Descending on an all mountain bike vs XC

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Descending on an all mountain bike vs XC

Postby ozstriker » Mon Mar 17, 2014 11:01 am

Will an all mountain bike be easier to descend with over an xc bike or would it only make a negligible difference?

I did the seq Gravity enduro yesterday and to say I struggled would be an understatement.

I ride an older anthem and I found yesterday especially on the black Diamond stuff that the aggressive setup of the anthem really made it feel nervous going down hill. Hitting steep rocky descents felt like it wanted to throw me over the bars.
Granted I hadn't ridden there before but I'm just wondering whether if I had ridden a trance yesterday whether I would have found it easier to negotiate technical sections.

I usually ride jubilee and can easily negotiate everything there comfortably except for MacKenzie frenzy of course.

I would like to hear from people that have gone from xc to all mountain.
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by BNA » Mon Mar 17, 2014 1:16 pm

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Re: Descending on an all mountain bike vs XC

Postby Duck! » Mon Mar 17, 2014 1:16 pm

AM bikes, being really only one step back from full-blown downhill rigs have a much slacker head angle than XC bikes. This geometric difference cuts a lot of responsiveness out of the front end of the bike, which improves its directional stability. They also have a much higher front end (not only due to the longer travel forks), which puts the weight bias further back, reducing the tendency to want to pitch you over the bars.

The trade off is that they're not much fun to ride back up....
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.
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Re: Descending on an all mountain bike vs XC

Postby Marx » Mon Mar 17, 2014 1:31 pm

Fit a dropper seatpost to your anthem.
And maybe a shorter stem.....
Then maybe... Well you get the picture.
Although, in short an All Mountain bike might be more ‘flexible’ than a XC rig, if you plan to mix up the MTB events you want to ride.
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Re: Descending on an all mountain bike vs XC

Postby bychosis » Mon Mar 17, 2014 1:43 pm

A trance is a 'trail' bike isn't it, a bit more laid back than the anthem race XC machine. A reign (or is it the glory, anyway the one with a triple up front) is the all mountain bike. But as above it's all about geometry. There is probably four designs in most brands catering to the

XC: fast on the flat and ups, capable on the downs.
Trail: all day riding with a bit more fun on the downs, but at a weight penalty
Freeride/all mountain: a downhill bike with a front triple ring, supposedly to ride up a bit, but really for going downwards.
Downhill: getting a shuttle back to the top.

So many sub genres.
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Re: Descending on an all mountain bike vs XC

Postby ozstriker » Mon Mar 17, 2014 1:44 pm

I like riding xc events but like to see how fast I can throw myself down a hill aswell. Maybe this is where the n+1 equation comes into affect

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Re: Descending on an all mountain bike vs XC

Postby Duck! » Mon Mar 17, 2014 8:15 pm

Marx wrote:Fit a dropper seatpost to your anthem.
And maybe a shorter stem.....
Then maybe... Well you get the picture.

None of which are going to make a great deal of difference. You can't change the fact that a short wheelbase, tight geometry XC racer is being pushed out of its designed performance envelope and won't adequately do what is being asked of it.

ozstriker wrote:I like riding xc events but like to see how fast I can throw myself down a hill aswell. Maybe this is where the n+1 equation comes into effect.
Spot on. :wink:
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.
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Re: Descending on an all mountain bike vs XC

Postby tubby74 » Tue Mar 18, 2014 9:42 am

bychosis wrote:A trance is a 'trail' bike isn't it, a bit more laid back than the anthem race XC machine. A reign (or is it the glory, anyway the one with a triple up front) is the all mountain bike. But as above it's all about geometry. There is probably four designs in most brands catering to the


anthem ->trance->reign->glory

AM is a very general term, ranging from slightly laid back XC versions or trail bikes up to mini-downhill bikes. everything is a trade off - climbing vs descending, but these days AM bikes are good pedallers though not going to keep up with a true XC machine. dropper post, talas forks can help a bit with making a bike most versatile. Geometry and strength vs weight tend to be the limit of what you want to do with one bike. N+1 is the best answer of course.
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Re: Descending on an all mountain bike vs XC

Postby mikgit » Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:27 pm

ah, for the days when you raced xc and dh on the same bike, made choosing much simpler.
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Re: Descending on an all mountain bike vs XC

Postby trailgumby » Wed Mar 19, 2014 5:35 am

AM these days is more towards the 1 step back from full DH.

The new 650B Trance blurs the libe a bit between Trail and AM. In Giant's 26er rangr the Reign was AM and the Trance was Trail. Now the Trance does both and there's no Reign.

A short stem helps a lot with descending confidence.

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Re: Descending on an all mountain bike vs XC

Postby Duck! » Wed Mar 19, 2014 7:29 pm

trailgumby wrote:AM these days is more towards the 1 step back from full DH.

The new 650B Trance blurs the libe a bit between Trail and AM. In Giant's 26er rangr the Reign was AM and the Trance was Trail. Now the Trance does both and there's no Reign.

That's largely because the Trance range has been extended with the SX models alongside the "regular" ones. The frame & rear linkage is the same for both (with 5.5" travel, it's more than the old Trance, but less than the Reign), but the SX gets beefier rear shocks and a longer fork, which has the effect of slackening the head a tad.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.
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Re: Descending on an all mountain bike vs XC

Postby rokwiz » Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:25 pm

All Mountain has certainly changed since my C Jekyll of 2004. I don't ever recall mucking around too much with the adjustable frame geometry, BB height. Apart from air pressures etc, it was usually set it up and leave it downhill or XC.
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Re: Descending on an all mountain bike vs XC

Postby magilla0_2 » Sat Mar 29, 2014 7:33 pm

I Had a Anthem X 29er adv and loved it, I rode it to its limit on a trail called Cressy at the You Yangs. It was direct and tight...but downhilly wise a little too tight.
Ive parted with it and now have a Trance SX,in comparison its like riding a cushion down the same trail.
It climbs quite well too, not quite as great as the Anthem but not so bad as I'd lose sleep over it.....I do miss the two by ten a bit. Ive swapped the original 34 tooth front ring for a thirty two
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Re: Descending on an all mountain bike vs XC

Postby cinnyis » Mon Mar 31, 2014 5:43 pm

Hi everyone, forgive me for hijacking this thread.. I'm looking to finally buy my first mtb after an awesome weekend at Buller. I initially thought I was after a xc, but I too am wondering if an all mountain is the way to go.
I live in Melb, have done Lysterfield a few times but am wanting to get out to you yangs for some of the harder, more downhill(ish) stuff. But I also want to be able to do Lysterfield, and explore the trails around Woodend and other places around Melb that I haven't heard of.
I'm interested to know what style of mtb the Melbournians here have used on the Victorian trails? Maybe an all mountain isn't worth the extra weight going up the hills given the majority of trails I would be riding?
Also, I'm a girl.. I don't think that should really matter. My roadbike isn't female specific, and none of the mtb's (downhill or cross country) I've ever hired were either.

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Re: Descending on an all mountain bike vs XC

Postby zero » Mon Mar 31, 2014 6:20 pm

If you actually intend riding "almost downhill" trails at all regularly, then IMO better to get a bike that its competent at it. XC is something that can easily be enjoyed on a $100 second hand hardtail if needs be.
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Re: Descending on an all mountain bike vs XC

Postby lardass71 » Mon Mar 31, 2014 6:40 pm

Duck is spot on, all mountain pretty much ranges from a 5 inch travel bike up to 7 inches, they all have there limits, but a good quality enduro bike will crap all over xc geometry going down hills, xc = short wheelbase, stable at low speed and excellent in tight single track, enduro/ trail/ all mountain = slacker head angle longer wheelbase, more stable at high speed and loves open flowing trail
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Re: Descending on an all mountain bike vs XC

Postby mitchy_ » Mon Mar 31, 2014 6:47 pm

zero wrote:If you actually intend riding "almost downhill" trails at all regularly, then IMO better to get a bike that its competent at it. XC is something that can easily be enjoyed on a $100 second hand hardtail if needs be.


a $100 second hand hardtail is probably going to be heavier than an AM bike.
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Re: Descending on an all mountain bike vs XC

Postby trailgumby » Mon Mar 31, 2014 8:41 pm

If you only ride up hills so you can bomb down them again, then the AM bike with a dropper post is the way to go.

Short stem and wide bars. Slightly shorter top tube. Flat pedals, 5-10 shoes, knee and shin pads are the go, elbow/forearm pads and full face pads are optional depending on whether you go the full hardcore stuff, otherwise something like a Fox Flux helmet that gives the back of our head a bit more coverage.

If you can fit on a medium frame, then take a look at the Cannondale Trigger. I demo'd one and loved it. Super stable, climbs well with the rear end travel lever on the handlebar set to 80mm, and descends really really well in full travel mode (130mm).
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Re: Descending on an all mountain bike vs XC

Postby rokwiz » Tue Apr 01, 2014 8:09 am

mitchy_ wrote:[quote="zero") XC is something that can easily be enjoyed on a $100 second hand hardtail if needs be.

a $100 second hand hardtail is probably going to be heavier than an AM bike.


Certainly not a AM Jekyll.

Agreed > $100 cheap MTBking can be fun. If your serious, buy a quality frame (new or SH) first don't be swayed by the bling hanging off it. Based in the Victorian alps I'm still riding 20 year old 3-4in travel MTB's due to the quality frames, components you can change.
Otways is another great spot.
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Re: Descending on an all mountain bike vs XC

Postby cinnyis » Tue Apr 01, 2014 11:05 am

trailgumby wrote:If you only ride up hills so you can bomb down them again, then the AM bike with a dropper post is the way to go.

This is my thinking based on my current research, although at my current skill level can't say I'm bombing down those hills. Yet... ;-)

I hadn't considered Cannondale bikes since I'd read some pretty negative forum posts about their customer service when it comes to warranty claims. But I'll look into the trigger.
My budget was (ideally) no more than $2500, bike exchange seems to have some on sale that are reduced into that range.

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