What bike for Chamonaix?

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  • What bike for Chamonaix?
  • Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    All Mountain. It’s nothing like Morzine btw ..

    toys19
    Member

    Tell me more?

    Chamonix is nowt like Morzine (even though I’ve never been to Morzine)
    1st & only time I’ve been to Chamonix was with a 130 HT & I enjoyed it immensely! We hired a guide one day who was on a short travel FS & that was one of the best days biking I’ve ever had in 22 years.

    You don’t need big travel to have a good time in Chamonix.

    Hang on, is Chamonaix a different place? 😳

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    @toys … Morzine is a mere hillock in comparison to Chamonix which has serious mountains. Morzine is mostly hard packed dirt trails with a few rocky bits, Chamonix has lots of rocks and rock hoping and a lot of riding on “normal” paths. There are plenty of places in Chamonix where if you fall you can/will die. The town is buzzing in summer with all kinds of sports enthusiasts and there are lots of busy bars and restaurants.

    If you haven’t done so already get a copy of The Bike Book mailed to you from ZeroG so you can seriously whet your appetite.

    toys19
    Member

    Going to Chamonaix at the end of the month. DH bike or 160mm all mountain bike? Are there loads of Dh tracks like morzine?

    CountZero
    Member

    I did Chamonix on a Cannondale Beast Of The East fitted with original 100mm orange Bombers and rim brakes…
    …it was exciting at times.

    toys19
    Member

    Morzine is mostly hard packed dirt trails with a few rocky bits

    This is not like the morzine I ride, to me its roots, rocks and rain…

    So on this single track is there much climbing?

    toys19
    Member

    I appreciate the comments about riding on a 80s hardtail with v brakes and being fine. But my question is one of choice. I own a dh bike and an all mountain bike. I’m wondering, if I bring the DH bike will I regret it? I.E is there loads of climbing /portageing that will make the dh bike a bad choice.

    Premier Icon unknown
    Subscriber

    Take the all mountain bike. I did Chamonix on my cannondale Gemini and it was perfect. You wouldn’t enjoy it as much on a dh bike IMO.

    ianv
    Member

    If it was me, I would take the lighter bike. There doesnt seem to be much in the way of permanent dh tracks and as I understand it, lots of the better descents require a fair bit of additional climbing.

    saxabar
    Member

    Definitely the all-mountain bike (with usual change of tyres/rotors/etc.).

    Premier Icon neilc1881
    Subscriber

    Ridden Cham on a Patriot and Five (with 36s admittedly) on separate occasions, the patriot was probably more fun as some of the trails are very rough, but that bike could still climb. One day we set off from Chamonix, rode up to Argentiere, up the Col du Tour and down the Vallorcine DH (which is amazing)then back down into Cham via the Lac Blanc. A fantastic day but I wouldn’t be able to pedal it on a full DH bike and enjoy it! AM bike for me.

    Edit – the Col du Tour was being steadily modified into a more DH style track when I was there last, not been since to know what the end result is though.

    Premier Icon ivorhogseye
    Subscriber

    Agreed with the other posts. I would suggest the all mountain bike. If you have the right guide you are in for a real treat. Chamonix has some of the best trails I’ve ridden. Get practicing your switchback riding.

    Dales_rider
    Member

    Daughter lives there and rides a 120 hardtail, I’ve used my 120 XC bike which was all I needed. Climbs well and handles everything the standard trails throw at you.
    There is a local DH scene which has some excellent if not darn right dangerous descents, even some of the XC trails are bowel clenching.
    There has also been a lot of late snow be aware.

    bland
    Member

    Am bike, only one DH track in vallorcine at the top of the valley and the best stuff is too tight for triple clamps. Get an is map, mark up lifts and then look for tracks back down, there are plenty. The bike book isn’t actually that good, I can email you the best bits that don’t involve massive climbs if you want, drop me an email

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    toys19This is not like the morzine I ride, to me its roots, rocks and rain…

    So on this single track is there much climbing?
    They have roots and rain in Chamonix too ! You cannot equate the amount of rocks/rocky sections in Chamonix with Morzine. Yes on the trails (walking paths) you will have a reasonable amount of pedalling, I would also say on the technical sections and switchbacks you’d probably feel more comfortable on the AM bike.

    I’ll search out the mouthy northerners Chamonix film as an example

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    @toys – here you go and you’ll find some other edits. BTW if you look at the opening sequence Morzine is sort of like the first hill covered in trees, then it stops. Chamonix keeps going up way above the tree line and much steeper.

    [video]http://www.vimeo.com/55658277[/video]

    Gunz
    Member

    So on this single track is there much climbing?

    Yes.

    Although I don’t own a FS bike I have ridden in Chamonix a lot and imagine a DH bike would represent a special kind of physical hell there.

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    The first video in their series, pretty representative I would say

    [video]http://vimeo.com/44813160[/video]

    Premier Icon johnhe
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    I’ve been to Chamonix – 4 times and would recommend the AM bike.

    Dales_rider
    Member

    bland – Member

    Am bike, only one DH track in vallorcine
    Nope there’s more

    Any ways heres some info for you

    http://www.chamonix.com/pdf/guide-vtt.pdf

    if it wont load safe it and open it with Acrobat

    Dales_rider
    Member

    Oh and a video

    [video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=eQXMKWFQC5I[/video]

    Grum p
    Member

    I live in Chamonix and use a 160mm AM bike. Pretty much everyone I know in Chamonix uses a 160mm(ish) AM bike. Lots of them have DH bikes, they use them when they go to Pila, Morzine or for the Vallorcine DH track. You’ll have way more fun on the AM bike basically!
    The only real DH track in town is the excellent Vallorcine track (which doesn’t open untill the 29th June), everything else is either a purpose made trail center style track or a natural trail which at the end of June will be too busy with walkers to go fast enough for a DH bike to be of use on the downs, and generally are too tight to get round the bends without skidding a DH rig.

    Definitely 160travel.
    I have ridden Chamonix perhaps 6 years in a row now. Even last year when we went to finale Liguria we rode cham before we drove down.

    I have ridden it on sx trail, orange alpine and this year blur Lt. We are going out last week in June. All the lifts open by the sat/sun before the trails close for walkers.

    Buy Tom’s guide book(the new one) and you won’t go far wrong. My advice is start off with a day at le tour, there is a mini downhill to get your eye in under the lift. Then traverse round into the woods for roots and rocks galore. There is also a cracking run over the back to Trient, you have to get the train back to France.
    If you want to push yourself ask the locals about sick line, just don’t run it unless you are feeling great, its a challenging run. Even our guide ended up 5ft down the mountain in a tree!

    Grum p, what tyre combo do you run?
    I am considering going tubeless this year, would be glad of your thoughts as usually run twin ply to err of safe side. Thinking a decent ust tyre might have enough sidewall to live through a week in cham.

    Grum p
    Member

    1st the bad news, Vallorcine DH track is to be closed for maintenance work this summer!
    The optimistic news is the the trains will be running by the end of this month.
    The tyre news (it IS STW after all…) Singleply Maxxis minion and high roller 2.35, with normal tubes at about 30 – 35 psi, rarely puncture (once this year, see below, maybe 3 times all of least year) but I’m only 65kg. Several friends have gone ghetto tubeless on single ply maxxis this year, so far with no problems, except when riding across the montenvers cog railway I and then a friend on tubeless both slit our tyres open on (presumably) a sharp edge of the track. So go UST, pack a tube and tyre boot, carry your bike over the railway crossings and you should be fine!

    Dales_rider
    Member

    Where you staying ? Do you need a chalet ?

    Premier Icon nickc
    Subscriber

    I’ve only ever ridden in Cham once, and TBH on a day trip from PDS it scared the crap out if me. Trails we did were fast loose and rocky, it’s about the only place I wouldn’t ride without pads

    randomjeremy
    Member

    Off to Chamonix and Les Arcs this year. An “AM” type bike is pretty much perfect – tubeless is fine, I run hans dampf super gravities with a bit of latex and they seem fine.

    toys19
    Member

    Ladies and Gents, thanks for your input – I would value your opinions on this thread..

    Cheers

    Toys19 xx

    Dales, who was the chalet offer towards?
    I think we have a B&b sorted but they haven’t confirmed anything as yet. Will chase the up and if not might take you up on the offer.
    Paul

    Dales / Grum P, could do with some assistance.
    Just found out that the B&B we had thought we had reserved for our short break.
    There are 3 of us, a couple plus myself looking for 2 rooms for Thursday Friday and Saturday night. (27th – 30th June)
    If you do have any contacts or ideas would be bloody grateful.
    pjbeswetherick@gmail.com

    Grum p
    Member

    Hi Downtimehunter. Not sure what budget you’ve got, but the long way to do it would be go to http://www.chamonet.com/ and about 1/2 way down the page there are 3 boxes; chalet holidays, hotels & residences plus apartments & rentals. look through and any that take your fancy send an email.
    Unfortunately that weekend is the Mont Blanc marathon when several thousand runners descend on chamonix to rip up the trails and terrorise other trail users with their excessive speed and garish clothing….and use the accommodation.
    Nomadic Ski are a very nice bunch of folk who also ride, they might have some space. Otherwise most of my knowledge is at the cheaper end of the scale, so try google the following: High mountain holidays (bunkhouse style chalet by the hospital) Gite Tapia & Gite Chamonard Volant, both Gites just past MBC. Ski Station, bunkhouse up by the Brevent gondola. Gite Belvedere, up in Argentiere, under new ownership and in much better condition than the last few years! Les Randonneurs, another Argentiere gite.
    Hope this helps!

    CountZero
    Member

    ianv – Member
    If it was me, I would take the lighter bike. There doesnt seem to be much in the way of permanent dh tracks and as I understand it, lots of the better descents require a fair bit of additional climbing.

    That was rather the point I was trying to make. I was there in ’96, IIRC, and there wasn’t much in the way of suspension, let alone discs, but a bunch of us had loads of fun riding hardtails with rim brakes, basically XC bikes, because that’s all there was. As light a bike as you can manage with AM capability, and the biggest rotors you can fit, ought to do the trick.
    If I was going now, I’d take either my old Remedy 66, or probably my hooligan Inbred 567 with 160mm Nixons on the front, and 2.3″ Bonty Jones UST’s. About 31lb, and tough as old boots. Oh, and probably pads, now; my joints are a lot creakier than they used to be…
    Whatever you take, the riding’s fantastic, and the scenery glorious, have loads of fun.
    And if you get the chance, it’s worth going up to the little hut café that overlooks the Bosson Glacier*, or the cable car over to L’Aiguille de Midi. (Forgive me if my spelling is less than accurate). 😀
    * http://montblanc.to/uk/rando/texte2.html

    Just for info for anyone visiting Cham this season, Summer 2013, there has been a considerable “change of heart” toward biking in the valley.

    You no doubt already know about the July-August bans across the valley, however things have changed even more for this season.

    Lift tickets for biking (Cham’VTT, EUR 17/day) are now limited to Les Houches and Le Tour (Col de Balme). You will not be able to purchase a VTT pass to ride at Flegere, and likely elsewhere – they will only sell you a 1-trip pedestrian ticket.

    If you want to use mid-valley lifts, it may be advisable to look into the Chamonix Multipass ticket (for more than 4 days this seems a reasonable price in comparison to the Cham’VTT pass). There is also the Chamonix Rapid Card which has a one time initial fee and then costs EUR 23 per day you use it, and allows access to every lift in the valley.

    Flegere DH course is no longer maintained, and most of the woodwork sections have been removed (beware the rusty nails and nasty holes in the ground). The Compagnie de Mont Blanc no longer wish to encourage bikers here and in the middle of the valley, hence their decision to abandon the DH course.

    Vallorcine DH is closed for the season due to works (“travaux”), and bikes are not allowed on the public transport between Switzerland and Argentiere because they have switched the trains for buses. http://www.chamonix.com/pdf/horaires-train-travaux-ete-2013.pdf

    Just for info for anyone visiting Cham this season, Summer 2013, there has been a considerable “change of heart” toward biking in the valley.

    You no doubt already know about the July-August bans across the valley, however things have changed even more for this season.

    Lift tickets for biking (Cham’VTT, EUR 17/day) are now limited to Les Houches and Le Tour (Col de Balme). You will not be able to purchase a VTT pass to ride at Flegere, and likely elsewhere – they will only sell you a 1-trip pedestrian ticket.

    If you want to use mid-valley lifts, it may be advisable to look into the Chamonix Multipass ticket (for more than 4 days this seems a reasonable price in comparison to the Cham’VTT pass). There is also the Chamonix Rapid Card which has a one time initial fee and then costs EUR 23 Euros per day you use it, and allows access to every lift in the valley.

    Flegere DH course is no longer maintained, and most of the woodwork sections have been removed (beware the rusty nails and nasty holes in the ground). The Compagnie de Mont Blanc no longer wish to encourage bikers here and in the middle of the valley, hence their decision to abandon the DH course.

    Vallorcine DH is closed for the season due to works (“travaux”), and bikes are not allowed on the public transport between Switzerland and Argentiere because they have switched the trains for buses. http://www.chamonix.com/pdf/horaires-train-travaux-ete-2013.pdf

    Premier Icon unknown
    Subscriber

    Incredible. I was in Chamonix this time two years ago and although it felt a bit limited compared to other resorts it will still brilliant. As busy as they are in the summer I guess they feel they can do without bikers. That’s their prerogative but unless that changes I’ll be going elsewhere. Shame.

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    @downtimehunter – thanks for the update. Does this mean the trains are running again (they were out last year) but bikes are not allowed on them at all or just that section (from Swiss side to Argentiere)

    Premier Icon NewRetroTom
    Subscriber

    Jambalaya – Trains have been off completely since last autumn (for upgrades to the track) with a bus replacement service that doesn’t take bikes.
    From 4 July the trains are supposed to be back on, but only up to Argentiere, so still buses which don’t take bikes from Argentiere to Valorcine/Suisse.
    Not sure when the train is going to be fully functioning, but hopefully in time for winter 13/14… It keeps getting pushed back.

    Premier Icon johnhe
    Subscriber

    We were there last year and the year before. The year before, you could ride the most incredible, pushes made trail all the way form the top of the chair lift above Flegere all the way down to the valley. But last year, you couldn’t take the second lift up and we were warned that the trail was not maintained. There was definitely a “you’re not welcome here” vibe at Flegere.

    On the plus side, the trail at Le Tour is absolutely fabulous! But all in all, it’s highly disappointing.

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