Mountain Biking - Old technology...the new wave
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11-28-04, 11:40 AM
Alright stick with me on this one... It is a real dumb question i am going to put up front.
While the technology in biking in some areas it progressing like crazy, I have some questions.
First off: disc brakes are nothing really all to new. Motorscycles have had them a long time now and are dirt cheap to put them on a ninja 250R. Why does it cost so damn much to put something with the same power on a bke?
Sencond and this is the real one I am wondering: If the old DH bikes are now viewed as XC bikes.. What was everyone doing with them back in 1998 when they were listed as DH... have we just relabeled the sport or what is going on? Dont give me the blah blah technology has advances and all that.... I am not that oblivious... I am more asking to know the historical trend of some of the modern styles of riding. THat type of thing.
11-28-04, 11:45 AM
1 - dh has changed a lot. I have watched some older footage of early 90's late 80's and the sport is nothing alike. You guys were xc pointed down (more or less). Dh itself is quite a bit different now with bigger obstacles, drop, stunts etc. The earliest footage of dh I saw resembling dh today was some stuff at platekill. There were guys there trying the stuff on xc bikes and getting wrecked. The bike wouldn't track through the huge rock gardens or really steep faces. They ended up being quite a bit slower. DH is more related to MX now then xc. I couldn't imagine doing a huge gap on a xc bike :)
I think disc brakes are so mcuh, as with everything in bikes, because of the balance of weight to technology. Its really annoying but everything in mountain bikes has to be a balance. In MX you don't worry so much if you disc + caliper weights 10 pounds ;)...This applys to everything in biking. Frames, wheels etc. Until they mast the balance, the price will always be higher than mx. :)
Not a dumb question at all.
11-28-04, 11:53 AM
Also technology has started moving backwards. Late 90's produced some seriously long travel overkill bikes. 23" total travel front and back type of thing. Things have started to scale back. I see more 6x6 bikes than previous years and I think people are starting to realize the balance (again that word) between travel needed, travel wanted, and pedalability of a bike. Include spv and propedal type valving into that and you can have a mid travel bike with good pedalling and active suspension.
We are also seeing an increase in ht riders. People riding ht doing dh. In the past it was a few poor guys but now there is an increase in general. However the geometry is suited for it. Short heights with longish tt's.
It was funny last year during the 24 hour race I was watching the pros come down the mountain (after the event some went riding) and they got beat up. There hands were killing them (v's), they couldn't go fast and they kept getting tipped because the bikes were too big.
11-28-04, 12:19 PM
Thanks maelstrom! Just what I was looking for! :)
11-28-04, 12:23 PM
Wow..I was expecting some elongated response and discussion. I think that is the shortest answer I have seen regarding this type of discussion haha
11-28-04, 12:27 PM
eeehhh you covered it all pretty good for my liking... no need to complicate things in my head when they make sense.
11-28-04, 12:35 PM
Well, let me have my say as a dher of the old (1992-1994).
I was riding a today's xc bike back at the time. The DH was a fireroad with switchbacks, high speed, bombholes and small jumps.... the technique at the time was how to take turns at very high speed, and how to tackle rocks and jumps while using 0" on the rear and 2" of elastomer suss on the front.
I quitted riding from 1995 till 2002, when i resumed riding i was so dumb so i got myself a modern version of my old dh bike (a 2003 rockhopper), soon i realised that something was totally wrong when British riders took me for some descent , trail DH runs.... i was like a fish out of the water. I still am on many occassions since lacking friends, i dont ride often in the woods. At least i realised that the best bike for me is a 5x5 (for the moment), hence i am using a specialized SX with a lowend Z1 2003 fork and DH/MTX parts.
With respect to discs, they are a necessity unless you are riding flatland XC on dry land.
With respect to travel, i think that there is much to be done, in my books, a high-tech damped 6" travel unit should outperform a 8-9" today's-tech-using suspension either fork or shock.
ie. with the correct damping you could get a lower travel bike performing as good as a longer travel bike.... by doing this you will eliminate many standover issues, many high-center-of-gravity issues, and really solve problems for frame design (how to cram this and that without having bottom out rubbing issues)
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