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  1. #1
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    biking terms... DH, freeride, XC, anything else?

    i think DH stands for down hill, but what exactly is that? just non stop down hilling?

    slalom... well usually when i hear the word slalom i think cars going through cones... how is the term applied for mtn biking?

    freeride? what is that?

    XC is cross country right? so what exactly is cross country in bike terms?

    anything else there i'm missing?
    i won't deny it i'm a straight ridah

  2. #2
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    Yeah, DH is downhill - I'm not a downhiller, but as far as I can tell the difference is having a really really heavy bike and not being able to climb and thus removing one of the benefits of bicycling which is aerobic exercise.... But don't let me get up on my soapbox. Anyway, they can usually do more extreme downhills than you can on a classic XC setup (cross country)due to less emphasis on weight and more emphasis on durability and shock travel. Free Ride is basically what it sounds like - ride off of anything and everything. We don't do too much of that where I am, more downhill and cross country. Cross country is what most people think of when you talk about mountain biking - a combination of technical riding, climbs, and downhills. Good stuff, and highly addictive.

  3. #3
    NOT a weight weenie Hunter's Avatar
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    DH yes it means what it implies going downhill.
    DS or dual slalom going downhill on a slalom skicourse without snow. Soon to be obsolete for it is switching form dual to quad (four).
    XC is going across, through, around, etc. the countryside.
    Freeride a term coined by the folks at Cannondale.
    Trials or Observed Trials not much coverage on this anymore. Shame what a sport your bike handling skills need to be just awesome. Hans Rey and Libor Karas are kings here.
    Endurance racing once again means what it says. Ride and ride and ride then ride somw more.
    Then there is te plethora of slang and miiscellaneous terms used to describe crashes, and other things. Just do a search for mountainbike slang.

  4. #4
    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    in competition you have (classes somewhat simliar to skiing):

    DH - like downhill skiing where ther is a steep course with many obstacles
    Dual Slalom -- like ski racing where 2 races go head-to-head as they come out of the gate together
    XC -- general racing with both climbing and descents and some basic technical obstacles
    Trials -- series of technical tasks where you are judged by 1) staying on the bike, where a had or foot down is a dedection and 2) time - although usually time is virtually meaningless as the courses are so hard (there's also a time limit)

    then their are the more general uses of the terms...

    as far as i understand Freeride now means that you ride not to be the fastest in time or speed, but just for the fun and challenge --- i.e. on a difficult downhill instead of taking the EASY line you choose the more difficult line b/c you can ---- also seek out drops and various challenges and compared to Downhillers and XC less concerned about speed and time --- a Freerider might try a difficult section 5 times "just cause" while the DH rider says "i'll keep going and hit it next time after i get a lift up in the car" and an XC rider says "we're wasting time - we need to get x miles in! we can do it again on the way back or next week"

    so then you have bike and rider styles to match:
    XC -- must be light and super-efficient --- clipless pedals, durable and lightweight -- tend to ride with seat at or near max height for optimal pedalling efficiency ---- used to be that FullSuspension was too heavy so all REAL XC riders rode Hardtails, but the newest Fullys are light so most XC riders now ride full too (although with 80mm front and a little in back)
    DH -- strong with lots of travel and really tough wheels - weight is almost irrelevant --- usually ride with saddle REALLY low for maximum control --- use platforms or combo clipless/platforms -- usually wear full-face helmets and armor much like motorcross
    Trials --- bikes have a bash-guard and usually only one front ring, usually little or minimum suspension
    Freeride -- mostly a marketing term - these bikes are between XC and DH: light enough to ride uphill, but with enough travel and durability to do big drops and tough lines

    generally if:
    *you ride loops for time or both climb and descend and try and go fast you ride XC
    * you use 2 cars and drive to the top or take a lift and ride downhill, you're a DH
    * you could care less if someone passed you or how long it takes or how far you ride -- you are stoked if you clear an obstacle or ride the 'hard-line' w/o wiping out -- someone tells you about a new drop or a new "almost unrideable trail" and you go there the next day
    * you go to a bike park or a park and are on your bike for a few hours and don't go more than a few hundred feet -- you practice trackstands, wheelies, hopping on your front or rear wheel for hours a day - you're a trails rider

    i also forgot BMX, but most of you should know that already...
    why drive when you can ride?
    now a fully certified German MTB Guide! (DAV)

  5. #5
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    To expand further on free ride bikes in general. I find they are a combination of BMX, dh and xc. But really it depends on the company. Kona makes freeride bikes beefy and light with a lot of saddle mobility to make it a decent dh and a decent xc.

    Although I might add, freeride bikes don't excel in any one area so if you are a specialist avoid these bikes.

  6. #6
    WallaWalla! Rotifer's Avatar
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    as far as I can tell the difference is having a really really heavy bike and not being able to climb and thus removing one of the benefits of bicycling which is aerobic exercise...
    I am not a dh'er either, but a admire their skill. I've ridden with champion downhillers and they rock uphill ... even on really heavy bikes. Take a gander at John Tomac or Nicolas Vouilloz. I grant you this, there are some real turkeys out on the trails riding $4,000 downhill bikes.
    Jeff

  7. #7
    Scooby Snax
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    Freeriding...?
    well, get on a trail, try to scare yourself, while impressing your friends..
    then take it up a notch!!

    *shivvers*

  8. #8
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    what kind of bike would this be then:

    low end 4130 chromoly frame, xt wheelset on mavic 217 or 221 i forgot, xt 8sp cassette and xt derailers front and rear. stock steel 45 degree rising stem with flat bar and bar ends, seatpost is extended to 2-4 inches above the handlebar (for best pedaling and climbing), old school cantilever brakes and some sram gripshift? what class of bike would that go into? i was reading this magazine and they rated bikes and said which bikes pleased what kind of riders xc freeride etc ... just curious
    i won't deny it i'm a straight ridah

  9. #9
    Donating member Richard D's Avatar
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    Originally posted by tFUnK
    what kind of bike would this be then:

    low end 4130 chromoly frame, xt wheelset on mavic 217 or 221 i forgot, xt 8sp cassette and xt derailers front and rear. stock steel 45 degree rising stem with flat bar and bar ends, seatpost is extended to 2-4 inches above the handlebar (for best pedaling and climbing), old school cantilever brakes and some sram gripshift? what class of bike would that go into? i was reading this magazine and they rated bikes and said which bikes pleased what kind of riders xc freeride etc ... just curious
    Could be anything - geometry of bike, strength of gussets etc. make a difference. Generally low end bikes are best suited to XC but are probably not light enough for serious racing.
    Currently riding an MTB with a split personality - commuting, touring, riding for the sake of riding, on or off road :)

  10. #10
    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    low end 4130 chromoly frame, xt wheelset on mavic 217 or 221 i forgot, xt 8sp cassette and xt derailers front and rear. stock steel 45 degree rising stem with flat bar and bar ends, seatpost is extended to 2-4 inches above the handlebar (for best pedaling and climbing), old school cantilever brakes and some sram gripshift? what class of bike would that go into? i was reading this magazine and they rated bikes and said which bikes pleased what kind of riders xc freeride etc ... just curious
    yes, i agree with Rich: doesn't sound like you have anything special for DH or Freeride -- you didn't mention shocks -- in my eyes a DH or Freeride bike "should" have at least a Front supsension... but then i guess under the "challenging" category of Freeride you yould have guys doing huge drops and stuff on rigid frames... a few years ago i thought about getting into DH racing, but i found the expense too great b/c most everyone has these monster system setups and on a 'normal' bike you just can't compete -- plus, i do not know anyone who races downhill w/o at least one major accident (broken collarbone, broken wrist, broken nose, etc)

    anyway, i would say yours sounds like an older low-end XC bike -- although IF it's a rigid which i'm guessing since you didn't mention shocks, i'd personally call it "Old School" b/c you have a rigid fork/frame (no suspension), chromoly frame and Cantilever brakes --- but don't worry much about it - just ride how you like and have fun - labels are mostly for marketing and posers ---- by the way, i have a few Old School rigid friends who show up guys with full suspension "Freeride" bikes on sick downhills frequently. in the end it almost always comes down to rider skill

    Rigid is kind of like the new Singlespeed craze too -- where the goal is not to be the fastest or the most extreme but to be natural, pure, simple, smooth and GOOD --- i've never done it, but riding off-road on climbs and flats and all in one gear is not an easy task and requires new skills == respect
    why drive when you can ride?
    now a fully certified German MTB Guide! (DAV)

  11. #11
    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    as far as I can tell the difference is having a really really heavy bike and not being able to climb and thus removing one of the benefits of bicycling which is aerobic exercise...
    Heather

    i personally am an XC rider, but I also REALLY enjoy both technical riding and major downhill riding. For me, riding would loose something w/o the climbing and aerobic aspects...

    but, some of these trials and downhill riders are damn good! and while i personally think it's a little stupid to use a car shuttle, it's way better than if these guys were cruising around on ATVs or Motorcross bikes. Actually, i think DH is a cross between Motorcross (heavy bike with lots of suspension travel) and BMX (jumping and style)

    i was with a group of about 10 friends in Lake Garda Italy last spring and we did a great ride - about 1800m climb (about 6000ft) up from the lake and then all sick technical single-track downhill. it's the kind where your whole body goes numb from all the rocks (despite my XC full suspension) and you're doing drops and stuff every 10 seconds or so! anyway, i was riding first and all the sudden i heard someone approaching me fast from the rear and i had to ask if i was really going so slow -- i decided i wasn't since my eyes could hardly focus on the rocks and the trail ahead. so who could that be? i'm quite a bit faster and more technically skilled than most of my buddies (this is Europe where technical riders are less common than the US)... finally i pulled off and a 2 downhillers go hauling by going about twice my speed (i'd say i was going about 20mph) i got back on and they lost me after the first corner - wow! then i saw them griding slowly back up the wider climbing trail for another ride. their bikes must have been in the 60-80lb range with tires as hefty as motorcross wheels!
    why drive when you can ride?
    now a fully certified German MTB Guide! (DAV)

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