the F***ing Alps ?

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  • the F***ing Alps ?
  • Premier Icon UK-FLATLANDER

    As an XC/Trail rider I didn’t find the routes in the Portes du Soleil any more technically challenging than something like the 7 Stanes. However in preparation for this year I have up the discs from 180/160 to 200/180 and now have a Pike with 20mm TA up front. As a trail rider I found the routes much faster, steeper and loose. As for damage to bike the D2D this year did more damage! 😮

    Premier Icon Sanny


    Nice pics. Where did you take them?


    Absolutely right. Few folk do ride the big mountains when compared to the number of mountain bikers there are. However, the trails are there and they can be just as challenging as a lot of the stuff I’ve ridden in Europe (Swiss and Austrian Alps).

    Returning to GW’s original point, if a rider minces in the UK, they are just as likely to mince abroad. When it comes to seeing how well kit lasts, I always take a keen interest in the experience of friends who live and guide in the Alps as an indicator of what works and what doesn’t.

    Ultimately, things will always break and wear out. Last year’s trip to Switzerland saw the shock bushings on a brand new Commencal wear out in a few days, a hardcore Ti hardtail snap at the disc mount (not a Dialled Bike BTW!) and saw several rear mechs get ripped off amongst other incidents all in the space of a week. More ride time equates to more time for things to break. C’set la Vie!




    scruff – Member
    Well if you riding on your normal UK trail bike it will not be as beefee as a DH bike, so a trail bike in t’alps may break a bit more easy than a DH bike, if you are using same trails, yes?

    No! sorry, my normal UK bike, well the one I use for everything from traditional XC routes to trail centres to dirtjumping to DH/4X happens to be a jump hardtail and it only has DH durable parts. I’d be happy to ride it on any Alpine descent with a set of dual plys fitted.

    Plus ridign all day in heat on harder trail makes yu more tired so you take poor line choices, ride a bit less finnessy whatever.

    Again, I dissagree, when I get tired, I actually back off a little and choose smoother lines.
    I’ve also ridden technically harder UK trails than Alpine ones (champery WC track included)


    As an experienced alps visitor, may I suggest that if you intend to use chairlifts and ride mostly downhill, why not leave the pride and joy (yr bike that is) at home, and hire a proper mountain rig from someone in Morzine or wherever. You save on the hassle of dismantling yr bike, save on transport etc.
    As for damage, you will do 6 months damage to yr bike in one week if you use the lifts and ride hard, compared to riding in the UK.
    This only applies to agressive riders, of course.


    What’s the deal with hiring a bike though – what happens if something breaks, do they just give you another one of fix it for free? The prices look pretty steep to me.

    The thing is sanny is that slow all descents take him a least 45 mins to come down.

    C’mon the gingers!!!


    IM(limited)E the damage caused riding alpine stuff often depends on the type of component. ie. last year in Verbier all of the people with but light weight bikes had problems (narrow xc rims, conti superlight tyres, maverick forks), as they did in Spain the year before and Morzine a few years before that. On the trips I’ve done nothings broken except for some old style hope minis that didn’t work very well – they didn’t actually break. I’ve bust up more stuff in the UK but that’s due to chance mainly (mech into wheel etc)

    by the way, some prime willy waving going on in this thread – well done!


    The Alps trails do less damage than those in Sierra Nevada IME. More smooth sections in the Alps. :o)


    I partly agree with the OP. You will break stuff at a faster rate in the Alps due to the amount of riding that is fitted into a small space of time. Most breakages are down to riders not checking their bikes often enough. Every days riding out there is equivalent to a month in the UK for most people, so it needs the equivalent attention. Also riders going there with bikes in poor condition.

    I was out there for the whole of last summer and fitted in in excess of 60 full days riding with uplift. In that time my DH bike cracked in a place I’d broken it before, couple mechs/cables, about 6 tyres, couple chains and one pedal. I’d usually break a similar amount in a normal summer just riding in the UK doing alot less mileage.

    I’ve also ridden technically harder UK trails than Alpine ones (champery WC track included)

    The champery track is NOT technical, it’s just steep. There are loads of alpine trails that are ALOT harder technically than the champery track. However many of the proper UK dh tracks are alot harder than you’ll find in the alps.


    There’s nothing different about the stresses components will experience here in the UK to the Alps

    Living in the alps and having spend 4 years in UK let me tell you one thing you are just plain plain wrong.
    Here shimano HT II bottom bracket are the panacée, singlespeed is a swearing, and I have yet to see one fox that had the stanchions worn out.

    Most of the stress/use put on a component in the UK comes from the mud/weather conditions. Most of the stress/use put on a component here comes from the toughness and the length of the descents.

    Then I think it come to the rider. I don’t brake stuff, neither in the alps nor in UK. Put it on the fact that I weight 61kg, or the fact that I have learn to ride in the alps while I was student and hence couldn’t afford to brake/change loads, but generally I do not break stuff. I wouldn’t consider myself slow either (well that was the case before 4 years in UK). However stuff wears out faster due to “normal use in the UK”. Thing like bottom brackets, chains, headset and pads last much longer in the alps than in UK.


    18 descents of Ft Bill is not an afternoon jaunt, that was over 6 hours of continous riding and ascending by an extremely talented rider in an endurance event. Most mortals would struggle with 1! 16 descents is the same as going down Everest.


    Devs, I’m well aware how long Ft william is, I’ve done 12 runs of Fort William in an afternoon myself 😉 and a skinny wee mate did 16 at the Endurance thing. (I didn’t go)


    Solamanda – Aye, your right about Champery, I’ve ridden far more technical descents in the alps than Champery too (no good at remembering trail names tho :oops:) but the steepness of it does actually make it technical – I love proper steep stuff and found the track a blast but was surprised to see/meet decent DHers I know from the UK race scene having to sesort to walking down much of it. 🙄


    Depends how you ride… if you ride flat out DH and break stuff at home and ride flat out DH in the Alps you’ll break more as you down about 3months of riding in a week. My trails are pretty rough and technical, the Alps trails are similar but straighter and faster, so stuff breaks more. But most breakages are due to wear and tare… that rough bearing on your swingarm suddenly falls apart and you have no replacement on the eve of the Mega Avalanche….


    sanny…. Mutterberg behind Bludenz in Austria.




    Who cares?

    Premier Icon Sandwich

    I wonder if some of the damage comes about due to physical deterioration of the rider on long hard descents? If your attention wanders at the wrong time line choice goes out the window and at this point the law of murphy starts to come into play.
    Haven’t been to the alps yet, it’s on the tick list though.


    GW having a rant on a forum now theres something new?
    its comments like this that killed uk-mtb & have dwindled no,s to about 6 people.

    Yeah, GW, hope you’re happy now – having killed off MTB in the UK 🙄


    Lol, I rode 2 weeks in the alps and snapped my shock bolt, I rode 1 uplift day at cwm carn and ripped my rear mech off into my spoke, tore both gear cables out and pulled a goodridge cable out of the lever, then in penmancho i bent a xtr shifter and m4 brake lever and blew my forks. I would have to agree with gw on this one.

    Premier Icon coolhandluke

    I can’t see that the alps are much different apart from more riding because you generally get taken up instead of riding up.

    So unless you ride DH on your XC bike why worry.

    Your risk of having a tumble will increase however, as you’re riding for longer periods of time and generally all gravity assisted…It follows then that the bike is more at risk as a result.

    Take a bike that is mechanically sorted.

    4 days there last year and all I broke was a gear cable, a saddle, a rim and a tendon in my shoulder.


    shortbread_fanylion its another forum mate that he posts on.not a comment about some mad scotsman ruining uk riding.

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