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  • Is there really one do it all bike for off-road?
  • cogglepin
    Full Member

    I’ve used the search function with no success as I’ve know it’s probably been done to death already so apologies before I start.

    I’ve never really been one for owning several bikes due to storage problems and to be honest it dosent appeal to me that much , I would much rather have just one bike that I can use for all my off-road riding.

    I will still have my road bike and an old Marin pub/ shopping bike but as I said in a previous thread I could do with selling the Planet X Tempest and getting a hardtail mtb for gravel/winter duties. Then someone mentioned a 100mm travel full suss for everything and it got me thinking that maybe I could sell the Whyte T130crs as well. So most of my riding is NY moors XC , the odd trip to Dalby, Wales trail centres a couple of times a year and The New Forest, Puddletown when I visit my son.

    I love light bikes so I would want carbon and 29”. What’s the collectives thoughts? Tia

    TheGingerOne
    Full Member

    Yes, a lightweight hardtail can be used for almost all types of mountain biking. It’s all I have and has been used from Bike Park Wales to Scottish trail centres to Basque, with a lot of normal xc in between in the South Downs, Chilterns and Quantocks etc.

    Every so often I buy a full sus and they never do it for me.

    I ride a previous generation Yeti ArcC

    molgrips
    Full Member

    Of course there is. You can do nearly anything on nearly any bike. It all depends on where your priorities lie and what kind of riding you want to do best at.

    nickc
    Full Member

    Of course there is. You can do nearly anything on nearly any bike.

    Yep, this the correct answer, the thing you need to decide is what compromises you’re prepared to make, and the wrong answer to that is “How much does it weigh” frankly. Weight matters on a road bike, it matters less on a MTB, because for a few pounds/kg  more you get components and a frame that works, is comfortable and controllable and ridable over a broader range of terrains, and won’t break constantly.

    I agree that lighter bikes are nicer, but working bikes that don’t try to kill you or break in the middle of nowhere because the components aren’t up to the job are nicer still. Then your one bike does become a do-it-all thing.

    DickBarton
    Full Member

    Depending on your skill level and the range of riding that you do, then it will either be 100% yes or a sliding scale downwards. If skill level is up there then without a doubt 1 bike will do it all – plenty will need more effort and skill to do whatever, but it will happen. If there is very little skill level then perhaps not, but it is more likely down to lack of rider ability than bike.

    (although I’ve no real desire to try and ride a full-fat DH bike up a singletrack climb with some rocky/rooty technical sections to get over – but that is down to my lack of skills and ability!)

    jamesfts
    Free Member

    Depends what your “off-road” consists of – for me a 170mm 29er enduro bike (Megatower) does everything I need. Sensible weight and pedals well enough for the weekly xc ride, trundle around with the kids, uplifts and racing enduro and downhill. Not the perfect bike for a few of those but more than capable at everything it’s used for with minimal changes.

    Only other bike is a gravel bike.

    w00dster
    Full Member

    Like a lot of folk on here I’m a serial bike buyer….but if I had to just have a single bike I’d go with the “hardcore” hardtail. I have an Orange Crush with 150mm travel.
    Might be because I’m a relative bimbler so never felt out of my depth on it….plus I’m not riding anything like Dyfi, so for my off-road riding the 150mm hardtail is fine…(possibly even overkill). But I do also like having a 160mm travel full sus as well….

    I had a Trek Top Fuel a good few years ago, lightweight XC bike, from memory it was 100mm or 110mm front and back. Was great around a lot of places, but I do remember not enjoying certain rocky sections at Coed y Brenin.

    I had a play on a demo Trek Supercal, was awesome. For 99% of my rides it would be the ideal bike. But it’s expensive. I’d have to sell my Enduro bike to fund it, and thats not happening! My logic was that I could hire a bigger travel bike when needed….but it’s just nice to take the Enduro bike and let it bash everything in its way….

    endoverend
    Full Member

    Yes, a lightweight modern 29er, probably carbon…then just select tyres to suit usage. I have one that weighs under 20lb and mostly run it with minimal tread RaRa/Burt, like this it can keep up with road bikes on the way to the trail, overtake Ebikes uphill and go past gravel bikerists like they’re standing still. It’s proper sketch offroad but I like the challenge and it builds skills. Swapped to a set of proper tyres on it and it’ll ride anything usually done on the full suss bike, its not as easy but it can be more fun. Am old school and never really found a full suss that feels quite right, mostly they’re so competent at squish now that they’re just a bit dull for sub warp-speed riding. The most underrated bike out there at the moment is the modern hardtail IMO, its not for everyone though, its possible am not wired up quite right…

    JonEdwards
    Free Member

    Yesbutnobut.

    My mkV Soul is an ace “mountain bike”. Completely competent on proper gnarly terrain, ace for “just riding” off road, and it sucked up the odd bikepacking epic without noticing. But you’d be bored stupid riding it on pure gravel/road and from experience – a couple of days riding it at the Golfy was amazing (the bike didn’t miss a beat), but didn’t half utterly **** my shoulders and arms (to the point that driving home was awkward)

    jameso
    Full Member

    Is there really one do it all bike for off-road?

    Yes if you’re ok with compromises or better, you enjoy some of those compromises.

    BITD we used to have one bike for XC, DH, playing in bombholes etc. We have a lot more choice now but imo my enjoyment of MTB hasn’t gone up proportionately with that amount of choice. With hindsight yes of course modern bikes are better but that’s not the same as what it takes for a ride to be fun. My bikes over the last 15 years have trended back toward having things in common with those old ATBs but with the benefits of things like tubeless 29er tyres or discs.

    nickc
    Full Member

    It’s proper sketch offroad

    i.e. not the right tool for the job? 🤣 I’m taking the piss a bit, and you’re happy then who I am to throw shade,  but this is what I mean, you’ve not got a mountain bike, you’ve got a bike that you’ll ride off road, those aren’t the same thing really. Plus, why not 27.5 wheels? It’s be even lighter after all [runs away]

    The most underrated bike out there at the moment is the modern hardtail IMO

    Honestly for me, the answer is the complete opposite; a long travel FS, I’ve recently spent some time on  Hightower and lock it out,  it’s a capable mile muncher, totally sorted on any trail, comfy…that’s proper do it all.

    cogglepin
    Full Member

    Thanks folks. I used to have a Kona kula watt which I loved but I moved it on when smaller wheels became unfashionable. I really like the simplicity of a hardtail for maintenance and cleaning and if I go down that route I will just have put up with some discomfort on the more rocky stuff.

    willard
    Full Member

    I think “Yesbutnobut” is about the right answer, probably combined with @molgrips answer. If I wanted one bike that would do everything though (and I’m not a serial bike buyer, but I have three and was contemplating a fourth) I’d look for a modern 29er short travel FS bike and then a couple of different wheel sets.

    My old Stumpy FSR does just about everything ok (or well), but it’s not a DH monster and the tyres and gearing make commuting on it a drag (literally), but I think something similar would work a treat.

    chakaping
    Free Member

    Sounds like your MTB needs would be very well covered by a modern short-travel 29er.

    You say you’re keeping a road bike, but do you do a lot more road than gravel? Could you lose the road bike and cover road and gravel with the Tempest instead?

    As a recent recruit to gravel, I love how it’s a totally different vibe riding off-road on drop bars compared to my MTBs.

    Klunk
    Free Member

    if you’ve got the skillz then yes otherwise probably not.

    fossy
    Full Member

    Depends upon skilz (I don’t have any). I’ve two road bikes, an old rigid MTB (used for commuting and flat stuff) and a 130mm full suspension that can do way more than I can, and is just great for any off road use, I don’t even bother to lock the suspension when I’m doing loads of climbing. Does the job, as would a modern hard tail.

    cogglepin
    Full Member

    Chapaking, more road than gravel. It’s a 130 mile round trip for any decent gravel mtbing for me.

    reeksy
    Full Member

    I had a Santa Cruz Highball CC for all my riding for a while. Pretty versatile with a dropper and 120mm…

    Now I’d take a Ti Switch9er.

    pickle
    Free Member

    Trail orientated E Bike

    chakaping
    Free Member

    It’s a 130 mile round trip for any decent gravel mtbing for me.

    Yeah, get rid of the gravel bike then.

    😀

    This is probably for a thread of it’s own, but what do you class as “decent gravel”, out of interest?

    nickc
    Full Member

    I think what these threads reveal the most is that; Yes, there’s one do it all bike for you, it just may not be the same one that some-one else’s thinks is their one-bike-to-do-it-all.

    endoverend
    Full Member

    you’ve not got a mountain bike, you’ve got a bike that you’ll ride off road,

    It may be tempting to think that but you’d be wrong… it’s a mountain bike built for racing which with modern geo allows it to have a wide envelope of capability, and with the right technique can tackle almost anything. Its going to be a bit slower on the limited hardest sections, but overall it’ll soon be riding in a different postcode compared to a long travel FS on most normal non-extreme tm routes.

    kerley
    Free Member

    Of course there is. You can do nearly anything on nearly any bike. It all depends on where your priorities lie and what kind of riding you want to do best at.

    Exactly. If you ride 90% bike parks then an enduro bike may be best for that and you would just put up with it on gravel roads, if 90% of your riding is singletrack and gravel roads then an XC bike which would just be more challenging on more extreme bike parks routes.

    I never own more than one bike at a time, nor more than one bass, nor more than one camera etc,. as just how my brain is wired I suppose so I just ride whatever bike I have on whatever I come across and I am happy because I am riding my bike.

    cogglepin
    Full Member

    Chapaking, I may be exaggerating a wee bit as there is some nice gravel riding about 20 miles away but it’s only a smallish area and come winter time it’s a mud fest. I was thinking along the lines of forest fire roads, moorland tracks etc. I live in a rural area which is very heavy soil/clay do it’s bloody awful when wet.

    stevextc
    Free Member

    NickC

    Honestly for me, the answer is

    NickC

    I think what these threads reveal the most is that; Yes, there’s one do it all bike for you, it just may not be the same one that some-one else’s thinks is their one-bike-to-do-it-all.

    nickc
    Full Member

    Yeah, you see that bit where it says “For me?” that might be different “For you”

    🤷‍♀️

    nickc
    Full Member

    but overall it’ll soon be riding in a different postcode compared to a long travel FS on most normal non-extreme tm routes.

    Yeah, that’s the compromise I guess, for me – see what I did there @stevextc?  My priority would be nailing the techy stuff, the fact that I’m slower (for a value of slow) on non extreme is irrelevant.

    ads678
    Full Member

    The most underrated bike out there at the moment is the modern hardtail IMO

    Honestly for me, the answer is the complete opposite; a long travel FS

    This is it for me, modern bikes are so good, unless you want a pure DH bike, they just about do everything.

    For me a short travel FS 29er is probably about the best a do it all bike has ever been.

    desperatebicycle
    Free Member

    think what these threads reveal the most is that

    most people only read the subject line before posting?

    onewheelgood
    Full Member

    For me a short travel FS 29er is probably about the best a do it all bike has ever been.

    When I got my Jeffsy (first version, 2016) I thought it was the ultimate do-it-all bike. Then this year I rode my friends Spur which has 20mm less travel but feels like it has 20mm more, but only when you need it. Witchcraft. So if I was restricted to one bike, it would be a Spur. And I think the Spur would work for the OP too.

    stevextc
    Free Member

    NickC

    see what I did there @stevextc?

    Did where ??

    I was just quoting you as it was exactly what I would have said and it’s easier than retyping.

    tall_martin
    Full Member

    Yoni barrel rode down a line in Whistler in a cross bike.

    I would not be attempting that.

    So you can have one bike and make it work for you.

    You will have to accept the limitations.

    5lab
    Full Member

    there was an interesting article on pb where they measured a big enduro bike with normal tyres/wheels on against a trail bike with the same bits, and ascending they were effectively the same pace (weight/extra travel didn’t make any difference), downhill the big bike was better.

    So the answer is a super-enduro bike with 2.2″ xc race tyres

    wors
    Full Member

    I’ve never really been one for owning several bikes due to storage problems and to be honest it dosent appeal to me that much ,

    You listed 4 bikes in your OP 🙂

    ayjaydoubleyou
    Full Member

    Short answer – No

    Longer answer – yes, if you are happy to limit yourself somewhere on the spectrum of “offroad”.

    This thread has people saying the one bike to do it all is a hardtail, and someone else suggesting a 170mm enduro. And Kerley but his riding includes road as well.

    I love light bikes so I would want carbon and 29”. What’s the collectives thoughts? Tia

    You’ll love the term “downcountry”, even if you have to cringe every time you say it. In essence, a 120mm XC bike with thats a little beefed up in the tyre department.

    Transition Spur would be my pick of the bunch.

    molgrips
    Full Member

    FWIW if I had to get rid of all but one of my bikes I’d keep my rigid Salsa El Mariachi. But that’s because where I live there are lots of mountain tracks accessed by either long bits of road or technical singletrack. Technical trails become slow and precise affairs rather than blasts, but conversely I can knock out miles of road and fire road fairly quickly and in comfort. And that’s what I’m likely to do. A FS would be great for the MTBing down here but a chore on the amount of road I’d have to do.

    _tom_
    Free Member

    I’ve tried the “hardcore hardtail” thing enough times to know it’s not my favourite do it all bike. For me I like a bit of rear suspension to take the sting out of my dodgy riding abilities, it also inspires more confidence and feels more balanced to me. I’d like to try a modern 120-140mm travel 29er FS, seems like it would be a good all rounder in theory.

    TiRed
    Full Member

    Carbon Giant Anthem would be mine. In reality I mince around on a light steel SS and a cross bike. I did ride a Norco downhill bike once and it was like a steamroller over some serious technical stuff.

    For my red route riding the SS is enough.

    downshep
    Full Member

    My first MTB was a fully rigid 1986 Rockhopper. It came with 1.5″ wide Spesh Crossroads tyres with a solid central ridge. Pump them up for commuting and touring, soften them for off road, up to and including carrying up and riding down Ben Lomond. The point being, you can do virtually anything on any off road bike. The question is what do you use it for most? A modern gravel bike can do anything except big air / drops. A full suss with 160mm travel can waft along fire roads and canal paths. For me, the least compromised off roader would be a lightweight hardtail with a lockable 100mm fork and large volume trekking tyres. Bombproof for commuting / touring, acceptable on NCN / fire road yet still capable on singletrack. Your needs / expectations may differ.

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