Not too long ago, bikes from the likes of Geometron or Pole were so far off the grid that they wouldn't make the long lists of mainstream riders looking for a new bike. Fast forward to the present and their lanky profiles almost seem ordinary. Long reaches, lots of wheel travel, steep seat tube angles, and sub 65-degree head angles are accepted as the new norm and, along with those changes, riders are gravitating towards riding areas that offer more aggressive options. Or are they?"For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction:"
Newton's third law can also be applied to emotional impulse. Every major trend creates pushback and we can see this happening with the rise in popularity of "downcountry" bikes; lighter weight, shorter-travel machines that may incorporate the attributes of their brutish all-mountain/enduro brothers, but are both visually and mechanically down-scaled to more sensible and versatile bandwidths.
Armed with a pro-rider's skills, you could ride the Pole Machine or Pivot's Mach 4 SL trail bike almost anywhere. The Pole's fun zone, however, lies between death-defying steep and eye-watering fast. The Pivot's bandwidth of enjoyable terrain is a bit further down the technical scale, but encompasses a much broader range.Diminishing returns:
If you do the math, riders with better skill sets and more capable bikes spend proportionately more time climbing than they do descending. That's right. It's reasonable to assume that riders who choose less capable machines, or those who have more average skill sets could be enjoying those same downhill trails to a greater degree than the top guns do. Arguing further, it's a foregone conclusion that easier, blue-line trails are more challenging and fun aboard a downscaled machine - regardless of skill levels.
Big descents with shuttle access or easy climbing trails - the meat and potatoes of enduro class bikes - are rare fare for most riders, so it's safe to assume that many of us are overbiked for the routes we ride most often. No doubt, the reverse is also true. A large number of mountain bikers clung their old-school steeds while the basic trail bike was transforming into a whole new animal. Even a lateral move to a similar-travel machine would be a leap in both capability and enjoyment for them. So, today's poll is: Are you over biked or under biked? Which direction would you lean towards for your next purchase?