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All DOWN Cycles MTB NewsMain MTB NewsLocal NewsTech Tips & Reviews
Tech Tips & Reviews
03/01/02
English (US)  
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Professional Tweaks, Tips & Reviews By "AJ" Picarello
I hope you find my Tweaks and Tips section helpful. If there is something you want to know about, send me an email and I will try to add that to one of my upcoming articles.

First I should define what a "freeride" bike is. It must handle moderately high drop offs. How high you ask? I'd say 6 feet, no more. If you're dropping more than that, you'll need a downhill bike. A "freeride" bike should have at least two front chainrings and a front derailer for climbing up hills. Riser handlebars are also a must.

[More:]

"Freeride" bikes are designed for aggressive riders that constantly break their traditional mountain bikes. This new style bike will never climb as well as a XC bike and it will never descend like a DH bike. Why then are they so popular?

Advertisers will have you think that this type of bike should have 5 or more inches of travel, and a triple clamp front fork. It should climb almost as well as a XC bike and descend like a DH. You may think a "freeride" will weigh in well over 30 lbs. It should have a bad ass name, Huge tires, wide rims, and disc brakes.

What shouldn't a "freeride" bike have? I'm not sure. I guess it all depends on who you are. Is a properly equipped XC bike capable of performing as well as a "freeride" bike? I think so. As a matter of fact, I think some XC bikes are better suited for some people for freeriding. I hate to say this, but I think a lot of people own new generation "extreme" bikes just to look cool.

I noticed an advertisement for a freeride fork in a recent magazine: a female model wearing a leather bikini is displaying a "freeride" suspension fork between her legs. The add reads "7" of pure pleasure." Unbelievable! How about DH racer, Cedric Gracia, completely naked doing a hand stand or the helmet ad that says "I want to die" that shows a rider dropping off a huge cliff. Tons of money is spent these days on promoting this so-called "freeride" scene.

Is everyone this insecure? Will other riders laugh at me when I roll up with my 4" travel bike? Since this "new school" scene has been around, I purchased an Independent Fabrications cyclo cross bike with all intentions to spank everyone on the trails with long travel suspension bikes. I was somewhat successful. I definitely risked my life trying to hammer warp speeds on a dropped bar hardtail. I deeply enjoy this activity, but I now truly appreciate full suspension. Everyone should ride without suspension at least once so not to take shocks for granted.

Is the "freeride" bike a fad? Absolutely not! They're a great bike for all around riding. They will save your ass when you ride over your head. They are more durable than XC bikes and are a lot more fun to ride aggressively. Will the weight become a drag? Suck it up. You may climb a bit slower, but you will ride everything else better! And most importantly, look cool doing it!

8 Updates

Updates

You're awesome dude!

Update from: tim [Visitor] — 04/12/07 @ 20:41
Hi, I just wanted to clarify that freeride bikes are often beefier and can handle larger drops than a downhill race bike. You made it sound as though a freeride bike is sort of an intermediate between xc and downhill. Modern freeride bikes are stronger than downhill bikes for the most part. I ride a 7 inch travel Trek Session 77 freeride bike and I regularly do 15 foot drops on it. Many dowhil bikes could not take the repeated stress of drops that large.

Update from: Russell Carpenter [Visitor] — 06/15/07 @ 20:11
Russell Carpenter,
what you are describing is "extreme freeride". the list of "hardcore-ness" goes like this:

-XC
-All Mountain
-Freeride
-Downhill
-Extreme Freeride

Check out Marzocchi's website, youll notice that the 203mm 888 is declared a "DH/Extreme Freeride" fork, while the 150mm Z1 is described as an "all mountain/freeride" fork.

Update from: adowst [Visitor] — 07/13/07 @ 18:08
Hi, i have a custom-made Nicolai Bass TFR.
But i'm very unsure whether this rig is a FR bike or an Xtreme FR bike.
i'm 52 kg for your info. I want to do 10' drops but often hesitate and give up. And the shop keeper of a bike shop said it is for all-mountain use. I'm confused.

Update from: Lim [Visitor] — 11/03/07 @ 11:40
The Nicolai Bass TFR can be set up as a FR, all mountain or trail bike. I would categorize it a Solid freeride/all mountain bike but it all depends what components you have on the bike. How you have the bike set up will determine if its more FR or All Mountain friendly.

As far as doing a 10' drop? well.... if the landing is to Flat, then even the biggest baddest of bikes will risk damaging something, rims, frame, shock, spinal herniation, etc... But if the transitions is butter/steep, then you can drop 10' on a XC bike and it will feel like landing on marshmallows.... mmm i just got hungry

There is also confidence... If you know your bike can handle it but your still nervous, skip it... I've seen more people eat dirt on drops not because of there bikes, but more there heads... If the drop gets in your head and your not confident in doing it, pass it by...

This is just my opinion of course...
Dirty-Rig
keep it rolling

PS.. Don't forget, this article was written in 2002, when Freeride bikes were just really getting recognition.

Update from: visualmtb [Member] · http://www.visualmtb.com — 11/14/07 @ 20:25
Oh ya, my head is now ready, and my bike's ready too. 10' drop, we go as a team.

Update from: Lim [Visitor] — 11/20/07 @ 11:09
Wow, this article is old. look at the date .. '02

Freeride bikes have been mainstream for a while now.

Things have changed a LOT since then..

I'm new to the scene though .. i cant say much



Update from: Alex [Visitor] — 12/06/07 @ 22:15
6 feet? maximum? this is sure old

Update from: connor [Visitor] — 10/10/09 @ 15:08

You are not authorized to write a update.


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