Hosted by Mike Levy and featuring a rotating cast of the editorial team and other guests, the Pinkbike Podcast is a weekly update on all the latest stories from around the world of mountain biking, as well as some frank discussion about tech, racing, and everything in between.
What the heck is a trail bike these days? I'm in the middle of testing Spot's 115mm-travel Ryve
, a speedy red machine with a 120mm fork and cross-country efficiency. To some, the Ryve is a trail bike. Prior to getting on the Spot, I had been testing Deviate's 140mm-travel Highlander
(review soon) that's called a trail bike but is really just an enduro rig in disguise. To muddy the waters even further, Pole's Stamina 140
was included in last year's trail bike category at the Field Test but proved to be just as capable most enduro bikes. Confused? Yeah, me too.
So, what the heck is a trail bike? Aren't they really just mountain bikes evolved from when those two words summed up everything you needed to know and every type of bike? And why does Kazimer have an anime body pillow?
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THE PINKBIKE PODCAST // EPISODE 4 - WHY IS EVERY BIKE A TRAIL BIKEPrevious Pinkbike PodcastsEpisode 1 - Why Are Bikes So Expensive?Episode 2 - Where the Hell is the Grim Donut?Episode 3 - Pond Beaver Tech
April 22nd, 2020
Levy, Kaz, James, & Brian chat about how modern trail bikes can be everything from long-legged cross-country rigs to enduro-lite machines, and if that makes any sense.
Hit us in the comments with your suggestions: What do you want to hear us talk about? Would you be into watching a video version, or are our dulcet voices enough for you?
For these races a well built trail bike is way faster than an “enduro” bike. For example I have a Ripmo (145/160 65HTA, trail bike by its intent, designed to climb well and descend well with equal emphasis) and a Capra (170/180 63HTA, enduro bike designed to be able to climb but focus is DH). Both bikes have Works anglesets. The Ripmo is faster on 9/10 stages that these races are held on. Capra is a sick park bike and I love it for riding steep trails. But it’s too squishy for the enduro tracks in my region. Shorter travel, better pedaling wins over super squish.
Its just that after riding my friends custom built Banshee Phantom V3 and my other friends Canyon Neuron CF that the Meta feels like a big, sluggish brute in comparison. Its brilliant in the terrain its intended for, just doesn't feel like the right tool for the job most of the time around here.
I’d say that Ibis just bracketed the Trail category with an aggressive trail and a light trail. But I’m probably on my own with that one though.
You certainly could race the ripmo if your heart desires or the track called for it but the mojo is officially their enduro bike.
If I walked into a shop saying I wanna do 3-5hr rides in the alpine in Colorado with 5K’ climbing and still shred the downhills and they showed me an Enduro I’d walk out the front door. If they showed me a Ripmo I’d say take my money.
It's funny that the need to define things is just part of how our brains work. The progression here is pretty logical. We had an all mountain category as equipment allowed for us to have long travel trail bikes. Then enduro became a form of racing and the bikes suited to that were referred to as enduro bikes.
It's not surprising that some models might be borderline between categories. For me the simplest way to think of it is that Enduro is bikes made for racing, XC is bikes that are made for racing, and everything in between is some form of trail bike.
When the evil following came out a lot of people jumped on the 120 hype train, almost everyone I know is now back on longer travel bikes if they are not xc focused. Why give up comfort and capability and only save a pound or two of bike weight? A good prd is more useful lol
XC = occasionally wear lycra. Unlikely to ever really want knee pads
Trail = highly unlikely to reach for lycra or a full face.
Enduro = probably going to consider a full face and knee pads for a a lot of rides.
Y'all discussing something that was already solved a long time ago. XC>Trail>AM>Enduro Race>DH
Now get off my lawn!
We will start pulling shorter video clips out though.
Enjoyed the podcast - Happy Trails
XC bikes: 100 - 110 mm rear travel, 80/20 climbing/descending
Marathon bikes: 110 - 120 mm rear travel 70/30 climbing/descending
Trail bikes: 120 - 140 mm rear travel 50/50 - 40/60 climbing/descending
Enduro bikes: 140 - 170 mm rear travel, 30/70 - 40/60 climbing/descending
Freeride bikes: 160 - 180 mm rear travel, 20/80 climbing/descending
DH bikes: > 180 mm rear travel. 0/100 climbing/descending
But I get where they are coming from. It would be nice to have bikes and skis for all conditions, but not everyone can do that. I’m in the same boat, but I skew toward the middle with mid-fat skis and a 160mm enduro bike.
I agree that geo and travel, in isolation, is not a useful metric for defining category.
Ride a wide range of bike categories (XC, Downcountry, Trail, bla bla bla Downhill) in British Columbia, then pick a favorite for that area/trail. Then take those same bikes to Colorado, pick a winner, then to North Carolina, Santa Cruz, France, Scotland, Japan, Jamaica, North Korea...etc. Ride the trails that the locals ride.
'Well, we have to test bikes on every trail, everywhere in the world, now...'
An interesting topic I’d propose is debating hours of sleep, bad habits such as eating too much sugar products then all of these combined with the amount of hours you put in a day or per week in actual riding.
Then another topic / debate would be - do mare mortals typical weekend warriors ( like myself ) have the chance of not loosing skills with the small amount of riding that we do ?
Would it be possible to invite Elliot Jackson to this podcast ok some episode ? I know he has his own Reggy show and I love it but who knows it’s always a pleasure listening to that wise man. Thanks a lot for doing this ! Love this podcast
More categories than that aren't needed.
I'm 6'5" and rode a 2012 XL Trek Fuel Ex 8 with 440mm reach. It seemed like an awesome bike, but I was slow and crashed a lot. After a few years of trial, error, research, and thoughts of giving up MTB, I bought a 2017 XL Kona Process 111 with 510mm of reach. The previous owner (who also owns a chain of bike shops) was shorter than me and had a 90mm stem on the bike. Ridiculous setup, but it still worked a lot better than the Trek with less reach. However, I eventually purchased Lee McCormack's book called "Dialed, the secret math of a perfect mountain bike set up". I ended up swapping in a 40mm stem . My hands are almost perfectly in line with the pivot of the bars, and it's like I'm on a way better bike. I wish I knew this when I purchased my first MTB.
I believe I am seriously over-biked. Partially because if you are new to Mountain biking (or any sport), you are making a significant purchase when you will never know less about the sport. Many local bike shops either know very little about mountain biking, or are terrible at relating their knowledge to the individual.
Right now, I am researching Fat bikes (which I likely won't be able to purchase until inventory is replenished), and the LBS are of little value - yet they want me to buy locally. The most frequent response is "it all depends on what you want". So I ask if they ride Fat bike. The answer is "yes". But they don't have an opinion on if a front shock is required on our local trails, which are rolling hills and tight flat trails through the woods? How can that be?
I know how to read a geometry chart, and I believe I know exactly what I need for reach and stack, but what about seat tube length, head tube length & angle, top tube length, etc. How can you expect the beginner or intermediate rider to understand the effects of each of those dimensions and determine which are most important in selecting a bike? Most LBS workers speak in S, M, L terms. Frustrating.
We made this 'Basics of Modern Geometry' Explainer video awhile back that might help: www.pinkbike.com/news/video-the-basics-of-modern-mountain-bike-geometry-explainer-2020.html
And we'll do a geometry podcast real soon
Downhill, Enduro, All Mountain, Trail, Fat Bike, XC Race, Cross Country and Dirt Jump. At least there’s no Downcountry in there!
I reckon if the Dalai Lama were a mountain biker he himself would be a little vexed by the suspense of it all.
You are a funny dude. Let's ride!
Your well overdue for a promo. Good Luck!!!!!
Best selling MTB of all time?! Best selling bikes of each decade??