Compliment strengths or weaknesses (XC racing)

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  • Compliment strengths or weaknesses (XC racing)
  • So, I fancy some XC racing in 2013, currently pouring over enough different bikes/geo charts/specs to make me go mental and it got me wondering about actual bike choice.

    Coming from (embarrassing myself) racing DH I’m a stronger descender, not a bad climber but def no fireroad speed demon, I’ll never produce the power that you see from some guys as they motor on by! So should I be fighting with my strengths or against them, should I purchase a bike that will compliment my stronger descending ability or a bike that will give me more speed when I’m at my weakest?

    Tom B
    Member

    Lightweight hardtail? There’s never too much fireroad, but plenty of accelerating and pedaling on every course. If that is a weakness then be prepared for everyone to ride off pretty sharpish!

    RealMan
    Member

    Rider wins races, not a bike. You should be training your weaknesses (as well as your strengths). If you’re buying a bike exclusively for XC racing, get something designed for it.

    What sort of differences are you talking about anyway?

    Premier Icon mboy
    Subscriber

    If you’re a strong descender, you’ll probably gain most against the clock by going for a bike that’s quickest up the hills. Sadly, much more time can be gained going uphill, than down.

    If you look at what the pro’s are riding, to give you some kind of perspective on what’s important, you’ll be able to make your own informed choices. But for UK XC racing, there’s only one way I’d go these days if I had the choice, it would be a lightweight Carbon 29er hardtail. But that’s just my opinion.

    maxtorque
    Member

    For most of the XC courses i’ve ever been on, being a ace decender has been worth maybe 10 or 20 secs a lap, being a demon climber more like 2 or 3 min a lap…………… If you’re a good techincal rider, then you can get “artificially high” up the results when the weather is bad or the course rough however 😉

    cynic-al
    Member

    what realman said, the bike makes little difference.

    Train effectively, that’s what matters. For you it sounds like power/weight will be what matters.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    having played about a bit at some xc out here in Oz you wont make much on descents unless you get there first. You will loose more going uphill.

    In the end of the day if you have a trail type bike just go and give it a go have fun and see what you think in a few months.

    Buying a bike from a size/geometry sheet is a lottery really. Have a go on some, ask what people are using and see if you can try a demo/spin on some.

    mrlebowski
    Member

    Its swings & roundabouts.

    I know Im a better technical rider than the average Gorrick racer (for example), I also know that there are many who are way more powerful than I. I also know that I have better stamina than most.

    So I chose a bike which complimented those abilities.

    In the end I went for a Santa Cruz Blur XC. I race marathons & stage races so I wanted a bike with a fair degree of comfort so it had to be full-sus. The SC is s stiff bike with razor-sharp handling & good levels of comfort vs race-geometry (for me). The bike climbs brilliantly & descends just as well.

    Seems to work well for me as I can place top 10 to top 5 in my cat (thats the over the hill & past it cat..)

    As for training, it depends on what style of racing you’re doing..

    Again I did longer style races which meant more volume so I had the stamina, once the stamina was built up we switched to bringing in the power (bottom line is you need both)

    Thanks all, little extra info I should have put down in the OP.

    Basically, I’m a lightweight, I’ll never be over 10 stone so I can tap out a good steady bit of power but one or two really strong accelerations will ruin me! I’ve done 2 SXC’s in the past, open category, didn’t do shit but my times weren’t good compared to senior/master.

    Training is happening be nice if the kids stopped bringing colds into the house though!

    I could stick with what I know which was a 26-Giant XTC (stolen 🙁 ) or try something different, an Anthem could be faster in places but slower in others, a 29er would hamper my already poor acceleration ability but could be faster on fireroad type stuff.

    JCL
    Member

    The best advice is eat half your meal and give the rest to the dog. Get on the turbo and do intervals till you puke. Find a short loop with a steep hill in it and mash around it until you puke. Rest loads but don’t eat anything. Go to bed hungry etc.

    And above all have fun!

    smiff
    Member

    this training till you puke thing.. heard Chris Hoy talk about that after the olympics, is it really good for you? i mean generally, apart from winning races. i’m always worried i’ll have a heart attack or something catastrophic like a burst eyeball or knee. what is the risk when you really push going uphill, for an otherwise healthy person?
    1/100. 1/1000. how often do people just die on their bike from trying too hard. to get a KOM or something.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    Well for fitness try some road biking in the mix, build it up rather than just beasting it from cold.

    Are you taking it seriously (Ie want a podium) or is a way to enjoy biking.

    If the bike is going to be your only bike then make sure you will enjoy riding it outside of races.

    FunkyDunc
    Member

    Like many have said above the bike is almost irrelevant. Cycling is one of those sports where skill and bike is almost irrelevant, its all about how fit you are.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    Cycling is one of those sports where skill and bike is almost irrelevant, its all about how fit you are.

    Balls skills are right up there, the ability to cover ground expending less effort than others is right up there.

    duirdh
    Member

    ha ha… looking like it’s on-one carbon 29er time! ..and so young too!

    Sooo funny 😆

    andypaul99
    Member

    Start your training with long steady rides to build your base fitness and then as the months and weeks progress you can start to build some speed with some shorter interval rides. I’m sure hammering until you puke works for Mr Hoy but doing it too early will either make you I’ll or injured. And most of all..Enjoy 😀

    andypaul99
    Member

    Oh and eat well. Diet makes a huge difference when training

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    ^^^ weird troll… Does Druid have an admirer?!

    I’d get a 29er hardtail. It’s what an increasing number of XC racers are riding anyway, plus as a strong descender you’re unlikely to be hindered by the lack of a rear shock.

    Premier Icon weeksy
    Subscriber

    The one thing i notice when the ‘fast’ guys post on here is how much time they put in the saddle week by week. It’s no coincidence that the quick Gorrick guys are the ones who put in 20+ hours a week in the saddle doing ‘stuff’ be that commuting, riding, racing, etc etc… The fast guys are fast because they train more than you. The probably train harder too, but that’s because they’ve got the fitness from training more…

    For me… it’s not the bike… nor the rider.. but the saddle time. I put in at a guess, 5-6 hours in a given week… that’s a LOT compared to your average coutch potato… but sod all compared to a true athlete.

    munrobiker
    Member

    You mention SXCs, which in my mind makes things a bit different to the usual “just get a plastic 29er and be done with it” answer.

    The SXCs are where I started racing and the courses are noticeably more technical than 90% of the races down south. Rougher, steeper, harder in terms of rider skill. Personally, I’m similar to you- better tech skills than out and out fitness. You will have to work on your fitness a lot, that goes without saying, but I think a fast full suspension bike like a Giant Anthem, Specialized Epic, Scott Spark or Trek Top Fuel would make more sense.

    I ride an Anthem on Scottish courses and feel much better on it than I ever did when I rode a Scott Scale and my results were consistently in the top 5, rather than just the top 10. It’s faster on pretty much every climb that’s not a fire road.

    For the way you say you ride, and more importantly where you say you ride, I think a full suspension bike will suit you better.

    As above, though, you need to get the miles in. Intervals, lots of base training, lots and lots of miles. That will make the biggest difference.

    FunkyDunc
    Member

    Mikewsmith sorry your wrong. Fitness is king in cycle racing, if you don’t have that all the skills in the world count for nothing.

    If you get 2 very fit people then the skills make a difference, but until then its irrelevant.

    As to bike, well buy one that plays to your weakness ie a good climber and bike with power transfer. However not necessarily nicest bike to ride for fun though

    andypaul99
    Member

    ^^^ weird troll… Does Druid have an admirer?!

    who? me????

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    Fitness is king in non technical riding. Watching the roadie xc boys here is painful just a rolling road block on anything not smooth. To succeed both is needed.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    who? me????

    No no no, above you, “Duirdh”, you posted before I clicked submit.

    I ride an Anthem on Scottish courses and feel much better on it than I ever did when I rode a Scott Scale and my results were consistently in the top 5, rather than just the top 10. It’s faster on pretty much every climb that’s not a fire road.

    A 29er HT gives you a lot of the benefits of short travel FS – better stability on descents, better on rough terrain etc. of those you mention bear in mind the Top Fuel is no more – only the Superfly 29er, the Anthem Advanced and all Epics are only 29er. It’s where things are going for sure.

    mrlebowski
    Member

    Fitness is king in non technical riding. Watching the roadie xc boys here is painful just a rolling road block on anything not smooth. To succeed both is needed.

    Spot on, I’ve done a fair few races where I’ve caught & passed fitter racers than me on technical singletrack sections solely because I had better bike handling skills.

    They didn’t catch me up once I’d passed either..

    munrobiker
    Member

    I decided not to say whether or not he should go 29er. I doubt as an ex-downhiller he will find them enjoyable to ride in the slightest, but he’ll obviously have to try one and make up his own mind. The majority of racers north of the border are still on 26″ wheel bikes and they still make up most of the podiums.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    The majority of racers north of the border are still on 26″ wheel bikes and they still make up most of the podiums

    They are still wrong though 😆

    Premier Icon weeksy
    Subscriber

    Spot on, I’ve done a fair few races where I’ve caught & passed fitter racers than me on technical singletrack sections solely because I had better bike handling skills.

    How do you assume they were fitter than you if you passed them and they never passed you back ?

    If you’re that much more skilled, how were they in front of you at all ?

    mrlebowski
    Member

    ‘cos on fire road sections they were riding away from me…….

    Edit: I also when I race, don’t hammer out the gate… My lap-times from start to finish are pretty consistent. In the end I catch them because I’ve paced myself better…& because they don’t have rad to the max bike skillz..

    Premier Icon weeksy
    Subscriber

    In the end I catch them because I’ve paced myself better…& because they don’t have rad to the max bike skillz

    So they paced themselves badly but are fitter than you ? lol.

    Just because someone can fire-road better than you doesn’t necessarily make them fitter than you, they could be pushing a lot harder and easing the tech sections.

    mrlebowski
    Member

    So they paced themselves badly but are fitter than you ? lol.

    Just because someone can fire-road better than you doesn’t necessarily make them fitter than you, they could be pushing a lot harder and easing the tech sections.

    I give up.

    You win.

    Ps I was there & I know what I saw, you weren’t. You’re just going to have to take my word for it..

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    I give up.

    You win.

    Ps I was there & I know what I saw, you weren’t. You’re just going to have to take my word for it..

    Seeing isn’t believing! I believe you but then according to others I’m wrong too 🙂

    I think the OP should get a 6″ full bouncer more fun.

    mrlebowski
    Member

    I believe you but then according to others I’m wrong too

    🙂

    edit: good point well made Sir!

    Trimix
    Member

    I race XC on my 6″ Full Bouncer, complete with 800mm bars and an uppy downy.

    Im never going to win, (even on an appropriate bike) so I just use one bike for everything.

    Once I borrowed a light weight racing HT and actually overtook people which dosent normally happen – its was brilliant 🙂

    I aim to have fun.

    Waves at my admirer, thought it was you but couldn’t be sure….

    I’m def over thinking this but that’s part of the fun of buying a new bike right? I’ll admit I don’t want to ride a 29er but buying a 26 race bike is damn near impossible which makes me worry about getting tyres/wheels in the next couple of years, probably unfounded worry but it’s there.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    I’ll admit I don’t want to ride a 29er but buying a 26 race bike is damn near impossible which makes me worry about getting tyres/wheels in the next couple of years, probably unfounded worry but it’s there.

    Depends how specific you want to get I imagine, I can see Stan’s stopping doing things like the 26″ Podium rim, and RS not doing 26″ SID World Cups, but there’ll always be a market for 26″ stuff.

    Why is buying a 26 race bike near impossible ?

    Coz they don’t make many any more! Trek don’t do a 26″ FS, and limited hardtails, Spesh don’t do any 26″ HT or FS race bikes, Giant only do low end aluminium 26″ wheeled bikes, Scott don’t do the 4 top models of Spark or the 2 top Scales with 26″ wheels.

    The ‘obvious’ choices are fast disappearing!

    BIGMAN
    Member

    I used to race a Santacruz Highball. Fast and comfy.

    Got me a number of top10s last year in Expert before I sacked it off.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    My 3 26″ Race Bikes

    First the XC

    My Enduro Bike

    My Current DH Bike

    Fun to ride 🙂

Viewing 39 posts - 1 through 39 (of 39 total)

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