Anyone tried a shorter travel bike and liked it?

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  • Anyone tried a shorter travel bike and liked it?
  • Fabdad
    Member

    Something along the lines of a Whyte T130 or Commencal Meta Trail? Got a 160mm bike which is great for bigger stuff,uplifts,holidays abroad etc but a bit overkill for a lot of the stuff I’m doing so wondering if something with less travel and a bit lighter would be more fun for trail centre and local woods type riding. Cheers.

    Stevelol
    Member

    I’ve been on a santa cruz blur trc and now a 5010 for err nearly 3 years now, they’re both 125-130mm travel, with a 140mm fork I never feel underbiked in peaks/calderdale/wales (snowdon/cadair idris), sportier feel and for me much more fun than a 160mm enduro gnar machine 😀

    I used to have a transition covert with a ccdb coil and BOS deville forks, the suspension was so forgiving you could almost switch off when descending rocky runs (e.g ‘the beast’ near ladybower) which removed a lot of the fun for me.

    Yup, went from Transition Covert (160mm) to a Transition Scout (140mm F / 125mm R).
    Love it. Best move I did. I now always feel that I am on the right bike rather than only 10% of the time.

    Premier Icon brassneck
    Subscriber

    I went back to a hardtail. Only riding upto around 3-4 hours on long days, and my local rides don’t ‘need’ full suss … was having more fun on the HT so went back to it.

    Focussing on the 90% you do rather than the 10% you do if money & time coincide has worked just fine for me.

    alexh
    Member

    This is why I have another bike. My local trails feel a bit boring on a big bike and are far more enjoyable on a shorter travel, light hard tail. Plus, conditions are pretty naff now and keeps the worst of the muck off the bigger bike.

    Van Halen
    Member

    yep. 100mm travel here. i would like it lighter but i dont miss the travel at all.

    finding something with suitable head angle is hard though. mines a bit steep and i run 2 offset bushings to help but its still a bit steep. my old commencal was much better angles and weight but like all commencals it cracked.

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Subscriber

    Yep last bike was 130mm and next one will be 111mm.

    mindmap3
    Member

    Yup.

    I’ve ditched my 160mm travel Banshee Rune for a hardtail.

    I built up a steel Switchback in January which gradually became the only bike I rode with the big bike hanging up in the garage. I had a ride in Wales at the end of September on the Rune and spent the day wishing I was on the hardtail.

    i’ve now sold both and bought the Ti version which I’m loving so far.

    rp16v
    Member

    yes gone from a 140mm trance to a 100/120mm anthem sx suits my riding better.

    bigyinn
    Member

    I’ve gone from 130mm down to 100mm. S’ok for the majority of riding I do. Considering my other bike is fully rigid its great.
    I’d love a gnarpoon bike, but I dont think I’d use it to its full abilities, nor would it be much use for my local trails, which involves plenty of up and down.

    If by riding, you mean “sitting down and pedalling” then a short travel full sus will probably be perfect.

    If you actually mean riding properly i.e. jumps/manuals/skids/wheelies/endos etc. then a short travel hardtail is easily the weapon of choice.

    bigyinn
    Member

    Too obvious….

    I_Ache
    Member

    I went from an 05 Enduro to an 11 Enduro Evo and for big hitting days out they were both good but general riding they are a real drag. I was starting to not really enjoy most of my riding and I detested climbing.

    I moved on the Evo frame and got an 11 Stumpjumper FSR and just swapped over all the parts including my 160mm lyriks and it was great. So much more fun and I was faster everywhere apart from massive rock gardens, I could even climb. The Stumpy isn’t perfect and I am now thinking about going even shorter travel with a Transition Scout so 140mm forks and 125mm rear end. It looks pretty much spot on for fun at where I usually ride, and should still cope just fine on rockier DH trails.

    philjunior
    Member

    I have a 130mm HT, I can get down anything I can on the big bike (maybe needing slightly more luck on bigger drops and certainly a bit slower) but it’s mostly as it’s so much easier to pedal to and from the trails (end even on flatter trails).

    I might replace it with a shorter travel full sus when a major part (frame or fork) dies.

    Too obvious….

    😀 chill…..it was obviously a joke; who does skids, endos and wheelies anyway?!

    Although the point I was trying to make definitely stands.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    Orange ST4 owner a few years ago.

    It was slightly lighter, slightly sprightlier, slightly less wollowy, slightly lower, slightly better climber, slightly better most of the time.

    All in all it was an absolute belter – despite being ‘less’ it was more engaging and fun to ride. A bike that you ‘got’ the faster and twister it got, or the longer the rocky climb was.

    Sadly I snapped it (known design faults) or I would still be belting round on it.

    Premier Icon bigjim
    Subscriber

    😯 is 140mm shorter travel these days?

    I guess some people have never ridden a hardtail these days. If you never have, you should, as long as you are capable of pedalling it’s hard to beat tearing around the woods on a hardtail for an hour or two. Quite a different experience from a full susser.

    I have a 115mm Smuggler too and it’s great fun. It won’t swallow up big hits but I’m more interested in maximising smiles an hour than miles an hour.

    CrispyCSW
    Member

    Went from a Nomad to a Mega TR (130mm rear). I’ve never felt underbiked, even in the Alps (had my DH bike with me but chose to ride the TR everyday). My next bike will be similar travel, likely a T-130, Spitfire or Scout.

    It’s a shame everyone thinks they “need” a 160mm bike as it means the short(er) travel trail bike segment of the market is fairly limited for choice – even more so now Nukeproof have dropped the TR from their range.

    Premier Icon vincienup
    Subscriber

    Crazy as it sounds, yep 140 is ‘shorter travel’ now, regardless off being far more useful than the 160-180mm carbon Enduro bikes so many people are convincing themselves they need.

    I’m running 130mm on my Soul275 and find that fine for general trail and playing in the Dark Peak. I take a full rigid fatty out in the same places and with a bit of adjustment in riding style that’s fine too. I had 100 -160 36 Talas on one of my old HTs and honestly almost never used the 160 option. Until the Fatty I was debating if I could get away with 130-140 650b to replace my old 140mm with 150 fork 26er FS or if I should go for a 160 bike. I’m now standing back a little and considering if I actually need an FS at all…

    Moved from a full suss to a hardtail as my only bike. I continue to move downwards in travel, am currently in process of building a new hardtail, moving away from 150 Pikes to 130 Pikes. Optimistic the lower BB will make it handle better around local woodsy stuff, which forms most of my rides.

    I_Ache
    Member

    bigjim
    is 140mm shorter travel these days?

    140mm is definitely shorter than 160mm. And the question was about shorter than 160mm not short travel.

    FWIW I currently have 2 HTs and after years of thinking more is best I have a BFe with u-turn Pikes that just sit at 95mm and a Solaris with 120 Rebas. Sadly I can’t ride them as much as I want because I have a knackered ankle and it hurts too much after a properly fun HT ride.

    philjunior
    Member

    Yeah short travel really isn’t any more. When I bought the forks on my HT, 130mm was the longest single crown fork on the market AFAIK, a couple of years before that the Boxxer came out with a whopping 150mm of travel.

    My first ever suspension forks had a sticker proclaiming “long travel”… 80mm they were!

    Fabdad
    Member

    Cheers for your replies, agree that hard tails can be fun. Was out on my old Marin Rocky Ridge on the weekend cos the forks on my big bike needed looking at and had a blast but was only a short blast round Cannock but still think a short travel FS with slackish geometry would be even better!

    fasthaggis
    Member

    Just go rigid HT and stay hard all day. 😉

    cokie
    Member

    Does a 29er count? If so, I went from a Orange 5 650b with 150mm to a 120mm Whyte T129. It’s a fantastic bike and I much prefer it to more travel. Everything feels more direct and accurate. I found the 5 a bit vague and sofa-like. The Whyte is punchier and a bit more harsh, I suppose like a comfier HT. I’m happy enough riding blacks and reds at trail centers. Yes, it gives me a better workout but that’s why I enjoy it. No regrets from me.

    Premier Icon ddmonkey
    Subscriber

    Everything is relative – I rode trails I usually ride on a 180mm travel mini DH type bike on my 160mm travel trail bike this weekend and had a blast, now wondering why I need more than one bike though which is a bit of a blow…

    I_Ache
    Member

    Fabdad if Cannock is your local regular place to ride I definitely think that shorter travel is the way to go. It was riding my BFe around which persuaded me to get rid of my Enduro Evo. Long travel takes the fun out of the place.

    Premier Icon gelert
    Subscriber

    I’m lucky enough to have a FS160 “best bike” and have recently picked up a second hand FS140 bike for much the same reasoning. My 160 is too much bike for mid week local rides (and night rides) and I feel like I’m wasting the 160 at my local TC although the odd ride there on it is still great fun. At the weekend or for uplifts and races I really look forward to taking the 160, though. They’re both very similar bikes in attitude and I only ever feel under biked on the 140 at the steeper DH trails although it’ll still do them fine if I’m on form.

    I haven’t really found that either bike is faster or slower, they’re both superb and suit me. I’d say that you notice a much bigger difference coming down to 120 form 160. I went from 120 to 160 and kept the 120 around for a while until I could sell it. I started to not want to ride the 120 anymore by the end and that’s partly why I replaced it with a 140.

    If I’m going to be out for a few hours in my (limited) spare time for fun I’m taking a FS bike because that’s what gives me maximum enjoyment.

    I’ve demoed a few HT bikes and they didn’t seem very fun to me in my mid 30s. All the FS bikes I’ve tried have been an absolute hoot, though. That’s just my opinion.

    ahwiles
    Member

    Dh racers need/use/have 200mm travel.

    on a good day, i’m half as fast, hitting things half as hard, half as gnarly.

    and by ‘a good day’, i mean ‘in my dreams’.

    really, why do i need more than 100mm?

    mindmap3
    Member

    It’s a shame everyone thinks they “need” a 160mm bike as it means the short(er) travel trail bike segment of the market is fairly limited for choice – even more so now Nukeproof have dropped the TR from their range.

    That’s what I’ve found to a certain extent – last time I went to CYB, I was the only hardtail spoptted at the cafe near the end.

    I guess it depedns on what you ride, but I don’t think my hardtail holds me back particularly.

    The Banshee was an amazing bike on bigger stuff, but riding less of that stuff these days I found that I wasn’t really getting the best from it. Plus after so much time on a hardtail again, it felt soft and wallowy. It was probably a tad quicker but not as much fun (to me anyhow).

    I_Ache
    Member

    I don’t think my hardtail holds me back particularly.

    It doesn’t seem to. I never felt I was slow on my BFe I just got beat up more.

    Premier Icon russyh
    Subscriber

    Yep, Loving my process 134 now i have made a few tweaks. Never feel like i need anymore travel really!

    Premier Icon ransos
    Subscriber

    I still think that short travel is better suited to the vast majority of UK riding. Giant Anthem for me – lovely bike.

    fudge9202
    Member

    Yep went from a 150mm travel Bandit to my new short travel Salsa Spearfish 29er, absolutely love it and have yet to feel under biked.

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Subscriber

    Yes, – 140mm Intense Tracer to 120mm ASR5 to 100 Anthem 29er. I use the Anthem for all the same things and racing and its fine.

    It doesn’t give the same cush or confidence as a bigger travel bike, but you just apply more skillz instead.

    Premier Icon leftyboy
    Subscriber

    T-130 Works here which rides well round my local trails but still handled a long weekend in midWales easily. Never been into proper long travel myself as 95%+ of my riding is just around the Winchester end of the SDW and places like the Purbecks.

    deanfbm
    Member

    I’ve got all sorts of bikes, my favourite bike is the one im riding at the time which is normally the right bike for the job.

    So i love my trail bike for “trail riding” (spec camber) and mucking about on the “DH” stuff, i guess the type of riding that could be pitched as “enduro”. It has the added bonus of you get climbs done quicker, feel fresher at the top, so more in the tank for the descent, you got more descents in and also is fast enough on flat stuff to make it fun.

    I also have an “enduro” bike, i use it as a freeride bike I guess, used for uplifts and pissing about at dh places, and for getting to the top/between dh stuff under my own steam. Boring as on flat stuff and real hard work. Would ever bother using it at a trail centre, too much hard work to make anything of it.

    Premier Icon jam bo
    Subscriber

    matt_outandabout wrote:

    Orange ST4 owner a few years ago.
    It was slightly lighter, slightly sprightlier, slightly less wollowy, slightly lower, slightly better climber, slightly better most of the time.
    All in all it was an absolute belter – despite being ‘less’ it was more engaging and fun to ride. A bike that you ‘got’ the faster and twister it got, or the longer the rocky climb was.
    Sadly I snapped it (known design faults) or I would still be belting round on it.

    mk2 ST4 was better than five that it replaced but they never really took off. Which is good as you could pick them up for about a 1/3 of the price that five frames went for.

    Sold that an replaced with a bandit which is even better. (and 130mm rear travel unlike the poster up there stating 150mm)

    Premier Icon grey
    Subscriber

    I’ve a MKII ST4 and it really is great, just a pity Orange didn’t keep upgrading it alongside the Five.
    I’ve an Alpine Five 29er now and love it bit I still like taking the ST4 out for a play, it still a very capable bike.

    glasgowdan
    Member

    I went from a hardtail to a full sus as I was tired of being slower. Granted, I jumped to a 180/170mm bike, but I pedalled that thing everywhere and it was a really superb bit of kit.

    I’ve now gone down to a 160mm bike and am enjoying it, everything on it’s a bit stiffer and snappier, but I still use every bit of travel and often find myself crying for a bit more! But I honestly think that’s more the forks than the frame.

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