Opinion: The Case For Being 'Over-Biked'

Sep 9, 2021
by Seb Stott  
Drawing by Taj Mihelich


Recently I was chatting to a rider on my local trails who said something that really got me thinking: "A 120mm-bike is really the ideal bike for UK riding, isn't it?"

Is it?

Mike Levy made the case for short-travel bikes back in 2012, and the popularity of this sentiment seems to have grown recently. I'm not trying to rain on anybody's parade; there's no doubt that short-travel bikes have got a lot more capable in recent years, and if you like riding downhill on your downcountry bike then great. But it seems that for some people, under-biking is a badge of honour while over-biking (riding an unnecessarily long-travel bike) is something to be ashamed of. Some see long-travel bikes as a comfort blanket or a one-trick pony - a bad choice for anyone who isn't racing an EWS stage. My view is that long-travel bikes are actually the more versatile option. They don't need to be a slog on mellower trails or when climbing, and they are just better when the trail gets nasty.

2020 Specialized Enduro
The right tool for the job, and a pretty good tool for easier terrain.


More travel, more options

Going back to that rider's comment, there is plenty of rowdy terrain in the UK, and even here in the Wye Valley where our conversation took place. But as for the flowy trail we'd just ridden, I could see his point - you really don't need more than 120mm of squish to ride it comfortably, and nobody wants a bike that feels like a soft mattress when pumping through fast, smooth berms.

But you don't have to use all of your travel all the time. In fact, you don't have to use all your travel... ever. I think some people take the often-repeated advice that you should set your bike up with about 30% sag and bottom-out once per ride too seriously. If you want a more responsive feel from your long-travel bike, there's nothing to stop you from trying less sag, more compression damping or more volume spacers (even if it means you never use full-travel). Just flicking the climb switch will close the gap to a short-travel bike when pumping smooth terrain. But if you wanted to make a short-travel bike softer and more forgiving, you'd soon run out of travel. In other words, you can make a long-travel bike firmer and more responsive, but you can't make a short-travel bike softer and more forgiving.

Norco Factory Mechanic and researcher, Lewis Kirkwood, has shown that mountain bikers can be exposed to more vibration than jackhammer operators. He still rides a hardtail, but the point of the research stands.

Bad vibrations

But there's a good reason most people want to make use of all the travel they've got: harshness. There's precious little scientific data in the mountain bike world, but this study from Edinburgh Napier University is a rare exception. Two elite-level athletes raced two UK enduro races each, riding either a 27.5" bike with a 170mm fork or a 29er with a 160mm fork. They had accelerometers fitted beside the grips which revealed levels of vibration that exceed safety limits set for industrial workers using equipment like jackhammers and chainsaws.

How bad is that? The study's lead author, Lewis Kirkwood, says "I don't want to cause panic"..."but it's concerning". Here's how it's put in the study: "elite enduro mountain bike athletes are exposed to potentially harmful levels of hand-arm vibration ... prolonged or repeated exposure to such levels of vibration could potentially lead to the development of vibration-related pathologies such as ulnar nerve compression or HAVS [hand-arm vibration syndrome]".

This test was on enduro stages, which are probably rougher than your average ride. But both riders were using relatively long-travel bikes, so it stands to reason that riders could be receiving similar levels of vibration on less extreme terrain when riding a shorter-travel bike with stiffer suspension. And of course, this concern that vibration could lead to long-term pathologies is just another reason why you might prefer softer suspension - traction, confidence on technical terrain and in-the-moment comfort are still very good reasons.

Nukeproof Giga review
Long-travel bikes don't have to suck uphill, but short-travel bikes will always suck going downhill.

A good deal

Bike design and bike choice largely come down to the trade-off between climbing performance against descending performance. Increasing travel means gaining a lot on the descents without necessarily giving much up on the climbs.

Sure, longer travel bikes tend to be heavier, but it's not the travel itself that adds weight, but the heavier components which long-travel bikes tend to be paired with. A 180mm RockShox Lyrik weighs the same as the 150mm version, and a 170mm-travel Nukeproof Giga frame weighs just 280g more than a 130mm-travel Nukeproof Reactor.

And while long-travel bikes used to pedal like a bouncy castle, there are plenty of long-travel bikes these days which have very little pedal-bob thanks to clever use of anti-squat, which controls suspension movement when pedalling. There are also lockouts or climb switches, which allow any bike to pedal more efficiently at the flick of a switch. More travel doesn't have to mean a reduction in climbing efficiency. With well-designed suspension and steep seat angles, some modern enduro bikes are really good climbers.

Tom Richards photo

2021 Santa Cruz Nomad
Which of these bikes is the more efficient climber? According to Levy's version of science, it's the 170mm-travel Nomad.

In last year's efficiency test, the 170mm-travel Santa Cruz Nomad climbed faster than the 130mm-travel Ibis Mojo (at the same power), and the 180mm-travel Propain Spindrift wasn't far behind - that's despite the longer travel bikes being fitted with slower-rolling tires and all of the shocks were fully open. So, even if you can't bring yourself to use that "cheater switch" (lockout), some long-travel bikes are so efficient these days that you can have your cake and eat it too.

But when descending, there's no replacement for displacement. A short-travel bike will never deal with rough terrain as deftly as a well-set-up long-travel bike because the vertical wheel travel fundamentally limits how much the suspension can absorb before the frame starts moving upwards into the rider.

The crux of my argument is that there's an asymmetry here: a long-travel bike can climb like a short-travel bike if the suspension is designed well, but there's no way to make a short-travel bike absorb bumps like a long-travel bike. It's just not possible. Suspension travel is one of the most important factors when descending, but one of the least important when climbing.

Kona Process 111 Photo by Amy McDermid
The Kona Process 111 was arguably the OG downcountry bike...

Mike Levy testing the Specialized Enduro 29er in Sedona. Photo by Colin Meagher
...but I much preferred the Enduro 29 (even the non-S-works version)

The original short-travel troublemaker

The Kona Process 111 was a pretty interesting bike when it launched in 2013. What made it stand out in my view was the relatively long reach, short stem and short-offset fork, which together made it among the best handling 29ers of its day. But I rode one as a long-term test bike for a year and its defining feature (the 111mm of travel) was the worst thing about it.

Most reviews pointed out that it descended surprisingly well for its travel. I agree, but that's not the right question. A better question is does it descend well relative to how it climbs? The answer is no.

The bike I had weighed 16Kg (35lb) and had an effective seat angle of 73-degrees at my pedalling height. The suspension (which had very little anti-squat and no lockout) bobbed quite a lot when pedalling too, even when compared to longer-travel bikes. And while it handled well, it soon became brutal as the trails got faster and rougher. Even bikes of the time like the original Specialized Enduro 29 climbed just as well (if not better) and was much less limiting when the descents got gnarly.

Conclusion

The recent down-country trend has made a lot of people realise how much you can do with a small amount of travel. But it's also worth keeping in mind how capable long-travel bikes have become uphill. There's a lot of flexing to be done by sending it on your 120mm-bike, less so by bossing a climb on your 180mm bike. But when it comes to the balance of climbing vs descending, the long-travel route makes way more sense. It's easier to make a long-travel bike that climbs well than a short-travel bike that desends well.

Cross-country Field Test 2020
I'm not against short-travel bikes which are actually fast uphill.

Don't get me wrong - I see the appeal of super-light cross-country and downcountry bikes for all-out speed and efficiency; I love the idea of donning Lycra and chewing up singletrack on a Transition Spur or Scott Spark. But I see more and more short-travel bikes being used as do-it-all bikes, often fitted with coil shocks, hefty tires and inserts in an attempt to make up for the lack of travel. If you want one bike to do everything, I think it makes more sense to have a capable long-travel bike that can be fitted with faster-rolling tires (and even stiffer suspension settings) for mellower rides.

I'm sure I'll get plenty of pushback in the comments for this so let me know if you agree or if I'm missing the point.

Posted In:
Stories Op Ed



438 Comments

  • 316 19
 But sometimes it’s not about wanting the most capable bike, at least for me. It’s the most fun bike! Kinda like how a fast car can be less fun if it has the stickiest tires. Then again, maybe having the most capable bike for the descents is what’s most fun for you.
  • 15 1
 Agreed 100%
  • 124 3
 Or in a similar way that it can be more exciting to drive a “slow car” fast rather than driving a “fast car” slow.
A shorter travel trailbike might, in fact be slower on the descents compared to a enduro or DH bike. But the thrill of greasing a rowdy steep double black diamond tech trail on the former and feeling like you just got away with murder can be just if not more fun.
  • 88 3
 @mikelevy Dang. I came here to fight you and yell about how my 180mm enduro rig is better than every other bike in existence, but your analogy kinda makes sense... thats the reason people love Miatas, they're slow, underpowered, but the handling makes you giggle. Whatever bike makes you giggle the most is the bike you should be on, for me, its a 180mm bruiser
  • 20 1
 Makes me think of my friends cars. One has a 70's Datsun. Just going 60mph in that thing feels crazy. Other buddy got a new charger. We were going down the highway and he's doing 110mph, felt like 60mph in a normal car.
  • 4 0
 nailed it, I think its more of an "in the moment" situation but riding at the edge of a bikes capabilities is certainly a lot of fun... last week I left my FS 29 bike at the house for my last group ride in favor of my 27.5 HT b/c I thought (and it was) more fun at that particular moment. Sure the FS would be faster but sometimes its fun ripping the trails on a quick bike (though I did case a jump my other bike would have cleared).
  • 57 0
 But if you gotta drive from Whistler to Calgary would you rather do it in a Mini or a Maybach? I'm all for thrashing about my local trails on a hardtail, but if a big ride's coming up it's always the 150mm bike. On hour number 4 of the day my legs and shoulders are thanking me for it. Plus the bigger bike won't hurl me into the shadow realm when tired me starts making poor line choices.
  • 16 0
 @Fix-the-Spade: 100% true as well....i guess the correct answer is to have more than one bike (if you can)
  • 6 0
 @brycepiwek: Maybe not got away with murder but escaped with your life Smile
  • 6 3
 Exactly. The most fun for me is a chameleon. It makes you want to pop off everything in sight. Even a pebble. It turns rock gardens into pump tracks. Toss the rear derailleur too. Admittedly that part requires a fair bit of fitness to not suck. If you have more fun smashing on a 170mm bike then power to ya!
  • 321 1
 I just want to point out to everyone that @mikelevy spends 90% of his waking hours complaining how bad all his joints hurt. Smile
  • 17 8
 When comparing two bikes, one with 140mm rear travel to one with 160mm rear travel; which equates to a 13% difference, I wonder whether the additional travel makes that big of a deal.

I want a bike that handles well in the terrain that I ride, travel be damned.

More travel does provide more cushion, but more cushion doesn't provide better handling.

I'm riding two bikes now that have 140mm travel, a GG Shred Dogg and Canfield Tilt.

I'll admit that a bigger version of the Tilt (Lithium) is intriguing, but I went that way once and backed off for a reason.

So yeah, for climbing and descending, I think the sweet spot is 140mm rear travel.
  • 4 0
 Exactly. My Nomad climbs better than my previous shorter travel bikes and I love it for the steeper trails I ride where it’s fast and forgiving. But there’s no denying 64degs is pretty slack on mellow trails and if that’s your bag then something shorter and steeper is likely to feel more engaging.
  • 8 0
 100% Short(er) travel bikes tend to be a bit more lively and fun to pop off roots and rocks. Anytime I've been on a long(er) travel bike, the ride felt damped and kinda...boring for lack of a better description. However, I currently ride an aggressive hardtail. And while it's definitely livelier, sometimes I'm wishing for just a little squish in the rear.

If I were racing, then forget about playful...just needs to be fast.
  • 30 1
 @brianpark: I blame that on rider error, not what I'm riding Wink
  • 16 0
 As a former Miata owner, I'm all in favor of driving a slow car fast as opposed to a fast car slow. That being said, I don't think it applies to MTB in quite the same fashion. I wouldn't take a Miata to race Baja. It's all about having the right tool for the job.
  • 2 2
 Yeah, I've got a hardtail (BTR Ranger 26") and a fully (Cannondale Prophet). I'm much, much more confident on the hardtail hence I'm having more fun on the hardtail.
  • 10 0
 I would rather have the longer travel and not need it then not have it and need it. A Ripmo is a great balance for me
  • 3 0
 Surely it's about finding that sweet-spot that gives the "oooh, so close to bailing" feeling on the widest range of terrain you ride.
My take is that we follow Lewis Kirkwood's research and ride HTs with 200mm DH forks
  • 1 0
 @dairydolores: yep, I love my miata and stick shift HR-V, and I kinda miss my hardtail (now I ride a Trek Slash)
  • 2 0
 @ttollefsbol: As was suggested by the author, would it help to stiffen up the suspension on a longer-travel bike to get that lively pop?
  • 8 0
 I'm gonna also through out there that it depends how much you ride. If you are a 3-5 day a week rider, mixing it up with different bikes is great fun. 1-2 days a week and one most-capable bike might be the ticket.
  • 2 1
 I prefer to ride short travel bikes and drive “slow” (140bhp) sports cars, so I’m definitely on @mikelevy’s side on this one!
  • 5 2
 This actually makes a ton of sense. I often wonder how it would feel riding my local trails on a short travel or downcountry bike, or even a bike that is more suited to the riding in my local area. (I live in southern Ontario and the riding here is mostly flat and boring gravel double track. Then I ride my rare amount of single track on my 170 160 Commencal, and I remember why I love the long travel. The best reason to go long travel, in my opinion, is because you can take a trail that is not at all pushing for a bike of that length, and then try more and more dangerous things like random gaps that have no business being ridden, or taking a different line that has likely never been done. It's the things you can do to push the bike on a trail that in its self can't, are the things that make it so much fun on the trails.
  • 8 3
 If you really want the most capable bike that balances ascending and descending get an ebike. Bahahaha!
  • 8 0
 Yah, my idea of fun is going fast DH and not feeling like Im on the verge of death if I make some little mistake. I dont like to rocket ship up the climbs anyway.
  • 13 2
 If sticky tires makes the car less fun then the car wasn't fast in the first place.
  • 2 0
 I get all the slow car fast discussion... I used to love to ride my wife's clapped out, many lay downs 2004 Ninja 250. I'd pin the throttle in the garage and basically never let up, and 40mph never felt so raw or violent. I weighed 250 pounds at the time... That poor bike.
  • 1 0
 @nurseben:

I'm looking at the Privateer 141/161, which are basically exactly the what you're talking about comparing. Both of which are bikes I'm considering for a future build.

Both bikes have similar geometry (although not identical), similar weights, etc. Both have potential pros and cons. I just have no idea which to choose, or if they're really all that different in the first place.
  • 4 0
 @ocnlogan: You have the terrain available nearby to make use of the 161 if you so choose. Keep in mind that opinions from people who live and ride in areas that are much different from you might not be too useful to your situation.
  • 1 0
 @englertracing: Hilarious!
  • 1 0
 @Glenngineer: sounds like you need a supermoto
  • 4 0
 @nurseben: I think you may be right about the 140mm as the all-around sweet spot. My partner and I ride Devinci's. I have a Spartan(165mm) and she rides a Troy(140mm). Identical size, year & spec. The Troy is faster on a lot of trails on account of the snappier handling and acceleration. It does however unquestionably beat you up more on the really rough stuff. So then the question becomes weather that handling an speed boost(noticeable but not huge) is worth extra arthritis...lol?
  • 3 0
 @ocnlogan: I have a 161. If you want to turn it into a 141, just crank up the shock's compression like Seb recommended. The extra travel only makes it more versatile but it ultimately depends on the kind of trails you ride and the people you ride with.
  • 6 0
 My DH bike has an Eagle drivetrain. It makes other people giggle in the up direction, and makes me giggle in the down direction.
  • 2 0
 Then why go full suspension at all? just go hardtail. I totally agree that there is something super fun and rewarding about riding a sketchy bike fast. It's even more rewarding when its cheap too! Hell rigid's provide that in the ultimate. One of my all time funniest rides was a primer gray stumpy rigid singlespeed. That thing cooked up the climbs and the looks you'd get were priceless. a fork goes along way going DH fast but on the super steep scree trails and singletrack rigids are fun as hell
  • 2 0
 Ride what you want. Pay the price. It's really that simple.
  • 8 0
 I have been told that there are people who enjoy climbing so I guess that's the camp voting for less travel. The only reason I pedal up hill is to get to get to trails that don't have a chair lift and when it comes to doing stupid shit at high speeds the more travel the better. The few times I've rented a DH bike I've been amazed at the things I can get away with.
  • 3 1
 @brianpark: this is ageist and I'm reporting you to the outside authorities. You're disparaging their entire market.
  • 2 0
 @nurseben: Yip, I commented on this further down. I rode a SB130, Ripmo and Offering back in 2019 in Pisgah. Took the offering down black mountain that it was freaking awesome, never felt at anytime I was out of travel.
  • 21 1
 I’ll try to keep this short-ish, but I could really say a lot on this subject. I’ve gone back and forth between shorter and longer travel bikes over the years, and I really have a lot of love for both. I also keep a SS hardtail around for 30-40% of my riding. My most recent ‘experiment’ involved going from a Tallboy V4 to a Ripmo V2. I bought a frame and moved all my parts over, so the weight of both bikes is within 1/2lb. The geo is also really similar. The Ripmo offers a slightly better suspension design for climbing- and has more travel. 27mm more in the back, and 20mm more in the front (I ran a 140 Fox 36 on the tallboy). Also, X2 rear shock vs Float Dps.

Observations: I think the dynamic movement of a longer travel bike in technical terrain is something Seb is missing here. Even with a stiffer tune, it’s hard to get a longer travel bike to move through (slow) technical terrain like a shorter travel bike. It just takes more effort to move the bike around. Think about sports car suspension vs Cadillac suspension. You can tune out some of that movement, but the mid-stroke support on a shorter travel bike comes sooner, as does the ramp up towards the end.

But as far as which is better… I think this can depend SO much on where you live, the type of trails you ride, and your personality as a rider. In places with long climbs and long descents (big mountains) the advantages of long-travel bikes really outshine the negatives for most folks. But if your trails have lots of ups-and downs and technical bits with less sustained climbing and descending, then the shorter travel bike comes into it’s own- even with the same parts and weight, it’s less tiring on long rides. With appropriately lighter parts, it’s significantly faster and more enjoyable.

Coming back to the article… I will admit- switching from the Tallboy to the Ripmo- my first few rides were very in line with the points Seb is making. I found myself thinking ‘wow, this bike gives up practically nothing to the shorter travel bike’ - and ‘this feels a lot better going downhill at high speed, especially on rough terrain’ … Both are great bikes. If I could only own one MTB, I would probably settle on something in the 130-140 travel range with modern geo. But since I have the hardtail for my XC rides, the Ripmo really opens up more comfort and confidence on the rougher terrain, and lets me push my limits a bit further.

I’m glad to see this kind of debate on Pinkbike! It sure beats reading the same ‘it’s a motorcycle, no its a bike’ back and forth we have going on with e-bikes. At the end of the day, I just want to have as much fun on the trails I frequent as possible- debates like this remind me of why I love to ride, and mess around with bikes in the first place.
  • 7 0
 My stupid thoughts on all this: a longer travel bike is easier to become two bikes in one that the other way around.
My Ripmo with same tires is about 0.5-1lb heavier (mostly from the bigger fork) than a Ripley with much less travel. When I run less sag, I only use part of my travel on easier trails and it pedals pretty much the same as a short travel bike, with just a little more room for error if I go a bit bigger.
Then when I’m going to be in rougher terrain, I lower the pressure, adjust a couple knobs, and I have a longer travel bike again.

I keep reading about bikes like the new SKOR or Guerilla Gravity bikes where you can have two bikes in one with just a different fork and rear shock. A longer travel bike just needs a shock pump to become a shorter travel bike. Ok, the geometry may be a little bit slacker, but then it’s really just a short travel bike from two years in the future the way bikes evolve.

In other words, I’ll in full agreement with the article.
  • 6 0
 @nurseben: This totally depends on your home turf and how you ride. I just switched from a 140mm trail bike to a 170mm enduro bike this year and couldn 't be happier. The 170 really outshine's my old trail bike on nearly everything, including technical climbs (despite being over 2kg heavier).
But, last week I was on an annual guys trip to a (pretty mellow) flow-trail bike park and suddenly I was bored out of my skull using the 170mm bike. Happily, our local trails are quite at the opposite end of the spectrum compared to flow-trails.
  • 7 0
 And hardtails are a shit ton onf fun.
  • 5 0
 @Fix-the-Spade: a freind told me when picking my last bike... 'choose the one you'd rather be on a few days into a riding trip when your whole body hurts and your riding is getting sloppy.' This was good advice.
  • 1 0
 @brycepiwek: very well said.
I used to ride motorcycles a lot, and although my 1100cc Kawasaki was amazing at chewing up miles in comfort with ridiculous power, I so rarely got to use the capability of the bike. A motorcycle friend and I used to scheme how we wanted to get 125cc bikes and ride down the coast from Seattle to Mexico. All with the idea that although way more tiring to ride, the little bikes would be more 'fun'.
Never for around to doing it, but I know the idea is valid.
I picked a middle of the road trail bike with 140mm of travel and even though a few times it would have been easier work more travel, I like getting it done with my medium bike rather than the 170mm sleds of riding friends.
  • 2 0
 @cougar797: "I dont like to rocket ship up the climbs anyway."

Liar! Lol.
  • 1 0
 @englertracing: no, it just means you have to go that much faster before it becomes fun.

Try FIA historic racing. In pre -65 we have to run Dunlop CR65 tires. Old-school diagonal ones that love to go sideways. Doesn't matter if you're in a Mini or a GT40, you'll go more sideways than straight, steering with the loud pedal. Yup, it's fun, and pretty fast too.
  • 3 0
 Hi Levy,

That car analogy works, but only if you have maxed out your speed on the trails you are riding. Or if there was a speed limit?

Like on a public road up a hill, lots of turns, it would be more fun going full gas in a slow car, because you have to work hard. But in a race car, you would have to worry about killing someone or going to jail for tripling the speed limit.

On the race track though, it is unbelievably fun to ride a race car. Much more fun than in a slow car! Same for tires, racing tires might make the ride too easy on public roads, but they are great fun on the race track, where the g-forces really kick in and shifts your internal organs to either side! And they will take more drifting before they melt as well.

For me, a fast, steep hill on singletrack or in a bikepark is more comparable to a racetrack. Either if you're trying to go fast or you just want to shred all the side hits, you are usually not limited by the law. And I don't think many people believe they have hit maximum human potential speed on any downhill track? You could always work harder, push more and be more on the limit. The perfect run never existed?

So I believe a fast long-travel bike is justifiable for anyone that likes to go fast down a hill. That said, there is a LOT to learn by trying the same on a less capable bike that forces you to ride the terrain more actively.
  • 2 0
 @DylanH93: just take a winding mountain road with that Charger. Slow will feel fast again.
  • 5 0
 @mikelevy But there are no speed limits on the trails, so you can get as loose as you like on any bike.

“It never gets easier, you just get faster” – Greg LeMond
  • 1 0
 @TheRoadWarrior: Maybe then instead of adjustable on the fly shocks, we need adjustable on the fly Geo? flip a switch notch that head angle back up a bit and raise the seat angle, maybe drop 20mm off the fork to balance it out and hey presto! when I changed from a Tues to an Enduro I certainly noticed the difference with the angles instantly but TBH once it was up to speed I wanted that 63 head angle back almost instantly lol.
  • 3 0
 @aidy: You're describing a 2000's Bionicon bike. Maybe the brand was way ahead of it's time after all.
  • 6 0
 The article and most of the comments, seem to be focused on travel. I'd argue geometry is far far more important.
That will set where you sit on the Poppy->-plow and dull->-dangerously twitchy spectrums.
I see all the bonuses of having longer travel as described. But maybe its the 500mm reach, 1300mm wheelbase and DH head angles that are turning people off the big bikes, not the 15% more squish
  • 3 0
 I got forked over
  • 3 0
 @mikelevy having an opinion that doesnt make me the slightest bit of upset? You are losing your edge old man!
  • 1 0
 @AyJayDoubleyou:

spot on imo. I got an 13 year old DH bike with 220mm travel and mega short wb and reach. feels like a BMX compared to modern trail bikes
  • 1 0
 I have a 150mm, and 100mm travel bikes... but I still love my hardtails!
  • 9 0
 So, like many, this is something that I have though about quite a bit, but there is one very important element in this discussion that never seems to come up or get the consideration it deserves.
What is your current goal/happy place as a rider?
Are you trying to progress technically as a rider? Currently focused on and excited about pushing your comfort zone and getting into bigger terrain with some higher consequence features? You will probably be better served and happier on a bigger bike that is going to really play well to that objective. Being "underbiked" does not encourage someone to try totally new/bigger/scarier things that they have not already dialed. They may work up to it, but they may not. It just doesn't encourage that. People hitting big things on small bikes have probably already hit bigger things on bigger bikes. Things that are small to one person can be big to another because perspective and experience is everything, and is unique to every rider and how they interpret every trail.

Being more underbiked I think encourages you to push your distances and fitness, but stay more within your technical progression comfort zone. Once you have that fitness, you can do still do those distances on a bigger bike but it is perhaps less encouraging to push those boundaries out further.

You are most likely not rapidly unlocking features on something you feel undergunned on. And you are most likely not rapidly unlocking miles on something you feel overgunned on.
Play to your interests and goals as a rider and less to trends and what other people consider ideal for a given terrain.
  • 1 0
 My last two bike purchases were based on the fun/capability rating on reviews. Process 153 and spec Enduro
  • 5 0
 Do I want a sick cushy enduro bike -> um yes absolutely
Can I afford that sick cushy enduro bike -> um no absolutely not
Can I afford a hardtail -> arguably

Therefore I ride a hardtail
  • 1 0
 @nurseben: How do you like the Tilt? I built a Riot and Balance (2015 frames) and absolutely love the way they handle. But, like anything else, you either love a short chainstay or hate it. LOL
  • 4 0
 @JakinM: well I ride a 6k bike and drive a 2k 1992 bronco. "Affordability" is relative.
  • 6 0
 @seb-stott: Sure, but everyone has their personal speed limit of sorts here their skills tap out. And all-out speed isn't always the goal, of course. If it isn't, a short-travel bike with less traction is far more entertaining to ride. For me.
  • 5 1
 @mtb-jon: I'm obviously trolling a bit too softly. I'll dial it up a few notches haha
  • 1 1
 @seb-stott: Northern CA seems to have missed the memo on trail speed limits
  • 3 0
 @AyJayDoubleyou: I love to watch older mtb films and episodes of Drop In- the riding is amazing yet it’s fascinating to see how twitchy the long travel but less-modern-geo bikes of that era behave- those guys are literally on a knife edge!
  • 2 0
 I had one of those 111s Seb's referring to. I now have a 134, which it its spiritual successor. Nope, these are not the most capable bikes, despite not being light. And no, neither of those bikes is a super-sprightly climber.

I think the point Seb's missing here is that fun on the descent comes in all sorts of flavors. Sure, you can set up a longer travel bike to be more responsive, more poppy, more what-have-you. But all that travel, and the angles that come with it, mean you end up going way faster. When my 111 bit the dust and it was time for a new bike, I tried both a 134 and a 153. And even though the geometry of those two bikes wasn't all that different (same HTA, very similar CS length), and even though both bikes were really fun to ride, I very clearly decided on the 134, and I've not regretted that decision in hundreds of rides since. The 153 was fun - but I was finding myself going way faster, overshooting jumps, etc. I was burning off altitude way faster, and I was increasing the consequences.

There's some mention of the 'slow car fast' philosophy in the discussion here. I think this applies to this conversaton not just in terms of fun - but also in terms of risk management. I can have a total blast on my shorter travel trail bike without getting into speeds that are outside my comfort zone, not from a skills perspective, but based on my risk tolerance (because even riding within your skills, shit can go sideways - and going way faster means you hit the ground/rock/tree way harder...).
  • 1 0
 @SATN-XC: Bingo! In the old days geometry made big travel bikes in lower- vertical riding terrain dumb. But the new geo and tech mean I can ride my 150/140 trail bike on anything from XC to single black terrain here in BC. I dont ride much XC so i dont have a short travel bike. But when i ride gnarlier blacks I take out the 160/160 enduro and still have fun on the less gnarly terrain and climbs getting to the descents, and the climbs are not perceptively harder on the enduro even though its 5 lbs heavier than the trail bike. But the descents are way more fun/fast on the bigger bike. Done my fair share of riding hardtails/short travel bikers on gnarlier terrain, but having a quiver and choosing YOUR fun bike for the terrain is luxury!
  • 1 0
 @nurseben: Yep I get it. But descending what? Its all relative to what you ride.
  • 1 0
 @brentkratz: Yep! I have 140/160 with an angle set, and even then I get way overwhelmed in bigger and steeper terrain.
  • 2 0
 Agreed... Whatever is the most fun... For me that is mostly my 170/160mm travel Enduro bike and some days my hardtail running a 150mm fork... (yeah, it is over-forked a bit...)
  • 1 0
 I love owning multiple bikes and thankfully the need for a one bike for everything isn’t a priority in fact it’s a real blessing that garage space isn’t my bike ownership limit, my budget still determines what I own but I make sacrifices all around and don’t own the very best of any particular genre currently my Summum takes priority on investment but that could all change.
My DH is out of action this weekend so I’m going out for some XC and DJ and next weekend the boys at work want to ride around the longest lake in Europe so my flat bar road bike will finally see some action. Horses for courses. The thought of being restricted to one bike makes me shudder.
  • 1 0
 @nurseben: gotta agree with you
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: at 50 I really feel this comment. I don't complain, but I feel it. An hour and change on my HT definitely "hits" different than 3 on my dually.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: Agreed, the speed limit is not the max speed you can ride at. It is the max speed you can bail at (with a half decent chance of survival). Going beyond that is reserved for those who rent a full-on DH bike and hit the straights with full speed and zero clue.
  • 1 0
 @nurseben: i have been looking at the Shred Dogg. Do you mind sharing your thoughts on performance and riding characteristics compared to similar bikes?
What size are you riding?
Thank you
  • 1 0
 @NWBasser: Possibly...I wonder if that would take away the small bump compliance, though? Good question. I'd like to play around with that idea if I had a longer travel bike currently.
  • 5 0
 @mikelevy your analogy is good, but not accurate, Miata's are fun for what they are on roads and smooth race tracks but you missed the point. We don't use Miata's on monster truck courses. You seem to see every trail as an XC racetrack, but if the trail being ridden is more of a monster truck course, then a Ford Raptor is a "more fun" bike than a "Miata".
To some "more fun" seems to equal "more pain", but not me.
  • 1 0
 You say simply "most capable", but what you mean is "most forgiving/capable on descents". "Most capable" rarely seems to mean "most energy efficient climber", but that would have the "most capability" for climbing.

A fast car with slippery tires can be more fun if, say, you like max drift angle. But if you only like cornering speed, you'll absolutely want the stickiest tires for maximum fun. So that's kind of an incomplete argument.

You kinda caught up with that last sentence, but there is still usually this undertone of "most capable" meaning "fastest downhill", and I think that's was Seb is trying to address. A big bike might be "more capable" downhill but modern ones are plenty capable uphill as well, where as a small bike will likely be "more capable" uphill but is absolutely less capable downhill.

In the end it comes down to the flexibility: the big bike can be ridden like the small bike (more spring, more ramp, more damping, can pick and choose lines when you want to, maybe even less tire if that's your thing), but the small bike can't really grow to match the big bike (less spring or ramp or damping means more bottoming out and maybe damaging things, have to pick & choose lines because plowing means breaking things or a crappy jarring ride).
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: "I blame that on rider error, not what I'm riding"

Except what you're riding changes the magnitude of those rider errors. Tough to really unlink the two.
  • 1 0
 @rotorbaru: Well said. I think the point Levy was trying to make was that it's more fun to run something at the limit than half of its capability which is absolutely true, but you don't need to be going fast to make use of more travel. On my local trails there's plenty of 4-5 foot drops to flat or even just little optional lines that kick you a few feet into the air but land you onto a pile of sketchy roots/rocks/bomb holes where 150-160mm of travel is quite welcome. That being said if you're even moderately quick trying to ride over really rough and rocky sections at speed will destroy your wheels if you don't have a fair bit of travel. I guess the other option is to slow down. Sounds like something an old person would advocate.
  • 1 0
 @nurseben: Just wondering, what's your experience been with the Tilt? I'm looking at one right now, but from the few reviews I've seen it sounds good, not incredible. What's your general take (also interested if you have anything to say about the GG)?
  • 2 0
 @smith06840: There's a tilt in a local shop right now I'd love to take for a spin. I've had a couple balances I love, a buddy of mine just got a lithium built up that he says is quiet an amazing bike. My guess is that as long as your not concerned about having the lightest trail build out there you'd never regret going with a Canfield.
  • 81 5
 Honestly I think a huge factor is how much real gravity-fed terrain you ride. Sure a long travel bike can eat up the chunky terrain you ride, but if the grade isn't very steep I'd much rather have the 120-140mm travel bike that has the pedaling/sprint efficiency (due to being much lighter weight) to keep up your momentum. To each their own.
  • 11 1
 Yeah I think it also comes down to the geo numbers on the bike. Mainly H/A, Chainstay, and wheelbase.
  • 3 1
 @Thendeb: spot on, squish is one thing but if the geos put them travel doesn’t matter
  • 19 2
 On rolling terrain steady state climbing efficiency isn't that important, it's acceleration, pumping efficiency, "nimbility", etc. So yeah the Nomad may be fast sitting and spinning but that's not the whole picture.
  • 8 0
 I think this is really what it comes down to - I've ridden my Stumpjumper EVO (with coil shock) pretty much across all types of riding in the US from CO to Sedona to the Midwest, and really the only time it's NOT fun is during extended 'pedally' sections (not necessarily climbs) or more mellow downhills that would require quite a bit of pedaling to maintain a speed that makes them fun. It's manageable to do some of these sections for shorter spurts and still enjoy it, but on a 2 hour XC ride, I'm wishing I had a snappier bike for most of the ride.
  • 10 0
 I had a downcountry and an enduro. This is spot on, the 120mm travel bike with fast rolling tires was easy to keep momentum and made flat trails very fun. The enduro bike bleeds speed everywhere on flat trails.
  • 4 0
 @rowdyhonzo: Yes I understand where you're coming from. I also think that the "enduro" bike of today won't feel good on a lot of trails. Like I mentioned previously, geo numbers have a huge affect on the bike. With today's enduro and superenduro bikes being longer than some DH bikes, they aren't going to feel any good on trails that aren't "gnarly". I think the point I'm getting at is just because a 170/170 or 180180 bike with a 445+ chain stay climbs decently, it doesn't mean it's going to feel good on the average downhill or enduro trail, unless you are a taller rider.
  • 4 0
 "I'd much rather have the 120-140mm travel bike that has the pedaling/sprint efficiency (due to being much lighter weight) "

But are they though? I genuinely want to agree with you, I'd really like something lightweight to complement my 15kg enduro bike, but from my reasearch you either buy an actual XC bike (and stick a dropper on it) one of the new breed of downcountry bikes (like a Spur) but once you get over that 120mm mark, all the bikes weigh pretty much up the the 15kg (33lbs) range.
  • 4 1
 @jeremy3220: my local trails are pretty good for "local" trails, but there's not much very steep, and there are lots of tight corners between closer-together trees that need braking into and pedaling out of - Isaac Newton doesn't provide much help. And my Mega is just too much bike. Yeah, it's better with a bit less sag, and maybe dropping a stem spacer. But it's a bit like a "sports SUV" - a 911 is still better than a Cayenne turbo
  • 2 3
 @Will762: My 2021 RM Instinct with the Cane Creek IL Coil only weighs 29.5 pounds. Even my SB130 last year with the same shock only weighed a touch over 30 pounds. Granted I work in a shop and build my bikes to a much higher spec than your typical boat anchor gx/nx build.

Guess that brings in the actual build to the equation, which is definitely worth mentioning. haha Still, the bikes I have now are definitely in a middle ground between 32+ pound enduro bikes and 25-28 pound downcountry bikes. Those couple pounds make a world of difference especially for me pedaling around 9k-13k feet for 90% of my riding season.
  • 2 3
 @jeremy3220: when was the last time you “pumped” going up hill?
  • 8 0
 @moroj82: any incline where you're trying to maintain speed. There's a couple local jump lines that have short sections that are flat or slightly up hill where you have to maintain momentum. Of course, ability to pump is important anywhere that you're off the pedals but need to maintain speed.
  • 6 0
 As a 220lb rider, I'm curious about weight as a factor.

I have a hard time imagining riding with less than 150-160mm here in BC (noting I also used to be able to ride my old 40lb 180mm 26er Norco Shore uphill).

I feel like bikes are designed for riders around 170lbs and you need about an extra 10mm for each 20lbs you add beyond that.
  • 4 1
 Ya where I’m from in the northeast US I see people riding these big enduro bikes on relatively flat chunky terrain where a short or mid travel bike would do them much better. But, to each their own. I think a big part of it is the MTB industry pushing these big travel bikes. Bikes are getting longer, slacker and with more travel. That’s not to say you can’t ride just fine on these big bikes, but I see much less Popularity for shorter travel bikes.
  • 1 0
 @Will762: I have a carbon transition smuggler and with a 2.6 vigilante front tyre and 2.4 trail boss rear complete with front mud guard and invisiframe it weighs just under 13.5 and it honestly rides so damn well I wonder why anyone would need more travel it's that good. I had a 180mm travel front/rear bike and it was like a boat anchor getting round my favourite black trail. The smuggler honestly feels like it has similar travel. It has way more support than even the slightly newer longer travel rocky mountain instinct it replaced.
  • 5 1
 To each their own, indeed. But I think you can have a 160mm+ bike with really good pedalling/sprint efficiency. Something with plenty of anti-squat like a Megatower or Yeti SB165 sprints really well.
  • 2 0
 @seb-stott: I've been mountain biking since the early 2000's and the last "longer travel" bike i had was a 2006 Kona Coiler Supreme. Enduro bike before "enduro bikes" existed. That thing was a turd to pedal around and i've had shorter travel bikes since. I was in the, i can do everything on a shorter travel bike, camp. Well, until 2 yrs ago when i got a 2020 RM Altitude! WTF????? It climbed amazing and ate everything on the downhill sections. I think tires are one of the biggest deciding factors if you want to ride a longer travel bike on mellower trails. IE: No DH or DD casing tires for pedaly days. Also, why are people running their tires at 18 psi?
  • 1 0
 @seb-stott: I have a Megatower and Tallboy. While the Megatower is certainly rideable on flat trails with little misery, it's for sure a different experience than the Tallboy. This is most apparent when pedaling out of the saddle. I don't run a soft setup on the Megatower either (I'm 200 lbs running 114 psi on my Fox 3Cool ... which brings me to another point, being 200 lbs a 160mm Pike would feel way too flimsy. The Factory DPS feels fine on the Tallboy but I've found that the same shock tends to feel terrible on longer travel (150mm+) bikes. So I think by building a light 160mm bike riders run the risk of ending up with a worst of both worlds scenario.

This would make a good video btw. Take something like a Megatower and Tallboy (both have very similar geo) then build the Megatower with the same parts as what would come on a Tallboy from the factory. Then compare the two and see if light long travel makes sense.
  • 1 0
 @seb-stott: I'm very surprised at just how well my GG Megatrail sprints. I had become so used to a squidgy suspension from riding past bikes that I sometimes forget that I can indeed stand and hammer rather than spin along.
  • 1 0
 @robertecooper: that's because you have real trails up there. I wouldn't think about some ridiculous "downcountry" rig for that place.
  • 2 0
 @stubs179: I made that mistake once, and now I have a new rear wheel. I don't understand the low pressure trend at all.
  • 2 0
 @i-squared-r: That the enduro bike "bleeds speed everywhere on flat trails" has very little to do with suspension travel. You mentioned fast rolling tires, but nother says the longer travel bike can't have those.

And regarding momentum, well the big bike can often build more momentum (straighter/riskier lines through/over jank, riskier gaps to pump backsides, later/minimal braking through rough corners, just the weight alone). It's up to the rider to keep that momentum, and if you have more to begin with you might come out the same at the end.

Maybe it's a disconnect on what "flat trails" means. Because flat in elevation does not always mean flat in actual trail surface. There are janky trails near me with a half mile of just a few meters of total elevation change but a 160 bike smokes a 120 bike because the big bike carries so much more momentum much more easily.
  • 1 0
 @robertecooper: not to mention that as rider weight goes up, the bike's percentage of total system weight goes down. My 31ish pound Stumpy is relatively lighter for my 220 lbs (~7.1:1, ~14%) compared to my buddy's 29 pound Mojo compared to his 165 pounds (~5.7:1, ~17.5%).

It's actually super surprising to me that the lighter women in the EWS are riding the same forks & bikes at the same travel as the heaviest men who can be close to twice the weight. Less weight has less momentum which means the impact energy can be dissipated in much less distance given the same damping force. But instead of running less travel (and making for a lighter bike that is a smaller percentage of the bike-rider system) with the similar damping, we see many smaller riders running the same massive travel with very little damping.

In other words, kinda as you said, overbiked/underbiked could/should be applied as travel related to rider weight, as opposed to just the raw travel numbers.
  • 2 0
 @justinfoil: The rocks, roots, drops and jumps don't change size though. They need the travel to absorb the impacts. But i do think it why you see many lighter riders in the EWS still ridding Lyriks and 36s. I would assume they are not running DH casing tires also. There are places for lighter riders to cut weight but suspension travel itself doesn't really add weight.
  • 2 0
 @stubs179: there's a possible argument that the bigger stronger riders can actually get away with less travel and a spritelier bike, whereas the smaller less strong riders need the "protection" from the impacts that are proportionally bigger to them. I'm fully accepting that I'd lose an arm wrestle with any of the EWS riders, male or female!
  • 77 3
 I don't ride a long travel bike because I'm good, I ride a long travel bike because I'm shit.
  • 10 0
 Upvote for honest disclosure.
  • 1 0
 Hell yes !
  • 3 0
 "better to be lookin' at it than lookin' for it."
  • 15 0
 People often say things like "Gwin could ride this trail faster than me on a hardtail so the bike isn't holding me back". Well yeah, but I couldn't ride this trail at all on a hardtail (not without shitting myself or my hands falling off) but I can ride it and enjoy it on an enduro bike. Different strokes for different folks, but I like riding whichever bike lets me ride at my best (even if it's still slower than Gwin on a gravel bike).
  • 13 2
 @seb-stott: you just said it. The case for being over biked, is the confidence to increase ones descending abilities - where they otherwise wouldn't.

I'll use my wife for this example. Back in 2013 we got her a light weight, 120mm XC bike upon a shops reccommendation. It was overkill in the fact that it rode uphill well, but as a new rider she was terrified to come down anything other than a gravel fire road. We went to "slack" 130mm all mountain bikes upon shops reccommendation. We were now riding trails up, and down but walking basically all obstacles. I grabbed the reigns, and snagged her a Process 153DL, and ditched the 130's. With the travel came better geo. We rode up at the same rate, we rode more because she enjoyed it, we began riding bikeparks!! After 5 years on what was a great 160/150 bike at the time, finally being able to build that skill - we bought Norco Shores. She's now jumping, descending, cutting berms, blasting rocks and booking weekends at bikeparks for us. We do ride the Shores up - maybe less than we should - but she enjoys riding so much we sold a vehicle and bought Range VLTs as our XC bikes. Same Shore capability, over long distances. We've found the limit of being overbiked, but the Shore is a 180mm 40lb pig with DH conponents.

Long story short. We've been over biked since 2015, and its turned her into a very competent rider who enjoys the sport. On 120mm bikes, we'd still be riding gravel paths.
  • 1 2
 @tankthegladiator: your whole story is based on bike parks and descending. You are not overbiked, you just do not climb Big Grin
  • 1 0
 @valrock: "do not", and "less than we should" are two different statements. Unlike you, we're not flatlanders. We're riding our Shores up, as much as the Process, as much as the 130mm all mountain bikes. We descend more than ever because the bike is so capable - we still climb as much as we ever used to.
  • 1 2
 @tankthegladiator: Thx for clarification but info on how much you ride up was missing from comment I have replied to. I do not know you and what you ride but it sounds like you just trying to justify "more travel" that you need 5% of the time and this is why you support this article.

I am on the other hand disagree with this article, coming from 180mm enduro to 140mm trail bike is the best decision ever. I though this will be a mistake but I took my trail bike to BC and was shocked how capable this thing is.

I do have 200mm DH bike for parks and it's better then any 180mm Enduro ever will be.

So enduro for me now is like multitool... yeah it's capable of a lot... but nothing replaces proper tool for the job... DH for gnarly double blacks and park.... trail bike for everything else including huge flowy jumps, or rooty chunky forest that you need to climb up first.

Also just FYI - if you are ever in Edmonton you will be blown away by our River Valley trail system... yeah it is not as big as real mountains but it is an amazing trail system right in the city. Edmontonians are actually pretty good riders but BC residents think opposite for some reason.
  • 56 2
 >I'm sure I'll get plenty of pushback in the comments

Actually no, I agree completely.

I ride a Scott Ransom (170 f/r) on 6000ft + back country rides all Summer long - when I'm not racing Enduros or even riding a bit of park with it. Any time I'm tempted by the idea of a lighter, sprightlier bike I make a list of what trails and when I'd ride it and the answer is zero. Granted our local trails and mountain rides around here in the PNW are pretty much all some flavor of gnar.
  • 6 0
 Yah, when I do big days I want to ride fun gnarly trails so I always go for my big bike.
  • 4 1
 Totally agree.
  • 2 0
 I think your last sentence justifies your first one. There are places like WA and BC where having all that travel is extremely useful.
  • 9 0
 LOL I have that same conversation with myself all the time. All of the trails that would justify a peppy short travel rig are boring AF and I don't really want to ride anyway. Even when I say I'm "just going to take it easy today" that never lasts more than 100ft into the trail.
  • 3 0
 Same for me. I take my Megatower on 6000ft+ days nearly every weekend. The bike climbs so well that I don't notice the few extra pounds.
  • 2 0
 I’ve got an Enduro and I find myself trawling through Facebook looking for a bargain hardtail PP Shan or an Orange Crush all the time. The main reason I want one is because I just love buying bikes. If I got one I don’t think I’d use it other than to go to the shops/pub. Even the regular XC loop that gets me thinking about it… I would probably use it once for that and then go back to the big boy because it’s more comfortable.
  • 5 0
 I think it's all just a matter of personal preferences, there is no right or wrong in this. Two years ago I swapped my 150 Lapierre Zesty for a 130 Santa Cruz 5010 and I'm honestly having more fun on the latter. My riding buddy did the exact opposite last year and just loves his Trek Slash over his Fuel EX. At the end of the day, it's just what brings you the biggest smile.
  • 8 0
 @preston67 Haha, I didn't expect to get pushback from everywhere (mostly just from Levy) so glad you agree.

I get the temptation to buy "one more bike" and I think that makes sense if you had something like a Spark or a hardtail that was many kilos lighter, with faster tyres, lockouts etc. so there was a significant benefit on the climbs. My argument is that if you only want one bike it should be long-travel, not too heavy, with a set of fast-rolling tires (maybe a lightweight wheelset with matching tires) to swap onto for longer & mellower rides. A lightweight but long-travel 29er like a Ransom is a pretty ideal all-rounder in my book.
  • 2 0
 I've been regretting my trailbike purchase for 2 years. 150 minimum from now on.
  • 1 0
 @friendlyfoe: Go ride those easy trails on the big bike: you can find and send all kinds of stupid shit that would be sketch AF on an XC or DC bike. Finding sneaky doubles that XC riders are completely blind to is so fun. So is straightening out corners by jumping over them, or just ripping inside lines on the rough edges of the trail (Respecting trail boundaries of course, but we all know most people stick to the "one line", usually down the middle, on these type of trails. So the other lines, while still inside the trail boundary, are often rougher.)

"If you're bored, you must be boring too". -Piebald
  • 1 0
 @justinfoil: Most of those easy trails would be more pedaling oriented. Luckily for me living in BC all the fun stuff is pedal up ride down.
  • 45 0
 I like a lot of bike. I never want the bike to be an excuse to not to hit something, just my ability.
  • 4 0
 Can't agree more
  • 17 0
 I've been screaming these exact same sentiments for years. You can make a big travel bike climb as well as a weekend warrior NEEDS to. You can't make a small travel bike descend the way a weekend warrior WANTS to.
  • 7 0
 For sure. There are lines on my local trails that I just won't ride unless the bike is capable and working well. Riding around them does not feel good even if i can make excuses with the bike.
  • 23 0
 5 years ago short travel bikes descended terribly and long travel bikes climbed terribly. Modern bikes climb and descend well regardless of mm travel nowadays. Whatever your opinion used to be, it’s probably not valid anymore.

These days I feel like a 140-160mm trail bike can do absolutely anything well with almost no sacrifice in any department - especially if you can afford the light dentist build kit. But if you are slightly more gravity oriented go longer, slightly more climbing oriented, go shorter. It’s really quite simple.
  • 21 0
 That's a very sensible, well-stated opionion. The problem is this is Pinkbike -- pick your travel number and be a dick about it!
  • 2 4
 Respectfully disagree with the 140-160 "all mountain" bikes. They're a great balance on paper, but are actually nothing but compromises. They're not short enough to be really fun on XC trails or stuff that isn't gnarly. For "enduro" descents or bike park they work well, but not even close to a 170mm+ bike. You're getting the worst of both worlds imo. I'm saying this after owning: Sentinel > Rimpo V1 > Rimpo AF and now to a Nukeproof Giga. None of the shorter travel bikes were any more fun on less challenging terrain, but the Giga is much more fun on the downs, gnarly and not.
I know it's down to the suspension kinematic/shock, but the Giga gets much more air off of roots and other stuff that isn't an engineered trail feature, and then has the extra travel to soak up the flat landing.
  • 1 0
 @piratetrails:

All about the right “all mountain”. I was on a Sentinel, it was great, but like you mention pretty much compromises everywhere. I’m on an SB130 now (137mm rear, 150mm front) and it is what changed my mind that one bike can do it all. I’ll happily take it on a 100km XC ride, or big steep days.

But yeah, in a perfect world everyone would have one of each type of bike…
  • 1 0
 @piratetrails: I'm living that scenario and, I'll never buy a trail bike again.
  • 1 0
 @Rig: I'll give that one on the sb130. My friend got a Lunchride and it's unbelievable. But I'm convinced that's the infinity travel. My 140/160 get overwhelmed with 4foot drops in rockgardens when it gets steep.
  • 24 0
 You're never over-biked. Sometimes you're just under-trailed. Longer travel is just more durable, too. Don't need to convince me.
  • 21 0
 My hardtail doesn’t descend as well as my squishers and climbs worse that my short travel, but I’m not giving it up. Because it’s fun. Thanks for clearly marking this an opinion piece. Smile
  • 1 2
 I think you agree with the article but you have phrased your comment like you disagree?

The article is saying that longer travel bikes descend faster than short travel bikes but they also climb either just as well or very nearly as well. In the last conclusion paragraph the author says how he also enjoys riding shorter travel bikes but the point of the article is that if you are going to only have one bike to do everything well a long travel machine is a better compromise than a short travel machine.

The question is "if you could only have one bike, would your hardtail be the best choice?" rather than "Do you think that only long travel bikes are worth anything, everything else is shit?"
  • 2 2
 @Patrick9-32: It’s a comment section, not the agree-or-disagree-with-an-opinion section. Dark inside that box?
  • 1 0
 Agreed. By hardtail isn’t fast, it’s sketchy and it hurts. But it’s sooooo fun.
  • 19 0
 Here is my brief opinion as someone who owns a ST 29er (130 mm / 120 mm) and LT 27.5er (180 mm / 168 mm). The long travel bike does just fine on normal trails, but it is not more fun than my short travel bike until I get to bike parks. On all of my local trails I would prefer the short travel bike every time. The long travel bike pedals ok but not as efficiently as the short travel bike and it is not nearly as poppy or playful. It requires serious speed to come to life. If I could only have one bike, then I would prefer a bike that is 90% perfect all the time and only under-gunned 10% of time versus a bike that can handle 100% of all trails but is only truly fun on 10% of those trails.
  • 6 0
 Yes! I did this when I bought a Transition Patrol to make sure I could “do everything.” The problem was, I didn’t get enough opportunities during the year to do everything (bike parks) so it just turned into a pig to lug around for those “what if?” moments or 10% of my riding.
  • 6 0
 Yeah this is pretty much my experience too. Again, it depends on your terrain. Around here in Australia, there isn’t that much in the way of alpine enduro, but loads of techy singletrack .

I too have a big bike and a 130mm 29er. The latter sees 90% of my riding, but on occasions when I can get out to bigger mountains with sustained dh, then big 27.5 bike, no contest.

My yardstick is riding Derby, where the EWS is held in Tasmania. There the 130mm bike still rules, for poppiness , ability to climb, and % of fun overall. The bigger bike is amazing on really rowdy sections, but a bit of a wallowy boat anchor elsewhere.

Of course modern geo comes into play too. But my conclusion: I’d rather be a tad under-biked most of the time
  • 19 1
 Thank you for nothing. I have a long travel bike and now I have no reason to buy a short travel rig. Can some please write an article that gives me an excuse to buy a new bike?And a graveler is not an option, because I read that a Mtb is actually better. But a new frame standard (what ever that is) could do the job. Please help.
  • 9 1
 Hardtail is the answer
  • 3 0
 @danceswithcacti: until you get old and everything hurts. Then an XC rig comes back into the equation lol.
  • 4 0
 @danceswithcacti: 100%, I've got an Enduro and a 140mm Hardtail for mellower terrain and trails... Stupid fun and still very capable when it gets rougher!
  • 3 0
 @Mr-Gilsch: same. Perfect combo. Everything you need with just changing tires.
  • 2 0
 There’s always room for a singlespeed.
  • 1 0
 I enjoy the local bike park more on my full rigid Borealis Flume aluminum fat bike (26x4.8 Jumbo Jims, 70 deg HA) than my Commencal Meta HT with 65deg HA, 160mm fork and DH tires. It's fun as hell, it's a great learning tool because it refuses to turn with anything less than perfect cornering technique, and if you mess up your landings, it informs you with a butt-clenching bounce. You have to pick your drops wisely, but it clears (Michigan) double diamonds and just about anything with a landing ramp, and makes all kinds of friends in the lift line.

So yeah, there's your excuse. Go buy a big fat fatty.
  • 17 0
 Well although I agree to the point that I have a long travel bike, reducing the comparison to how well both climb is too simplistic. Long travel bikes require a different amount of effort to pump, jump, bunnyhop, or manual. It's not just a matter of climbing or descending. Stiffening up the suspension (air) can help, but the geometry (at sag) will probably be higher than you want it to be.
  • 4 0
 Good point about the effect of stiffening the suspension on geometry. A 170mm rear travel bike sits down by approximately 51mm for 30% sag, and that decreases to 34mm for 20% sag. That means the BB height increases by 17mm, which is a lot.
  • 2 0
 Agree. Too much travel is not the drawback, it´s the higher BB and extremely long geometry what will make the riding experience worse for the slower less aggressive rider.
  • 2 0
 @cedric-eveleigh: yeah. I think you can alter feel with volume spacers and compression to some degree, but still limited, and most bikes will feel terrible with 10% less sag than they're designed for.
I agree long travel bikes are more versatile than ever but I think the writer is overstating how wide the band is for suspension changes.

What's great about shorter travel is the BB height itself is more stable/consistent, so it's easier to have the positive ride qualities that a low BB brings but with more pedal clearance on average.
  • 1 0
 @dave-f: and short travel bikes require a different amount of effort to handle smashing down gnarly rough trails. However, getting used to the suspension characteristics of a long travel bike in order to bunny hop or manual well is just that, getting used to it. But getting a short travel bike down a rough trail isn't always just a matter of getting use to it, because the limits are just so much smaller.

In other words: it's easier for most people to bunny-hop an enduro bike than it is for the same most people to get a downcountry bike down a nasty janky chute at (close to) the same speed and/or without breaking things.
  • 1 0
 @auzb: And that slower less aggressive rider is jumping and bunny hopping and manualling all over the place?
  • 2 0
 @justinfoil: I think the point is not so much what one can get used to but rather that shorter travel bikes can be more fun to some folks because of their riding characteristics when pumping, jumping, and moving the bike around. And another point is that taking a long travel bike and increasing suspension stiffness (decreasing sag) won't fully create that fun feeling because the bike's geometry will have been worsened.
  • 1 0
 @cedric-eveleigh: How does stiffening both ends of the suspension make the geo worse?
  • 1 0
 @justinfoil: When a rider is on a bike, the suspension sags, which makes the rider lower by some 3-5cm. Bike designers choose geometry in consideration of this, to get the right rider height when the suspension is sagged. Now imagine very stiff suspension - the rider would be at higher position than intended by the bike designers and the bike wouldn't ride as well.
  • 1 0
 @cedric-eveleigh: You're right, just adding spring rate would increase BB height. But that's just one number, and not one of the most critical. Can also "stiffen" the suspension to make it more "lively" with the damper instead of spring, and with increasing spring progessivity (volume reducers, sprindex, etc), both of which can be done with similar sag.
  • 1 0
 @justinfoil: I highly doubt that a long travel bike will behave like a shorter travel bike simply by increasing the damping of the long travel bike. Spring progressivity isn't quite the solution either but I don't have time to explain.
  • 16 1
 All I can say beating someone uphill on a 180mm bike while they are on a 130-140mm bike is an awesome feeling.
  • 31 1
 but beating people down the mountain on my hardtail when theyre on big bikes is also an awesome feeling..
  • 13 2
 @Hendersondylanmichael: Yup, beating a person up AND down a mountain on a $600 hardtail when they are on their $7,000+ bike is an epic feeling.
  • 4 11
flag homerjm (Sep 9, 2021 at 14:48) (Below Threshold)
 A few months ago a ridding mate with his ebike and me ridding my enduro bike ruined the strava climb of a group of roadies who overtake us,they all exploded when I decided to grab my mate belt and he engaged turbo mode.
We overtake them and a few try to keep with the 25 km/h uphill pace for 1 minute,then they were all done...hahahahaha.
  • 6 5
 @homerjm: I have beaten people on ebikes up fire roads I think the main reason is they are usually not very fit and I can keep an almost sprinting pace for quite a while, so they try to keep ahead but still lose. Most e-mtbs don’t have a throttle, which means you still have to do some work.
  • 1 0
 @Hendersondylanmichael: is this all still part of the Condom Analogy?
  • 1 0
 @Sethsg: That's not going to be as impressive if you're 30yrs younger than me. lol
  • 1 0
 @njcbps: Yeah I suppose that's fair, it is still a good feeling beating you.
  • 17 3
 Having too much suspension travel is like having a condom. I'd rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it.
  • 4 22
flag nurseben (Sep 9, 2021 at 13:18) (Below Threshold)
 Condoms are silly, using a band aid is never good enough when compared to getting that shite snipped, the same goes for a bike, long travel is like wrapping your schlong in a condom, it just dumbs down the experience.
  • 9 1
 @nurseben: yep...WC DH riders should totally be riding 140mm single-crown bikes.
  • 6 0
 @nurseben: Why not just ride a road bike at the Whistler bike park? That would make for an exciting experience! Hyperbole aside, I think it really depends a whole lot on your local terrain. Around here, things are quite interesting, even with a longer-travel bike.
  • 2 1
 Wearing a condom is like listening to music with earplugs in.
  • 4 0
 @Seldomseen83: I'm sure by that you mean that it's the only way you're going to be able to do it in person, as often as you want, for the rest of your life? Completely agree.
  • 11 1
 I have a 170mm enduro, and a 140mm hardtail. Both do all jobs, from mellow trails to steep doubleblack. I am not fast enough most of the time to really profit from the 170mm coil plushness. But it is fun even on slow mellow trails. But if I only could afford one bike, it would always be the slack 140mm steel hardtail.
  • 3 0
 totally agree I love my 170mm Trek Slash but would love to ride a Kona Honzo ESD
  • 2 1
 I was going to build a 140mm steel hardtail. But the fork came at 160. So no I have a 160mm steel hardtail. It's really very great.
  • 12 2
 Well, :::pushes glasses up::: just because the enduro riders on 160mm forks had jackhammer- level vibrations doesn’t mean that shorter forks give worse vibrations. I’m sure that’s the frequency that we’re all trying to deal with in tire selection/pressure/inserts/handlebar diameter etc.
  • 4 2
 Well yeah, that one was the worst argument I've ever heard indeed. It would only be valid if the 160mm travel fork was constantly going close to bottom out but then again you likely won't reach such high frequencies. If the frequencies are too high, damping may be too heavy. Getting a fork with more travel doesn't help. Your other suggestions will help too.
  • 1 1
 Agreed. Plus, if this were a genuine issue mtb riders from back in the day where tires were inflated to 40psi and suspension was terrible or nonexistent would be succumbing to symptoms by now.
  • 2 0
 Went coil fork, 2.6 tires, thin flexy alloy 31.8 bars, Rev Grips, and damnit, I want more cushion for my hands. Inserts and maybe even Fast Flex bars necessary? Maybe foam grips over Rev grips? Ergon grips?
  • 2 0
 @PHeller: Are you sure you're not gripping the bar too hard?
  • 1 0
 A shorter travel fork will stiffen up more than a longer one as it experiences the same input force, which will transmit more of that force to your hands. This doesn't apply to linear forks though and damping has and effect as well. I'm pretty sure that the high frequencies are the issue so running HSC open would be the best bet.
  • 1 0
 @PHeller: LOL! Yeah, I should get RevGrips for my arthritic hands. I went from a very harsh coil fork to a really nice and plush air one that's much easier on my hands. Not to knock coil forks, just make sure you get one with proper damping. I didn't and paid the price.
  • 13 3
 Say what you will, XC racers race the bikes they do because they are more efficient and better at what they do on the courses they race. I could cut my bread with a chainsaw but a knife does just fine most of the time...

I'm willing to bet 90% of riders out there don't know how to ride the bike they have to it's limits, let alone a super enduro bike. We are mostly all already over biked.
  • 5 1
 Umm, the pro XC racers are far, far better riders than 99.9% of us. They can ride a 100mm travel XC bike on the newer courses that look like enduro terrain due to extremely high skill level. How much fun would the average person have on an XC bike on a WC course?
  • 3 0
 @skylanebike: LOL! Yeah, if I rode a WC course on an XC bike, that's about how it would go.
  • 3 0
 @NWBasser: i think you missed what I was saying...
  • 16 6
 i ride a dh bike around town, the only trick needed is to crank up the low speed compression. it's nice on the butt and there's a twisted pleasure in not bothering to get off the seat for kerbs. Smile
  • 2 0
 Are you a drug dealer?
  • 1 0
 @Sethsg: no, i'm a pimp
  • 12 3
 So I ride basically… well, everything on my evil undead. My wife has been learning on an older demo 8 .. a new cassette and a front sprocket and those bikes climb great! Sure it’s no cross country bike, but gone are the days of 40+ lb behemoths that have no place except a rack or a lift.

Also guys, if you happen to see someone riding your local trails on a bike that isn’t “suited” in your mind, maybe don’t say something. I had a real jerk off try and tell my wife that her demo was “way too much bike” for her and those trails and she’d “never have fun”. She’s had more fun on that bike than I probably do, and it was really disheartening to hear that after we’ve had such a great time with most other riders on the trails. Please don’t say that shit, if you think it’s funny just keep it to yourself, you’re quite possibly disheartening a potential shredder who may have not been on a bike that long..
  • 3 0
 gone are the days of 40 pound bikes? LOL have you been on a new norco recently? i LOVE having a beefier bike, i went from a s-works enduro to the shore, about a 10 pound difference and it's like my progression went up 10 fold, i have the confidence in my bike to handle whatever i throw at it. i pedal the shore everywhere i pedalled the carbon s-works and have way more fun descending
  • 10 1
 Totally disagree with this article. I rode a 130mm 29er for about 3 years, was always happy with the bike, and always had a great time on both trails and bike parks. It was a great all rounder.

3 years ago I stupidly sold the bike and bought a 27.5 YT Capra - I figured that I *needed* the longer travel, and it was a 'safety net' for me as I'm not as young as I used to be - and it was better to be 'overbiked'. I loved the first season, the hard trails, rock gardens and bike park days became *much* easier, and I was much quicker. The second season, this continued... to the point that I just didn't enjoy it as much as I used to, and the challenge was vastly reduced. I began to focus on perfecting the bike, improving my Strava times etc as the bike just ate everything I put in front of it. All the while I had friends who still rode their 120-130 travel bikes and kind of seemed to have more fun. I also never used the Capra for trail riding, so I found I used it less and less.

12 months ago I sold the Capra and went back to a 130mm 29er and have found I have enjoyed my riding a lot more - I have to pick lines again, I have to balance the limits of the bike and my ability - I am no longer monster trucking everything, and going at vastly unsafe speeds, outside my abilities to have fun... I also use the same bike to ride local trails, woodland paths, and even commute on it now and again!

I rode a bike park last weekend, and had the most fun in ages - the bike was *just enough*, and I had to think about my riding - was I slower? Did I realise that I needed to upgrade my brakes? Yes, a lot. Was I laughing more through the day? Hell yes!
  • 1 1
 suspension bikes are rockets though, compared to hardtails. i have a dirt road you can develop quite bit of speed down, when i was riding in on my hardtail i was always worried not to pick up a rock with the rear wheel otherwise i'll be flying off the bike at unsafe speed. now later with the dh bike, i go flat out completely worry free, i know if i catch something i'll just be drifting around a bit and the bike will take care of it. i can appreciate the work hardtail makes you do but a fully is way faster and there's enjoyment in having a properly setup bike magic carpeting over everything. i once crashed because i was pushing it too fast and the bike ate up most of the crash, had i done it with a hardtail i would've probably gotten injured.
  • 9 0
 Who the hell has time to ride anything but the heaviest trails they can, though? This is some academic philosophical discussion for fundamentalists, not for real life.
I guess it’s for childless people? I’m not wasting a chance to ride anything but full gonzo maniac runs. Time is running out!!!
  • 8 1
 I rode 70 miles and climbed 10,000 vertical feet on my 37 lb, 170mm enduro bike yesterday. I left my hardtail at home, because I wagered the comfort would help on the long day. It was tough, but for my fitness I don’t think it held me back that much (I doubt I’d be strong enough to sprint up the hills on a lighter bike as the day went on). It’s not the right tool for the job, but it did the trick. And considering the availability of bikes right now, I was just happy to have a bike that works and I can go ride.
  • 5 0
 I think big days on an enduro bike are super fun.There is nothing like hitting super gnarly descents on hour 8 of a ride.
  • 8 1
 A couple of points I'd like to make:

You can't just over-spring a long travel bike to make it feel like a short travel bike. This just brings the BB up higher which makes it corner terribly and there's no was to pretend something with a 64 degree HTA will handle like a 66.5 degree HTA.

Tire tread design, casing and compound have a lot more effect on the pedaling efficiency than travel, anti-squat & shock tune on modern bikes.
  • 8 1
 Overbiking used to be much more common because shorter travel bikes had much worse geo, particularly hta. Also, shorter travel meant weaker, noodly frames and components. There were exceptions, but not many.
  • 7 1
 A guy told me you could just firm up your suspension when you want it to handle like a shorter travel bike.

He seemed like a kook.

I have 7 bikes w/ 10mm travel increases from my epic to my enduro. Had to go outside specialized for some of them, but I have the perfect setup for every trail. My bike caddy follows me in my polaris ranger and I can change depending on how I feel and the track in front of me. Maybe its just my golf roots and trust funds talking, but this is really the only way riding a mountain bike can be fun.
  • 13 4
 I don't know about over biked, but over baked? Hell yeah!
  • 6 0
 Wake and bike.
  • 8 3
 I think the term "overbiked" can get a little overused. I agree that suspension setup can make or break a bikes feel. I for one ride downhill bikes exclusively, and typically un my sag between 10%-12% up front and 18%-22% in the rear. This is also on a V10 29, and I try and keep the suspension curve between linier and progressive. I run quite a bit of compression and keep the rebound slow. What this gives me is a bike that feels nimble, but also settled in the rough stuff. My settings might change a bit from track to track, but overall, I aim for the same feeling... nimble but composed.
  • 1 0
 I can agree with that, in a slightly different way. I'd argue that big wheels alone can make a bike "overbiked". If your trails are not full of big holes and big unavoidable obstacles, why do you need the roll-over of the big wheels? Why not ride smaller wheels that accelerate better and are more nimble? Same as most arguments for less travel, just taken to a different part of the bike.
  • 2 0
 @justinfoil: I think that's a fair argument, and I would add that wheelbase would have a substantial impact as well. That being said, I feel that's relatively subjective to the trail itself. I can't say from my experiance that 29" wheels are less nimble or accelerate slower. That being said, I'm also 6' with longer(ish) legs and weigh around 220lbs. I can say though, my daughter who is 5'2" and maybe 110lbs wouldn't fair as well on a full 29, and has benefitted greatly from the mullet setup. So far in all reality, the timed tests have shown negligible differance between a full 29 and mullet setup. This is obviously in regards to speed. All in all, there are so many personal preferences with riding styles ect, I believe you could be overbiked based on what your doing. I wouldn't bring a 160mm travel bike to a pump track.
  • 1 0
 @jomacba: Oh yes, pretty much any geo number could be applies to "overbiked".

Thing about 29ers is, if you accept the better rollover from the bigger diameter, you have to accept that there is also more rotating mass in that bigger circle, and that definitely means they take more energy to accelerate and change direction: that's just physics. The question is whether it's noticeable and/or worth the trade-off. As you pointed out, the bigger (heavier, more mass) the rider, then less noticeable it's going to be and potentially more worth the trade-off.

Regarding a smaller rider like your daughter, I think the raw size of the 29er wheel is back becomes the limiting factor, even more so than the extra mass. I see so many racers with wheel marks on their backside, and I just can't imagine having butt-to-wheel strikes being a regular thing for me. I'm 5'10 but I'll never ride a 29er rear wheel on a full-sus bike, because I refuse to let butt-buzzing become a normal part of my (non-race) riding. There is way too much potential for disaster. To me it's the same as the idea that I could run ultralight wheels and it'd be noticeably quicker in almost all situations, but it also vastly increases the chance of a catastrophic failure, and that's just not worth it.
  • 1 0
 @justinfoil: Thats a fair perspective. I think it just adds to the fact that there clearly is a market for multiple options, as the topic remains subjective.
At my height I have maybe had the back tire hit me 2-3 times in the past 3 years (which is how long I've been on full 29).
I would however, be interested in trying a mullet just to see the differance in feel. That being said, to your point in terms of rotating mass, I will agree with you in regards to physics, however that brings to point that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
29" wheels take more to accelerate, but they carry momentum much easier. So I think we're potentially back to a 6 of one and half dozen of another scenario.
So far all the number indicate a wash when it comes to timed laps. So I think in any case it should simply come down to individual rider preferences.
  • 6 0
 I like a 140mm bike, with the same or a 150mm fork. Jack of all trades, master of none haha! Ideally you'd have a bike for every situation but sadly I'm not a dentist..
  • 5 1
 I think the big miss in this article is the "all day epic" conversation. Most folks got into the 'downcountry' conversation because they wanted to do big, gnarly, all-day epics available only by pedaling in, that has some very chunky terrain involved. This was the advent of the xc bike with a longer fork and bigger tires. This article only discusses ways to manipulate suspension to mimic shorter travel and better pedaling characteristics. It does NOT address being in the saddle ALL DAY on a 35+lb bike with slack angles and what that does to fatigue and overall enjoyment.
  • 5 1
 I bought into the short travel 29er hype and rode an v1 evil following, which was a bike I crashed a lot. Switched to a Sentinel which weighs roughly the same, and has better climbing manners, and stopped crashing. There's a lot more to that switch than travel, as it's quite a bit longer and slacker than the evil, but there were a lot of folks that said I was over biked - I disagree.
  • 5 1
 Sentinels the best bike on the market, don’t @ me
  • 5 1
 If your bike is short travel, it is easier to ride up to a feature and say "well, my bike is only 120mm" and then walk around it. If you have a long travel bike, then you have to tell people some other lamer excuse like "well I did this drop last week and sent it so far I hurt my taint so I need to take a break from it this week".
  • 4 0
 “Long-travel bikes don't have to suck uphill, but short-travel bikes will always suck going downhill.” Umm what? This isn’t true at all. If you’re on an ews course sure but most of us don’t daily ews courses. The same logic you applied to big bikes not having to suck uphill applies to shorter travel bikes not having to suck on the downhill.
  • 4 0
 Agreed...with just one caveat. If you rarely, or never, ride anything needing long travel then it makes no sense to haul around the extra weight and slack geometry of a long travel bike. Get the bike that matches the trails you ride. Don't buy a downhill sled to pedal around on flat trails, and don't buy a short travel to hit the bike park. The right bike on the right trails is going to give you the best experience.
  • 4 0
 I'm old, and everything hurts. A big bike not only takes the edge off, it is inherently more capable and erases mistakes that might otherwise lead to crashing. My body can't afford to crash. Sign me up for a light-ish Spire as my main trail bike.
  • 4 0
 Have a '21 SJ Evo & a Spur, and I'd have to agree. If I could only keep one it'd be the SJ Evo. Sure it climbs a little slower and the Spur makes boring stuff more fun, but the Evo can just do a good bit more overall.
  • 2 0
 I have Ripmo and a Spur. If I had to choose one, it'd 100% be the Ripmo. The downhills are my favorite part of riding and a bigger bike is just more fun blasting downhill.
  • 1 0
 @funkendrenchman:
If your Spur is a size large I'll happily relieve you of your need to decide.
  • 5 2
 100%, long travel bike are now really efficient and light. You can set your suspension to use less travel and to be more firm but you can't add more travel if you are already bottoming out.
These days short/middle trvel options are not that much lighter, they pretty much share the same components.
Tires choice has probably more impact on weight abd feel
  • 3 0
 I think the problem with short/mid travel options that share the same components is because brands don't spec the correct components for a short/mid travel bike. They over-spec with Dh brakes and Enduro wheels and DD casing tires because reviewers piss and moan about those things. The best way to make a bike have more playful handling is to ditch the heavy rims and tires.
  • 1 0
 @Spencermon: Also a good way to have a way less playful walk out of the woods when your smash a wheel to death.

Yes, not everyone needs double-layer casings, but a good strong wheel with decently supportive tires (something more like Conti's Apex than a DoubleDown or BLCK DMND) is well worth the weight trade-off for anyone trying to smash janky shit. And that's kind of the point of this whole thing: forgiveness vs lightness. And most of us will be better off with the forgiveness since we're probably not fast enough to really take advantage of the lightness.
  • 3 0
 @justinfoil: "anyone trying to smash janky shit" is the issue. That doesn't describe all riders and especially doesn't cover short travel bikes. If you want to smash anything, maybe long travel is the better choice. but I'm so sick of short travel bikes built with long travel intentions writing checks they can't cash. just be honest with what components the bike should have.
  • 2 0
 @Spencermon: That's kind of ignoring the whole point of this "underbiked for everywhere" thing. People want to ride short-travel bikes on everything, but then they break shit, so they end up putting on strong (heavy) wheels and tires and other components. But then they don't have a nice light and lithe short-travel whippet, they have a heavy, semi-burly, trail bike with much smaller limits than a long travel bike that is just slightly heavier.

Manufacturers then spec this way because the media gives the impression that this is something that people want.
  • 1 0
 @justinfoil: that's all very true.
  • 6 0
 I over-biked until my local trails became kinda boring. Now I ride a hardtrail again. All depends on where you ride.
  • 4 0
 Mega tower xxxxxlll 180 160 here.... can't stand it for 50% of the riding I do but it's worth it for the other 50%. Shorter travel on the latter would be less capable and fun.
  • 4 1
 I find the most addictive type of riding is done on the edge, a run on the limit of the bikes ability with a few controlled but dicy moments peppered here and there. Something which is considerably safer and easier to achieve with less travel
  • 3 0
 I've just sold my LLS super versatile do everything 140mm bike and gone to a 170mm G170 gnarpoon, why, because the 170 is way way way more fun. Maybe I'll be 10s slower up a climb, like I care. I want fun and the big bouncer brings more fun.
  • 5 2
 I 1000% agree with the author, and have been making this argument for years. I think it’s hilarious to see all the people throwing coils on short travel bikes hoping for some tiny gain in suppleness. There’s only so much you can tune with 120mm of travel.

With a long travel bike, you can run super low sag and make that thing ride very quickly and lively and poppy—i don’t get why people think short travel bikes have the market cornered on being playful and poppy. That’s really a matter of how you set up your sag and rebound, , whether you run coil or air more importantly, and you can absolutely preload deeper with more travel, resulting in more pop.

I don’t need to boost my ego my riding scary stuff on a short travel bike. Instead, i’ll ride even scarier stuff to get the same feeling (and progress more as a result).
  • 4 1
 This assumes the climb and descend riding. I think the bigger issue is that bikes are becoming "long, low, and slack" which on old school technical singletrack that actually follows contours, riding the bikes with "modern geometry" is like trying to push a wheelbarrow full of wet cement. The new "downcountry" bikes are less about suspension travel and more about maintaining some level of geometry that makes them fun to ride on actual trails vs. straight up and straight down, overbuilt, over benched, over-groomed "chunk."
  • 3 0
 Buy a bike that suits 95% of your riding, so being English and only dealing with mud it’s a hardtail and mudguards travel be dammed. If I lived near rocks I’d probably go full squish and if it also had uplift then 170mm travel too
  • 3 0
 Let's not forget here the appropriate number of bikes is n+1.

Curly bars are fun, XC is fun, DH is fun. The "quiver killer" is no longer a small fraction of the bike industry, but expanded to capable short travel descenders and unbelievable long travel hill-devouring billy goats.
It comes down to your local trails, ride whatever puts a smile on your face. Crush that custom fixie hardtail on a group ride all day long if that's your vibe, kudos!
  • 3 0
 I’ve got a MX5 (Miata) and a Ute (truckj. Sometimes I take a bike on the back of the Miata (up tracks and through rivers) and sometimes I drive the truck out for coffee. Every rider posting on Pinkbike is like me with at least n+stupid bikes - from hardtail to downcountry to enduro to dh to ebike. Mostly its picking the bike for the job but there’s hoots from the hardtail at the bike park, or the enduro bike on fireroads all day.
  • 3 0
 Long travel bikes are so good today you can do anything with one. There is a new pump track build near my house and I ride my 2021 S.Enduro S4 no problem.But many BMX riders ask me why I take my 170 mm to the pump track and I always aks the same to them : could your 20" bike ride a DH/enduro trail?
I´m not going to do the fastest lap time,but it is fun to learn how to pump and going every time a little faster.
Enduro long travel bikes to rule them all!
  • 4 1
 This article treats it as though climbing and descending are the only types of riding. There is also flatter/rolling terrain. I used to ride a 170F/160R Norco Range. Notwithstanding the slack seat angle, it was a GREAT climber. I would have used it for all my local trails, but it kinda sucked on rolling terrain. Shorter travel, crazy aggressive trail bike is much better on this sort of terrain and descends just fine.

Not saying overbiking is bad. Did it for years (and under biked for a long time too). However a bike optimized for the sorts of trails you ride most often also makes sense, and today’s aggressive trail bikes in the hands of a skilled rider work pretty good for nearly everything.
  • 3 0
 Well written S Stott. Sold my 130/120 trail bike to my daughters boyfriend a few months ago. Been riding a megatower for everything. Once your over 50 I find the longer travel more comfortable without much of a “climbing penalty”. That said, my mate whose over 60 just bought a spur and loves it so what would I know?
  • 3 0
 I recently bought an Evil Insurgent thinking it would be my park/shuttle bike. I had an Offering as well. Turns out the Insurgent climbs well enough that I didn't feel any need for the Offering anymore and sold it. I do ride a lot of blacks/double blacks but the bike is just as fun on a flow trail. Why would I need a 'real' trail bike when the big bike does it all? If I really want minimalist I'd ride my DJer. Big Grin
  • 3 1
 I agree with this to a point. It's often nice to have a "safety valve" of sorts when you get just a little over your head or the trail turns rougher than expected- bigger brakes, meatier tires, more travel and slacker geometry all give you that little bit more capacity when things get hairy, without necessarily ruining the rest of the ride. I think this is particularly true as a bigger rider, where a small "oops" can often result in a burped tire or bent wheel.

All that said, there is always a danger of being too over-biked. There is a distinct difference between being appropriately over biked (say, using a Ripmo in place of a Ripley) and being way over-biked (Specialized Enduro in place of an Epic). There absolutely comes a point where you simply have more bike than you will use, and you suffer for having carried all that extra capacity around. Using an enduro rig for XC is dumb and wasteful. But it's a matter of opinion and preference where you draw the line. There's a sweet spot to be found between "just enough" bike and "too much" bike, and that's honestly where I like to find myself.
  • 3 1
 Love Seb's take (as it matches my own feelings).

Unless you're rich enough to have both DH and Trail bikes, I've never understood the fascination with riding shorter travel bikes (assuming you enjoy riding technical terrain).
  • 2 0
 Very good point on how the suspension is setup on a longer bike. I have a preference for a stiffer setup that gives more liveliness to the bike (like a shorter bike) and I definitely do not bottom out my suspension that often.

“Downcountry” bikes have benefited from contemporary downhillgeometry traditionally reserved for DH and enduro bikes. That said, enduro bikes have benefited from weight reduction and climbing geometry from down country bikes.

Having done the underl biking thing for a few years I see no downside to “over biking” now for an every day bike for BC that isn’t used for XC racing.
  • 3 1
 I know this isn't apples to apples but my 2018 Rocky Mountain Altitude is faster on the climbs than my 26" Giant Trance X. So more travel, better geometry and handling which makes the Altitude a confidence inspiring ride on the descents and no penalty on the climbs. I've actually beaten all of my personal best times previously set on the Trance. The Altitude has been a great bike for everything from amateur XC racing to Enduro, trail riding, and downhill. Can't see any downside to the increased travel.
  • 2 0
 bike with less travel/hard-tails typically require new wheels, the less travel you have the more frequent rim updates you will have, assuming u hitting bike parks, not only fire fireroads;


Also few years back, long travel bikes had much better geo
  • 2 0
 “They had accelerometers fitted beside the grips which revealed levels of vibration that exceed safety limits set for industrial workers using equipment like jackhammers and chainsaws.”

Ok, but I don’t hold my handle bars as firmly as I do a chainsaw or other powers tool, therefore the amount of vibration transferred to my hands is surely going to be less.
Plus it sounds like the sensor was mounted to the bar and don’t account for the grips dampening vides.

Unless you’re death gripping the bars measuring the vibrations at the bar will surely only give a rough idea until they can develop a sensor that you could fit to your palm.

Just a thought
  • 1 0
 Very true, the difference in damping between bad and good grips is huge, so no grips vs good grips would have to make quite a bit of difference.
  • 2 0
 The amount of bike travel tolerance will be subjective, and dependent on age, injuries, terrain and tolerance for janky terrain. I ride an Optic with 140mm fork and 125mm rear. Most of the time it's fine, and I haven't ridden longer travels bikes to properly compare. Next bike I'll be likely moving up the amount of travel to 160 or 150mm fork, and at least 140mm rear. I'd probably sacrifice a few features of shorter travel machines in favour of something more plush and less abusive to the rider.
  • 2 0
 I can see both sides of the argument and I enjoy both types of bike equally, in that a super short travel bike can be pretty punishing on the descents, and a big bike can be punishing on the climbs (and hard work on the descents sometimes too if you're not a pinner).
Whilst I somewhat agree that big travel bikes CAN climb well, the reality is that a lot of them don't, and again it's relative. There's a lot of hype around the new breed of big travel bikes climbing well. Thing is, they don't. Not really. They climb well relative to how much travel they have. Yes the new Norco Range climbs well for what it is, but no, it isn't a good climber next to say a Santa Cruz Blur. And no, it isn't ever going to. It all comes down to what you prioritise, and for me mid-travel bikes are the way forward. My Reign 29 is the best of both worlds in my opinion - rarely out of its depth on the way down and climbs great for what it is. 150ish travel bikes are the sweet spot for me.

Also can people stop talking about "UK bikes" as if there's no gnar over there. The UK has some real gnar if you want to find it - and I have.
  • 4 2
 This concept hit home for me when I did a Pivot demo. I rode a Switchblade, Trail 429, and a Firebird. My question was "why would you buy anything other than the Firebird?" The Pivot guys said some people like to climb faster. I was still confused because the Firebird climbed just as well as the others.
  • 1 1
 Agreed, Firebird climbs just as well, descends better, so is more versatile.
  • 2 0
 Soon four years on a Supreme SX (180/180) climbs great, standing sprint sucks. Zero mechanicals (except a fork, couple rims, couple chains). Can send anything. Use a bit higher pressure and adjust rebound it basicaly becomes a 140/140 on easier trails. To each his own, but this works very well (and saves tons of cash)
  • 3 0
 I wonder why travel is never seen as something proportional to bike size. I'm tall, and to me a 200mm travel xl frame probably feels the same as a medium size 160mm travel bike does to an average sized person.
  • 2 0
 This. So this. We're still very much in the early stages of the inclusivity journey in our sport. As a shorter rider, the whole wheel size debate of the last decade was quite the eye opener when comes to the bias of the average bike reviewer. I think you're spot on mentioning height as a factor in choosing your preferred travel.
  • 2 0
 Yes!!! This and RIDER WEIGHT. I'm average height, but 200 lbs. I swear me on 160mm is the same as a 170lb person on a 130/140mm rig.
  • 2 0
 @2old @Aptlynamed Totally. I'm short. At times I have no clue what you taller mtb humans are talking about.

THAT, and as @robotdave points out, weight is an additional consideration beyond PSI on the suspension components. Or prove me wrong.
  • 2 0
 I wonder if it is about marketing: making travel (and wheelsize) framesize dependent may come across as not taking smaller riders serious. Like: if you are under height x we have the kids bike with small wheels and less travel for you.
  • 2 0
 @Aptlynamed: i don't think it's marketing. Manufacturers make bikes for the average size bike consumer. Which is fair enough, they're not running a charity. It's the reviews (and opinion pieces like this article) that, to paraphrase @jcrr, may as well be written by aliens.
  • 2 0
 For my 40th birthday I did a 24 hour ride of gnarly trails in Squamish.
170mm specialized enduro with downhill casing and a Zeb. Well it might’ve been nice to I have a smaller lighter and bike, it never really bothered me during the ride. However dropping into 19th hole with a small travel bike I’m sure would bother me a lot more.
  • 2 0
 I ride a Blur TR and a Hightower. A lot of the time my blur is marginally faster up hill and the Hightower is noticeably faster downhill. But the blur feels way faster going up, its literally a pleasure to climb on due to the shorter wheelbase and tighter fork angle. Over all though i definitely would not say the Hightower is better as a one bike solution as the blur is way better on most trails. I hate riding trails with the Hightower where I dont need the travel, its slow and wallowy and requires way more energy from me.

I can easily ride 95% of the same trails on my blur and still have fun as if I had my Hightower. Reverse it and the Hightower is only good for 50% of the ideal blur trails.
  • 3 1
 Short travel bikes should be under a certain weight like 30lbs. If I'm going to add things like 1200gr Minions tires, Fox 38, a coil shock, tire inserts, etc...that's going to jack up the weight of my 120mm bike to 35lbs...I might as well go with more travel since the weight will basically be the same as a bike with 150mm of travel. Point of a short travel bike to so that I can have a lighter...fast rolling bike.
  • 2 0
 I swear rider weight matters in this conversation. I'm 200lbs...some short travel bikes just feel so ridiculously harsh, like the suspension is just trying to do too much work under me. My "short travel" rig is a Stumpy Evo and I love it for everything.
  • 1 0
 Also matters with components too. I really can't get away with riding anything less than double-down casing on the rear of any bike. I guess PNW terrain and riding style also dictate this, but if I build any "short travel" rig it'd probably be the same weight as my stumpy Evo...

That being said, I do switch my HA to 65.5 degrees for more pedally trails (when I ride them) and that makes a hell of a different feel. Need more options like this!
  • 1 0
 Completely agree and find how often weight and height are seldom a considerations on MOST discussions. Not faulting PB content, just wishing for more continued inclusion across all 2wheel things in a forest. Fist pump at 57kg and 170cm.
  • 2 0
 being sometimes under equipped, hence getting more feedback from the ground makes u a better rider. i rode santa cruz hightower for a season, i rode really fast but not that smooth, switching to the hightower made me ride better
  • 1 0
 was meaning to say switching from megatower to hightower
  • 2 0
 I swap between a 160mm forked steel HT and 170/180 Enduro bike, depending on what I'm riding. They both have their place and are both fun but if I had only one bike it would be the Enduro. It's just more capable and forgiving and is happier in a greater variety of terrain. Simple really.
  • 2 0
 Had a 150mm bike - but it was almost too capable for the terrain I was riding here in Denmark. Soon I felt I was getting lazy and just plowed trough the trails without using any kind of real skill. Now I ride a 110mm XC bike and my skill comes more into play and I'm truly challenged sometimes and that I see as more fun.
  • 2 0
 I ride a 162mm bike as a xc bike to access straight up rowdy enduro ish and dh trails. The climbs make me strong. The downs make me happy. So I climb more. Inadvertently becoming a much better mountain bike rider, who’s happy and fit and almost always obsessing over new downcountry bikes. Cést la vie
  • 2 0
 I think both offer a different ride feel. If I owned only one bike, a modern Enduro bike all the way... Always capable, much more bike than I have the ability for , and still climbs well... And up to speed, so fun and stable on tech. But I built a short travel bike last year, "to go slower", after an injury last year. The short travel bike very capable, fun, snappy feel, less energy to pop. But I wouldn't want to ride at bike park or really techy stuff. No way. Better than Enduro bike. So I'm lucky to own both an sb150 and a Tallboy v4 and things are good
  • 1 0
 I don't disagree. I am fortunate to own both options: a "down country" bike with 115/120 travel and an enduro bike with 160/160 travel. On my local XC trails that I know well, I usually ride the 115 bike. I mainly ride the enduro bike at bike parks, although I'll take it out on trail rides once in awhile just for fun. If I were going on a trip and could only take one bike, it would be the 160 bike. While it's not quite as good of a trail bike, it can do just about anything acceptably. More so if I can have two sets of wheels for it with DH and XC tires.

Tires can often be as much of a factor in how capable a bike feels than the amount of travel it has.
  • 1 0
 Using the efficiency test as evidence of a bike being a good climber is a bit incomplete. their efficiancy test is steady state, seated gravel road climbing. Definitely not indicative of how good or bad a bike is at technical climbing that requires dynamic moves, fast accelerations, and out of the saddle hammering. I've been riding a hardtail a lot lately, and on rolling terrain with short punchy climbs it's really nice not to be punished for standing and hammering on the pedals.
  • 3 2
 I think that there can be more to gain in the skill department from riding a shorter travel trail bike on rougher stuff. But that’s just me. I also have a DH bike so I’d prefer my trail bike to sit a little further away in the travel department.
  • 1 0
 Disclaimer: Relevant comment, with some selfish purpose for bringing it up.

Calling @seb-stott for your opinion, as I know you ride one of the bikes here, and are also a taller fellow (I'm 185cm barefoot).

I feel like this topic gets super interesting/confusing, when you look at bikes like the Privateer 141/161. The bikes geometry is fairly similar (although not identical), the and so is the weight. But which one makes more sense?

By all accounts, they both thrive in the same sort of terrain (steep up, steep down). The main difference being that the 161 is supposed to be a race bike, while the 141 is a enduro bike disguised with a trail bikes rear travel number.

I live in the greater Seattle area of the PNW. So my rides are all "toblerone" in profile. The 141 gets great reviews... but would the 161 give a bigger safety cushion, and give me a better "one bike" choice?

And yes... I'm considering buying one of them in the near future. But without demos available, I can say its not an easy choice. So I'm curious of others (especially @seb-stott) opinions on this particular topic.
  • 2 0
 Close your eyes. Imagine riding down Predator.
Which bike sounds more appealing at this moment ?
  • 3 0
 @preston67: But that assumes that @ocnlogan "steep up, steep down" equals to riding Predator-like things. If that's his jam, then cool. If it's more like, say, OTG, a DC or XC bike may be more fun. I have a good time on my 120-100 on OTG + Fully Rigid (and not saying that to try to get a badge of whatever)
  • 1 0
 @jcrr:

Full disclosure, I've not worked my way all the way up to Predator yet. I've only been riding for ~2.5 years now, and am now dabbling in black trails, but haven't done any double blacks yet.

I've done OTG on my Kona Process 153 29er. Was fun for sure.

So steep up and steep down is more my style than XC, at least as far as I have experienced so far.


@preston67

I'm stuck between thinking the 161 would give a larger margin of error for a relatively skill-less fellow, and thinking the 141 is more appropriate for more things that I currently ride, and the geo improvements since my 2018 Kona might make it actually feel better to me.
  • 3 0
 @ocnlogan: And you just hit on the head, it comes DOWN (see what I did there?) to what you actually like/want to ride. Some of us have zero interest in the Megafauna/Predator-type stuff. Good luck with the progression, man.
  • 2 0
 @jcrr:

Thanks Smile .

I'm on the progression train at the moment. We'll see where I get off. But for now, I'm not saying "never" to pretty much any trail/feature. Rather, "I don't have the skills for that yet", and will re-evaluate if/when I get to that level of skill.

And if ever I look at a trail/feature while knowing I do have the skill set, but still don't want to hit it due to risk/exposure/etc... that's fine by me too Smile .
  • 1 1
 @ocnlogan: +1 on flipping on the 'sense of mortality' barometer. The ROI is different for everyone, just a reminder for those of us that are slightly more risk adverse.

We can probably take our conversation on local trails offline. I understand EBAD is a good stepping stone for Predator's steepness. No experience, since that is not my jam.
  • 1 0
 Totally agree. I ride the North Shore, the climbs are mostly easy and the point is the ride down. Maybe if my local trails involved more ups, I'd be tempted by something more spritely, but when the point of my rides is to smash the decent, I'd rather have long travel on my side.
  • 1 0
 I'm fairly new to this sport and haven't ridden a lot of different bikes with varying travel and geo, but your conslusion seems the obvious answer, to me at least -- if you're only going to have one bike in your quiver, the logical option is to go with the most capable to ride any trail/feature/area, so you go with the longer travel, slightly heavier, slacker, single crown bike. interested to hear opposing thoughts tho, cant find many in the comments so far
  • 3 0
 People like to say that long travel bikes pedal poorly but most of that comes down to burly wheel/tire packages. I can't see a 120mm rig pedaling that much better if it also had DD minions and an enduro wheelset. No reason to go short travel unless you only use it for mellow terrain but as one bike to do it all, including the gnarly stuff, 150-160mm travel is definitely the way to go.
  • 1 0
 Very well reasoned and well written opinion, and one I be found I agree with. I’m not sure I see the need for a short travel trail bike for myself because I’d always rather be on my 120/100 xc race bike with remote lockout if I want maximum climbing ease with still very reasonable descending ability, or my longer travel trail bike for most of my rides. I’ve demoed some nice short travel trail bikes and always come to the same conclusions as this article - they don’t actually climb any better than my longer travel bike, and at the end of a long ride, I want the comfort of extra travel even on trails where shorter travel could be just as fast.
  • 1 0
 Being over-biked means you can never make the excuse of "oh I'd totally hit that if I had more travel" and being under-biked gives you street cred for hitting the same stuff that the other guy made the excuse for.
So the correct answer is to pick the 130-150mm "trail" or "all mountain" bike. I can put a 2.3 DHF and a Rock Razor on my Meta TR and feel efficient and lively on XC trails or I can put a 2.5 Assegai/DHR and feel sluggish but have enough traction to ride park all day.
  • 1 0
 The lesser travel bikes are great for what they do (ride) - but I feel it's these very bikes that folks are taking over their (the bike's) capabilities and breaking frames (chain stays) on many of the bikes, when they get comfortable on them and start hitting bigger/faster features. Valid point - no? And then claim warranty, because they expect to live through it all.
  • 1 0
 Such an interesting topic with no wrong answer. I ended up on a longer travel bike then I would have maybe wanted but it was a leftover and the deal/spec was too good to pass up. I've thrown it down some stuff that I was thankful for the extra travel to save my behind and also am not the last person up a climb with my riding buddies. Not a racer, just a casual rider having fun with friends!
  • 1 0
 Been on that train of thought for a long time... ever since the new Banshee titan came out. I keep a 160 Fork on the ready and lighter wheels with a trail tire combo and it becomes an all day fun trail bike too! But... easy to set up for uber gravity fun as well.. its real bread and butter. I have noticed lately that I can climb steeper and techy'r climbs on it too compared to shorter travel trail bikes. Big Bikes for the win now!
  • 1 0
 I agree largely with this article, I had 2018 Devinci Troy and got a 2018 Devinci Spartan dirt cheap as a "big bike" to push my riding. Despite the spartan weighing 32lbs vs the 29lbs troy and having worse suspension, drive train, wheels,cockpit etc, I kept realizing that I felt faster and more comfortable climbing and descending.

I compared timed rides over the course of a summer and much to my surprise I was consistently faster and less fatigued on the Spartan up and down and especially in technical terrain and had more fun. That experience largely changed my perspective on bike travel and efficiency.
  • 1 0
 would also add that my typical rides (2-3 days a week) are usually around 3200 ft (1000m) climbing and descending over 2-2.5 hours in the PNW
  • 2 0
 @ppp9911: I’m right there with you. Got my first big bike (Capra) to compliment my Troy. Capra didn’t cut it on trail so I got a Meta and it’s absolutely my go to bike and the Troy, while a great bike, is for sale. Would’ve gone for a Spartan if I could’ve found one in my size.
  • 1 0
 Totally agree with Seb on this. I think you nailed it with, “there’s plenty of long travel bikes these days” logic too. As I have two bikes that have been classified as super enduro bikes at one point or another and one (Commencal Meta am) is a great bike for literally any occasion while the other (YT Capra) is really only at its best park riding. I didn’t necessarily think I’d be taking the Meta on longer mellower family rides when I purchased it as I just wanted a bike for gnarly trail riding that could also handle park laps. Yet It’s absolutely become my daily driver for anything but park days while my old Devinci Troy just collects dust now. To each their own though I suppose.
  • 2 1
 The one downfall of longer travel bikes is technical climbs. Too much travel and sag usually results in tagging the peddles off rocks. If all you do is climb fire roads then go longer travel but a true all round bike should be able to do the tougher climbs as well
  • 1 0
 For me at my weight of about 185lbs, the logic goes like this: A Fox 36 at 160 feels laterally stiff enough on rough terrain, while a Fox 34 at 140 or 130 does not, so if I’m going for the extra weight of the 36, I may as well have 160 in the front and something comparable in the back. Even at 120, I find a 34 or SID doesn’t feel as accurate steering wise as a 36 at 160.
  • 1 0
 Have a G2 process 165/170,running a Springdex enduro coil, Lyric with 4 tokens @110lbs up front, that I take downhill and park riding. Not the worst thing to pedal but not taking trail riding with the coil. Could put a X2 on and stiffen the shit out of it but.... Have a G1 process 134/150, running a DPX2 with a .8 @100lbs, Fox 34 up front with 4 volume spacers @100 and that thing is a beast and loves to eat rough trails, drops, blue type jump lines and city staircase rides. I'm 51 and beat to shit so having more then I need with the ability to do what I want with a huge travel range is awesome. I could do away with all this tinker fun and get 1 great bike like a Process X but I'm an addict and X+1.....
  • 1 0
 I went from a Yeti SB130 to a Transition Spur and couldn’t be happier. Both are great bikes but the Yeti was too much bike for my ridding skills and subsequently the trails I ride. Plus I just felt like a poser on the longer travel and burlier Yeti.
  • 1 1
 As a 59 yer old that still loves steep, fast, technical descents, I’m fine with be accused of being a poser as I ride my enduro bike on mellower trails. Plus, at 59, I don’t give a rat’s a$$ what others think.
  • 1 0
 Yes, too much travel for relativley mellow trails just makes them boring. But you want enough to not feel held back by lack of travel. For UK, i find my old Transition Scout with 140 front and 125 back (coil) to be so spot on. It always fun, never too heavy or bad at climbing, rarley not enough on descents.
  • 1 0
 I’m running a Santacruz Hightower LTCC with a fox 36 160 and Stan’s Crest wheels, with some other ‘lighter-than-enduro’ components just for this. Sure, I cringe and clench a little if I get too ‘plowy’ through rocks, but so far it’s fine and I don’t have to spin heavier wheels up hills. Not sure I’d want to ride those wheels at a downhill park, but renting a DH bike for a day is cheaper than buying a second set of wheels.
  • 1 0
 I’m currently riding an aluminum Smash, with chip in the stiffer Crush mode, on fast rolling Terra. Cumberland tires (i had set it up for a big cross NH gravel ride). As it turns out, riding an under-tired biggish bike on New England singletrack is a hoot too, just a different type of hoot.
  • 4 0
 It's really simple. The consequences of not enough are more serious and less enjoyable than the consequences of too much.
  • 1 0
 It’s really down to fun for me. A 160 29er just feels sluggish if things are relatively mellow. It feels totally wild to grease gnarly stuff on a 140mm hard tail. I have a status and a honzo. The honzo just makes me giggle when the status feels super slow. But also the honzo can’t smash big shuttle days or keep up with the boiz. It’s not really about what’s best. It’s about what experience you want. There’s no perfect bike, only different bikes.
  • 1 0
 I’m in the long travel 29r camp. Been riding since I was 16, 42 now. My everyday loop has stuff that would have been nearly unrideable by me on a trail bike 15 years ago. Those trails are now fun to ride and I think my riding is progressing as I’m riding that stuff on a regular basis, not just when I’m on a Dh bike
  • 2 0
 I am over-biked for most of my rides. And then twice a year go to a bike park and end up beaten to shit and can barely walk the next day. I realise that I'd much rather be over-biked 60% of the time
  • 1 0
 I agree 100% but definitely see the other side, with a lighter bike being easier to lug around all the steep techy climbs it’s just more of what each rider honestly prefers. A good rider can do well on almost any given bike and I’ve also seen not so good riders perform way better after upgrading to a modern bike or even juicier suspension. Just go broke and buy as many bikes as possible YOLO!!!!!! Go Ride a BIKE
  • 1 0
 I agree with this article 100% and I’ve been saying this for 20 years! I had a 170mm travel 00 Bullit back then, an 06 Nomad next and lastly a 14 Uzzi that’s 180mm front and rear and weights 29lbs and has super wide gearing for the steeps. And I have an 190/200mm travel DH ready ebike that I can self shuttle with coming next year too! I’d rather have too much than not enough any day.
  • 1 0
 I disagree wholeheartedly. I'd so much rather have a mid-travel bike that boots around everywhere pretty well than a modern sled with nothing but speed in mind. I like the twitchiness and agility of a mid travel bike, a feeling that no long-travel boat has ever managed to replicate for me.
  • 1 0
 For me, I think the only answer is to have two bikes. I ride a 21 Stumpjumper most of the time and that’s bc 90% of the time that I want a big descent, I’m earning it by riding to the top. The 130/140mm travel on that bike is perfect for most situations, even hitting large jumps with smoother landings.

However, I just got back from Whistler and I rode my trail bike to hit the local dirt jumps in town, but rented a Specialized Demo to ride the bike park. The riding up there pretty much requires it if you’re not staying on flowier runs. Yes, it would have been possible to ride some of the technical runs up there, but it would have not been anywhere close to as fun.
  • 3 0
 Why the focus is always just on Uphill or Downhill. Light short-travel trailbikes are great when it goes to keep speed on flat terrains. withthe right tires of course.
  • 1 0
 this
  • 1 0
 I only have one bike and often ride down in the Alps so basically if you need one bike to do it all then a long travel 29" enduro is perfect. For sure it dampens down some local trails but then I just start to look for features to play on, pop off and alternative lines etc. I'd rather be over biked most of the time than risk injury etc. by being under biked in the seriously challenging Alpine trails. Pretty easy decision if you ask me
  • 1 0
 Very interesting read, i agree for the most part, travel doesnt matter as much as people think, it's about the design intentions and how you build it up, i've got a Scott Genius and have seen people build them into 27lb whippets that are probably more agile and speedy than a burly downcounty build of a Scott Spark, yet on the flip side i have upped the fork to 160, put chunky agressive tyres and wheels on and turned it into more of an enduro bike aimed at the down and as a result it weighs more like 30-31lbs and acts more like the Ransom end of the spectrum.
  • 1 0
 I'm patiently awaiting a Stumpy Evo to replace my '16 Stumpy. I'm losing sleep because I know this expensive pedalbike will gather dust while I'm out on my Epic Evo laughing my head off. Even my old Stumpy makes most local trails boring, and that's a bike with a 2deg steeper HTA than the Epic. But I can't take the Epic to parks or enduro races, or extreme alpine adventures. Which I'll maybe do...once or twice a year. Agh.
  • 1 0
 Ha, didn't expect to see the Process 111 brought into this.
That was the bike that opened my eyes to longer geometry and the potential of short-travel 29ers - but my god it pedaled like a (very heavy) sack of spuds.
I don't disagree with the general thrust of the article anyway, but I'm happy to have a big, heavy long-travel bike which is shit for mellow rides and a long-legged trail/enduro bike - oh and a short-travel trail/downcountry bike as well.
  • 1 0
 I want to see a efficiency test on a semi technical trail with small "drops".
From my experience fire road climbing is ok on most bikes, but the extra travel really sinks inn over some features all energy get sucked away with more travel.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy anyone has the equation which bike for my ridng "spectrum" like how many enduros I will race, how many bikepark sessions I will have, finally how many times will I need longer travel on my rides, in the Vosges area where I live, in France it is always the question ! It really is a puzzle... I guess some brands solved the problem by creating the perfect do it all bike like Yeti with their SB130 and personnally I have my Norco Optic which suits perfectly my riding spectrum !
  • 1 0
 When I had the 2 bikes below, 1 of them spent most time in the shed!

Nukeproof Mega TR275, fitted with -2 angleset, 160mm coil fork up front, CCDB CS out back
Nukeproof Mega 2016, fitted with standard headset, 160 then 170mm fork up front, air then coil shock out back with varying springs for different rides.

Both had 2 sets of wheels, 1 burly, 1 trail/XC.

The TR275 (RIP as it snapped in the common snap point in the end) was the most fun bike to ride, I even rode it often with old 26" wheels and the BB was super low.

The thing with firming up a 160mm bike, is you are messing with the design, you are just not sat in the right place in the leverage curve when riding normally, which can make it seem harsh.
Its also not as playful on normal trails, it "feels" like you have to put more effort in, although this might not be the case in reality. the front takes most of the hits, so having a slack head angle with more travel works good.
BUT
There are things I would hit on the 6" bike that I would not on the trail bike. The rear was more kicky and you had to pick lines more carefully on the 275. Then, the same can be said when comparing the 6" bike to my Dh bike. The Dh bike is better tool for going downhill.

2 bikes... ideally trail and Dh.
1 bike.... enduro bike probably. Maybe trail.


The best thing about this sport is everyone is different and we like different things for different reasons, best is to enjoy what you have, enjoy the trails and not really care too much about 5" v 6" Smile
  • 1 0
 Fully agree! And as I get into my mid 40s, having good, plentiful and sensitive suspension actually enhances all my trail riding, by reducing the fatigue from small to mid size chatter. I'm old enough and secure enough to not need a badge of honour of picking slowly down features on a too short travel bike!

Oh and triggering grumpy "you're over biked" evangelists can be quite a rewarding hobby too.
  • 2 0
 Yes! Yes! Yes! Buy, buy, buy. More, more, more. Consume, consume, consume. Be good little consumers and do as industry tells you. Push that agenda! Rake in those advert/sponsorship $$$s
  • 1 0
 If you are talking about strictly capability then I don't think anyone can disagree that long travel bikes are more capable and versatile. But I don't think anyone is disagreeing with that. For myself and many other people ripping short travel bikes, it's about FUN!!
  • 1 0
 What is a short travel bike and long travel bike to this author? How about a medium travel bike (which for me is like 140-150mm)? I think I agree that a 120mm rear bike is too little for me for the reasons stated, but not sure I want a 170mm rear bike. Also, hate to say it, but it helps a lot on a bigger bike if you can afford a really expensive one since you can keep the weight down with money. You really do notice 3-5 lbs on rolling terrain with a lot of punchy short climbs.
  • 1 0
 Does pinkbike have a calendar for what types of bikes it wants to make popular for each year? I know I'm probably a corporate manager's dream, but I'm guilty of falling for the "I'm on the wrong bike this year" rhetoric. I would bet that pinkbike is influential enough that its stories drive the market trends vs the other way around. Not a criticism, per se, more of a testament to how influential this website is
  • 1 0
 @seb-stott Come on Seb, lets do the wheels test I've talked about a million times. The wheels/tyres dominate over suspension/weight all day long. I've got the bikes/wheels/tyres do do a good back to back test, just need you!
  • 1 0
 I’m too fat and old to run a short travel bike to its limit and still enjoy myself. I cover 120km a week on my trails. 70% on my short travel 29 bike (140/130mm), 30% on my longer travel 27.5 bike (200/175mm). One thing that is underrated is tyre setup and ergonomics. My long travel bike usually runs a minion ss or aggressor at the back with high pressure. This makes it a pleasure to ride on long grinds.

I also pay a lot of attention to my riding position. This means a protaper 2020 bar on my short travel bike and protaper 76mm rise or SQLab 16/50mm on the long travel bike. Getting a comfortable bar makes the biggest difference to my ability to cover lots of ground on either bike. If I used the stock 30mm rise less swept bars on either bike, I would cover less than half the km I do each week.
  • 1 0
 I thought this would be a comment catcher as really its totally subjective in the best sense. Really almost all of us ride mountain bikes for fun and obviously there are a lot of different ideas about what fun consists of.

I will go back to the automotive analogy. I am old now so I have had a few cars, I have had as my transportation two series IIA SWB landrovers, and a 51 International pickup. I wouldn't go further than around the block in any of those without a go bag full of tools, 90 kmh was flat out crazy speed. And you really wanted to be sure to anticipate any corners or need to reduce speed in a hurry. I loved driving each of them and would actually describe it as fun. Right now I have a 2013 dodge Ram. It tows my little boat nicely, and is very comfortable and efficient on the highway but driving it is transportation not fun.
I currently have a 2016 Kona Honzo st, 2015 Kona HeiHei frame (with a variety of parts) Norco Saquatch Fatbike (lived in Northern Manitoba), and a 2009 Spec. Demo - they are all fun when you ride them. I don't actually own a nice new long travel enduro bike but I am sure it would be fun too
  • 1 0
 Basically everything has been said and modern MTBs are awesome. In my experience, having 1 main bike these days, the new downcountry bikes can do both an XC race and an occasional day at the bike park serviceably. That was the span I wanted, and the epic Evo is up to the task ‍♂️
  • 1 0
 For me, this is only partly true! I was a „travel-believer“, always riding longtravel bikes, that climb very well: Nicolai Helius, Cannondale Claymore, Morewood Jabula, Lasf Coal. Always very DH capable Enduros, but always also used as my daily ride bikes and for long uphill tours. Was always OK for me…
But one day, I build up a steel Enduro Hardtail! Man, what a fun to ride!!! Improved my skills finding lines over roots and rocks - made me faster also on my Enduro. But VERY harsh ride! Always thought, that an „Enduro-Softtail“ might be a cool bike - but slowly forgot it…
When it came to the situation, when I thought a 29“ might be interesting, I started to testride many Enduros with ~170/160 travel and slack headangles… NEVER felt welt on these bikes! Sure, fast and safe to ride - but somehow the bikes rode with me, not me with the bike. Missed the fun on the normal trails!!!
Solution: Bikes like the Ibis Ripmo v1, or my Switchblade!!! Not so slack HA, short CS, comfy and safe 160 Fork, responsive 140 in the back! SO MUCH FUN TO RIDE - although 140 seems not enough and 66° seem too steep! But it works superb for me!!!
  • 1 0
 Very much horses and courses. But for me living and riding in the Peak District U.K. my enduro bike is perfect. Uphill for fitness, not times. Downhill for fun and smiles. I would agree that the enduro can do more than any short travel bike.
  • 1 0
 Many truths in this article and comments, here's my view: Of course there's the right tool for every job, but sometimes it's just about feel. I've said this before, but try to compare mountain bikes with surfboards. There are some practical limits (Pipeline waves on a keel fish wouldn't be fun for 99.9% of people) but otherwise surfers tend to ride what feels best for them. Longboards, stubby shortboards, all shorts of retro designs. Performance is not really measureable in surfing, so people just ride what's more fun. And most tend to own a quiver, not only to cover different conditions, but for a change in feel now and then.

That said, comparing myself on a 140mm ht and my mates on 160mm fs bikes, the enduro rigs perform better everywhere. The only case where the ht outperforms them is on hike-a-bikes.
  • 1 0
 Couldn’t agree more. Made the transition from a 125mm Norco Optic to a Ibis Ripmo and I am PRing my climbs and having way more fun downhill then ever before. My only concern is am I becoming a lazier decender not having to pick good lines ect??? Hard call? As an all rounder very happy to ride a long travel bike!
  • 1 0
 It’s good to think about the potential health implications of vibrations for sure, but context is key.

Vibrations in the construction industry are dangerous because the operator is potentially exposed to them 8 hours a day 5 days a week. Time at the vibration level (exposure) is key to have any meaningful discussion.

A pro enduro cyclist will be much less exposed per week as their training plan will not be flat out race pace every day. Joey punter is even less exposed and will cross this threshold for a few minutes per week at best.
  • 1 0
 the lockout improvement from a 120mm/4.75" Revelation to 150mm/6" Bomber switch is definitely noticable, it performs better on both ends. Just feeling out whether the increased height has reduced how far forward or back one can be off the saddle when climbing steeper terrain, and thinking about whether reducing a few headset spacers to lower the frame slightly would increase body position range there;
  • 1 0
 I switched from Enduro ( my first real bike ) with 180mm of travel to 140mm Trail bike and it was best decision ever. I do have 200mm DH bike for parks and see less and less double crown bikes there... but I wouldn't want to use those FOX 38th with 180mm travel on my climbing trails Big Grin
  • 1 0
 "They don't need to be a slog on mellower trails or when climbing, and they are just better when the trail gets nasty."

This is the one sentence that matters the most. People like to talk about how short bikes won't let you just plow, but there is absolutely no reason (except a lazy rider) that says big bikes can't pick those same non-plow-y lines. Difference is that when the small bikes do get off line, they're that much closer to something nasty happening.

I mean, Seb said pretty much the same thing anyway. ;-)
  • 1 0
 "This test was on enduro stages, which are probably rougher than your average ride."

This is an assumption that is way off-base for some (many?) riders. Yes, it's very trail and rider dependent, but I know there is nasty janky stuff comparable to EWS tracks all over the places I ride. Maybe single sections aren't as long or as steep for as long, but there are so many sections where you have to pick & choose or plow & pray (because there is no "easy" line) where a small bike literally wouldn't give the same options. Instead of a preferential choice between sniper-line, deal-with-that-one-huge-hole-and-then-power-out, or straight-up-monster-truck-and-hope-nothing-breaks, on big bike, it becomes a forced-choice between sniper-line and broken bike or broken rider on the smaller bike.
  • 1 0
 "There's a lot of flexing to be done by sending it on your 120mm-bike, less so by bossing a climb on your 180mm bike."

Now that kinda doesn't make sense. If people claim to want the 120mm bike because it climbs super fast and that's seemingly more important that send it downhill, then why is bossing a climb on the 180mm bike a lesser feat/flex? The downcountry advocates yell about climbing prowess all day, so they should greatly appreciate a big "slow" bike ripping up a climb. It should be a bigger flex to smash the climb on any bike, considering how much we hear about "it's the rider, not the bike" in other situations.

Very interesting that for descending, many people like to try and neutralize the bikes by pointing out how some people can shred the gnarliest jank even on hardtails, but for climbs it's more often blamed on a bike that has too much travel, or is just too soft and bobby, that's holding someone back.
  • 1 0
 I set my 180 fork 160 rear bike up for the biggest hucks and cases I take with full gear. So when I ride mellow trails with less gear it is just like a shorter travel bike. I also have a variable travel suspension design that limits travel to 100 under pedalling inputs and my fork can be adjusted to 140.
  • 1 0
 Enduro style 180mm is like a jack of all trades and a master of none... a multitool.... cable of getting things done. But nothing replaces PROPER tool for the job which in case of climbing shorter travel Trail bike and leaving parks like riding to proper 200mm DH bike.

This article based on ONE good climbing large travel bike while the most of them suck at it Smile
  • 1 0
 I used to ride a 2004 Spesh Demo 8 8 miles each way to and from the trails with roach chainmail legs armour and a full face lid strapped to my back containing a can of monster... With that as a benchmark I'm happy with anything that pedals better than Fred Flinstones car.
  • 1 0
 This article written in Squamish BC where cross country/short travel warranted trails don't really exist but people telling you you can go smaller "if you just ride smarter" do. One gigantic travel pedal bike is the way to go out here for sure.
  • 1 1
 Completely agree with this piece. The weight penalty for longer travel is paltry. That said, shorter riders will benefit from lower axle to crowns of a shorter travel fork. Long forks and short people can get awkward to ride.
  • 1 0
 you ride a lot of short people?
  • 3 1
 What's the point? For most of us it's just having fun on 2 wheels. For me on the trails I usually ride that means less bike and hold tight.
  • 1 0
 ...but then my xc (and enduro and DH) bike has DH tyres, coil suspension, a DH rear rim, flat pedals...
  • 4 0
 Hated 120 never again, Loving 160
  • 3 1
 Regardless of travel, tech improvements, and bike capability everyone’s still on their brakes WAY too much. The trails don’t lie.
  • 4 0
 Pick your travel and be a dick about it. 120-120 in my neck of the woods.
  • 2 0
 I find shorter travel bikes under my body have a higher average speed throughout the ride, but a lower top speed than longer travel counterparts.
  • 3 0
 Anyone who thinks even the roughest dh has more vibration then a chainsaw has never used a chainsaw lol. so dumb.
  • 1 0
 It'd be interesting to see what the definition of 'more' is - more amplitude? Higher frequencies? Higher velocities? Vibration of machinery is usually concerned with velocities (as frequency is usually an inherent function of the machine, and velocity measurements are obtainable and predict failure the best), to be honest, not sure on what the workplace safety brigade look at (besides time) - can see amplitudes being higher on a mountain bike, but not sure on velocities. @seb-stott - any more input?
  • 1 1
 When I'm over-biked or under-biked I'm either accepting of the challenge or pissed off and irritated. IMO riders who are over-biked (or under-biked) are either: 1. Pissed off and irritated 2. Accepting of the challenge or 3. Clueless.
  • 2 0
 I'm actually saving up for a new bike, do i go with the 150mm f/r or 160/170mm bike?! Mainly UK trails with 1 uplift a month.
  • 2 0
 150 has my vote
  • 2 0
 I ride in pretty much the exact opposite type of trails you do, I'm guessing, but as someone with a 150 f/r scott genius, I wish I'd have just gotten the 160/170 type of bike. It's not a huge difference, but at the closest bike park to me I definitely feel out of my depth on the black/double black trails. That might be a matter of my suspension component quality, which isn't top end by any means, but I can't help but think it might not beat me up so much with 10-20 mm more of travel. I know it would have certainly helped on the 10 ft drop I attempted for the first time yesterday!
  • 2 0
 I have a170mm bike mostly for bike park or really hard trails. Short travel bike for everyday rides. SS HT because sometimes you just want to be that guy
  • 2 1
 I never got why the pinkbike hivemind were so against long travel bikes. They are just as poppy and nimble these days, and you can try different lines and gaps you would never try if you were underbiked
  • 1 1
 One point I found missed is that many long travel bike owners never ride Enduro Trails nor anything close to what the bike was built for. So it's like buying a Lambo and driving to and from work daily in traffic Jams. Maybe take it to the country side once every two months and say yeah I reached 200KM/H.
I'm a short travel bike owner (120mm) and love it. Rode a SB130, Ripmo and Evil Offering in 2019. Will eventually upgrade to a 140mm bike as the 90% of my trails match that type of bike category (Trail/All Mountain).
  • 1 0
 Short travel owner +1 (120-100) and like it for what is fun for me where I live. Tried mid travel bikes, understand where they may make sense, and realized they are not for me bc I simply don't want to ride where they are intended to rock.
  • 1 0
 I think he's so right. Travel is like condoms...better to have and not need than the other way around. With how efficient long travel bikes have gotten, it's foolish to under-gun your rig for rougher trails IMO.
  • 1 0
 Agreed, I'd rather sacrifice a bit of weight and moderately less pedaling ability for the parts of trail I enjoy less, and have a bike that can perform well no matter what I point it down.
  • 1 0
 I totally agree! With a long travel efficient bike, you can always ride harder and faster. Fast is fun! If I lived a place that was pretty flat, I would of course think differently.
  • 1 0
 More the health science improve in sports more we know about consequences of heavy use of our body Pro sports short the life of our body, no way A right exercise is good, push the limits... not
  • 1 0
 Under-biked vs. Over-biked means you're going slower. The question is 'where do you prefer to go slower?' Certainly, the terrain may dictate this, as well as your over-inflated sense of technical abilities.
  • 3 1
 Any photo of ibis with the bag brings me vomiting reflexes, can PB just not use it?
  • 2 0
 just gonna have to go with 2 bikes. 160+mm one and one 130mm or less.
that should cover it all
  • 1 0
 What l really want is a Trek Supercaliber "evo" with 66 degree ha, lower seat tube and a 470 reach on a large.. thats what l want! Doesn't seem to exist which is too bad.
  • 3 0
 I just ride ON my bike, I must be doing it wrong?
  • 3 1
 I have so many thoughts in agreement and disagreement with this article that I am too lazy to type it all out.
  • 1 0
 Some posters mention climbing 6000-9000 per day.
Is anyone actually routinely doing that?
I’m a relatively new and old rider so for me a big day is 4-5k of climbing.
  • 2 0
 The real question is how does it descend relative to how it rides proper dirt jumps!
  • 1 0
 One bike to do it all ... but it has to be extreme! there isn't bike between 120 and 180mm ? looks like I've been missing something ?
  • 1 0
 All there people that get it are busy riding instead of talking about it. If you don't know, you don't know. Long travel bikes suck going up hill. Period.
  • 2 0
 always overbiked.. I'll be cruising in FL in my 160mm enduro bike aaaaaaall day over a 120mm XC bike
  • 2 0
 I'm with the author on this, Metallica makes great ballads, but you can forget about headbanging to Celine Dion. Enjoy!!
  • 1 0
 Making the statement that short travel bikes will always suck going downhill is a bit of a reach, perhaps it is the author that sucks going downhill.
  • 1 0
 my setting is 80-160mm front and 100mm rear with no sag, after reading this article, it seems to be more reasonable than freaky.
  • 2 0
 What is considered “long” and travel these days? >160mm?
  • 1 0
 Both this opinion and Levy's opinion in 2012 are correct. Ride whatever bike makes you happy.
  • 3 0
 Just ride...
  • 3 0
 cyclists are insecure.
  • 4 0
 *Human beings are insecure.
  • 2 0
 It's up to where you ride and how hard you push it
  • 1 0
 Mike dropped!
  • 2 0
 I'm just going to start riding my BMX on my local trails.
  • 5 2
 Pinkbike = Enduro Bros
  • 2 0
 My M16 is 246mm is a plow weapon, in 216mm its all nimblybimbily.
  • 1 0
 How dare you not shout out Dylan Sherrard's original response article to Levy's article! Remember Levy- "you're not a bro".
  • 5 3
 Moral of the story : better be overbiked then underbiked
  • 2 0
 Ten years ago maybe not - today yes!
  • 1 0
 I find the suspension tech has improved and i don't feel like i need 160 for XC. 130 fine.
  • 2 0
 I use my Ripmo as a grocery getter...
  • 2 0
 That transition is the cooolest !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 2 0
 Seb really brings the divisive opinions Pinkbike so desperately needs.
  • 2 0
 So true. I read that article and immediately figured that it would blow up the comments section.
  • 1 0
 I do t get the trend of short travel bikes with DH head tube angles… really seems like worst of both worlds.
  • 2 0
 The number is always N+1 how many bikes you should own.
  • 1 0
 I want to read about that swishy number that Lewis Kirkwood is posing with. Oooh la la that thing looks fine.
  • 2 0
 So... everyone needs 3 to 5 bikes!!
  • 1 0
 Have the right tool for the right job. If you have multiple jobs, you need multiple tools.
  • 2 0
 Good article, because it reinforces the opinion I had before.
  • 2 0
 Overbiking is not a crime!
  • 1 0
 That needs to be on a shirt. Or a sticker. Preferably both.
  • 2 0
 Just have more than one bike….
  • 1 0
 My tallboy 4 with a fox 36 grip 2 at 140mm has been the perfect balance between both imo
  • 1 0
 I’ve ridden both short and long travel bikes. I’m all about the long travel.
  • 2 1
 Well this sure will get interesting…
  • 1 0
 I would say the Blur TrC was the "first" "down country" production bike.
  • 2 0
 Just Ride
  • 1 0
 This is so Stupid Trail clones united
  • 2 0
 Do a poll
  • 1 0
 @seb-stott blink twice if the Norco Range made you write this
  • 1 0
 Levy's version of science Smile
  • 1 0
 The Nomad IS a very nice bike indeed Smile
  • 1 0
 More travel more betterer IMO.
  • 1 0
 Forgot the Kona HeiHei - legendary short travel party ride. Such a stead
  • 1 0
 Not sure I completely agree, but interesting discussion none the less.
  • 1 0
 Most women prefer long travel
  • 4 3
 Levy in shambles
  • 3 0
 Levy downcountry voted you
  • 1 0
 i choose travel 120mm
  • 5 8
 Maybe a long travel e-bike is the best of both worlds.
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