Mountain Trail vs. All Mountain?

C

Cthulhu

Guest
Hey guys,

I was checking out Giant's catalogue and I noticed all the different travel length bikes. Can anyone clarify and define bike type categories for me? I though XC was synonymous as trail or singletrack but it doesn't seem to be that way, at least according to their bike categories.

Their competition XC bikes are 3.5in, but their trail bikes go from 4.2in to 5in, and then the all mountain bikes are 6in - 6.7in. Freeride bikes are listed as 8in to 8.8.... I'd assume the more technical the terrain the better off you are with a longer suspension travel but you know what happens when you assume.
 

NJ-XC-Justin

KY-DH-Freddy
For the most part these days (and keep in mind it's slightly different with every manufacturer):

XC race: hardtail to 3.5"
trail bike: 4" - 6"
"all-mountain" bike: 5" - 6.75"
freeride: 7" and above
downhill race bike: 7" - 9"

"All-mountain" is just a term the industry came up to help sell the longer travel trail bikes people want. A few years ago a 6" travel bike was for freeride and downhill, but they can make lighter weight, more dependable bikes now, so people want that huge rear squish of 6 inches in the rear. (mmmmmmm). Those bikes are fun, but at a certain price point will be much heavier to lug around for a few hours than a 4" bike.

Along with travel, check the bike's head angle to see if it's appropriate for your type of riding. For regular trail riding you want 68 to 71, ideally around 70. If you see 72, that's a XC race bike and will be twitchy. If you see 67, that's a pig (on the trails).
 

jdog

Shop: Halter's Cycles
Shop Keep
ramble..

The true XC race bikes have the rider in a posture not unlike a roadie.
-Bars lower than the saddle
-shorter wheelbase
-Flat or low rise bars that tend to be more narrow
-lower volume tires and lighter parts
Unless you are racing these bikes are not big sellers.

As you go up in travel the ride gets more comfortable and forgiving. The weight is less of a concern and the bikes start to look like Motocross bikes w/o an engine.

Personally something between the 2 makes the most sense here in NJ. That is unless you are riding DH runs. I have gone from full rigid to 6" travel and back.

A look on the local trails should tell you the most about what is right for your area but it won't. 10 years ago most people were riding very similar bikes, but at this particular point of time you will see all different types of bikes on the same trails. This is because everyone has their own idea about what is right for them.

Much of this is due to media influence. I find that many riders use Mountain Bike Action as a bible. Unfortunately while this magazine has some good stuff it also is all about Southern Cali riding. Point being that what works great here will not be the same in their soil and terrain.

If you are shopping for a pretty good bike you may be able to demo a few on your local trails to get an idea of what works best for you.


Btw.. if you looking at Giant the Trance is a good place to start.
 

stb222

Love Drunk
Jerk Squad
I was thinking about the length of travel this morning. As technology advances and bikes can be made lighter and suspension more efficient, when will the amount of travel stabalize? Is 5" going to be the target for a well rounded "trail" bike or will it go back to 4"?
 
Last edited:

NJ-XC-Justin

KY-DH-Freddy
Is 5" going to be the target for a well rounded "trail" bike or will it go back to 4"?

That would probably depend on the evolution of new wheel sizes, which I think will dictate how much travel people are looking for. (Less need for 6 inches with a 29er, etc.) Maybe oneday you can pick out a model and get *this* amount of travel in *this* wheel size.
 

jdog

Shop: Halter's Cycles
Shop Keep
Another possible route that we may see could be the use of 29" and 26" in the same model depending on size.

perhaps 26" for Xs-Med and 29" for lg-XX.

This is what has been the trend in Tri bikes and it works out most of the time.

As for travel, a 4" travel 29er is a ton of fun and a good choice fo just about any trail I might encounter.

That being said I live on a front sus 29er SS.
 

Panhead

Well-Known Member
I race a 6" travel AM bike XC and the ups are a real killer, the downs are great, the baby heads get turned into pinheads, just point and shoot. It's not to bad when I'm just out riding. The terrain should be the deciding factor- I wouldn't want to hump an AM around in Allaire or Stewart, so a smaller travel bike would be great there. I like the longer travel in Waway and Ringwood. But there's a geared 29'er comming, so we'll see how the tune changes. The rigid S/S is fun anywhere, though
 

jbogner

NYCMTB: President
JORBA.ORG
When I got my Uzzi and my old Paragon back in 2005, my wife got pregnant... ;)

4" 29er or 5" 26er is hard to beat as a great all-around trail bike. A friend bought a Trance X several months ago, and that is one good-looking and great-riding bike.
 

Allamuchy Joe

Not White House Approved
JORBA.ORG
When I got my Uzzi and my old Paragon back in 2005, my wife got pregnant... ;)

4" 29er or 5" 26er is hard to beat as a great all-around trail bike. A friend bought a Trance X several months ago, and that is one good-looking and great-riding bike.

Trance X is definitely a great bike. I have the original Trance and that one inch of extra travel (for less weight!) is well worth it. Great riding bike.
 
C

Cthulhu

Guest
When I got my Uzzi and my old Paragon back in 2005, my wife got pregnant... ;)

4" 29er or 5" 26er is hard to beat as a great all-around trail bike. A friend bought a Trance X several months ago, and that is one good-looking and great-riding bike.

Trance X is definitely a great bike. I have the original Trance and that one inch of extra travel (for less weight!) is well worth it. Great riding bike.


Does the extra travel hurt hill climbing?
 

Allamuchy Joe

Not White House Approved
JORBA.ORG
Does the extra travel hurt hill climbing?

The climbing ability was not hurt at all with the Trance X. The new Trance X actually weighs less than the older Trance and the system doesn't bob, so you don't loose energy in the climbs.

The engine on the bike, though, is another story...:)
 

hooples3

Member
I think those numbers are pretty standard right now in the industry. The "average" rider right now..according to Bike magazine enjoys his or her 5" "trail" bike. IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A DO IT ALL BIKE AND TO HAVE SOME FUN THIS IS THE BIKE!!! supposedly ;)
 
Last edited:
J

JD!

Guest
What is the better bike from the following companies in the 1400-1800 range? I'm trying to narrow my choices and would like to get the most for my money
Giant X2-Trance
Jamis Dakar xam 1.0
Trek fuel 7
Kona dwag

thanks
 

bobkennelly

Member
lost

The climbing ability was not hurt at all with the Trance X. The new Trance X actually weighs less than the older Trance and the system doesn't bob, so you don't loose energy in the climbs.

The engine on the bike, though, is another story...:)

Yo Joe, are you ready for Thursday ay 8pm??
Did you see the lost history in 8min. and 12sec. on abc.com, very funny...
 

don

Well-Known Member
Those new Giant Trances look very impressive - I saw one at the LBS the other day. Garrett @ Bike Haven said they shaved a 1/2 lb off the frame alone. I think the weight was 28lbs - which is impressive for a 5x5 rig. I liked the good amount of standover and that the seattube looks like it has a fair bit of adjustment.

For the trails I ride I can either go w/ a rigid 26" SS or my 6x5 Bottlerocket. I'll be getting the Sinister Gruitr soon and that's very similiar to the BR but lighter by at least a lb. The SS is great for cranking up hills the sussy rig is used when I want to pop off some drops and hips, have fun going downhill or riding skinnies.
 
Top