confidence and therefor go faster under any rider. The gnarlier the track gets, the more this effect will be amplified.

As for the durability thing tho, it doesn't matter how small the stresses are, a DH bike is just going to be more impervious. No matter what/how you ride, a DH bike will do it for longer before snapping.

Don't get me wrong, AM bikes can be awesome. I want one. However the original question was "can an AM bike handle DH trails?" I think the answer given was somewhat misleading, and should have simply read "Yes, but you won't go as fast, and your bike won't last as long"

Anyway, I should probably stop commenting now as I have just been "doored" by an idiot delivery driver. Not only did he not apologise, he also seemed to think it was somehow my fault for riding past an apparently parked car, not his fault for not seeing my 300 f*ckING LUMEN front light and opening his door into my leg while I rode past at a good 25mph. I am now in a f*cking bad mood, and pinkbike arguments (of course I mean friendly discussions Wink ) are not good for bad moods. Razz
  • + 8
 @riggadon: "Are you saying that a frame will fail earlier because it is lighter? All mountain frames are designed to bare massive loads without failing just like DH frames. Clever frame design can make an AM frame nearly as strong as a DH frame."

Hahaha, alright, so Enduro frames are cleverly engineered, but DH frames are put together by monkeys?
The same clever engineering goes into DH bikes, I mean just look at the latest crop of carbon DH frames, they are super light.

No one says your Enduro will go up in flames or explode if you ride some DH with it, but it won't be great on it's durability (don't forget about bearings, etc..).
I've got a race track from the IXS Cup in my hometown and I ride it quite often with my trail bike, but that's like 1-3 times a week, that's a huge difference to blasting 20 laps a day, like you do in a bikepark or when shuttleing. Still, I bust a lot of spokes on that track (never have with my DH bike).

I don't even know why people are discussing about this, yes, Enduro bikes are pretty capable, but they will never be as good at downhill as a bike that's just built for riding downhill and nothing else, end of discussion.
  • + 4
 I think Jared graves answered this question in his interview after his victory last weekend.
yes you can ride an e bike with a coil shock and 40s at a simple race. Bit he admitted himself that he would not race that frame at some wc track. The geometry and suspension are not up to it. EWS is moving to coil out back.
Many questioned how many rear ends he has broken. Users of the yeti too who have experienced issues.
personally I just moved from a nomad to a mega tr with the same long travel fork as was fitted to the nomad. I hardly ever took the nomad out as it was not as good as the scalp at dh and nothing like the azure for xc. The tr just makes sense. Dh and burly 170,130 trail bike with very aggressive geometry -2 angleset fitted (for now)..
  • + 8
 Riding AM bikes on DH trails leads to shit just falling off the bike, bent rims, overheated brakes, hot shocks and loose bolts. Yes you can do it, but it at what cost? And it will cost. Perhaps the "E" bikes with coil shock and fork could get it done.
  • + 1
 Anyone seen the Santa Cruz testing vid on youtube with the carbon nomad??? Or Peaty's visit to Fox testing lab pretty amazing what these bikes can handle.
  • + 3
 It all comes down to money, if you have the money and ride hard then you are best off with a dh bike, am bike, and a dj bike. If you only can afford one bike then buy the bike you ride the most.
  • + 11
 In this DH vs. AM discussion I am missing any mention of rider weight. I think at 160 pounds I can get away with a solid 160mm travel bike. If we're talking over 6' and 200 pounds, the story might be different.
  • + 3
 Totally! I'm a ways over 200lbs, my AM bike is 38lbs, and i can hit every drop and gap my little buddies do. I don't break anything, and my bike is the same % of my body weight as theirs is. I wish someone had said 'scottzg, you need a bike that is ~17% of your body weight with a good build to feel confident on am-dh.' The extra weight doesn't slow me down, i have plenty of power. If i was dave-f's size a 28lb bike would be the same % of bike weight.
  • + 10
 "Several of us have purchased Norco's Bigfoot fat bike" There's your problem. You bought a fat bike.
  • + 2
 I'm just going to guess that you've never actually ridden a fat bike...
  • + 10
 Sold my fadbike since it offered so little advantage to it over a rigid mtb w/low air pressure..

However, I must thank the adherents of this fad; years ago, when only a handful of us would regularly ride trails all winter, it was tough! It took around 4-6 days after a snowfall to get the trails to a rideable state.

Now that every other dirt-roadie out there has picked up a fattie, the trails are like snow-covered footpaths after only a few days.
  • + 3
 That crank problem on the fat bike seems to be bad choice of components on the manufactures side. I would try to hold them accountable and get it warrantied. As for AM bikes for DH, they can handle it! I am faster on my Enduro than I ever was on my Bighit. Without all the excess weight and suspension I am faster, and riding a less forgiving bike will teach you better handling skills
  • + 16
 I always feel like that's skill level dependent, though. If you've got the skills, a lighter, less forgiving bike will force you to step up your game. But if you don't even have the skillset yet, The more forgiving ride will give you the leeway to learn. Lots of dirt roadies out there who've never owned a bike with more than 100mm of travel, who won't even pop off little rocks on the trail because their bikes don't give them the confidence to try to learn to jump.
  • + 7
 I see what you mean. Learning skills on a forgiving bike is a big help
  • + 3
 I'm with @groghunter. Keep multiple bikes in your quiver. Learn and get confident with a trail or feature on a big bike, then begin riding it on a smaller bike. There's a guy who works at Mammoth who rides the pro trails on his hardtail. I can't imagine that he learned on the hardtail though.
  • + 1
 For most of us we can't afford 2 bikes. That's why many AM bikes are designed as quiver killers, a jack of all trades. But I learned on a DH pig so I completely agree that a big bike is necessary for beginners.
  • + 5
 1 new bike = 3 used ones.
  • + 7
 I think the old saying "the jack of all trades is a master of none" still holds true for bikes. I think if you are lucky enough to afford multiple bikes then that will always be the best option. But it is nice that if you can't afford that you can get a bike that will for the most part do it all for you.
  • + 2
 I just sold my 2013 Giant Glory 0 and 2014 Trance 1 to get a new Giant Reign. So far I haven't regretted it. Sure im not racing DH on the reign that I was on the glory but im having just as much fun on the reign as I was on the glory and more fun than I was on the trance. As long as you get a modern slack 160mm trail bike it is worth it if you don't mind not racing DH. Definitely agree that you can ride a trail bike on all the DH tracks and often at close to the same speed if you are willing to take bigger risks as there is no big bike forgiveness.

And when it comes time to traveling you only need to take one bike! Which makes big trips a lot easier and cheaper. (The deciding factor in my decision).
  • + 1
 "Learning skills on a forgiving bike is a big help"

I get your point but everybody always say it's better to learn the basics on a hardtail and I agree with that. More forgiving bikes are good when you want to start really pushing it but until then, I feel they could be a handicap for a lot of people.
  • + 1
 @PLC07 I was referring to just learning DH. I agree that beginning on a hard tail is best, it's how I started.
  • + 1
 The learning on a hardtail is for learning the basics and skills, but learning a new DH trail or feature is way safer with 8" under your ass and dual crowns taking the beating IMO.
  • + 0
 No.

Riding within your limits is how you keep it safe. If you use a 8" to get away with sloppy riding, you're doing it wrong.
  • + 1
 You don't ride a DH trail to keep it safe. I have never heard of a pro learning a DH track on a hardtail, though I have heard of them going at it on a XC bike after they know the trail.
  • + 5
 With the old square taper cranks back in the day, I would cut a piece of coke can to sit inbetween the arm and axle, usually fixed loose,worn crank arms
  • + 3
 Anyone else think Mike was a little hard on Mobstar76? I get it and agree, we need to check our equipment, but if this problem is so common, then it being common is the problem. Sounds like a bad design and quality choice on the OEM side.
  • + 2
 The real cheap way to stay in finale is to sleep in a tentSmile there is a free camp "Monte cucco" next to small village restaurant "il rifiuggio". i was there few years ago for rock Climbing and there was albo plenty of mtb riders (mostly from uk). Check if its still there! Cheers
  • + 1
 Ok, even if the fat bike had the steel spindle version of the crank with the aluminum crank arm, the explanation doesn't make sense to me, because the crankarm will always have a steel threaded insert in the aluminum??? Am I wrong, or would Kazimer like to re-explain?
  • + 1
 I have used JB Weld successfully to address the loose crank arm issue on my Stylo cranks. I got them used, and since the bottom bracket had a notchy bearing I had to get a new bottom bracket. Truvativ/Sram had since gone to slightly different bearing/spacer dimensions, meaning the arm didn't seat as far down on the spindle. Even when fully tightened, the arm still had loose play on the spindle, which could be felt by alternating "level pedal" positions, i.e., left foot forward, weight the pedals, then right foot forward, weight the pedals. It was either ditch the whole set or simply try some $7 JB Weld. I put it on the spindle, cinched the arm on, waited 24 hours, and I was good to go. It has not deteriorated through use, I've done repeated 3' to flat concrete drops with no issues (weigh about 190 lbs. plus with gear), and I've also been able to remove the crank arm with minimal effort. When it came time to reassemble, I just knocked off the old epoxy and put on some fresh JB Weld, and I'm a happy rider. Just make sure you don't get it on the crank arm bolt threads.
  • + 3
 Good job not even considering the fact that DH bikes commonly have coil suspension and can be more durable over a whole summer of bike park, pinkbike
  • + 1
 Are you sure a coil suspension makes a bike more durable than air? What about bottoming out circumstances and the impact it has on the frame? I don't understand your comment.
  • + 1
 RC hasn't ridden enough DH courses to justify his conclusion. In bike park type trails (ie. jump, smooth, wide, over groomed, and largely,rock free), AM bikes are great, but on steeper rockier stuff, no way. Plus, if you're going to ride DH trails up a lift, run after run, an AM bike will feel like it's falling apart. AM bikes in capable hands you say? I think Sam Hill would kill one.
  • + 5
 @RichardCunningham has been testing DH bikes for longer than most pinkbike members have been alive. I would read the response again, it's not anti DH bike at all
  • + 1
 On the DH to AM question, I am in a similar situation. I currently have a Yeti 575, which is a fantastic trail bike and a great bike to lap jump trails at the park, but with 5.75 inches of travel, it's extremely limiting in any rough, or technical terrain. I don't have any intention do get rid of my trail bike, because the majority of my rides require a good climb and a decent that isn't worthy of a DH sled. This being said, I love DH and I intend to race this season, but buying a DH bike is unpractical for me to purchase, with price in regard. I was thinking to sell my 575 frame with the 34 fork on it, and replace it with an SB6c (I'd go alloy if there was an option) which would stand as a sweet, AM race bike, and apparently (knowing this voids the warranty), like Jared Graves has done, put a Fox 40 and a DHX coil in the back to make it a competitive DH bike. Is this a smart investment?
  • + 7
 I have an SB66c, and have ridden for a few days at Whistler. Did it work? Yes. Was it fun? Yes. Could it have been waaaaaay more fun on a DH bike? Yes.

If you only go to a bike park once or twice a year, and don't like to hit the double-black diamonds with your hair on fire, it would be great. If you ride at a park more often, or like to really push it in questionable terrain, then get a DH bike. You will have more fun, and the bike will last longer.

If you want a DH bike, shop used. I purchased an 09 Devinci Wilson frame, and have completely built it for less than $1000, INCLUDING the cost of the frame. I was lucky in that I had a Marzocchi Shiver laying around, so that made it a bit cheaper...but point is, shop smart! You don't need a $4000-8000 dh bike to have fun or race.
  • + 4
 Graves himself said that he would feel more comfortable on a real DH bike, but makes it work with his SB6c conversion.
But while the DH Fork, etc. will help with stiffness and comfort, the frame will still take a lot of stress.
I've never seen one of these crack, but bearings etc. will have a lot of wear. Graves doesn't have to ride his bike for 2 years or more.
I mean Mitch Ropelato raced some crazy DH tracks on his 29" Enduro, that's great for him, but I can only imagine what the bearings and bushings looked like afterwards.
Friends of mine race at a semi pro level and do crazy sh*t on their trail bikes, stuff I would be scared of on my DH bike, but I know through how much parts and bearings (or frames) they go a season... that's just crazy!
  • + 1
 don't make the sb6c a dh bike man, just get a good, cheap used DH bike and keep the 575, thats a perfect way to go
  • + 1
 yeah, i love the 575 and its perfect for the local trails. I think i'm gonna by a used DH bike soon
  • + 1
 sick dude, what bike r u thinkin about?
  • + 1
 With the addition to baby #2, I opted to sell my DH sled as kids are a time suck... I've been shuttling my old Trek Scratch at the bike park on the odd day I have free to ride, and I can't say I miss my DH bike. Sure, it was a much more capable bike but the cost for someone who gets under 10 days a year don't make sense, and I can pedal this bike anywhere with a 2x9 drivetrain. It's nimble, snappy, and really only gets me in over my head on the nasty MCBP Rock gardens
  • + 1
 Booked for Finale at the end of April,can't wait to get some 'free drinking help and advice'! It will be useful to know how to get pissed for nothing! I wonder if they'll hold my glass for me?
  • + 2
 @Gweggy-
So.....you chose to ride your enduro while your friends are on DH bikes on a DH trail while keeping pace you say " I had no fun that day" WTF!? Why do you even ride!
  • + 0
 Dump a DH bike????? What a bad joke...are you shure an allmountain bike can handle a DH track??? Depends of what track... PinkBike is racist now??? No more DH bikes on PinkBike kkkkkkkkkkkkkhahahahahaha
  • + 1
 I wanted to know if AM bikes can cope with DH trails?

Yes, if you ride slower. And your bike will still break sooner even tho you are riding slower.

fyp Salute
  • - 1
 Provided they're modern DH trails. The stuff we all felt like we needed 8" bikes for 10 years ago won't beat up a modern 6" bike, or require a slower speed.
  • + 4
 Trails you felt you needed 8" for years ago, won't beat up a modern 6" bike when ridden at the speeds achievable on a 8" bike years ago. Try and ride at the speeds possible on a modern 8" bike and you are back to being hindered by the original problem...
  • - 6
flag kdstones (Mar 4, 2015 at 9:27) (Below Threshold)
 Okay @gabriel-mission9, then tell me why Gwin won Sea Otter 2013 on a 29er Enduro? If I'm not mistaken, that IS a downhill track.
  • + 11
 @kdstones, I'm not sure Sea Otter is considered a proper DH track. I seem to remember seeing 4x bikes used, as well as plenty of AM bikes.
  • + 3
 Indeed kdstones, you are mistaken Wink
  • + 5
 On bike park style DH trails ,an AM bike might last just as long and be just as quick , but go to a proper DH trail with braking bumps that are 150 mm deep , massive g-outs and flat landings on a regular basis there is no way an AM bike is going to be as fast or last as long.
  • - 1
 Sure. but maybe 1% of trails from 10 years ago had stuff that gnarly. Those are features of modern DH.
  • + 4
 Are you sure ?

I see the opposite , trails were raw and gnarly as a standard 10 years plus ago , the smooth bike park/groomer/no brainer/no danger trails are the modern thing.
  • + 3
 +1 bigburd. Trails seem to be getting smoother day by day.
  • + 0
 Do you live 10 years ago?
  • + 0
 across all trails? sure, there's probably a bias towards smoother. Trails that merit a DH bike? Riders get better every year, & racecourses have to keep up.

@timsim07 did those trails somehow disappear? Because, for the vast majority of riders, the trails are the same as they were tens years ago, but they don't need a DH bike to ride them anymore, because the trails that have kept up with what a modern DH bike can do, are largely restricted to parks & racecourses. Public lands trails? 10 years ago, there were some that merited a DH bike, especially since the market was largely divided between DH/freeride, & XC. Today? I think you'd be hard pressed to find a trail outside of a bikepark or racecourse, that can't be ridden just as well on a 6" bike.
  • + 2
 One thing is interesting for the frame reliability is the weight. For example if you compare the Devinci Wilson with the Devinci Spartan both in aluminium version. The difference between the 2 is 800 grams. BUT the Spartan has an air shock when the Devinci has a Coil shock. If you compare the weight difference between the 2 shocks, it's pretty much 650 grammes. So the Spartan frame is lighter by only 150 gr than the Wilson. I don't think we can say the Wilson is a lot stronger from the Frame point of view.
  • + 1
 Those two have a totally different frame layout, so drawing comparisons between the two doesn't really work. But I see your point that the Spartan is likely pretty overbuilt. Still lacking two inches of travel at either end mind, those two extra inches will do a lot to take the sting out of impacts.
  • + 1
 @hpman83 Indeed, as I was saying in another thread: the DH frame is stronger, but if it's only 5% stronger, then how many trails are really going to need that extra strength?
  • + 0
 DH race courses in the US have become significantly less gnarly since ten years ago. Just look at old videos of Mount Snow, Deer Valley, Schweitzer, Snowmass, Durango (sickest course of all time), Mountain Creek (The current Pro GRT course is pathetic in comparison to the US Open track), Vail, Squaw Valley, etc. Tracks nowadays appeal to the lowest common denominator, the Beginner. Sure there may be a section of trail that has a challenge, but that's easily gapped over or ridden through in 5 seconds, then I'm stuck with 3.5 other minutes of "downhill" that any 45 year old divorcee father of three could ride first run on a trail bike. In conclusion, US downhill "tracks" (everyday bike park trails) are lame and they should go back to the whooped out, wide, natural, taped-only-for-the-race, rocky, fast, and fun tracks of ten years ago. Until that happens I'm just going to be running ultra marathons.
  • + 2
 XC + DH vs. AM. It has been a long time bike debate.
  • + 2
 The comment Gabriel said to start this thread is dead on. That is unfortunate that so many people have had bad experiences with DH tracks (even the smooth and groomed ones). The thing is, even though XC and AM bikes can "clear" dh courses. It still looks way different when someone rips down one with speed on a proper DH rig with fat tires that allow for maximum traction. Besides going down the track in half the time, they will be taking lines that seem to defy gravity for someone who is not on a DH rig. They will be ridding the walls while the other bikes are still on the "ground" lines. AM bikes are still just a compromise for not having a XC and a DH bike. You can't do either discipline properly with one.
  • + 1
 I currently have an old Enduro (Turner RFX, 6 inches of travel front and rear) and a DH Cove shocker. Of course on pure DH track, the DH bike is better, faster, safer and overall stronger. I love my DH but when my bike will be deadn I don't know if I will spend a lot of euros in another one. What I can say is my both rear and front suspension on the Enduro bike are custom tunes by a French company and it makes a huge difference compare to a stock suspension. When I arrive in very rocky section, the Enduro bike is less confortable than my DH bike of course but still hold the line pretty safely. I precise that before I tuned my suspensions with Novyparts, that was not the case and the bike was a lot more instable and more dangerous in high speed in super bumpy and technical sections. So the suspension set up is crucial on an Enduro bike.

(message too long so I have to split it in two)
  • + 3
 Why I don't know if in the future I'm gonna buy another DH bike, because of the terrain I ride.
I ride about 28 days of lift assisted downhill per year.
I spent 21 of these in my local bike park resort close to home. The terrain is pretty rocky, very technical but super slow. Average speed on a dowhill bike per run: less than 15 Km/h. Good solid wheels are required to resist to the river of rocks and stones but the speed is not very high. Of course DH bike are more comforatble on this terrain, more efficient surely but for my skills I don't know if it will make a big difference.
I spend about 5 to 6 days to the Alp D'huez for the Mega. Clearly in this mountain except on section of the course which is technical and rocky, the rest of the ride is pretty smooth and not super technical. The downhill bike is not a clear advantage on this terrain. I think the Enduro bike performs overall better on this terrain.
The rest, it's another bike park called les Orres. There is groomed terrain with no speed bumps like A-Line and very technical trails with a lot of roots sometimes similar at No Joke in Whistler. Yes, in this resort a downhill bike is better. But I go to this resort only 5 or 6 days max per year.

So at the end, the choice of having one or two bike is not easy. Maybe having something in the middle is good: Enduro bike with another set of strong wheels for big abuse and why not a triple crown with 200mm for the holiday in the big bike parks. Still cheaper than having 2 bikes?
  • + 1
 @adamdigby since when have you ran an ultra marathon. #fulloffshit #butthurt
  • + 1
 What is this BCD you speak of, I always thought (and I know) that it is called a Pitch Circle Diameter. Not sure where Mike Kazimer got his info on that from :/
  • + 1
 for some reason in the bike trade a pcd is often called a bcd
  • + 4
 Bolt circle diameter. It's a real term. Although I do have my suspicions that it came about through someone mishearing pcd as bcd, then reverse engineering a useable term out of it Razz
  • + 1
 It is indeed called a Bold Circle Diameter, which seems to my bike trained ear to make a lot more sense.
  • + 2
 Nononono! It is Bold Circle Diagonal! Get it right....
  • + 2
 @tom-dam - Sheldon Brown has all the answers to any terminology questions: www.sheldonbrown.com/gloss_bo-z.html. But Bolt Circle Diameter is indeed what it stands for.
  • + 3
 Spell check got to me. Bolt circle is what I meant to say, haha.
  • + 1
 I'm just used to the machining world where it's always called PCD so my bad then
  • + 2
 I don't think an enduro bike could handle the Red bull hard line track.
  • + 2
 Banshee Rune the DH am replacement!
  • + 1
 I wanna go to finale..with my 'enduro' bike... it looks awesome!
  • + 1
 Ok, that's the last straw. Reign instead of a Glory it is.
  • + 8
 Unless you live at the foot of a bikepark, The AM bike is so much more versatile, & gets you to so many more trails than something that hates you for climbing. I've even considered pulling it back another step, & going with a Trance.
  • + 2
 Yeah I had a trance last year, considering a trance SX, which is just a trance with a 160 fork.
  • + 2
 Why not los dos? I've got one of each and that each have their place
  • + 1
 If you've got the cash, that's a fair argument, if you can get to trails worth a DH bike fairly often. I, OTOH, live 10 hrs from Angel Fire, & 5 from Sunrise. I might use a DH bike a couple times a year. At that point, why not rent?
  • + 2
 @groghunter yeah at that point I totally get it. If I had money for one bike it wouldn't be a dh bike for sure. I'd invest it in an all arounder.
  • + 1
 Yeah, last year I had the cheapest Trance and the cheapest Glory. I want to have some nicer parts so I'm trying to decide on a do-it-all bike. I work at a shop that carries Giant and Kona, so going the cheaper route I would get a Kona taro (slack, short chainstay-ed hardtail 29er) for my XC endeavors and then also the cheapest Reign OR the cheapest glory again. If I just get one nicer bike, it would be the lower tier carbon Reign. I am so torn about what I want.
  • + 1
 Dude. Forget enduro! Get a freeride bike!
  • - 1
 Coil sprung all mountain bike with angleset and you are set for park duties.
  • + 1
 ignore
  • - 1
 if you include UP mileage it probably wont
  • + 1
 indeed
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