Rose tinted glasses?

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Si
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Rose tinted glasses?

Postby Si » 4 Apr 2009, 5:18pm

Got the current edition of Singletrack World today, mainly to read the 'retro' articles. Enjoyed it, but I think that that chap in Canada was a little hard on his 1996 bike: probably said more about his riding style than the bike. If you try to ride a XC race bike like a modern full susser then it's going to hurt, if you ride it like a XC hard tail, however, then you are going to have fun.

anyway it inspired me to get my MTB out for the first time this year, and I now have the impressive record of miles ridden this year: 0, crashes this year: 1. Can you believe that I managed to fall over it while fitting a new stem and whack myself on the side of the porch :roll:

But I think that another article was right, and I know that I'm sounding like a miserable old get, but there was something about MTBing back in the day that isn't really there anymore. there were so many fewer of us, and we had much less idea of what you could do with an MTB, where you could go, what you would find there: every ride was much more of an adventure. Now it seems that someone has always been there before you and done it already (about six times better).

Also, I did like the quotes from the CTC riders of the 1920s who were riding the stuff that the modern lads on their all-mountain full sussers were struggling over. Obviously the modern lads were riding a lot more of it and a lot quicker, but it just shows that it ain't always about the bike.

grw
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Re: Rose tinted glasses?

Postby grw » 5 Apr 2009, 2:35am

Have't read the article but I agree with much of what you say here. A few friends relatively new to mountain biking, when asked if they wanted to go mountain biking in a new area, would often ask 'whats the name of the centre?' almost as if they were expecting every mountain biking location to come complete with purpose built trails, cafe and spare parts shop. I can remember spending hours trawling over the OS maps trying to link bridleways together and working out how long you'd have to walk for if only a footpath link could be found. (Did we always walk those bits??) Many times you would hae worked out a whole days ride, only to get there there and find you were going to be spending the next couple of hours carrying your bike through an unrideable swamp or lugging the thing on your back up a near cliff face with chainrings digging into parts of your body you didn't know existed. Ahh - the good old days!
I like trail centres. But after you've been to a couple, they all seem to merge into one. A swooping singletrack downill through a forest in Wales becomes a lot like a swooping singletrack downhill through a forest in Scotland or a swooping singletrack downhill through a forest in the Lakes. Or Essex. Good fun, but, have I been here before, or not? Can't remember.
g

Biscuit
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Re: Rose tinted glasses?

Postby Biscuit » 5 Apr 2009, 9:36am

Hope you were wearing your'e helmet in that cycling related incident - it couldve been a my helmet saved my life story in the pub (over a non-alcholic beverage :) ). No malice intended - I've just been reading a helemt thread.

half cog
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Re: Rose tinted glasses?

Postby half cog » 5 Apr 2009, 11:36pm

Ok I am starting to go on about this ( see death of a simple mountain bike )but it is something I feel quite strongly about. I dont think its anything to do with rose tinted glasses to yearn for the time when bikes where simple hard tails. It was a time when you had to learn to ride in order to master any sort of technical trails.Riders have now lost contact with the trail. Why bother with all that learning and practise when you can rely on some design engineer to smooth it all out for you. You buy a full susser you buy someone elses skill. They make it so you can cover the trail quicker. A lot of the bumps you hardly feel you would have to negotiate on a hard tail. Way back then ( and thats where I come from ) we rode trails more slowly but with a great deal more satisfaction because it was our skill and no one elses that had got us there.In my view the more technology you place between you and the trail the further away you move from pure mountain biking. You may be having a lot of fun and you may well be faster but the soul has gone.Go hard tail and work the trail. Its why you are there.

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Si
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Re: Rose tinted glasses?

Postby Si » 6 Apr 2009, 9:34am

Yeah, there is a bit of a paradox: you go MTBing because of the challenging terrain, but then you use several feet of suspension travel to make the trail feel like you are riding on the road. I did have a full suss a while back but got rid of it because it took the fun out of the local trails. Replaced it with a XC race HT, but even that was more than capable, so ended up with a rigid SS. OK, I don't ride the BIG stuff that you'd find in the Lakes, Wales, Peaks, etc and my local trails might be considered tame by many, but because I use a bike that doesn't give me too many advantages I still get plenty of bang or my buck from those trails.

I 'spose the thing is that the modern full suss bike lets you ride stuff that you'd have shied away from on an old rigid, or lets you ride the technical stuff a lot better and faster. It still takes plenty of skill to ride it at its optimum (and the consequences of getting it wrong are a lot worse than on the old HT) even if it does make tamer trails boring. Means you have to go search out even more challenging trails to get the same excitement though.

And I wouldn't say that we weren't technology geeks back then - there was always some new, must-have. Although half of that new stuff was complete rubbish, and some highly dangerous (remember when you had to have 14" wide bars?). But again, the new stuff back then didn't seem to change so fast - a bike would last you a few years before becoming out of date.

I guess my views are 'cos I'm not really a typical MTBer. Sure I like caning a bit of single track down in the woods, but my ideal is a day out in some remote hills in the back of beyond, where map and compass are needed to navigate and hardly another person is seen all day. Think that I'm turning into a "Rough-Stuffer"?

hamster
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Re: Rose tinted glasses?

Postby hamster » 6 Apr 2009, 10:30am

Certainly it makes me laugh where I live in the New Forest, with people riding things with 27 gears and 6 inches of travel front and back...and then I go past them uphill on an old rigid Kona singlespeed. I'm probably only faster because I'm not dragging another 3-5kg of unnecessary suspension and gear stuff up the hill.... :D

glueman
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Re: Rose tinted glasses?

Postby glueman » 6 Apr 2009, 4:28pm

On an MTB challenge last year there were lots of people with full sussers including a few on downhill looking machines. Although they were faster than me on a fully rigid bike it has to be said the downhiller's rode like a sack of spuds and, as far as I could tell, were seeking out rocks or at least making no effort to avoid them on the descents.
Not mountainbiking as I understand it - but each to their own.

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zenzinnia
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Re: Rose tinted glasses?

Postby zenzinnia » 7 Apr 2009, 11:47am

Si wrote:Yeah, there is a bit of a paradox: you go MTBing because of the challenging terrain, but then you use several feet of suspension travel to make the trail feel like you are riding on the road.


But isn't it the same for road riders as we constantly try to get lighter bikes to make going up the hills easier and more gears so we always pedal at the optimum cadance? I used to ride an old 7 speed steel thing and get a good work out over a couple of hour ride but my lightweight new bike makes those same roads hardly any effort and I have to go further afield and cycle longer for a good workout - or I switch to my fixie!

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Si
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Re: Rose tinted glasses?

Postby Si » 7 Apr 2009, 12:03pm

zenzinnia wrote:
Si wrote:Yeah, there is a bit of a paradox: you go MTBing because of the challenging terrain, but then you use several feet of suspension travel to make the trail feel like you are riding on the road.


But isn't it the same for road riders as we constantly try to get lighter bikes to make going up the hills easier and more gears so we always pedal at the optimum cadance? I used to ride an old 7 speed steel thing and get a good work out over a couple of hour ride but my lightweight new bike makes those same roads hardly any effort and I have to go further afield and cycle longer for a good workout - or I switch to my fixie!


Depends on whether you are riding to get somewhere asap or to do exercise, or, indeed, some other reason. I don't road race so I don't have a light road bike any more. Of course, I would agree in the case of someone who claims to do TTs just to race against their own times but then goes for a full on aero TT bike, etc.

half cog
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Re: Rose tinted glasses?

Postby half cog » 8 Apr 2009, 11:44pm

Regarding the full susser argument I wonder how many people are put off mountain biking for life because the first bike they buy to see if they like it is a cheap and very heavy full suspension machine. The full susser is fast becoming the accepted image of what a mountain bike should look like. At least a hard tail can be reasonably lively and not overly heavy without being too expensive. Come Christmas hard up parents go out and buy their children forty pound monsters and they soon decide that this is not for them and there goes another convert. I say this because someone near me bought his daughter an eighty quid one this Christmas and I cant help but feel that this is going to colour her view on our sport/pastime for ever. She will probably never know what she is missing out on and thats got to be sad. Whilst I realise that this does not affect those people who have bought serious machines it is not doing the sport any favours at entry level by certain people in marketing suggesting that you can get a capable full susser for less than the cost of a quality chainset.

hamster
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Re: Rose tinted glasses?

Postby hamster » 9 Apr 2009, 9:24am

I agree - people have a blind spot here. They would never imagine buying a new car for £3000 and expect it to be any good.