"Long, low and slack" may have become a metaphor for "overweight" as the influence of enduro and winch-and-plummet riders has pushed the heft of many trail bikes well beyond the once sacrosanct 30-pound barrier. After a decade of incredible improvement,
you'd be right to expect bikes would be lighter and stronger, but high-end trail bikes have since gained almost five pounds.
It's doubtful that the average rider has evolved into a much stronger beast who has no issue pedaling a porky bike uphill. Maybe the reason that trail bikes are fatter than ever is simply because the mountain bike is 40 years old, so a pot belly is acceptable. The most probable theory to explain the girth is that mountain biking may be evolving into a gravity-powered summer snow-sport and thrill seekers are happily trading pedaling performance for raw speed to maximize their experience.
What is certain, though, is that bikes are more capable and descending skills have improved. Both have forced designers to build correspondingly stronger frames and components. Strength usually comes with a weight penalty, but there's more to the equation than a three kilogram frame. Double-thickness tire casings, 350-gram inserts and gravity-certified suspension components are go-to's for many trail riders.
Arguably, some ride at speeds and intensities that justify those choices, but I'd wager that most riders who are huffing around on "enduro certified" trail bikes would be faster (and happier) without the flab. Today's poll asks (in a perfect world) what you think
the maximum weight of an all-purpose trail bike intended for an aggressive rider should be.