Possible to feel over-biked on 140mm travel?

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  • Possible to feel over-biked on 140mm travel?
  • Premier Icon allyharp
    Subscriber

    Looking at buying my first full sus and weighing up a couple of 120mm options and a 140mm option. Suspect the former probably suits my normal riding better, but I’m likely to be going to the alps in summer where the latter would be spot on.

    2 main contenders are the Norco Fluid in Evans (meaning I can actually test it out and potentially use a cycle-to-work voucher as part payment) and the Canyon Spectral that every man and his dog seems to be after right now:
    Norco Fluid, 120mm both ends:
    Canyon Spectral, 140mm both ends

    My favourite type of riding is wilderness epics that may involve some rocky descents, but will take at least as many miles of easy landrover track and hike-a-bike to get there. Torridon loop and Cairngorm loops aplenty please.

    But those trips are few and far between so much more regularly I’m just at Swinley or the Surrey Hills (and that’s usually a 25-30 mile XC round-trip from Dorking, rather than sessioning particular trails). I’ve also found myself enjoying the ups more than the downs recently (eg. the White’s Level climb at Afan last weekend).

    Currently I’m riding (100/120mm) hardtails or ocasionally a fully rigid. My biggest concern is that any full sus is going to feel like a big jump, so is it possible that the Canyon might be too much?

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    own a 140r160f trail bike. Overbiked in some places of course, under biked in other of course.

    I’d rather have a bike to 50 weeks of the year than for 2 if you get what I mean, which is why I have a HT also a DH bike to build up and a proper XC machine coming when funds allow….

    It’s a slightly odd term. I would say that when riding seems unchallenging, the pleasure from the thrill is lost.

    It rather depends on the trails you are typically riding and your skill/confidence/speed.

    andyrm
    Member

    Overbiked is a stupid term generally used by people who can’t afford a bigger, better bike or don’t have the skillset to ride more challenging terrain fast. Note I say ride it fast, not just ride it.

    Get the bigger bike and if it initially seems harder work on easier trails, the bonus is that you’ll get fitter.

    I’ve always believed in spec’ing the bike for the biggest use you will do and getting fitter to mitigate any weight gain.

    Tom_W1987
    Member

    I’ve always believed in spec’ing the bike for the biggest use you will do and getting fitter to mitigate any weight gain.

    What this guy said.

    You can always run less sag and a semi slick

    tonyd
    Member

    I disagree that overbiked is a stupid term. It doesn’t necessarily mean the bike is too much for you, just that it’s too much for your regular trails.

    I went from a HT, to 100mm FS, then up to a 140mm FS. I used to do a lot of trips to Wales, Scotland a couple of times, and once to Spain. For these the 140 was perfect but once these trips became less frequent 140mm felt like complete overkill for the likes of Swinley (and is IMO).

    I then built a hardtail which was great fun and eventually sold the 140mm and HT and built up a 120mm FS. The 120mm suits my local rides (Swinley) perfectly, no doubt I might feel slightly ‘underbiked’ on bigger trails but I’m sure I’ll manage for that once or twice a year.

    Edit: Meant to say that I do agree with this though:

    I’ve always believed in spec’ing the bike for the biggest use you will do and getting fitter to mitigate any weight gain.

    And if your regular trails are Surrey Hills and Swinley I wouldn’t go 140mm.

    Trimix
    Member

    If your suspension is adjustable, set it so it suits you and your riding. You can also change your speed. Id not worry too much about daft terms like “overbiked”

    Im overbiked when I ride slow, or dont take the challenging option. But sometimes thats good as Im knackered or not concentrating.

    stumpy01
    Member

    I’ve got a 140mm Stumpjumper FSR and have never felt that it was too much.
    Yeah, perhaps riding round Thetford it is somewhat overkill, but it’s efficient enough that the extra travel doesn’t really come into it.

    I’ve never thought ‘hmmmm, I wish this bike had less travel’ and I’m pretty sure it has got me out of plenty of buttock clenching moments when I realise I’ve run out of skill for the speed I’m travelling at.

    Geometry comes into it too though; I wouldn’t want anything that was a pain to ride uphill, just so I could have a bit more travel.

    Premier Icon AlexSimon
    Subscriber

    I find that ‘overbiked’ isn’t directly linked to travel amount.

    Amount of pedal bob
    Bike weight
    Bike Geometry

    All make as much difference. There are plenty of quickish handling and pedalling 140mm bikes out there that wouldn’t feel out of place on XC rides/races.
    And vice versa – there are 120mm slack single pivots that would feel lethargic on normal trails.

    The most important thing is that you ride a few bikes and find out what you like.

    I’ve never, ever felt overbiked on my Maverick apart from when I run Super Tacky tyres on tarmac 🙂 Those same tyres make it feel completely unflinching on descents.

    glasgowdan
    Member

    With a bigger travel bike you’ll end up taking rougher lines, maybe jumping things you didn’t ever consider to be jumps, going faster on many rocky rough sections and it will change the way you ride. No matter what bike you’re on you can ride up to the limit of your ability on that bike and it’s still as much fun.

    Your back will thank you for a comfier ride and a bigger bike will be faster (= more fun) when you do go to rockier descents.

    Besides, good 140mm bikes now aren’t slow on the climbs. They can be pretty efficient and sprightly.

    daver27
    Member

    forget travel, look at the geometry.

    Premier Icon kayak23
    Subscriber

    Have a look at your middle finger.. It’s about 20mm thick right? (Farmers or laydeez excluded) 😉
    That’s nothing and makes no odds really to how the bike actually performs. People talk about that extra bit of rear wheel movement as if it means that the rest of the bike is suddenly 20lbs heavier or something.
    Suspension and geometry WILL matter though.
    Shocks are really tuneable too…
    I’d get a 140mm bike myself, but I’m worried I might be UNDER-biked…
    I usually ride my 160mm Mega on anything. 😀

    happybiker
    Member

    I think geometry has a bigger bearing on the ride when it comes to feeling overbiked. For example something like the new Kona Process 111 would probably ride worse than some 120/140mm bikes with different geometry. I did a 900km stage race on my Ellsworth Evolution with that much travel and was climbing stuff most guys were walking.

    Premier Icon stilltortoise
    Subscriber

    I’ve always believed in spec’ing the bike for the biggest use you will do and getting fitter to mitigate any weight gain.

    I think that the extremes on the bike spectrum are, frankly, too extreme for this to be genuinely sensible advice. Too many people buy the biggest bike for the “biggest use” they *think* they will do and end up slogging up and across muddy bridleways on a downhill bike. Not fun. Even if you do have the odd weekend down-hilling, a downhill bike would be an awful tool for the other 50 weeks of a year when you’re riding round the countryside.

    It’s never been a better time to buy a genuinely capable bike that will cope with climbs and descents without going to one extreme or another.

    Demo some. I had a Ragley MmmBop which was incredibly capable down and surprisingly capable up. It was horrible on the flat though, so the thought of riding the land rover tracks of your wilderness epics would have filled me with dread. I repeat, demo some 🙂

    geologist
    Member

    I felt a bit overbiked on my 140 stumpy. Im now on a 120 whyte 29er which feels much better. I was never a wheels off the ground rider, so 120 much better for me.

    It used to matter more when bigger bikes were unwieldy lumps.

    I ride my Enduro everywhere – 150mm frame with 170mm forks, 2.3″ tyres 30lb dead.

    Tom_W1987
    Member

    As a young teenager I used to have a 100mm “xc” Marin that weight 31lb and climbed like a dog compared to my Mega.

    Lol, how times have changed.

    tonyd
    Member

    Hmm I read this as

    I’ve always believed in spec’ing the bike for the biggest use you will do and getting fitter to mitigate any weight gain most frequent use it will get.

    Premier Icon adsh
    Subscriber

    I do similar riding. My trips to Wales are few.

    I tried 140mm and bought 105mm (Flux). I ride it set up quite stiff at Swinley etc and for longer XC jaunts and normal for Wales. It’s amazingly capable and I don’t want to be on terrain where I need more to be frank.

    glasgowdan
    Member

    Likewise, my allround bike is a 170/180mm reign, and I am happy pedalling it up hills all day. Did 1400m ascent at the weekend and it felt great.

    deanfbm
    Member

    Overbiked is a stupid term generally used by people who can’t afford a bigger, better bike or don’t have the skillset to ride more challenging terrain fast. Note I say ride it fast, not just ride it.

    Trolling much?

    A view like this has made me regret opening STW and having look, it’s most probably going ruin my **** now too.

    Why can’t people just ride bikes, have fun, not get sucked in to irrational bolloks, whether it be forum drivel, magazine reviews written by a newb or the latest market jazz words and buy the bike that is actually designed for the riding they do.

    Being faster isn’t the be all and end all.

    Ride what you enjoy but remember to blame your limited skill set or bad technique as the limiting factor rather than the bike.

    Bikes will get you a little increase in performance (increase in performance isn’t just being faster), working on that mental or technique issue along with getting strong and fit along with practise will make you exponentially better day on day as well as producing infinitely more fun.

    PS, i think the OP is on the money with his doubts, a 100mm 29er or a 120 26/650 sounds pretty ideal to me.

    I’ve been riding 140mm FS for years and never felt over biked. I use mine for everything, so much so that my other bikes rarely get a ride out.

    johnnyboy666
    Member

    I kind of agree that building a bike to cope with your most extreme riding is the better way to go if you have 1 bike. My bike fits into the trendy Enduro cat’ with 160mm front and back and comes in at 33lb and I ride it everywhere fine. Sure you feel a bit “overbiked” on the average trail centre but if you go down that route then full sus altogether is overkill for trail centres. The plus side is I dont need a different / second bike for the mega or the odd trip down to Gawton etc…

    Go with what you feel is the most fun, regardless of trend or what anyone else thinks.

    John

    andyrm – Member

    Overbiked is a stupid term generally used by people who can’t afford a bigger, better bike or don’t have the skillset to ride more challenging terrain fast. Note I say ride it fast, not just ride it.

    Get the bigger bike and if it initially seems harder work on easier trails, the bonus is that you’ll get fitter.

    I’ve always believed in spec’ing the bike for the biggest use you will do and getting fitter to mitigate any weight gain.

    Rubbish, by that logic we’d all be riding DH bikes on XC loops and just gettign fitter to compensate, despite the fact they’d probably be slower even on the downhills!

    My pitch is around 32lb, it’s right on the borderline of ride-able all day. Yes it can do 50mile rides around the Peak or Lake district, but it’s painfull up hill on the road, and much harder to ride up technical climbs as it’s just too planted with no ability to put a quick burst in or lift the front wheel over a big step.

    So I respectfully disagree with you, an XC bike would be much more fun, faster, and require more skill than a 150mm travel bike. You can ride an XC bike fast over ‘challenging terrain’ and have fun, but you can’t have fun on a 150mm travel bike on the other 90% of the ride going uphill or flat.

    johnnyboy666
    Member

    Surely andyrm means within reason? I dont think anyone is suggesting getting a DH rig as a do it all bike.

    John

    Premier Icon rockthreegozy
    Subscriber

    Is the Norco/Canyon instead of, or as well as, the hardtail?

    brokenbanjo
    Member

    Got a 140mm Norco Sight 26″ and never felt as though there was too much bike there. I have plenty of fun on it and even when I know I am doing an XC type run I am choosing it over the 120mm hardtail. Each to their own I guess. As long as you are smiling at the start, during and end of a ride then you have the right bike.

    Superficial
    Member

    There are not too many 140mm bikes that are heavy lumps. But there are plenty of heavy, wallowy 160-170mm bikes.

    It might feel a bit unnecessary, but I doubt 140mm would feel ridiculous on anything except a road ride. Where for sure a 160mm bike would feel like hard work on flat-ish XC rides. IMO.

    loddrik
    Member

    Tried 150mm forks and they just felt like I was perched on them. After much experimenting with diffrent forks I found that 130mm is the sweet spot for me, with 140mm on the back and built up as light as possible.

    duir
    Member

    140mm bikes are really versatile and there are some really well designed ones these days. Remember just because it’s 140mm you don’t have to build it up for world cup downhill, you can build it really light by focusing on wheel and tyre choice to suit your local terrain.

    I ride a 160mm front/150mm rear 31 lb bike for all day epics (+ almost everything else as well)and with draggy tyres on and find it’s no problem at all. You soon adapt your fitness to it on the climbs and then commit mass murder on the downhills. I’ve had this one on many a Scottish mountain epic including the really hard version of the Torridon loop and Cairngorn rides with 100’s of ft of descent with no issues at all (apart from a warped beyond all use Ice Tech rotor on the Annat descent).

    “All day epic needs a light shorter travel bike” is a bit misleading. I find the all day epics have some pretty hardcore descents for thousands of feet and if you are going for it your bike needs to be up to it.

    I say go for it and have a lightweight wheel set for Disneyland (trail centers) and a tougher set for mountain days.

    Premier Icon Bregante
    Subscriber

    I found that 130mm is the sweet spot for me.

    And there ladies and gents, is the most sense you’re likely to read on here this evening. Ride what suits you and stop mithering about what everybody else thinks you should be riding.

    At the weekend I rode my 100 mm hardtail, my riding Compadre’s rode 150mm full sussers, rigid 29ers, 26er single speeds and a 29+ krampus wotsit.
    Did we all have a good time?
    Course we did.

    maxtorque
    Member

    With the one caveat that you are not going to be actually racing said bike against the clock (ie proper XC racing) then i see no reason not to get a modern 140mm bike. They pedal so well, and are so capable and not so heavy that i can’t really see the penalty for riding one.

    Superficial
    Member

    With the one caveat that you are not going to be actually racing said bike against the clock (ie proper XC racing)

    Ahem.

    STRRRAAAAAVVVVAAAAA!

    loddrik
    Member

    Being faster isn’t the be all and end all.

    Well said. Everyone always seems to be obsessed with faster, faster, faster. Buying things to go faster, this bike will make you faster, bigger wheels will roll faster etc.

    Always enjoyed technique over speed, take pride in being very smooth, not arsed in being fastest on a trail. Had one puncture in last 7 years.

    thepodge
    Member

    I sold my 140 and got a 125.

    Much happier and much easier round the Peak and no slower

    mrlebowski
    Member

    Overbiked is a stupid term generally used by people who can’t afford a bigger, better bike or don’t have the skillset to ride more challenging terrain fast. Note I say ride it fast, not just ride it.

    WARNING!! BS ALERT!!

    esher shore
    Member

    I owned many FS bikes and over several seasons swapped down from 200mm to 180mm to 160mm to 145mm to 100mm and eventually to a carbon fibre 29’er hardtail

    this happened as my riding needs changed, and I just found the bigger bikes felt slow and unnecessary on the trails I was riding in the South-East of the UK.

    the 29’er hardtail is much more fun to ride for me on these trails (where the FS would soak it all up) and its so much easier to clean and a general lack of maintenance

    I am still going very quick, probably averaging quicker times than on the FS bikes

    cannot see myself buying another FS bike unless I moved somewhere with rocks and lots of tree roots.

    Be careful, it’s dangerous ground.

    Next you’ll be wearing elbow and knee pads for cross country rides, and dare I say it, a Met parachute.

    Then you’ll be pretending you’re booked into a round of a Gravity Enduro, or you’l be browsing all inclusive holidays to Les Gets, in an attempt to justify owning an “over bike” to your friends.

    If you find yourself wallowing about the Glentress freeride park, barely being able to clear the table tops, you’ll know you’ve over biked it.

    mildred
    Member

    Get the bigger bike and if it initially seems harder work on easier trails, the bonus is that you’ll get fitter.

    I’ve read this opinion on a few threads lately and have to say that although it sounds like sense, the risk is that you buy a bike that you end up dreading riding. The way a bike feels and rides – and yes I also mean speed here, is not only dictated by your fitness. You’ve got to enjoy riding it from the start, otherwise you won’t ride it.

    andyrm
    Member

    Surely andyrm means within reason? I dont think anyone is suggesting getting a DH rig as a do it all bike.

    ^^This. Humblest apologies all. I forgot to caveat this up to the eyeballs.

    Any modern Enduro bike (there, I said it), 1×10/11, 160ish travel is absolutely fine for UK use all the time. They climb pretty much as well as a 130ish travel bike, don’t weigh much more and with the advances in suspension and easy tuneability/better damping/geo etc, there’s no reason you can’t have it as your only bike. I have done for the last year and been totally happy – as have lots of others who aren’t scared of Enduro as a philosophy of “one bike for everything” rather than just a marketing name.

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