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  1. #1
    Senior Member CycleMON's Avatar
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    XC vs. freeriding

    Is XC riding losing out to freeriding? I notice more and more people are getting into freeriding, and XC riding is getting less coverage as a mountain biking discipline.

    Is it just me that's noticing this trend?
    I try not to say too much, for fear of putting my foot in my mouth when it should be clipped to my pedals.

  2. #2
    NOT a weight weenie Hunter's Avatar
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    Oh God let us hope not. The very core of the sport of MTB is XC and DH. Although aspects of hardcore riding are fun, it is just a marketing ploy, more than anything. Trendy yes absolutely. Look years back when the trend for MTB was anodized parts.

  3. #3
    NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS! a2psyklnut's Avatar
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    (Way long - Sorry!)

    I think all the categorization (is that a word) is hurting mtn biking. It's not "hey, I ride a mtn bike" anymore, it's "hey, I ride XC or DH or Freeride".

    I saw the same thing happen to windsurfing. When I started windsurfing, everyone just had one board, one sail and you rode the same board, same sail regardless of wind conditions. It was FUN!

    By the time I had sold my last bit of gear, there were light wind wave boards, high wind wave boards, speed, bumb & jump boards, slalom boards, course boards....and don't even get me started with the sail types. If you didn't have the right gear, people looked down their noses at you. It became LESS FUN!

    When I got into mtn biking. Pro's were racing XC one day and DH the next. If your bike had suspension it was only 1.5" of travel and you were happy to have it. We all had very similar bikes, hardtails w/ or w/o front forks. We all rode, rode hard, crashed and had a great time. It was FUN!

    I consider myself a mtn biker, plain and simple. If I were to fit into a specific genre, it would have to be freeriding. I consider XC as the people who race, I don't (maybe once in a great while), so I don't consider myself a XC guy. I live in FL, so DH is out. I like to ride trails, ride obstacles (when available) push my limits riding technical trails, drops (not very big one's - maybe 3' max), but just having a good time on a bike! I don't want to worry about not having the "right" bike for that type of trail. I don't want to be classified as a Freerider b/c I wear baggies and full fingered gloves and ride a heavy bike. I don't want to be classified as a XC geek when I put on my jerseys, lycra shorts and ride my aluminum hardtail. This is LESS FUN. I just want to be a mtn biker!

    I think that XC racing (World Cup and Norba) is dying because the courses are becoming less technical. I think Short Track racing was the opposite of what needed to happen. Mtn bikers want to distant ourselves from roadies. We ride mtn bike because we want to get away from a "pack" type riding. We want to be out in the woods, away from civilization (or evidence thereof!), we want to challange our abilities and ride courses that push our level of riding. The short track is an EASY (technically speaking) criterium race on an unpaved course. I'm not saying it's easy, due to the endurance and speed necessary to win, but it's not what I think of when I think of mtn biking.

    TV coverage of mtn biking sucks! No matter what discipline. DH is probably the most exciting, but there are usually only 3 or 4 camera angles; the start (wow, that sucks!), one or two sections of the course, and the finish (that's pretty boring as well). XC coverage is worse, they show the start (big behive of riders) one climb (snore!), one technical bottleneck, and then the start/finish line.

    Freeriding, is about the only thing that makes people look at the TV and think, "Wow! I'd love to try that!" That's why (IMO) it's getting so popular.

    Do we really need good TV coverage? Does the mtn biking industry need to be mainstream and huge? I think NOT!

    Let us be our own submersive, fringe group and ride one bike for all conditions and remember to keep it FUN!

    L8R
    "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW, What a Ride!" - unknown
    "Your Bike Sucks" - Sky Yaeger

  4. #4
    Senior Member CycleMON's Avatar
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    Good response a2psyklnut. I ride a hardtail and do technical singletrack which can include any of the following:
    1.hillclimbs
    2.steep downhills (the kind that puts you behind the saddle)
    3. switchbacks
    4. logpiles
    5. rockbeds

    It seemes as if most people are switching to freeriding because they are against climbing on hills.

    I don't consider myself a freerider because I don't ride a full suspension bike. I say this because people thin that because they ride a full suspension bike, it automatically makes them a freerider. Maybe I'm overthinking.:confused:
    I try not to say too much, for fear of putting my foot in my mouth when it should be clipped to my pedals.

  5. #5
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Actually cyclemon you have it backwards. Most freeriders I know do a lot of climbing. They are looking for the best unridden terrain. It is essentially a combination of xc and DH with technical (especially on the shore). This requires a lot of xc strength to get there.

    To a lot of people if you are taking a lift to come down the mountain it will never be freeriding. Watch the movies. They are generally in remote areas and on fresh lines they made that morning preparing for the run. It may be VERY extreme but it is still fresh.

    No in reality freeriding is just an extreme of xc. XC won't die but I do think it needs modification in some cases. I won't go into detail because I already argued this at ridemonkey. PURE xc is boring to watch. To get the money (lots) back into the sport they have to make it more technical and exciting. This dips into what is freeriding. I don't think there needs to be a dive in. But dipping in would make it more fun for me to watch for sure.

    ALTHOUGH I watched a world cup event on grouse and for the first time saw some good riding. Besides distance it was technical with some good technical dh sections and excellent xc sections which were varrying degrees of technical. If all of the races I watch on the world cup were like that I would be stoked about xc racing.

    Then of course you have the extreme freeriding. (red bull for example) thats just nuts.

    ps I also don't think you NEED a fs to freeride. It is sometimes best if you are doing HUGE drops but it isn't a requirement. (pss I ride a hardtail and consider myself a freerider / extreme xc guy)
    Last edited by Maelstrom; 09-09-02 at 10:48 AM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member CycleMON's Avatar
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    Maelstrom, it seems as the terrain in the area you're living in dictates the level of riders that have to, and do climb. In my neck of the woods, some of them whine about the hills they have to climb. I'm trying not to generalize, but the riders I've seen don't want to climb.
    I try not to say too much, for fear of putting my foot in my mouth when it should be clipped to my pedals.

  7. #7
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    a2psyklnut

    I guess it depends. Media coverage would make things better for the pros I would think. I am not a pro rider and could care less what people think about my riding. I really just ride. I am also not a believer in a sport requiring coverage to progress. It needs riders to progress.

    But also I would love for people to know what I do. (selfish I know). Most people think of mountain biking as a casual trip or at the most a roadie on a smooth single track riding through rolling field. I do not ride like this and it is sometimes very difficult to relate my riding style to non riders. Once again that is being selfish but I really am not a rolling hills kind of rider. I don't take in the environment I attack it.

    I am in fact playing devils advocate with myself when it comes to this topic. Media coverage means more people riding which means more money. But it also means more people riding. Advocacy groups would have a field day in the states (we don't worry to much about those groups here) if the rider count quadrupled in an area hurting more trails.

    I totally agree with your assesment of xc racing on tv etc...

    But in the end I am a rider. (extreme xc / freeride with a bit of dh thrown in)

    My favorite part of allof these naming conventions is we are the only ones who know it. Once we get out to the real world and talk to non riders. If I called myself a freerider they would look at me like I was dumb. In the end I end up saying I ride mountain bikes in this type of terrain and prefer these kinds of obstacles blah blah. I find it funny actually
    Last edited by Maelstrom; 09-09-02 at 11:02 AM.

  8. #8
    xc AND road WoodyUpstate's Avatar
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    Bike technology is really pushing XC riders' abilities and XC race course design. I feel, especially at the higher levels, XC course design is behind the curve. No pro should be able to win a World Cup or NORBA XC race on a hardtail. Yet, course designs remain virtually unchanged from year-to-year without regard to improved bikes.

    FR, on the other hand, has no rules, and, perhaps, the most appealing aspect of all is the ability to FR in town, at parks and in the urban landscape. Hucking and drops can be found without schlepping out - maybe hours - to your local wilderness trailhead or DH mountain. The urban market opens "mountainbiking" up to many, many more people than the pure XC market.

    Furthermore, FR forces technology to catch up to it, and doesn't have to cater to the whims of the UCI or NORBA. Do your own thing, dude!

    I see the practical advantages of FR, but confess my devotion to XC riding/racing. Yes, my desire for technical singletrack crosses to FR, but ultimately I want a bike I can ride for hours on one weekend and race at a high level the next. I ride a Giant NRS and will never go back to a hardtail. It's not a bike for big drops, but it climbs like a fiend and descends faster than my old hardtail ever thought.

    FR is here to stay for riders that don't want to DH, or simply can't because of geography, or whatever reason you choose. However, XC is the core of the mountainbiking as most riders start here.

    Now, go ride!

  9. #9
    Member Ferg's Avatar
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    I have an XC bike and that's the type of riding I enjoy most, but I think the 'freeriding revolution' has really done a lot for the sport. When I started riding 4 years ago, I bought a heavy, full-suspension bike for the sole purpose of riding as much bumpy, root-covered ground as I could find. For a long time it was a lot of fun, and during that time I fell in love with being out in nature and just spending my day riding my bike and getting excercise. That type of riding certainly makes one feel as though they are still a 10 year old kid. In fact, if it hadn't been for that image in my head of flying around in the woods I probably never would have even started biking in the first place.

    Over the years, my preference has gone from flying down hills to flying up them. I get a lot more enjoyment now from climbing hills and riding for long distances and never having to worry that the next corner may be the one that I wipe out on. I've also got into road riding much more, but with only one bike, I have to make sure mine is light enough to get me up half-mile long hills in under a day

    I say to each his own. If you wanna be a roadie, then do that. If you want to ridie long distances and make it home in one piece each time, then go XC. And if you want to bounce around rocks and roots in the woods all day, then do that. As long as we're all riding, that's really all that matters. And if it takes an image of "fun" freeriding to get younger riders interested, then I see no reason to discredit it as a form of riding.

  10. #10
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    I agree. who cares how it is called, just do what you want. And my comment here (also regarding windsurfing): the equipment today is great - we can ride xc, freeride or whatever with one bike, we can windsurf waves and flatwater with one board.
    I love it

  11. #11
    Jubalayo Unogwaja! Bokkie's Avatar
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    I say to each his own. If you wanna be a roadie, then do that. If you want to ridie long distances and make it home in one piece each time, then go XC. And if you want to bounce around rocks and roots in the woods all day, then do that. As long as we're all riding, that's really all that matters. And if it takes an image of "fun" freeriding to get younger riders interested, then I see no reason to discredit it as a form of riding.
    Nice comment, Ferg. My perspective is that I recently had a nice 'soft' ride along an old railway line. I came to one of the old platforms, and rode up the ramp, and down the other end. I was tempted to take the hit and fly off the edge. It was'nt steep, but there was no angled runoff to make the landing a little more controlled and smoother. One day, one day...
    If your bollocks ain't sore, yer ain't on yer boike!

  12. #12
    Senior Member RacerX's Avatar
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    Great topic!
    I also noticed alot of people moving to freeride. I think some of it is just the trend right now and some of it is that many figured out XC racing isn't for them. They would rather go out and challenge themselves outside of racing.

    As for the XC courses not being tough enough, I have to strongly disagree. Some of the UCI courses are as gnarly as stuff I've seen in "freeride" mags (not including the big drops, of course).

    Whatever gets people into biking is cool with me. If people get into it because of freeriding or xc or whatever. That Hans Rey (?) rode all over the world introducing all kinds of people to a new way to look at the bicycle so he's really cool in my book too.

    Personally, I love xc!

  13. #13
    xc AND road WoodyUpstate's Avatar
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    Originally posted by RacerX
    As for the XC courses not being tough enough, I have to strongly disagree. Some of the UCI courses are as gnarly as stuff I've seen in "freeride" mags (not including the big drops, of course).
    Racer,

    Nearly every race course as some root infested section, or a nice rock garden, but my point is that there simply isn't enough of it to push the pros to update their equipment. While DH, 4X and FR all push equipment to the edge, pro XC riders are still winning with V-brakes, tubes in their tires, 80mm (or less) of fork travel and hardtail frames. The biggest emphasis in equipment is still light weight.

    I've never ridden a World Cup course, but I have ridden and raced on Mt. Snow's NORBA NCS course. It's brutally hard, but mainly because of the 1,200 ft. of climbing per lap. A hardtail is the order of the day, especially if it's wet. The course is the same one used by the UCI the last time they visited Mt. Snow several years ago.

    I'm XC all the way, like you, but I'd like to see the limits pushed and some innovation in course design. How about incorporating some of the DH course in the XC descent, for example?

  14. #14
    Senior Member RacerX's Avatar
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    not totally disagreeing with you. You bring up some interesting points for sure.
    I think XC has pushed design quite a bit. The development of quality full-suspension xc bikes, lightweight components like hollowtech cranks or the use of air for shocks... the liberal use of carbon fiber and the advent (with the 2003 XTR) super light disc brakes.
    I really believe the XC quest for lightweight but tough equipement has pushed design forward and made some real improvements for everyone to build on. Just like DH bikes do.
    Freeride bikes owe alot to XC development.
    As for courses... well, I enjoy what they have. Have you seen Houfaluize (sp?)? That is some wicked stuff. Don't forget that XC is about speed, technical and athleticism (please no tit vs. tat). The fact many XC riders are making the jump to road give alot of cred to XC and mountain biking in general. I think that crossover ability says alot about the great type of athelete XC develops.
    Also, XC is a sport and freeriding is an activity. Not putting freeriding down by saying that but that's the way it is. Maybe one day freeriding will become a sport (makes the name "freeriding" an oxymoron then!)...maybe XC+ or something!

  15. #15
    xc AND road WoodyUpstate's Avatar
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    We agree that XC equipment is advancing.

    I guess the issue is - for me - why are the pros so reluctant to move to FS, longer travel front suspension and disc brakes?

    The answer is. . . because they don't have to. Many, if not all, XC courses don't demand FS and discs, so there is no benefit to switching. Since there is no benefit the additional weight is a penalty. So, hardtails, V-brakes and 63mm SIDs rule the World Cup and NORBA.

    In contrast, DH courses have become much more difficult over the last several years as technology progressed. Course designers keep challenging the riders with harder, more technical terrain. Fifteen years ago DH was a race down a dirt road, which was appropriate given the bikes of the time - rigid forks, canti brakes.

    XC racers are successfully making the switch to pavement, and the reason they are leaving is that there's money in road racing and XC is declining. NORBA stats show that there are 1/3 the number of XC races in the US this year than there were in 1996. XC will never die (I hope), but it needs a shot in the arm - at least in the US.

  16. #16
    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    I guess the issue is - for me - why are the pros so reluctant to move to FS, longer travel front suspension and disc brakes?
    well, i agree with most of what you guys are talking about - except for one thing: you seem to think that b/c XC is less dependent on the newest technology it's a bad thing...

    i think of it the other way around... i thought about getting into Downhill a few years ago, but w/o the newest (=expensive) equipment you cannot compete (try entering a downhill competition on a hardtail or with only 80mm suspension which are my 2 mountain bikes). the beauty of XC is that you don't need the newest latest greastest bike to win - i.e. a good pro CAN easily win on a $2000 hardtail although if you have goods stuff why not use it? and it puts more of the emphasis on the rider than the equipment... yeah, equipment is always an aspect, but i prefer sports that are less equipment-sensitive (like XC MTB, or XC skiing) to equipment-intensive (say Formula 1 racing or Bobsledding)

    i'm not up on the pro level XC stuff (i concentrate more on ameteur stuff and i've been in Europe the last 2 seasons), but it seems to me that most of the courses are relatively technical. i personally like technical courses b/c they are fun and i do better (the steeper uphill and the steeped downhill, the better i do compared to the field).

    In Europe the XC scene is much smaller and what are called "Marathons" are more popular, especially for the ameteur scene. at first these were a big change for me. the courses are all different, but as a rule have TONS of vertical (1500-4000m vertical), lots of distance (50-120km) and only a little technical stuff. last year i got destroyed on the long climbs and then had no technical downhill sections to make it up. This year i am better trained for the climbs and i pick races with lots of technical sections...

    i think XC racing has made MAJOR contributions to the development of mountain bikes and will continue to do so... why do we need or want XC courses that *require* the newest full-suspension or disc brakes or whatever (i ride v-brakes and just this spring finally switched to XC-style FS w/ 80mm). the switch to FS has pretty much already happened (also has to do with sponsorship $$), but i think it's cool that pros can still win XC races on hardtails with v-brakes and 80mm!
    why drive when you can ride?
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  17. #17
    Jubalayo Unogwaja! Bokkie's Avatar
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    The manufacturers themselves are not slow when it comes to identifying new market niches. All products have redundancy built into them - for without that, there would not be the stimulation to develop new technologies, new designs, and utilise new materials. A former BMW ergonomics designer once told me, "...that if you accept a component has only one function, then it has, ideally, only one shape..." and later "...form must follow function...". The transfer from XC to freeride is governed as much by equipment choice as it is by riders changing styles. The advantage of freeride, XC, DH to us, is that we can see the cross-pollination of ideas going from one style to the other. If we take this to the purest expression of form following function, then at some discrete point in time, one bike should satisfy all ride conditions. Of course, it does not work that way.

    Suspension lock outs started with the frustration of someone saying something like "...damn this bobbing, right now I need a rigid fork..." and so lock outs were defined, refined, and marketed as the next step in suspension design. Someone else commented we need a stiffer headtube and sturdier headset, and so onepointfive was defined, refined, and marketed as the next step in headtube/headset design. The point I'm making is that as long as we have these different riding disciplines then so we all benefit. There are many good things about bikes now that were laughed at and mocked not so long ago.

    There will never be a unified code that will ultimately say that we have reached the end of function and all that we need now is form. We don't need that. So long as we have these riding styles, so the endless game of component design will play leap-frog and that progress will give us better components. We don't all drive F1 cars, but some of that technology gets through eventually to the manufacturing cycle we have in our cars today. Our bikes would not be where they are now if it had not been for XC .v. freeriding.
    If your bollocks ain't sore, yer ain't on yer boike!

  18. #18
    xc AND road WoodyUpstate's Avatar
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    Can you imagine if they were still racing the Daytona 500 on the beach, or if the Indianapolis Speedway were still paved with bricks? Advances in auto technology mandated improved speedways. Race track builders had to comply, or someone else would build a better race track.

    While it's quaint that pro XC racers can still win on 1990s equipment, it doesn't represent the state-of-the-art of the sport. While it may be perfectly acceptable - even necessary - for you and I to compete on last year's stuff, the professionals don't have to buy their bikes. Their not riding hardtails to save some cash, but because they can win with a hardtail.

    State-of-the-art is being pressed by freeriders, not by racing pros. How ironic is that? Freeriders demand better equipment, XC racers demand more carbon fiber and 100g lighter frame.

  19. #19
    Senior Member RacerX's Avatar
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    I don't agreee with that at all. Look at the new Specialized Epic FS bike...that is really different and "cutting edge" (whether it actually is better remains to be seen but it took alot to develp that).
    to actually make something 100grams lighter IS cutting edge. Do you think the 03 XTR group would be taken seriously if if were heavier than last years? What makes those disc brakes so exciting is the lack of weight.
    That type of technology benefits ALL biking.
    Also, just because a bike is a hardtail with V brakes doesn't mean it is ancient. Road bikes have basically the same setup for the last 100 years yet I would say the most recent bikes are so much better than ones from a couple years ago.
    Also, there is nothing wrong with small innovations--like new material mixes (like OX steel, M5 alloy, carbon fiber, etc).
    STI/ERGO was a HUGE innovation in road bikes. Do you think that developed because recreational riders needed to shift faster and more? It is a racing development.
    To say that a hardtail from 10 years ago is the same as a hardtail today is to ignore alot of innovations that we take for granted now. Better geometry, new materials, lighter components/frames, vastly improved shock technology, tires, tubeless, wheels, bearings, etc,etc
    I also agree with the guy that says it is not "just about the bike". It is an athletic endeavour and the athelete is who we are cheering for. I think you missed my point about the road racing crossover-- the fact that XC racers can be competitive in road racing says alot about the high quality of athletic endurance and skill of XC racers.

    Also, what if they did put a serious DH section on an XC course? DH riders wear all that padding, full face helmets and radically different geometry bikes. A XC rider would have to have BETTER skills than a DH rider to tackle climbs, ST and then a (real DH-worthy)DH section with a short-travel, XC-geometry FS bike? Or should they wear padding and suck for 90% of the race so they don't wipe on the DH section?
    No, I think the XC courses are technical enough and some are more than even the pros can handle. In Sarentino, they changed the XC course because the pros wouldn't ride the dangerous DH section (Roland Green came in 2nd on the FS Fuel).
    It is XC. The point is not whether an athlete can clean a monster drop. Just as impressive is the speed at which they compete on the given courses. F1 is the top because of the utter speed the drivers have to deal with.
    ok, too long! anyway good topic

  20. #20
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    We'll I have a lot to say in this. I started out XC riding all the time acouple years back. I had the usual hardail with front suspension. I raced and rode for my own pleasure. Today I am a pretty serious freerider, but haven't lost the goodness of XC riding.

    Here is the reason why I started freeriding: I have always thought about doing downhill while I was a XC rider. I even went to test ride some downhill bikes. It wasn't just the goodness of not having to pedal often or having an awsome looking bike. It honestly was about the ride; grab some air, hit the drops, ride the rock garden, nail the chute, or speed as fast as you can. However there are several reasons why I never did downhill. One, is that the bikes were very costly compared to a XC or freeride bike. I didn't live near any slopes. And another reason, you don't ride downhill as often as you would in XC riding.

    So with taking the great aspects of downhill in mind and combining it with XC, you get freeriding. I saw it as the perfect type of riding that would suit me. Freeriding: You got plenty of pedaling to do (believe me!), you can ride pretty much where you want, take the drops, nail the jumps, and have a great time. So know that freeriding would be no where if it hadn't been for XC or downhill.

    As far as new technology going into more freeriding bikes than XC, I can see that to a certain extent. This is a very political issue. There is a high demand for freeriding bikes and components now. Thus, manufactures must supply. That is a reason why more technology is going into freeriding. But know that XC is getting plenty of attention from the market. Racers and weekend riders need up to date equiptment too. But know there's only so much improving you can do within a year or so. Maybe make the bike lighter, more efficient? Who knows. Begginers must start somewhere. Not saying that XC is really easy, but begginers can't start at a freeriding level where steep climbs, decents, drops, or chutes are a walk in the park. XC is the key to mountain biking and developing the proper attitude adjustment for this awsome sport.

    Another thing you must understand is that terrain can have an affect on whether bikers go XC or freeride. The area I live in is more suitable for freeriding due to the very rocky terrain. Drops are formed everywhere and steep rock gardens are ideal for a freeriders day out. So believe it or not, the area you live in can also affect the choice of XC or freeriding.

    Just because you have a FS bike doesn't mean ANYTHING. First off all, I know plenty of FS bikes used for XC. They just use short amounts of travel and are usually equipted with air compression rather than coil. If you got a hard tail, that most people see it XC and I can agree in some parts. Hard tails aren't the way to go for freeriding if your doing drops or rocky decents. However, I've seen plenty freeriders with nice hard tails that do dirt jumps and softer types of freeriding. If you're a person like me, you'll need a FS bike with at least a good 4 inches of travel on front and rear. I love drops and ledge/rock decents. I ride the rock walls and play the chutes, so if you do the same a FS bike with 4 inches is good enough for freeriding. You can have a FS bike, but it can be a piece of you know what. Take it off a ledge and it could break in half for all I know. So just cause you or your friend has a FS bike don't mean anything.

    I'm gonna stop there, but all you should know that I haven't stopped XC riding. I find it as great as freeriding, and i'm sure many freeriders still ride XC. But we all should be proud of one thing: how large this sport has grown!
    Last edited by freerider biker; 09-24-02 at 01:43 PM.
    RIDE ON

  21. #21
    xc AND road WoodyUpstate's Avatar
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    RacerX,

    I'm thoroughly enjoying this debate. I thought such cerebral back-and-forths were limited to the roadie forum. After all, what do they have to discuss besides Campy vs. Shimano. . . again. I do like teasing the roadies now and then. They can be so serious.

    I do realize that the pros do incorporate updated technology, and the new XTR discs may finally kill V-brakes in the XC peloton once and for all. And the new Spec. Epic looks fabulous, and also may push pros permanently to FS. I confess that I covet one, but, alas, the checkbook won't support such things, and my precious NRS would be very jelous.

    As to incorporating a DH section in and XC course, yes, I think it's feasible. Your point regarding body armor is well taken, but I would not advocate a 4 ft. drop or including an "extreme" section of the DH course. If a rider considered wearing body armor or a full-face helmet the spirit of XC would have been compromised. I would hate to see that.

    While I hope that XC remains the domain of great athletes - go Cadel - and I'm sure it will, equipment will always play a greater part than on the road. Road bikes seem rather generic to me. (I hope no roadies are reading this thread) Lance could have just as well won 4 Tdfs on any other bicycle. Yes, a Litespeed is different from a Colnago, but you can get both with Ksyrium wheels and Campy Record components, and you'll go just as fast on one as the other. With an XC bike you (the pros) have to decide between FS or hardtail, disc or Vs, tubes or none, knobbies or semi-slicks, etc., etc. With riders making equipment choices for each race, a bad choice can cost them positions. A roadie's biggest decision is whether to wear arm warmers or not, because he knows his bike is going to be set up virtually identically to the other teams' bikes. Roland Green makes his hardtail/FS decision every race.

    Finally (for this post, anyway) road bikes have been evolving for much longer than mountainbikes, which explains why road (racing) bikes are so similar in performance, and thanks to the UCI, appearance and weight. XC is still evolving, and probably will for quite a while. Even so, some developments are becoming the accepted norm - 4-bar suspension, for example. It's light, it inherently fights bob and the Epic is taking it to a higher level. Ten, 20 or 30 years from now we might be shocked at how similar all MTBs are. But they will be much better bikes than we have now.

  22. #22
    Life's Too Short urbanking's Avatar
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    It seems to me most of us have the same, or similar opinios, and it is true that the different bikes and riders are meging into different riding types. Do what you do and have fun, and one day all mountain bikes could be the same. :confused:
    Live To Ride, Ride To Live!!

  23. #23
    Senior Member Jim311's Avatar
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    Bleh, we all ride bikes with knobby tires off-road.




    I consider myself to be an agressive XC rider for lack of any better term. I like to physically push myself, but I also like to test my technical skills as well. Last week I descended several miles of extremely steep, rooted, water-barred downhill.... extremely punishing terrain. My wrists and arms were constantly being pounded and it basically took all the strength I had to control my descent and pick the best lines. But I wasn't riding a bike with 10 inches of travel front and rear. I was riding a hardtail with 3 inches of travel.


    Every cross country course must have several steep climbs and downhills.... otherwise it wouldn't be mountain biking.


    My point is... who gives a damn? Ride what you like, where you like, however you like... I could care less as long as you enjoy it. XC riding will never, EVER die.. it's what we started with. Not everyone wants to go hucking off 10 foot cliffs or taking massive jumps. Some of us consider shredding some singletrack and clearing steep climbs to be just as extreme. Personally I enjoy climbing, and find a downhill 100000000 times more rewarding if I climbed in order to earn that downhill in the first place.


    But do as you please. Freeriding has mass appeal because it's extreme and new, but many downhillers were riding things just as technical on bikes way less technologically advanced years ago.
    My money pits:

    Cannondale Jekyll 500 with Avid Mechs and Sun DS2 rims with XT disc hubs.

    Cannondale F900 with SRAM XO shifters/derailler, Mavic X3.1 tubeless wheels, Avid Mechs, Race Face Next LP cranks, Time ATAC pedals, SRAM levers.

  24. #24
    NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS! a2psyklnut's Avatar
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    I often go riding with my 63 year old father-in-law. I don't think he'd ever do anything close to Freeriding, so when we go together we go XC. Guess what? We still have fun!

    Heck, he's a better rider than some 25 year olds I know!

    L8R
    "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW, What a Ride!" - unknown
    "Your Bike Sucks" - Sky Yaeger

  25. #25
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    I'll definately give him his due A2

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