Field Test: 6 Downcountry Bikes Hucked to Flat in Slo-Mo

Nov 8, 2022 at 11:47
by Matt Beer  


PINKBIKE FIELD TEST

6 Downcountry Bikes Learn to Fly



Downcountry bikes aren't meant to leave the ground for very long because their short amount of suspension travel doesn't offer all the much in the way of forgiveness. However, we've collected a bunch for the latest Field Test to send them off our Huck To Flat ramp just for you to watch them get all the way squished in super slow motion.

This time around, after exploring the beautiful trails at Le Massif de Charlevoix, a wooden kicker was setup to bottom out six bikes with travel ranging between 100 and 125mm; we definitely used all of the travel, and then some. Look closely and you'll see some of the handlebars, forks, and even frames flex as they get punished. I know I certainly felt the bars dip as I used up the tiny amount of squish!

We didn't experience any failures, and although we didn't load up the rear shocks with air volume spacers to make them more progressive, most of the bikes performed well. Evil's Following had a nice amount of ramp towards the end of the travel, as did the Allied BC40 and RSD's Wildcat. The firmness off the top of the travel that we experienced in the Lapierre XRM 8.9 and BMC Fourstroke 01 LT ONE both broke free quickly on the Huck To Flat and actually ramped up well to save my ankles. Even the little 100mm-travel Ibis Exie offered good support without feeling too noodley or clacking out at the shock.

We don't recommend sending most of the bikes off anything too high, but there are plenty of features out in the woods that these downcountry machines are built to handle. Check it out for yourself in slow motion.




Pinkbike Huck to Flat presented by CushCore






The 2022 Downcountry Field Test is presented by Quebec City Mountain Bike, Sweet Protection and Specialized Ground Control Tires









144 Comments

  • 69 4
 PB, this is getting ridiculous. Fix the stupid autoplay on your video player. Literally nobody wants the video to automatically play when the page loads.
  • 9 0
 Is Outside trying to massage its audience engagement numbers (or just trying to get eyeballs away from YouTube - in which case, why?)?

"Autoplay all our vids so we can drive up our viewer stats"

/tinfoil hat removed
  • 8 0
 @bender: Probably. They gave me an O+ membership just for being an original trailforks pro subscriber. Now they have a lane to shove even more things down my throat.
  • 3 0
 @iduckett: my subscription to beta in print got cancelled and my only other option was to get O+. I didn't want it I only wanted the print mag.
  • 5 6
 it plays every time with the sound muted for me I have zero issues with control. This site is free. Suck it up.
  • 2 0
 Maybe they should spend a ton of money on focus groups to get some feedback.... oh wait.
  • 74 12
 How did we get to a point in cycling where the label downcountry actually stuck? ( or am I missing the joke?)
  • 49 7
 It should be illegal to say the word "downcountry" without rolling your eyes.
  • 29 7
 They are pushing it so hard it's not funny anymore.
  • 48 4
 I mean, doesn't really matter right? Who cares what things are called?
  • 61 0
 You mean the same sport where gravel-specific socks are a thing?
  • 3 14
flag BaGearA (Nov 9, 2022 at 7:11) (Below Threshold)
 @olly76: no there was 'n good word that made sense and was well thought out , then someone who thought they were clever in A comment section saw a gap for 5mins of internet fame and made up a dumb word that means the same when you force yourself. But let people be people , I'm keeping on riding my 140mm enduro bike
  • 29 1
 @olly76: I care, the clipless pedal and acoustic bike labels drive me nuts.
  • 3 0
 @BetweenTheCircles: Are you serious??
  • 5 0
 @Trailsoup: straight to jail
  • 28 4
 @kingbike2: If you were mountain biking in the 90s, clipless pedals actually make sense.
  • 6 1
 @Slyham:
Yup.
  • 15 4
 @Slyham: I was mountain biking in the 90s, used toe clips myself and "clipless" pedals still don't make sense in 2022 even though I know where it comes from.
  • 13 0
 Same way the name Pinkbike stuck around. Someone said it as a joke and it stuck.
  • 1 1
 @bananowy: I see your point. I just don't know at what point the name should have changed. It's probably the phrase "clipped in" that causes the biggest problem. That phrase is the real misnomer.
  • 7 4
 Because the enduro bros get their panties in a bunch if you say cross country.
  • 5 0
 Downcountry is now the XC. Let's just call it that.
  • 2 0
 @BetweenTheCircles: and eBike specific grips...
  • 4 0
 Your not missing the joke, the marketing guys are.
  • 6 1
 I like the term downcountry. I want term upenduro bikes to start trending and stick. Lol.
  • 3 0
 Are there actually people out there who feel like they need to own one bike in every category? It's hard to imagine people with that much disposable income, and so little discretion...
  • 4 2
 Because Pinkbike editors have become some sort of marketing tool for the industry to sell more bikes. I wish they would just write about what's going on, instead of making up shit to change it to their liking.
  • 1 0
 @sasquatchclyde: I think people just like labels. It’s easy to label something and stand by your label. I think it makes people feel like they’re in a niche.
  • 1 0
 @sasquatchclyde: Companies will also promote that sort of thinking because it can make people easier to market to.
  • 1 0
 ^ My bad
  • 1 0
 @downcountry: LOL At least you’re embracing it wholeheartedly!
  • 2 0
 @tacklingdummy: youtu.be/8miUEBd_bD4

"Do cross country guys do enduro?" @11 sec.
  • 2 0
 @sasquatchclyde: When you ride, don't you always think that a certain bike with different riding characteristics (more or less travel, lighter, slacker, etc) would be better under the trail conditions? Generally, the trail bike is the most versatile for most riders under most conditions, but I think everyone would want to have an XC, downcountry, enduro, and dh bikes also in corral. X+1. Lol.
  • 5 0
 @Slyham: this is what I tell people when they say ‘clipless’ pedals don’t make sense. They don’t realize ‘clipped in’ is a made up term and is at fault for the confusion. Meanwhile, we’re bolting saddles to seatposts..
  • 1 0
 @bashhard: he would like to claim credit, but unfortunately he wasn't the first
  • 7 0
 @tacklingdummy:

I’m not sure. I’ve never had more than one MTB at a time.

When I started surfing, I just had the one board, and when I surfed I just thought about surfing. Then I bought a second board, and whenever I surfed I started to think about whether I had brought the right board or not. I kind of miss just having the one board.
  • 2 0
 @sasquatchclyde: can’t speak for others but I get to enjoy a variety of rides and trail conditions. Having a shorter travel, light trail bike and a longer travel enduro rig means I get to enjoy the ride as much as possible no matter where I am riding that day. It isn’t about having a ton of money, it’s just about prioritizing having multiple bikes rather than things that other people care about. Also, if one bike needs suspension service or a part needs to be replaced, I can still ride my other bike. I’m glad to hear you’ve got a rig that satisfies all your riding wants and needs; that’s awesome.
  • 1 0
 @tacklingdummy:

Naaah, downcountry is already the enduro to all-mountain bikes. And enduro already stuck.
  • 2 0
 @vonroder77: Go enduro bros!! Looks like an enduro session.
  • 1 1
 @twonsarelli: sure, that’s a good point too. I’ll admit that I might feel differently if, for example, the closest lift serviced bike park was less than three hours from where I’m at.

In general though, just because a “new category” is created doesn’t mean everyone has to go out and buy a new bike. Especially when categories are being created faster than new trail systems.
  • 2 0
 @sasquatchclyde: yeah the category name has nothing to do with my choices anyway. I just know that a 28 pound 130/140 bike feels very different to a 34 pound 160/160 bike and I like them both =)
  • 1 0
 @mrkkbb: it can also be trail... or whatever you decide it is that day.
  • 1 0
 @BetweenTheCircles: Please tell me you are joking? I am still wearing my socks from high school and I am 49
  • 1 1
 No doubt? What the f*ck is “Down Country” anyway? “Ay Jeeves, let’s go down country for a spot o’ tea. Wow.
  • 2 0
 @Geof3: Here is my couch surfing definition. A low travel full suspension XCish bike that is slacker, longer reach, more capable on the downhills, perhaps slightly longer fork, but still is a very capable climber with steeper seat tubes and light weights. That is a mouth full. Lol.
  • 1 0
 @tacklingdummy: Um… trail bike?
  • 2 0
 @Geof3: I don't think so. Less travel. 100mm to 120mm. To me, the trail bike category is 130mm to140mm rear travel and 140mm to 150mm front travel.
  • 2 0
 I hope to be getting notifications from this discussion many months into the future
  • 2 0
 @sasquatchclyde: Yeah, I get it. When I surfed, snowboarded and worked at a surf, snowboard, skateboard shop, I only had one board because money was tight even when I got the pro-deal at 40% off. Lol. However, never really desired to have more than one snowboard or surfboard. Now with mtb, I have had a couple of bikes at a time, but there are a variety of trails near my house, so more travel is better on some. However, 95% of the time, I grabbed the trail bike. Trail bikes are just the most versatile and best for my riding because I like to climb, but I want a very capable descender.
  • 55 0
 Just the edit but the RSD Wildcat looked like it went waaay higher than all the rest.
  • 11 0
 And bounced!
  • 1 1
 @thingswelike: His body position on the landing looked less like he bottomed out as well
  • 44 0
 Film nerd here. The Wave camera looks so bad compared to the Phantom. Guess it’s pricy to rent from Montreal tho.
  • 11 0
 That was the fastest slow motion.
  • 24 0
 Film ignoramus here. it's noticeably worse footage, thanks for explaining why.
  • 20 0
 That mo was nowhere near slow enough
  • 2 0
 you see the slowmo guys shoot a que ball out a cannon the other day? those phantoms got some wild footage!
  • 11 0
 If I was @notoutsideceo I'd say something like "Maybe if you all had paid for subscription Pinkbike content we could have afforded the Phantom this year."
  • 4 0
 I guess I'll have to use YouTube's playback speed settings to watch this one properly
  • 10 0
 How about a better background?
Maybe something not so dark and busy?
Most of the bikes are dark and it’s hard
to see all the flexyness
  • 1 0
 Speaking of Montreal

Spent the past summer living at MSA and recognized Le Massif the instant the video started. God d*mn I already miss Quebec mountain biking!
  • 9 1
 @rickybobby18: Its a tough economy and we're strategizing to optimize our cash flows as well as doubling down on cost savings initiatives while we transform the organization looking towards the future.

Be safe be well,
Incognito Robin
  • 3 0
 The filmer in me noticed the shit house lighting and busy background more. Cannot even see the shocks.
  • 28 0
 So, a WC XC bike can do better than a Pole?
  • 7 2
 Honestly, while Poles history is sketchy (and to be fair, a boutique company coming up during the Pandemic isn't something that is going to be smooth sailing), their current offerings are honestly pretty close to being almost the best bang/buck . They seemed to have improved the bonding process to get their bikes Cat-5 DH certified. $4.5k gets you a heavy hitting 190mm pedal-able DH bike with GX and Code R, which is cheaper and better specced than similar bikes from other manufacturers.

Seems like they have moved to build slots ordering system as well, not sure what the delay is, but its a lot more clearer than before.
  • 4 1
 @8a71b4: The biggest problem with the current crop of Pole bikes is that they're f*cking ugly.
  • 1 0
 @8a71b4: Pole’s problems were pretty prevalent pre-pandemic.
  • 2 0
 @whambat: No. Pole Machine, the original CnC frame, was very solid. Only when they tried to make it lighter with the Stamina did the issues start. There were a few issues in terms of long delivery, but this was due to the high demand for a frame that was made in house with limited resources.
  • 8 0
 I understand why a few testers complain about reach and seat tube angles so much. Long arms and stubby legs! Makes sense now. The Reverse T- Rex!
  • 32 0
 The R-Tex.
  • 1 0
 @olly76: lmao! Nailed it!
  • 8 0
 Good to see the extra 1-3mm of the Pike's girth making a difference..... got to show this to the wife as proof of what I've been telling her for 34yrs.
  • 17 10
 I assume this Auto-Play nonsense to to generate (false) youtube views. This is a weaselly move PinkBike. You're better than that!
  • 9 0
 No, the video isn't hosted on youtube as far as I can tell. Annoyingly, if I watch a video here, youtube still nags me to watch it on there for days after
  • 1 0
 Apparently not
  • 1 0
 If it was Youtube at least it would respond to keyboard controls but it isn't so it doesn't.
  • 9 0
 Bring back the phantom!
  • 6 1
 Figured out why production has been so bad this year... Where is Jason Lucas?? Not working for Pinkbike! that's where!

Seriously, the production quality on the past two field tests has been just flat out bad.
  • 1 0
 jason was video production manager i think? Ever since he did that terrible video of cheap vs expensive PB videos and even Academy has been just flat out rubbish
  • 8 1
 Yep, this totally confirms it. Each bike needs more travel.
  • 6 0
 Should have filmed it from the other side. Your trailing leg is blocking the view.
  • 3 0
 Just wondering: how is that Lapierre even considered a 'DoWnCOUntrY' bike?

Even on the Lapierre website it says: ".. The XRM is the fastest and lightest marathon cross-country bike we've.."

As I understand the term downcountry.. that's the 'vertical' side of riding crosscountry trails. The travel of this bike doesn't make it fit in that category, maybe the geometry, but then again the intended crowd it's marketed at has nothing to do with DoWnCOUntrY..
  • 3 0
 The Lapierre is an XC bike, the Evil is a trail bike, somehow they're both in this test.
  • 5 0
 interesting that the RSD is the only one that bounced back off the ground after the landing. Was that the bike or the rider?
  • 26 0
 The RSD also seemed like it flew out of the top corner, higher than the other bikes.
  • 1 0
 was it just me or did the chain also slap the ground?
  • 5 2
 Pinkbike made the most capable bike for this test look the least capable by launching it the hardest and not adjusting the rebound accordingly.
  • 3 0
 My V2 Wildcat was hard to bottom out. Looks like he gave it some extra beans to achieve the result.
  • 6 0
 that black sock isn't helping see the shock in some instances. Frown
  • 5 0
 The dark tree as the backdrop is also not ideal.
  • 4 0
 Fastest slow motion ive seen... My Smart Phone can record better than this - i can even edit it on my phone...

why does PB suck now that jason has gone?
  • 7 1
 Wheres the Grim Donut?
  • 3 1
 Flex stay in the Allied was the only one with some noticeable bend (probably why it rides so nice). No noticeable flex stay action in the Lapierre XRM 8.9 though...probably why it rides so harsh.
  • 1 0
 BMC too
  • 1 0
 @bok-CZ: I see that now. Hard to see as Matt's calf blocks it for most of the compression
  • 1 0
 @SATN-XC: its hard to see as you can't expect where its gonna bend first time
  • 3 0
 That dramatic pause in the music right before the Lapierre landed made me tense up. I thought maybe the next thing I'd be seeing is Matt hauled off on a stretcher....
  • 3 0
 That lower link on the Ibis must have some magical properties because it doesn't seem like it even moves.
  • 3 0
 Even on the Ripmo the lower link has limited movement. youtu.be/vzqr08spS4Q
  • 5 0
 Funny how such a little, barely discernable movement makes a bike that pedals so differently (compared to a single pivot). I mean, I haven't ridden an ibis, but understand that they ride like most dw bikes.
  • 3 0
 @kcy4130: they pedal good
  • 2 0
 I always loved the huck to flat but this new camera is to fast in slow motion to really look at how the linkage moves and shock does
  • 1 1
 I vote for the Evil Following or Insurgent LS size medium. Since I live in North Carolina and decided to work on my bikes with local brews while listening to The Accused Grinning like a Undertaker a demo bike on the Pisgah trails would be nice.
  • 3 0
 That bouncy RSD. Maybe add some more rebound dampening?
  • 3 0
 It looks like it was hucked way higher then the others though. Like it is entering the shot are the top of the frame while the others are about midway.
  • 4 1
 only video I watched of this entire review.
  • 2 0
 Short travel bikes in uninteresting huck-to-flat video shock.

Next up, grabble bikes?
  • 2 0
 Didn’t huck to flat used to be over a small car? I realize these are xc bikes but what’s with the pussification of htf?
  • 1 0
 Levy's mini to be exact.
  • 2 0
 Short cuts and not very slow motion, this looks worse than most of the other huck to flat videos.
  • 2 0
 two of these bikes are not like the others
  • 3 5
 why is he wearing a helmet and shades when presenting? why are they hucking...... no normal mountainbiker jumps like this( maybe young children on the sidewalk with a selfmade jump).

why? why an Evil vs a bmc?
why? downcountry ... the beauty of that iconic race was just the pleasure when people rebuild their dh bike to an xc bike and visa versa.

please stop this madness. industry, give us new materials, and other ways to motorise wheels, no motors with pedals please.
  • 2 0
 I don’t even know what you just said
  • 2 0
 This is really just a Matt Beer slow-mo calf muscle flexing video
  • 6 5
 "hucked to flat" what'd they do, ride off a side walk?
  • 15 1
 Hell no! This is downcountry. They stacked two sidewalks on top of each other.
  • 2 0
 Yes
  • 1 0
 Hehe, looks like he is landing on the progress bar of the player Smile
  • 1 0
 This is not huck to flat. This is huck to gravel.
  • 1 0
 Finally - the REAL quiz.
  • 4 4
 Ugh we’re still on this down country bike test???
  • 4 5
 You really need to pack this "downcountry" shit talk in. Biking is loosing the plot with all this nonsense.
  • 2 2
 Why the filming is not done from the drive side?
  • 3 0
 Chainrings obscure the linkage/shock/kinematics
  • 2 0
 @pmhobson: Good point - camera both sides would be great!
  • 1 0
 @pmhobson:But it would allow to evaluate the pedal kickback ..........
  • 1 1
 @pk71: Maybe I'm missing something about visually observing pedal kickback, but if the drive side crank moves, so will the non-drive side crank.
  • 1 0
 @pmhobson: What you see of the pedal kickback is not so much the crank that moves (generally by a few degrees) but the chain that comes under tension, moreover it is also possible to see on which sprocket it is positioned.
  • 1 1
 Stress these bikes out more than going off of a curb. Come on
  • 3 5
 Has there been a huck to flat of a flex stay bike? Would like to see how much a flex stay can flex.
  • 8 0
 Aren't half of these flex stays? Most carbon XC bikes use flex stay and have no pivot back there.
  • 3 16
flag kingbike2 (Nov 9, 2022 at 7:12) (Below Threshold)
 @lepigpen: I had another look at video, all bikes have pivots on chain stays.

My interest is seeing a flex stay bike explode on a huck to flat.
  • 5 0
 a couple of these have flex stays - I was curious as well, but couldn't see any flex happening.
  • 13 0
 @kingbike2: I'm not sure flex stay means what you think it means.
  • 3 1
 @codfather1234: damn, will have to google after breakfast.
  • 4 0
 look at the first one...the Allied...you can see the flex
  • 3 0
 @trillot: that is probably a good thing, if you visually saw the flex, you probably surpassing the structural integrity
  • 2 0
 @kingbike2: basically the entire rear end is a 'single piece' attached to a single pivot linkage design. but instead of having a pivot point on the chain stay or seat stay (generally near the axle) it has no pivot. and just allows the carbon frame to 'flex' naturally. Usually with a specific design to allow that flex to happen in a controlled manner at a planned point, but it's not really something you can see that much. Presumably because it doesn't actually flex that much, hence only being used for low travel XC designs and considered pretty trash for anything else, such as when its on the Giant Stance.

It's terribly unfun to describe. Just at a glance. Ibis has those short links by the seat tube. RSD as an alloy bike has a pivot by the chainstay axle making a horst design. The Evil has some very complex looking short link design, yet another DW design. I won't even try to explain it, way too many pivot points to count lol
  • 3 1
 @lepigpen: Carbon does not flex naturally, it attempts to yield under angular stresses to the fibers. What you are most likely seeing is glass fiber used as an elastic to make up for the bike industry needing to remove a linkage to break the bike in a few seasons riding.
  • 1 0
 @tprojosh: Dunno why someone downvoted you. Average day on PB. Yeah I'm wondering how they design in the specific flex point into the carbon considering the amount of stress it could be under, and how resistant carbon is to flexing which then leads to presumably a crack in the weakest spot. Be that near the axle or BB or, like we're sayin, right near the flex point. I assume that it basically barely flexes anyway so it's basically 99.9% marketing gimmick. The reality is the back of the bike is ultra stiff and XC riders are not supposed to push the bike to such an extent they notice lol. Even if you could make the point flex more, riders probably wouldn't want that. The bike is meant to be stiff and responsive and fast.
  • 1 0
 @lepigpen: people down voted because there have been HTF videos in the past on flex stays and this included multiple
  • 1 0
 @labrinsky: That's not the correct context. This was to Tpro's comment, not KingBIke's.
  • 1 0
 @lepigpen: ah my bad





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