160 Travel too much for mostly riding in the UK??

Home Forum Bike Forum 160 Travel too much for mostly riding in the UK??

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  • 160 Travel too much for mostly riding in the UK??
  • munrobiker
    Member

    For what you’re doing, you’d have more fun on a lighter 140mm bike. 160mm is fine if you were riding the really big stuff in the Lakes all the time, but for most of your riding something lighter will be faster down as well as up.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    Yes, no, maybe, well sort of

    I have mates who can ride 100mm HT’s as fast as some with 160mm full sus. I know some who can’t.

    If you can build something you can pedal up as fast as you want, you will find places (or ways) to use it coming down

    flip side is I demoed a Blur LT and NomadC in the lakes and both were as good on the same trail didn’t need the 160mm but liked it.

    It’s nice to go to the alps with a machine you are happy and comfortable on. Maybe just tyre changes are enough.

    In the end get out and demo see how it feels. I was impressed by how the Alpine wasn’t as bad as I thought and quite amazed how the nomad climbed for a big bike.

    I would say the bigger the travel the more call for a better suspension system (or at least a better shock)

    Oreet im from westhoughton and ride all the places you listed I’ve Just sold my Ragley mmmbop and built up a heckler running 2×10 gearing and fox 36 160mm talas forks, I wind them down to 130mm for climbing but generally ride them at 160mm.
    That kind of bike is great for pretty much anything, i can go out and ride 40-50mile on it, nail the decents, the jumps, the drops and then bomb it home on the road!

    druidh
    Member

    There’s a difference between “too much” and “more than enough”.

    philbert31
    Member

    Basically I’m gonna be buying a new bike, I have a HT at the moment but I’m looking at FS, i don’t have room for more than two bikes so i want something that is gonna be able to do everything.
    Being honest most of the time I’ll be riding local stuff round Rivington, the Lakes, Gisburn and a few other sneaky trails plus a few trips to Welsh/Scottish trail centres, I know I can get away with less travel for these but for the money I’m spending I want a bike that i can also use if I do head off across the channel?

    What’s your opinion?

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    Depends entirely on the bike- some 160mm bikes do feel pretty pointless on simple terrain, not to mention heavy and splodgy. Good ones don’t.

    Premier Icon funkrodent
    Subscriber

    I wouldn’t pretend to know half of what most of the guys on here know. But i have spent the last four weeks researching a similar decision. Budget obviously plays a huge part and opinions are hugely divided. Some guys I know who do a lot of mountain biking swear 100mm travel is all you need unless you’re going to Scotland. Others swear by 140mm XC/AM bikes, others tell me 29ers are the answer. Certainly less travel means you need to be a better rider. Another truth is that more suspension usually means compromises in pedalling efficiency, particularly uphill. My research led me to brands like Turner and Ibis, both of whom do acclaimed 140mm travel bikes (5.Spot and Mojo) , that (apparently) climb like goats, descend superbly and are more than capable of going to scotland/alps etc. i say apparently because i’ve pushed the button on a 5.spot frame without having ridden one. sometimes you just gotta do it. However the general sentiment seems to be that a well thought out, well-built and well ridden 140mm frame is more than enough for the vast majority of people, whatever the terrain. Good luck!

    julians
    Member

    I only have 1 bike (an ibis mojo HD), and it has 160mm travel, I ride the same places as your list, and I never ever find myself thinking I wish I had less travel. I love having a big’ish bike , it makes everything more fun IMO.

    Prior to the ibis I had a specialised enduro with 150mm travel which was heavier than the mojo, but I still never found myself thinking I wish I had less travel.

    i think 160mm is the sweet spot for the person who only has 1 bike, it will let you ride anything in the UK and abroad.

    Ultimately its a personal choice though, and loads of people will disagree with my opinion.

    philbert31
    Member

    I’m thinking along the lines of a SC Nomad if that helps?

    Thanks for all your thoughts by the way!

    philbert31
    Member

    I also meant to include transition covert and commencal meta am sx aswell!

    Trek Remedy?

    For the trails you mention then you certainly don’t ‘need’ 160. I’ve ridden those places on a HT and 140 and 160 and all the 160 does it make it easier and faster, but not more necessarily fun (in my book).

    If you want something to take to the Alps then the 160 thing has its merits, but for the UK places you mention 160 just flattens everything. I recently tested a SB66 in the Lakes. Good bike but the descents were a piece of cake on it. You didn’t need to think about lines or anything, just point it down the hill. If that’s what you want then go for it.

    geetee1972
    Member

    Such a load of nonsense. You don’t have to pick your lines on any bike but we do because you go faster that way and it’s safer.

    So all this tosh about not having to pick your lines on a 160mm is just that. Tosh. You can still pick your lines and be faster still. But most people don’t want to go faster. They are already going fast enough which is why they don’t want/need a longer travel bike. Go faster and the longer travel makes sense. Ride the same speed as you do a 140mm bike and it won’t.

    . I recently tested a SB66 in the Lakes. Good bike but the descents were a piece of cake on it. You didn’t need to think about lines or anything, just point it down the hill.

    You should enter some World Cup races, you can’t fail to win.

    Premier Icon Onzadog
    Subscriber

    Today, I took my 6 pack with fox 36 van forks from a mates house, around Sherwood pines and back again. I had fun. Therefore, I don’t think 160 is too much. Having said that, I came rattling down fluffy kitten on a 140 ht the week before. I had fun with that as well so a ht is in no way lacking.

    grum
    Member

    If you want something to take to the Alps then the 160 thing has its merits, but for the UK places you mention 160 just flattens everything. I recently tested a SB66 in the Lakes. Good bike but the descents were a piece of cake on it. You didn’t need to think about lines or anything, just point it down the hill. If that’s what you want then go for it.

    I ride a 150mm travel bike in the Lakes quite regularly, and this doesn’t fit with my experience at all. Where were you riding?

    Do you think Dollywagon Pike or the steep bits of Garburn Pass or Borrowdale Bash are a piece of cake on a 150mm travel bike? I used to ride them on my 100mm hardtail and it was ok, just a lot slower and not as much fun IMO.

    Given that you can now get 150-160mm travel bikes that aren’t mega heavy, and pedal well – if it’s going to be your only bike that you use here and on holiday it makes a lot of sense I think.

    No it wasn’t Garburn, it was just down into Kentmere. On the HT you do need to pick your line and read the terrain. On the Yeti you didn’t. Like I said, it just laughed at it. It was quite impressive really, in a way. Garburn would be more of a test for it I admit, and you could find the limits more easily for sure.

    And the downhill comment is what Jeremy, some sort of argument? People ride whatever floats their boat. I’m happy with that. For some people it’s the speed of the descent that generates the most intensity of feeling. For others it’s how close they are to the limit that matters. There’s no single recipe for this.

    munrobiker
    Member

    I ride a bike with 140 rear, 160 front and until recently rode 160/160. I don’t notice the 20mm that’s gone at the back, but keeping the big fork was the right thing to do. The biggest thing, really, is geometry.

    However, this style of 160mm bike, to me, makes a lot more sense in the big stuff. As grum says, the big stuff in the Lakes is tough, and even on a 160mm bike it’s not easy.

    However, any big 160mm bike around Gisburn sounds like hell to me, since it’s very draggy. As I say, unless you’re doing the big stuff in the Lakes, a lot of 160mm bikes can be a bit of a slog while most 140mm bikes won’t be.

    Premier Icon HansRey
    Subscriber

    i’ve got a big 160mm fs bike. It was great fun to ride and gave me lots of confidence, but it did make the rides a bit dull. The climbs were hard work due to the weight and tyre choice. The descents were fun but it did feel remote from the ground. Perhaps that’s due to the suspension design.

    I’m now riding a cotic bfe. 140mm up front and large volume tyres. I’d forgotten what it was like to be riding on the edge of control. It felt fantastic.

    IME, FS is faster, but the BFE is more fun when I’m riding in UK.

    VassagoJay
    Member

    Mate of mine has just got a Canyon Strive ES 9.0, 160mm of travel when you live in the flatlands of Peterborough is a little bit of an overkill but hey ho it looks bloody lovely 🙂

    Premier Icon Mugboo
    Subscriber

    I had an early Hemlock which I tried with both 160 & 100 at the rear but always 160 up front. I found 100 was enough at the back. Great climber and fun downhill but a little flexy.

    I then built up an 09 Wolf Ridge with the same kit. 140 at the back/ 140 up front. Horrible, draggy thing uphill, ok going down.

    That didn’t last long.

    I now have a Mega with the same kit. It climbs better than the Hemlock and feels really, really confidence inspiring everywhere. With the propedal on it rides like a shorter travel bike with lots in reserve 🙂

    All these bikes had very similar headangles and reasonably low BB’s. I’d agree that as travel goes up the shock becomes more important. I think that maybe the RP23 on the Marin was a bad example.

    I think 160 is perfect if you want a bike you can do owt on, especially of you need all the help you can get 🙂

    Premier Icon Mugboo
    Subscriber

    I should add that I tried the Hemlock with a Float, Rp3 and a VanR.

    not sure why an extra 10 or 20mm of travel suddenly makes a trail sterile and flat. As in, it doesnt.

    I ride a 160mm bike, and a hefter at that (alpine 160). It is the best bike Ive owned as it great to ride on ANY trail. I ride the chilterns with mates and we have the full range from rigid 29er singlespeed to bikes like mine, we all enjoy riding and I come home from the chilterns with a grin, not thinking Ive had a bland ride. The bikes comes into its own on the big stuff but is fun all the time. Win Win.

    This is my bike in “appropriate” environment (2hrs of this stuff on the Top Station descent, Kerala India for my 40th). The equally pertinent point is that to get to this trail we had to do a 40km road climb. I got to the top first and enjoyed every minute of it. If the bike isnt too heavy *ahem* and climbs well, where is the downside?

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    The only final comment I have is the only research you should be doing is on a Demo bike on a proper trail. It’s very personal and things are evolving out there. There are 160mm bikes that are the weight of older 120mm bikes and pedal better.

    shifter
    Member

    Wonder if Scott have sold many Genius LTs?

    Premier Icon Vortexracing
    Subscriber

    I probably live near you (Coppull) and ride the very same trials.

    I also own a 5 spot, the travel is not the entire answer, the 160mm forks are usually 36mm which in my opinion adds significantly to the ability to ‘flatten’ stuff ie it’s fork stiffness as well as extra travel.

    One option is to spec a bike with 140mm rear and 140/150 32mm front fork and then add a 160mm 36mm fork on for the Alps. Plus bigger tyres and if it helps a coil shock. That way you can have an adaptable bike that can be built more to the type of riding you are doing.

    140/150 = most days, 140/160 Daft, steep days.

    just for the record my 5 Spot with 150mm revs on doe a VERY good job on all those places you have mentioned.

    ryreed
    Member

    I have owned two 160 bikes – a Commencal Meta 6 and a Specialized Enduro SL (150/160) and they are both really different. Previously I had owned FS bikes from 1999 – a Stumpjumper FSR (80mm) and a Trek Liquid (120mm)- prior to those I had HT bikes.

    I definitely find the 160 bikes more fun for the way I ride, but there have obviously been other developments in technology, not just an increase in travel. The most interesting comparison is between the two 160 bikes – the specialized is MUCH better climber in my opinion and is a lot lighter than the Commencal. The geo is pretty different with a longer TT and steeper seat tube helping on the ups. I probably prefer it on the downs too although it takes a bit more thought on some steeper stuff.

    I guess what I’m saying, there is way more to consider than the travel on the bike and many other factors will have as big, if not a bigger, influence on how the bike rides. I’ve settled toward the trail bike end of 160 in terms of geo and weight.

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Subscriber

    I went from 150mm down to an ASR-5(a) ona Fox FIT120. I later built an Enigma ego Ti with a 100mm SID.

    I’ve ridden / raced the Yeti all over the country, and have been surprised about the loss of ability I didnt experience on either bike.

    Sure bigger travel would be good for the rocky parts of the Peaks/Lakes, but not essential IMO. Its a common misnomer that you NEED big suspension.

    Try reviewing some of the Akrigg stuff on youtube, or the roadbike/trials vids and you’ll see its a lot more to do with rider skill than an extra few mm’s of travel.

    Yes, 160mm of travel lets you go faster.

    If you are a decent rider you will go faster on a hardtail than someone on a 160mm travel bike who cant ride properly.

    Its the rider thats “gonna be able to do everything,” not the bike.

    160mm of travel seems unnecessary for the types of terrain you’re describing.

    You can use any sort of mountain bike in the Alps, they even let me ride my hardtail over there. But, if you want to hammer the downhill tracks then a downhill bike is best, anything else is just a compromise, whether its a hardtail or a 160mm travel trail bike – you’ll still get battered by the braking bumps. But all the xc/less well known trails are fine on a short travel bike.

    I’ve just put some 160 U-Turn lyriks on a BLT2 and it feels great. I did think with a long trip to Europe in mind, but will probably leave them on there all the time. I’m planning on using some offset bushes for the trip, after a good demo yesterday.

    36mm forks will feel a little stiffer too, though I’m sure some here will say you cant tell the difference…

    Trails in the Alps arent necessarily any steeper / nastier / techier than the UK, they just tend to go on longer. I’d second the point above though about riding braking bump infested Ski-run type DH on a non-DH bike, personally I dont find that very rewarding, so mainly stick to rocky and rooty footpath type trails.

    deanfbm
    Member

    I find 160mm enough for me when it comes to DH/freeride in the UK, as in the bike certainly is not the limiting factor, i am.

    When i’m trail riding, on the flat bits and sometimes the up, i like to be able to attain instant acceleration to hit any obstacles i deem interesting on the way. I find 160mm bikes lack the acceleration i want and am much preferring the acceleration of a hardtail in these situations. So long rides where a lot of the time you need to make your own fun, i definitely prefer the hardtail.

    I find a 160mm bike also makes trail centres pretty uninteresting.

    Also which bike i prefer depends on the crowd/location im riding. If im doing is a peak bimble, and the only taxing stuff involves riding down gravel roads (people argue with this definition), the 160mm bike is wasted. If i’m going out with a different crowd, and we’re making a loop out of DH tracks, then i prefer my 160mm bike.

    In the alps, i would certainly say a 160 bike is more than capable of 99% of what the alps has to offer just the same is in the uk.

    I guess what i’m really trying to say is a 160 bike is really a DH bike you can pedal, so needs to be used in such a way to make it interesting.

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    HansRey – Member
    i’ve got a big 160mm fs bike. It was great fun to ride and gave me lots of confidence, but it did make the rides a bit dull. The climbs were hard work due to the weight and tyre choice. The descents were fun but it did feel remote from the ground. Perhaps that’s due to the suspension design.

    I’m now riding a cotic bfe. 140mm up front and large volume tyres. I’d forgotten what it was like to be riding on the edge of control. It felt fantastic.

    IME, FS is faster, but the BFE is more fun when I’m riding in UK.

    Pretty much an identical story for me. Was a choice between 140 Trance and 160 Reign as my first proper mountain bike (stepping up from 80mm cheap ht). The Reign’s been great and done 3 trips to Alps and lots in the UK from steepish, bumpy DH to evening XC rides. In hindsight that could all have been done on the Trance which would probably have been the better choice.

    I’m now riding a 150/120 adjustable travel BFe and it makes the riding fun, it’s very engaging with the trail and I can and do happily take it on 50k+ rides which would have been a chore on the heavily built Reign. I’m happy to have the travel when pointed down.

    So your question, no you don’t need 160 for your riding but with today’s frames and geometry something like a Covert with 160 forks is going to be very versatile for you and have that little bit in reserve when things get tough. It’s probably more about geomtrey and build weight than fork travel. Likewise a good all round trail bike with 140s on you can ride, drop and jump everything you want I’d suspect.

    geetee1972
    Member

    I find a 160mm bike also makes trail centres pretty uninteresting.

    FIFY

    mike17
    Member

    At trail centres you never even need a full sus let alone a 160mm on, since they are designed for the majority of riders to get round without killing themselves. For the rest of the trails you are looking at a 160mm will be overkill, just learn to ride it on your hardtail and enjoy the challenge than making it too easy on a 160mm bike. Only get a bike with more than 140mm if you are going to ride downhill/freeride on it because otherwise you will look **** just throwing money at the problem instead if improving your riding skills

    100mm is the new 160mm…

    😯

    cynic-al
    Member

    My Nomad was too much for me and my riding over here, the Heckler is perfect and big enough for what I do here and for abroad, when I go.

    Premier Icon kelvin
    Subscriber

    I’m a big fan of having longer travel at the front than the rear, you see I found even my Heckler5 had too much rear travel… BUT, I’ve ridden other bikes since I sold on the Heckler, with the same or more travel, that felt much more involving, and far less “delayed” in their feedback. It could well be that geom, sus design, and sus setup could be far more important than “the amount” of travel front and rear, yes? For now I’ll stick with 150mm up front, 110mm rear. My mind is open to longer travel frames though, modern bikes have moved on from the sofas of old…

    I had a sweet Orange5 just how I liked it and it only sometime felt too flexy for my liking, 140 suited me. I got the chance to buy a dream bike as I had a good year at work and got the nomad carbon and would say it’s ok up hill due to suspension design, amazing downhill but on an all day ride even at 30.5lbs it can become energy sapping….. Could be as I have180mm forks though hahaha. Remind me to get them dropped 🙂

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    I find 160mm far too much for the UK so I left…

    I rode round trail centers loads and it was so boring I kept doing it and it was so boring it made me happy.

    I also ride them on my 150/160mm HT and thats fun too.

    It’s mountain biking it’s all fun

    Premier Icon rapiddescent
    Subscriber

    I often ride the red route at my local trail centre – I ride a 7″ travel Santa Cruz Bullit, wear body armour and a full face helmet.

    (NB, my local trail centre is Fort William)

    wl
    Member

    Alpine 160 will do anything, so will a Five AM – leaves you set up for the Alps too. You might not get to the top of every climb first, but who cares if you’re not xc racing? Besides, with a reasonably fit rider, these bikes climb great. You won’t spend hours fixing them either, and they’re superb downhill on any terrain.

    appy
    Member

    Im currently having the same dilema, ive a perfectly good Ghost AMR with 120mm travel that is superb but… i want to start doing some mini dh so trying to decide if i should get the Canyon Strive.

    jim76
    Member

    There’s no set rule – ride what works for you. Anyone who tells you otherwise is talking rubbish. I have a hardtail and a 160mm full suss, overall prefer the 160mm full suss – faster, more traction and therefore more efficent.

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