Enduro vs Trailbike: Marriage and Divorce - Opinion

Feb 18, 2016
by Richard Cunningham  

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The honeymoon between the trailbike and its gravity-oriented enduro-racer mate appears to be over, and while some of the sport’s sharper minds argue that the two genres are inseparable, the divorce papers have already been filed. While vanguard designers are pushing “trailbike geometry” towards established downhill standards, leading bike makers are introducing shorter-travel designs that incorporate just enough long, low, and slack to address modern riding styles. Add the resurgence of 29er sales to the unexpected popularity of plus bikes, and there is enough evidence to suggest that “enduro” and “trail” are on divergent and irreconcilable paths.

After more than two years of reviewing progressively longer, lower, slacker bikes with increasing suspension travel, I began to miss the seemingly effortless way that a shorter-travel, slightly steeper chassis feels on a fast-paced singletrack, and the way it gobbles up punchy climbs. I began to look forward to testing lighter weight, livelier feeling bikes – and I wasn't alone with my sentiments.

Recently, riders in my circle of friends – top bike-handlers who can afford to own any bike that they wish for – began selling their Santa Cruz Nomads and Yeti SB6c’s and replacing them with lighter, more brisk handling bikes.
Cannondale Habit Carbon SE Original photo by Clayton Racicot
Cannondale's Habit SE is one of the new-gen trailbikes in the 130mm-travel range.

When asked, their stories were the same. They didn’t feel that it was worth downgrading the fun of a two or three-hour ride to enjoy a bike that was specifically designed to enhance only five or ten minutes of fall-line descending along the way.

“Versatile” is the word that best characterizes the modern dual-suspension trailbike, and it could be argued that the balanced compromise it strikes between climbing and descending, light weight and durability (as well as its popularity among enthusiast-level riders) can be attributed to the fact that no competition venue existed for mid-travel trailbikes. Without pressure to hyper-specialize one area of its performance, trailbike designers were free to pick and choose racing-derived innovations from XC or DH, like carbon frames, carbon wheels, sophisticated suspension, and slack geometry, or to ignore racing altogether and develop trail-specific solutions like dropper posts.

TRACER
The well-rounded intense Tracer 275c represents one of the high points in the evolution of the long-travel trailbike.

Inadvertently, the trailbike also created the perfect launch pad for professional enduro racing. For a fleeting moment, “enduro” and “trailbike” were interchangeable terms, and initially, that marriage supercharged the technical performance of the basic trailbike. But, somewhere along the line, while bike and suspension makers rushed to stretch the trailbike’s performance further towards the downhill realm, we forgot that that the magic of a good trailbike is that it enhances all aspects of the riding experience. An enduro racing bike has a much more singular mission statement.

Richie Rude did just enough today a 12th a 2nd and a 4th were enough to defend his lead in the end he was still 20 seconds clear of the field. That s an impressive result when you consider that second to eighth are split by only 17 seconds.
Richie Rude at speed, winning the Spanish round of the EWS.
After two full days on the bike, Yeti’s Richie Rude accumulated only 30 minutes and 32 seconds of actual racing time in seven stages to take the win at the EWS race in Ainsa, Spain. The longest stage was about seven and a half minutes, the shortest was a minute and half. To put that in perspective, that’s about eight hours of climbing to enjoy the same amount of descending that you’d get in three trips down a bike park. The mission of an enduro racing bike, pure and simple, is to maximize that 30 minutes and 32 seconds of downhill. You don't have to race enduro, however, to be a member of the "I only care about the descents club," and there are enough subscribers to encourage designers to push the boundaries of "trailbike" frame geometry into and beyond the realm of DH. Olly Forster's "One Question" is a recommended read on the subject.

When you mimic DH geometry with exaggerated front centers and slack head angles, your bike may descend like a fallen angel, but you’ll also need to mimic DH techniques to ride it – which means you’ll need to be out of the saddle and decidedly forward in order to properly weight and maneuver the bike. Speaking from experience, I’ll go on record that a 30-pound downhill bike with a steep seat angle and low gears can double as a capable trailbike. “Capable,” however, simply means that it can be done. The word does not promise an enjoyable experience, and to be truthful, lugging a long, low and slack bike around the mountains all day often feels like a lot of unnecessary drama.
Nicolai GeoMetron Review
Nicolai's GeoMetron - on the vanguard of long, low, and slack.

Only a year ago, I would have insisted that a 29-pound, 160-millimeter-travel enduro racer was “the one bike” - the perfect do-it-all machine - but today I keep two bikes at the ready: a slacked out 160-millimeter enduro-style bike for playing rough, and a 130-millimeter trailbike for everything else. I couldn’t say which one I like best. There is no substitute for the confidence that a Fox 36 fork, a long wheelbase and a 65-degree head angle brings when the brake levers snap open at the top of a drop. But, it’s the 130 bike that I ride most often, because it can make almost any trail enjoyable and challenging. They sit in my garage like estranged lovers, transformed by their torrid union into two wonderfully different designs, each with uncertain futures.





419 Comments

  • + 461
 first world problems
  • + 210
 All MTB talk is basically a "first world problem"; that doesn't negate its relevance to anyone, anywhere, thinking about spending their hard saved cash on just one bike.

I thought that it was spot on in helping anyone who is having a hard time deciding whether to go "160mm" or "130MM"
  • + 36
 journalism makes a living by creating problems in the first world. I didn't even realize such a serious problem was out there til RC named it
  • + 59
 Sure! Those problems are like a joke. Every time I take my bike (hardtail aluminium 26") I enjoy very much. I don't need any more to be happy.
  • + 44
 @nikifor88 - Mountain biking as a whole is a first world problem. Yes even the guy with old Marzocchi, 26" wheels and coil shock can be described as a whiny pussy - off course! But only if your point of reference is mother of a kid with blood cancer or a child in Africa. Maybe a child starving to death in Africa is well off compared to alien child on some planet where a super volcano errupted and it will take a full year until him and his family are all dead, living in miserable hope that technology can solve the volcanic winter.

But you live here in the West, don't you? You are here, can you get it? In Europe, so you go - Oooooh I can't mountain bike, I'm sick, I have common cold damn iiiiit. I broke my collarbone, I will have to wait for a month nooooooo. Oh the internet is slow, I can't even read Pinkbike - this is bullshit. I am going to call and shout on any btch that picks up the phone in service center of my broad band provider. Mnaaaaaaa! You either accept being in a peer group where we whine that latest Pike has no external HSC regulation, OR you change a hobby... Welcome to the real world - your world. Sorry having one bike doesn't make you better, that's all I am saying.
  • + 48
 Jesus and Benito;

Me neither. You will see me out on my 9 speed 26inch Banshee trail bike with the widest smile on my face. #26untilitbreaks and all that...

However, there are thousands and thousands of people across the world who are thinking of buying a bike like, **right now**, today. To those people, this article may well be the best thing they have ever seen here on PB.

While clickbait journalism may well do just what you say Benito, you are close to sounding silly if you really believe all "journalism" does so. Try some Jon Ronson, or Louis Theroux.

One of the problems of PB is how everyone tends to be blinded by their own personal situation and cannot see beyond that. Remain firm about your goals, but flexible about your methods, as one William Donaghue said.
  • + 53
 What ever happened to having 1 hardtail and 1 full suspension (which should be chosen specifically)?
  • + 5
 ^ What he said
  • - 2
 I liked the whole read until Richard Cunningham wrote "There is no substitute for the confidence that a Fox 36 fork.".
  • + 9
 Bike hipsters everywhere. PB is a place for the *latest* news and opinion on the *latest* gear and trends.
  • + 49
 Isn't being tired of seeing hipsters everywhere making you a hipster?
  • + 1
 @Macropod my sentiments exactly. I've found that to be the right balance.
  • + 5
 I agree Macropod, having a Beautiful Single Speed and a 130 travel squish, I have the best of both worlds.
  • + 1
 More or less...i say more.
  • + 12
 @WAKIdesigns -> Waki, I appreciate your input but I'm not sure your talents are being fully used here on PB. I suggest you take that first paragraph and build a story off of it that you can turn into a graphic novel. Maybe a series of short stories in graphic novel style. 1st world bike satire, it would be hysterical (at least to some of us '1st worlders'). Of course that would require you to stop trolling and riding as much. Probably not a big pay day there but just sayin'.
  • + 6
 BTW - I just re-watched this Dan Atherton clip, which shows just how fast and gnarly you can get on a modern 160mm bike. Sh*t, did he add a longer travel fork for this race? I seem to recall some riders forking all the way up to 180mm for this one. Point is that 160mm is all, or more than most of us mortals need because they're so capable now. Though I digress, as a mortal would need a full on DH bike to go even half as fast as Dan. Wait.... what was the question?

www.youtube.com/watch?v=StPeEgz5Cfo
  • - 13
flag Zimmer68 (Feb 18, 2016 at 10:10) (Below Threshold)
 I always feel like 90% of mountain biking could be covered by a good dirt jumper and a DH bike.
  • + 12
 Ive owned all types of frame and travel size and came to the conclusion ages ago that anything more than 120-130mm ruins the ride of a trail. When youve ridden a lot of DH. Its a hell of a lot more fun pushing a propper trail bike to and past its limits, than it is struggling to reach the limits of an Enduro. Only reason for Enduro is race, real mountains like the Alps, or because you want to mostly do uplifts with it and also be able to do trail.
  • + 9
 "They didn’t feel that it was worth downgrading the fun of a two or three-hour ride to enjoy a bike that was specifically designed to enhance only five or ten minutes of fall-line descending along the way."

This is why I don't ride my nomad as much and bought a Production Privee Shan hardtail as my To Go bike.
It climbs better, and descends just as good.
  • + 16
 Doesn't matter what you ride. There is always a trade off. It's why we all keep changing bikes and why the perfect number of bike formula is N=N+1
  • - 14
flag nikifor88 (Feb 18, 2016 at 12:33) (Below Threshold)
 omg so many props, everyone must love me
  • + 1
 Maybe they just want pictures...and nothing to read....i always thought pb is a digital magazine/forum and they might as well write about our 1st world problems....it. reates debate.
  • + 9
 While it's true that a bike with less travel might be more fun on many trails, I couldn't have a 120-130mm do it all bike. Sometimes rowdy trails are what I want to ride on, and I want at least "some" reserves, to not destroy the components or the frame because of riding past the materials limits.. So I arranged with a 150mm am/Enduro and have to push just a little harder on those fireroad climbs.
  • + 10
 "old Marzocchi, 26" wheels and coil shock"
You just described my bike lol
  • + 6
 ^that's funny, when I read that I thought of your bike too.
  • + 6
 Lurch420 - There is absolutely nothing wrong with such bike. The problem is the attitude of being morally superior, based on a fact of owning an old bike/car/penis enlarger that some people seem to have. It's like with Vegans, most are just people, some are cool and some just can't help themselves shittin' on everybody.
  • - 1
 Those hillock humpy things that poms call mountains really don't require a enduro bike
  • + 6
 Single and a 160mm
  • + 2
 Yeah, well, I live in the first world, so there.
  • + 3
 What's the 1st world? That hasn't been a thing for 20 odd years.
  • + 3
 Waki, is it a bad thing if everything you write I read with an internal dialogue in the accent of Christoph Waltz?
  • + 3
 I'm guessing that commute this morning wasn't by choice? I was gonna but then it started bucketing down. Then 20mins later you ride by lol
  • + 12
 Next time one of you want to sell your Nomad or Yeti because your skills are so scary good that it makes riding too easy, let me know, I'll buy it, and save you from yourself.
  • + 1
 Did PB have dead space to fill, were you out of new ideas or so short for time to your deadline you had to make up this "problem"? What is the point of this article? In what product line did enduro bikes replace 5" trail bikes? If you couldn't find/get any 5" trail bikes to review recently you should have looked harder or asked for some.
  • + 6
 How about there is someone who cannot decide whether to buy a 130mm or 160mm bike?

How about thinking in a little more depth about the nature of a 160mm bike and wherher it fits in with your needs more than a 130?

In short, how about thinking how there may be some people to whom this article meets a real need they have?
  • + 2
 This^
  • + 15
 The Short Version : It was trendy to compromise the uphill for a better downhill. The new trend shall be to compromise the downhill for a better uphill. Meanwhile, in real life...just run whatever bike suits most of your riding goals most of the time...only you know what that is.
  • + 3
 @orientdave - i'd put it in a different way: once you find something you really like, keep it to yourself, for your own interest, share only with friends and family.

100-130 is hanging a bit in the air, since + size came along. I think it will clarify in 2-3 years time when the second gen of + bikes will come out. Lately I realized that we missed an important bit about some XC bikes: the tubular tyres. Since they run low pressures, they are basicaly half way to what plus size does. Maybe that's what gives N1no an edge: Grip+improved roll over? Who knows, since biggest benefit of plus size is size of contact patch and flex of the tyre, then maybe going down a size and winning 50-100g on rotating mass will be king? 26+ seems promising!
  • + 0
 Just wait until ebike popularity increases and you can have a 170mm bike that is more than just capable of climbing
Smile
  • + 5
 Don't start that E-turd poo again!
  • + 8
 Pick a travel length and be a dick about it!!
  • + 1
 Pick a Cannondale and get 2.
  • + 3
 lol compromise DH for better uphill. This guys hilarious :-P
  • + 0
 One thing is being dick about something, the other is going nazi. Like deeight on people who don't like 650B (or any other Steampunk sht he likes) or properp on E-bikes
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns, I think I can say with ease that the last thing I should be doing is sharing my MTB thoughts with my family!!!! Hoping you are surviving the challenge that is the dad / husband / rider triumviate!
  • + 4
 @WAKIdesigns e-turds are for people who can't carry their own load. The weak!
  • + 0
 How's your relation to your own fitness properp, do you consider yourself weak or strong?
  • + 4
 @40 years old I like to have a top 20 time on every course I ride. If I'm not I keep PEDDALING and examining lines until I get a top 20 time. I also skate, surf, skimboard, MX, and ride super bikes. I'm not going to be able to sleep now I know you love E-turds more than me. LOL. All BS aside if you have a handicap that prevents you from being a mountainbiker than I think your E-bike is perfect for you. If not than I guess you are just a LAZY rider that wants reward without putting the work in.
  • + 4
 The only good thing I can say about e-bikes is that at least I'll still be able to ride full days at retirement age. If you are under 65 and not disabled though, you're just lazy.
  • + 0
 I'd never buy an E-bike, I gladly ride one from time to time (an assisted one, no throttle) All of us need a scape goat, it is healthy, at least in some cases. I am not saying it applies to you guts buuut you may want to have a read since most scape goats are people, objects that are slightly off themselves, but dressed up with our own treats... The general rule in psychology is: if it bothers you, you're fine, if it makes you angry , something's goin on, if it makes you agressive - it's your own problem you are just projecting: www.pinkbike.com/u/wakidesigns/blog/may-e-bikes-heal-you2.html
  • + 3
 Amen @ tremeer023 E-bikes are for the elderly, and the lazy. I could not of said it any better my self.
  • + 4
 @WAKIdesigns If you rode as much as you spend typing I think you would be the fastest person on PB. On a pedal bike not a E-turd. I'm not the keyboard wizard like you. So sleep well knowing you will all ways be faster at stroking the key's. I think you like it so much because it's electric. Peace bro keep pedaling and stay away from E-bikes.
  • + 2
 If only it was so easy to get out and ride as it is writing an novel on pinkbike... nobody gets everything.
  • - 1
 The ultimate slam on PB: "I'll bet you don't even ride, douche." Kind of boring, @properp. At least @WAKIdesigns puts some thought into his insults.
  • + 0
 @scvkurt03 I'v been riding before you were ever a dirty thought in your dads mined. Look at a persons profile before you make such a uneducated statement
  • + 0
 @properp Apparently, old age comes with a lack of reading comprehension, spelling, and basic punctuation. I was referring to your slam on waki, not calling you out for not riding. That would be unoriginal.
  • + 2
 Boom!
  • + 1
 @scvkurt03 I can spell Fast. Spelling has all ways been hard for me. As talk to tex gets better so will my posting. Until then don't hate on some one because they might not have as good as grammar as you. Your still smart enough to figure out what I post and that what its all about. Communication. Are you a spelling teacher? If not then go F#ck yourself! Hope you understand that. If you are a spelling teacher shame on you for because there 100's of people with horrible spelling. My math skills are A+ if that helps you sleep any better.
  • + 0
 @properp -> You went from feeding the trolls to becoming one. We're all super impressed that you're such a badass rider. Keep killing it in Florida.
  • + 3
 Florida riders do it all year!
  • - 1
 This was fun, @properp. Thanks for outing yourself as an unapologetic, know-nothing idiot. Enjoy voting for Trump.
  • + 1
 @orientdave: exactly! I have a 120/100 FS XC bike and am trying to decide whether to replace to with a 130 trail bike or keep it and add a 160 AM/enduro bike. I found this article relevant and interesting.
  • + 69
 I am coming off a 130mm bike living in a place that is theoretically made for it: Rocky and rooty trails spread on 300ft hills with longest descent barely exceeding 45 seconds. Races held here have relatively short tracks and when trail time is longer than 1 minute, it involves a great deal of pedaling and some uphill. 5" trail bike - Perfect you may say. After two years on such bike I say maybe... for someone...

I appreciate the genre but the trouble is that while there is little problem with 1200+ wheelbase on Small sized Enduro bike, the downhill mentality goes full retard on sub 150 bikes. Why would you apply a DH geometry on a bike with 130mm or less travel - WTF?! What is going to happen is that geometry allows the bike to go fast enough for the rear to go out of it's depth rather quickly and rob you off any error margin that you are trying to create with setting up that geo.

I had a Nomad and sold it to buy a Blur TRc and at first it had a slim 140 fork and Nobby Nics, but 1 year later I realized I am toughing it up with 36 fork and Minions DHF. So I ended up with exactly same bike as that Nomad, the only difference was that frame had less travel.

So keep your 130 trail bike as a light trail bike. Keep your DH mentality away from it, kick in XC mode and you'll be happy. Otherwise just stay with 150-170 bike, the matter of a fact is with current state of technology those bikes climb rather well. We talk about DH ability of ENduro bikes forgetting that they climb better than 120 bikes in 2008. Therefore 6" bike is still THE ONE bike to rule them all unless you compete in XC Marathons.
  • + 18
 At the moment I'm more interested in how well the rear end works than how much travel there is. I'm in a situation where my current 135mm is faster than any of my previous 160mm bikes and it's all down to how well the rear end is tuned. It has (and was designed for) 150mm at the front so it's not a true 'shorter' travel bike and there must be limits to the ability of 135mm travel but I've tried my best and haven't really found them yet. As well as that I can dirt jump, bunny hop up picnic tables and generally dick about on it a lot easier than 160mm would allow me. I'm also seeing some reviews of longer travel bikes state the rear end tune is lacking...maybe for average Joes like me it's not all about the travel.
  • + 10
 Watching from behind the scenes I giggle as I enjoy my rear 140mm front 160mm moderately slack, moderately long, progressive suspension trail/local enduro bike (knolly endo 26"). I agree you need the burliness to enjoy even those 45 sec descents to the fullest.

PS. Richard is called in as a big subliminal gun to cause the 'inception' of new bike categories pushed by the manufacturers, watch it, it's a pattern!
  • + 7
 No I don't need that Sontator, but those 2-3 times in a year I get to drive away and ride in proper mountains. And there that short travel bike sucks. It just does. And 160 bikes do climb fantastically these days. I like carving turns, I just like it, so I don't go away from MInion DHF of Butcher. I like high cockpit, slack head angle, big buffy fork. Why should I keep 130 in the rear just to feel better and appear that I can shred the gnar? Like those people who deliberately ride HTs with 160 forks - it is insane.
  • + 9
 I have a Spartan and a Ripley, I can put 100km aboard the Ripley; id have to kill myself to put over 30 km aboard the spartan. im lucky enough to have the two bikes and use them for completely different things, but if i had to choose only one bike id definitely slap minions on the Ripley and be happy to have it as my one bike. sure I cant hit rocky sections quite as fast and maybe in some sketchy sections id get down the bike but that is like 1% of my total riding. so yeah I completely agree with RC.
  • + 35
 It still puzzles me as to why 29ers are eft out, a 130 MM 29er will gobble up terrain almost as well as a 150-160 MM enduro rig, yet it's still light enough to climb up anything, I remember the fun I had when I used a friends trance x 29er at bromont... It made me realize how underrated that wheel size is, to me that's the do it a trail bike.
  • + 10
 Couldn't agree more with Waki. The resurgence of the short travel bike is the result of marketing to keep sales up because consumers are no longer taking the bait on the bullturd little changes that add no benefit for the average/majority of consumers. Variety is after all the spice of life, so of course reviewers are going to jump at something different.

My advice is buy the bike that compliments the rider you want to be. The more realistic you are, the less regrets and more fun you'll have.
  • + 5
 Gotta agree with Waki. I swapped my 100 mm, 15 kg Vitus Blitz for a 160 mm, 16.5 kg Norco Range, and couldn't be happier. I won't go uphill as well as the Vitus, and not nearly as well as a 120 mm, 10 kg bike, but it is fun as hell. Besides most of the riding I do here involves lots and lots of boring dirt roads, and even on those I do get to ride faster than some guys on rigid XC bikes... I also own a GT Fury and the Norco is so good going donwhill that in most tracks I don't even need the Fury...
  • + 7
 I jumped on a really good 160 bike in 2008, Nomad. It could still kill today, even having 67 head angle. But Blur TRc, Kona 111... unless you live in a place with smooth trails - no, just no. Large rocks require suspension - or 3" tyres Wink WHen I ride with my fast friends with their 150 bikes around here, I manage to keep up to some extent. We hit big mountains and they are gone after the first rocky straight. As simple as that.
  • + 1
 @Brakesnotincluded there's a longer travel version and a 29er version of the bike I'm currently riding and I confess I've ridden neither but the 29er, 135mm version sounds very appealing for trail riding. What puts me off is when I want to pretend I'm Lacondeguy and hit some booters I just can't imagine the 29er being as good in the air. I'd love to be wrong about that but that's why they don't seem to be the best 'all rounder' bike to me.
  • + 3
 Yupp Thom, the gyroscopic effect of big wheels giving so much free stability takes Cedric Gracia skills to rip it in the air. But... I couldn't care less, I can adjust to wheels on the ground style with no probs.
  • + 1
 I actually really want a 29er. In fact I want the 29er version of the Escarpe I'm riding currently. If the damper works as well as the 650b one...plus the benefits of bigger wheels and longer wheelbase I imagine it would be incredible on the stuff I usually ride. But I do spend a lot of time trying to get airborne as well as trying to go faster. And I can only afford to have the one bike so as much as I'd like to get a 29er the airborne abilities win out over the improved trail speed. I'd love to see what the 29er is really like for myself but unfortunately I don't really have the opportunity.
  • + 3
 Better to have and not need, than to need and not have (File under: sh!t my old man used to say)
Unless you are racing top level XC, the penalty for the extra squish/weight is so insignificant.
  • + 1
 Had that chat with a mate who had to decide between transition Smuggler and Patrol and the conclusion was that suspension has developed so much nowadays that it gives little penalty unless you count the seconds going up. He bought the patrol. I would really be curious to ride a Smuggler or Evil following to know what the 29 wheels are about but in the end whenever i added more suspension i always liked it more.
  • + 5
 The funniest bit about 110-130 bikes is that most of them have EXACTLY same components, including tyres as 160 bikes. They may eventually have 50g lighter rims. That's it. Kona 111 even has Pike on it...
  • + 3
 Im not even clear on why enduro racers use sub-160 bikes. Seems that 170-180 would be faster where it counts. Leave the trailbike for general use.
  • + 3
 I agree totally that more suspension doesn't really mean less speed when you're going up or over - especially with modern suspension. The 135mm bike in riding is far from an xc whippet in those areas (personally I feel like I can pedal bikes with any travel if the seat angle is steep enough but that's another topic). For me having an inch less travel has benefits beyond simply being more pedalable, I like that the bike feels a little more lively and easy to 'jib' for want of a better word and remarkably I haven't noticed a reduction in speed either, quite the opposite. Perhaps the longer legged bikes I've ridden just weren't that good or aren't good by comparison to my more modern shorter travel bike? Im sure there are plenty of shorter travel bikes that aren't great too. Either way I now no longer believe that moar suspenshanz is always better - at least for where I ride in the UK.
  • + 11
 I think Enduro racing threw AM bike design a bit out of balance. 160 bikes seem to go full retard for DH geo, while 130 trail bikes seem to be what 160 bikes in 2010. Technology is one thing and things moved on since early 2000 but geometry is kind of earth bound thing, a subject to compromise. The trick is to find compromise and combination of factors that fit the picture. I don't get it how people cannot understand the XC racing bike design and behave as if it was some roadie influenced dinosaur sht. No it isn't. Those bikes are optimized for climbing, short wheelbase for manouverability on climbs. A guy on Geometron saying it climbs well, throwing it up into the air as if it could compete with XC bike, should go fk himself right away. It just doesn't. So when someone makes a 130 bike to climb better and get more feedback from the trail then make that front shorter and steeper. Otherwise just put Boxxer on a hardtail and shut up, you are fkng it for everybody.
  • + 11
 @WAKIdesigns I completely agree. 160mm is the perfect all around trail bike - if buying something within the last 2-3 years. 160 is the perfect point where the bike still rides uphill well. It's not too tall, they're not too slack… Bikes in the 160 range do not limit the riders abilities to ride up, or absolutely WAIL downhill. If you're buying a jack of all trades, would you not want a limitless feeling bike?

I won't say I got talked into the 160mm Cannondale Jekyll's 29" wheeled, 130mm brother… But I ended up buying a Trigger 29 Carbon 1 in the height of the new wheel size and "all mountain" "enduro" excitement which was 2 years ago. 130mm and 29" wheels, it is an amazing trail bike. Long leisurely rides in the hills, climbs well, never leaves you tired… Yet something is just missing when you point it downhill. Don't get me wrong, it's incredibly competent when pointed down. Coming from a downhill background, the bike rides very well. I just find myself often wishing it had just that little extra. To the point where it's in at the shop having a 140mm conversion done on the Lefty right now!

A carbon, weight conscious 160mm bike may be the ultimate. I'd hate to see any new rider get talked, or magazine articled into a 130mm bike, simply because thats the current trend. Don't be scared to spend a little extra and get into a 28lb Carbon 160mm bike, with current technology you are almost getting a DH/park bike and an All Mountain climber all in one. Such is NOT the case with a 130mm.

Take it from someone who spent five figures to get into the 130mm game - wishing he went 160 Wink
  • + 5
 Personally I ride 150mm front and 140mm rear. I'm sure an 80mm suspension carbon xc racer would be faster up hills, but to be fair I don't feel like my 15.5kg bike is giving me troubles on the climbs. Maybe I would climb faster on a lighter bike, but but I don't feel like it would give me more pleasure while riding. Never had that negative feeling that I really need to change it while riding. It's rather the moments when I can't ride and I'm wasting my time on the Internet, when I start looking for what parts I could buy to make my bike lighter. But when I ride it I don't feel the need at all.
  • + 3
 Waki why the hate against long travel hard tails? Although I agree a hardtail with Boxxer in front does seem a tad ridiculous, I do enjoy riding my Kona Five-O with 160mm fork. And I tried out bikes from friends, more modern hardtails with the same intentions, it was a blast. Of course it does different things, or better does things differently, but that is the same as your point about XC racers.
  • + 3
 I gotta say, there's not one comment from WAKI on this article that I can't completely agree with...
  • + 1
 @jts-nemo - I am not opening that can of worms. You can buy my custom one if you want!
  • + 2
 I think XC bikes are influenced a lot by road bike design and for good reason. They both need to be pedalled (when seated) up, over and even down. That's why they have geometry which seems so conservative - it's a compromise. Of course everything in geometry is a compromise but a modern day Enduro bike only needs to be pedalled from the saddle when you're going uphill hence a steep seat angle is great and some people are even tipping their saddles forward so they're level when the bike is on an uphill gradient which seems crazy to me but if you're only sat down going uphill then I can see the theory in it. Granted XC riders need to stand up and have some ability to handle the bike well on descents but other factors such as seated pedalling efficiency may take priority.
  • + 4
 Agreed @WAKIdesigns. I sold my SC Blur Tr for a Norco Range. This bike will go everywhere. The limiting factor going up is my own skill and fitness. Going down it is a world away from my Blur- I would never have ridden my Blur in the bikepark. Yes it may be too much bike for many of my local rides, but when you can only afford one good bike, you are going to have to compromise. I can tune my suspension to make it feel like a shorter travel bike if I really want. If I had to pick up or down, I would prefer the bike to ride better downhill at speed where there is a higher chance of me crashing and dying!
  • + 1
 @arnie86 - I rode Blur TR in the Hafjell bikepark - it was OK, as long as no bigger mistakes were made. As soon as I missed some bigger rock with my sight on fantastic Boulder Loypa trail, and rode on it, my rear was flying up in the air while there's no problem what so ever on old Nomad. I hated the suspension, SAG had to be set EXACTLY at a certain point for particular kind of riding. Funny thing - the suspension felt better in the bike park than on home trails. It was just this hardtail-like feeling of going into the rough bits, putting the weight down (as you must sometimes, even if you are riding like Troy Brosnan) and feelig the rear being an anchor slowing the bike down. The worst thing I've done to it, was buying carbon rims, they just magnified the things I didn't like about the bike. It was great with 140 Float 32, Crossmax STs and Nobby Nics, but not on Minions and 36 whiiiich would be most PB riders setup choice I guess.
  • + 4
 @cstishenko -> your 160mm 'ultimate' statement may be true for those of us who live by and ride truly burly trails very often. Around here it takes a hard charger that's really seeking the gnar to make use of a bike like that, and there are plenty of those and that's fine. But the majority of trails don't need it and a 160 rig would be a little sluggish, especially for a newer rider. Unless that new rider is shuttling and bike parking half the time, a 160 rig is too much and they'd have much more enjoyable rides on a 140mm rig. My 2 cents. But yeah, if I lived in Whistler a 160 rig would be my xc rig. Here it's probably best to go the RC route and have 2 bikes, but for those of us looking for 'the one' something in the 140-ish give or take 10mm is where it's at.
  • + 4
 Reading the article and the comments have really re-affirmed my bike choice (after wondering if I wanted a longer slacker ride or 2 bikes). Im riding a 150/160 2014 Marin attack trail. My local trails and majority of riding can only be described as hills and XC really but I like to take it to the lift access 2.5hrs away too.

Anyone who knows this bike understands that it is not fully on board with the new geo being spouted for enduro these days. Its not that slack by todays standards at 66.5. Its definitely doesnt have a long reach at 425 for large. But you know what this bike does really well on the short punchy tech climbs we have here and is not that bad for pedaling. Its also does good enough for me on the DH lift access days. Really it does seem like my perfect do it all bike if there ever was one.

I think I will not blow my money on a different bike this year. thanks
  • + 1
 I don't disagree with what dude is saying in this necessarily, but I'm not sure I agree with it either. I would say it depends on where you live and what kind of riding you do more of. Where I'm at, you pedal up lots of fire roads and descend down trails. I prefer the idea of a pseudo-downhill bike that can just barely make the pedals up the roads but is a total ripper on the gravity trails. Plus for me I have no problem taking it to Whistler for a day or three, or any of the trails up on the Island or Squampton. I imagine that if I lived somewhere more flat with fewer descending trails I would feel the other way. On the other hand I know plenty of guys that shred up here on 130mm bikes, so maybe it's just me being a mediocre rider.
  • + 6
 @WAKIdesigns - not sure I fully agree. Counterpoint is my experience yesterday. I just suddenly found myself in the market for a new bike, as mine (130mm travel Giant Trance X 29er) got stolen. So I demoed both a Transition Smuggler and a Kona Process 111 yesterday (both companies are local to my town and offer demos - it's good to live in the PNW). Did laps on one of my standard trails. Found that both bikes, despite being way slacker, climbed better, more enjoyably, more smoothly than my old bike. Found that both of them flowed better on what I'd consider rolling single track. And both were way more composed coming down - and way more playful. And while the old bike kept blowing through its travel both front and rear, both of these had a little reserve despite my actually bombing down that same stretch noticeably faster.

For a big rider, a 29er is still an unbeatable proposition. If I were lighter/smaller, I'd probably go for something like a Process 134, Transition Scout, Santa Cruz 5010 instead. But there's tremendous progress in capable trail bikes over the last few years. Sure, if you're into huge drops and really big air, this is the wrong bike. And if you're all about pedally XC singletrack, this is the wrong bike as well. But for that elusive one bike quiver, the capable short/mid travel 29er hits a sweet spot that's hard to ignore.
  • + 2
 I agree with Waki,

Came from a trail bike with 150mm (2012 Genius with rear travel adjust) and bought a Meta SX 26".

Couldn't be happier. Not the first up the hills, but not the last either, definitely having the most fun !

To change the Meta, some earth shattering technology needs to arise... and I don't really see it coming soon !
  • + 1
 So, Waki, you disagree in that long-ish travel hardtails don't serve a distinct purpose, as do XC race machines? Or is it just your personal preference of not liking them? The latter would be totally finde (as a matter of fact, the first would be fine, too, as you are entitled to every opinion you like), but I would strongly disagree if it was the first.

Of course, these bikes, as any bike for that matter, are not for everyone. But in my mind, there lies a beauty in riding something where you can hammer the front part through "harder" stuff but the rear does give very, very strong feedback. It makes me appreciate suspension, as an addendum to my biking experiences. And the drive forward gained with a hardtail is something different, to any rear suspended bike.
  • + 1
 @G-42, it all comes down to the trail surface, steepness and perhaps altitude difference. I love good 29ers, I was to replace my Blur with Stumpy 29 but suddenly got an offer for Antidote carbon Jack, amazing 160 rig in 275. I basically built a hell of a bike for 3,5k which would get me a quite modest build on Spesh. 110-130 bikes feel awesome for me as a second bike buuut I can't afford that and don't even want to have more than 2 bikes (with commuter DJ bike as a second one). The current hype says that thanks to DH inspired geometry, and development in components, a short travel trail bike is capable of anything and that just isn't true. With such logic I could just buy Epic 29, one size too big, put short stem, wide bars, 130 Pike, Ground control tyres and rip the hell out of trails. Yes it is possible but...
  • + 2
 Oh god. It's happening again!
  • + 2
 My god hardtail guy you are so late to the party havent you heard the latest trend on people who cant afford better bikes and for some reason have to rationalize the shit out of it is the new adventure road bikes. not a cx bike, not a road bike. what the hell is it? nobody knows!

Seriously there is absolutely nothing wrong with not having the latest carbon steed there is however a lot wrong with using sentences with this structure "I do X because it makes me apreciate Y more".
  • + 4
 @g-42 - I agree about the short/mid travel 29er. A few years ago I was basically the guy who would never even think of riding "wagon wheels", and now I am on a Niner Rip 9 and could not be happier. For my needs and the type of trails I ride the bike just does everything great.
  • + 3
 @WasatchEnduro
I don't agree with that at all though.
Pedal bob is pedal bob and overall weight is overall weight.

Set two bikes side by side, one 130mm one 160mm. If the amount of sag is set the same on both, and the weight is relatively similar… You are not going to know which one has which travel.

Buy purposely buying a bike with less travel, all you are doing is limiting yourself and the capabilities of your machine.
A light weight 160mm bike with the suspension set up on the stiffer side is going to show ZERO ill effects when riding uphill.

Now if both bikes were similar in weight, and both were set up with 25% sag (common all mountain setting) you will definitely feel the lack of travel in the 130mm bike. See below.

130mm or 5" travel less 1.25" of sag - allows 3.75" of travel until the bottom of the stroke.
160mm or 6.3" travel less 1.57" of sag - allows 4.73" of travel until the bottom of the stroke.

The 160mm bike allows almost 5" of compression, after sag - where the 130mm bike only started with 5" before sag.

My comment is then going to be why limit yourself?
Similar given weights, are going to be similar given prices. In my case a 160mm jekyll was $500 less similarly spec'd
I don't see the benefit of going 130 over 160 - as 130 is still too long for an XC racer.

I speak from experience. I wish I went bigger, as it would cause ZERO hindrance on a normal trail ride.
I've ridden both 130mm and 160mm Cannondales, and when weighted the same, set up the same, the only difference to note - is on the descent. Why did I go 130mm? I'm not sure. Hype? maybe.

You always think that less is going to be okay - until you are looking for more.
There is a fine line where too much is too much - and I think 160 is that magic number where it's "just right" when weighted, designed and set up properly. @WAKIdesigns
  • + 2
 The Evil Wreckoning looks to be my ultimate dream bike right now.
160mm, 29" wheels. Monster Truckin, Huckin, and still will trek over long distances ALL DAY LONG.
  • + 0
 cstishenko - all that scientific stuff about SAG - but my 36t chainring and climb switch on my Cane Creek
  • + 1
 @cstishenko - geo is still different and rear shock will still feel different, even same shock, same suspension design, but different travel rear. So no, no way in hell a 5010 is indiscernible when climbing against a Bronson... or Stumpy/Enduro or Smuggler/Patrol or Trigger/Jekyll or whatever.

Plus you lose a lot of trail feel with 160 over 130. That's okay, though. Travel is just preference for the rider's style and terrain. But even though these new 160 bikes climb better than those of yesteryear, they sure as sh*t still don't climb like a 130 bike. You're badass if you can climb everything on a 160mm rig. For me the slacker geo and less efficient rear is not worth it most of the time, though it would be nice 10% of the time.

In the end I'm happy that you've found your 2-wheeled companion and you have my blessing to continue as you see fit...... just don't tell everyone that your 160 bike climbs as well as it's equivalent 130 bike, because it doesn't.
  • + 2
 @cstishenko

PS - No way a new rider should be sold a 160 bike unless they live at a resort or all his/her friends/influencers are bruisers in the DH & All-Mountain disciplines.

PPS - Yes, I'd love to get some time in on carbon 160 bike that weights 28 lbs. It may change my mind. My aluminum 120/140 bike weighs ~31.5 lbs. The lighter weight would be awesome on the climbs, but the geo would still be against me and I'd lose any trail feel whatsoever on half the terrain I ride. Plus I feel just a little bit badass riding dh trails with my friends on bigger bikes and keeping up with or even beating them.
  • + 4
 Wasatch - 160 and 130 can be extremely close. Climbing is greatly influenced by the tyres you are running. Also what kind of climbing? Asphalt, fireroad, singletrack? Give me a 130 bike with 150 fork and I assure you that 160 bike with 36 Talas set to 120 climbs better. 28lbs 160 bike is plain stupid, it has no other value than being on a picture where it is hanging on the scale. Realistically speaking, most of Modern 150-170 bikes allow you to go so fast, so easily that you need meaty tyres with big knobbs and at least 1,5 ply sidewalls. And those tyres will easily push your bikeinto +30lbs territory. I've seen a 26lbs Intense
Tracer 275. It had rocket rons.
  • + 7
 I live in a mountainous location and chose an "Aggressive trailbike" (Norco Sight - 140mm rear travel). I loved it on the climbs but it was only "good" on the descents. Enter a travel adjust Pike, and I get to enjoy all the expected trail riding prowess in 140mm mode, (with added stiffness), and if I'm going to point it down something gnarly, I can take it up to 160mm and unleash a whole new machine!

I honestly don't think travel adjust has ever received the credit it deserves.
  • + 2
 Switching to a 165 mm bike (SC Nomad) has transformed the way that I ride. This is my 3rd season mountain biking now and this bike is allowing me to attack things that I would never consider on a smaller bike with less travel and steeper geometry. I've run Maxxis Minions on both bikes and I find the Nomad climbs fire roads just as well as my shorter travel bike did. With that being said, I do find the Nomad to be a little sluggish on mellow sections of trail or up-down sections of trail.

I think a 160 mm bike is the ideal for almost all riding unless you're out of the beginner and intermediate classes. At that point, more specialized tools might be preferred.
  • + 4
 @WasatchEnduro
160mm travel is a DH bruiser? I don't think of DH bruisers until we're talking 200mm.
If I lived at a resort, I sure as heck wouldn't have a 160mm bike.. it would be a dedicated downhiller.

Losing trail feel at 160mm? Absolutely not... That will have to do with suspension setup and amount of sag. The more sag, the less trail feel. Run a 160mm bike nice and stiff, it's going to do the XC things very well. Would I XC race it? Heck no... But it's going to make one heck of an all purpose bike.

Geometry is often VERY close, because 130 and 160 are both in the "trail bike" category. 130mm bikes are also becoming longer and slacker to gain confidence.

After having ridden a few brands 130/160 bikes back to back - the difference is not night at day like you may say. I've got seat time on a few different machines.

In my experience, between 130mm and 160mm with similar weights - where the difference happens is when the downhill comes.

@WAKIdesigns completely agree. Rocket Rons on a 160mm bike, Minion DHF 3C Exo on a 130mm Bike.. The160 will likely be quicker uphill.. There are many more factors than just saying "160mm is too big for every day use".
  • + 0
 Mostly singletrack. Some steep, some rocky. I like the idea of an adjustable travel fork. It's been a while since I had one. I go for a fast rolling rear like the Slaughter grid and HR2 Exo up front.
  • + 4
 Its all about which excuse you want. When its a bitch getting to the top of the fire road, you want the 160mm bike so you can blame it on the bike. When you are the second to last guy down the mountain you want the 130mm bike so you can blame it on the bike
  • + 3
 @acali - once you're old and fat like me, you are free to ride whatever bike you like and just don't care about making excuses Wink
  • + 2
 Lack of trail feel on longer legged bikes is a load of crap. If you can't feel the terrain then you're just not riding big enough terrain. If what you want is to feel the terrain then buy a rigid bike....or just ride the terrain that your bike is designed to ride and vice versa. But this comes back to another point about whether we're all riding the best bike for the job...I think many of us are not. I think many would be surprised to see how much more than a trail centre red run their Capra can handle. And obviously you can ride a DH bike on green runs if that floats your boat but for 90% of riders a shorter travel bike will be the better choice in that scenario. The amount of travel you need to provide a similar ride quality depends on the terrain you ride most often and as you go up to bigger, gnarlier terrain there is an obvious trade off with agility and flat out speed and that's cool if you're always riding the terrain the bike is aimed at taming - but if you're not riding such gnarly stuff a shorter travel bike will suit the terrain better. As for the geometry difference between 130 and 160 I don't see why there should be a huge difference, they both have to go up hill and they both have to come down. The shorter bike doesn't need to have such slack lines but it should still probably be slacker than they are currently simply because modern suspension is more capable than in the past; geometry should align with that.
  • + 3
 @ThomDawson - it's not just the type of terrain, it's also the speed at which you ride it, and how aggressive your lines are. I used to have a 6" suspension all mountain bike (Giant Reign). Fun on the downhill - but (as I was just getting back into MTB after a decade and a half or so away) the thing was too capable for me. So I ended up going way faster than I had any business doing, simply because the bike was so capable and confidence inspiring.

If you're hitting things at high speed, all that additional capability is really useful. If your skills (or your risk tolerance) dictate lower speeds, then capable bikes are downright boring. They don't become lively until you speed up - and at low speeds they are just unwieldy and spongy.

Agree about geometry and the more capable suspension. Huge difference in suspension from just four or five years ago - so a shorter travel bike these days can absorb bigger hits. And at the same time, there's less bob and sponginess on climbs, so you can get away with slacker bikes there.
  • + 2
 For all the hating out there that Cannondale's get, people should really take a look at them! Especially the writer to this article.

My Stats.
150mm to 90mm rear travel adjust
160mm to 130mm front travel adjust
28.1lbs with dropper and pedals

It is "The One" bike! I love it going uphill, it totally steapens seat tube angle and tightens the rear and drops the front. Then it totally slackens out and blast down the hill. There are other geo shifting bikes like Canyon, just put a talas on there or pike dual. You don't have to be stuck with a Nomad with a 36 float! You aren't doing the Mega-Avalanche every weekend! Why settle for a bike that does less than these...

And this is the old 26". Upgrading in a bit to the 27.5 160mm front and rear that shifts to 130mm (Pike) front and 95mm rear and weighs 25 lbs!

Do yourself a favor and test ride.... It didn't win the Enduro World Series 2013 by accident and came 3rd in points last year. either.
  • + 0
 "This is the kind of crap which led Waki to become a sort of celebrity on PB, while being not much more than a guy with a wild (and most of the time, boring) imagination outside of that site. There's a fine line between geniality and stupidity, and my feeling is we have been crossing it too often."

WAKI look, you're quasi-famous, even people on obscure posts about 39" bikes on VITALBMX know who you are.
  • + 2
 @FaastEddie There is no Cannon hating, they did not come up with that idea first: Scott introduced it on the Genius.
They still have it, but it is much tamer now.

And you can still find new frames of old Genius LT with travel ranging from 185 to 110 - to 0 mm in the back !

You could strap a Totem with travel adjust in the front and could ride it anywhere.

Guess that people started to favour simpler things, like the 1x transmission: not necessaraly better, but more peace of mind.

Great opinion exchange, anyway !
  • + 4
 A properly setup 160 bike does not feel spongy when going slow else it would blow through its travel when speeds pick up and impacts get more forceful.
  • + 2
 I think he meant you need to push further through the travel to reach anything that you can pop from, the platform and the end stroke is that bit further away on longer travel bikes. You have go deeper before you get that feeling of the bike pushing back. If you're using them on the terrain they're designed for you'll be just as able to use that platform and pop and fling the bike around as a shorter travel bike but try that on tamer terrain and they can feel a bit soggy and unwieldy. You'd learn to push that bit deeper in the travel over time but a shorter bike would probs still be better.
  • + 2
 I have a 160mm trail/enduro bike and I love it - in fact, for a while it was my only bike. Then I got a 120mm XC (arguably trail) bike - did a couple race, fun to ride but never as fun as my longer travel bike. Having raced 10 years prior, it was tolerable but when I was riding on real mountain trails I always wanted more.

I've since sold XC full suspension and bought a proper steel XC hardtail. Now it's clear which one is for XC and which one isn't. No need to have something that does both poorly when you can have two bike that rock each disipline. Now maybe I should have spent more money on that XC full suspension bike but I didn't think that was the right decision.
  • + 2
 Nah. I'm happier on my Scout than I was on my Rune simply because I can pick it up far easier. I'm a really light rider which I'm sure applies to this divorce or marriage. I'm probably slower, and I will be in the Alps I expect, but I don't care. I'm having way more fun.
  • + 2
 @bfm, I think Cannondale did come up with the idea. They have had lockouts on their forks since they started making forks, the Jekyll has had adjustable geometry since 1998, and the Gemini had adjustable travel since day one (2002?).
  • + 1
 @fercho25 That's straight up stupid to generalise like that, condemning sentences like "I do X because it makes me apreciate Y more" as wrong.
While I would agree that saying "I do X because Y is better" might be kind of wrong in most settings, changing between X and Y once in a while to apreciate Y more, is really good for your attitude and fun. And all that with the fact in mind, that X isn't "unfun" or "worse" than Y, but just "different", sharpening my senses and heightening my appreciation for Y in the process while already having fun. But thanks for your patronising me, I guess if that is your approach to other mind sets, well, I won't change that with a comment on a internet platform.

Also, on the topic of hardtails and trends: I posess a longish travel hardtail, it was the first MTB I ever bought. It still is vrey fun to use on a bunch of different trails and conditions, and it doesn't financially speaking sense to sell it. If I could, I would own EVERY KIND OF BIKE, at the moment I am missing a road bike, a XC racer, a CXer and something like a real trekking/adventure/travel bike. But well, here I am, stuck with only 5 different bikes. Poor me, trend whore. Dammit, I like bikes. All bikes are beatiful!
  • + 2
 @SlodownU There is much debate over who was first.
Regardless, in my opinion for a Jack of all Trades - there is no better system.

When I was told that I could adjust my travel, spring rate and rate of rebound at the flick of a switch - I was SOLD. Remember that not only travel changes, but spring rate and rebound do also for each independent travel circuit.

Why more don't do that? I'm not sure. 5+ years of riding them now, not a single issue. They're no more headache than a regular shock - with WAY greater benefits to the rider.
  • + 2
 @Sontator: thanks so much for adding this comment. really helped me in my thinking.
  • + 50
 What we need is to own a third bike right inbetween trail and enduro. I'd call it trailduro.
  • + 10
 Or can you imagine a bike with the stability of an enduro bike, but with playful 26" wheels?
  • - 4
flag jozhua130 (Feb 18, 2016 at 4:31) (Below Threshold)
 enduro ebike. neg prop away! Big Grin
  • + 4
 Endurail?
  • + 21
 Entrails?
  • + 3
 Rail 'en trails en duro give a fuck!
  • + 10
 Dont say that out loud. The industry is reading this. They may create another trend together with a new wheel size.
  • + 8
 Isn't that called "all mountain" ?
  • + 3
 @robbienroll : if that new wheelsize is 26" and they use a 20mm front hub, I wouldn't mindSmile
@ freerabbit: according to BikeRadar all mountain is the same as enduro. But it seems to be a vague term, except for BikeRadar I couldn't find any other website defining the term All Mountain.
  • + 2
 150 mm is right on the money
  • + 5
 Bro, I'm totally holding out for 143mm travel with 28.25" wheels. The Entrail bike.
P.S. I want to neg-prop myself for saying this.
  • + 2
 WARDENful
  • + 2
 Plenty of 150mm bikes already exist. The Stumpjumper for instance is an in-between trail/enduro bike. You could throw a 160mm fork on it and turn it into a more capable downhiller.
  • + 0
 Or adjustable travel. I just built an enduro bike with a Cannondale Gemini 2000 frame from the year 2004. Suspension can be set at 140, 150 or 170mm. My fork is adjustable between 110-150mm. Would have been perfect if it was a 140-180mm fork without adding weight (I run a 2.0kg RS Sektor).

With these days, adjustable travel being what many people want, i cant understand how there aren't any u-turn or similarly adjustable shocks on the market
  • + 0
 *Gemini 900 I ment.
  • + 2
 It would be great to have a room full of bikes. A road bike, a HT trail bike, a jump bike, an XC HT, an XC full suspension, a trail bike and enduro and DH bikes. A lottery win and i'd do it. That said, my 30lb 160mm bike does a great job of pedaling up hills but getting back on a road bike after 9 years has really made me realize what its like to pedal an efficient stiff frame up a hill. However my road training has made me stronger and fitter and I am enjoying my big bike even more. I am quite happy to pedal that extra weight up so that I can let it hang out on the downs. I can race enduros and local DH and do long trail rides. I could lose 5kg and save money while I am doing it and go even faster up hill. For me those few minutes of fast DH are what makes a ride and I enjoy the freedom a bike bike gives me to ride just about anything safely... Still think its the one bike, unless you race marathons or XC.
  • + 30
 That's it keep writing these articles can't wait to get my hands on cheap 26 inch dh frames Smile
  • + 3
 You are saying that as if it was a joke, but the market for used 26ers is broken. It's like heaven, I can get a lot of frames for cheap. It's like hell, I could get A LOT of frames for cheap.
  • + 2
 yes. finally one day i will own some super expensive 26er carbon frame ..
  • + 27
 Descending sounds sexier, but the truth is that technical climbing can be as much of a challenge and challenge equals fun. Anyone tracking their rides knows that most of the time is spent going uphill. Why wouldn't you want to make it enjoyable too?

Also, big suspension needs high speeds and rough trails to come alive. If you lack the terrain what's the point?
  • + 11
 This. So much. You spend way more time climbing than descending so might as well make it a good time. If you're not going to cycle through all that suspension during most descents, you picked the wrong bike anyway. Mike Levy wrote an article a little while ago about picking a bike that suits your weakness(es) and I thought it was pretty much spot on.

Going downhill is where I get the most fun but I also aiming toward being a better rider overall and I've been getting a lot of fun working on climbs lately. Getting better at climbing makes riding much more fun too.
  • + 1
 While descending is fun...probably the most fun on a mountain bike, there is nothing more rewarding than cleaning a difficult technical climb. It requires both skill and fitness, but if you think about it, it is the exact opposite of enduro.
  • + 1
 If you spend most of your time climbing then you should invest in a fatbike. Nothing climbs better. But.. nothing descends worse.
  • + 1
 @ReformedRoadie : I'm with you on the climbs being super fun. If you don't sweat it up, there's little fun/satisfaction going down.

Not sure that it is the opposite of enduro, but it surely is not that marketable movie wise: who will watch a technical climb clip ?

Bet you that less people than a fast, twisting descent...

We even have a saying when we climb: climb like they do it in the ads/movies (fast cadence, standing pedalling).

But that is just in the movies and ads...
  • + 1
 It's the opposite only in that the emphasis is in the ups not the downs.
  • + 2
 So, a guy with the handle of @ReformedRoadie likes climbing. Huh. Ya don't say....
  • + 1
 I'm talking about technical, almost trials like climbs that require skills to get up...not gravel double track.
Besides, before I did some road racing, I started on the moto, then mtb...now back on the dirt 100%
  • + 1
 Got you right the first time, that is what i am talking about, too: climbing not ascending.

Still, wouldn't get much views though, but it's super rewarding !
  • + 3
 It seems to me these days that about half of the riders would not ride at all, were it not for shuttles and lifts. The only climbing they do is into the gondola.
  • + 1
 NO ONE would pedal uphill if it didn't mean you get to bomb back down! Ever see people pedal up at a park and take the lift down? F**k no
  • + 6
 And, a lighter bike is ALWAYS more fun to ride. Whoever says a 32-lb hucker is 'pretty good' in the climbs has never felt the joy of stomping on the pedals and having the bike squirt forwards.
  • + 2
 @FindDigRideRepeat I'm a downhiller and I often find a trial-ish climb, ride to it, work it for 2h and then go back home. Sue me.
  • + 3
 Active long travel makes it easier to climb technical terrain too. I can consistently climb better on my 6.7 inch giant reign X than my hard tail because the suspension allows the rear tire to remain weighted and stay glued to the ground instead of kicking out when you hit bumps. After discovering my 6 inch bike is better for all situations, I just use my hard tail as a commuter now.
  • + 2
 Totally with you ! @TwoWheelKing
  • + 2
 Yep, its great fun climbing impossible seeming hills on a 160mm well sprung bike. Grip is outstanding and then the down arrives :-)
  • + 25
 What a crock of shit RC. It sounds as though you are starting to act your age and losing the will to shred.Moving from 160mm down to 130mm. Next thing it will be a 29er HT with semi slicks, then moving on to Roadbike and finally a mobility scooter!
  • + 28
 ^^^ "That Guy"
  • + 5
 RC . . . . He's got a point. A lot of the fast kids in my area (including mine) are moving to Downhill bikes and racing because the Enduro races and new trails are becoming "politically correct", so much so that I don't like them . . . . . And I am old!
  • + 6
 I thought the article was insightful and goes in line with the modern trend of "trail" bikes. RC knows his stuff and from what I know of the man he can chose the best tool for the job so hell why not?
  • + 8
 A lot of the "macho" 'durbro's are riding more bike than they need. Fact.
  • + 2
 I agreed with RC's post as it reflected my own thoughts. So there
  • + 5
 As a 40+ ski ripping, $2300 Alum 5010 owner, I'm content with my low bottom bracket pedal smacking Santa Cruz. I understand the mixed desire for a trail blazing DH/enduro bike vs just cruising on something plush and lively. It's really about that bounce, a balance between linear, angular and centripetal acceleration that works for you...Is there a formula that makes us feel like a 10 year old forever, should we float around on something new every season, or enjoying being out there no matter what the season, using what we got, riding it into oblivion, and patching the sh*t out of it until we or it submits?
  • + 1
 @integralnz calm down dude. RC's article was very articulate, and he did say that he had two bikes (one for trail and one for doing bastardly things). Is that how you assess mountain bike skills--by amount of travel? Don't slag roadies too. I know some who would fold you in half and stuff you in their back jersey pockets.

@RichardCunningham I'm actually in the middle of fine-tuning my 26 inch Tracer 2. I've had it for years now and I've set it up as "enduro" as it can, but I just realized I had my shock sag more on the xc side (less than 30%). I think it was because I wanted a firmer platform. I took out 10 psi to get to 30% sag and it feels like a different bike altogether. The front feels more aggressive too because it got slacked out. Pedaling it uphill didn't change much, but it's definitely more plush. You also helped me make the decision to slap the 50mm 0deg stem back and replace the 45mm 10deg I've had for a few weeks now because of what you said about riding a trail bike "decidedly forward in order to properly weight and maneuver the bike." Great article, very well written and really enjoyed reading it.
  • + 0
 Hey there uphill-blues. No offence intended, just expressing my opinion after reading RC's opinion. No I don't assess skills by amount of travel, skills relate to the rider whilst travel relates to the bike. And at what stage did I slag roadies? Everybody ends up an an E-bike sooner or later!
  • + 1
 All good @integralnz Smile My post is actually a little too "pointy" if that makes sense, so please accept my apologies. The keyboard warrior in me gets out of hand sometimes Frown

For what it's worth, I'm riding tomorrow with a buddy who just bought a YT Capra. The way I see it, it's essentially my Tracer just with 27.5 wheels. He's got the bigger wheels, stiffer frame, and much longer wheelbase, but I got the stiffer fork and quicker steering. The trail is "El Prieto" here in Southern CA which is very heavy on the switchbacks, and is my favorite trail. It'll be interesting to see how his Capra handles something where you can't go full speed. Also, we're climbing 7 miles before we make the descent. I feel it's like an episode of Initial D.
  • + 1
 Mobility Scooter. That cracks me up. Can't see it happening...
  • + 1
 Heyyyyy. My +1 is exactly that... a HT 29er with Maxxis Minion SS rear.

No road bike for me ever again. That death wish was no fun when I tried it years ago. Cars and a*shole drivers just DGAF.
  • + 23
 I think the beauty of a enduro bike is only owning one bike. What your saying in this article is that we should all own two or three bikes. Sounds like the industry wants to sell more. I'll admit if I could afford it I would have a bike for every day of the week, but that's not realistic. I got some advice, buy whatever bike you feel comfortable on, and go ride.
  • + 3
 this
  • + 7
 Actually, I think he was saying that the days of having one bike for trail and enduro are gone...and it would be nice if one bike could still suit both equally well. I think enduro has gone a bit too far, too DH, it alienates it from the way most people ride. Add in lift access and an enduro becomes a DH event. But that may be just me.
  • + 17
 It's a never ending cycle of "re-labelling" bikes, really. And we riders fall for it every single time. Remember a time when a "freeride" bike was a DH, trailbike, "mini DH" and even (to some) an XC rig? Back then, the Fox 36 was for DH & Freeride. Go to their site now and it's an All Mountain fork. I guess there is no way to break the cycle. I'm not complaining, though, as bikes now are better than ever.
  • + 2
 The bikes are not necessarily new indeed. The definition of a freeride bike back in the early 2000s is same as what we call enduro now. A bike built to descent, but still something you can pedal up hill, unlike a DH bike.

Look at the early day Stinkies for example, built with 150mm suspension (F+R) and a granny ring up front so you can pedal up hill. When the definition of freeride started to change more into NWD style hacking of cliffs and north shores, they created the Coiler, which was what the Stinky first was about. And if you look at the geometries, a 2005 Coiler is very similar to a 2016 Process 153. Main difference is the longer top tube lengths bikes have nowadays, but if you buy a frame one size larger you'll have a very similar bike, just with a 1" longer seat tube.

Indeed like you say, what's changed is the relabeling of bikes, not necessarily the bikes themselves.
  • + 4
 Nah, Freeride bikes were nothing like Enduro bikes... they generally weighed A LOT, and were pretty wallowy.
  • + 3
 As someone who ride bikes then and now, I can assure you, they are not the same. And although the basic notion of Free-ride is today the same, riding style was way different back then, and it had a lot to do with the limitations of the machines being ridden. Enduro bikes are trail bikes with DH geometry, designed for what I call "long-course" DH. "Freeride" machines were built for big hits and stunts.
  • + 2
 @Spittingcat: yes, thanks to technology our bikes got lighter and lighter. But for their time, freeride bikes back in the days were built similarly to enduro bikes nowadays.

@DARKSTAR63 : So have I. Look at the Kona Stinky 2002 for example, or at the Specialized Big Hit Comp 2002. These bikes were designed with in mind that they should be able to get you up the hill as well (relatively, for their times), but with their main focus on the descents and jumping. In that same period these companies already had downhill bikes with a 44T single ring with chain guide up front and 200mm front and rear suspension. Still their "freeride" lines always had a granny ring, a reasonable amount of suspension (around 130-150mm) and were a lot less heavy than the downhill bikes.
Only around 2003-2004 is when the definition of a freeride bike started to mean a bike that is as strong as possible so you can huck off the biggest possible cliffs.

But for their time, for example the Stinky and Big Hit Comp (both 2002 for example) were similarly designed bikes to what we now call enduro. Only once freeride went hucking big, Kona continued doing enduro with their Coiler series and Specialized continued doing enduro with the SX Trail.
  • - 1
 Even the guys at Kona say the same thing as I say in this interview: www.pinkbike.com/news/Kona-what-happened.html


"PINKBIKE: When I was looking up photos for this article, I came across the 2002 Stinky Primo. I ignored the bike back in 2002, but looking at it now, it's sweet. It's got a Z1 with 130mm of travel, a triple crank, Hayes brakes (which were the best thing going at the time), a shortish stem, and it's a five or six inch travel bike with slack enough geometry that you could jump around on it, but you could still pedal it. Basically it looks like a trail bike. It sounds like if you can mix the efficiency and performance of a downhill race bike with the fun of the original Stinky, that's a pretty darn good bike.

KONA: That's a really astute point. In 2002, the Stinkies, they were really just trail bikes. That's what people were doing on them. As the freeride thing got bigger we evolved them into freeride bikes, but originally everyone was really just riding trail on it before "trail bikes" were a thing. Today’s 160mm pedaling all mountain bike is more capable than yesterday’s 7 inch travel freeride bike. So you can hit all the same moves and your bike is 10 pounds lighter and you can pedal it efficiently."
  • + 1
 They were getting up hills- they weren't good at it. They were too heavy due to being built for taking abuse. They only climbed because they had granny cogs. I suppose in a way things have come full circle in that we once rode one bike for everything ... some of us then realized that it was better for the bike to specialize... My 2001 Rm6 was my "trail-bike" for awhile, but it was not an efficient peddler, nor was it light. Problem was, trail bikes of the time would crumble when ridden off a five or six foot drop. Fast forward fifteen years and the technology allows a bike that both climbs well, (not climbs, but actually climbs well) but also descends well and takes the abuse. We can now build the bike we WISH we could build then. It's not a re-branding- it's a re-invention.
  • + 0
 Of course they weren't good climbers. But they were designed as that same do it all bike as trail and enduro bikes are right now. I just think that that's trail bikes weren't popular back then, because they simply weren't good in being a do it all bike due to bikes not being evolved yet. Indeed like you said that we now build the bikes we wish we could back then. Only you call in reinvention, I call it evolution of the same bike.
  • + 1
 It's a different bike ... for the same thing. You had DH bikes riding trails, now you have trail bikes riding DH .... lol - It's all good, I think we actually see eye to eye on this. The original post was in regards to "re-branding" and rider "falling" for a trick and I don't see that at all.
  • + 1
 @DARKSTAR63, I would reference @Mattin's post on Kona's answer to an interview regarding the Stinkies. The thing about being "tricked" is that the person doesn't even know he/she is being tricked. You yourself said "Enduro" bikes are trail bikes. So when did this "Enduro" term become an accepted term for a trail bike? Fact is that Enduro races have become the platform to market long travel trail bikes. A few years ago, those could be marketed as "Big Mountain" bikes. You say freeride bikes were far from today's "Enduro" bikes and yet Specialized came out with a video not too long ago with Bearclaw riding one on freeride trails. If Enduro races were called Freeride races, guess what manufacturers would call their long travel trail bikes?

But again I'm not complaining. Bikes today are just so much better. I totally understand the points you made, however, but let's agree to disagree.
  • + 1
 You can still put a granny ring on a Dh bike it doesn't make it enduro or xc.

Those bikes had granny rings mainly for traversing flat sections of trails between big hits and getting from the trail to the truck. I know as well I since I was riding them and so where all my friends doing the same thing.

The coiler was probably closer to the first enduro/trail bike.
  • + 12
 In an ideal world i would own a trail bike and a downhill bike but i'm married with a kid on the way and don't make bulla moneys so i just bought an 'enduro' bike because i need a bike that can shred my local trails and still be capable enough for lift access. I think this is why people buy enduro bikes.
  • + 15
 "my circle of friends – top bike-handlers who can afford to own any bike that they wish for" #OutBoastKanye
  • + 1
 lmao
  • + 9
 I still ride a hardtail as my only mountain bike. And I live where there's plenty of climbing and descending, some of it gnarly. And you know what? I enjoy riding it both up and down. Sure, I'd be faster, especially downhill, with suspension, but I still have plenty of fun and drop plenty of folks on full suspension bikes.
I've been riding mountain bikes my whole life, and much as I love it, I can't afford one of these $5,000+ modern bikes, let alone TWO! I get what he's saying here, but it's pretty ridiculous to think you need two bikes to have fun. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to have more, and we all know about the "n+1" rule, but as long as we're riding, be happy!
  • + 10
 I ride a 160mm bike with a 180mm fork for gravity and a hardtail with 130mm fork for anything else. Both are 26" and both put a massive smile on my face.
  • + 8
 When riding my 650B spesh enduro elite with 160mm travel and weighing 13kg (with a few tweeks) I have never once thought that I needed a better climber or anything more nimble. It really seems to be the best of both worlds. To me blowing another couple of grand on a 120 - 130mm bike just seems pointless.
  • + 1
 The perfect bike once you painted over the logo.
  • + 6
 Its so rediculous how much the industry changes, I have an 2011 intense SS2 mini dh bike. I love this thing to death, I've got a Rocky mountain Altitude rally on order. My enduro bike is more slacked out, lower bb, and longer tt than my DH.... WTF my enduro bike is more dh than my dh????
  • - 1
 Sell the Intense man, unless you bike park every weekend.
  • + 1
 I don't need the money and I love all my bikes. I always keep more on hand than i can ride. It's my passion. More bikes = something always exciting to ride, get bored of the enduro hop on the hard tail trail.
  • + 9
 Recently divorced and I can tell you my lust for riding has never been stronger....geo doesn't matter.
  • + 6
 "riders in my circle of friends – top bike-handlers who can afford to own any bike that they wish for" lmfao. California talk. always the most expensive bikes parked outside starbucks or 'top handlers' jamming up your trails.
  • + 5
 It is obvious to say but suspension design and geometry has allowed 120mm travel bikes to be competent descenders. The right progressivity with the right valving can make the bike feel planted and bottomless.

Whereas you may give up tenths (or even a second or so) in the downhills, the efficiency of a short travel bike makes that back up in spades on the flats or climbing.

I'm no fan of climbing, but giving me a faster overall speed, allowing to ride longer, faster IS appealing to me.

The terrain near me also dictates my choice of bike. I think if I lived in the Pacific Northwest or BC, a 150-160mm travel bike would make more sense. The terrain I ride daily just isn't as technical or downhilly. I owned an Enduro 27.5 but it was just too much travel, hence I sold it and got an Evil Following. I am still amazed by its composure when it gets steep and rough.

TL;DR
I agree with the article. In my case, all that's needed for me is my Evil Following and a DH bike and that will cover 99% of the riding I do/enjoy.
  • + 1
 You nailed it chillin'.
  • + 1
 short travel trail bike and DH bike, not too much travel for the everyday local trails, and enough travel for the big trips.
  • + 5
 buy more bikes that's all i hear, no matter which one you have ...it's not the right one. You need one for sunny days one for rainy days, one for everyday of the week, one because rocks are bigger than 3" in your aera, one because you'll just look stupid if you don't have it, one to go up , one to go down, one to go big, one with bigger this or that to make you believe you are a better rider. To mountain bike all you need is a bike and a trail
  • + 5
 Everybody take a breath. It's a legitimate argument. We all watch DH oriented videos all day, because really, who wants to watch a "sick climbing edit"? We romanticize the descent, we find excuses to take the day off work not to climb a fire road, but to smash corners, fly down the trail, and hear the whizzing of the freehub.
RC is right though. We spend a lot of time climbing and twisting our way through flatter singletrack. The article isn't condemning enduro race bikes, it's just pointing out that the bike designs are beginning to diverge. I'm getting a new bike soon and all along I assumed it would be a matter of picking which 150-160mm frame to go with, but I've been grappling with trail vs. enduro. Evil Following or Wreckoning?
  • + 6
 Trying too hard.

It's nice to wax poetic, compare/contrast, and even argue semantics once in a while, but...

Ride your bike. And if it's not working for you, ride a different bike.
  • + 5
 My bike might be slightly too much for local trails, but then I don't have the money or the room to own multiple bikes. And I would bet that people who own multiple full suspension bikes are in the minority. Right now, I can take my bike to Whistler one day, and then take the same bike on more XC type trek the next, and I'm not horribly put out going in either direction. This makes MTBing as a hobby much more accessible. Pushing this idea that you need multiple bikes is a ludicrous step backwards, imo.
  • + 5
 What a load of rubbish. I think you have to be a bike journalist to be thinking about stuff like this. We ride every week-end. Half my friends have a Capra and I have a Meta. We just get on with what's under our buttocks and are loving it. Just ride what you like and stop thinking "ooooh if only I had 20mm less travel and my head angle was 0.5 degrees steeper". If you're having to be philosophical about stuff like this, you've just made biking boring.

Now please write me up a review of some really awesome bike I'll never be able to afford.
  • + 9
 I'm riding all mountain. All of them. On one bike. Meh.
  • + 8
 HOW ABOUT WE ALL JUST RIDE THE BIKES WE HAVE RATHER THAN OBSESSING ABOUT PIGEON HOLING THEM.
  • + 4
 AND REMEMBER THAT THERE IS PROBABLY SOMEONE WHO CAN RIDE YOUR FAVORITE TRAIL BLIND AND FASTER THAN YOU ON A 4" TRAVEL 26" HARDTAIL.
  • + 5
 Great article as always Richard. Couple thoughts...

Mainly there seems to be a trend of the last couple years of making enduro courses basically into DH courses. And that is fine and understandable but the effect is that they are requiring the 160mm travel bike (to do well in the race) and full armor. And conversely you hear more and more grumbling at the enduro races about climbing.

Maybe there is something lost in the enduro scene for people who want to race but don't want XC races and don't want full DH enduro courses. Reading the comments there are a ton of people who love riding their "Trail bike" but maybe they also want to race for the competition. What would a trail bike race look like?
  • + 1
 It would be xc bikes. With a capable rider, an xc bike will gain minutes on long climbs, and only lose a little on the downhills. I maintain that the fastest all-around bike is a super light xc hardtail 29er. The only way to change this would be to find a super technical loop that just can't be ridden on an xc bike, and then you'd have people pushing their bikes and complaining that it's too technical.
  • + 1
 @skelldify Unless you weighted the downhill times vs the uphill or did some sort of enduro style time with some uphill in there.
  • + 5
 Riding/racing an enduro 29er last year then demoing a v2 5010 made me realize just how much work the long travel bike was doing for me, sorting out my bad line choices and smoothing out the trails. Granted, it is an incredible bike if you are looking for fast times.

But darting though the trees and popping off features on the 5010 made me feel like a kid again and I came away with a massive grin. Far more involving and never felt that the aggressive(ish) geo and short travel got me into any bother that I wasn't ready for.
  • + 3
 I have an Enduro 29 as well, and am moving to an area where the trails really don't justify the amount of travel or "descendability" of the bike. I'm toying with the idea of selling it to get something more trail oriented...120-130mm travel, to suit the local terrain, but I'm having a hard time parting with the Enduro because it is a pretty versatile bike. Sure its a bit more work on long climbs, but I tell myself just to get in better shape rather than blame the bike.

I'm intrigued by your comments on the playfullness of the 5010. The other decision I have to make is whether to stay with a 29er, or move to 27.5 in shorter travel.

If nothing else, all the options out there these days certainly make it hard to decide on just "one bike".
  • + 5
 @WoodyTobiasJR demo a modern 120mm 29er for sure - best of both
  • + 2
 Thanks @graeme187. I did rent a Pivot trail 429 a couple of months ago in Phoenix, but as the terrain there is so different than in B.C., it wasn't really a fair test. It was a fun bike to ride though. I even rode one day with 29er wheels and the next with 27.5+.

I think your suggestion is a valid one though. I need to start looking for a few to demo.

Thanks
  • + 1
 @WoodyTobiasJR One bike, are you crazy!!
  • + 1
 Haha. Yeah, I think that ship has sailed. Maybe it's time to go back to a DH bike and a trail bike, rather than searching for the Holy Grail.
  • + 2
 @mikeep you nailed it. The new 5010 is a blast to ride. Depends where you ride of course but it's an ideal all-around bike.
Anyone who says a 150-160mm is the perfect trail bike really needs to demo a v2 5010 to see how big the difference is.
  • + 1
 I Demo'd a 5010. It blew my mind.

Climbs better than my previous carbon anthem 29er. 5010 had 20 more MM travel and smaller wheels. Downhill capability was great, but i was using all of the travel on a pretty mellow trail.

I then demo'd a Nomad and it blew my mind. It climbed well and it turned incorrect line choices into "correct" due to the traction and travel. Weight penalty was minimum. I only used 80% of the travel

I bought a demo nomad.


Now RC tells me I need to sell it. Frown
  • + 2
 So 80% of 165mm = 132mm................
  • + 1
 On a mellowish trail. Full travel gets used elsewhere
  • + 5
 Not to sure on what to think about this article. While it sends the term 'Enduro' in the right direction, which is certainly a very good thing and exactly what the industry needs to do, it tells me to own two (non-downhill) bikes is the best, which can be understood as "buy more bikes, you need more bikes!!!".
  • + 1
 We always need more bikes (n+1) remember
  • + 1
 He employs the endless loop analysis theory to non-issues
  • + 4
 I don't understand all the hate here. Great analogy and great article. I think many of us that lust after the latest and greatest but live around tamer terrain feel the pull that RC describes. Yea, a nomad/enduro/sanction is gorgeous and testosterone-laden but they has way more travel than needed for folks that aren't at the cusps of steep terrain. In the rolling "mountains" of the mid-atlantic, you can justify a Bronson for smashing your buddies into submission on the downs, but a 5010 is probably a lot more fun on the whole. More options = better bikes for what you do.
  • + 4
 You can keep skinny tires on hardtails, a curbstomped ass from the climb, 3x8 drivetrains that never work right and constantly drop chains, and stupid sketchy geometry. The climb is only a necessary evil. In fact, I only ride XC trails to get in shape for the downhills. This article gave me Forest Whittaker eye.
  • + 1
 You sound like my son. . . . . Kids ! ! ! Actually most top Enduro/DH racers feel the same way including me.
  • + 4
 The problem with new geo trailbike is that they descent too well for their travel. The Mach 4 I own is a beast, up and down, but it got beat up so bad on the downs. It sure holds the line of the 150 mm bike you are following, but your bike (and body) take a beating doing so. Funniest bike of all, I admit, but cracked BB shell and loose bearing joints on the back make me think of getting more travel. We, normal people, cannot afford 2 bikes in the garage. Just to get one 6K bike is making my kidney crying is heart out to no be sold...
  • + 1
 which is why 29er short travel makes sense
  • + 5
 Is this the first time ever that someone proclaimed that a bike descends too well for its travel?
  • + 2
 @patpero -> I think your statement is spot on. Reviews of the Process 111 for example mention this. Agressive geo and wagon wheels get you moving quickly, but then you run out of travel when things get gnarly. This is exactly why I'm leaning towards a Stumpy 29 over a Process 111, Smuggler, Camber, or Horsethief. Better geo is gonna get me descending faster, and I'm already tapping out my 120mm rear easily as it is. If my geo gets more aggressive, I need more travel so I'm gonna bump it up to 135 in the rear.
  • + 4
 This describes exactly what is now happening between my Yeti SB66c and my recently acquired Santa Cruz 5010c...

The Yeti is gathering dust because the 5010 is such a badass, versatile bike. It's an absolute blast to ride and whatever it lacks when things get real rough is more than compensated for by how damn fun the 5010 is everywhere else.

Probably can't sell the Yeti for what it's worth because it's 26"... So I keep it for whenever a buddy wants to ride it or when I know I'm gonna be doing some serious descending.

I think RC sees the future here and in a few years things in the industry are going to swing back to trail bikes being the trendy standard.
  • + 4
 And here I am in a age of modern full squish bikes with space age tech, building a hardtail as an only bike. I wholeheartedly agree that the modern trail bikes punch well above their category for a civilian, and that enduro bikes are becoming downhill bikes that can be used for climbing. And I for one am loving the whole new trend of shorter travel more fun movement. Great article as always RC.
  • + 3
 Lots of people in the sea to sky owned a Trail bike and a DH bike. Then lots of us sold our DH bikes for the "one bike to rule them all" Enduro bike. Now that enduro bikes are basically little DH bikes our Enduro bikes are to much for a daily driver so we are adding a smaller trail bike.. Slow clap to the Bike industry for tricking us all into consuming more!!!
  • + 3
 Pick the right tool for your trails. I rode a 6" Uzzi slx for years (then a nomad) until the enduro craze meant I could get a Reign spec'd just the way I would build it myself, in order to climb for 1.5 hours and then descend for 10 mins. Most of the "buff" trails I see pictures from would be most fun on my old Azonic DS-1 hard tail with 130 mm fork, lol, and High Roller UST tires; a modern enduro bike on those, including the pic for this article, would be a waste of carbon and unnecessary compression of air =)
  • + 3
 My full suspension 27.5 160/150 bike is sitting lonely in the garage while I've taken my HONZO out 3x this week. I ride the HONZO down the same techy singletrack that most use 150mm full suspension rigs on....why do I do this?

Because the HONZO climbs better and gives me more energy to rip the descents (doesn't matter that I'm riding a hardtail). Point is, I can ride longer without getting tired on my HONZO vs my full suspension bike.
  • + 3
 It´s a matter of personal choice. I have a 140mm front/120mm rear trailbike that is really playful and capable, but when the track points downhill, there´s nothing sweeter than my170mm/165mm all mountain bike. And the gnarly downhills are the reason I ride mountain bikes. If there´s no DH in the riding it´s no fun, I´d rather do something else. So the bigger bike is the one I ride the most.
  • + 1
 Isn't that what we live for? If riding was all uphill, with a few rolling hills… I wouldn't ride. I live for the ride down.

I stand by the idea that 160 is the magic number.

A 160mm bike set up stiff, with 1" of sag still has a remaining 5.25" of compression travel (if needed) If not needed it'll pedal well due to the stiffer suspension.
A 130mm bike set up stiff, with .75" of sag only has a remaining 4.25" of compression travel. You are almost guaranteed to use that, and it won't pedal THAT much better.

Most 130mm bikes are slackening out, to produce confidence.. And most 160mm bikes are staying with reasonable head angles to beat the stigma of a downhill bike.

I'm just sitting here crying wishing I went 160mm - still.
  • + 1
 Watch the geometry angles, go bigger travel and Love life. That would be my ultimate suggestion when spending $3000+ on a new rig.
  • + 3
 RC. Nobody can make the message boards light up like you. My thought is that the Genesis of enduro was to mimic trail bikes and the type of riding we all mostly do. As high level enduro racing mimics downhill and requires world class downhill skills to compete, it remains exciting to follow but less relevant to the average rider. My point is that enduro (and the bike industry) needs the trail bike way more than the trail bike needs enduro
  • + 2
 You are right. As much as people want to bill enduro as "all mountain" or "the type of riding we all do", its just a myth. That's just not what it is. Enduro is a race format, and its a format where the only "racing" is done on the downhill sections. Yes there is climbing involved, but if its not timed its not part of the race. So what you essentially have is a longer endurance type DH race. It makes perfect sense that "enduro" bikes are being more and more skewed toward the descents but the truth is that RC is probably correct in this article in that most riders would likely find a shorter travels less slacked out "trail" bike a better option.
  • + 2
 Is there a place in racing for "trail bikes" and the riders who ride them? As the sport has progressed, the "buy-in" to race XC or DH got too high for the casual racer. You simply needed a bigger investment in terms of time and commitment than the average rider was able or willing to give in order to roll up to the starting line.

Originally, Super D, then enduro, was supposed to change all that and bring back to Peoples racing. Enduro entries are currently packed, the CES series sells out each event in 24 hours or so. If US enduro racing, which is "enduro-lite" compared to Europe, perhaps, keeps moving towards the harder terrain and higher speeds that require a 160mm+ bike to compete, will enduro racing also become the intimate little gathering that has driven most local/small promoters out of the sport?
  • + 1
 As someone stated above, it is about buying a bike oriented toward the trails you ride and how you want to ride them. And sometimes when you are first starting out you are not sure what you exactly like. So after a year you may say i want more or less travel. And unfortunately you may want a different bike and have to spend more money.
  • + 1
 There just needs to be more races and series available and marketed to a more average rider.
  • + 3
 Well, lots of feedback on RC story. Stirring the pot,emotions, blah,blah,blah.
The only thing that matters is being on "your bike".
There are so many choices to get caught up in, that you will waste more time on your computer then actually riding your bike.
The industry always has the next best thing to keep you wanting more.
Do not get me wrong, I love the new tech, but really, the only person that is going to make you happy is you, not the material shit.
  • + 3
 Buy more bikes that's all i hear, no matter which one you have ...it's not the right one. You need one for sunny days one for rainy days, one for everyday of the week, one because rocks are bigger than 3" in your aera, one because you'll just look stupid if you don't have it, one to go up , one to go down, one to go big, one with bigger this or that to make you believe you are a better rider. To mountain bike all you need is a bike and a trail
  • + 3
 I've ridden a few "enduro bikes" recently that climb better or as well as trail bikes a few years old. The Mach 6 and nomad both climb great and the handling isn't bad in tight stuff even on a long nomad. If you're not descending much at a time get Bronson or something similar and move on. They pedal like a 100 mm XC bike did 5 years ago, they're light, and super fun to ride. Unless you're a serious XC rider why do you need more pedal ability? A road bike friend demo'd one and said it climbed like as well as her road bike.
  • + 2
 Yes, when you pedal on flat the Bronson accelerates like a sportscar compared to the Nomad.
  • + 5
 I've always been curious what the Pinkbike editors ride for the personal bikes. RC, may we ask what two bikes you have in your garage?
  • + 3
 It is just a matter of getting it right. Get a bike like a IBIS HD3 and you can have your cake and eat it too (150 mm travel, absurdly efficient uphill, world-class descender, set it up more trail oriented with a 150 fork). Or you can get something like a Nomad or a Yeti SB6c and indeed you are stuck with a bike that is good mostly for one thing ... going down.

But the "new" 130 mm class is just marketing. Cracks me up how we go in circles and how we are periodically told (as in: " every couple of years or less") that we need new things. With modern shocks and especially if you are on a VPP or DW-link suspension it makes zero difference to be on 130 or 150 travel.
  • + 2
 @duzzi -> I don't see it as supporting a "new" class, just emphasizing that 'all-mountain' bikes (er, 'enduro') have become more gravity oriented, so that they're more than a lot of riders need. At the same time trail bikes have become more capable so you can get away with a lot of mischief on a 130mm frame.

Though yes, it's all just a sick song and dance and in the end if half the population sells their Enduro or Patrol for a Stumpy or Smuggler, then so be it.

Also, not sure I get our 130/150 statement. Don't pretty much all 130 bikes outclimb their 150 counterparts regardless of how their valved or vpp'd? (eg. 5010 vs Bronson) Lock em both out and one still has better geo for climbing.
  • + 2
 130 bikes do not necessarily outclimb 150 bikes. It depends on how you design them and set them up. Take the Ibis HD3: especially with a 150 fork it arguably climbs as well as a 120 Ripley. Of course if you take a Nomad as a starting point you are going to find a difference, but it is geometry not travel. Take a 150 vs 130 with similar geometries and you will be VERY hard pressed to find a difference, especially with "platform" suspension designs.

I do find the idea that suddenly we need 130 bike a bit silly. It is as if all the improvements of the last decade went out of the window. Such a call would have made sense fifteen years ago, before VPP/DW and ultra tunable shocks came to market.
  • + 3
 Hence the article; 2 bikes needed for maximum trail/ enduro pleasure?!
Well, I am still sticking to one, but this season I am daring to try something new, for me at least: I am ditching my kick-ass/ rock n roll Bronson C and putting together a Stumpy FSR EVO 29 Expert. Last year wide rims made a huuuuge change in riding experience, perhaps 29er this year. Try something new!
  • + 3
 So.... my everyday bike sits somewhere inbetween those with its 150mm Fox 36 on the front, 135mm travel rear and 29" wheels, and I use it for enduro and trail riding.

Maybe time for a new market 'niche'.....Trailduro folks, you heard it here first
  • + 1
 Hell yes. Trailduro is where it's at. Stumpy with a 150mm fork or a Hightower. Plus look at the Remedy 29's success at the EWS. Put a 150 or even 160 fork on that bike and there's nothing you can't slay.
  • + 2
 How about to each their own? The only people I feel bad for are the ones who bought a true enduro race focused bike (nomad/reign etc) and are trying to use it as a trail bike. There are lots of good 140-160mm trail bikes out there, that climb okay, handle well and don't make me slow down much on the fun parts (that would be the downy bits).
  • + 2
 The simple truth that I finally came to realise in Whistler last summer is that I enjoy riding a downhill bike once a year not because of the amount of travel, but because of the extreme geometry. I don't ride hard enough or go big enough to need or even use that much suspension travel, and I expect that this is also true of a majority of mountain bikers. Most of us also probably don't need 160mm either. But the geometry that comes with a downhill bike, or the more agressive 160mm bikes, I do appreciate. Riding a downhill bike, even if I'm only using a fraction of the suspension travel, makes it easy to ride down stuff much steeper than I would on my regular bike. We are just enjoying one of the rare periods where the bike industry, by some strange confluence of luck and other mysterious factors, decides to make bikes that are actually suited for consumers, instead of telling consumers that they need a bike specifically designed for professional racing. The same thing is happening now on the road side as well, with gravel and adventure bikes. It's a good time to be a cyclist.
  • + 1
 I think they can always up the standards for durability. I had two bikes in the early 2000's, one where the fork broke off at the stanchion, and the other where the frame broke in half. The one where the fork broke off was a fucking expensive TOL bike at the time! Also the drive side chain stay is deformed some.
  • + 2
 I can afford ( which means me and my fam struggle for 2-3 months) one state of the art bike ata time. 160 satisfies everyone of my needs except for urban beer lurking.I have a rigid SS DJ for that. I use all 160mm and wouldn't want more or less. The sweet spot for me. 130 is an XC bike to me which is actually kind of absurd when I used to want a Judy DH 3" back in the day.
  • + 2
 The success of the trek remedy both in sales and on the track both presaged this. The 5.5" trail bike carried a bunch of riders to enduro victories (suggesting that slacker longer travel books had little to offer in real performance) and proceed more playful on the less than insane trails most of us really ride. I will miss that bike.
  • + 5
 Before Enduro, Kona pushed the term BackCountry bikes fun on the downs but able to pedal back up all day long
  • + 3
 i had a Dawg. my first bouncy bike.
  • + 1
 My wife and I each had a Dawg as our first bouncy bikes too! Then we bought a Coiler each. BackCountry/Freeride sure was fun. Still ride 'em today in fact.
  • + 2
 Rider weight
Rider strength
Rider style
Terrain
Tyre choice
Suspension settings /type
Frame stiffness
Fork stiffness

20mm travel ? well you know it's definitely another factor, and it's a breeze to market us a word or too ...

Trailduro Smile that sounds responsive !!!
  • + 2
 Nice piece, Rich.

This off season, I've been tempted to get rid of my trusty ol' Sensor (120), and just stick to my Shenanigan (160) as my "full time ride". I've already got my DH up on Buy/Sell...so I'm already going from 3 bikes to 2, and I was pondering life with just 1 full sus mtb. Maybe even considering selling all 3 to get 1 new fangled "quiver killer".

But in reality, most of the riding I do (like 90%) is better suited for a trail bike, your classic 50% up, 50% down single track. Sure, I've done the same trails on my AM whip (yup, all mountain, I said it!), and I'm faster on the downhill parts (albeit slower going back up), but all in all, it's not as challenging- and not as fun.

I'm going to stick with the trail bike in the arsenal. I'll keep the Shenan for days I feel like ripping, or for my trips to the lift access parks, but there's room in my arsenal (and apt, barely) for the trail bike still.

PS - someone please buy my Moorewood Izimu. It's pretty kick ass... I just don't use it often enough, because I've become a puss.
  • + 2
 More confused now than before. You're saying trail and enduro bikes are becoming more distinct - then you have a pic of an Intense Tracer, saying it is one of the high points in the evolution of long travel trail bikes... What? And here I would have classified the Tracer as "enduro". The Tracer seems the perfect example of how trail/enduro are less distinct and possibly more merging - if you do it right. I mean you call it a trail bike - but it has 140 - 160mm rear travel, with a Fox 36 fork, head angle on paper may be a smidge steeper than the "enduro" yeti sb6c or nomad (nomad is notoriously geared to DH side of things) - so pretty bad example in my book of how trail and enduro are diverging - when those specs are pretty darn close to enduro. Wouldn't a Carbine 29 with 140mm rear travel been more suitable to showcase a "trail" bike.
  • + 3
 trillot^^^: The Tracer 275c is my example of the break point - when trail and enduro racing bikes were the same animal. It's not as stable as many contemporary enduro type bikes at speed, buti it can still mach DH trails without giving up anything on a challenging stretch of rolling forest singletrack.
  • + 1
 Richie... For starters, I can't wait to see your EWS highlight reels this year! I really like your commentary! What do you think of the idea that more manufactures should make shape shifting bikes and that would solve this whole argument? I believe you can have the best of both worlds...

My Stats. Cannondale Jekyll
150mm to 90mm rear travel adjust
160mm to 130mm front travel adjust
28.1lbs with dropper and pedals

It is "The One" bike! I love it going uphill, it totally steapens seat tube angle and tightens the rear and drops the front. Then it totally slackens out and blast down the hill. There are other geo shifting bikes like Canyon, just put a talas on there or pike dual. You don't have to be stuck with a Nomad with a 36 float! You aren't doing the Mega-Avalanche every weekend! Why settle for a bike that does less than these...

And this is the old 26". Upgrading in a bit to the 27.5 160mm front and rear that shifts to 130mm (Pike) front and 95mm rear and weighs 25 lbs!

Do yourself a favor and test ride.... It didn't win the Enduro World Series 2013 by accident and came 3rd in points last year. either.
  • + 3
 Hah I sell my HT, DH and trail Bike because of one high and carbon Enduro bike Razz I can with kill that any bikepark or trail as I can also go to the long ridge to enjoy nature. And now I should by also Trail bike Big Grin Big Grin Why?
  • + 3
 I enjoy the hell out of my father's 2009 Stumpy HT 26". That thing flies and I can be 99% of the time on the limit. Either mine for puking or the bike using all 10cm front squish and the rotors getting burning hot. Pure fun.
  • + 5
 So wait...is my 165mm trail bike not fun anymore, or is it still fun? I'm confused.
  • + 6
 Choose a riding style and be a d*ck about it.....
  • + 2
 Good write up Richard. I can see where your coming from. I never followed the whole Enduro bandwagon BS and I very glad I did not get into it. I am very happy with the bike I bought, a Santa Cruz Bronson, that can do it all. She climbs like a mountain goat and descends like bat out of hell! I am happy to call her my trail bike!!!
  • + 2
 Interesting thoughts. Very close to mine, except I can only have one good off road bike.

I recently bought a 125mm Travel, 650b wheeled Trail Bike, with 140mm forks up at the front (Transition Scout) . This was to replace a 10yr old 123mm Travel, 26" wheeled bike from the North Shore, rocking 130mm Floats (Cove Hustler). The new bike is long and low compared to the old one, inspires so much confidence and plummets like a ton of granite kicked out of a plane. Both bikes climb okay (Scout is 2x10 XT), the Scout maybe a bit lazy on the steering, and I need to perch on the saddle nose on some of the steeper local tech climbs.

Would I go longer and slacker? Not a chance, still haven't acclimatized to the forward descending postilion on this, and the lazy steering on wooded climbs can annoy. But the main reason is I want to have a bike I can blast around the Moors, Trail Centers and Bike Park all day long, with maximum smile per mile. This does that. "Capable" isn't acceptable, "Versatile" is the way to go.

If I could have 2 Bikes? A Ti 27.5+ Hard-tail, with Single Speed Gates Belt Drive and 120mm forks please.
  • + 2
 its funny, its like everyone everywhere had changed the mind from last year! i too last year thought 160 mm would be an all arounder but today i think 140-150sh would be the one! and looks like everyone is thinking the same way. I mean the new stumpjumper would be a great example.
  • + 2
 So...how I see it and have since the start, not being a fan of the target audience marketing label, there are hardtail bikes, short travel bikes, shorter medium travel bikes, medium travel bikes, longer medium travel bikes and long travel bikes. And it really doesn't matter which one or ones that you choose. We ride mountain bikes....it is called mountain biking... It is all about your perfect stoke on whatever "type" of trails that you grace with whatever mountain bike you chose. Not sure if I am alone here, but I like a burlier longish travel ride mainly because my thrashed body needs the cush, I don't want to worry about lightweight failure rates, and I feel much stronger after those long rides.
Genre = 0, get out a ride whatever you have = 1
  • + 2
 @RichardCunningham Great write up here, RC. I think you really nailed it.

When I was shopping for a new frame a couple months ago it was always between the HD3 and v2 Bronson.Then I tried the new 5010. Wow, what a difference. Huge. Perfect for the trails I ride and the way I ride. So lively, and poppy and so much fun.

I think you and Scot Nicols are bang on that the current crop of 130mm, 27.5 trail bikes are ideal for a huge segment of riders.
  • + 6
 The race to sell short travel xc bikes has begun.
  • + 2
 We have no mountains in Denmark ( I cry myself to sleep every night ), but I've found that a 130-150mm aggressive hardtail (Trail, AM, call it what you want) really shines on the relatively hilly terrain with roots etc. But when it comes to racing in Denmark it's my XC race machine I choose.
  • + 2
 I do love my Nomad but was thinking about downsizing to the new Bronson. I think if Bronson 2.0 had been out when I was shopping I'd have gone with it, but the wheelbase is the same size for size. May not be enough of a difference to notice. The new hub standard killed my enthusiasm for switching too.
  • + 1
 I loved my Bronson but replaced it with a Nomad which I love more.
  • + 1
 It would be hard to give up the monster truck capability. And being as weak technically as I am slow, it's nice to have an incredibly forgiving bike.
  • + 2
 well said Richie, and its something I totally agree with. I'm in the market for a new bike, and even a full on enduro sled is considerably lighter and well sprung than my current steed, a rather wonderful 9 speed 26" SX Trail from Specialized.It is/was a truly great bike that Ive flung off many a hillside but in reality is now too heavy and brutish for the riding I want from a trail bike. My DH rig takes care of any uplift/shred sessions that involve ski-lifts. Ive been eyeing up several bikes in the classic 160/enduro realm of things but Ive had my eye on the the 130 trail bikes too, with the likes of Whyte and Transition making what look like great little whips. Its hard to know which i'd benefit more from, Im not adverse to hooning myself down trails and quite happy in the air, but ive started thinking on the lines of how much fun it would be to do ride a modern geo bike with slightly less travel and be able to just beast mode the entire day...
  • + 6
 My Vote is try the Transition Scout, It's awesome.
  • + 1
 I have one , it's super fun but I find its so easy to blow through the travel I even upgraded the rear end to a CC DB air I just don't grab it out of the garage like I did when I first got it . My other bike is a Nomad and really it's just better for any of the downhill for me and the climbing with a DPA fork isn't really all that much harder. I think a lot of this depends on riding location , I even rode the Scout at whistler once .... Was fun on the jumps but pretty light feeling for the rest . The short travel bikes are definitely a luxury of owning two rather than a necessity for me at least on the shore.
  • + 2
 I was wondering when someone was going to start talking about this. I'd have to say that if you are a weekend warrior or a guy that rides local trails that have a lot of variation in terms of going uphill and downhill as well as variation in terrain (rocks, roots, hardpack, loose sand, insert other terrain feature here) I'd say go with a trail bike. Cross country bikes to me just don't quite give you enough unless your trails lean very much towards that cross country style riding (long climbs, not as many rocks, roots, etc). I really feel that the 120-130mm travel bikes are the sweet spot. I was on the fence when I bought my dual suspension bike and I decided to go with a 130mm travel bike because the geometry seemed like a really good compromise. I LOVE going downhill, but I don't want to be completely miserable getting to the top of the hill when I'm out riding. Longer travel bikes are way fun on a down hill but they soak up sooooo much of your pedal stroke going uphill it just zaps all the fun out of it for me. If I had a friend that was looking to get into it I would wholeheartedly recommend a 120-130mm travel bike.
  • + 2
 Ah this article makes me laugh and the comments too. Yes I agree that there are now 2 categories whereas there used to be one. However, if you are really complaining that a 13-14kg Enduro bike is too much bike to ride all day then you need to "nut up or shut up!"Now if you don't have the terrain to make the most of those 160mm then by all means get a shorter travel bike. I use my DH bike to climb in the off season. It is my only bike and I love it. I don't want an enduro bike that will ride slower on the sick downhills around here.I wish it weighed 14kg! And I've used it in Final Ligure (just needed to lower the front end a tad) and it worked fine!
  • + 3
 I think the perfect combo is really enduro bike + longish travel hardtail. Does anybody have any love for a good hardtail anymore?
  • + 1
 I really have been enjoying the trend on @Pinkbike to drastically improve the editorial-style content that graces the site lately. And to think that they have only announced that Vernon Felton is joining-can't wait for his first article. However, with RC's articles, Levy's stuff, Kazimer's writing, even Sherard's Diary entries, have really added a much higher-level reading experience. For those of us old enough to still remember having subscriptions to mags, it is really awesome to have these opinion pieces offered. Thanks Pinkbike, well done!
  • + 5
 All mountain. Free ride . Enduro. All the same . Go up. Then go down.
  • + 1
 I'm in the same boat as the author, i have a slack short travel trail bike and a "enduro bike". I can have far more fun more of the time on my trail bike.

My enduro bike is basically a DH bike i CAN get up the hills on, the descent has has to be something pretty severe for the climbing to be worth it, hence isn't as fun as much of the time.

I wouldn't without either though.
  • + 1
 These days, my "enduro" bike gets the least use, because I mostly split my time between the hardtail on local singletrack and the DH for race weekends. I tried a friend's SB6c on my local singletrack and it wasn't nearly as fun as my 26 hardtail. Depends on where you live though.
  • + 1
 Richard I guess a 150mm enduro bike with a 66 or 67° headtube angle is the perfect machine to do it all....even if it is a 26" wheelsize bike.
For today's 29niners or 650Bs I think if you can lock the rear shock is enough to do it all.

Cheers.
  • + 2
 RC, The problem is solved by endorsing POLYGAMY!!! All 3 wait their turn in my garage (Trail, Enduro and DH), And for the ladies, when a woman is married to more than one bike at a time, it is called polyandry.
  • + 3
 I am using my FR MTB, I have joined Enduro, Marathon events and I am using it as well as DH and Trail biking does not bother me.
  • + 1
 Very relevant article given today's choices in bikes.

I had an evolving quiver of bikes based on what I thought what best suited my style and local trails.
I ran a DB Mason HT, a slacked out AM hardtail on my local rather smoothish trails...and a Remedy 160/150 for the
rough stuff and big downs. Now I'm running only an Evil Following and love it. I haven't taken any big descents on the Following yet, but I'm not worried about it in the least. 120mm of travel that can shred!
  • + 1
 Seems to me these new 'trail' bikes are becoming the new XC bikes, with the traditional XC bikes reserved for only racing duties. As I get fatter and older, I appreciate the 150mm travel bikes and I hope they keep getting more capable in going up as well as going down.
  • + 1
 This is a hobby/life we all love who cares how.if and what. just get out there and ride have a laugh with your mates get some air or eat dirt! What ever style or type your riding just enjoy. laugh and do more ? After 26 years of riding i still can't get enough live it and love it ?? Get out and smile!!...
  • + 1
 Ignorance is bliss! Everyone’s busy debating travel, wheel sizes, width... I’m enjoying all the 26” deals I’m scoring. $1,000 for a 2014 brand new Stumpy Evo Carbon frame with warranty, $600 for Easton Haven Carbon wheels, $350 for a practically new Pike, etc. I’ll check back in around 2019 or so when the dust settles from the debates AND my 26” shredding!
  • + 1
 Good article RC and something I've been thinking about a lot lately.

I love my 155mm travel 29er the only thing I wish was that it was lighter. At just over 30lbs it isn't exactly light...it isn't exactly heavy either, but in the back of my mind I can't help but think - How much slower would less travel make me and how much faster would I be with a lighter bike. It's not just about the climbs, it's about getting up to speed. For me riding fast is what I love to do. A Pivot 429 Trail sits at ~26lbs. The Evil Following sits at ~27lbs.
  • + 1
 yeah, 1st world issues...get over all this fekking nuance btwn bikes.
you throw around a 34 lb. bike for 3 hours on a mountainous trail ride and
you get stronger. so you climb slower with it? ok, but there is no substitute
for the bliss you feel on the flows and the fall lines..
  • + 1
 I would like to buy a 130ish mm travel 29er. At the moment I still do shuttles on nationals downhill tracks as well as riding dome more all mountain and marathon stuff. My enduro bike does everything at the moment although it is of course a compromise by nature. As much as I'd love a more trail oriented bike that would be a n+1 bike that can't do everything. My enduro bike is my n-1 bike which does pretty much everything.

apart from my road and dj bikes Wink
  • + 1
 Definitely an interesting article for someone like me who will be purchasing my first new bike in a good 10 years in the new year, and am trying to decide between a trail bike (Giant trance or Norco sight) or an enduro bike (Spesh Enduro comp). Though not sure i'm anywhere closer to being able to decide, especially after going through the comments haha
  • + 1
 It depends where you are riding. In the Kootenays (B.C. interior) the trails have ALOT more than just "10mins of fall-line descending". My personal preference is to suffer up the climbs on my 29lb 160mm Intense, and rage on the way down.
Seems like RC rides in a different type of terrain, and also has a different riding style. Good thing there are so many choices for bike buyers these days.
  • + 1
 I don't think anyone is ever going to read this being the bottom of 400+ comments. I agree to the article, but instead of 130mm trailbike my do everything else fun bike is 29" AM hardtail. I find that the 130mm trailbike would still be too similar to the enduro race rig.
  • + 1
 Great article. I totally agree that Trail and Enduro are two different categories but yet still interchangeable. Neither is better than the other. It depends on where the rider spends his/her time. If your local trails are XC/Trail, then go for an XC/Tral model. If you have nicely set up Enduro runs, then an Enduro bike makes sense. The goal is for the rider to enjoy the ride and by doing so, hopefully have the machine best suited for those needs.
  • + 1
 Lucky me, I am not Richie Rude, I takes double time to me going down so double time enjoining!! and by the way… when I am in my local area with rocky limestone tracks with constant steps, I do not miss any of the 160 mm that my fork has got.
  • + 2
 Enduro is just another excuse for a 50% price $$ mark up. The term doesn't even belong to Mt. Biking. If we truly want to embody what Enduro is, let's time all the sections of the race...oops we already have XC!
  • + 1
 I started from 100, then to 120, then 150 then 160, and now 180mm bikes, I would say Im more comfortable with the 160 to 180mm travel forks, although the smaller the travel bikes are the faster it can climb really well but less stable on descends, jumps and drop off and even on gnarly trails, I would rather go with plush long travel fork/bikes and feel safer on jumps and descends, compared to shorter travel fork/bikes. As for slack the head angle, this also makes sense for aggressive downhill riding at least 67 degrees. I have tried bikes like Norco HT Storm, Giant Anthem, Giant trance and Giant Reign, to me I like the Reign as all around bike.
  • + 1
 I think a lot of this depends on where you live. In Queenstown NZ we don't have that much XC style single track and over half my time on a bike is gondola or at least partially shuttle assisted. A 130mm travel bike doesn't really make much sense here unless it is paired with a DH bike, but even then I think most people would prefer a DH bike and a 150mm+ travel trail bike.
  • + 4
 Last year I got one modern Enduro Giant Reign long and slack, its an amazing bike but I like my Downhill Bike much more...
  • + 1
 I like the downhill oriented "enduro" bike and I'm sure a lot more do. I also like having the "do it all" one bike I can ride parks and trails with. I really don't need to race someone uphill anyway. Downhill, that's a different story. I think there are some that are just afraid to go downhill fast so they are against it. Embrace the downhill!!!
  • + 1
 I'd like 65 degree head angle,135ish mm rear travel, Proper vivair or similar shock, 150mm lyric/36 type fork, 420-430mm stays, 470ish reach, 75 degree ST and 26 wheels so I cam swap wheel with my dj bike if i blow a wheel. Sus set up decently firm with some ramp up. wtf i25 type rims, 2.4 dhr2's, I can ride a ton of stuff on my steel hard tail, with a little "safety" travel in the rear I'd be set I think. Firm so it climbs, pops and is accurately place-able in tech.... one day.. My 167 is rad as hell tho. Just sometimes it feels easy.
  • + 1
 I've been thinking the same thing RC! I'm on a 10' nomad with a 36 talas etc. I love my ride! I can drop the front and flick the switch on my dhx and it scoots up hill. I can't imagine wanting anything bigger than 160 for the trails I ride in colorado. I'm looking at a new bike and am so confused! So do I want a 16' nomad or something similar? We have long steep chunky descents around here. Would I be happier on a " trail" or " all mtn" bike for most of my rides? I do feel myself wishing for something lighter for the 1000 ft climbs above 8000 ft I normally do. Now you throw all these killer mid travel 29ers in the mix! I'm gonna spend a small fortune demoing all the bikes I want to try at $80 a day! Really curious to ride a rocky mtn altitude and a remedy 29. I never go to the bike park so do I want that new nomad?! Or maybe the 16' Bronson would suite me better? Or would the 5010 feel more nimble and sporty? Or do I really want a high tower?? It's maddening!!! Was an easy answer in 2010!
  • + 1
 Ha Im riding my custom build distortion through al this back and forth of designs the last three years. It was ahead of its time and is still current and so much fun. 115mm rear 140mm front with adjustable shock bushings steep seatube,, longish lowish and slack . Climbs very efficiently like all Gt's due to idrive. Plus I run 650 front wheel in a fox 26er 36float fork with only 37mm offset . makes for a fun responsive North Shore capable quiver killer.
  • + 1
 this is kind of dumb and i feel like people are just agreeing with no personal a pinion the whole point of this add is that a trail bike is easyer to ride witch is olnly true when sitting down because of the higher seat stay witch i am never sitting while riding and vary vary slightly because travel slows you down going up hill but also makes you wipe out less when you case a jump or hit a big drop witch i find more in-portent also my enduro bike is 24 and a half pounds so im not worried about weight when my enduro is lighter then my bmx bike ?
  • + 5
 Didn't know Walter White is writing stuff for PB...
  • + 1
 A lot of people ride their bikes just to descend at lightning speed, the whole idea of a DH bike. And some of us when we go out want to get that feeling whenever we ride. I think that speed is fun, therefore more speed is more fun. Long low and slack helps to achieve that no matter how gmarly the terrain gets. If I want to feel the trail I'll get a rigid bike.
  • + 3
 Yeah sure, going downhill fast is great, but what about the other 90% of the time when you're not going downhill?
  • + 3
 Suck it up and engage those core muscles, Personally I don't think we should be taking away from what is arguably the best part of a ride, going Downhill. Instead we should improve ourselves to climb better and throw these big machines around more. You can manhandle a long bike but a short bike will always feel sketchy
  • + 3
 I agree, the bike shouldn't be the reason you can rip downhills or suck at climbs. Don't get me wrong, I'd much rather ride down hills than up them. But if your argument is that we need to improve ourselves to be able to ride the big bikes better, why not hone your skills on a rigid bike, rather than rely on suspension as a crutch?
I admit, I'm an old school retro-grouch, and it's killing me to be priced out of my sport by all the new carpet fiber wonder bikes. Believe me, I'd love to have one, or three. But in my world, one bike covers things just fine.
I definitely don't need to be told I need a 130-140mm travel bike AND a 160mm+ travel bike. I know it's about more than travel, but 20mm is an inch. If that little travel makes or breaks a ride for someone, they need to work on their skills, not buy a new bike.
  • + 1
 By honing skills I meant being able to muscle a big bike around, something that only comes from riding other disciplines, e.g DH, MX, heck even BMX can help. I agree it's only an inch but it's the longness, lowness, and slackness that makes the bike faster which means the extra inch really helps
  • + 1
 Wow, mountainbike reviewers apparently reached the old men level now.
"At my age you prefer the finer things, you don't need to prove yourself blablabla."
It starts with seeling your dh-bike. Few years later the long travel enduro is gone.
After that there's only spandex and steep head angles.
Can we pls have a reviewer and author that represents the gravity aspect of this website again?
The enduro craze of recent years was bad enough, but reading this shit just made me cringe.
  • + 4
 shit I just want to ride a bike and can only dream of affording half the bikes you guys mention. daym
  • + 6
 What a crock of shit
  • + 4
 If you're a fatty butterpants than you need 160 or you'll be bottoming out on ever pebble and twig.
  • + 1
 It was my yellow lab's nickname. I wouldnt read so much into things
  • + 2
 *Yaaaaaaaawn* Apparently he's a legend. But personally I can't stand this RC bloke's articles.
Ride what ever bike you want wherever and however you feel you'd like to.
Think for yourself..
  • + 4
 I'm thinking about getting a Transition Klunker. Its yellow and has a coaster brake!
  • + 1
 Check out the Asylum Hank, Its like 200 bucks cheaper and, personally, I like the lines better
  • + 1
 The Hank is very cool.
  • + 1
 I downsized my Giant Reign X / Yeti 303R quiver last year to a Yeti SB-75 / Specialized Enduro EVO combo and for the most part enjoyed them more. I found that 127mm wasn't quite enough travel and swapped the SB-75 for a 140mm '16 Devinci Troy a few weeks ago which has proved to be about perfect for me as a trail bike.
  • + 1
 I've got a transition scout and will be replacing my Last Herb 160 with a Last Coal so I'm in the same boat as you rich. The local tamer trails get the scout but if I want something bigger hitting the Coal should be able to handle almost anything I throw at it.
  • + 5
 160mm travel full sus... steel hardtail trail bike. Sorted!
  • + 1
 i don't need an enduro bike because i can afford 2 bikes, i have a DH bike, Transition TR500 (26'') and a trail bike, Giant Trance (27.5 140mm). But if i could only afford 1 bike it would most likely be a 27.5 160mm enduro.
  • + 4
 we can just say that ENDURO = ALL MOUNTAIN ???
  • + 1
 Did what he is paid to do - stir up the nest and introduce doubt - time to sell your outdated 2015 Pivot to me, cheap. You are losing it Richard, this looks like a Mountain Bike Action article.
  • + 2
 I live in vancouver bc and a 160mm enduro works great with our trails. Of course this is home to the north shore which is more up on fire roads and down on the trails.
  • + 1
 "The mission of an enduro racing bike, pure and simple, is to maximize that 30 minutes and 32 seconds of downhill." - I thought freeride was dead -_- Did someone say 160mm travel with near dh head angle?
  • + 1
 He lost me at enduro.
I took a few years away from mountain biking, I came back to this term "enduro" all over the place, so I checked it out, it seems it's the same as trail riding but with less fashion sense..
  • + 1
 A true first world problem is when you can't find the right grips to finish 'color matching' your bike. Or, reading 'reviews' and 'tests' of shorts so you can decide how you should look. That kinda stuff makes me throw....
  • + 0
 Nice to know Im not an average pink bike user. I ride Dirt Jump, Downhill. The only reason I climb is to ride downhill to practice for Downhill. I sometimes XC my Demo when the Downhill part of my ride is too much for my trail bike. I do agree most Nomad and sb6 riders never use the bikes to its full potential. How many other users have a trail bike (150+) just to practice for Downhill riding.
  • + 2
 I still don't think there's such a thing really as a trail bike more like a big travel XC bike that can jump and marketing derived gimmick DH spin-offs.
  • + 2
 "They sit in my garage like estranged lovers, transformed by their torrid union into two wonderfully different designs, each with uncertain futures."

Beautiful.
  • + 3
 Just buy a Rocky Mountain Altitude with Ride 9 and get done with it. Or a Thunderbolt if XC is your thing.
  • + 2
 130 29 bikes have WARNING labels on the frame "This bike may cause you to wear Lyrca and can result in DEATH or SERIOUS INJURY or even cause you to buy a ROAD BIKE"
  • + 3
 I have a hardtail (Stanton Slackline). She is my trail bike. My go to weapon. My full suss (spitfire) is my guilt pleasure!
  • + 4
 still rocking my 2012 Reign with 67,5 head angle and 150 mm travel !!!
  • + 2
 Fun fact: Jared Graves rode the SB5 last year more than the SB6...
The SB66 and SB95 are still my favorite trail bikes I've ever owned
  • + 2
 @jihenterprises ^^^ Graves said that in an interview. (I think Rude also rode the '5 for some of his races too.) If I can remember correctly, Graves intimated that he had the skills to ride it almost as fast as the '6 and that he wanted the extra speed in the pedaly sections.
  • + 4
 a full fat 120mm travel fork perfect for me
  • + 2
 I like my quiver to be like a good mullet. Got a 130mm 5010V2 for business, and a current gen Nomad for parties.
  • + 2
 I miss these articles from back in the published Dirt days.......... keep them coming Cunny
  • + 6
 Different bloke
  • + 2
 Well, I guess I was ahead of the trend on my Stumpjumper FSR the past 4 years. I knew I was on to something! hahaha
  • + 2
 If you live in the Pacific Northwest, I seriously recommend you don't follow the opinion in this article.
  • + 1
 Someday my son will look back on all the shit people write on pinkbike and think "Do any of these guys even have time to ride their bikes"
  • + 1
 LOL @ the irony of your statement.
  • + 1
 Good article. Of course, you didnt talk about the 150mm travel 66.5degree head angled, carbon offspring the enduro and trail bikes had...
  • + 1
 yup, articles/press like this one will only drive the sales of newer bikes.
the bike industry must love people like Cunningham.
  • + 1
 hey, what about superenduro bikes?
why not to by bike that will fit you riding conditions as well and style and just ride it?
  • + 2
 My fs is 140mm front, 130 mm rear, 67.5 HA, & 26". Those numbers make on hell of a balanced bike.
  • + 1
 I was caught up in this dilemma since last fall and I finally decided to go with a mid travel 29er... Seems like the best compromise
  • + 3
 Just wait till the EWS and DHWC starts. What's a 130mm trail bike??
  • + 2
 Bought a 5010 2.0, put a 150mm Fox 36 on it. Trying to sell my '15 Nomad. Super happy with my decision!
  • + 1
 Sounds like the perfect bike is one with 140mm in the rear and a duel position 130-160 up front! Funny, that's exactly the bike that I have Smile
  • + 2
 I want an enduro for dh as I ride like twin with no chain, only much much slower ????
  • + 2
 Dito - Will be switching from my slack 160 mm heavy dutie bike to something bit more nimble.
  • + 2
 I was going to go riding the other day but I couldn't decide if I wanted to trail or enduro so I just watched TV instead.
  • + 3
 I didn't know there was difference
  • + 2
 Precisely why I still dig my 2014 Scott Genius 27.5. It's in between the two bikes styles mentioned in the article.
  • + 3
 That 5min descent! that's why we live for!
  • + 2
 we live where the fun is
  • + 3
 The perfect bike is meh
  • + 1
 I'll stick to my 140mm 27.5" trail bike and my full on DH 26" rig and be happy. Screw your fat bikes and +size crap.
  • + 1
 I saw Cube and YT are going 160mm /170mm for their eduro bikes 2016.
Interesting to see the travel going up too.....
  • + 2
 Wife + Kid + Students Loans = 99 problems but this ain't 1.
  • + 1
 I thought just last week we all admitted we sucked. Back to being bike nerds so soon!
  • + 2
 130 outback 160 outfront! Snappy and burly! Mega tr
  • + 1
 This article has pissed me off .... because it makes sense.
Anyone want to buy an unused Commencal Meta SX 650b frame? Frown
  • - 2
 There's a lot of truth behind the idea that we've been suffering with increased travel rather than better control of less travel. I'd like to see better shock units on mid travel 140-160mm bikes, slack up front, sure, you can't ride down vert with a 67 head angle. but 180mm of travel isn't needed unless your racing Enduro or DH.
  • + 2
 You can ride down vert with any head angle. To my old ass, 67 degrees sounds crazy slack, but I know that's considered pretty steep these days.
  • + 1
 You can fall down vert with any head angle, being able to ster is another matter
  • + 1
 Giant Reign X and Cotic BFe. Plush full squish for comfort. HT to get my heart beating a little bit faster!
  • + 2
 i ride a Giant TRANCE 2009 26" 140/140 best bike on earth
  • + 1
 Try a 2015+ Trance Advanced and you'll be blown away! Especially if you set it up 130-140 up front and 140 in the rear!
  • + 0
 5 months ago when I sold my Bronson, most of my friends thought I was crazy. Having so much fun on The Following now. Happy I'm not alone.
  • + 2
 Now this is a well written article. Bravo.
  • + 2
 140mm trailbike, the only one that I have and could afford. Problem solved
  • + 2
 I sold my 150mm bike for a 130mm bike
  • + 1
 Meh' My Norco Range rides up, downs and all around just fine, no rising trend problem here.
  • + 2
 Amen Cunningham. This article perfectly sums me up right now.
  • + 1
 Good article! Definitely thinking of ditching my enduro for an all mountain now that I own a Dh bike..
  • + 2
 @RichardCunningham Now I'm curious. Which 130mm trail bike did you go for?
  • + 4
 Seems like he's partial to The Habit... Which looks like a super fun bike. Anyone who's curious after reading this article should do whatever they can to ride the Santa Cruz 5010. It's a kick-ass 130mm trail bike, just burly enough to handle some heavy duty stuff when you run into it. But an absolute blast pretty much anywhere.
  • + 1
 Hightower or 5010
  • + 1
 Definitely intrigued by the Hightower. Will have to take it for a spin if the opportunity presents itself.
  • + 3
 Damn GREAT Article!!!
  • + 3
 shut up and ride
  • + 3
 Potato v. Potahto
  • + 3
 Not selling my Nomad.
  • + 1
 why would you choose a 130 and 160mm bike when they are so close together? Surely 130/200 or 100/160 makes more sense?
  • + 2
 Best pinkbike discussion of the year so far...
  • + 3
 Bikes are fun.
  • + 1
 I like marmite more than both
  • + 1
 I weight 90+ and I can tell, 130 mm isn't enought for me.
  • + 5
 That's what she said.
  • + 1
 4 shure not to me.
  • + 2
 Good article rc
  • + 1
 Nah. Pretty sure my stable is perfect for me - Nimble 9 and a Megatrail.
  • + 1
 Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it
  • + 1
 I really wish mountain biking was less popular.
  • + 1
 I'll just stick to my Chromag
  • + 1
 GREAT.
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