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Does it really make any difference in the real world?

JesseDJesseD Posts: 1,961
edited February 2018 in MTB general
Being new to the mountain bike scene and spending a fair amount of time looking at and doing some research on mountain bikes I am wondering if the different types of MTB really make that much difference in the real word?

Now obviously a downhill bike is a very different beast to a XC Hardtail however is there really much difference between an enduro bike and a trail bike and a XC bike etc?

Or is it a case of manufacturers categorising bikes to sell more of them so you need a trail bike and an XC bike for the 2 different disciplines? Now for your elite/pro racers then yes I can see it’s the best tool for the job but to average Joe Public does it really matter if you buy an enduro bike to do trail riding for example?

I understand there may be subtle differences between the bikes but in the real world does that translate to you needing a different bike depending on the riding you do?
Obsessed is a word used by the lazy to describe the dedicated!


  • fat daddyfat daddy Posts: 2,605
    there are differences, but as you go from one to another there is also over lap ... but ... .you wont find many Enduro Bikes with a light weight frame and 120mm suspension, so looking for an XC bike might be a better idea.

    and a lightweight 120mm sprung bike will be a lot quicker and easier on the twisty up and downs of an all day trail that involves just as much climbing as it does descending

    But go to a trail center with some purpose made downhill sections, shorter, rougher, bigger hits .... and the enduro will walk all over the XC ... well once you have learnt how to go balls out on the XC

    I am a lot quicker descending on my 120mm than I ever was with the bigger heavier 160mm bike, purely due to the size of my kahoonas
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,599
    What he says is a good place to start ^^^.

    Avoid a racy XC bike for general riding. A trail type bike between about 120mm and 140mm will do most stuff well enough.

    the rest depends on budget.
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  • Uber_PodUber_Pod Posts: 110
    For Joe Public, the biggest limitation is going to be the rider.
    I would imagine (because I'm nowhere near that myself) is that once you really learn how to ride properly, you'll be far more aware of the differences between bikes and setups.

    You'll save far more weight by getting fitter than you can save on the bike. You'll get far more gains out of a skills course than a new bike.

    But it's so much easier and tempting to buy shiny things. :)
  • Steve-XcTSteve-XcT Posts: 267
    Well trail riding is a pretty broad category.
    You can ride trails on a XC or on an Enduro but the experience will be very different.

    You can also ride fire trails and roads on a XC bike... perhaps not as fast as a gravel/CX bike but it would be closer to those than it would to an Enduro bike...

    However if you want to ride anything but tame single track then I'd avoid an XC unless you plan to race XC. (It can be done... but doing a 3' gap jump on a XC bike can require way more skill and cohones)
    Unless you think you'll be sticking to the gnarliest trails avoid an Enduro ... you can pedal it but it won't be fun on a fire trail

    It depends how serious you are... you won't win a Local/Regional Level XC on a Trail bike...Nino Schurter might but he'd struggle on an Enduro... but you can take part and have fun. Heck you can even get close to winning a WC DH on a Enduro and Flat pedals if you're Sam Hill. However I suspect like me you're mortal....
    Or is it a case of manufacturers categorising bikes to sell more of them so you need a trail bike and an XC bike for the 2 different disciplines?

    Overall, quite possibly the reverse ... the trail bike is the do-it-all bike. Unless you are seriously racing or just doing DH you don't *need* anything else. I use my trail bike on everything from XC courses to DH to bike park jumps... it's not as Fast as my XC bike and riding DH isn't something I'd choose to use it for every day... but for many its all the bike they need.

    Based on where I live I have a mid travel (130 rear and 140 front) but if I lived somewhere I rode bigger more often I'd probably be 150 or 160.... and into Enduro class bikes... I also have a 100mm Carbon HT XC bike.... Ummm barely use it since I got the trail bike.
  • JesseDJesseD Posts: 1,961
    Thanks for the answers chaps, reason I ask is being a roadie I have bought and raced and won crit races on what is effectively a sportive bike, have ridden long road races and sportives on an aggressive race bike and have seen people race crits on cross bikes (non-disc) and win, so the different geometries on the bikes are designed for a purpose but can be used to good effect in different disciplines so I wondered if it is the same in mountain biking?

    I have been looking at hardtails v full suss (what I really want but need to save a bit more for), am looking at a 29er and have focused on trail bike primarily, however in a year or 2 I may want to race XC so wondered if the 2 cross over and what the differences are (I can imagine I won’t be allowed to buy a XC bike and a trail bike (had to fight for sign off to by a MTB in the first place and the budget for that seems to be a bone of contention )

    Is riding a XC bike on trails enjoyable, and is racing a XC race on a trail bike doable (no delusions of grandeur that I will be near the pointy end so its all about fun for me), where is the cross over and what do I need to look for?
    Obsessed is a word used by the lazy to describe the dedicated!
  • Uber_PodUber_Pod Posts: 110
    The ideal option would be to hire various bikes and try them out. See what works for you.
  • As I always say, get yourself to a trail centre where you can try-out different bikes before you decide what to buy - that's what I did, before I bought my Scott Genius MC10 - if you can get yourself to Southern Scotland, visit Glentress, which is an absolutely amazing trail centre where you can rent bikes before you choose which one to buy.

    If you don't mind roughing it/glamping, you could stay here: I've stayed in these before, and they're really good. Just make sure you check the weather forecast before you go...
  • slc123slc123 Posts: 407
    For the last few years I’ve ridden a fairly entry level XC bike with a few upgrades on various trails and difficulties including some black runs. As a previous posts mentioned is doable but starts to become very tricky and some times over tricky stuff you are holding on a bit. I made the decision this year to build my own trail bike which will be very capable. Slacker, longer and decent travel. It’s still a hard tail as thats my preference for riding but I’m hoping it will make things more enjoyable when stuff gets tough! I will definitely be keeping the XC bike though for some of the riding I do as the other one will be overkill and will have the adverse effect on enjoying the XC rides.

    As mentioned earlier, trying stuff is the best way if you can get somewhere. Good luck with your search!
    Cannondale Trail 27.5 | 2015
    Titus El Chulo 27.5 | 2017
    Trek Slash 9 27.5 | 2015 (building)
  • JesseDJesseD Posts: 1,961
    Not living on the mainland UK makes demo days a bit of a pain but on the weekend I was offered a great deal on a Whyte S-150s Which is pretty much all the bike I will need for a few years at least!

    It’s 29er, decent forks and shock and seems to tick all boxes for now! Just need to save a bit more cash!
    Obsessed is a word used by the lazy to describe the dedicated!
  • slc123slc123 Posts: 407
    Yup, that will do it for you...
    Cannondale Trail 27.5 | 2015
    Titus El Chulo 27.5 | 2017
    Trek Slash 9 27.5 | 2015 (building)
  • Xc vs trail vs enduro I think comes down to matching the bike to what you like riding. Like storming up climbs, then picking your way down the other side? XC. Grimace through the climbs to enjoy smashing down the descents? Enduro. Mix of both? Trail. All will do the others riding, but will be less suited to it and if all your focus is on one style of riding, buy a bike that’s best suited. If you already have a bike, keep it, it will still work, but there might be another better suited.

    Friend of mine did a 7 and 12 hr endurance XC race on a 180mm 35+lb freeride bike (his only bike) he enjoyed it, but reckoned he might not have come last if he’d been on a more xc oriented bike...

    I’ve ridden my 429SL (xc29er), 5010 (trail) and Nomad (enduro) on the same trails, and all were fine, just better at different things
    Santa Cruz 5010C
    Deviate Guide
    Specialized Sequoia Elite
    Pivot Mach 429SL
    Trek Madone 5.2 Di2
    Salsa Mukluk Carbon
    Specialized Turbo Levo Expert 29er
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