How great is a modern bike vs 5yrs ago

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  • How great is a modern bike vs 5yrs ago
  • I ride several different mtbs but they all seem shorter and steeper head angles than anything contemporary. My FS bikes are at 5 least yrs old.

    My slackest bike is a PP Shan HT with 160 pikes. Much as i love it, it seems really short compared to modern stuff. Its head angle is 65.5.

    My other bikes are a much more traditional 68/69 head angle. THE Shan is currentlyy fave bike evem compared to carbon full sus with big travel

    Would a LLS f/s bike feel as good to ride as my Shan? Can i now buy a big slack bike that will pedal uphill nicely?

    dc1988
    Member

    Yes, my new hardtail has a 64° head angle and 9cm longer reach than my old Cotic BFe. It climbs significantly better than the Cotic, there is a steep hill at Woburn that on a good day I could get up on the Cotic but would require a lot of skill in trying to keep rear wheel traction and stop front wheel lift. I climbed it the other day in terrible weather Anne only felt my back tyre slip briefly once. It was night and day between the two bikes and the head angle really doesn’t feel that extreme.

    Can i now buy a big slack bike that will pedal uphill nicely?

    Yes.

    Ok…what works well?

    Premier Icon nuke
    Subscriber

    Personally i think geometry is over analysed and ultimately you just get use to what you’re riding…sure, it may feel ‘different’ when switching between modern and older bikes but invariably they all still ride the same stuff. Bought a new lls 160 travel fs this year replacing a Remedy 26er and i cant say i was particularly blown away by the modern geometry on it; its a good bike and i enjoy riding it but then i enjoyed riding the Remedy. Basically if you want a new bike, buy a new bike.

    sure, it may feel ‘different’ when switching between modern and older bikes but invariably they all still ride the same stuff. Bought a new lls 160 travel fs this year replacing a Remedy 26er and i cant say i was particularly blown away by the modern geometry on it;

    What are you riding though? No idea who or where you are but obviously if you’re bimbling along canal paths or mincing around a trail centre then absolutely, modern geometry makes no difference.

    I’m a DH and BMX rider at heart and I went from an old Cotic Bfe to a Geometron. ‘Blown away’ by the new bike would be putting it mildly. It felt like the best DH bike I’d never had and it’s a nice place to sit and spin the pedals all day.

    Ok…what works well?

    Steeper seat angle keeps your bum in front of the rear axle. Longer chainstays reduce wheelying etc.. You really need to try it.

    Are these modern bikes any good on proper singletrack, the kind that you have to pedal to go fast and is impassable with 800mm bars?

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    Honestly it depends on your 5 year old bike and new bike. That’s how old mine is, I went up a size and stuck an angleset in it and it’s really a very similar shape to a lot of new bikes. That “bigger everywhere” norco that was on here the other day frinstance has extremely similar geometry, as does the bike model that replaced mine and is now officially Longer And Slacker And Better.

    But some 5-year-old bikes were middle of the road or you might say outdated, 5 years ago. Same today. I’ve a sneaking suspicion they ****ed mine up and it just so happened that they ****ed it up in the right direction, it wasn’t really a success at the job it was meant to do.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    5 years old IS modern!

    P-Jay
    Member

    Are these modern bikes any good on proper singletrack, the kind that you have to pedal to go fast and is impassable with 800mm bars?

    Well with the obvious caveat that there’s lots of different bikes and they’re all a little bit unique.

    Are they good? Yes, are they are easy or dare I say it as good as a shorter, steeper bike on REALLY tight, REALLY narrow stuff? Probably not, frankly, for a mere mortal like me riding trails so narrow you’ve only got a couple of CM each side I’d be go so slowly that it would be splitting hairs.

    They’re not, for example like riding a DH bike from a few years ago on a ‘normal’ trail where it’s trying to fall over all the time.

    However, on say some of the new bits of the Red TC trail at FOD, my LLS Bird is better than my old less LLS Intense was, but you really need to get over it and throw it about, but that’s my Bird generally, it’s pretty LLS compared to most, if you pussyfoot about it won’t turn, the front goes all light an vague and it’s generally a little bit disappointed in you, if you actually ride it though, it’s on your side all the way/

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Subscriber

    Are these modern bikes any good on proper singletrack, the kind that you have to pedal to go fast and is impassable with 800mm bars?

    Yes.

    Although I’d caveat that with there seems to be a split between bikes where a size large is a 460-470mm reach (couple that ive been looking at the nee on ones, vitus, nukeproof). And bikes where a large is 485-500 (new specialized ‘evo’ models, Bird, Geometron).

    The former are probably going to be the more fun to ride. The latter are going to be faster. Both have their places in the market. Just look at Sick bikes, they had both 500mm+ and <450mm reach bikes for downhill and trail riding respectively.

    submarined
    Member

    The Shan was always quite a short bike, and big changes were already underway 5 years ago compared to say, 10 years ago.
    I’ve got a 2016 Patrol and a 2016 Whyte 901. Both pretty LLS for that sort of era, and I’ve ridden a fair few more modern bikes and none have blown me away in the same way that, say, riding the Patrol after a friend’s Remedy that was about 6 years older than that.

    But I say that compared to what is now the norm, yours will feel very different.
    And yes, you can still hustle through Singletrack at a fair old lick.

    Sweepstake on the predictable person about to pop up and tell us we’re all wrong, it’s all marketing, etc.

    All I know is I’m faster, more confident, and importantly have more fun on my modern Geo bikes than I have had on anything else.

    dc1988
    Member

    If you want something good for singletrack that requires pedaling then I would think weight is as much a factor as geometry

    “If you want something good for singletrack that requires pedaling then I would think weight is as much a factor as geometry”

    Weight is a far less significant factor then most people think it is – but it’s easy to perceive when picking a bike up and easy to measure, hence the obsession. Suspension design and tuning matters more. And tyre choice too.

    pothead
    Member

    Depends on the way you use it. A 170mm 29er enduro race bike can and will get around a red trail centre with ease and even be capable of commuting if you chose to, but the recent advances in geometry and suspension will be wasted. The same bike will probably be just as good, possibly better than a 5 or 6 year old DH bike in the right hands but more than capable of riding back up. Unless you race (dh or xc) seriously I struggle to see why people need more than 1 proper mtb these days, although I do swap tyres a fair bit

    submarined
    Member

    Unless you race (dh or xc) seriously I struggle to see why people need more than 1 proper mtb these days, although I do swap tyres a fair bit

    Again, horses for courses, but my 170/155 Enduro bike is pretty dull and actually a bit boring to ride on my local, pretty flat terrain in the North Cotswolds. Same at a lot of trail centers. On the other hand, my 130mm hardtail can be ridden at bike parks, steep off piste stuff, jump lines etc, but it’s nowhere near as fun, and I can’t hit stuff anywhere near as fast(mostly because I need a significant amount of skills compensation…).
    Different people do different stuff, and different bikes make them more enjoyable 🙂

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    pothead

    Member

    Unless you race (dh or xc) seriously I struggle to see why people need more than 1 proper mtb these days

    My 2 main bikes are both capable of doing all the riding I do… But they do it differently, and variety is good

    Premier Icon ratherbeintobago
    Subscriber

    Honestly it depends on your 5 year old bike and new bike.

    This. I’m on a 5yo steel hardtail and apart from QR back wheel and 27.2 seat post (and so no dropper) I’m not sure I’d change much.

    Premier Icon Andy R
    Subscriber

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    molgrips

    Subscriber
    5 years old IS modern

    Funnily enough, that’s just what I was thinking. I’ve got a couple of Liteville 301 Mk10’s and I think of them as “modern” – people with real skill and talent could do things on them that I could never do on any bike, no matter how “modern”.
    I’m thinking of the likes of Tobi Leonhardt, Axel Kreuter and Harald Philipp here…

    Premier Icon LAT
    Subscriber

    I went from a Following to a Murmur. The murmur does everything better other than manual and that is something that can be overcome with practice.

    I recently rode my 4 year old hard tail that came from a revered company (who now make modern bikes) it felt dangerously unstable, like riding a road bike in the woods.

    Premier Icon LAT
    Subscriber

    people with real skill and talent could do things on them that I could never do on any bike

    that doesn’t mean that modern geometry isn’t better than old geometry <span style=”font-size: 0.8rem;”>and that isn’t to assume that things won’t go full circle or be further refined.</span>

    <span style=”font-size: 0.8rem;”>What I like at the moment is that there are a variety of geometries available.</span>

    I’m still on a 10 year old Pronghorn PR6 LT. It’s still a very capable bike, I still rag it about everywhere and I still have loads of fun on it. It is very much not modern in any way, shape or form. I’ve ridden newer bikes and I have just as much fun on those but I can’t say as I feel much difference in terms of riding them. They appear to be quicker if you take Strava times as a comparison, but I don’t think I’ve ever noticed the extra speed. I think it boils down to:

    Basically if you want a new bike, buy a new bike.

    Premier Icon LAT
    Subscriber

    And now that I’ve fully read the opening post, the steep seat angle and long chains stays will make a bike climb better. So you can get a big bike to go uphill better.

    Premier Icon tomhoward
    Subscriber

    When I demoed my 5010, getting on for 6 years ago now, I was open mouthed agog by how brilliant at everything it was, compared to my 5 year old intense, and replaced it as soon as I could. I’ve ridden plenty of bikes since then, and nothing has left me with the same feeling for an all round trail bike. Sure, I have better descending bikes, and faster climbing bikes, but nothing has come close as an all rounder. If you find a bike you really like, stick with it.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Funnily enough, that’s just what I was thinking. I’ve got a couple of Liteville 301 Mk10’s and I think of them as “modern” – people with real skill and talent could do things on them that I could never do on any bike, no matter how “modern”.

    There seems to be a lot of people who think we want new bikes because we think we will become better cyclists and achieve more. But this is largely not true. We like better bikes because they feel better to ride even if we do the same stuff on them.

    footflaps
    Member

    Weight is a far less significant factor then most people think it is – but it’s easy to perceive when picking a bike up and easy to measure, hence the obsession. Suspension design and tuning matters more. And tyre choice too.

    All depends on what you do. If you race XC, then weight is very significant (unless you like coming last).

    “All depends on what you do. If you race XC, then weight is very significant (unless you like coming last).”

    Total system weight vs power output is significant. But having a bike that’s 2kg lighter won’t make up for you being 5kg heavier than someone with the same power output.

    At the pointy of end XC then bike weight does make a a difference. But for everything else its importance is far overstated – and as I’ve learnt, adding weight to a full-sus frame actually improves the suspension performance without changing anything else.

    “There seems to be a lot of people who think we want new bikes because we think we will become better cyclists and achieve more.”

    I don’t think this is the case at all. The bikes are better so they’re more fun to ride and give confidence on more challenging stuff.

    “We like better bikes because they feel better to ride even if we do the same stuff on them.”

    I think most people realise that you can’t buy talent but you can buy better gear!

    I do think people overstate the benefit better gear gives – like you get more kudos than you deserve for riding something on a hardtail when everyone else is on a full-sus, etc.

    As someone who took nigh on a decade break from MTBing and comparatively recently got back into it I can’t say I’ve really notice much difference in how I was riding back then to now, even given the obsession with ever bigger wheels and slacker angles.

    Admittedly my main bike is a Mk1 Cotic Rocket, so I’m still running 26″ wheels but it has a ‘slackerizer’ headset and 160mm Pikes up front, the kind of fork travel that when I bailed from MTBing was largely for bikes at the ‘Freeride’ end of the scale. I’m also running tubeless 2.5″ tyres and a single ring up front, again things generally found on more FR/DH type bikes way back when.

    Yet despite running ‘old’ tech I don’t feel off the pace at all on my regular Thursday night rides nor do I find myself holding up folks when I go to trail centres etc, despite others rolling around on ‘newer’ bikes (clown wheels etc).

    In all honesty, for the majority of riders and the majority of types of riding I don’t feel that angle changes, wheel sizes and all the host of other “must have” changes make much difference, it’s just that people try to convince themselves they do to justify their purchases.

    reeksy
    Member

    I got back into MTB after a 20+ year hiatus three years ago and started out with a 2008 alloy ht xc 26er. On flat single-track I pretty much kept the same pace as I managed on my next bike a 2013 carbon xc 29er ht with a 150mm dropper… But everything else was different. I could ride gnarlier terrain and ride up hills that would have been impossible to keep my front wheel down on. Now I have a long slack steel 2019 HT all boosty with a 180mm dropper. I can smash the downhill as hard as on my 2017 trail dually and also climb nicely (though not quite as well as on the 2013 model)

    “Admittedly my main bike is a Mk1 Cotic Rocket, so I’m still running 26″ wheels but it has a ‘slackerizer’ headset and 160mm Pikes up front, the kind of fork travel that when I bailed from MTBing was largely for bikes at the ‘Freeride’ end of the scale. I’m also running tubeless 2.5″ tyres and a single ring up front“

    So you’re running a bike that was pretty much as forward thinking in geometry as you could buy before 27.5” wheels (which are only 1” bigger than 26”) took over, AND you’re running a slackset. And 2.5” tyres. So basically, bar a little bit of tyre diameter and reach (I don’t know which size you’re riding vs your height) you’re on a modern bike.

    “In all honesty, for the majority of riders and the majority of types of riding I don’t feel that angle changes, wheel sizes and all the host of other “must have” changes make much difference, it’s just that people try to convince themselves they do to justify their purchases.”

    So it doesn’t matter for everyone else but it does for you?

    So it doesn’t matter for everyone else but it does for you?

    No, not at all. My other bikes are a Dialled Bikes Prince Albert, a Dialled Bikes Holeshot and a Dialled Bikes Love/Hate.

    The Holeshot and Love/Hate feel different to the Cotic Rocket as they are more specialist ‘outliers’ but, other than not having suspension at the rear, the Prince Albert feels (to me) not a million miles away from the ‘modern’ handling of the Rocket.

    If having the latest geometry, wheels size etc mattered to me I’d have brought a bike that took clown sized wheels.

    I think you’ve just got to work out for yourself how the industry trends fit in with the kind of riding you are actually doing. Not all new bikes are super long and slack either. I just replaced my 5 year old Spesh Enduro with a shorter travel Canyon Neuron CF. The geometry is almost identical, but the target category has been slewed. Bikes with this kind of conservative LLS are now seen as XC/trail rather than trail/enduro, which now look more like DH bikes of a few years ago. So I’m not sure I want to be riding around the likes of Woburn and Cannoock on a modern slacked out enduro bike. But at least there is some choice. Everything is a compromise anyway.

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