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  1. #1
    Digs technical steeps
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    Definitions - XC vs FreeStyle vs BackCountry vs Out of Bounds vs ...

    Maybe it's just a matter of semantics. After 20+ years of mtn biking I'm still not sure what those terms mean. Maybe it's just a matter of the terms meaning different things to different riders and manufacturers. Anyone else run into this?

    One manuf describes a bike as great for XC but marginal for BackCountry. One reviewer says a bike is an outstanding Racer but wouldn't be his first choice for XC. What the heck does that mean?

    DirtJump is pretty self-explanatory. How do riders here describe XC? Is there really a difference between a good XC bike and a Racer, besides weight? Or the difference between BackCountry, Out of Bounds, and DownHill? FreeStyle?

    We've all ridden all these types and know them when we see them but what defines them? Do manuf's have a solid basis for classifying bikes by 'intended use'? Is there simply too much cross-over to have meaningful classifications?

    (I suspect this has been pondered into the outer edges of the universe yet a search gives me little in my quest ; )

    Am I destined to continue mtb'ing in a continual state of confusion? Does it matter? (Probably not).

    OK; let's start at the beginning: What is 'XC', how is it different from other types of riding, and what bike attributes differentiate it from others?
    'My other bike is a bike.'

  2. #2
    ÖöÖöÖöÖöÖö Dannihilator's Avatar
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    Freestyle is freeriding, which is actually self-explainatory. Out of bounds is freeriding, XC bikes can take some beating, xc race bikes can't take any beating. Downhill is self explainatory, point a bike with a bunch of travel point it down a downhill trail and start going down it.
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  3. #3
    Outgunned and outclassed
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    XC mixes the fun seeking elements of FR and DH with more 'roadie' values of exercise and pushing oneself, its riding the trails for the purpose of both hitting the terrain and going fast, the bikes for non-racing XC are either single suspension, or have little rear travel, they are somewhat light but can still take abuse, XC racing bikes are litghter, faster less durable XC bikes, that usualy have thinner tires and other such speed vs. durability upgrades

    Freeride is exactly as it sounds, freeriding, just cruising around trying to find the coolest drops and tricks and whatnot to cause yourself pain/have awesome fun on, the bikes for FR are tough as all hell with a good amount of travel(or hardtail for those freeriders who kick ass)

    Downhill is, once again, self explanatory, its just taking a bike downhill, the steepest fastest downhill you can, but jsut downhill, downhill bikes are huge honking beasts tough enough for anything and with enough travel to jump out of an airplane onto, as I don't downhill I dont know if the race bikes are similar, but i presume thet are
    Patience - Consistency - Motivation

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  4. #4
    Digs technical steeps
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    <<XC bikes can take some beating, xc race bikes can't take any beating>>

    KonaRider24: You and I both think very highly of Kona and I know you know their bikes inside out, so let's look at Kona. Their straight XC hardtails are 7005; the Kula ht racer is Easton Ultralight tubing yet the Kona rep tells me the Ultralight frame is as durable, if not more so, than the 7005. See why I wonder about this stuff?

    VosBike: That's about as good a description as I've come across! Re: the XC vs Race - weight vs durability; what's your view on my question to KonaRider24 above?

    Good discussion!
    'My other bike is a bike.'

  5. #5
    one less horse cryptid01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juniper
    After 20+ years of mtn biking I'm still not sure what those terms mean.
    Hmmm...20+ years sure is a long time...what was your first mountain bike? Mine was a Bridgestone MB-1, but that was only 16 years ago.

  6. #6
    Digs technical steeps
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    Quote Originally Posted by gastrocnemius
    Hmmm...20+ years sure is a long time...what was your first mountain bike? Mine was a Bridgestone MB-1, but that was only 16 years ago.
    Ah, memories! My first 'official' mtn bike (not counting the trail and dirt jump bikes we made from our old coaster bikes) was a Skyway Sherpa Scout. Skyway made (still makes?) what are now considered 'old school' BMX bikes and they decided to get in on mountain bikes back in the day when Gary Fisher, Tom Ritchey and Joe Breeze and friends were still introducing the sport.

    The Sherpa Scout basically had a mix of BMX and road bike parts on a nice 4130 Cro-Mo frame with good angles. There was no front or rear suspension in those days, as you know. Early Shimano BioPace crank set, Shimano drivetrain, Cro-Mo bear trap pedals that would dig into your shins like ... bear trap pedals. Sumo rims, Tri-Cross tires (later swapped for Ground Controls). No quick release hubs. Road stem. Skyway buffalo hide saddle. A huge forged alum 'X-brake' that was mounted under the chain stays and got clogged up with mud all the time.

    The lbs had two mtn bikes for sale; the first ones they got into the store. The Skyway Sherpa Scout and a Peugeot Canyon Express (Peugeot was just moving into mtn bikes, too; the lbs already dealt in their beautiful road bikes). Both around $450 base price which was a pretty good chunk of change for a young guy in the very early 1980's. It was a toss-up; the Peugeot component package was a little better organized, the Skyway was quicker and tighter. The Peugeot rode solid and straight like a tank; the Skyway fast and twitchy like a fighter jet. I bought the Skyway and had one of the first real mountian bikes in town.

    Today my Skyway is being reincarnated as a single speed. They sure got the frame right; I'll say that!
    Last edited by Juniper; 09-22-04 at 07:50 AM.
    'My other bike is a bike.'

  7. #7
    ÖöÖöÖöÖöÖö Dannihilator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juniper
    <<XC bikes can take some beating, xc race bikes can't take any beating>>

    KonaRider24: You and I both think very highly of Kona and I know you know their bikes inside out, so let's look at Kona. Their straight XC hardtails are 7005; the Kula ht racer is Easton Ultralight tubing yet the Kona rep tells me the Ultralight frame is as durable, if not more so, than the 7005. See why I wonder about this stuff?

    VosBike: That's about as good a description as I've come across! Re: the XC vs Race - weight vs durability; what's your view on my question to KonaRider24 above?

    Good discussion!
    There are xc race bikes that can take abuse, The Kula ht racer is one of them.
    Strike like an eagle and sacrifice the dove.
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  8. #8
    My life be like ooh aah anthonaut's Avatar
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    Hehe, SOMEONE has been looking at the kona website
    Any true downhiller can huck, but no hucker can truly downhill - Ryan N.

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  9. #9
    Te mortuo heres tibi sim? scrublover's Avatar
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    forgive me busting into the middle of this.....

    here again we end up in a semantic wasteland.

    "can take some abuse" is open to alot of interpretation. how much abuse? whos defenition of abuse? how smooth is the rider? how heavy are they? what are their trail conditions like?

    my abuse may be more or less than yours, or vice versa, and so on and so on.

    iv'e seen some very large guys who you would think would break their little lightweight bikes, but they've been so smooth it isn't an issue. also seen some small riders who bust the sh#t out of everything, either by being unsmooth, or just riding very, very hard.
    i've seen alot of lightweight stuff broken, and i've seen quite a bit of burly stuff broken as well.

    ahem. all that said, i ride the same bike for everything. regular trail rides, urban, downhill days. also ride a much more lightly built singlespeed. it's the one i race on and do fast xc rides that i won't be jumping off of things on; it would have broken long ago under the abuse i put the other bike to. the other bike would suck to race on, or to have on a fast, smooth, non-technical ride. and i love them both!
    I believe the clouds in my coffee more than the weatherman on t.v.

  10. #10
    Digs technical steeps
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    Yup! A 'semantics wasteland' (good one!) it is. One rider says the Mammoth CF Zirconian is an outstanding bike for XC; the next rider says the same bike sucks at XC. That's opinion; that makes sense.

    Where I cast a bit more of a critical glance is when manuf's classify bikes in certain categories for use. Not that I don't think that's somewhat useful but I think it would be much more useful if the manuf also defined what they mean by those categories.

    Time to ride! ; )
    'My other bike is a bike.'

  11. #11
    one less horse cryptid01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juniper
    Today my Skyway is being reincarnated as a single speed.
    .

    That's cool you kept the frame for this long. It would be pimpin' with some 26" Tuff II's.

    And to address your initial question...yes, of course it's semantics. No big deal. Many folks seek shelter by classifying themselves within a particular subgroup. In fact, I feel the need to modify my signature to address this issue:

  12. #12
    NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS! a2psyklnut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gastrocnemius
    .

    That's cool you kept the frame for this long. It would be pimpin' with some 26" Tuff II's.

    That would be sweet. Remember when they came out with the white ones? I had a pair (20")-on my SE Quadangle. All white, very sweet bike. Up until it was stolen.

    Also remember from this era when SE Racing came out with the Floval Flyer in 26"? I wanted one of those BAD. I see them every once in awhile on EBay.


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