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160mm or 180mm Travel, that is the question??

Bayliss NEBayliss NE Posts: 6
edited January 2011 in MTB general
I currently ride a Trek Fuel Ex8 2010

I am planning on building a all mountain 160/180mm travel bike over next year as i do alot of trail riding. As much as i love flying down hills and jumps etc i don't want to intrude on DH teritory. I just wondered what the advantages would be to having more travel (i ride for fun by the way not for how fast i can do round a trail centre) other than the obvious.

just for info this is th esort of riding i like doing (photos n vid)


replies much appreciated


  • Frankly I don't think you even need 160mm of travel. An aggressive 140mm bike will be plenty, even if you do decide to tackle a downhill track. I regularly ride DH tracks on my 120mm bike
    I had to beat them to death with their own shoes...
    HiFi Pro Carbon '09

    LTS DH '96

    The Mighty Dyna-Sore - The 90's?
  • ditto. Ive got a 100mm FS bike and never had a problem at any trail centre
  • ps
    that wouldnt stop me getting a 160mm bike though. :D
  • I have 95-140mm [U-Turn] forks on my All Mountain and they cope just fine, but I did install a heavier spring as I'm no lightweight at 200LBS, the sub 5 inch rear suspension also copes just fine.
  • alitoddalitodd Posts: 104
    If you're not going to intrude on DH territory, 160mm will easily be enough. Get something reasonably slack- angled and tail happy, and although trails will be slower, you'll be seeing new lines everywhere.

    My recommendations are: air shock with some kind of damper adjust (lockout/ propedal), possibly travel adjust forks (although they are never as plush as fixed travel, Fox make a good job of the Talas 36), with a height adjust seat post (anything but Joplin).

    That way, you'll have a bike which will steepen and lock out when adjusted for climbs, but the possibility of pressing a few levers, and you have a downhill machine.

    You'll be surprised, though, if you do get a 160mm bike, how appealing the DH side of things becomes. You'd be surprised how far 160mm will take you.

    Hope that helps.
    I know not where I am going, my future will decide. But it's not the destination, it's the glory of the ride.

    Giant Reign X1 2009 (With shiny bits)
  • richg1979richg1979 Posts: 1,087
    160mm will be fine.

    if your fast anyway you will still have no probs dusting everyone.

    i have no probs getting past everything on a 160/170mm bike on trail centers, the only ones i find hard to keep up with are the guys in full lycra coverd in sponsors on full carbon anthems ect, got them owned on the black sections but they have the edge on the climbs.
  • BriggoBriggo Posts: 3,537
    You need at least 200mm if you're going to be riding those dangerous UK trails.

    160mm wouldn't even get you around Sherwood or Thetford Forest.
  • peter413peter413 Posts: 5,120
    Just remember as well that more travel does not mean better suspension performance, I would much rather have a 140mm fork that is perfect instead of a 160mm fork that is pretty poo
  • gotta think weight to... more travel generally means more weight.
  • gotta think weight to... more travel generally means more weight.

    And you need all the help you can get in that department :lol:

    On a serious note though mate you only need 160mm. Anything else and you may as well buy a proper DH rig!
  • Don't forget....what comes down, must go up. :wink:
  • Get a full on 200mm Downhill rig, the heavier the better.

    Then I might be able to keep up with you on me Giant !
    AM Bike: 2012 Titus EL Guapo XC Bike: Merlin Malt 4 2009
  • like i say i'm not one of these that has to get round a trail centre in a certain time and has to fly up hills like downs, i ride for shits n giggles but all replies much appreciated cheers
  • sheepsteethsheepsteeth Posts: 17,418 Webster
    i like longer travel bikes. considering the way i ride, they are wasted on me according to common theory but i like them

    i think the reasons i like them are the angles of the bike. i prefer a slacker front end (fnaar fnaar!) and this is typically only found on a longer travel bike.

    problem with longer travel bikes is that typically they are designed for harder riding requiring the extra sus so are built to take a bigger thrashing and are heavier.

    that said, if you have plenty of monies, there are plenty of lightweight longer travel bikes, stuff like the carbon enduro and the guccier scott genius range, but i find those to be a strange breed in theory, light weight for thrashing makes me whince at the possibilities.

    i ended up with one bike, sold a stumpy and an enduro to end up with a bike sat in the middle (travel wise) but adjustable so it is slacker than the enduro and steeper than the stumpjumper with the push of a button. perfect.
  • Richie63Richie63 Posts: 2,132
    100 mm hard tail do you just fine for all trail riding in the uk BUT there's nowt to stop you having any suspension size you want and many bikes to put it on :)
    I'm going to blow the bank on a new build ( within reason ) NOW DONE!! ... 010362.jpg
  • Richie63Richie63 Posts: 2,132
    To my last post 150mm on a spech enduro is pretty much perfect.
    I'm going to blow the bank on a new build ( within reason ) NOW DONE!! ... 010362.jpg
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    A lot of people seem to say that 140mm is around the sweet spot for your average rider in the UK. 140mm bikes tending to be lighter and more nippy round the trials.

    How about -

    Lapiere Zesty (model depending on budget),
    Knolly Endorphin,
    Santa Cruz Nomad (carbon if your made of money),
    Ibis Mojo (again depending on budget).

    Of course having a larger travel bike will make you look tougher in front of your mates and may even give you a bit of a buzz knowing you got it. But I'd imagine unless your really going to fly and ride big stuff the lighter weight of a 140mm travel will be more useful and fun.
  • I've got 160mm front a rear with lockout and everything and it does wonders. I ride in the alps alot, and on some decent sized mountains here in Austria. 160mm does everything perfect, I can still lock it out for the climbs, and then unlock on the descents and techier stuff and it's lovely.

    180mm would be too much I think.
  • welshkevwelshkev Posts: 9,690
    nothing to do with you post really, but i really like the look of that trail in the first video, looks like the kind of trail i'd love to have a go at :D
  • Hamsterley Forest Section 13 mate, theres also Transmission at Hamsterley which is more or less the same kinda thing
  • welshkevwelshkev Posts: 9,690
    Bayliss NE wrote:
    Hamsterley Forest Section 13 mate, theres also Transmission at Hamsterley which is more or less the same kinda thing

    i've never heard of it before :oops: i have an office in gateshead so i might have to vounteer for a trip up there at some point :D
  • ilovedirtilovedirt Posts: 5,798
    My commencal meta 5 is pretty much perfect for most UK riding, I'd highly reccommend one.

    I also had a Scott Genius before the Meta, while the 'traction control' adjustable shock was helpful, the bike as a whole just didn't pedal that well, especially not as well as my Meta, making the adjustable shock a bit redundant really.
    Production Privee Shan

    B'Twin Triban 5
  • Bayliss stop being a pleb, 160mm is all you need.

    Might let you ride mine if im ever off when you all go out again :(
  • popstarpopstar Posts: 1,392
    No, get the bike you would like to ride most. No matter if it's 180-160. As long as it looks sexy and screams at you -Go ride me! , thats the right bike for you. Them i-plebs will tell you no good.

    Fuel EX for XC and trail center riding and 180-160 as an experience in a life time bike.

    What could have been (Video)

    I'll choose not put too much stake into someone's opinion who is admittingly terrible though
  • Steve_b77Steve_b77 Posts: 1,680
    To be honest if the videos above demonstrate your typical type of riding, smooth trail centers with some drops, jumps and a couple of rocks the bike you currently ride is more than enough.

    Maybe something with around 140mm might be nice, it won't be much if any faster on that kind of terrain.

    A 160/180mm all mountain monster bike will just flatten everything and take a lot of enjoyment out of that kind of riding, now if you were heading to the Alps a few times a year and riding much rockier/gnarlier terrain than that demonstrated it may well be worth it, but for all round UK trail riding a 120mm (fractionally under 5") trail bike is perfect
  • joshtpjoshtp Posts: 3,966
    Get a 140mm aggro bike, like a Marrin Atack trail. Perfect for you. At the most a 140mm bike with a 160mm fork (make sure it can take a 160mm fork, before you go snapping your head tube off!)
    I like bikes and stuff
  • lawmanlawman Posts: 6,868
    im gonna echo whats been said previously and say you need 140mm or 160mm max, thos trails are no worse what i ride week in week out at cannock chase and round the peaks, and a 140mm bike is perfect for that, hence why i have a 140mm hardtail and will soon own a 140mm full sus, its all most riders ever need with ebnough in reserve for when it gets hairy
  • geoff93geoff93 Posts: 190
    160 is plenty! anymore and you will just carry more weight than needed!
    Trek Madone 3.5 (RS80s, Arione)
    Trek Madone 3.1 (Upgraded)
    Ribble TT Bike
    Trek Mamba (Garry Fisher Collection)
  • alitoddalitodd Posts: 104
    To summarise, if it's intended for those sorts of trails, 140mm is adequate. However, if you intend to travel around a bit, get into the more adventurous side of riding or maybe just have a bit of (slower) fun, the geometry on a 160mm bike will suit you fine.

    Just a thought - the Last Herb AM (All Mountain) is the perfect bike for you! 140mm forks, and interchangeable rear travel set at 145mm, but will take 165 and 175mm too. The suspension platform is based on the system used by quite a few DH bikes, but altered to give perfect ratio's for alpine riding.

    If you get a 'big bike', get this.
    I know not where I am going, my future will decide. But it's not the destination, it's the glory of the ride.

    Giant Reign X1 2009 (With shiny bits)
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