What if you were forced to choose one bike that you would have to use for every aspect of your cycling for the rest of your life? Let’s say that the brand of the bike doesn’t matter and you must pick from one of the major categories like, downhill, all-mountain, XC/trail, or slopestyle, etc. Could you live with a dual-crown gravity sled and pass on trail riding? Would you take the practical route and buy a hardtail with aggressive enough geometry to handle the steeps? Short-travel dual-suspension trailbikes are awesomely capable these days, but could 120-millimeters get ‘er done if you decided to try some enduro racing? By far, the model of the moment is a 150-millimeter AM/trailbike, but could you session with it at the jump park?
Brad Walton puts the six-inch-travel Yeti SB 66 to task in the roots of Bellingham, Washington. Accomplished Big Bike riders like Walton can coax an all-mountain trailbike like the SB 66 down and over almost every feature that they ride their gravity bikes on. Brad Walton photo
Life throws other considerations into the mix that could dramatically affect your decision. Mister Spandex XC might fall in love with Miss Pro DH and find himself wishing for something more than a road bike with lumpy tread and flat handlebars. How will that freestyle hardtail and your size-six, double low-rise stretch-jeans be working for you ten years from now, when the magnitude of your butt is on par with that of the average Harley Davidson rider? Will you be pulling your daughter in her Hello Kitty trailer around the park behind that Demo 8? I’ll bet that 29er single-speed rocked when you worked in Wisconsin for Trek, but now that you took a position with Yeti in Colorado…? Are there lift-access parks in Florida?
Kyle Strait demonstrates that there are some situations where only one bike will fill the bill. Arguably, the biggest jump at Red Bull Rampage 2012. Margus Riga photo
Take the Pinkbike Poll
Chromag Aperture hardtail in its element. Mike Kazimer proves that dual suspension is not a requirement for shredding parks and technical trails. One wonders, however if a 30-pound steel hardtail is as fun as a 27-pound carbon dual-suspension trailbike? Brad Walton photo
Bonus Poll - 1
Thomas Genon on his way to winning the Red Bull Joyride at Whistler CW 2012 - the reigning king of stretch jeans and slopestyle hardtails. Fraser Britton photo
Bonus Poll - 2
Big wheels can make up for lost suspension travel, should you choose to downsize from a long-travel all-mountain/freeride machine to hedge against a future lifestyle change. Niner's RIP-9 has proven to be a capable choice for technical trail riding. Ian Hylands photo