Should I get a short-travel trail bike or a long-travel trail bike?

Hi Lee

I don’t know if you answer these kinds of questions but I thought I’ll give it a try. Feel free to deny to answer ;-).

As mentioned above I’ll be getting a new bike and I actually ordered a 130mm trail bike. I’ve been a bit insecure lately if I did the right choice or if I should try to change my order to a 150mm bike which is a bit more towards Enduro (I rather have only 1 bike than 2).

I don’t want to be one of those quys who is overbiked, on the other hand I don’t want to risk damage of the bike because I’m doing stuff which the bike can’t take.

The skill level I’m hoping to achieve:

  • Good flow on trails with berms etc.
  • Being able to go down technical terrain with some “blocked” passages safely (I don’t want to go down fast)
  • Doing drops of maybe 1m
  • Jumps: clearing tables of maybe 2m safely. Not sure if I have the balls for attempting gaps.
  • Pump Track. With increasing skill, I’d love to include some jumps.

As most of my biking is without shuttles and more like tours rather than bike parks I opted for a nice, light high-end trail bike, but as said, I’m not sure if it would take the above mentioned loads.I’m about 74kg of weight. What does your experience say?

I’m looking at a Canyon Neuron (130mm rear/130mm front) and a Canyon Spectral (140/150mm).

Stefan


Stefan,

Since I’m a Specialized guy, I relate the Neuron to a Stumpjumper ST and a Spectral to a regular Stumpjumper.

I’ve ridden both bikes. Both are awesome, but in different ways. The ST is insanely fast/fun on mellower terrain. The regular Stumpy lets me attack rougher terrain. Strange fact: I PRed my local rocky climb on the regular Stump; I think the suspension tracked well in the bumps.

In general, the low-travel trail bike is ideal in these conditions:

  • You have low skill but are not riding aggressively or riding technical terrain.
  • You have high skill and are charging hard on moderate terrain.
  • You want a blend of descending and climbing, with the bike a bit more focused on climbing.
  • You like the way this bike rides.

Go for the bigger bike if:

  • You have low skill and are trying to ride crazy terrain. The bigger bike adds confidence.
  • You have high skill and are charging hard on all terrain.
  • You want a blend of descending and climbing, with the bike a bit more focused on descending.
  • You simply like the way the bigger bike rides.

I live in a rocky area, and I ride a lot of biggish bike park features. If I can only have one bike (in addition to my Fuse hardtail), I’ll go for the regular Stumpy. If I can have two bikes, I’ll go for the Stumpy ST and a much bigger Enduro.

For what you’re describing, the 130mm bike should be ideal.

But you should test-ride the bikes before you buy. I suppose that’s an issue with mail-order bikes.

Lee

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