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All DOWN Cycles MTB NewsMain MTB NewsLocal NewsTech Tips & Reviews
Tech Tips & Reviews
02/27/08
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.

^:^^XXX!A few years back I wrote an article about a new type/style of bicycle, “Freeride” bikes. I couldn’t help but wonder if this style of bike was a fad. I suggest you read this old article first before continuing on.

[More:]

A fad is a product that eventually phases out when people become tired of it or it simply becomes played out. Fads can last months or even years. I always felt that Freeride bikes will fade out and people will catch on to their shortcomings.

Reflecting back to my old article from years ago: DH bikes weighed about the same as a properly speced freerider, the differences between the two bikes played like this: DH bikes have triple clamp (dual crown) forks, single front chainrings, and geometry that suites high speeds (slacker head angle, lower bottom bracket height and longer wheelbase). Freeride bikes mostly have single crown forks, dual front chainrings, and geometry that handles OK at speed, but is better suited for slower, techy trails.

The Freeride bike is sort of a dual purpose bike and anyone who has owned anything dual purpose knows that “dual purpose” means it excels at nothing. I do not mean to bash Freeride bikes, the purpose of this article is to make a point about our exciting industry that we all love so much. The mountain bike scene is constantly evolving and we are about to enter a new era! Turns out that Freeride bikes were a fad after all and we will all benefit from our mistakes.

Seven inch travel, heavier than all heck, Freeride bikes are a dying breed! You will soon see the major brands phasing out this style bike. Freeride style riding, such as slow speed drops, log rides and jaw breaking impacts are all old news. Pedaling these bikes back up the mountain was always old news.

I’m sure bicycle engineers shrieked when manufacturers asked them to design the Freeride bike and or components. Single crown forks must be made super heavy duty in order to not tear off the front of bikes from bottom outs. Some long travel, single crown forks have solid or close to solid steerer tubes and thick stanchions. Many weigh more than dual crown DH forks!

Obviously people could not continue to ride bicycles Freeride style. The abusive impacts were so great that bikes failed and people suffered and will continue to suffer, tremendous pain. These riders either progressed to a more fluid style or they became hospitalized, and unfortunately will never return to the sport. Riders who lived through this odd era are now looking for or own full blown DH bikes. Let’s face it, if single crown, long travel forks worked, motocross riders would be running them. I always look at what works in the world of moto. Why should we reinvent the wheel when moto guys have already done this for us?

Lightweight 6” travel bikes are the present and I believe the future. They will motor up hills and will hold up to most trails that have evolved with better flow. So what do you do with that 40+ pound freerider that does nothing well? :??:Got me, maybe get a shorter eye to eye rear shock, slacken and lower that sucker. Top it off with a dual crown fork and then maybe you’ll have converted your Freeride into a fore real DH rig that can be used for something worthwhile!

10 Updates

Updates

Id say Freeride is just taking off with loads of dedicated parks and northshore popping up everywhere in the UK.
James & Steve Freeriders for life

Update from: James [Visitor] — 03/26/08 @ 08:53
Diablo Freeride Park in NJ rides best on a DH. I can only assume the parks in the UK ride the same. Modern NS stunts have evolved. Flat landings are thankfully old news. DH bikes are lightweight, strong and for this reason, prepare for the death of the freeride dedicated bike.

Update from: ajdowncycles [Member] · http://www.downcycles.com — 03/26/08 @ 12:21
i need me a 25 pound 7 inch travel cross country crushing ,hill climb slaying, 2 hour enduro, downhill pinner ski mountain super sled.
thanks!

Update from: dhgoat [Visitor] — 04/05/08 @ 20:18
This is probaly the funnist artcile i have read. Whoever wrote this clearly does not ever get outside. So have fun in your whole writing crap thats not true.

Update from: DHfiend [Visitor] — 05/04/08 @ 17:41
Your a funny chap DHfiend and someone that is clearly a wanker that just does not get it. With a name like DHfiend, you would think this article was made for you...

This article is brilliant and I've DH'd all over the UK, Spain, France, Austria, Italy and some parts of Canada. I've always said that the Freereide Specific bike does not have a geometry to excel in any one area of mountain biking including North Shore. Today's DH Specific bikes will outperform any Freeride specific bike on the market in any big mountain terrain and today's AllMountain bikes are the replacement to the heavy freeride specific bikes, its already happening! Open your eyes DHfiend, u tosser, and while your at it, sounds like it is you who should get out and ride something other than your willy.

cheers

Update from: UKDHn [Visitor] — 05/04/08 @ 19:38
I agree that it is pointless to design a whole bike simply for freeride but the idea that freeride as a style is dying is just not true. Its really starting to take off.

Update from: DHfiend [Visitor] — 05/07/08 @ 19:25
I agree but I think the article talks about "Freeride bikes", not the style of riding called freeride. I do not see the freeride style going away either, but there has been some big changes in what is now freeriding and what started as freeriding years ago. A major thing about freeriding, that has changed big time, is now a landing is important. In the past, and I went through this past with a few messed up discs to prove it lol, 8 or 10 feet to flat landings were normal, today the stunts have gotten so much bigger that flat landings have become a thing of the past, now its more like 20+ foot drops to transitions, even if its built out of wood north shore style is better than slamming into a flat landing. I don't know anyone, that freerides, that likes to flat bottom land but in the past, dropping off the roof of the local high school onto a flat asphalt parking lot was normal freeriding, I wish we found better landings, lol.

Update from: visualmtb [Member] · http://www.visualmtb.com — 05/07/08 @ 20:25
your crazy. freeride bikes are heavy but they work fine for dh too. I'v taken my glory 0 on world cup downhill tracks and it holds up great. It is also the best for jumping.

Update from: freerider [Visitor] — 09/17/08 @ 19:31
" Obviously people could not continue to ride bicycles Freeride style. The abusive impacts were so great that bikes failed and people suffered and will continue to suffer, tremendous pain. These riders either progressed to a more fluid style or they became hospitalized, and unfortunately will never return to the sport. "

Is that supposed to be a joke, or is it just a gross uneducated guess?
You've already stated that the only penalty of a 'freeride' bike is weight (to match a dual crown fork's strength) - how does that make the bike '[mechanically] fail'?

I agree with the view that Single Crown freeride bikes aren't worth it though. It is a contradiction in terms to have a single crown fork designed to act as a dual crown.

I also disagree that 6" is the way to go for full sus.
Lots of people buy them (you were definately right there), and this is (in my opinion) the rich weekend crowd who no longer want skinny, lightweight bikes. To have something with half a foot of travel is the new 'toy', and something that is great in a pub conversation.
'It can go uphill then take on a downhill track!' .. A great idea on paper - or in the LBS car park.
Seems that 'All Mountain' is the new Freeride..

For me (and I presume the majority of riders) a 6" travel bike is a waste of money just like a 'freeride' bike was. Just like the bike designs you mentioned, it is neither as capable as a downhill bike nor as light as an XC bike.


Hardtail for XC/Street (price demands it), 8-9" travel for FR/DH.
No compromises, choose your own setup (weight), and no more silly industry buzzwords such as 'All Mountain.'



If the downhill really requires more than 4" travel (on the front only) I will happily pay for an uplift..

Or happily push my 'Big' bike up like I always have done and always will do.

Update from: Mike [Visitor] — 05/30/09 @ 17:28
Obviously this artical is causeing an uproar. The industry will dictate what will stay and what will die. The evolution of the suspension bike is an exciting time and we should all be proud to live through it. Freeride bike are not selling as well as DH bikes and many companies have dropped them or are in the process. What about the 6" bike? Well guess what, they're selling the heck out of em! Hate to toot my own horn.
And I agree with "Mike" that hardtails with a sus fork are the fastest bike as far as lap time is concerned.

Update from: ajdowncycles [Member] · http://www.downcycles.com — 08/19/09 @ 21:36

You are not authorized to write a update.


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