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Offline jonathan

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Mountain bikes
« on: November 07, 2018, 02:16:17 PM »
I’ve been away from BMX for a long time. It seems like a lot of aging BMX guys like myself have gotten into mountain biking. I have been mountain biking for over a decade now and I am finding that the industry is pushing trends that don’t work well with my riding style, which is heavily influenced by my background in BMX.

I ride a steel singlespeed, often with a rigid fork, on the same rocky trails in Austin where most people “need” a full-suspension, dropper-post, 500% gear range bike. I am not that strong of a rider, I just get bored with a bike that you sit “in” instead of “on.” It feels like the industry is pushing bikes that practically steer for you (and sometimes pedal for you in the case of e-bikes).

In some cases, these long, low slack bikes are helpful and even a safety issue, but mostly for trails where there’s a lot of steep downhill, which I don’t find very often and don’t care to ride. I like flat, twisty, rocky trails and climbing. It feels like the newer mountain bikes are stable to a fault, they stick to the ground like Velcro, which is great at high speed and going downhill, but not so much for riding like the trail is a 30 mile-long skateboard park. My riding style and the terrain I seek out is analogous to riding bmx bike at a skatepark that’s all little kickers and ledges instead of big dirt jumps or a vert ramp.

For those of you who have started mountain biking from a BMX background, what kind of bike suits you? Do you find that low BB drop, long reaches, long wheelbases feel natural to you? If not, can/ did you adapt? what do you look for in a mountain bike that handles somewhat like a BMX bike that you can toss around and not a tank?

Anything specific that works or doesn't regarding reach, BB drop, wheelbase, angles?

« Last Edit: November 07, 2018, 02:24:39 PM by jonathan »

Offline Narcoleptic Insomniac

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Re: Mountain bikes
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2018, 04:32:28 PM »
I don't ride mtb but if I were to get into it it would be on a bike that handles as close to a BMX as possible and definitely a hard tail. I kinda feel like suspension is there just to mask sloppy riding.

Offline jonathan

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Re: Mountain bikes
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2018, 07:53:51 AM »
Go Gunners! (there’s a pub in Austin that broadcasts all the Arsenal games and a big following here. Sometimes we’re at the pub at 6 a.m. to watch the game, even though the bar legally can’t serve alcohol.)

To be sure, a hardtail is going to have a better whip-able feel than a FS bike most of the time. FWIW, suspension and linkage design keeps getting better, to the point that I hear many riders who swore they would always ride a hardtail saying they love ____ FS bike they are riding now because the design is that much better than what was available in the past. I have yet to put any serious trail miles on a FS bike, but I can see how rear suspension is preferable or even necessary for mere mortals on trails that combine speed and lots of technical features. For the trails I ride, FS is nowhere near necessary, but most of the locals insist that they need it. for a lot of these people, the suspension covers up poor bike handling skills, strength, and line choice. For someone like me, who has decent bike-handling skills (most of the people I ride with can’t bunnyhop to save their life), I can do without it.

 

However, I am looking for some insight about the finer points of geometry in mountain bikes. In recent years, mountain bikes have gotten … lazier. Long reach, lower bottom brackets, long front-center, slack seat tubes, wider and wider (and heavier) rims and tires, more plush suspension, steep seat tube angles to make up for the long reach, and dropper posts are almost ubiquitous.


they change in rider position, I believe, is still based on how a rider fits in a static, seated position, which is important, but it compromises the handling when standing and wrangling over tough terrain, when sitting and spinning the cranks is not an option. I see this happen all the time when some guy on a really nice $6000 squishy bike sits and tries to grind up a hill in his lowest gear, and then I pass him on my singlespeed rigid bike, the difference is, I stand up and hammer instead of letting all the technology do the work for me.

 

I really think the new breed of mountain bike is being designed so that unfit riders with no skills can just pedal and plow through everything with minimal effort put into wrangling the bike. They are designed to stay glued to the ground like the tires are made of velcro. This is boring as hell to me. I want a bike that I can ride somewhat comfortably for hours on end, but also allows me to whip it around, bunnyhop logs, etc.

 

In the same way that a dirt jump-oriented BMX bike is longer and lower than a flatland bike, I am looking for a middle ground. My BMX background instilled in me a sense that riding should be very active and dynamic and the bike should encourage you to use those skills. I love that about bmx- it’s really not about the bike because the bikes are so simple and have barely changed in decades. Mountain bikes from five years ago, however, are effectively obsolete because axle standards, headsets, seatpost sizes and such change all the time.

 

On that note, are BMX bikes still being sized by actual top tube lengths? Have they adopted the trials bike version of “reach” – distance from BB to center-top of head tube? I hope they figured that out because actual top tube length tells you nothing about how a bike fits.


Offline jonathan

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Re: Mountain bikes
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2018, 08:49:24 AM »
Furthermore!

I see how my BMX mentality doesn't gel with modern mtb mentality. BMX riders are militant about their bikes being simple and pure. Strong, light, and cheap, BMX bikes can be all three, but there's little opportunity to buy performance. BMX riders would reject technology that actually makes riding easier. We joked about spring-loaded headsets to make barspins and tailwhips easier, but I see a modern mtber jumping on something like that. Pegs that spin instead of grinding were tried and failed, but mountain bikers would pre-order every last one of such a thing if it made mountain biking easier.

Mountain bikes with electric motors are mainstream now. That makes me want to puke, but most mountain bikers don't share that view. Why is that?

Offline andreas

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Re: Mountain bikes
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2018, 03:17:03 PM »
Cuz most mtb riders are cucks

Offline Dr. Steve Brule

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Re: Mountain bikes
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2018, 01:54:12 AM »
When you go riding in mainland Europe e-bikes are EVERYWHERE, I genuinely couldn't believe it, you rarely see them in the UK.

I haven't had a MTB in years but quite fancy one of those slack hardtails you get nowadays, they look pretty fun, something like the Pace.


Offline jonathan

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Re: Mountain bikes
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2018, 07:41:31 AM »
When you say you see a lot of e-bikes in mainland Europe, are those commuter hybrid bikes on the roads, or e-mtbs on singletrack? I thin e-bikes in the city are brilliant but I don't get the e-mtb thing at all. It seems antithetical to the spirit of mountain biking for me.

Offline jonathan

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Re: Mountain bikes
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2018, 08:20:19 AM »
That Pace RC 129 looks like something I would enjoy. Steel, reasonable reach and BB drop. chainstay could be shorter. Singlespeed option is a must for me. I will have to see if I can get one in the US.

Offline paranoidmexican

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Re: Mountain bikes
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2018, 08:32:33 AM »
i don't know much about trails or mountain bikes, but i'd like to get a bigger bike for cruising around soon.
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Offline Dr. Steve Brule

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Re: Mountain bikes
« Reply #9 on: Today at 03:40:24 AM »
When you say you see a lot of e-bikes in mainland Europe, are those commuter hybrid bikes on the roads, or e-mtbs on singletrack? I thin e-bikes in the city are brilliant but I don't get the e-mtb thing at all. It seems antithetical to the spirit of mountain biking for me.

Pretty much solely e-mtbs, mainly hardtails too. All the commuters were still on regular steel city bikes / hybrids for the most part. I was on the road bike so only really saw people on the road or close to it but everyone looked like they were heading to some trails. Still, interesting to see, as they still don't seem that popular in the UK.

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Re: Mountain bikes
« Reply #9 on: Today at 03:40:24 AM »

 

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