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Suspension Travel - What's Your Ideal Amount? - Pinkbike Poll

Dec 15, 2017
by Vernon Felton  
Any guesses as to the company behind this rear shock kicking around the Polygon UR Team pits It s not who you might think...

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away...we were all damn sure that the ultimate cross-country bike was a hardtail. No matter the race course. No matter the conditions. No matter the length of the event. Hardtail. With no more than 70 millimeters of front suspension... 63 millimeters, though, now that was perfection. Oh, and the fork should basically be inoperable--just ram that bastard full of elastomers until it only budges on those rare occasions when it feels like you're about to snap your wrists in half.

The entire world, for the record, was 100 percent agreed on this logic. It was sound. It was science. No, make that Science...capital "S" required.

"Freeride" bikes boasted a mind-boggling four inches of travel and were equipped with four or five-inch travel, dual-crown forks. You think you know crazy? Well, my friend, you don't know crazy until you've been forced to spend a season aboard the nightmare that was a dual-crown RockShox SID.

No, I'm not making this up. I had to test these things for a living. This shit is laser etched in my mind. RC's too. We attend a monthly support group to help us cope with the lingering trauma. Guy Kesteven shows up. Chips brings along his water-color paint set. Ferrentino sits in a corner and whispers to himself... The coffee is crap, but the hugs and the incense help ease the pain.

You can look back on those times and think, "Well, you dumbasses just didn't know anything."

Kona Stinkey Dee Lux

Back when "freeride" meant five inches of squish.


Maybe. Maybe not. I can tell you this, a lot of smart riders, engineers and racers spent years, logging a lot of miles before we came up with the hard and fast rules about the ideal amount of suspension. But then, mercifully, things began to evolve. Kinematics were dialed, suspension damping technology improved...and lo and behold, the ideal cross-country race bike (on courses that were not baby-butt smooth) was now a four-inch travel suspension bike—you know, almost the same amount of suspension travel that used to define a bike as fit for hucking or whatever passed for "rad" back then.

The inexorable march of progress often changes our perception of what's ideal when it comes to suspension travel; given that truth, can we even say that there is an ideal amount of suspension travel for any given application? The answer may seem obvious: 100 millimeters (4 inches) for cross-country, 130 millimeters (5.1 inches) for trail, 150 to 160 millimeters (6 to 6.3 inches) for all mountain and enduro, 180 millimeters (7 inches) for "freeride" (I know, a dated term, but let's just move along) bikes and 200 to 220 millimeters (7.8 inches to 8.6 inches) for downhill....

Pinkbike-Polygon-3-2017
Darrell Voss, the designer behind the R3Act suspension design doesn't feel that suspension-travel alone should define a bike's purpose. "Let's face it," says Voss, "most riders are out there to have fun, and they can only afford one bike. If it pedals efficiently, what is the downside to having more travel?"

Makes sense? In a broad and sweeping fashion, that's more or less how the cookie crumbles today. But, then again, you get bikes like the Polygon Square One EX9 that rocks 180 millimeters of travel and is said to climb so efficiently that the bike doesn't even come equipped with a "lock out" (low-speed compression damping) lever on its rear shock. How do you categorize that bike? The man behind the design argues, essentially, that if you can have a crap ton of travel and still have the bike pedal efficiently, why wouldn't you opt for the extra travel? If you judge the Polygon purely based on the amount of suspension it boasts, you'd think it was a pure park bike, which it is not. Or, on the other end of the spectrum, you had (until recently) the Kona Process 111, which offered up 111 millimeters (4.3 inches) of rear suspension, but was billed (and rightfully so) as a short-travel, enduro bike.

Clearly, a bike's geometry, build quality and component spec define its place in the mountain biking world in much the same way as its suspension travel does. Indeed, plenty of riders choose to go shorter travel when they cook up the perfect bike for aggressive trails.

So, what's your ideal amount of suspension travel?

What's the ideal amount of travel for a cross-country bike?


Ahead on all levels.

Almost There - A Queenstown Photo Epic

What's the ideal amount of suspension travel for...a trail bike?



What's the ideal amount of travel for...an enduro bike?


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.

photo

What's the ideal amount of suspension travel for... a park bike?



What's the ideal amount of suspension travel...for a DH bike?


Danny Hart was going for it today but a crash in the woods put an ends to his hopes of victory.


Author Info:
vernonfelton avatar

Member since Apr 11, 2014
202 articles

231 Comments
  • 405 3
 wack ass poll, 240mm on everything everywhere DUH FREERIDE BRO
  • 38 1
 240? BS!!! i say put marzocchi monsters on everything
  • 89 8
 HARDTAIL FOR LIFE FOR EVERYTHING.
  • 9 0
 I'd say it was more of a Stripper Pole then a suspension travel pole
  • 33 0
 @fartymarty: Hardtail with a marzocchi super monster t. Broken headtubes are life!!
  • 5 0
 when i hear the quif...then im satisfied
  • 23 1
 Yeah, where’s the “dual crown on a hardtail for everything” option?
  • 23 0
 @viatch: Hi
  • 11 1
 @b-mack: banshee morphines for life. Dual crown fork, single speed, 24" rear wheel and 26" front. The good old days. I wonder what the ht angle was on those old dream machines, or handlebar width. Would still love to have one just because though
  • 5 1
 @LoganKM1982:
I had a trek bruiser hardtail with a shiver, 24x3.0 tires, profile cranks and purple Hayes with 9" rotors. Looked cool.
  • 1 0
 @fartymarty: you missing out on the perfect world
  • 3 0
 Just strip a dirt bike of the motor and then it would be about right.
  • 11 0
 Bring back the Karpiel Apocalypse and Super Monster!!!
  • 3 0
 @I-want-your-bike: My joints say give me all the travel you got !!!!
  • 1 0
 @tevaru: imperfection is perfection.
  • 5 2
 I agree with @whitebullit on the 240mm travel. I use my Santa Cruz v10 in the 10” mode all the time. I crush XC riders on their uphill strava times and then I leave them in my dust on the way back down. You shouldn’t be categorizing a bike by how much travel it has lol Right @theminsta Razz
  • 9 0
 @beeboo: cannot tell if serious...
  • 1 0
 @Mojoronnie: U got that rt
  • 3 2
 @fartymarty: suspension is for wankers too p*ssy to ride rigids bruh!...


Wait.... That's me???
  • 2 1
 @fartymarty: You apparently have not had 2 ankle surgeries.
  • 3 0
 @I-want-your-bike: Old Marzocchi forks were the best. I still have a set of single crown 125mm shivers and ran some shiver world cups in the Alps one year. I think I went 6 years without changing the oil or seals on the shivers and not a mark on the stanchions
  • 2 0
 @bandit350: That's a fair reason not to ride a HT.
  • 1 0
 @Spark24: Rigid is quite fun. I'm just re-reading nsmb.com/articles/ride-rigid-fork
  • 2 0
 @drjonnywonderboy: I still have a set of monster T's and super monster T's, they were forks, I have a pic of the normal monsters in the "mybikes" album in my profile attached to my Karpiel that I still have.
  • 3 0
 @seamus: dude what a beast, monsters where the best. They would eat up anything in their way (including woodland animals????). Love the Karpiel used to be glued to screen watching down and double down.
  • 1 0
 @fartymarty: rigid forks are fun on BMX tracks if you know what you're doing. I've got 165 forks on a 4x bike so clearly I don't yet. An HT with good geo and a sizeable fork is very nice though I'll grant you.
  • 1 0
 @BenPea: HT with good forks is great. Rigid just mixes it up a bit when your trails get boring or you want to challenge yourself
  • 1 0
 I didnt know there was another way to ride. Freeride or no ride breh.
  • 2 0
 240mm folps one way or another, but usually left leg pant.
  • 98 2
 I was missing the 140mm option- to me that's become my go to for the one bike quiver killer. At 140 I rarely ever feel under biked even in pretty big Enduro stages.
  • 21 3
 Ill second this. Got my suspension dialled and never bottomed out afterwards - even when casing stuff badly (cuz i suck at riding)
  • 12 1
 I bought a 2 year old trance for this reason. The 140mm feels just right for trail riding. It has 150 up front. But still it can murder bike parks pretty damn well.
  • 25 9
 @jubs17: if you are never bottoming out then your suspension is set up wrong.
  • 15 1
 this. 140 with proper geo is the ultimate mountain bike imo. efficient enough to pedal long days, snappy and quick out of corners and and plenty of travel if you're smart enough to remember you have leg absorbers and that moar travel doesn't make you a better rider.
  • 4 3
 @hairy1976: I'm coming really close, just within 1mm of actually bottoming out. I've released all the air in the can and squished to the bottom and the o-ring on my shock is 1 mm from falling off when this is done. When ever I'm riding I never get the o-ring to that point again, but only occasionally comes within 2mm of falling off my shock. In my mind I have 1mm of stanchion left.
  • 8 1
 I'm the guy racing enduros on my 130/140 27.5 xc/trail bike.
  • 11 1
 140mm is such a sweet spot. Way under appreciated in my opinion.
  • 5 1
 Yea man I just went from a 160 bike to a 140 and it's great. I'm popping of features on the trails that the old bike just sucked up. It's been able to handle the drops that I did on the old rig I just have to do them properly
  • 6 0
 @Tibbsy: if 160 is enduro and 140 is ideal trail then is 150 trailduro?
  • 23 0
 @ryanandrewrogers: or perhaps entrail
  • 6 1
 135 rear, 160 up front. My bike murders downhills and XC.
  • 3 1
 @Tibbsy: my vote definitely goes for entrail
  • 3 0
 A lot of EWS wins (and titles) were taken on bikes with 140mm of travel. Mere trail bikes.
  • 3 0
 @greglikesspecialized:

I'm sold on the more up front idea. Much more balanced of a ride. Currently on 150f/130r and its perfect for trail/AM riding but I think it might be a better all-rounder with 140r/160f.
  • 2 0
 Guerrilla gravity Smash is a 140mm quiver killer--I'd take that 140mm bike for all these categories except DH
  • 2 0
 @MikerJ: same. my 140r/160f bike is my favorite bike I've ever ridden in 30 years of this sport. granted, suspension and geometry play a huge roll but ultimately it's the bike I've had the most fun riding in 3 decades.
  • 1 2
 @SeanC1: That's not what she said.
  • 1 0
 @ryanandrewrogers: Trailduro that is 100% gonna be next years enduro. Fact ;-)
  • 2 0
 Last 2 bikes riding 140mm rear and 160mm fork. Love how that feels. The 160mm fork is as much about the slight geo change than the extra suspension.
  • 1 0
 @russell-brebner: yep. i'm on 160mm front and 26" wheels on a 140mm 650b frame to get my HA and BB numbers where i wanted them since it wasn't available on any bike on the market at the time (or now that i know of). but regardless of any of that i still love the bit of extra fork travel and have always run the front with a bit more.
  • 61 1
 They should do a similar article about hub size.
  • 38 1
 You can pick bike travel but not hub size. You will be served different size each year so you know exactly how old is your bike.
Oh, you got 153.4mm turbo boost? That must be 2019 bike.
  • 5 1
 clearly that would only only positive responses (SARCASM!!!!!!!)
  • 10 0
 @kanasasa: They stopped making those in 2020, looks like you'll need to upgrade to a 2021 bike.
  • 48 2
 I think 6” pounding in the rear is the perfect number
  • 11 2
 You need to man up
  • 3 0
 @Tier1Voodoo immediately thought of your nomination for comment of the year.
  • 2 0
 uh....are we still talking about bikes here? TMI....
  • 1 2
 yuk
  • 37 0
 I ANSWERED THEM ALL, AND I DON'T KNOW WHY.. LIKE LOOKING AT A CAR CRASH WHEN YOU REALLY DON'T WANT TO LOOK
  • 37 1
 Who remembers "stiction"?
  • 6 0
 Sorry. Meant to upvote (on phone) . Can two people help me out?
  • 6 1
 You are right. I'd forgotten that every review talked about stiction back in the day. Like little reference to pedal bob these days, we can see how much suspension has improved. I haven't seen a component spewing oil for a decade.
  • 7 0
 @iamamodel: My Monarch RL pumps more oil than an east Texas stripper well.
  • 5 1
 @Geochemistry: because it's a year old. Get a super deluxe, fixes all of your problems.
  • 27 1
 In my experience 6 inches will get the job done on most occasions.......
  • 76 1
 She's just being nice...
  • 10 0
 @ReformedRoadie: It's all in the technique. You need to use your head when riding.
  • 9 0
 But do you want to get the job done, or have a shitload of fun while doing it, and being the best at it?
I've found 8" to be pretty appropriate
  • 6 2
 Are you saying the asians are not having fun riding mountain bikes?
  • 2 0
 @ReformedRoadie: thank you, i need to scroll down too much to read this. Disapointed about pinkbikers Wink
  • 2 0
 @Uuno: You can ride a lot harder with 8", that's for sure
  • 1 1
 @Uuno: ftw
  • 1 0
 Its not how much travel you have but how you use it, I heard once.
  • 20 0
 I feel the ideal set up on trail and all mountain rigs is usually a few extra mm of travel up front than out back. I can't imagine running my Fuel in its stock setup of 130/130 with how well it performs with the longer travel fork I put on it...
  • 41 3
 But does it perform better because you have extra travel, or because the longer fork raised and slackened the front end?

#thecorrectanswerisgeometry
  • 2 1
 @daveg2: it slacked it which allowed me to keep it in high mode and save low mode for just days at the park.

But you are right, geometry is the biggest player in all this. So I guess Trek in this case did a great job in nailing the geo that even when you change things up it still holds as a great bike.
  • 1 0
 Out of interest what are you running up front on your Fuel?
  • 12 0
 @2bigwheels: OR, did Trek mess the geometry up because you have to swap the fork for a longer one so the bike rides better? Eh?
  • 7 1
 @2bigwheels

160/140 for me
  • 1 0
 @Pedro404: I feel it rides better at the steaper terrain I use it on for sure.

"Better" is a word used by us to describe how we feel about something. Lol I'm sure theres people who dont think its all that much better.

But no the fuel doesnt not have bad geometry that I can assure you, but I do feel they would have been better off selling it stock with a 140mm fork for sure.
  • 3 4
 @2bigwheels: "I can't imagine running my Fuel in its stock setup of 130/130 with how well it performs with the longer travel fork I put on it" you just contradicted yourself.
  • 2 0
 @Dropthedebt: Same here - bike feels more balanced,especially with a slack head angle - rear travel is measured vertically after all.
  • 3 1
 @Dropthedebt: Reverse mullet for me too. Business out back party up front!
  • 2 0
 @Dropthedebt:

I agree I can ride basically anything on my Snabb T 140mm with a 160mm Pike in the front. A lot I agree is the slackness added by running a 160mm fork though.
  • 1 0
 @daveg2: depending on AtoC height, you can add travel without raising your front end, especially if you're only going up by 10mm
  • 1 0
 @es7ebanlv: how so? Sorry maybe I worded it wrong but I don't think so...

Here how about... After putting a longer travel fork on my fuel I cant imagine going back to its stock 130/130 that it was at when I first got it..

Either way its pretty easy to see what I am trying to say is "I feel the bike rides better and performs better with a long travel in the front than rear.

Hopefully that helps you.
  • 1 0
 I agree, more travel up front is better. I came to that conclusion in a very unscientific manner. I thought we HT has no suspension in rear and they have as much as 160mm to 0mm. They work fine don’t they? But nobody has ever built a bike with a ridgid fork and travel in the rear. So.... runnng a longer travel fork than what you’ve got out back seems correct. Like I said anecdotal and unscientific. Just my musings is all. But I’m more comfortable on a bike with slightly more squish up front
  • 1 0
 @fattyheadshok: My Reign SX from last year came set up like that 170 up front and 160 in the arse end, I'm sold on it, almost contemplating setting up my DH rig that I'm building this winter like it although they are pretty raked out as it is.
  • 1 0
 @jboutette: I put a 180/150 Lyric on my reign, rides up and down just fine!
  • 22 1
 The poll confirms that the majority of riders are locked into their own paradigm of perceived travel presets. SHEEPLE....
  • 9 1
 Bingo. Marketing teams have done their jobs well.
  • 4 1
 @sethius: ding ding ding! Yup
  • 3 0
 So are you some insightful genius who can see through all the marketing when all the rest of us are sucked in? Or is it possible that your insights are obvious and we are using 5" trail bikes now for the same reasons we were using 4" freeride bikes years ago?
  • 3 0
 I considered to chose those numbers for today's common suspension designs. When future brings us tires that don't need suspension or XC-bikes with 200mm travel I'm open to that. As long as it rides great everything's fine for me.
  • 3 0
 @PhillipJ: not much insight required. I have a few bikes, comparing my 5010 (roughly 145 rear with a 7.8x2.25 rear shock and 140 34 in front) at a tick over 26 pounds against my 2015 NS Soda Evo with 180 f and r at just under 31 points and in terms of speed, the 180mm bike destroys the 5010 every time whether it is xc type segments (yes uphills included) or of course dh type segments. This is on trails that are technical with roots, rocks, steeps, etc. New England riding. When I get really gassed I can hulk smash everything on the NS. I just dent the shit out of the rims on the 5010. This is simply me. Alot of our Enduro races are multi-stage DH events. I have podiumed most of the time and worked in shops for years and ridden since 92 so I'm not a total hack. People do laugh at my travel occasionally as if they had a higher level of understanding. I have simply ridden alot of different bikes and settled in what worked for me, regardless of marketing categories.
  • 2 0
 I don't like to throw out the race results thing but I am getting old, salty and tired of these MTB Joey's with matching TLD shit coming in with steadfast opinions of what shreds that is purely based on marketing BS they swallow whole.
  • 1 0
 @silvbullit: i agree 170+ bikes are fast everywhere. 32lb 170mm bike is faster on tight tech than my 25lb xc bike if its rough at all.
  • 17 0
 I don't think about suspension travel--it's more about geometry and components. I don't think about suspension travel--it's more about geometry and components. I don't think about suspension travel--it's more about geometry and components. I don't think about suspension travel--it's more about geometry and components. I don't think about suspension travel--it's more about geometry and components.
  • 16 1
 This "how much travel is the best" is missleading. It all depends on the shock+ how the bikes uses the travel. A bad linkage design with 180mm will feel wore than 160mm with a good linkage+ shock.
Overall I think less is more- you can compensate a lot with your riding skills.
  • 4 0
 Riding skills? You mean smash through everything like a hack? Thats my riding skill.
  • 15 0
 Does that Polygon feel like a soggy mess when you're NOT pedalling on short-travel terrain? If I try to pump the backside of a roller does it actually do anything or does the under-damped suspension just collapse?
  • 11 0
 220 mm and 29" wheels to minimize chance of pedal scrape/foot bash on a rock or root for DH, because if you need to pedal you're on the loser levers too much.
  • 20 0
 Pedals? Pfft i just duct tape my feet to my bottom bracket
  • 11 0
 Is it just me, or the votes fall precisely where manufacturers tell us what amount of travel defines a bike's category?

No surprises here.
  • 2 1
 Let me know next time Gwin wins a WC race on 100mm...
  • 2 0
 I was thinking pretty much the same thing. Apparently everyone thinks bikes are done evolving. I expect that in a few years these will seem 20mm too short, in every category.
  • 1 0
 @blinkpike: no it'll seem wayyyy to long now cause we'll all be riding hover bikes with 0mm suspension
  • 11 0
 what a useless exercise. 5 inches can feel like 7 inches and vice versa depending on linkage and damper.
  • 7 1
 It's not the length, it's how well you use it.
  • 1 0
 Sure. But a properly sorted 7" at or below 30lbs. is the ultimate fun machine unless your trails are groomed.
  • 6 0
 This came up in the Tantrum thread on MTBR. Thanks to a mega-efficient linkage and geometry adjustment, that bike is actually better with more travel. The problem is the rest of the kit. Long-travel forks weigh more and dive more under power. Rims, tires, and brakes that'll stand up to enduro terrain are heavier. Conventional frame designs with fixed geometry still have to compromise between stability and agility. There's always going to be a place, I think, for more focused XC and downhill designs, even as trail bikes become more adept at moonlighting in either role.
  • 1 0
 You make some good points. *tips hat*
  • 4 0
 We already know the amount of suspension travel doesn't make sense if you isolate it from geometry, wheel size etc, don't we? My next frame (BTR Ranger) has a slacker head angle than most hardtails with 160mm travel. Pretty sure it will keep up just fine.
  • 8 0
 No ideal travel for a road bike. Flawed poll. Fake News!
  • 8 2
 The answer is 150mm. Cross country, Trail, Enduro, Downhill, Park- 150. My bike can do it all.
  • 4 0
 160mm front 150mm rear is a great combination
  • 2 0
 @SingleTackKiller: same thing here on 2010 Transition Covert 26". Works for me!
  • 5 1
 I just built a 21" carbon hardtail with dropper, 26" wheels, eThirteen 9-46 cassette, XTR controls, and 160 mm fork. Light, flickable, accelerates like a scalded cat. So what class would this fall into?
  • 8 2
 You'd probably find it listed under Classy
  • 7 0
 DowntrailenduroXC
  • 12 0
 This would fall under the, "bikes with no resale value" category.
  • 1 0
 Is there any hardcore carbon hardtail in 26" out there? That will fit 160?
Or did you take a 100mm 29" frame?
  • 1 0
 @Uuno: ICAN 27.5 frame, with all the geometry recalculated for the longer fork. I had a couple of options to consider. Between 26"/559 and 27.5"/584 wheels, there's only a 1/2-inch true height difference. With a longer fork you can expect about a degree of slackening for each additional 18 mm of travel, which was perfect for the target angles. Here's my build: docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ggfcaD82lO9ZzFJlmhSCvICEx_9Vw0B5uDGVkNI39Ho/edit?usp=sharing
  • 3 0
 This pole is asking all the wrong questions in exactly the wrong way! This pole divides riding styles up, then restricts the choices to a narrow band within the author's own pre-conceived ideas. Doh! Are you nuts? What matters is that a bike performs, and in general it has to be accepted that longer travel bikes are either more comfortable for old gits like me or go faster over rougher terrain for the young invincibles. From that then we need suspemsion that performs, allowing me and the young to both be happy and for the peddalers to get up hill efficiently. So stop poling us about what you think we want and stop sopping to every suspension manufacturer's wonder-claim and start pushing them to accept that we all weigh different amounts, travel at different speeds, and therefore aside from geometry start offereingsensibly wide suspension adjustment, and stop hiding behind short travel. Oh and please stop fobbing us off with telescopic forks just because you believe the buying public is so thick we cant tolerate innovation. And dont even start me on Boost! My arse! Deraillers? And Derrailler systems with ever wider ratios? Get a life! Happy Christmas everyone!!!
  • 1 0
 Isn't a Pole a kind of bike.
  • 5 1
 The ideal amount of travel is as much as possible as long as it remains reasonable to go uphill. Kinematics and Geometry matter.
  • 6 0
 Hardtail in the chairlift FTW !
  • 5 0
 I don't care what anyone says... hucking 7' to flat on a hardtail with a 4" travel x-vert dual crown is still "rad"...
  • 6 0
 I choose140mm.
  • 5 0
 psssht, no one ever runs 140, why even put it in the poll, right? ....right...?
  • 5 1
 You invalidated the whole poll by outright giving readers "the answer" before offering the poll. Smile
  • 4 0
 two options in my world:

XC- bring your CX stiffy.
Trail/AM: 140mm squish squash.

I go ride bicycle. I am happy.
  • 4 0
 The only thing this poll demonstrates is how brainwashed everyone has been by the bike industry
  • 2 0
 I answered the first poll and realised there’s no point continuing because I’m just giving the answers if been conditioned to believe are right. The same examples you used before the polls.
  • 1 0
 The real question:

Do pinkbikers believe that the industry has discovered the ideal travel for these classes of bikes? And the answer is clearly yes. Most of pinkbike believes that suspension travel increases are the history of mountain biking, not the future of mountain biking.

I'm pretty sure we'll have 180mm enduro bikes and 220mm DH bikes in a couple/few years. Same for the other categories.
  • 2 0
 The trail bike poll is whacked b/c today there are some incredible 130 slacked hardtails that are absolutely mental with incredible geometry that really are the closest thing to quiver killer bikes ever assembled.
  • 3 0
 For meeeeeeee, larger wheels allowed for 10mm less travel without feeling harsh. And now larger tyres are doing something similar again.
  • 1 0
 I'm proud to say I've been riding mountain bikes my entire life. Even before the invention of suspension. I have always been on a single crown for everything. Nothing more Ever Needed than a totem. Park downhill Freeride whatever.
  • 1 0
 I was totally on the bigger is better bandwagon until I threw a leg over a Chromag hardtail. Needless to say my opinion has drastically changed, and I'd recommend at least demoing/trying something on the smaller side; if you have the handling skills to back it up, there is a whole new level of excitement out on the trail.
  • 5 0
 29 STEEL HT FOR LIFE.
  • 4 0
 It's like asking what's your ideal shoe size.....
  • 4 0
 No perfect number for anything, go f*&%ing ride your bike.
  • 3 0
 N + 1 all the things. There is never enough travel as long as the geometry and suspension work correctly.
  • 2 0
 As a trail rider, I'd take basically as much travel as I can get as long as it climbs well and is short and steep enough to get around switchbacks.
  • 2 0
 It's funny how particular mountain bikers seem to be with suspension travel. Coming from the motocross/offroad world... Gimme one that I can do everything with.
  • 2 0
 All depends on wheel size. Generally 10mm less if talking 29 wheel. Pole should be setup based on wheel size.
  • 4 0
 I’m angry at numbers.
  • 3 0
 Are these the most expected answers ever???
  • 1 0
 I purposely guessed for the least likely answers. I got all but one. Fuck up their poll. Damn the man! Save the Empire!
  • 4 1
 Pedalling? Sorry what is that? You mean push or lift?
  • 2 0
 seems like with 29" wheels one can reduce the travel by 10mm compared to 27.5
  • 1 0
 I tested 26 vs. 29 in a bikepark and can confirm that a 29er with 20mm less travel felt the same.
  • 1 0
 I like a little more travel in the fork for most suspension designs, and I prefer progressive linkages.

120-100 for XC
170-160 for Trail/Enduro/DH
  • 1 0
 I regularly wish my enduro rig had more that 160mm rear travel. I think 170 is ideal.

My 9.5" dh sled has nothing to do with this opinion.
  • 1 1
 i didn't answer any of them cause it kept asking for front & rear at the same level.
how bout' a 140 rear, 170 front? it will be only until then, that you are in the know; think: "hardtail exploded"!!
  • 1 0
 I wonder if PinkBike sells the ability to host a poll to companies for market research, or if they're just to settle arguments around the office.
  • 1 0
 My most memorably fun ride recently was when I forgot to take the lock out off the suspension and I hadn't bothered to air up my tyres so the were practically flat.
  • 3 0
 The older you get the more travel you need.
  • 2 0
 150 rear 160 front My Kona process 153 from 2015 is fantastic with the coil fork and high volume shock it ploughs
  • 1 0
 Give a R3act bike to "the biker without brakes on Mammoth Mountain" or to "the road bar on DH bike man" and bring him to EWS and DH Championship and see what happens...
  • 1 0
 The contemporary mtb categories got us stuck in a rut. We need to think more about what´s actually a fun bike. Wait... Evil already makes one!? Let me go get my wallet.
  • 2 0
 I guess we can use that n+1 formula even for suspension ;D
  • 1 0
 Sometimes I think that they need our input to know what new standard to change next. XC, AM, DH...3", 5", 8"
  • 3 1
 4 inches, 2 pumps and a lean...
Wait, suspension what?
  • 2 0
 My Hardtailism intensifies!!! HT4LYF
  • 1 0
 My Canfield Balance is 160mm and I feel like it's the perfect bike for all of these categories.
  • 2 0
 "Freeride is dead" to those too scared to wander off man made trail.
  • 1 1
 When are people going to realize that a good suspension design with 160mm front and rear travel is really the only bike you need anymore.
  • 1 0
 Funny in the Kona Stinky ad.... the marketing bs will always tell us that whatever is new is the most awesome.
  • 2 0
 Disco Volante bitches !!!
  • 2 0
 Disco Volante was their trail bike, The Apocalypse is where it was at 12” of travel second air shock to dampen rebound
  • 1 0
 RC, Kesteven and Chips still aren't worth listening to.. Can't see that ever changing.
  • 1 0
 Where I live in the UK my on-one codine 29er does everything 140mm travel up front 130mm on the back
  • 1 0
 Got a Knolly Endo, 130 in the back and I put a 160 instead of a 150 up front. I love it.
  • 2 0
 What about girls who bring hardtails to the chairlift?
  • 2 0
 Fair play. My bad.
  • 1 0
 160 / 155 mm for everthing ... one bike is enough, need to feed my girlfriend too ...
  • 1 0
 No mention of dentists yet? Oh wait, these are ALL comments FROM dentists.....
  • 1 0
 150mm fork on my hard tail.
  • 2 2
 Always bare in mind, that your suspension travel should not exceed the size os you dick by more than 10mm or 1/2 inch.
  • 5 1
 26" V-10 is perfect for me then.
  • 1 0
 I bet I know why your girlfriend hates riding with you.
  • 7 0
 Dammit, that means I've got to start entering XC races now winter's here.
  • 3 0
 @metaam: Without calculating your winter SAG. So you should be OK all year long.
  • 2 0
 Do they still make a 60mm travel fork then, thats what I would need Smile
  • 2 0
 Long very long 300mm
  • 1 0
 Here has "less is more" anything to do... Smile
  • 1 0
 That's it, I've lost the will to live.
  • 1 0
 How much travel can your mom take..that's the real question
  • 1 0
 Whats the ideal Ebike travel?
  • 1 0
 160 mm front and rear. You need it for the extra weight.
  • 1 0
 MMMMMMMOOOOOOAAAAARRRRRRR
  • 1 0
 "just ram that bastard full of elastomers". Oh, man I laughed out loud...
  • 1 1
 suspension travel is a like the male appendage. The bigger the better. longer stroke more fun.
  • 1 0
 some people wanna feel all the bumps on their ride. stiffies are fun too.
  • 2 0
 10 inches. All day.
  • 1 0
 It's not about the size of your pen. It's about your penmanship.
  • 1 0
 Its not about the length, its about the girth
  • 1 0
 i can't answer the poll cause it doesn't give me wheel size option...
  • 1 0
 I'll just go out and ride my bike!
  • 1 0
 The mo' the better. Point.
  • 1 0
 What's a cross country bike?
  • 1 0
 great, now pack the data collected and sell everything. Amen.
  • 1 0
 I got all the questions right. What do I win!
  • 1 1
 10mm more than you think you need is perfect.
  • 2 0
 I think you've almost got it, but in 'reality' it's 10mm more than whatever it was last year. Or whatever you thought you needed last year.
  • 1 0
 All the travel.
  • 1 0
 134 is my sweet spot
  • 1 1
 As much travel as possible as long as it is good travel
  • 1 0
 ZE HARDTAIL GANG
  • 1 0
 none
  • 1 0
 That’s what she said
  • 7 9
 Watch out f&@kers he’s trying to sell you something. Hint: it is highlighted in blue and says Poly.........
  • 39 4
 Little known fact: I get a million bucks for every Polygon sold....

Seriously? The bike has a link to it because some people might want to actually read the article about the bike. What's more, reason I mentioned the bike is because the thing has 180mm of travel, is supposed to climb and pedal amazingly well and doesn't even have a compression-damping adjustement lever on the thing....What other bike right now better represents the idea that you can have a boatload of travel and not have the travel itself pigeon hole the bike's capabilities? Sheesh. I get the general distrust for everything that permeates the world, but come on. You honestly think I'm selling you something? I don't care if you or any other reader ever buys anything. That ain't my job, hoss.
  • 3 0
 @vernonfelton: You've sold me. I'll take two. Do you offer it mauve?
  • 3 20
flag Monstertruckermotherfuker (Dec 15, 2017 at 15:20) (Below Threshold)
 @vernonfelton: whores never like getting called “whore”. Sorry! I figured if you were tough enough to fall off a bike you could at least eat a little shit.
  • 8 2
 @vernonfelton: badass response. I don't get the mistrust of this site. If I'm the one who is an idiot and if the point is to sell shit then I don't care anyway. I pay way less for pinkbike then I do for cable and I get many more hours of entertainment out of this site.

Thanks for doing what you do.
  • 2 0
 @vernonfelton: I trust you Vernon..., now pass me some of that crap coffee so I can get this watercolor of you and Mike giving each other a hug finished.
  • 2 0
 The Polygon (and the Marin version) and the Tantrum bikes are really the only bikes out there trying to separate the amount of travel from the class of the bike. Tantrum is just one guy with Kickstarter and Polygon have some highly visible DH and freeride riders so it's understandable that Polygon are the poster child for this movement.
  • 2 0
 @vernonfelton: Come on Vernon, you know that the PB comment section has developed it's own mythology where one of the central tenets is that you guys are getting paid by the manufacturers for positive reviews. Don't ruin that for us.
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