Do you downhill? If not why not?

Northwind
Northwind Posts: 14,675
edited December 2010 in MTB general
So... I just did an uplift day at innerleithen, which was ace... But it was pretty obviously a "downhill day", there were a couple of guys with big trailbikes like me but almost everyone was in full facers and jousting suits. But, I was thinking this is a shame... Bear with me...

Now, I'm no downhiller, not really that interested in becoming one... I'm allergic to pain. But, these are amazing trails. Most of the innerleithen trails are tough but they're not suicide and the Fort William WC route is, oh, let's say 20% harder than the Nevis Red... But it's not that, it's that they're so constant, the trails are short but every inch is interesting just about, it never lets up. And you've got these huge sustained descents with no or few pedally bits, no fire road breaks... And they throw in features you won't usually get on normal trails, no trailcentre builder is going to throw away altitude like the final section of Cresta Run frinstance. So, it's a whole aspect of riding you can get into if you like but that most people never will. All you need is a fairly capable bike and a decent set of skills, but you don't have to be a riding god. Obviously

I asked 4 mates if they wanted to come to this uplift... All good riders, one probably better than me, the other 2 maybe not but still very capable. Most have big bikes too. But they didn't do it, because they don't do downhill. Was the same at Fort William, others would do the red but not the WC. Like there's this invisible line, you shall not pass. But it's just riding bikes.

So... Do you downhill? If not why not? Anyone else like me, treating them as more ultimate XC trails rather than "proper" downhilling?

PS I accept no responsibility for anyone who's inspired by this to go and do the world cup route and is killed to bits.
Uncompromising extremist
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Comments

  • thel33ter
    thel33ter Posts: 2,684
    I just haven't really had the bike for it, but I'd love to try some scarier stuff with my new Enduro. There also isn't much DH around here apart from Aston Hill as far as I know.
    And now you know, and knowing is half the battle
    05 Spesh Enduro Expert
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  • Northwind
    Northwind Posts: 14,675
    Why is it expensive? You can ride or push to the top of most. Though personally I probably wouldn't most of the time, I'm lazy but I can see me detouring off of innerleithen red and riding up to do cresta or gold run instead of caddon bank etc.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • supersonic
    supersonic Posts: 82,708
    I don't have a DH bike and can't afford to hire one.
  • Northwind
    Northwind Posts: 14,675
    supersonic wrote:
    I don't have a DH bike and can't afford to hire one.

    I don't have a DH bike either, that's the point! Not required, since "trailbikes" went mental. Not sure I'd want to do most dh trails on a carbon zaskar mind but a sensible allrounder will nail most of these. I'd do the world cup route on my hardtail.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • Briggo
    Briggo Posts: 3,537
    I'm not taking my bike down a DH track, it's not designed for it and nor is the warranty ;)
  • it's rude not to do a downhill route on your all mountain bike anyway. how else are you sposed to know it's limits

    eh
  • Northwind wrote:
    Why is it expensive? You can ride or push to the top of most. Though personally I probably wouldn't most of the time, I'm lazy but I can see me detouring off of innerleithen red and riding up to do cresta or gold run instead of caddon bank etc.

    its not the uplift thats expensive, although im sure it racks up to be. Its the bike, even 2nd hand they start at 1000+ whats a lot for what you would get. or the "all mountain bike" your talking about, also expensive.
  • jay12
    jay12 Posts: 6,306
    i do it for fun and love it. not done proper tracks like fort bill as i have a hardtail with 130mm forks :lol: . but once i get a fr/dh bike i'm gonna do some races
  • Northwind
    Northwind Posts: 14,675
    jadamson wrote:
    its not the uplift thats expensive, although im sure it racks up to be. Its the bike, even 2nd hand they start at 1000+ whats a lot for what you would get. or the "all mountain bike" your talking about, also expensive.

    The bikes most people on here already have can do this. Not out-and-out XC bikes, but your sensible allrounders. People just assume that they can't. Doesn't have to be a big all-mountain bike either. Like I say, I'd do the world cup dh on my hardtail. Would have done in fact had my clutch not packed in, but now the season's over :( I'll do it next year though.

    If anyone wants to give me £600 I'll do it on a Carrera Fury, if you need proof you don't need an expensive bike ;) I'll stick better tyres on it and take off the big ring, and maybe bigger rotors but that's all it'd need. It won't be "downhilling", just riding an awesome trail.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • Northwind wrote:
    jadamson wrote:
    its not the uplift thats expensive, although im sure it racks up to be. Its the bike, even 2nd hand they start at 1000+ whats a lot for what you would get. or the "all mountain bike" your talking about, also expensive.

    The bikes most people on here already have can do this. Not out-and-out XC bikes, but your sensible allrounders. People just assume that they can't. Doesn't have to be a big all-mountain bike either. Like I say, I'd do the world cup dh on my hardtail. Would have done in fact had my clutch not packed in, but now the season's over :( I'll do it next year though.

    If anyone wants to give me £600 I'll do it on a Carrera Fury, if you need proof you don't need an expensive bike ;) I'll stick better tyres on it and take off the big ring, and maybe bigger rotors but that's all it'd need. It won't be "downhilling", just riding an awesome trail.

    Fair enough I guess so, however I only have a hard tail so probably not the best idea although I would probably give it a go if i lived closer to a DH track. I have a friend who did fort William on a hardrock just was a lot slower than the others on there DH bikes :lol:
  • chedabob
    chedabob Posts: 1,133
    Northwind wrote:
    jadamson wrote:
    its not the uplift thats expensive, although im sure it racks up to be. Its the bike, even 2nd hand they start at 1000+ whats a lot for what you would get. or the "all mountain bike" your talking about, also expensive.

    The bikes most people on here already have can do this. Not out-and-out XC bikes, but your sensible allrounders. People just assume that they can't. Doesn't have to be a big all-mountain bike either. Like I say, I'd do the world cup dh on my hardtail. Would have done in fact had my clutch not packed in, but now the season's over :( I'll do it next year though.

    If anyone wants to give me £600 I'll do it on a Carrera Fury, if you need proof you don't need an expensive bike ;) I'll stick better tyres on it and take off the big ring, and maybe bigger rotors but that's all it'd need. It won't be "downhilling", just riding an awesome trail.

    :( You could've said any bike but the Fury. If I snap the headtube or break my neck, you're to blame :lol:
  • bails87
    bails87 Posts: 12,998
    <
    Look where I live....

    And look at my bikes....
    V V
    MTB/CX

    "As I said last time, it won't happen again."
  • Northwind
    Northwind Posts: 14,675
    I think the Fury's pretty much exactly the worst bike I'd want to do it on, if you know what I mean. Don't get me wrong, both my bikes are pretty bloody nice and I'd sooner use one of them :lol:

    A guy did the fort william enduro 6-hour DH race on an Amtrack Superfly made out of spare parts :lol:
    Uncompromising extremist
  • P-Jay
    P-Jay Posts: 1,478
    I do actually ride a bit of DH, or did, I'm injured at the moment but hoping to go back to it soon.

    'Downhill' is a bit of a loose term. If you're talking about doing uplift days, trips to the alps etc rather than DH racing then that what I do.

    Cost is a big factor, any decent 8" plus bike is going to cost you. It's £2.5k to even get in the game. If you start adding some trick stuff like DH specific brakes, lighter bits and lots of suspension adjustment you can double that easy.

    Plus as far as I know there's less than a handful of full-time uplifts in the UK, not many more full-time DH tracks you're spending a lot of money to do not much riding.

    You can of course use any bike, but even a 6" 'all-mountain' style bike is going to need a lot of TLC after a full uplift day. I've seen guys destroying brakes, forks, rims etc on trail bikes at Cwmcarn.

    Saying all that I love it, DH tracks are another level from most anything else you can ride and [touch wood] in my group of mates all the biggest injuries have been on trail centres.

    DH racing is another matter all together, I don't enjoy the stress of competition so I don't do it anymore, but it's the best way to get a lot of track time.
  • supersonic
    supersonic Posts: 82,708
    Northwind wrote:
    supersonic wrote:
    I don't have a DH bike and can't afford to hire one.

    I don't have a DH bike either, that's the point! Not required, since "trailbikes" went mental. Not sure I'd want to do most dh trails on a carbon zaskar mind but a sensible allrounder will nail most of these. I'd do the world cup route on my hardtail.

    Depends how serious the DH is, like you say. If I was to DH at FW I'd want a DH bike to get the most from it, not an XC or 'AM' bike. Plenty of top class XC trails where I live anyway, with hard, black graded sections. Sure I can ride world class DH routes on my 130mm hardtail. But a hell of a lot slower than I would on a DH bike, and would miss bits out! So IS required for me and what I want from DH.
  • Northwind
    Northwind Posts: 14,675
    supersonic wrote:
    If I was to DH at FW I'd want a DH bike to get the most from it, not an XC or 'AM' bike.

    Well. It depends, this. I'd like to have a go on a real DH bike but I didn't feel I was missing out on my own bike, which is where I'm coming from with the "not actually downhilling" thinking- once you forget about the name and just think of it as riding, then they're just trails. So I'm missing out on the "full on dh experience" but then even on a DH bike I'd still be a knobber so I'd probably miss that anyway. Did I get the most from it? Not sure... But I did get more from it than on most rides and had a great time so I'm not too worried about "most". I doubt I've ever had the most I could have from an XC ride after all.

    What I'm getting at really is that these things can offer a lot more.
    P-Jay wrote:
    You can of course use any bike, but even a 6" 'all-mountain' style bike is going to need a lot of TLC after a full uplift day.

    My 5 inch all mountain bike only needs a wash and a chain lube after today's full uplift day :lol: Oh and I need to swap the tyres back to normal.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • supersonic
    supersonic Posts: 82,708
    Well fun is what is all about, and that is subjective. I think people have to be careful taking bikes not suited to DH down a DH track, and to learn it first so not taken by surprise by a huge drop, jump or boulder which might trash a non DH bike.
  • Stevo_666
    Stevo_666 Posts: 59,936
    1. I live in the South East where it's a bit flat
    2. I've got a 100mm XC bike
    3. I need to grow some bigger cojones
    "I spent most of my money on birds, booze and fast cars: the rest of it I just squandered." [George Best]
  • jay12
    jay12 Posts: 6,306
    P-Jay wrote:
    I do actually ride a bit of DH, or did, I'm injured at the moment but hoping to go back to it soon.

    'Downhill' is a bit of a loose term. If you're talking about doing uplift days, trips to the alps etc rather than DH racing then that what I do.

    Cost is a big factor, any decent 8" plus bike is going to cost you. It's £2.5k to even get in the game. If you start adding some trick stuff like DH specific brakes, lighter bits and lots of suspension adjustment you can double that easy.

    Plus as far as I know there's less than a handful of full-time uplifts in the UK, not many more full-time DH tracks you're spending a lot of money to do not much riding.

    You can of course use any bike, but even a 6" 'all-mountain' style bike is going to need a lot of TLC after a full uplift day. I've seen guys destroying brakes, forks, rims etc on trail bikes at Cwmcarn.

    Saying all that I love it, DH tracks are another level from most anything else you can ride and [touch wood] in my group of mates all the biggest injuries have been on trail centres.

    DH racing is another matter all together, I don't enjoy the stress of competition so I don't do it anymore, but it's the best way to get a lot of track time.
    some very good points there. i'm the sort of person who wouldn't mind spending that much as dh is one of the main things i ride. and also it's true there isn't many places in teh uk for proper dh and thats why i am thinking of moving to canada in the future
  • Northwind
    Northwind Posts: 14,675
    supersonic wrote:
    I think people have to be careful taking bikes not suited to DH down a DH track, and to learn it first so not taken by surprise by a huge drop, jump or boulder which might trash a non DH bike.

    That's certainly true, all good points. But I do reckon that a lot of people out there have perfectly capable hardware, but just don't know it, especially in these days of silly bikes.

    What I'm really getting at here is just that people shouldn't be put off by names. Laggan black is harder at its hardest than the fort bill dh IMO, there's no line in the sand here, just that people miss out on something they might like because they think you need a downhill bike or that it's only for mentalists and excellent riders.

    Not so sure about "learn it first" though, in an ideal world you'd walk it first but that's not so practical, I just use the same approach as I would on any unfamiliar trail. You learn it by riding it.
    jadamson wrote:
    what are you riding Northwind?

    My Hemlock today. Though the first time i did bits of the world cup course I was on my Soul :lol: I did break it a bit on the final descent though, but only because I'm a knob. 25lbs of XC steel hardtail :lol:
    Uncompromising extremist
  • i guess it is just hard to begin with.
    1) you need a pretty good rig to take on the steep hills (I have not been to many places, but I hardly know where you can rent a DH bike and get the taste of it before throwing yourself into the category)
    2) then you really have to fine a decent big hill with some good tracks. (not everyone can do a day trip to fort williams, i think)
    3) risk of serious injury is larger, it will be a bugger if you have to lay off work because of biking injury.

    well, its just my though. 8)
  • I started riding a bit of DH last year. My first uplift day was at Cwmcarn (on my Heckler). It is a very good track to start out on. There is nothing too steep or remotly narly to worry about, but plenty of grin factor. I later had a brief shot of a friends tired (24" rear wheeled )Big Hit and loved the big bike feeling.After that I went out and bought a DH bike. I know I won't use it as much as I do my other bikes but living right next to a DH track it would be a shame not to have the option.

    One of my pals is a very good XC rider (won races) but he doesn't like DH. It's not so much about skill, but the mindset of the rider. You can also buy very good DH rigs for under 2k. So cost isn't as bad as people think!

    I went to the Lecht a few months ago, it's the perfect track for beginner DH'r. Chair lift access and a "downhill BMX track". Just a shame it's so far away for most people. If there were more tracks like it in the UK more people would DH.
  • jay12
    jay12 Posts: 6,306
    weescott wrote:
    One of my pals is a very good XC rider (won races) but he doesn't like DH. It's not so much about skill, but the mindset of the rider. You can also buy very good DH rigs for under 2k. So cost isn't as bad as people think!
    yeah, some people just don't like the idea of throwing yourself down a hill all suited up and hitting big jumps and very technical sections with massive risks of injury
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    Stevo 666 wrote:
    1. I live in the South East where it's a bit flat
    Actually surprisingly it's not. At least not around the Surrey area. The hills here are only a hundred meters or so lower than those at places like Afan.

    And you don't need a mountain to have a savage DH. May not be a long ride down but it can be extremely steep and challenging. Aston Hill for example. In fact there are parts of the Surrey Hills and North Downs that could be classified as DH.


    Anyway, myself I don't do what is technically defined as DH in terms of the way I ride, but I will give some of the DH trails a go. No I don't have the bike for real DH but you don't need one. A typical 120 to 150mm XC / All Mountain full suss can be fine for many DH tracks. It's just you may have to avoid huge drops, jumps and throwing it around as hard as a DHer would. If it's just a steep slope you don't need anything special at all. If there aren't many bumps, a hard tail would be fine! Just get DH tyres that's all.

    Done Aston and Cwmcarn DH* on my GT and it was not a problem at all. I had all the problems, but that's my technical skills (or lack of) :D.

    (*not the big kerb drop though!)

    I do enjoy trails that go more downhill though with steeper the better (even though I chicken out a lot on some). I don't really like the pigeon hole categories though. I'm not an XCer by the true definition of it. True XC is flat and boring (or a lot of climbing). I ride across country, but I go all over, usually seeking out something interesting rather than on a mission to cover distance (also boring). A lot of singletrack, footpaths, or any scrap of land that is ridable, sand, soil, gravel, rocks, climbs, descents, steep rolls, the odd drop, little jumps. Whatever really. If there was a category "whatever", then that's what I ride (or at least attempt to) :D

    I'd recommend though if you're not a DHer but doing a proper DH track, investing in a full face and other protection. Landed on my head at Aston I appreciated the full face I borrowed. The rib pains I got definitely makes me want to get body armour if I try it again!
  • xtreem
    xtreem Posts: 2,965
    I ride just everything.
    And by DH I ride as fast as I can go except:
    - I don't ride super crazy which will damage my bike and me if I fall,
    - and don't take jumps that are beyond the limits of the bike.
  • schmako
    schmako Posts: 1,982
    I've been lazy and need to get my Patriot sorted, tighten the spokes on the rear wheel + new mech/cables needed. But when the xc bike is working i'm far too lazy to fix the other one. (could've done with the patriot for the Ae red yesterday though, so many rocks!)
  • I'd miss riding up hills.

    and I'm not big on jumps or drop offs.
    --
    '09 Carrera Fury
    '94 GT Timberline FS
    '89 Saracen Tufftrax
  • ilovedirt
    ilovedirt Posts: 5,798
    I did my first "downhill" with the riding club on my GT hardtail yesterday. It was easy-ish according to them, but I'd never ridden anything like that before really, so it was super technical to me! I think if I had a bigger bike and more protection, I would have enjoyed it more and attempted some of the bigger features, but I had a blast anyway and it would be good to get into!
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