Pump the trail bike or get a 20?

Dear Lee:
Love your stuff. The place I ride a lot just built a pump track, and after the snow melts it will be fully shred-able. Last year during building I had my Giant STP jump and pump bike stolen, and have not found it nor bought another one. I also own a 2009 Trek Fuel EX 8 with more all-mountain/freeride components (I am a smaller dude). Here is my question. This summer, I would love to be able to rip the pump track, and I am debating whether or not to buy a cheap BMX bike for around 250 to ride the pump track, or a shorter stem and bash gaurd to put on my Trek. I would make the shocks much stiffer on the Trek for pump riding. Should I save money and use my Trek, or bite the bullet and pay 250 for a BMX bike? Would a stiffer, shorter stemmed, low seat Trek Fuel EX 8 even work on a pump track? Thank you for your time.

Henry B

Hey Henry,

• If you’re mostly committed to trail riding, and pump tracking is just for fun, rock your Trek. A trail bike is not as fast as a hardtail or BMX bike, but it’s still super fun — and it applies directly to your trail riding. I rode pump track all last summer on my Stumpjumper. Why? Because I got so little riding time, and I wanted to be as good as possible on my rare trail rides.

• If you’re still going to ride your Trek on trail, do not stiffen the suspension for pump track (but do turn on the Propedal and add low speed compression to your fork). A shorter stem and chain guide might be a good idea no matter what.

• If you want to dedicate yourself to the art of pump, and you can afford another bike, go for the BMX. Don’t compromise with a cruiser; get a 20. There’s no better way to improve your balance, range of motion and pump-fu.

When you get back on your Trek, it’ll feel like slow motion.


— Lee

My ‘08 Stumpy Pro Carbon was extremely responsive—and very pumpable. Lyons Bike Park pump track. Photo by Yosei Ikeda from MMBSii.

Know more. Have more fun!

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