Do we over build our bikes here?

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  • Do we over build our bikes here?
  • GNARGNAR
    Member

    I’m in the process of specing a new build for my self. The frame is as yet undecided but it’ll be in the 6-7 “freeride lite” category. Haul up, bomb down. Very rocky technical stuff, the occaisional mid sized drop thrown in for good measure.

    During this process my natural inclination would be towards bomb-proof DH componentry but the more I think about it the more I think it’s overkill. I’ve never come close to snapping or bending a saint or diabolous crank, nor have I put a dent in a DH stem.

    What passes for “all mountain” and trail riding over the pond often involves stuff we would regard as freeride or downhill, large gaps, drops and very technical rough terrain. Surely the componentry designed for this riding (AM component lines) is up to spec for uk dh?

    Using this logic surely I could save a few pounds (weight and money) by speccing a lighter build that would be just as robust in real terms?

    Some xc trails in BC are as punishing and technical as DH tracks here, perhaps we are buying componentry that is in no way neccessary for our riding?

    *Obviously I appreciate there are a lot of xc whippet weight weenies on here who already have very light builds but I am talking more to the guys with “do it all” bikes and builds.

    bomberman
    Member

    yeah just don’t go for silly light, pick good strong midweight components. obviously some bits are more important than others.

    EDIT:

    cranks are fairly important
    as are wheels – you could probabaly save a lot of weight if you choose nice wheels
    DH brakes are overkill although flimsy levers are likely to snap off
    forks are pretty important

    and how much you weigh needs consideration. if youre 16 stone and doing 6 ft drops regularly you might need strong tyres/tubes which will bump the weight up…

    coffeeking
    Member

    It also depends on how you ride – some people ride very smoothly and lightly. But I’d say 90% of the time we over-spec hugely – my natural tendency was to build up my 5″ bike with D521s and it seemed sensible when i took it to the alps. Re-did the alps last summer and rode with 317s without a dent.

    The problem is that people find it hard to judge – you get some folks with JRA accidents snapping stems on 10ft drops and you get some weekend warriors riding 9″ DH bikes round the local park.

    MrNutt
    Member

    longer travel = bigger cock

    I have 180mm and I am a huge cock πŸ˜†

    GNARGNAR
    Member

    Im thinking specifically about stems, bars, cranks and wheels here. I’ve already got some dh brakes, and I’ll be speccing it with at least 160mm forks.

    JonEdwards
    Member

    Its perfectly possible to pick sensible, pretty light copmponents that are nigh on bomproof.

    SLX cranks – way lighter than Saint, (barely heavier than XT), but have steel pedal thread inserts which prevents my usual crank failure mode.

    Hope stem – 148g for a 50mm version – you ain’t going to break it in use though.

    There’s plenty of other kit at various price points that fulfills the “light, strong enough” thing well. You just need to know which bits of componentry you’re especially hard on, and which you are’t.

    matthew_h
    Member

    I’m pretty pleased with the build of my Nomad. Nothing ridiculously expensive or light but sensibly built for strength with a nod to lightweight.

    SLX Cranks and rear mech, Thomson stem and seatpost, Easton EA70 Bars, DT Swiss wheels etc.

    Seems to work pretty well.

    MrNutt
    Member

    Thomson x4 50mm stem is about perfect, Easton oversize 710 carbon, 819 rims on Pro2’s, Noir carbon chainset?

    that would be about spot on no?

    cynic-al
    Member

    sounds like you do over build your bike. “very rocky” LOL “occasional mid sized drop thrown in for good measure” LMAO

    overbuilt is subjective, back in sheffieldour “XC” club rides woud generaly involve the following

    456
    switchback
    trailstar
    sub zero wih lyrics
    tomac MOAH
    kona stinky
    cove stiffe(s)
    and various XC bikes in the more traditional sense.

    I wouldn sy any of the bikes were overbuilt, it’s just that we tended to se XC rides as an excuse to ride 8or9 different decents in a few hours.

    On the other han a couple of th eXC guys once humiliated a group of DHers at Warncliffe. They’d hung back at the top for a few seconds to give us mear mortals a haead start and we’d stoped at the fire road mid way down to wait for them. Chating to a group of guy on DH bikes who were contemplaing the next rock drop (we were going to roll it). Then out of nowhere comes our two guys on propper XC bikes, pedaling like theyr possessed down the singletrack, barely tuching the fireoad and flying straight over the drop stil elbow to elbow into the singletrack.

    We left them and their battered ego’s to cotemplate what we’d just seen πŸ™‚

    bluebird
    Member

    I’ve just completed the same sort of project and had the same reservations. In the end the frame, forks, wheels and cranks are all up to DH build, the rest wouldn’t look out of place on a AM or even XC bike, apart from the bigger disk rotors.To my way of thinking the wheels are going to have the toughest life, followed by the cranks. My handlebars, for example, have 8″ of fork travel to protect them from the terrain. Obviously crashes may be worse, but then I’ve had some pretty major stacks in my time on bikes of all types and not actually broken that much.

    twohats
    Member

    I’m in full agreement that people overbuild their bikes.
    I run a Nomad for pretty much what you’ve described.
    It gets used mainly for ragging down the local DH tracks, but is built so that if the mood takes me, I can use it for going up hills, XC type stuff.
    I run it with a 2 ring chain device, coil shocks and a full XT groupset, there are no parts on it that are really DH or “all mountain” specific except maybe the chain device.
    If I’m going to the Alps, a bikepark or a really rocky techy DH track I’ll switch to DH tyres, but for most of the time it runs on regular 2.35 Nevegals.
    All this talk about people overbiking themselves, its more people over building bikes that makes them more unusable.
    A few of my mates have hardtails the same weight and heavier than my Nomad due to the silly choice of over heavy components…

    *edit*
    I also run 717 rims, of which this current set is almost 4 years old and has survived countless trips to Morzine, Les Gets, Chamonix, Pila, Γ…re and many other bikeparks, although the rear rim is on its last legs and looking a little worse for wear. 717s, maybe an XC rim, but they are bloody strong…

    Olly
    Member

    wheel strength is all in the build.
    its only when you “dink” the rim, that its weight matters (that and if its too narrow it doesnt support the tyre as well)

    love building and maintaning bikes πŸ™‚ its half the fun for me, i dont intend to buy another bike, just evolve the ones ive got.
    3 is the magic number.

    I do 80%XC and in the last 3 years I’ve only properly broken wheels, tyres, deraillers and mech hangers in crashes. The other components I’ve replaced were just wear-and-tear items which is pretty serious in typical wet/gritty UK conditions. So using slightly “overbuilt” components is probably sensible as you may get more life out of them.

    GNARGNAR
    Member

    cynic-al
    sounds like you do over build your bike. “very rocky” LOL “occasional mid sized drop thrown in for good measure” LMAO

    http://www.vimeo.com/3340731 – from about 1:45 onwards would visually at least, be similar to what I ride, only steeper, faster, rockier and with substantially bigger drops onto rock garden transitions. I mean rocky and midsized in a freeride DH conext. But continue laughing your ass off.

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager
    Subscriber

    I’d definitely go lighter as you suggest yourself. I built up a gemini with lyrics last year to see what a big bike is all about and it was a real eye-opener to see its limitations. The bike just does not make sense unless its pointed downhill.

    Climbing with it is no problem – Its obviously not made for the ups and you just accept that and get on with it. Its the across bits that, surprisingly, suck. Its just a big fat wallowy pig bike that flounders along the singletrack.

    So anything that will expand the range of your bike is recommended, IMO. Its an unusual ride that is pure up and down without anything in between, at least for me. A strong wheelset and lighter components will be fine.

    I over built mine forsure in the past. The last few years I have been riding XC bikes and decided to buy a CX bike. I do all my riding on the CX bike now. Bit more arm pump maybe bt for what I type of riding I do these days its better suited to me.

    cynic-al
    Member

    GNARGNAR I was LOLLing at your writing style – do you read alot of mbr? πŸ˜‰

    Anyway I’m happy that you ride gnarlier stuff than me. IMO if you ride smoothly you can get away with lighter kit

    GW
    Member

    You may, I don’t

    in my time I’ve bent/broken many DH parts incl. bent a few sets of 3pc cromo BMX cranks, bent/ripped pedal threads out alloy DH cranks, bent many handlebars, bent 2 DH stems, destroyed a lot of rims, smashed/bent chainguides/bashguards/chainrings, bent many many pedal axles, smashed pedal bodies. destroyed saddles, bent seatposts, torn tyres, snapped mechs. bent levers etc. yes, a lot of these parts failed while riding/racing DH but any bike I get to the top of a hill I’ll ride in a similar fashion back down so I build all my bikes to be realistically durable enough for how/what I ride.
    eg. my 95mm travel hardtail is 31lb and no expense has been spared in speccing the lightest parts I know I can rely on. DH bike about 42lb, 4.5″ travel (mini DH bike) 37lb
    parts are actually pretty similar on all 3 main difference in weight between them is in the frames (and tyres and forks on the DH bike).

    GW
    Member

    Cynic-al = I disagree, I’d actually consider myself to be a far smoother rider than most, but I’m strong and heavy, ride DH reasonably quickly, like jumps and am not afraid to crash so lightweight parts would simply not survive.

    steve_b77
    Member

    I’d say that my Pitch is probably over built for what I do the majority of the time on it, but it’s probably bang on for Taking to the Alps in teh summer and again next year.

    My HT is pretty much perfect for how I like to ride it and what I do on it, nothing silly, but it weighs 27lbs has upto 130mm of travel and 185mm brakes, so nice

    I think many folk overbuild bikes from what I see. For a lot of folk the fun seems to be in building and speccing the bike rather than riding it. Stems is one thing that really makes me laugh – after some discussion elsewhere I tried to flex a long lightweight stem I have – with my full bodyweight on a 35cm lever it did not flex in any plane in any visible amount – but people still put those massive DH stems on XC bikes. Dinnerplate rotors is another – when a 160mm rotor will lock the wheels on any surface with a single finger on the brakes why do folk go for huge ones? Maybe needed if you race dh or ride a lot in the alps for weight dissipation but a properly set up 160mm disc is all you need for XC

    cynic-al
    Member

    furry muff GW, I am jey-core lite and petrified of crashing.

    I am also heavily over-biked.

    “when a 160mm rotor will lock the wheels on any surface with a single finger on the brakes”

    Agreed, except when overheating. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen, even doing XC in the UK. Mainly long, straight, techy descents where some brake drag is needed. I overheated my 160mm rear brake descending Cheddar rock garden which is just 220m vert and 2km long e.g. a continuous 1 in 10, densely peppered with lots of immovable rocks.

    I probably drag far too much as I’m not riding anywhere near my peak yet!

    franki
    Member

    I hadn’t used to worry about using lightweight xc kit for general trail riding, (I’m pretty smooth and not into jumping or big drops) but having just snapped an top-flight xc crank arm in half (c/set side) on the road(!) I’m not quite so confident as I was…

    bluebird
    Member

    Being able to Lock a 160 rotor is not the same as having controlled braking.

    sq225917
    Member

    It comes down to how you ride. MY BLT is 24lbs on the nail, very light, all carbon parts. I’m happy to ride it seriously full tilt down Stannage/Long Causeway, but i ride very smooth.

    Similarly my DH bike is a 36lb Demo 7, i run Mavic SX wheels on that, thye hold up for what i need, but i’ve been out with mates who on the same day as me have written of much heavier wheelsets due to the way they ride ‘at’ stuff, rather than ‘over’ it..

    Pukz
    Member

    I’m currently looking at a bigger travel bike and although I’m not building it myself!I have looked at AM bikes like the Trek Remedy, these are up to most things the UK has to offer IMO…. I also have a friend that took 1 to Whistler it was fine there 2! It has loads of XC/AM parts on it and only weights something like 28lb with 160mm of travel! so there is deffo the parts available on the market to achieve your goal …….

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    when a 160mm rotor will lock the wheels on any surface with a single finger on the brakes why do folk go for huge ones?

    What feels good in the car park is a different thing altogether when hurtling down a 1:3. I’ve got 160mm Minis on my 5 and 200mm V2s on the Patriot. In “normal riding” they feel similar, a touch sharper on the V2s maybe but when you’re going fast down something really steep and you need to stop in a hurry, the Minis start to feel underpowered very quickly, but the V2s just don’t care. They work exactly the same in extreme circumstances than they do in the car park.

    On steep stuff you need a lot more braking force but you get a lot more cos your weight’s right over the front. So the brake works many times harder.

    Premier Icon jam bo
    Subscriber

    On my DH bike there is an element of durability in there. I could run lighter equipment on there but it gets expensive replacing it. Before I got saint cranks I was getting through a set on average every 6 months, I’ve had them on for about 3 yrs now with no problems. I’ll live with a bit of extra weight.

    GW
    Member

    TJ – RE: lightweight stems, yer talking pish, either that or you’re just incredibly weak.

    djglover
    Member

    I underbuild mine a bit

    224 with Sun singletrack rims, rims replaced every 18 months. WTB rocket saddle, disintigrated everytime a rock even looked at it, XT cranks, threaded when a treestump breathed near them. Wellgo MG pedals, the metal is almost liquid so the pins come straight out.

    I never learn

    Replacing rims every 18 months isnt bad for a downhill bike.

    wl
    Member

    What bike are you building up Gnargnar? It’s true that lots of xc in BC is like our dh and freeride. Canadians would die laughing at something like Llandegla’s ‘Black’ run. Spec-wise, go large of forks – aside from performance, even if you don’t do big drops etc, fat stachions won’t flex and the forks will just last way longer. Slx cranks are a good compromise – strong, light and with pedal inserts to protect against crank arm damage on the double and bash set-up. Saint/Diablous is pretty much for pros and the self-deluded. A Hussfelt stem is Β£20 and strong and not to heavy. Big rotors and Hayes HFX9s brakes will do any job cheaply and without fuss (if you can still find them). Good luck.

    GNARGNAR
    Member

    I’m thinking of a reign/sx trail/mini dh or similar. Not entirely certain yet but I’m certain of the application.

    wl
    Member

    Your riding sounds similar to mine, up here in the Pennines. I use an ’08 Patriot as my general bike. It’s not so light, but it’s bombproof, very fun, very low maintenance, fine for all day rides if you’re not in a mad rush, good for anything in the UK and perfect in BC, Spain and the Alps. I could shed a load of weight if I ditched the heavy duty High Rollers, but they just grip too well and I’ve had one puncture in 2 years.

    Gw – It was a bontrager stem. Steerer end held firmly, a handlebar thru it, all my weight on one end of the bars – no noticable flex. the bars flexed a fair bit – about 2 cm but the stem did not move any visible amount – either bending or twisting.

    As for brakes – don’t patronise me. I know the difference between a car park test and going down a steep hill. Plenty of modulation and plenty of power even on a steep downhill stopping from high speed. I do have my brakes set up well. Single finger will lock the brake if I want under any conditions. even with all the weight on the front wheel

    Premier Icon firestarter
    Subscriber

    ive recently beefed up the build on my full sus bike bigger wheels instead of the olympics and ive swapped minis for m4 and front rear bolt thrus it feels much better and even when adding a gravity dropper and bigger tyres its only bumped the weight up 2.5 pounds so nowt really

    im mid build on my new ht(will be finished tomorrow after nights ) ive sold my cannondale frame and forks and building a 456 up ive took the talas from the sus and stuck my floats on it (figured a bit of adjustability for the 456 would be good)rest is xt/hope on xm321/ and on-one race face kit fairly budget build for fun and durability and to outlast my ride into things style lol

    brakes are oro biancos which i had on the dale but i tried them with bigger rotors and i love the bigger ones 203 front and rear stops on a dime with one finger and feels great (prob drop to a 180 rear when one pops up on classifieds)

    reckon the 456 and the full sus will weigh about the same but both built to last and ride πŸ˜‰

    Premier Icon Shandy
    Subscriber

    I can stop my bike with a vigorous wiggle of my pinky finger.

    GNARGNAR SX Trails can be built up light, my 08 SX is built up to about 33lbs without too much effort.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Plenty of modulation and plenty of power even on a steep downhill stopping from high speed. I do have my brakes set up well. Single finger will lock the brake if I want under any conditions. even with all the weight on the front wheel

    If you think V2s are as good as Minis then you are an idiot, and you’ve never ridden fast! Or maybe you and I have a different idea of what ‘plenty’ of power means. If you can lock up the front wheel with one finger with 160mm rotors then all I can think is that you ride a lot of gravel or you have really slippery tyres.

    As for brakes – don’t patronise me.

    Bloody ell, chips on shoulders lads. I never patronise anyone, I just think you’re wrong or you don’t ride like I do. In any case that bit about brakes was aimed at anyone not specifically you.

    Premier Icon jam bo
    Subscriber

    yeah but you mince TJ….we establised that ages ago….

    πŸ˜‰

    Molgrips – I am not denying there are better brakes but for 90% of folk 160 mm rotors is fine if you have your brakes set up properly For sure the 160mm minis I have have enough power to exceed the grip of the tyres on any surface in any situation. And that is with good tyres on any surface.

    People often mistake initial bite for outright power. IME grip is always the limiting factor not the brake

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    but for 90% of folk 160 mm rotors is fine if you have your brakes set up properly

    Now who’s patronising whom? I know what works for my style of riding thanks!

    People often mistake initial bite for outright power.

    Hehe.

    Grip is not the limiting factor for me in my riding. In my experience.. which counts for me πŸ™‚

    coffeeking
    Member

    For sure the 160mm minis I have have enough power to exceed the grip of the tyres on any surface in any situation.

    My 165 mini, set up beautifully, couldnt stop a passing fly – it remains on the rear where it sees little use. Nothing short of a 4 pot 185 up front stops my 230lbs lump in a decent time πŸ™‚ The 165 boiled in the alps too, and I dont hang off the brakes all the time.

    yup most folk overbuild their bikes. wheels is the big one.
    i run stans olympic rims on two bikes, and for the 1st time since getting them, i put a wee dink in the rear on the ht. I’m not that lightweight at 13st. just ride pretty light.

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