Can anyone compare Bike Verbier with other holiday companies I've used?

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  • Can anyone compare Bike Verbier with other holiday companies I've used?
  • Premier Icon ChrisL
    Subscriber

    Discussions have started about summer riding holidays. Bike Verbier has been suggested as a company that’s very well regarded. Unfortunately, their web site doesn’t really give me enough of an idea as to what the riding will be like – e.g. how pedally it is (though I note there’s an uplift minibus) or how technical or otherwise demanding it’ll be.

    I’ve used a few MTB holiday companies – Bike Village (3 times), the White Room and A Quick Release. Can anyone compare the riding (and to a lesser extent other holiday aspects) of Bike Verbier against what those companies provide?

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    not used them but picking up from another thread the swiss franc rate is not pleasant reading

    Premier Icon ChrisL
    Subscriber

    Just done a quick check and the holiday prices vary quite widely:

    Bike Verbier: £755.55 (converted from Swiss francs at Google’s suggested rate)
    Bike Village: £675.10 (converted from euros at Google’s suggest rate)
    White Room: £545 (priced in pounds)

    mr plow
    Member

    Delete delete! Don’t let Stevo see this thread or you will give him ideas!

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    😆 Yes- White Room is exactly as expensive as everyone else.

    Forget
    Forget

    And you’re back in the room!

    titusrider
    Member

    cheapest ive ever seen is Biking Andalucia:
    From £290! (to £350)

    Premier Icon ChrisL
    Subscriber

    AQR is cheaper than White Room, but more than the Biking Andalucia. However, it was comparisons of the riding I was after, rather than the prices… 🙂

    Premier Icon Brunk
    Subscriber

    ChrisL – I had a week with Bike Verbier last summer and was really impressed. I expected a more pampered experience regarding food/board an wasn’t disappointed! The chalet is one of the best I’ve seen and the food was seriously good!
    When booking, I expected the trails to be a bit tame compared to the other Apline trips I’d been on but that was OK as I’d had two weeks of torrential rain the previous year and was ready for something a bit nmore recreational – Wrong oh so wrong! The riding was much more technical and back country than I expected. I’ve been on a few of the back country days that TA do which you have to pay extra for – fair enough as there’s an extra cost involved. Most of the days out with BV were very much like these and at no extra cost.
    So – without gushing too much; some of the best trails ever, the best accom and really good guiding
    Specifics? I brought a 180mm bike and this was too heavy to get the best of the place. Most people were on 150-160mm bikes. There’s plenty of gravity fed singletrack with really good switchbacks,sweet woody stuff, some exposed bits (!) and some great fast-as-you-dare natural chutes.
    Thre is a reasonable amount of climbing so it’s definitely one to make an effort for fitness wise but it’s well worth it as the best trails are off the beaten piste.
    The downside is it’s a bit more expensive than most – but there are no hidden extra costs and you get what you pay for. So – if you’ve got the moolah – go for it!!
    There’s no harm in giving Phil and Lucy a call and asking them direcly

    Sui
    Member

    Verbier is a very very good place to go riding. As has been stated it’s almost like a full on back crountry riding holiday with the trails that are there. I would suggest you get some upper body work don e before you go as you really will feel it on your lower arms and then your grip!! I couldn’t recommend Phil’s place more highly, great guide (as was his other guide when i was there a few years back . sigh…). The Chalet is wonderful and in a very nice part of Verbier.

    I’ve been with TA and ridden with Ali and Ash a few times and i had a lot of fun with those chaps as well, good guys and know the trails well (certanly around Les Arc area), i see them as 2 different, albeit slight, types of holidays both of which i would be happy to go back with.

    I’ve also down Alpine Elements – t055ers of the highest order, though the roped in Chalet host was a good bloke and the guides that were hunted out on our arrival were good eggs and very capable (don’t think they do it anymore)

    Spain with Ciclo (first taste of luxury) and also Switch-backs (Mike the loony).. All places have been superb, Verbier can be very full on, but Phil and co could just as easily tailor it around the ability, if you think your above certain tail types and it wont challenge you, then i’d say you’re talking folly. Give em a go – i will again when the kids stop bleeding me dry.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    I’m one of the other thirds of ChrisL’s holiday planning so pitching in now… TL;DR version is that I loved White Room and I’m finding it hard to be convinced to go elsewhere! But for various reasons it suits Chris less well than it suits me and we’re trying to find something that suits us both well.

    For me, they had 3 strengths… Mostly, the riding was perfect for me. Always something happening under your wheels. Some stuff that I need to stop and look at, lots that challenged me, very hard work to go quick and well. Chasing Yvan was a joy. But I know it’s not the only place to find that sort of thing. In the UK I love to ride innerleithen enduro and dh trails on my little bike and that’s what it reminded me of most, only with more rocks and more dust.

    2nd was the uplifts- it’s not that I can’t climb, we did a week with A Quick Release with proper mountains and no uplifts. It’s just that I can climb in Scotland, but it’s not so easy to get a chairlift! That’s a big draw and if I’m going to pedal far, it’s got to be seriously worthwhile.

    3rd, the whole package was good- great food and people, good accomodation. I mean, I don’t really see a weakness in that from my point of view. Very little nightlife, but I’m old and I’m there to ride not to dance to euro-pop 😉

    So it’s a big ask really! Bike Verbier come to mind mostly because of the outrageously good feedback they get from everyone that’s been.

    Premier Icon ChrisL
    Subscriber

    if you think your above certain tail types and it wont challenge you, then i’d say you’re talking folly.

    Well that brought a smile to my face! Err, I’m unlikely to be writing anything off as too easy for me…

    From the last couple of posts it sounds like Bike Verbier is a bit more hard core than Bike Village but with possibly similar amounts of climbing? I’ve rarely seen Bike Village guests with 150mm+ travel bikes, things like Orange 5s are probably the biggest bikes I’ve seen there and I’ve seen plenty of hardtails and proper XC bikes there too.

    White Room seemed a bit more technical than Bike Village to me, so maybe Bike Verbier’s technical challenge is more like that? But with Bike Village’s climbing too!

    Premier Icon Mark
    Subscriber

    This gives me another chance to point Premier users at this http://singletrackworld.com/2012/06/industry-interview-bike-verbier/

    If we did reviews of holiday companies Bike Verbier would get a ‘Singletrack Recommended’ seal of approval.

    lucifer
    Member

    This is Lucy from Bike Verbier. I am not sure I am supposed to answer this thread but will definitely update the riding info on our website after reading this.
    We have a maximum of 12 guests in the chalet and if needed 4 guides so we can split the groups accordingly. After that we tailor the riding to suit the groups technical level, fitness and what they want to do.
    We use chairlifts and the van along with our legs to get to the best trails.
    Sadly the franc is strong, it is something we cannot change. We would if we could, however we do make sure we provide a top class holiday.

    Premier Icon Trekster
    Subscriber

    some pics from the STW 2005 Grinder holiday

    This was based in the old chalet.
    Cannot add anything to the above comments except that I hired a Kona Coiler and it did me fine considering some of the bling that others were riding 😉
    I would certainly go back if I was a bit younger 🙄 Just want to keep the memory of the best biking holiday 😆

    I believe we were the first BV “clients” to have ridden the route in this pic >>P9010126, from above link…..

    If they still operate the same way re the Sunday riding being a chance to test you against the terrain and for Phil & Lucy/guides to assess your ability then you will not be taken on any rides that they may think you will struggle on. On Monday and following days you will be given ride options based on trail difficulty and ability required.

    Lucy has put it in a better way 😆

    We have a maximum of 12 guests in the chalet and if needed 4 guides so we can split the groups accordingly. After that we tailor the riding to suit the groups technical level, fitness and what they want to do.

    Premier Icon ChrisL
    Subscriber

    I for one welcome your input here, Lucy. And the input from everyone else too.

    Out of interest, how many sub groups do 12 guests usually get split up into at Bike Verbier?

    lucifer
    Member

    Thanks ChrisL.
    Again it all depends on the make up of the groups in the chalet each week.
    Some weeks we have 3 groups of 4 so it is an obvious split, other times it is more mixed. We really do just adapt it to make sure everyone is enjoying the riding they want to do.

    wl
    Member

    Over the last few years I’ve probably spent around 3 months with Bike Verbier, and if there’s one thing I hear over and over again from their guests who’ve stayed with other companies, it’s that BV are basically in a league of their own. The number of satisfied customers who go back year after year is a testimony to the quality of their holidays. It’s hardly surprising when you consider the trails they guide on, and the fact that virtually no one else gets to ride most of them. Plus, BV have been around longer than almost all the other comparable companies throughout the Alps, and certainly in Verbier, and it shows. They’ve got the whole chalet/guiding thing absolutely spot on.

    can’t compare with your other companies but will say they might not be cheap but they are good value. Went last year

    http://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/awesome-week-with-bike-verbier

    and we are trying to get back there this year, just struggling to match leave from work with free availability @BV.

    Munqe-chick
    Member

    I’m Mrs crastestmonkey and as said we can’t compare with the other companies you have mentioned but BV is a phenomenal holiday. It’s not like being on a guided holiday it’s like riding with your mates! And I can tell you now boys Lucy will absolutely cane you!! At one point last year she was tanking down an insanely skinny, rocky, medium steep descent with Crastestmonkey on her heels, she looked over her shoulder and said “Do you want to overtake?” flattering but she was barely trying and Crashtestmonkey was on the edge trying to keep up.

    Awesome holiday desperately trying to make it back this year but my blinking job is getting in the way. It is sooooo worth the money, highly recommended. The chalet is luxurious, the food is gorgeous and ALWAYS ample, you will NEVER go to bed hungry! The cakes as you come off the mountain are devine.

    BV EVERY time for us!

    teef
    Member

    Bike Verbier: £755.55 (converted from Swiss francs at Google’s suggested rate)
    Bike Village: £675.10 (converted from euros at Google’s suggest rate)
    White Room: £545 (priced in pounds)

    Bike Verbier maybe more expensive than others but it’s worth it – you get what you pay for. I’ve been with other cheaper companies and they were cheap for a reason – badly organized, average food & poor accommodation, etc…

    If you want the best you’ve got to pay for it and Bike Verbier are the best.

    Premier Icon singlespeedstu
    Subscriber

    I’ve been to Bike Verbier about 7 times.

    Last year we fancied a change so went to AQR.

    I’ll just say that we’re going back to Bike Verbier again this year and we’ll never go to AQR again…

    BV are well organised but make it feel like your out with your mates.
    The accomadation, food, workshop, trails and guiding all piss all over AQR.

    freeridenick
    Member

    I’ll pitch in.

    Bike Verbier all the way! if you want to go guided.

    Chamonix takes it to the next level though.

    jedi
    Member

    +1 freeridenick 🙂
    i loved riding verbier with bv guide sam for the day last year.

    Premier Icon Sanny
    Subscriber

    Bike Verbier enjoy a deservedly stellar reputation for a reason. I’ve actually lost count of the number of times I’ve been there. The food, the chat, the accommodation, the trails – it’s all good…….hmmmm, a return trip now beckons. The Swiss franc isn’t as strong as the last time I was out (an eye watering 1.19 to the £ which was pretty brutal) so £775 is just fine in my book. Right, time to round up the troops and see who fancies coming with me. 😀

    Premier Icon Tracey
    Subscriber

    Only missed one year with Bike Verbier, which was due to Katies back operation, since 2003. I usually have 2 to 3 weeks biking holidays a year. Ive been with other companies in the Alps and Spain, all were good but none were in the same league as Bike Verbier. Cant wait to get back this year.

    2004

    2012

    The girls are talking about their own trip once Katie has passed her driving test

    Crastestmonkey on her heels, she looked over her shoulder and said “Do you want to overtake?” flattering but she was barely trying and Crashtestmonkey was on the edge trying to keep up.

    No, I was a riding god pushing a guide to her limits. 😆

    Premier Icon ChrisL
    Subscriber

    And I can tell you now boys Lucy will absolutely cane you!!

    With me, that is an incredibly easy and safe bet.

    I’ll just say that we’re going back to Bike Verbier again this year and we’ll never go to AQR again.

    Could you say a bit more, actually? I’m not wanting criticism of AQR or anything like that, but a comparison in the sort of riding done at AQR and Bike Verbier would be handy. I recall generally finding the riding I did at AQR reasonably within my ability and there were some very nice bits. However the climbing could be a bit punishing at times, especially given the heat we were riding in.

    wl
    Member

    Who’s AQR anyway?

    Premier Icon ChrisL
    Subscriber

    AQR = A Quick Release, an MTB holiday/guiding company operating in the Pyrenees.

    Premier Icon beb
    Subscriber

    Another one for bike verbier here!

    Been twice and it’s the best bike riding I’ve done anywhere, plus Lucy and Phil run it perfectly, very slickly organised but friendly, relaxed and fun! Experts at tailoring to group skill levels, preferences and weather conditions and never felt like anything was too much trouble. Chalet and food are top quality as well. I’ve ridden with trail addiction, aqr and riviera bike, and riviera were the close second, amazing riding also (but very different) and great Italian hospitality at the hotel.

    I’ve not done a full week at aqr but my thoughts are it is more xc than bv, don’t think they really do uplift as far as I’m aware, so you need to like pedalling up some big mountains. You will pedal at bv too, but you always get a head start with the van / ski lift.

    I don’t think they’re much more expensive than the others all things considered, and as someone else said its definitely a case of get what you pay for.

    Basically I’d struggle to suggest how they could improve it, and if I didn’t live in aus now I’d be planning another trip back 🙂

    traildog
    Member

    I also recommend Bike Verbier as one of the better companies I’ve used. I went to their old location and it was very luxurious and well worth the money, especially considering the location which has never been the cheapest. Guiding was excellent and riding was fantastic, amongst the best I’ve experienced. To compare with your list, I have been with Bike Village before(which I also enjoyed) and Bike Verbier riding was similar but just that little bit tougher. Harder climbs and more technical descents. But if you managed bike village ok, you’d manage Bike Verbier IMO.

    doris
    Member

    I concur with what sui said above, having been on all the same trips! although i have been to verbier one more time than him and therefore ridden the wonderful ginger mullet trail 😀

    Verbier is definately my favourite place so far, the techy and natural riding is fantastic and there is just enough climbing versus lift/van work. The banter is great and Phil and Lucy do a very good job of making you feel welcome also following phil down a trail is always entertaining and even if you have a mishap they remain slick (the hospital in sion is very swiss and efficient) Not wanting to sound like i am blowing smoke up their bottoms (Phil might like that) but all the details combined with amazing trails make for a fantastic holiday in my opinion.

    The other companies sui mentioned were all great especially ciclomontana in spain and TA in les arcs but for me Bike verbier for the win!! 😀

    Got to wait now for the 20 month old to be able to ride a bike and then i will be back.

    Munqe-chick
    Member

    We were originally planning on going to BV in 2009, the plan was to do a week camping and self-guiding in Chamonix then the same in Verbier as it’s just over the hill. I did lots of research into riding in Verbier, they don’t do camping, hotels aren’t cheap and single days guiding (not with BV) was extortionate! All in all BV worked out the cheapest option and it was absolutely blinding! Highly recommeded.

    We have been with Sierra Cycling (don’t bother), Cycle Active (great although can’t compare as it was Morocco) and Mountain bike Kerala (again fantastic). Haven’t been with any other French companies, I think the point it Morzine and PdS region you really don’t need a guide even for some of the “Cheeky” stuff, just follow other peoples’ wheels and you’ll find it.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    Thanks for the input folks- i think for me I know I’ll get what I want from White Room but it’s obvious we won’t be disappointed with Bike Verbier either. It’s a rather nice dilemma to have, pick one of 2 first class holidays :mrgreen:

    Munqe-chick – Member

    she looked over her shoulder and said “Do you want to overtake?” flattering but she was barely trying and Crashtestmonkey was on the edge trying to keep up.

    Chasing guides is like chasing a carrot on a stick :mrgreen:

    teef – Member

    I’ve been with other cheaper companies and they were cheap for a reason – badly organized, average food & poor accommodation, etc…

    None of those problems with White Room tbh. I don’t know why they charge so little, they’re practically full and they’re cheaper than their direct competition. But that’s fine with me 🙂

    Personally I don’t think I’d go back to A Quick Release- I had a great time there but a biking holiday in france without uplifts doesn’t make sense to me just now. But they do have a good operation if that’s what you’re after, it’s just a different sort of holiday.

    Premier Icon ChrisL
    Subscriber

    We have been with Sierra Cycling (don’t bother)

    Been there, done that, wasn’t intending to do it again. I just didn’t mention it to avoid the thread getting sidetracked. 🙂

    I’ve been with other cheaper companies and they were cheap for a reason – badly organized, average food & poor accommodation, etc…

    All the companies I’ve used before that provided catering did a good job of it, IMO. And the accomodation has always been at least good enough.

    Premier Icon bigjim
    Subscriber

    I’ve been with other cheaper companies and they were cheap for a reason – badly organized, average food & poor accommodation, etc…

    I’d say that is painting with a very broad brush!

    I’ve only been with bikevillage but it was just amazing, great riding, incredible food in ridiculous quantities, endless beer and wine and a great building and garden. In fact, I’m off there tomorrow for some snowboarding…!

    Premier Icon singlespeedstu
    Subscriber

    Could you say a bit more, actually? I’m not wanting criticism of AQR or anything like that

    I’m not going to critisize them either. That would be a bit pointless.

    I’ll just say that i found the trails and guide a little uninspiring and leave it at that.

    BV is the polar opposite.

    Here’s a short section of a 2000m descent that BV might take you on.

    [video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGq9ojIrJa0[/video]

    Every year we go back they have found new trails to ride that get better and better.

    Some propper all day epic rides.

    Can’t wait to get back there. 😀

    Premier Icon Captain_Sponge
    Subscriber

    I’ve got to add my voice to the congratulations for Bike Verbier, I’m also a repeat offender and they have consistently run awesome holidays. The riding, the guiding and the vibe they create is fantastic.

    Phil is even a dab hand at bird spotting too!

    SsStu – Thats a lovely video and is making me dream of visiting them again.

    gsp1984
    Member

    That riding looks like an absolute dream… Perfect singletrack

    grazedknees
    Member

    I have used Bike Verbier, Bike village and AQR – I recommend them all as they all have great trails, great guides and fab food.
    My personal favourite Is AQR in Luchon. Huge variety of trails. Forrest, open mountain, Steep, rocky, single track, (technical up and down) big views, coaching tips from Ian to get your riding up a level and Russ’ food.

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