Death of the simple 'Mountain Bike' ?

Trips, adventures, bikes, equipment, etc.
User avatar
Dave Ross
Posts: 108
Joined: 9 Sep 2008, 8:51pm
Location: Morayshire

Death of the simple 'Mountain Bike' ?

Post by Dave Ross »

I went out with a group of 'Mountain Bikers' over the weekend - as most of the snow had melted. :D

Now I've not been out with this particular group for quite a while, however out of the 7 people on the ride, many had new bikes, I was the only one with a HT.

Since then I've noticed the majority of MTB's out on trails now seem to full susser's. I've read a similar report on Bike Radar. Anyone else noticed this ?

I presume that the major bike manufacturers have now got their designs light enough, the price low enough and with the advent of lock out forks to reduce 'bobbing' the stability and grip issues more or less sorted out.

Or, is it just a clever marketing ploy to sell more bikes ? Now that we have so many variations from the humble do it all 'Mountain Bike'.

The new bikes I can think of (I'm sure there will be more) are XC Bikes / Enduro / All Mountain / Freeride / Downhill / Trials / Dirt Bikes / Single Speed / X4 / Dual Slalom / Short Cross / Indy Cross / North Shore /

The all-mountain range seems to be a favourite at the moment, with about 6 inches of travel front and rear.

Personally though I mainly ride XC and after riding a couple of higher end full sussers, I still prefer my HT - And it still gets me to the top of the climbs quicker ! :wink:

Horses for courses, but what a choice / nightmare for the uninitiated, buying a mid-priced new bike.....

Dave.
User avatar
Si
Moderator
Posts: 15188
Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 7:37pm

Post by Si »

I think that it's partly the ability to build FSers that are light enough to do other things with, and partly fashion. Been like this for years now.

I got my FSer back in, oo, must be mid 90s. It worked fine, wasn't that heavy (comparatively) and did go faster on rough terrain. But I got rid of it 'cos it was making the riding by me boring - might as well have been on the road.

But then I'm more into unused forest tracks and days out in the hills than going to trail centres with built routes, finely engineered to give the max in thrills and spills. For this sort of riding I'm sure that the newer types of bike work well. However, I'll continue with my XC HT with 80mm fork.

Although, within the group that I ride the trend is rigid SSs. I had one my self and loved it for the local trails: it was certainly a bike for a job: quick dash around the local woods where there were no monster hills, easy to clean and maintain after so didn't eat into precious ride time, and allowed a good work out in a short time.

It's also the case that MTBing attracted new, young, well off people into cycling. The sort of person who was used to changing their car every couple of years and so saw no reason why they shouldn't do the same with the bike. I think that we are now seeing this attitude moving into road riding too. (note: I'm not criticising this way of doing things, just reflecting on the fact that it seems to be happening). Thus you have a market of people ready to spend their disposable income on something that looks more flashy than their mate's new bike.
hamster
Posts: 3823
Joined: 2 Feb 2007, 12:42pm

Post by hamster »

Try www.retrobike.co.uk for people who don't like flashy full sussers!
Chunky
Posts: 20
Joined: 26 Jul 2008, 7:10pm

Post by Chunky »

Yep, as you say it's about choice. I have just the one bike now, a full susser. I've been riding mtb's for 18 years so obviously I've been sucked into the marketing. You could also say the same though about HT's, some people get sucked into the "look at me aren't I cool and niche on my steel HT SS". ;)

My bike gets used all over the UK, trail centres, and the Alps. I can build it light or heavy. But it is a full susser, so I guess I'm all the gear no idea....
hamster
Posts: 3823
Joined: 2 Feb 2007, 12:42pm

Post by hamster »

I think it's also that a reality check dawns that you don't really need an extra 10lbs of full sus bike for most riding, and that there's an awful lot that you can get over on a singlespeed. It's simpler to maintain and won't give you a hernia lifting it over a stile.

Would I own a rigid singlespeed if I lived in the Peak District? No.

But it's more than adequate for the New Forest.
User avatar
professorlandslide
Posts: 205
Joined: 16 Oct 2007, 11:16pm
Location: People's Republic of Kernow
Contact:

Post by professorlandslide »

Springs, ptheh...

I quite like this:

http://www.wiggle.co.uk/images/charge-d ... gid-07.jpg
glueman
Posts: 4354
Joined: 16 Mar 2007, 1:22pm

Post by glueman »

Light full sussers are still seriously expensive.
TheBrick
Posts: 229
Joined: 25 Aug 2008, 9:28pm

Post by TheBrick »

Hi new to ctc but just thought I'd post on this subject as it's one close to my heart. I've just started riding mtb again after not riding for a years. One of the things that put me off last time was the gear snobbery that was part of the sport at the time.

If you travel to some parts of the u.k / world full sus is defiantly a big plus but not very often needed unless you are riding downhill courses. One of the last time I rode mtb was in the Dolamites and for cross country I would still prefer a h.t personally but down hill a f.s was a far better bet.

The more important factor to consider IMO is that if you never ride rigid or at least short travel h.t you never really develop many of the key basics skills of mtbing. Once you've learnt to flow well over ground on a rigid bike it's a skill that will allow you to move onto a h.t or full suspension bike and really fly along.

So in conclusion horses for courses but I believe every one should spend some time on a short travel h.t at the very least to work on their bike handling skills.

Also interesting article here. http://www.offroadadventures-online.com/
tad
Posts: 85
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 11:53am

Post by tad »

I ride a full rigid mountain bike. Yes full suspension or at least a boingy front end might help me go a bit faster but it's soooooo boring. Rigid bikes are that bit more exciting. Suspension will also wear out/break/need some sort of repair more often.

As for retrobike.co.uk I can whole heartedly reccommend it, just watch your wallet, it's very addictive. I have posted links on it to the CTC message board so have no qualms about posting a link to their board here.
ransos
Posts: 247
Joined: 28 Jan 2007, 12:29pm

Post by ransos »

I have 2 MTBs - one is a fully rigid 1992 Breezer, complete with 21 gears and canti brakes. The other is a 5" travel Giant full susser with big disc brakes. It's horses for courses - the Breezer provides more involvement on easier local trails, but the Giant comes into its own for long day rides and the Welsh trail centres, where suspension and powerful brakes are a must. Whilst it's much more complex than the Breezer, it's proven to be very reliable. The main difference is that I can't do all the servicing myself, and suspension forks & hydraulic disks do need attention periodically.
grw
Posts: 195
Joined: 20 Jan 2007, 2:30pm
Location: Melbourne

Post by grw »

for long day rides and the Welsh trail centres, where suspension and powerful brakes are a must.


I disagree. Have ridden all the routes at the Afan forest centre several times and had a fair few days at Coed y Brenin on a rigid mtb. And at the time, faster than most of my mates on full suspension bikes. I think you're overstating it by saying suspension is a must. Nice to have maybe? We went mountain biking in the days before full suspension...

Since then I've upgraded to front suspension I think I could probably go faster downhill with a full suspension and the knowledge of how to use it properly but for my riding, I don't really need it. Extra maintenance, extra weight for the same cost (all other things being equal)

I think there seem to be a decent proportion of riders on full suspension bikes who seem to treat their bouncy bikes as a means to avoid avoiding obstacles and picking a line. (In agreement with TheBrick's point on learning basic skills). When I've seen someone who knows how to use it, the extra speed they can get to on a full suspension is very impressive!
gareth
Cyclenut
Posts: 314
Joined: 3 Jul 2007, 9:44am

Post by Cyclenut »

grw wrote:I think there seem to be a decent proportion of riders on full suspension bikes who seem to treat their bouncy bikes as a means to avoid avoiding obstacles and picking a line.

That's not necessarily to be decried. A lot of CTC mountain-bikers are more interested in the exploratory aspect of mountain-biking than the challenge of picking the best line so as to go as fast as possible. I like full suspension because it lets me take my eyes off the trail surface more of the time and take in the view!
Chris Juden (at home and not asleep)
User avatar
squeaker
Posts: 3775
Joined: 12 Jan 2007, 11:43pm
Location: Sussex

FS is good for old farts too!

Post by squeaker »

IME full sus (old Marin East Peak) has meant that I can move to a more upright riding position (to get the weight off my painful wrists / elbows) without doing my back in :)
Yes a hardtail (Kona Caldera) was more involving, in a 'zingy' sort of way, but give me FS for those long days out.
"42"
grw
Posts: 195
Joined: 20 Jan 2007, 2:30pm
Location: Melbourne

Post by grw »

That's not necessarily to be decried. A lot of CTC mountain-bikers are more interested in the exploratory aspect of mountain-biking than the challenge of picking the best line so as to go as fast as possible. I like full suspension because it lets me take my eyes off the trail surface more of the time and take in the view!


Sorry - should have been clearer. I was referring to the Welsh trail centres mentioned in the post I referred to earlier, where I think the emphasis on most of the rides / centre marketing leans towards the 'radical / gnarly / downhill monster /awesome dude' approach rather than the exploratory type of riding I think you're referring to. To me, trail centres, with the spots-on-rocks guide to navigation, don't fit in with the getting away from it all and seeing the view style of mountain biking.

I think when i'm riding in a fairly chilled out manner admiring the view, I don't think I'm going fast enough to make suspension of any kind an issue. Big fat tyres normally provide enough of a bounce for me. While I can see that for long day rides in the saddle, a full suspension might provide extra comfort for some, as I've never really had many issues with discomfort on my bike, I found that when I borrowed a full suspension for a couple of days, the extra weight of it compared to my rigid, put me off further. When I have lived close to an area where the style of riding available has been more suited to long days out with an OS map and compass navigating bridleways, I found that many times, I ended up carrying the bike a lot more than I do on trail type days out (I mean places like the approach to High Street bridleway). With a rigid or HT, at least I can stick my head through the frame without fear of some pivot / spring affair taking chunks off my shoulders or neck.

Not saying that one is better than the other, each to their own and so on. I think it would take a lot to convince me to go all the way full suspension - something like the Cannondale (Scalpel?) with the flexi carbon stays looked good to me - other than the flexi carbon stays - with the weight kept down and lack of things protruding into the main triangle of the frame.

gareth

(wow - probably my longest ever post - but as almost everyone else in the office has left for Christmas , I haven't got a lot of inclination to do any proper work!)

(edit - not actually that long, so disregard last comment)
lloyd

Post by lloyd »

I'd agree with above posts, it's horses for courses and depends what type of riding you do. Certainly full suspension is lighter and cheaper than it has been, but on the other hand there's more maintenance involved and hard-tail or full rigid would be lighter still.

A worn out poorly maintained full sus is probably going to be alittle more comfrtable than a well maintained hard tail.

I've got a hard tail and an old rigid, and for the types of riding I usually do these are ideal. Sure there are times when I might benefit from full sus, but I've never felt the need to upgrade yet.
Post Reply