Skill, Not suspension

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  • Skill, Not suspension
  • deanfbm
    Member

    http://www.pinkbike.com/news/The-Argument-For-Short-Travel-Bikes-Opinion-2012.html

    Article on pinkbike. Actually has some nuggets of opinion that i agree with.

    xiphon
    Member

    STOP PRESS

    Trail centers don’t need 8″ travel AM bikes shocker!

    Mehhhhh, I ride a rigid bike on my local trails, the default seems to be a Spesh Camber or Giant Anthem, therefore I am God.

    On the other hand some of the guys on FS’s are seriously quick, there’s no way I’d be keeping up even on a comparable bike.

    Some people are just* faster.

    *this is not always a fact of life or natural ability, more often they just ride more than you.

    Premier Icon jamj1974
    Subscriber

    I definitely learnt more riding rigid on to hardtail before moving to a variety of FS bikes. I sometimes think that riding FS first means riders lose out on some great opportunities for gaining skills. But do we gain valuable new entrants to the game by making it more accessible through FS bikes..?

    Premier Icon ir_bandito
    Subscriber

    I’ve just switched my hardtail back to rigid forks (and 29″ wheel) for the winter to save my sus forks from winter muck. Yes, its harder on fast rocky stuff, but its oodles of fun on swoopy trails, and feels a lot faster in places too.

    missnotax
    Member

    I definitely learnt more riding rigid on to hardtail before moving to a variety of FS bikes. I sometimes think that riding FS first means riders lose out on some great opportunities for gaining skills. But do we gain valuable new entrants to the game by making it more accessible through FS bikes..?

    Yes.

    I learnt to mountain bike on a full susser and last rode a hardtail about 25 years ago. Quite possibly I would be a better rider if I had learnt on a hardtail, but would I still be mountain biking now? No bloody way.

    I definitely learnt more riding rigid on to hardtail before moving to a variety of FS bikes. I sometimes think that riding FS first means riders lose out on some great opportunities for gaining skills. But do we gain valuable new entrants to the game by making it more accessible through FS bikes..?

    On the other hand I reckon I leanrt a lot on my first propper FS after 10 years on HT’s. I think I’d just reached a point where I needed something different to change my comfort zone? now I try and ride the lines I’d take on the FS on the rigid and sometimes it works, so then on the FS take harder lines again.

    Riding a 5″ travel bike round a trail center is a lot of fun and instant gratification for somenoe with basic skills. If they get hooked and go looking for that fix and then want to go back and ride a hardtail/rigid then good for them, but lets be honest, we all like goig as fast as we can for that instant gratification.

    feels a lot faster in places too.

    Feels and being faster are different through, sometimes the rigid bike may be faster (sprinting maybe) but IMO the correct ammount of suspension will make a bike faster.

    Bagstard
    Member

    I mostly agree with the article, however smaller bikes are usually weaker and may end up broken.

    druidh
    Member

    In the last couple of weeks I’ve taken both my Blur and my Fatbike round Glentress.

    Strava shows that the Blur was faster.

    My smile tells me the Fatbike was a lot more fun – and isn’t that what it’s actually supposed to be about?

    Roter Stern
    Member

    The traditional notion is that you should learn your skills on a hardtail then move to FS. But there are quite a lot of techniques that are quite different on a FS bike such as compressing the suspension into berms to get a quicker exit.

    bigyinn
    Member

    From my pespective, I ride both full sus and fully rigid throughout the year.
    The rigid bike is pretty harsh and I usually end up feeling pretty beaten up after a big ride. But it helps you focus on smooth lines, pick the wrong one and it punishes you for it. But it climbs like a rocket and flies on the quick trails.
    The full sus is a lot smoother and tolerates mistakes more, so you can get sloppy in your line choice and get away with it.
    Having said that, I’d happily give up suspension over disc brakes!

    thepodge
    Member

    How come it’s perceived that people on full suspension bikes can’t pick good lines?

    Never understood that thinking.

    xiphon
    Member

    By it’s very definition, a ‘good line’ is entirely dependant on the bike!

    So you can pick an equally ‘good’ line on both full bouncer and rigid, but they may be different lines..

    Premier Icon ir_bandito
    Subscriber

    How come it’s perceived that people on full suspension bikes can’t pick good lines?

    Its not that they can’t, its that they can get away with it if they don’t.

    I’ve found going from full bounce to rigid was great- full bounce gave me the confidence to hit stuff faster, so then riding rigid I did just that and amazed myself getting over stuff.
    Likewise, riding rigid teaches you to pick smoother lines and work on getting your body-positioning right, which pays dividends when riding with bouncy bits too.

    wors
    Member

    My smile tells me the Fatbike was a lot more fun – and isn’t that what it’s actually supposed to be about?

    Good god man, whatever gave you that idea? 😉

    FuzzyWuzzy
    Member

    On my rigid bike at speed on a rough descent I haven’t got a f**king clue what line I’m taking, it’s a blurry mess – still it’s fun (caveat: I haven’t crashed yet on it). I generally get more enjoyment on the FS as I can relax more, although that does mean sometimes I make dumb mistakes (i.e. I crash loads).
    I think it’s mostly BS that you learn a lot more starting off on a rigid bike, although I did start on a rigid bike I’ve learnt a lot more about riding since purely from time on the bike. The smoothest lines aren’t always best anyway, who cares if you’re amazing at taking the smooth but slow line if everyone else is blatting past you launching off trail features. Front suspension does let you get away with not getting your weight bias right, especially on smallish drops etc., still it’s more about needing to be taught the correct technique rather than needing to lose your teeth finding out the hard way on a rigid bike.

    Read that earlier – there was someone in the comments section that I agreed with – that riding a DH bike has given me confidence to hit some bigger stuff that I wouldn’t have tried on my trail bike, especially with hitting drops and gaps – and that confidence has filtered down so that I’m now confident doing stuff on smaller bikes – but from the other side, riding trails on my hardtail has helped a lot with picking lines and using proper body position to soak up the trail and corner better. There’s benefits to be had from both types of bike – different aspects of skills transfer both ways.

    Premier Icon stilltortoise
    Subscriber

    The argument for cars with no traction control or ABS

    The argument for skis that aren’t “carvers”

    The argument for trad climbing as opposed to learning on a wall

    Same arguments, different sports.

    That said, the article isn’t about suspension or not, but rather about how much of it and also about geometry. The conclusion I got from it was that the amount of suspension and bike geometry affects handling, which isn’t exactly news.

    jonba
    Member

    Interesting but very little new in the way of ideas.

    I ride everything from a cx bike and rigid singlespeed to a 5″ stumpjumper fsr. They are different and fun in different ways.

    It is very obvious when I ride with my club that some riders rely on suspension – they just plough through things rather than picking lines etc. This limits them when the trails get a little harder -they are normally the ones fixing pinch flats and broken spokes.

    Most people ride 5″-6″ travel bikes [in my club]. They want something they can ride in the lakes and thow themselves around GT on. I know you can do both of these on rigid singlespeeds but they enjoy the ride of full suss and can only have one bike in many cases. Therefore they end up being over biked on many trails but it isn’t really an issue.

    Full suss bikes can be had relatively cheaply these days so most people jump straight to them rather than cheaper hardtails.

    My main gripe is as someone mentioned above. Short travel bikes are often built up as race machines. The geometry is very race orientated and all the components are chosen for weight and not strength. Given the choice I think I would ride something like 120mm up front and 100mm out the back. That would see me for most of the riding I have ever done in this country. I dont want an xc race machine though which is what most of this type of bike end up being.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    Yep, nothing new.

    Big bikes can help you learn because sometimes, you’ll ride something which you would choose not to on a smaller bike. Once you’ve done it, it’ll turn out that you can ride it on a smaller bike, and then you’ll learn something else. But you’ll never learn by not riding things.

    My rigid bike teaches me lots, but it’s almost all about riding rigid bikes :mrgreen:

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    <double post>

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Subscriber

    while those on smaller bikes coast and look for backsides to pump

    😆

    Interesting but very little new in the way of ideas.

    Certainly not if you spend you time here! But it’s probably heresy for many PB users. And shorter travel over there probably means 150-160mm, still firmly in the “skills compensator” category for the hair-shirt wearing crypto luddites on here.

    different aspects of skills transfer both ways.

    This.

    Riding my 5/6″ FS gets me used to higher speeds, while riding my HT gets me used to moving about and attacking more. Never tried a DH bike – too scared 🙂

    And adding that I find that having a good suspension fork and substantial tyres makes much more difference to what I can ride, than rear suspension does.

    jota180
    Member

    I really couldn’t care less if my bike skills are lacking in any department or if I’m doing myself no favours by being “over or under “biked

    As long as I’m enjoying riding a particular bike or at a particular place, I’ll continue doing it without the slightest bit of self-analysis or stress that I’ve got it all wrong.

    yunki
    Member

    more fun – and isn’t that what it’s actually supposed to be about?

    preposterous

    Premier Icon zippykona
    Subscriber

    As I pre date suspension all I can think of when I see rigid forks is fizzy arms from braking downhill.
    When my knees and back ache I reach for my full sus.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    zippykona – Member

    As I pre date suspension all I can think of when I see rigid forks is fizzy arms from braking downhill.

    Have to say, if my modern rigid rode like my 80s rigids, I would not be riding it. Better brakes and tyres makes a big difference (and I do mean big, 2.5 Nevegal on the front!) And weighing nowt helps too.

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    It’s not all about the bike then? That’s a ground breaking article right there, Noble Prize nominee?

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Subscriber

    It’s not all about the bike then?

    He’s sort of saying it is about the bike though, isn’t he?

    deanfbm
    Member

    From a BMXer view point, riding is all about interpretation, about mixing up what you do on the obstacle/terrain laid out in front of you. Then once an interpretation of the terrain/obstacle is decided upon, the job ain’t done until it looks/feels as good or better than envisaged.

    Something that astonishes me coming from BMX to MTB, is the lack of striving for creativity and perfection. What i typically view of typical MTBers is that as long as the obstacle is passed, the section cleared, doesn’t matter if it was done as intended, looked and felt horrific, as long as it has been passed, job done, it won’t get revisited or improved upon.

    I feel that a lot of the time, extra suspension hinders perfection and creativity as it allows more to be ticked off whilst being performed badly.

    Also a point i thought that would get picked up on, extra suspension removes feedback form the trail and the bike, making it harder to understand what is going on and improving it. It also as in the article, hinders flow, bunny hops, manuals and gaps, having to work against the extra suspension and using it. You don’t see DJs/4x/slopestyle with 8″ bike do you? It’s not because the courses are smooth enough, it’s because they function better for manoeuvring the bike.

    Plus building on the articles elite DH racer reference, they are running their bikes way different to average MTB joe, much, much harder, so in terms of suspension firmness, their 8″ bikes will be as harsh in the rough as average joes 6-7″ bikes. DH bike have their purpose, DH racing, so should be set-up and used as such.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    deanfbm – Member

    Something that astonishes me coming from BMX to MTB, is the lack of striving for creativity and perfection. What i typically view of typical MTBers is that as long as the obstacle is passed, the section cleared, doesn’t matter if it was done as intended, looked and felt horrific, as long as it has been passed, job done, it won’t get revisited or improved upon

    As long as the desired amount of fun was extracted from a section, it’s often more fun to move on to the next one than to repeat it. If you’re in a BMX park then you’re doing a lot with a small number of easily repeatable features, if you’re on a mtb ride you’ve got a huge number of features that aren’t so easily repeated.

    Frankly, doing things badly on an mtb can be more fun than doing it right.

    DH bikes aren’t just for racing, it’d be daft for most people to set them up so that they’re less satisfying to ride.

    Premier Icon nickc
    Subscriber

    Nothing new under the sun. Changing your outlook/ bike will always change your skill set. LT can be hoot but it soon gets easy.

    It’s XC in-the-head you see: a sport of riding loops that include obstacles, rather than the sport of riding obstacles in one place.

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    He’s sort of saying it is about the bike though, isn’t he?

    Although I skim read it I see it he’s saying it’s both. Like I said a huge revelation.

    wrecker
    Member

    People can call FS bike skill compensators if they like. Unless they ride a 29er. Then they cannot.

    noteeth
    Member

    On a related-can-of-worms note, I noticed some good content in recent issues of both Bike and Dirt Rag (especially Ferrentino’s piece on ‘homogeneity’) about the uniform – dare I say it? – blandness of built trails.

    Give me wet, bar-steward awkward rooty singletrack any day of the week – it’s what we learned on!

    As for suspension: I am still rocking a shagged pair of ’95 Rock Shox Judys. They are entirely sufficient for my needs – but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t say no to a full-susser. It’s a question of bike storage capacity, not taste. 😕

    yunki
    Member

    unless you are riding a unicycle you are a talentless fop.. dandyhorse is exactly the right description

    svalgis
    Member

    He didn’t only write about “skills” though, but about having fun and the fact that more suspension != more fun. The number of rigid riders on this forum alone should prove that at the very least he’s onto something. If you know that 10″ of travel is for you then no need to take offence, he’s merely presenting an option and his thinking behind it.

    iridebikes
    Member

    i found that article very boring. Just ride whatever bike you like. Some people like me are lucky enough to have multiple bikes for different types of riding, some aren’t.

    mojo5pro
    Member

    off topic..but I enjoyed the vid in the article…can’t remember last time I rode in woods that dry!

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