What Type of Mountain Bike Should You Buy in 2023?

Jan 17, 2023 at 13:04
by Mike Kazimer  
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You've decided to take the plunge and dive into the world of mountain biking. How complicated could it be? A mountain bike's a mountain bike, right? Unfortunately, it's not that simple any more. When the sport first started rolling in the 1970s there was pretty much only one type of bike, but now, after nearly a half-century of existence, there are bikes to suit almost every riding style imaginable.

It can be intimidating trying to sort through all of the choices, and the ever-expanding list of categories and sub-categories can make it even more difficult. Just like in the ski or snowboard world, there are different bikes for different conditions, and it's a matter of picking the right tool for the job.

Let's start with the easiest two categories to differentiate: hardtails vs full suspension bikes.

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Hardtail.
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Full suspension.

Hardtail: A hardtail is just like it sounds – a bike with no rear suspension. The vast majority of new hardtails have a suspension fork, although there are still a few options out there without suspension of any kind, for those riders looking for the simplest (and roughest) ride.

Hardtails can be a great way to save some money, since the lack of a shock and a less complicated frame design helps keep the cost down. Hardtails can be designed for any of the riding categories that I'll go over shortly, although they are best suited to slightly mellower terrain. It is possible to get down very rough, technical trails on a hardtail, and have a lot of fun doing it, but there's no getting around the fact that a full-suspension bike makes navigating those harder trails much easier.

Full-suspension: Once again, it's all in the name. A full-suspension bike has a suspension fork and a shock to help take the edge off rougher trails, which means the frame (and rider) is fully suspended above the wheels. The amount of travel (how much the suspension moves) will vary depending on the bike's intended purpose, ranging from 80-100mm of rear travel for more cross-country oriented bikes all the way up to over 200mm of travel for pure downhill machines.



Category Definitions

Moving on from the basic frame configuration of a mountain bike brings us to the more convoluted part of the equation – deciding what type of riding the bike is for.

We'll start with the basic categories, and then touch on some of the other terms you might hear floating around a bike shop or see mentioned online. You'll also see that each category has a 'climbing / descending split'. This is intended to illustrate where a bike's performance is focused. For example, climbing takes a higher priority on a cross-country bike, so the split is 70 / 30, compared to a DH bike, where it's a 0 / 100% split - climbing performance isn't even part of the downhill bike equation.

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XC / Cross-Country

These are the speed machines, the lightest and quickest handling mountain bikes around. They're designed for covering lots of ground as efficiently as possible, and typically have around 100mm of rear travel paired with a 100 – 120mm fork.

Ideal terrain: XC bikes are a great option for riders in areas with rolling terrain that isn't super rough – this much travel helps take the edge off chattery sections of trail, but when things get really chunky an XC bike won't be the best option.

Rider description: You don't need to be a racer, or even harbor any dreams of racing, to enjoy a cross-country bike – for riders that want their bikes to feel fast, light, and efficient, this is the category to consider. It's also the category where a hardtail makes the most sense, since the lack of a shock saves weight, and the most efficient suspension is none at all.

This is good category to consider for riders who prefer the challenge of conquering a long, strenuous climb over seeking out the gnarliest descent, those who prefer to zip along with both wheels on the ground versus hitting ever jump around.

Examples: Specialized Epic, Canyon Lux

Climbing / descending split: 70 / 30


Cross-country Field Test 2020

Sub-category: Downcountry is a term whose origins aren't totally clear, although some of the credit / blame rests on Pinkbike tech editor Mike Levy's shoulders. It was originally more of a tongue-in-cheek description for an imaginary category, but the term stuck, and more than one bike manufacturer has used it in their marketing campaigns. The idea is to take a lightweight cross-country-ish bike and make it more downhill oriented via things like wider handlebars, a dropper post, and longer, slacker geometry.

The travel and overall light weight remains, but the bikes in this category aren't as uphill-focused as their more race-oriented siblings. Bikes like the Transition Spur, Specialized Epic EVO, and Allied BC40 are all examples of this concept. More advanced riders can push these bikes hard in terrain they might not be expected to excel in, and beginners will appreciate the extra confidence that the more relaxed geometry provides on steeper trails.


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Trail Bike

This is arguably the largest category of mountain bike, and for good reason. Trail bikes are intended to handle a huge variety of terrain – these are the generalists, the all-rounders that can take on just about anything. Rear travel amounts range from 125mm up to 150mm, and typically the longer travel options tend to be a bit more downhill focused.

Ideal terrain: Almost anywhere. We recently finished conducting a round of trail bike testing in Whistler, BC, and the biggest takeaway was just how capable modern trail bikes have become. The idea of using the same bike for long backcountry rides and lift-served laps in a bike park used to be a fantasy, but now there are numerous options that can do just that.

Rider Description: For someone who wants one bike that can handle just about anything this is the place to look. Modern geometry has made the bikes in this category more confidence inspiring on the descents than ever, and they're still very manageable while climbing or riding on more rolling terrain. Tires can play a big role in how a bike feels – lighter tires on a trail bike can make it better suited for big, pedaly rides, while beefier, more aggressive tires can help provide more traction and better handling in steeper terrain.

Examples: Trek Fuel EX, Norco Fluid

Climbing / descending split: 40 / 60 to 60 / 40 depending on the model.

2022 Orbea Rallon review

Enduro Bike

Technically, enduro is a mountain bike race format, where multiple timed downhill sections connected by untimed transfer stages. The term has evolved to describe longer travel bikes with a clear focus on downhill performance that can still be pedaled to the top of a climb. Travel amounts range from 150 – 170mm, and in some cases the bike's geometry isn't far off from what you'd find on a downhill bike.

Ideal terrain: About as rough and steep as it gets, just short of a full-blown downhill track. Enduro bikes are a great option for riding in lift served bike parks, since they can handle bigger drops and jumps, and then when the lifts stop spinning they can be pedaled on other trails without being too much of a hindrance. Descending is the main focus of this style of bike, which means they don't feel quiet as quick or efficient as their shorter travel siblings. Still, many modern enduro bikes have impressive pedaling performance, and if there's terrain to warrant the extra travel they can certainly be taken out on extra long missions.

Rider description: The ideal candidate for an enduro bike is someone that's interested in challenging themselves on steep, rough terrain. There's no minimum ability level to have fun on a bike with this much suspension, although many of the bikes in this category do feel better at the higher speeds the were designed around.

Examples: Orbea Rallon, Yeti SB160

Climbing / descending split: 30 / 70

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Sub-category: Super-enduro, freeride

There's a small niche that exists in between enduro bikes and downhill bikes, which is where you'll find long travel machines that are even more downhill focused, bikes where weight and efficiency aren't as much or a priority as durability and stability as speed. These are the models that benefit from the use of a chairlift of shuttle truck, but they're still able to be pedaled to the top when those options aren't available.

Examples: Canyon Torque, Norco Shore

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Downhill Bike

Do you want to go downhill, fast? This is the place to look. The downhill market has grown smaller as the capabilities of trail and enduro bikes have increased, but those bikes still can't beat a dedicated DH bike when it comes to outright speed. If you've never ridden a downhill bike before, renting one from a bike park can be a good way to see if the handling and overall characteristics are something you'd like to invest in. This is the mountain bike equivalent of a pair of extra-fat powder skis, and if you don't live somewhere with the right terrain it's likely going to be overkill.

Ideal terrain DH bikes are purpose built for descending, which means that they require a chairlift, shuttle truck, or a long stint of pushing to get them to the top of the hill. Once gravity takes over these long travel machines make a lot more sense, with geometry and suspension designed to take on the gnarliest terrain and the biggest jumps around. They're well suited to bike park usage, where the overbuilt frames and components typically do a better job of withstanding the abuse that weeks or months of lift-served laps can dole out.

Examples: Santa Cruz V10, Trek Session

Climbing / descending split: 0 / 100




How much will it cost?

Okay, say you've figured out the style and type of mountain bike you want. How much will that cost? Well, that depends. Along with the wide variety of bike models and designs comes a wide variety of prices, so there's no easy answer. In addition, bike prices have jumped dramatically over the last few years, so going the used route is the best method to save money. Prices also vary depending in if a company is solely direct to consumer or if they're soled in brick-and-mortar bike shops, although the price difference between those two sales models isn't as great as it once was.

In general, expect to spend around $3,500 for an entry-level full-suspension bike. At that price range there are multiple options that'll serve as great entries to the sport, with hydraulic disc brakes, wide range drivetrains, and basic suspension components.

Around the $6,000 pricepoint is where you find bikes that don't really need any upgrades, even for more advanced riders. Going even higher up the line, many companies have their highest end models priced in the neighborhood of $10,000 - $12,000. Bikes at the price point come with carbon fiber frames and wheels, and typically have electronic shifting or a very high end drivetrains.





There you have it – a quick primer on the various different types of mountain bikes that are currently on the market in 2023. Instead of getting bogged down in spreadsheets or internet forums, get out there and try a few options. Find a demo event, borrow a buddy's bike, whatever it takes to gain more familiarity with available and what will work best for you. After all, the best bike for someone in Des Moine, Iowa is going to be different than what's best for someone in Whistler, BC.

And finally, don't forget that at the end of the day they're all just bikes, and mountain biking is supposed to be fun.

Author Info:
mikekazimer avatar

Member since Feb 1, 2009
1,731 articles

306 Comments
  • 636 30
 I guess eBikes aren't for real mountain bikers after all, I don't see them here!
  • 20 1
 That, or they've added in-article filtering to the e-bike filter
  • 109 223
flag brianpark FL Editor (Feb 22, 2023 at 14:48) (Below Threshold)
 Hah they get their own post.
  • 330 12
 Don't buy a bike in 2023 if you already have one from the past 5-7 years. It will absolutely do the job.
  • 11 1
 Amen to this.
  • 79 18
 Bropeds aren't bicycles.
  • 13 6
 @drjonnywonderboy: um... this article is very obviously aimed at someone who doesn't have a mountain bike yet.
  • 11 33
flag onawalk (Feb 22, 2023 at 17:31) (Below Threshold)
 @drjonnywonderboy: so will one from 10-12 years ago, hell My Norco Six from 2005, I see it on the trails still.
Why do you care what others do with their own money?
  • 9 14
flag Stinky-Dee (Feb 22, 2023 at 20:41) (Below Threshold)
 I believe there are drugs for eBike derangement syndrome “EBDS” It is a stronger dose than is given for 29er derangement syndrome “29DS”. “Erections lasting longer than 9 hours see your doctor “
  • 7 4
 @brianpark: you mean advertisement right?
  • 4 15
flag GeneralGroovus (Feb 22, 2023 at 22:36) (Below Threshold)
 @wyorider: from your post a little further down..."As always, feel free to have more bikes from more niches than needed at any time........"

Sweeet! I choose the Eeb niche...full fat 190/187 dual crown, 170/160 Enduro and Light Weight 150/150 and love em all. My OG 1986 fully rigid is happily retired.

Broped up and MTB down, so much fun...and that motor doesn't clear the gaps on it's own. Ride on!
  • 5 4
 Maybe they are trying to tell something to the ebikers ? Smile
  • 2 3
 @drjonnywonderboy: Well, basically yes, 2016 we were mostly riding 27,5" wheeled bikes and it was ok. But would I go back from 29 to 27,5? I don't think so. I can live with bikes from the past 3-5 years. That would be my advise.
  • 23 25
 I guess someone who has ridden for 30+ years, has supported the industry and has built trails but then buys an ebike all of a sudden is not a ‘real’ mountain biker? No, doesn’t work that way. It’s funny reading the e-bike hate from literally the less than 1% of the riders. The rest of the world quietly buys an e-bike and carries on.
  • 2 0
 @drjonnywonderboy: Can't agree more. Buy, buy, buy they tell you!
  • 13 1
 @Longrider: I think the percentile is a little higher than 1%.
  • 3 4
 @Longrider: The 1%ers have time to be critics rather than accept truth.

1%ers - eBikes are Heresy
1%ers - 29er not a mountain bike
1%ers - Single speed is pure
1%ers - You dumbed my trail down. After watching them do the ride around
1%ers - I hate the IMBA flow trail as they fill the parking lot of the new flow trail system
1%ers - They will never close this trail as they get kicked out of public land

on and on, never happy.

1%ers - do the above really matter?
  • 2 0
 @Longrider : as a 30 year rider, I'll also enjoy my ebike - real mtber or not. I just stopped caring what others thought.
  • 185 17
 One without a motor
  • 6 1
 And round wheels
  • 140 9
 None at all. Ride what you have!
  • 13 1
 Exactly!
  • 18 2
 @hubertje-ryu: I would agree, except that the article is clearly aimed at people who don't have a bike to ride yet.
  • 4 0
 My wallet concurs.
  • 15 4
 So, the person with the Walmart bike looking to upgrade should ride what they have?
  • 4 4
 Yup..wait out the recession. Be smart
  • 1 0
 my own two getaway sticks!
  • 1 0
 Oops,I meant to upvote
  • 3 1
 @ak-77: Would make for an interesting poll actually. How many PB visitors don't have a bike to ride yet?
  • 1 2
 @ak-77: most of the readers here already have a fine bike, no need for a new one.
  • 5 0
 @vinay: This isn't for regular pinkbike visitors and sure as hell not for anyone who spends time answering polls here. This article is supposed to be googled by new people looking for their first mtb.
  • 2 4
 @bananowy: Thanks, I must have missed the memo then.
"
Downhill Bike

Do you want to go downhill, fast? This is the place to look.
"
New people, looking for their first mtb. Buying a DH bike in 2023... How do I engage the filter? I dare not to look...
  • 1 0
 Yes@nickfranko:
  • 4 2
 @vinay: Indeed as @bananowy says this article seems to be aimed at novices, to draw in new readers. Just note the first sentence: "You've decided to take the plunge and dive into the world of mountain biking."
Including downhill bikes in an article like this without mentioning you probably need some time on another bike to build skill before you hurl yourself down any kind of terrain that requires such a bike, is questionable.
  • 3 0
 I'm not sure there's anything wrong with including downhill bikes here. A newbie might as well be only interested in trying DH, so why not start with the right gear. New to mtb doesn't necessarily mean new to sport in general. Plenty of skilled skiers, snowboarders bmxers and overall athletic people could drop straight into proper trails with minimal practice.

There wasn't a "memo", the article in itself is fairly clear about who the target audience is Smile
  • 1 0
 @bananowy: Yeah, I spotted that, apparently didn't allow it to sink in. A Pinkbike article aimed at someone new to all this. We disagree on whether someone buying a first mountainbike this year should be adviced to get a DH bike just because they like to go downhill fast, but I'm not going to argue. Let's agree to disagree and wish each other a nice weekend with hopefully some (very) early spring flavour Smile !
  • 1 0
 @vinay: yup, looking closer to something resembling spring here too, definitely getting a couple of rides in. Happy trails!
  • 1 0
 @bananowy: Excellent choice, will do too!
  • 1 0
 That's what my wife says!
  • 1 1
 Ride what you have! Inflation and price gouging has brought new bikes to unrealistic price levels. Sincerely, the guy who has bought dozens of new bikes over the past 2 decades.
  • 131 1
 The climbing/ descending split on all my bikes is 50-50.
  • 50 1
 This. I tried riding halfway up the hill and then all the way down to make it a 30/60 split but nobody wanted to carry me up the other half!
  • 58 0
 Just drive your Tacoma near the top, ride up a little, ride down all the way, then get your friend to drive you in their Tacoma to your Tacoma, you drive home, they do what you just did and get another friend to drive their Tac.. you get the idea
  • 1 0
 But the downhill is so much fun! And a great workout too.
  • 4 0
 @DizzyNinja: We need escherian trails or e-trails for short.
  • 3 4
 @pink505: okay, that was

B
E
A
U
Tiful!

Nicely played sir.
  • 1 0
 @Jvisscher: That's why they say "no dig, no ride". At least you have this option. The XC bike riders are in trouble, going by this article.
  • 1 0
 @DizzyNinja: @DizzyNinja: That was sarcasm, wasn't it? Otherwise it's a d-bike (d=diesel), with the engine up and gravity down. Wait where did I hear that?
  • 2 1
 Truth if you only ride loops or out and backs!
  • 1 1
 I call that BS... there is no way you climb that 5km gravel road or single track in the same 10 - 15 min it takes you to go down. So real will be 80 - 20 split Big Grin

Wich is also good indication that MOST of us will max out at Trail, maybe Enduro. SuperEnduro is just stupid... get a DH bike and that is it
  • 1 0
 @valrock: I was assuming he meant 50/50 split of distance. You are assuming time. Maybe the author can give clarification here?
  • 2 0
 @Jvisscher: bro-science requires no clarification. However I will give you this:
With the exception of bike prices, what goes up must come down.
  • 2 0
 @pink505: Don't be daft. Bro-science requires mansplaining. Please take the stage.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: time is irrelevant, suffering is irrelevant, distance is irrelevant when it comes to climbing descending split. From the bikes perspective typically from when you touch it to start a journey to when you put it away after said journey its position relative to sea level has not changed. Thus the quantity of climbing must equal the quantity of descending from the bikes perspective. From the riders perspective one must consider that shuttles, lifts, hikes or yak rides are part of the journey and cannot be excluded from the climbing descending split evaluation. Situations where you buy a bike, climb a mountain and are too scared to ride down all the way, chuck it in the woods and hike down never to ride it again would be the exception not the rule. So I rest my case that all bikes have a fixed climbing/descending split of 50-50.
  • 1 0
 @pink505: Well done. I do largely agree. However, DH bikes do occasionally fall apart on the descend whereas they typically do survive the uplift. In a circular economy, parts are being salvaged and restored to the same high quality (that is, bike part). So in that ideal situation indeed, it is 50-50. In the less ideal situation, there will always be a bit less coming down than goes up.
  • 62 2
 No dirt jumpers? Probably the best second bike you can buy to understand how to ride your primary one better.
  • 2 1
 Totally agree
  • 33 1
 .....Or BMX for that massive Background
  • 27 5
 pinkbike believes trails are the only type of mountain biking, and racing is the only thing downhill bikes do. Jumps don't really exist to the pinkbike staff, that's why you never hear them mention how a bike jumps in any bike review on this site, only how it pedals up a trail and then how fast it can go back down. I tried listening to their podcast and it was just one of them trying to say slopestyle wasn't mountain biking so I stopped listening.
  • 4 1
 although I'm surprised they didn't add DJ's to this list as "pumptrack bikes"
  • 4 0
 And a surprisingly good way to get started mountain biking if you’re young, or certainly in the U.K. at least. Cheap(ish), strong and generally overbuilt. Parts are good value and they’re easy to fix. Ok it’s going to be terrible for ‘mountain’riding, but for the building jumps, riding downhill, messing about in the woods style riding they’re actually pretty fun.
  • 2 2
 best second bike is a FatTire bike!!!
  • 50 3
 Bicycle, bicycle, bicycle I want to ride my bicycle, bicycle, bicycle I want to ride my bicycle I want to ride my bike I want to ride my bicycle I want to ride it where I like You say xc, I say trail You say enduro, I say all mountain You say freeride, I say downhill Downcountry has never my scene And I don't like gravel
  • 6 0
 This would make a great MTB one hit wonder •
  • 9 0
 You're such a "Queen"
  • 3 0
 I wept.
  • 8 0
 Fat Bike girls make the rocking world go by
  • 1 0
 @Tiramani:
Mine sure does.
  • 1 0
 Singing along until I fall asleep!
  • 28 0
 @mikekazimer: The downcountry segment made me think of something. Why hasn't the Rocky Mountain Element found the long term cult following that the Transition Spur has? I'm not in the least bit a RM fanboy but that bike is incredibly good looking and geo wise a home run as well. When it came out the praise was extremely high and it seemed like everybody loved it, but since a couple months after it was released I don't think I've seen or heard a single mention of it by PB or any other outlet, but the Spur is used as the gold standard for downcountry.

(The Spur is undoubtedly sick, but idk man the Element is perfect in my eyes lol.)
  • 2 0
 Also curious about that. Did rocky have a hard time with stock maybe? I haven't seen any elements on the trails locally even though we have a couple dealers here.
  • 5 0
 I worked at a Rocky dealer and every element we got sold instantly. But now they're on clearance everywhere. I think it was bad timing.
  • 1 0
 I’m not sure exactly what the answer is, but I had to go 800 miles away to get an Element frame to build up and I couldn’t get above the base model near me in a full build. I found plenty of shops on the Pinkbike buy/sell with new Spurs available. Maybe inventory plays into it a bit.
  • 4 0
 a lot of fast trail guys here in Whistler are on Elements with Rekons, ie those who rip our Toonie races and likely the Back Forty race here in June. Very capable bike in the tech in the hands of those with the right skills.
  • 1 0
 I got an element last year and it's crazy how capable it is. As a result, my Patrol is now gathering dust in the garage and only gets broken out for the odd weekend of shuttles.
  • 6 0
 Maybe because the Spur set the benchmark for this kind of bike and it left such a good impression.
"the first cut is the deepest...."
  • 1 0
 I know when I was shopping an Element they didn't come in to stock until super late in the season and by the time one was available I'd already purchased something else.
  • 7 2
 Rocky had some major issues with their carbon frame supplier during covid (worse than other brands) which reduced the number of frames available. They also raised their pricing a ton into boutique territory (they're not) which led to shops putting in smaller orders. I'm sure it's a great bike, but Rocky has some work to do to turn around some concerning trends.
  • 1 0
 @eljefespeaks: I hate those guys. Me on my titan with assegais, getting passed on the ups and downs by guys and girls on element type bikes with recons? Fck!
  • 5 0
 @ratedgg13: For real. Their prices are way out of control and definitely not boutique bikes. However, i do really like their bikes, a lot. The Altitude is the bike l want.
  • 3 0
 @KingPooPing: I dont think the Element is out of control price wise - its a lot cheaper than an equivalent Specialized or Transition (depending on the build)
  • 2 0
 @ratedgg13: I don't get that pricing thing because the USD is always stronger than the CND and yet, the canadian bikes are always so expensive eh! Maybe my econ knowledge is weak.....
  • 1 0
 @KingPooPing: I guess? The Growler is a great deal. I bought one as it was marginally more expensive to get a frame with aggressive geometry and all the parts than just buying a frame (Chromag, etc.) with similar angles.
Water bottle mount, threaded BB. The paint sucks, but for 1299 CDN...
  • 4 0
 @mybaben:
As a Canadian who lives just 10 miles north of the border, and interacts with a lot of cashed up Americans at our ski resort, it absolutely astounds me how few of them are knowledgeable about CDN pricing and the currency exchange rate until they get here. The smart ones end up taking home more skis than they brought.
  • 4 0
 Maybe the Spur became the gold standard over the Element because it is made better.
It may only be my experience but the Element I bought, because the Spur was completely unavailable, has been a really quick, fun bike, until the main pivot failed. The decision to replace it was fast but things take time this far from the rest of the world. It is simply not as well constructed as my previous SC and I’d guess the Tranny also. The geo says push me hard but is it really up to it?
  • 1 0
 Really hard to find. I was looking for one back in August and had to get it shipped from Texas to NJ...my local dealer said Spring '23, maybe. You're bang on though...it's an incredible bike and I ride it probably 90% of my rides at this point over my Ripmo.

Not perfect (PF BB, no ISCG mounts, brake choice is garbage stock) but damn close. I rebuilt mine frame up and it's a monster.
  • 1 0
 @dlford: That's what I thought. That's why I don't get the pricing on Canadian bikes. I expect them to be high in CND, but not in USD and yet, they're totally expensive in USD....
  • 29 2
 I'm angry! I'm not sure why, but I am! Pinkbiiiiiike!!
  • 30 3
 Pick a bike type and be a dick about it.
  • 12 5
 Pick a dick and be a bike type about it.
  • 5 0
 @dave119: I'm going to go with my shirt travel xc weapon.
  • 10 0
 @mrgonzo: I'm too sexy for my shirt.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: I'm sure you are. Maybe a tank top to cover the nipplage on those cold days yeah?
  • 1 0
 @mrgonzo: My mtb tanktop has enough room to show a single nipple every now and then, when going round corners. Silly thing is that I only started cutting the sleeves from my mtb shirts because the shoulder pads of my body armour twenty years ago just wouldn't fit comfortably under sleeves. But then I learned how nice and breezy it is without sleeves and never went back. But yeah, I'll try keep the nipples covered and will only allow them to take a peek for those special occasions.
  • 27 6
 160-170mm all day long. The pedaling platforms and 78-79 degree seat tube angles have improved so vastly over the past couple of years, you're better off getting the extra travel if you plan on hitting the bike parks even 2x a year. Can't go wrong unless you live in the plains.
  • 20 1
 Rolling terrain is where short travel bikes come into their own. It’s not that nice trying to keep momentum on a 170 bike in the hills. I’d say 140-150 is the sweet spot all-rounder, but it’s a compromise on the edges of the bell curve. I personally ride a 120 mm bike all around the hills and reserve my DH bike for uplift days. Definitely get in over my head sometimes with the short travel bike, but I happily sold my 170 mm machine.
  • 5 1
 I think the benefits of short travel can 100% be replicated with smarter suspension damping/force, and that the less travel actually IS the primary benefit, not weight, as your geometry doesn’t change as much and you have less “slush” when weighting your bike up and down, the power you put in comes through more and more like you expect it to as travel goes down
  • 4 1
 @babathehutt: If you're on mellow trail just add more air to your suspension. You can stiffen up a long travel bike but you can't do anything about the upper limit of a short travel one. Though I would tend to agree that 150mm is a good spot, I do have a 160mm though.
  • 2 0
 I agree 100%. Reason I've upgraded my '16 134 to a '22 153 29. I live for downs.
  • 3 5
 @redrook: if you overinflate the suspension, then it will ride very high and the bottom bracket and pedaling kinematic will be out of whack. A short travel bike at appropriate suspension settings will be geometrically correct and will have a smaller threshold for more lively action, but won’t have the headroom for big hits like a big bike.
  • 4 1
 @babathehutt: Sorry but that is complete and utter nonsense. You cannot "overinflate" it unless you go beyond the capacity limits of the shock. And since short travel bikes tend to be steeper, you're essentially replicating that geo with a longer travel bike - many of which have flip chips anyway, which will provide far bigger geo changes than your suspension is likely to achieve simply with a relatively small pressure change.
  • 4 0
 @babathehutt: It really wont ride much higher, but as @redrook says it really won't result in significant geo changes, and certainly not enough to thrown anything out of "whack" - which you'll need to be much more specific about if you want to make any claims about.

PB actually had an article about being "over biked" which made this exact point. There is absolutely no reason not to run less sag or stiffer damping if you want, it's not going to affect the geometry in any way that bike isn't designed to have.

www.pinkbike.com/news/the-case-for-being-over-biked-opinion.html
  • 3 4
 @redrook: you mean putting in more air to sit at 15-20% sag wouldn’t disrupt the geometry on a 170 mm bike? Sure the head angle might get steeper, but the BB will get higher, too. You may not believe it, but it doesn’t make it less true.
  • 4 0
 @babathehutt: I believe it, but I don't think it makes the difference you think it does. It's certainly far less of a geo change than a flip chip or even riding different terrains. The BB sitting slightly higher would steepen the geo, which is BETTER for riding mellow trails, that's the whole point lol, and of course given geo figures for bikes are not the figures for a bike at sag (and thus vary depending on rider setup).

Your implication that a bike should always be set at the same sag betrays a tragic ignorance of bike setup. Pro riders change this on the same bike constantly, it's the first, most basic suspension setting to change to alter how a bike rides. So the idea that this would be a bad thing outside of your idea of where a perfect sag should be is absolutely stupid.
  • 4 2
 @babathehutt: Moving it from 25% to 15% sag isn't going to result in any negative geo changes, and as redrook says, at what point are you defining perfect geo?

You might want to tell your sag rule to just about anybody who races bikes. If I know I have a pedally track the first thing I do (and most others do if they know what they're doing) is stiffen the suspension. It's a basic. If you think it's going to mess with the geo to the extent that you think it'll throw things "out of whack" (which you still haven't actually explained) you're a moron Smile
  • 4 0
 @rbeach: You don't change pressure for a flip chip, and that immediately creates a far bigger geo change than a pressure change of 5% to 10% is going to do lol
  • 5 1
 @redrook: Exactly! Although I might actually do both, I might flip the chip and add pressure if I want to really optimise pedalling performance. Obviously you do steepen it, the idiot above isn't wrong about that, but he is wrong about it being bad or throwing things "out of whack". The point of doing so is to stiffen it and change the geo, duh! Beyond that it's down to personal preference. Raising a BB by a couple of mm is barely noticeable, but is also not at all a bad thing on mellow or pedally trails. Low BB is for stability, which matters at speed and steeps. Dummy above just doesn't appear to have a clue about how you should setup a bike for different circumstances.
  • 4 0
 @rbeach: To be fair he said "over inflate", and yeah it would be bad to rock around with your shock at the very limit of it's pressure threshold or above, which is what over inflating would be by definition. Anything below its maximum pressure is absolutely fine to play about with. As you say, it's all about setting it up for the conditions.
Newbie riders tend to think that sag should be X% and that's it. They probably take it to their shop to add the air too.
  • 2 4
 @rbeach: ride whichever bike you want wherever you want. There is a good reason to pick a bike optimized for certain terrain versus your preferred solution. I’m not talking about adding 5-10 psi for a different track, changing the ride feel a little, or whatever. I’m talking about the suggestion that you could make a 170 mm bike ride like a 120 mm bike by simply adding air and damping to stiffen it up. Let’s say you do 20% sag on a 120 bike vs 170 bike. That’s already a 10 mm difference in just negative travel when you are trying to pop off a root or whatever. Maybe it doesn’t make a difference if you’re a slow weekend warrior who doesn’t actually spend time pedaling long distances through rolling terrain. I’m not saying that big bikes don’t climb well, they just aren’t as fun to ride in certain circumstances. Maybe I’m a moron, but you’re still missing the point.
  • 4 1
 @babathehutt: Your comment shows that it is YOU who missed the point completely, because you've moved the goalposts to suit yourself there bud.

Nobody said a 170mm bike is going to be just as good as a 120mm bike. In fact your comment which I responded to was about 140-150mm, so you seem to have pulled 120mm out of your ass.

The idea that somehow by stiffening and steepening it you're going to make it "out of whack" is complete bullshit, and that's what you said.
  • 5 1
 @babathehutt: "Maybe I’m a moron"

Yup.
  • 1 4
 @redrook: I mentioned 170, 140, 150, and 120 in my original comment.

Maybe you have only ever had one bike? Having some experience over time with multiple bikes might help you understand what I’m talking about. Am I wrong to say that pedaling kinematics are tuned around a certain range of sag? Am I wrong that deviating from the recommended settings could cause the bike not to function as intended or designed? Will it be bad or noticeable? Maybe some bikes will be better than others.

I’m not trying to take away your precious enduro bike for riding green trails. You’re free to do as you like. There are better tools for the job, but no bigger tools than you or @rbeach for name calling like second graders, hiding behind your keyboards.
  • 4 1
 @babathehutt: " I’d say 140-150 is the sweet spot all-rounder" I then agreed, and proceeded to explain how I get a longer travel bike to work.

Are you wrong to make claims about kinematics. Well, unless you can provide some evidence, any claims you make about kinematics can be dismissed.

Maybe some will be better than others, indeed! But the claim you made was that my suggestion would make things "out of whack". Unless you can demonstrate it can be dismissed.

Your little comments like "maybe you have only had one bike" and "precious enduro bike for riding green trails" merely betray a petty insecurity and inability to address the point (or lack thereof in your case as explained).

You called yourself a moron too. We agreed.
  • 4 0
 @babathehutt: "Am I wrong to say that pedaling kinematics are tuned around a certain range of sag?"

Yes you are wrong.

Sag % is just a measure of pressure, which will obviously vary depending on the weight of the rider. A given bike is designed to work with a range of sag percentages, not just one. The whole idea of starting with a sag % is to then adjust pressure to preference using sag as a starting point. And as for it affecting kinematics, that's not correct either, particularly with more effective anti-squat, the suspension kinematics will remain relatively consistent regardless of shock pressure (or resultant sag).

"Am I wrong that deviating from the recommended settings could cause the bike not to function as intended or designed?"

Yes again you are wrong, unless what the user is doing is outside of the limits of the components. Recommendations are precisely that, they are a starting point, after which most competent riders will make sometimes quite significant adjustments. As mentioned above, a flip chip is going to affect geometry much more than shock pressure (unless you are going from one absolute extreme to another, which you shouldn't be if you are starting off with the recommended sag - which is usually a range anyway, not a specific %).

As @rbeach said above, racers will adjust pressure significantly depending on trail conditions - Lew Buchanan has a great video about him tweaking shock pressure significantly to change bike feel.

Seb Stott, who wrote the article linked above, is extremely knowledgeable about the technical side of mountain biking. He is not making assertions without good reason. The key disadvantages of doing as he suggests as a permanent solution are 1: longer travel bikes generally weigh more and 2: if all you're doing is riding mellow trails then you are taking on this extra weight without any need for the benefits such bikes bring. But nobody above is suggesting that.

If however, you occasionally ride mellow trails then what he suggests is the perfect solution.
  • 1 2
 @Jinkyjink: thank you for your well-reasoned answer. I disagree to an extent, because I’ve done those things with long travel bikes and was unhappy with the results because the handling and feel were not well optimized compared to a shorter travel bike. Bike designers deal in millimeters and fractions of degrees to get the feel and performance they want to optimize the performance, and deviating significantly from recommendations can result in suboptimal performance. TLDR: I’ve done it myself, was unsatisfied.
  • 1 2
 @redrook: i unfairly called you a tool, @rbeach called me both a dummy and a moron and I thought you both did. Reading back it wasn’t right and even if I disagree with you, you weren’t guilty of that. I was annoyed and was being hyperbolic about the enduro bikes on green trail, which is what I see out on the trails all the time. It’s what I did and learned from. We ride bikes to have fun, and it’s more fun on an appropriate bike.

Call it a difference of opinion.
  • 4 0
 @babathehutt: That is very different to your initial comment and apparent dismissal of @redrook's idea.

Nobody above appears to be saying that stiffening up a long travel bike is going to be as good as a short travel bike, but making those adjustments is absolutely a valid decision, and if you ride a mixture of terrain with a bias towards more gnar, then this makes complete sense.

I would also add that if you are not making those adjustments to some extent you are not optimizing your bike at all, but staying at a somewhat arbitrary point. If you set your sag at the recommended setting and never deviate, I would suggest that you are either riding extremely consistent terrain which happens to perfectly match the manufacturer's recommendation, or you are not utilizing the adjustability of your suspension to its potential.

Bike designers make those decisions with particular outcomes in mind. If the user wants different outcomes, then they will necessarily deviate. The recommended settings are a starting point, not an end but merely a means. And as stated previously, a flip chip results in a far more pronounced geo change and that has obviously been deliberately designed.
  • 1 4
 @Jinkyjink: I believe that there is an envelope of terrain and uses each bike is intended for. I typically don’t lap the same trails over and over, and I tend to ride 20-30+ miles over varied terrain with rocky technical single track, fire roads, sandy loam, etc. throughout the same ride. I’m not bringing a shock pump on rides with me, and I don’t tend to adjust my suspension for each ride. My bike is dialed in for good all around performance in all the places I ride. If my primary focus was descending, I guess I could see the benefit of using a long travel bike and making suspension changes to ride in mellow terrain occasionally. But if mountain bikes already already compromised, why would you compromise them further? I have no particular opinion on flip chips. I usually set them to the position that works best for most of my rides and forget about it, like most everyone else.
  • 4 1
 @babathehutt: Irrelevant. There is obviously an envelope of terrain for each bike, that's why both xc and enduro bikes exist. Nobody has made a contrary assertion.

The point about flip chips is the resultant geo change, not whether you use them or not. They result in a larger change than any suspension tune is going to do, thus your still unsubstantiated remark about throwing things "out of whack". I can see why others in this thread have become exasperated.

Please refer to my previous two comments which have already explained why such a compromise does not exist for the situations you might want to do this. If you feel the need to respond, please repeat this. I have nothing further to add, and it appears neither do you.
  • 1 4
 @Jinkyjink: Flip chips are irrelevant to the conversation, and they were the first time they were mentioned. You agree, then, that xc and enduro bikes exist for a reason, and my assumption is that you understand the reason WHY they exist separately. So what’s the issue with what I said? Is it offensive to you three that I think an enduro bike with stiffer springs is a poor substitute for a bike appropriately configured for mellower terrain? Ok then, you are entitled to your opinion.
  • 1 4
 And to further clarify my point, a bike with a 170 mm fork will have a taller stack height and likely longer wheelbase compared to a bike with 130 mm travel up front. This translates to less front end grip, slower steering, and relatively poor performance on flat/less steep terrain. Seated handling and ability to take input from the bars makes xc or trail bikes better to ride in most rolling terrain, and of course gives up performance on the downhills when it’s steep for the same reasons. Adding pressure to the suspension of a longer travel bike does nothing to address those problems. Also, flip chips do little to address those problems, and adjust the geometry within the threshold of “whack.”
  • 4 0
 @babathehutt: If you don't understand how flip chips are relevant you have missed the point completely.

Again. Nobody is saying that doing this is a good replacement for a 130mm bike. Nobody said they were a substitute. You didn't even say they were a poor substitute. You said it would throw things out of whack and then some vague gibberish about how bikes are designed.

It's incorrect to say that a higher stack translates to less grip. Stack has nothing to do with grip. If you have your damping setup correctly for the mellower ground then only your tyre choice will.

You clearly have no idea about bikes, so you continue to set your sag exactly at the recommended setting, and be sure to take your bike to the shop every time it needs a tyre changed or the shock pumped up Wink Let people who know what they're doing handle it.
  • 4 0
 @redrook: It's like arguing with a religious nut, no matter how much you tell them or how many facts you present, they will stick to their argument and use just enough relevant words to make it seem that they know what they're talking about.

Buddy, flip chips are relevant because they result in a BIGGER GEO CHANGE than pumping up suspension, and yet they designed to be used so clearly don't throw things out of whack.

If you don't understand this, and you think stack height relates to grip, you are definitely a moron hahaha

Funny how quickly you slipped back into your old ways. "Is it offensive to you". @Jinkyjink gave you totally polite and reasoned points, much of which you ignored, and you're saying silly things like that.
  • 3 0
 @babathehutt: Where are you seeing someone say that doing this is just as good as running a 130mm bike? Adding more pressure is a very basic adjustment. If it resulted in bad grip or handling pro riders wouldn't do it, and they do it to the extreme too.
  • 1 3
 Pro riders ride whatever bike they are paid to ride, and they have to go to different lengths to tune them to their preferences. At the beginning of this thread, someone said that “I think the benefits of short travel can 100% be replicated with smarter suspension damping/force.” @rbeach Tall stack makes it harder to weight the handlebars especially on flat ground and uphill. @Beetley nobody is saying that’s not a basic adjustment. The initial argument was that there is no reason to have anything but a longer travel bike unless you live in the plains, but i disagreed with that. @redrook I work on all my own stuff, without your help, and have been doing so for 20+ years, successfully. There’s no reason for you guys to be “exasperated“ in the Pinkbike comment section. Downvote and move on, or engage in conversation, crap-talk, debate, etc. Arguing with idiots on the internet should be fun! I’m having fun, anyways Wink
  • 3 0
 @babathehutt:

“I think the benefits of short travel can 100% be replicated with smarter suspension damping/force.”

Nobody said that.

"The initial argument was that there is no reason to have anything but a longer travel bike unless you live in the plains"

Nope, nobody said that either. In fact, it was said several times that this would be for occasional use.

You sir, are a perfect example of an internet idiot Wink
  • 2 1
 @babathehutt: Sorry but I don't see people saying those things above. Seems like you're ignoring what people are saying and making stuff up ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • 1 0
 From the first comment in the thread: “flag SlavikChris (Feb 22, 2023 at 13:47)

160-170mm all day long. The pedaling platforms and 78-79 degree seat tube angles have improved so vastly over the past couple of years, you're better off getting the extra travel if you plan on hitting the bike parks even 2x a year. Can't go wrong unless you live in the plains.”

From the 3rd comment “flag fewnofrwgijn (Feb 22, 2023 at 22:42)

I think the benefits of short travel can 100% be replicated with smarter suspension damping/force, and that the less travel actually IS the primary benefit, not weight, as your geometry doesn’t change as much and you have less “slush” when weighting your bike up and down, the power you put in comes through more and more like you expect it to as travel goes down.”

You guys need to work on your reading comprehension!
  • 30 8
 Not one mention of an ebike thank god ,that is the correct type of article for once……
  • 6 27
flag BeerGuzlinFool (Feb 22, 2023 at 23:50) (Below Threshold)
 Why. Can't afford one?
  • 10 3
 @BeerGuzlinFool: *won't afford one. When you see a base level eeb with a 35 and Deore set for $6500 and think that's a good deal, you're a chump.
  • 24 2
 Not a 27.5 bike shown?

The lizards are in control.
  • 6 1
 27.5 was the wheel size that got pushed to the industry solely to money grab, not 29 . Remember that 29 came first, and then people complained that bikes don't turn. Then after about 4 years, we got super long, super slack 27.5 enduro bikes that turn worse than the 29 trail bikes, but people had no issues with them. If you want agility, there is no reason to pick 27.5 over 26. Pick up an older 26 enduro frame and build it up with modern components.
  • 27 13
 If you take a good look in a mirror, and don't see Richie Rude, give up on your eternal chase of more travel, just buy a trail bike and have fun on 98% of the trails you'll encounter instead of getting drained trying to ride your 170-180 FSR 29er down a blue trail
  • 16 15
 I disagree. Recent tests show that there's not much difference in climbing ability with a 170 travel bike or 140. It's almost negligible time wise.
  • 15 4
 @andrew8404:

You feel it on the downs my guy. Big bikes feel dead steeper HTA and and less travel makes for more fun on non steep/tech IMO. Trail bikes are best for most ppl. I’ve had a pile of bikes and I always miss my trail bikes the most.
  • 4 0
 @andrew8404: Numbers don't lie but take a spur out back to back with a sentinel or spire, you'll feel a HUGE difference in pedaling. Also depends on what the climbs look like, rolling terrain feels way better on a small bike but big fire road climbs might not feel as different
  • 2 0
 @andrew8404: then why are they still making sub 170mm bikes?
  • 2 0
 I wonder if it's actually the other way round - if you see Richie starting back at you, pick the most under biked thing you can. If you see a normal rider, then taking a bike that has your back will make you more confident to try stupid stuff. This is all trail dependent - if you live in the Netherlands, the baseline of travel and angles is rather different to living in the Alps. So choose according to skills, desires and trails
  • 3 0
 If you look in the mirror and see Richie Rude, the cops need to be called. One of you is not supposed to be there.
  • 5 2
 @rrolly: he's just checking the medicine cabinet.
  • 1 0
 @zmums: sure some big bikes feel bigger but some don’t. Depends on the numbers. I won’t go below 140 as those bikes just don’t cover enough terrain and days at the bike park. Which is why 150-160 is the sweet spot. Though I will say I just picked up a Fezzari La Sal Peak 2.0 and it doesn’t pedal or feel sluggish like some 170mm bikes do.
  • 1 0
 @RonSauce: because there’s a big difference between 170 and 120. And depending on your terrain ex Florida no need for a 170 or the length. Sure a lot of trails are perfect for 140 and below but can you still take that bike to the park and have just as much fun. No, no you can’t.
  • 1 0
 The harder a bike is to ride, the fitter you get. If you don't care about fitness, get an ebike.
  • 1 1
 @andrew8404: I’ve ridden that bike a lot, it’s a fun one. Defining a bike by travel numbers alone does a disservice to designers. The new LSP technically has more travel than a kavenz VHP16 but the lsp is gonna feel more like an XC bike.

My point is that a 130 is way more fun for trail riding than a 170 bike in general. Big bikes feel dead if the trails are mellow.
  • 1 0
 @zmums: I agree but who rides mellow trails? That's XC bike territory and all you need is a 100mm travel bike.
  • 2 0
 @andrew8404: idk what your trails are like. Up here in bham 100mm isn’t enough for mellow. I’ve liked bikes like the regular stumpy, optic, jibb, and short travel status. My other bike is a 180/190 super enduro thingy.
  • 1 0
 @zmums: yep here in socal the "easier" trails have rock gardens, steeps, jumps and drops and you could ride them on an xc bike but it probably wouldn't be pretty
  • 22 11
 This stuff is confusing. I thought a full suspension bike was a bike with front suspension, rear suspension, suspension seatpost, suspension stem and a lot of suspense in the bike release video. I thought the bikes described as "full suspension" here were actually called the "half hard" bikes.

And I'm not going to buy a bike in 2023 nor SHOULD I, thank you very much. I already have a bike to ride.
  • 12 1
 Live in the midwest or some other flat place? XC
Live out west or someplace with burlier riding but too timid to ride black trails? Downcountry
Live out west and send it? Longer travel trail

Race a discipline even remotely "seriously"? Get an enduro, DH, XC or whatever bike to round out the knobby quiver

P.S. live in a place with winter half the year? Also get a fat bike-no suspension

As always, feel free to have more bikes from more niches than needed at any time........
  • 12 1
 Trail bikes ftw. I can ride and have fun on my Forbidden Druid anywhere from local mellowed out track, to spicy destination trails within a 1-2 hour drive to bike park laps on all but the biggest features.
  • 1 0
 I love my Druid as well. It’s a special machine. Considering going 160 fork and Cascade rear for added spice
  • 1 0
 @bikerdre: I've got the Cascade and it's a worthy update. Sticking with 150 fork though for more balanced manners. Might throw a coil on just because.
  • 1 0
 @withdignityifnotalacrity: ok great to know thanks! I’m thinking I’ll give the 160mm air shaft a try since I have it and not a hard swap. Should up the anti
  • 1 1
 My argument for full on enduro bikes over trail bikes is that they are safer. Yes, they are less poppy and less agile, but we all know someone who got messed up bad on a feature. Having a longer wheelbase and slacker headangle means that when you do attempt a feature, even if you mess up you are more likely to ride away instead of going OTB.

Also keep in mind that todays trail bike are the same geometry/travel as enduro bikes back in the 26 wheel era. Its very possible to get used to riding longer bikes and still be poppy and agile on them.
  • 2 0
 @8a71b4: I tried the Transition Sentinel on my local trails and hated it. I think if I lived somewhere with steeper, more open terrain I'd probably go enduro bike, maybe something a bit more light footed like the Orbea Rallon, but for uppy downy stuff, an aggressive trail bike is just more fun and safer imo.
  • 1 0
 Well I completely agree with that... My go to setup was a '18 V10 and a ' 18 meta tr. Put in a 150 air shaft in and it rode nice. The only downside was the back flexing like hell but it never broke. And I rode it down some gnarly stuff, even the Lourdes WC track... OK i didn't went as fast as with the V10 in the rock garden, roadgaps were closed and i did the chicken on the Rock drop to flat but the rest was awesome... Yes sometimes a ride on a knives edge but i had such a smile holding on to the locals going with the big bikes.. And on certain sections i beat my own time Set with the V10... Got the new meta tr 2 months ago and didn't regret. Don't know what to take for my week in portes du soleil this summer...
  • 10 0
 Terrible article. Bikes need to be delineated into properly descriptive categories based purely on rear suspension travel. New category for every 3mm of travel. Get to work Kazimer. Report back when you're done.
  • 7 0
 The tough part for people like me with limited storage space is whether you buy two bikes to cover the types of riding you do (and sacrifice all the storage you have) or try to find the magical " do-it-all" bike. A real great white buffalo type scenario.
  • 5 0
 If you don't race, just one. If you race, then that is a tougher decision.

I race XC, ride enduro. So two bikes for me (plus curly bars), especially since they are near opposite ends of the spectrum.
  • 8 0
 also depends on how much and how often you want to ride. Having a second bike is great if the primary is out a week or more due to repair/part issues.
  • 4 0
 The tough part is that i really love working on and tweaking bikes, as well as the unique ride characteristics of different bikes. Makes it hard to have less than 2.
  • 7 0
 I think the sweetspot in 2023 is the 150/160 “all mountain” sub category…I’m on an Ibis Ripmo AF and it’s just fine on local trails and handles whatever I can throw at it at our two lift operated bike parks. The idea of being “overbiked” is pretty negligible nowadays, save riding a DH bike on a local green loop, most beands making these bikes have them so ideally dialed in at this point, they are kind of a no-brainer for folks who can really only afford one do-it-all bike without going into serious debt. The Ibis Ripmo, Transition Sentinel and Norco Sight are all great options with the choice between aluminum or carbon for penny pinchers and/or weight weenies.
  • 8 2
 Ive had some bikes. 203/200 170/180 152/170 120/130. I found that the DH bike dumbed things down so I learned to ride but then enjoyed it more on my enduro. Same with trail to xc.

Basically as I rode more and more I wanted less and less from my bike - except for that Spur. It felt like I was riding my enduro because of geometry and so I hit big features and the spindly SID fork wasn’t up to the job. I also found that I wasn’t strong enough to overpower a 38 fork and it felt just as stiff as a 40.

Never felt like weight was a good thing. Light is good.
  • 6 1
 I’m baffled by the sizing thing. I’ve been a medium for a very long time and now I’m large. But the current mediums are bigger than my current medium. And im right in the cusp of most of the size cutoffs. Imma thinking I’ll get a medium, run a longer stem and enjoy the nimbleness of a medium vs a large. Talk to me pinkers…
  • 3 1
 I'm 5'10 (so in theory a large ish) and ride an XL enduro bike for stability but a medium for my hardtail for playfulness. It really depends on what's trendy frame wise, and what you want out of the bike. Want fast and stable? Size up. Want playful and fun? Size down.
  • 4 0
 Yup, same here. Been on several larges over the past several years because some manufacturers pushed me that way (I'm 5'9"--5'10" depending on wind direction) and I keep coming back to mediums. I've finally decided that's it. Mediums it is for me from now on.....just like it used to be. So get that medium and enjoy the nimbleness.
  • 1 2
 The longer reaches and wheelbases work in conjunction with all the other modern geometry changes (short fork offset, slack head angle, short stem, steep tube, low bb, etc.) they work together to produce a bike that rides properly at a given size but on paper seems much “bigger” than what would have been recommended in the past. You’re still free to size up or down depending on preference, but I wouldn’t compare it to older bikes. In my experience the best option is to trust manufacturer size recommendations.
  • 1 1
 I just mentioned this on a youtube video as well - I'm 5'9" tall, 32" inseam, rode a Medium 134 forever, 430ish reach. Always felt cramped, but not by much, as a 50mm stem helped. Tested Large frames at 475mm - roomy and fun on jump/plow descents but mildly harder to manuever. Enter the latest Medium frame sizes, with 450-460 reach. My '21 Blizzard is Med w/ 450 reach, feels perfect. So on ordering my '22 153 29 frame, I went with Med as well, 455 reach. Also feels perfect! YMMV - for me in VT, I'm glad I stayed with a Med. For places with higher speeds out west maybe the stability of a larger frame would be appreciable.
  • 2 0
 @iduckett: trails definitely matter. And I am out west. Maybe it’s also something unique to the medium/large size range. I’m an XL and have been an XL forever. My recommended size hasn’t change. But the bike has gotten bigger.
  • 1 0
 @BiNARYBiKE: good advice all of you, thanks!
  • 5 0
 Some really nice talking points here explaining the differences in the types of bikes out there. I was surprised to see the $3500 number (USD?) for an entry level FS. There are a lot of good bikes out there in the $2400 range that include a dropper. Overall well done PB.
  • 4 0
 Could we talk about how, for the first time, there are proper XXLs in most categories? With long head tubes, appropriate seat tube angles, proportional rear center lengths. It's pretty amazing. I've spent most of my riding career with this just not being the case. But now there's an XXL Transition Smuggler that's a legitimate big guy small bike. Nicolai/Geometron is no longer the only game in town. Better late than never, guys!
  • 6 2
 This is great information! I shared this on FB as I am the "Mountain Biker Friend" that gets messaged on FB quite frequently from friends interested in getting a "Good First Bike" but have no clue where to start. These sorts of posts, even a "beginners section" on PB to help educate new riders would be fantastic! Thanks!
  • 3 0
 I got a 2005 Cannondale Prophet 26er and a 2014 Specialized Enduro 29 ... both are perfect for my rides on the Escarpment trails around Hamilton and Dundas Ontario but will consider upgrading when herd mentality convinces me(?) LOL!
  • 3 0
 Disagree with the idea that it takes around $3500 to get an entry-level full suspension mountain bike. There are a number of popular full-suspension bikes in the upper $1000-lower $2000 range that come spec’d with all the basic components of a modern mountain bike mentioned by Kaz. Heck, some of Pinkbike’s own nominees for value bike of the year recently are sold in that price range. They may not be fancy, but that’s not what an entry-level bike is.
  • 1 0
 Tend to agree, it would be nice if they recommended what kinds of things to look for (as done in the past) - try to get a reasonable fork, don't worry about the rear shock too much if the suspension kinematic has been deemed OK by the experts, upgrade other stuff over time
  • 9 2
 A 26er.
  • 3 0
 According to my wife, a wise man at REI said this Sunday that nobody rides 26er's anymore...
  • 5 0
 Get a singlespeed 29” hardtail with a big fork and modern geometry. Makes no sense in theory but it’s SO MUCH FUN!
  • 1 0
 Mine is a Pipedream Moxie with a 160mm Lyrik - amazing!
  • 6 0
 Tough to keep up with your buddies on their FS though.

Luckily I don’t have any friends so a HT suits me just fine.
  • 2 1
 27.5 if you love the side hits
  • 2 0
 @sfarnum: It’s fine most of the time - it’s not exactly an XC bike!
  • 5 1
 Here to rep the privateer dh shuttlefuxxx who smoke too much/drink too much/go big/go fast/onlyride dh bikes because why pedal?
  • 8 2
 A long live 26
  • 4 0
 having procrastinated for 2 months on doing a lower leg service, I think a full RIGID is my pick for 2023.
  • 3 0
 Big hell yeah for trail bikes. Bronson MX has been a blast on both local trails as well as the bike park out here on the east coast
  • 3 1
 When I’m doubt, the ale the Bronson out! I love mine. Perfect bike imo.
  • 5 1
 honestly I feel like the stumpy evo is the best bike for the 'modern' mountain biker. Just my 2 cents no one asked for
  • 4 0
 > You've decided to take the plunge and dive into the world of mountain biking.

[ buys a SC V10 ]

:blink:
  • 4 0
 $3500 for full suspension...guess they haven't seen canyon spectral 125 or spec status 140 or 160 for $2249!
  • 1 0
 To be fair the Status used to be $3000.
  • 1 0
 Lol my three year old trail bike has the same geo as new bikes being launched in 2023.

And the components are basically the same. XT, GX, Fox, carbon wheels
...not too much innovation. Defo not enough to slam $5-6k on a new rig.

Guess I'll just keep mine rolling one more year.
  • 1 0
 As a little encouragement to keep your beloved one: what about none? Bikes used to last for decades, and there are really little reasons, given how settled MTB technology finally is, to change bikes as if they were disposable napkins. I own a 2015 Ibis HD3, fined tuned to "perfection" by years of use, and I will try to keep it as long as it lasts.

The industry of course does what it does: it tries to lure you into a great deal, or claims that this or that is the best new thing you absolutely need to pedal, or shows ever more fine lists of categories and sub-categories to pick from. It works. I just went through the process of eventually turning down a Mojo 4 offered at 35% discount, finally realizing that I was not saving 35%, but spending 65% to get an extra bike I did not need!!

Keep your friend! It has been the companion of many adventures!
  • 3 1
 Why review $2K full sus bikes such as from Calibre, Vitus & Polygon but say bikes start @ $3K, @mikekazimer ? That extra $1K can be enough to discourage a new rider let alone their parent(s) from committing...
  • 1 0
 If affordable I'd get 3 bikes: Trail, Enduro and gravel.

I'd like the gravel for Zone 2 training, Trail for general riding and the Enduro for the rougher North shore trails. But what will I be buying? Not much ... keeping what I have until the prices come down more.
  • 1 0
 PR and Media tells me which bike to buy since 1994, I was a good follower. After many many bikes I now have my 2019 Santa Cruz Hightower LT and my 2021 Santa Cruz Bullit. This is it, no more: need this buy that. Happy with what I got, not just with bikes, happiness and satisfaction is a state of mind, not something that’s defined by corporations
  • 3 0
 A stanton! The Boys Just went back online with their shop a couple of dass ago!
  • 6 1
 DH Baby Big Grin \m/
  • 4 0
 Fatties! Still a thing here for Canadian winters!
  • 5 1
 Downcountry needs a mullet
  • 2 2
 Got a road bike!
Got a jump/4x bike
Got a BMX
Got a FS XC bike
Got a Trail/Enduro bike
Got a Dh bike.

So need a Gravel bike and an E bike still.

Mostly ride..... a spin bike (wrong in so many ways but my wife is the instructor so I do as I am told).
  • 2 1
 All these extra categories are pure marketing. A bike for everything exist but with the Enduro. But with one centimeter less travel, it becomes a trail bike, with one centimeter more than usual a super enduro. Ridiculous.
  • 1 1
 I only care about how far it takes my dollar, not the adventures it takes me on. Its only about bangs for your bucks. I live to collect value, MTB is a secondary hobby of mine. So whichever one is the best deal. I don't even care if its 3 sizes too small.
  • 3 0
 What happened to All Mountain? Does everyone that buys an all mountain bike instantly get signed up to an Enduro race?
  • 1 0
 I own a 120 and 165mm travel bikes and I used to think 2 bikes was enough to cover every terrain but now i want a third and probably a fourth one. The lust for bikes never ends.
  • 1 1
 re: Downcountry
>> It was originally more of a tongue-in-cheek description for an imaginary category, but the term stuck,


Revise history much? You beat us over the head with this made-up term to great derision every chance you got, now claim it has "stuck". Right....
  • 4 0
 A downhill bike
  • 2 0
 Whichever one you don't already have!

This message sponsored by the Multi-Terrain Bicycle Manufacturers Association
  • 2 1
 Ride more bikes I already have. My wife is already mad at me for buying a new bike last fall. Unhappy wife, unhappy life...
  • 5 1
 buy the wife a new bike, problem solved Smile
  • 3 0
 A ‘96 Stumpy full rigid with Vs and 26ers.

Take that kiddies……
  • 2 2
 I'd take it down the street to the coffee shop, but not much farther-and I owned a STEEL 96 Stumpy long, long ago......
  • 3 0
 mike levy is our last hope before e-mopeds take over e-pinkbike!
  • 2 1
 If Climbing / descending split is 70 / 30.. how do I get back home? does it mean I have to finish by walking.. I'd like a 50/50 bike.
  • 1 0
 The most efficient suspension is none at all? Hmm, let's race a fully rigid xc bike against one with suspension on some mtb trails and see who wins...
  • 1 1
 DON'T... a new 'Standard' or wheel size or some gimmick shit will be introduced in about 6 weeks after you buy it. Making your new 2023 bike obsolete an worthless MTB fucking sucks right now
  • 1 0
 Wheel size, clipless vs flats, coil vs air, Sram vs Shimano, Fox vs Rock Shox, Carbon fibre vs aluminium, e-bikes..... It never ends.
  • 1 0
 Trek Roscoe's or Trek Marlin's. Trek and Trek dealers have a ton. Smile

Watch for the sale on them in the month of March for the USA.
  • 1 0
 I don't know, they keep adding more and more types of mountain bikes.. XC, Trail, Enduro, Freeride, DH, Park,... gravel... how many more will be created? ..
  • 1 0
 I do not need more bikes, I need good bike rack for REASONABLE amount of money so I can take all my bikes and ride appropriate one based on a trail selection for that day Big Grin
  • 1 0
 Sooo many people are over biked . Having a 170-160 and a 130-120 mm . ones been bothballed for 6 months and the lesser is more has been used for everything .
  • 2 0
 I have to say that initially the 170 is good for learning but the better you get the more you can get away with less travel until you have the right tool for the type of riding on the type of trail you are on. You see good guys at Whistler bike park on gravel bikes riding better than I can on my Tues. They can make underbiked look good! So I wouldn’t say that most people are overbiked, or maybe they are but switching bikes is $$$ and if you have to own just one, a 160/170 isn’t the worst to own.
  • 1 0
 Thanks for all the valuable unbiased insight Pinkbike. I will now run out and buy a 59.9lb E-bike with integrated headset cable routing.
  • 5 6
 "Around the $6,000 pricepoint is where you find bikes that don't really need any upgrades." I think you don't understand the definition of "need". If the bike pedals, steers and stops, you don't need any upgrades.
  • 14 0
 I don't think you understand the meaning of "need." Every bike I buy "needs" to be stripped down to the frame and have every part replaced because I "need" to burn my money on matching anodized parts, new carbon bars with vertical compliance, grippier tire compounds, cooler rims, grabby but modulating brakes, silver cranks, better pedals, and a headset cap that matches the color of my frame's decals. Pleeb.
  • 2 0
 @Lando406: Oh, well, now I get it!
  • 7 0
 I don't "need" a post ride beer, yet I'm on the way to the fridge.

Turns out I did need that beer.
  • 3 0
 From this old podcast it seems that Kazimer agrees with you. Sounds like he'd be pretty happy with a Deore Ripmo AF, that you can get now for well under $3K. (Not sure why he says here that you need to spend $3,500 for entry-level...seems high.)

www.pinkbike.com/news/the-pinkbike-podcast-episode-14-what-bikes-would-pinkbike-editors-buy.html
  • 1 0
 @sideshowmel: if you're brand new and looking for something entry level deore is your friend. Everything works great and the bike should be under 3k. Its an easy to upgrade platform to start from.

$4000 after tax is a ridiculously high point to start at, but thats also being pushed greatly by people who haven't paid cash for bikes in years and have lost touch with actual costs.
  • 1 1
 I want all the bikes for at least one ride. Lots of bikes I want longer than that. Some bikes I'll keep until they're beyond reasonable repair.
  • 2 2
 Buy a bike? But I've already got (a few more than) one. This year I'm not buying a bike, I'm going to Lake Garda instead, the trails are amazing there.
  • 1 1
 I'm not buying anything new this year... But if Norco offered an exact build on a 160/150 build with a 36, it'd be hard to look away.
  • 5 4
 None the economy is in the shitter. Many job lay offs to come. And the best bikes have already been produced. Nothing new.
  • 1 0
 I'm tempted by the canyon or spec sale..but I'm pasing..my 22 marin rft 2 is just fine!
  • 1 0
 Would probably be worth while waiting a little bit... huge product refresh cycle coming for my2024
  • 1 0
 58º Headtube angles and swept forward seat tubes!
  • 1 1
 Freeride and "Super-enduro" get a call out but you gonna do Downduro a dirty with not even a mention? Big bike really has gotten to the last of the Mikes.
  • 3 1
 Yeah?
And what about a FAT bike?
It’s still winter somewhere.
  • 1 0
 I’ll let someone else ask about a BMX
And don’t get me started about DJ’s
  • 1 0
 If you live in Western part of NA - Stumpy EVO and a DH bike and you're set.
  • 2 0
 A Transition Sentinel is the answer.
  • 1 0
 Pretty sure "soled" is solely reserved for referring to the sole of your shoe (really the heart and soul of footwear)
  • 2 3
 All my bases are covered. I got a specialized Enduro wich takes care of trail riding and downhill. I got a specialized levo for the days I don't feel like struggling on the ups or just want to knock out a quick ride.
  • 1 0
 Got down voted by a
  • 2 0
 "All-mountain" is officially dead, long live the 150mm trail bike.
  • 2 0
 Trail bike has a coil shock...
  • 1 1
 with how capable bikes have gotten these days, the dh bike is almost dead unless your racing dh or doing some super super gnarly stuff in my opinion.
  • 1 0
 I didn’t even read the article. The comments are are all I need for a good laugh.
  • 1 0
 Does All Mountain still exist, or have trail bikes just become so good that the AM category is redundant?
  • 1 0
 I picked up a Fluid FS A1 and a Fluid HT for the 2023 season. Super stoked for spring.
  • 8 7
 Downcountry is not a category, give it up already pinkbike!
  • 1 1
 unfortunately the cat is already out of the bag, companies are already using the term for their bikes...here's Trek, Canyon and Chumba as an example. PB not using it won't make it go away (though I agree with your stance on the matter).

www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/bikes/mountain-bikes/downcountry-mountain-bikes/c/B345
www.canyon.com/en-us/mountain-bikes/downcountry-bikes
chumbausa.com/sendero-titanium-custom-mountain-bike-29er
  • 3 0
 @ponyboy24 It is really pukey sounding Razz . And a bit of an oxymoron xD
  • 2 0
 @kyleluvsdh: Let's put on our downcountry kit and go do some downcountry at our local downcountry trails. Yewwww
  • 3 0
 @ponyboy24: Lol xD
YEEWWW!!! xD \m/
  • 1 0
 OK, so what you are telling me is I need one of each.
  • 1 0
 why have one, when you could have them all?
  • 1 0
 a regular enduro bike cos there the best
  • 1 0
 A leftover 2022 RM Slayer...
  • 1 0
 The ‘dream bike’! YOLO!
  • 2 0
 test
  • 4 0
 WRONG OPINION
  • 1 0
 Like to get my hands around a spandextrailbike oh… Wait… downcountry!
  • 1 0
 None and I hope it will be none next season too
  • 1 0
 since when has Free Ride been a 'sub catergory'?? GFY PB
  • 2 0
 Buy one that’s 30% off
  • 1 0
 I'm going for a Giant Glory '19-'20
  • 1 0
 "Des Moine" is actually spelled "Des Moines"
  • 1 0
 No single speeds? Oh, pinkbike advertizers don't sell single speeds
  • 1 0
 There is only one right answer. DH!
  • 2 2
 a Nomad 6. I bought one and it is the bees knees.
  • 1 0
 Simply the best.. kind
  • 2 4
 I just bought a locally designed steel full suspension with quality build kit cheaper than these homogeneous big brand offerings lol
  • 3 1
 i'm curious, what did you get?
  • 1 1
 looked at your profile didn't see nothing...
  • 2 1
 @flipoffthemonkeys: a Ferrum out of Farragut?
  • 2 0
 @ceecee: Matt lives in Oak Ridge but yeah. I'm picking it up on Sunday. Splurged on Nox wheels too, I'm stoked
  • 1 0
 @honda50r: ahh, awesome, thanks...
  • 1 0
 ALL THE TYPES
  • 1 0
 NONE OF THEM - KEEP YOUR CURRENT BIKE!
  • 1 1
 Get a dh bike, because they all look like sessions to me!
  • 1 0
 Good article.
  • 1 1
 None...my 22 marin is doing great!
  • 1 1
 Wait, where is the stick holding up the Yeti?!
  • 1 1
 Park bike?
No bike category for a bike to ride just park?
  • 2 2
 Oh. And how about a beach cruiser?
That’s a bike
  • 2 2
 A Downcountry bike looks like it'd make a good single speed DJ platform.
  • 1 0
 My bike is the best!
  • 2 0
 no, my 2013 GT is !
  • 1 0
 any transition will do
  • 1 0
 Free-slope-duro?
  • 1 0
 @fewnofrwgijn: the slopedurocross bike is on sale at specialized.
  • 5 5
 An ebike with 180mm of travel will replace all the above. Thank me later.
  • 1 0
 why not 200?
  • 1 0
 NONE
  • 1 0
 Should I?
  • 1 0
 No way!
  • 3 5
 The right bike is an e-bike since that's all there will be in 5 years and the only thing with resale value Smile
#analogisdead
  • 3 2
 Will never happen. Cost of an e bike will keep regular mountain bikes at the top. So glad I got my levo before covid. Prices now are stupid.
  • 1 0
 I don't know about that. When full suspension came out everyone told me the hard tail would be gone in 5 years. That was over 20 years ago. Hardtails are still the top selling bike style.
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