Hardtail, Mid-Travel Or Long Travel Full Sus – Which Mountain Bike Is The Fastest For Trail Riding?

Hardtail, Mid-Travel Or Long Travel Full Sus – Which Mountain Bike Is The Fastest For Trail Riding?


– [Neil] As a typical mountain biker, I’m
always searching for that speed. We’re known for throwing loads of
money at super lightweight components, training extra hard or even skipping
a session in the pub sometimes. – [Mark] Neil, I don’t think you’ve
ever skipped a session in the pub. – I think I did once, in 2003 maybe. But
something I’m always looking for is trying to find the fastest way of riding down
a trail, but are we missing the easiest answer? Are we riding the
fastest bikes for the trail? – So, what we have here, three bikes and
we’re going to put them to the test. We’ve got the Scott 99er. As you can see,
no rear suspension, a ruddy great long stem and a really low front end. Cross
country race bike. In the middle here, we have the Scott Genius. It’s a 150 mil,
middle of the road, bit shorter stem, bit more travel, perhaps more of your all
day ride. And then lastly we have the Santa Cruz Nomad, truly gravity
inspired. We’ve got 165 rear travel, 160 up front, big tires. You see the bars
are higher, head angle’s way flatter, so this is for when it really gets rough
and technical. Okay, so as you can see, we’ve got the bikes. We’ve set up
a trail. It has a little bit of climbing, single track undulation and then
a steeper descent at the end. It’s not extreme downhill, and it’s
not a cross-country loop. It’s a good, fair test that has a bit of everything, so
we can really sort of find the weaknesses of these bikes and ultimately, the fastest
trail bike. That’s my warm up done. Hardtail first, cross-country race bike. ♪ [music] ♪ – Well, that was interesting. On the
climbs, it’s so direct. Just everything in the pedals just drives you forward.
Obviously, the single track stuff wasn’t too bad, but I definitely had a few
moments in the last section where it’s fairly steep. I found it hard to get my
weight back as the seat’s so high. I had to really be conscious to push my weight
back but definitely a fun bike to ride. You just have got to be aware of where
you ride it and how difficult a trail you tackle on one. Mid-travel trail bike next. I have got a
secret little weapon here. I’ve got a lock out that I can use on the fly, so
for pedaling stuff, I’ll lock it out. Here we go, what a gear. ♪ [music] ♪ So, mid travel trail bike, still
felt really agile on the climbs, still pretty fast and definitely on the
sort of single track, not up, not down. Felt really, really fast, but on the
descents, I’m starting to feel a little bit under-biked. But also more than that,
feels like your weight is starting to come really far forward onto the bars where the
slacker bikes, more aggressive bikes, more confidence-inspiring. But great
all-around bike, sure. More aggressive, downhill-orientated trail bike, more
travel slacker. Let’s see how it goes. ♪ [music] ♪ – So, the long travel trail bike
definitely feels a bit more sluggish on the climbs, but on the downhill
side of it, it’s definitely more confidence-inspiring. More travel, it
feels like you’re getting more grip, so do I make enough up on the downs than
I lose on the ups? This clock will tell us everything, really. Back in the pub
now, so let’s have a look at the times. Starting with the hardtail, the Scotts
Bark, that comes in at two minutes, five. Moving onto the mid travel Scott Genius,
that is actually quite a lot faster, 1.57, so that’s eight seconds faster on
the mid-travel bike. I guess that’s to be expected. Surprising thing for me is Santa
Cruz Nomad, the longer travel trail bike it’s actually coming in at 2 minutes
03, so it’s not actually that much quicker than the hardtail on that
track which is definitely a surprise, but that trail had a bit of everything.
I guess more flat and underlay than the downhill, but I’d expect that to
be a bit quicker, but the obvious winner is the Genius, the mid travel bike. – Yeah, by quite a long margin,
as well. I think it’s fair to say. The real question is with picking a trail
bike, it’s like you need to match it to, one, the type of rider that you are
and the terrain that you have locally, so basically, you know, it’s finding that
match where you balance perhaps not to your strengths but to your weaknesses. – Yeah, definitely. You do see a lot of
guys, someone who’s maybe really a strong climber riding a really lightweight bike,
or, actually, they might be better off setting their bike up for their
weaknesses, maybe thinking about sticking a high rise bar on
there just so they’re all-around riding abilities are a little bit improved, but
I guess it’s a personal thing. There is not one fastest bike out there, for
sure. It’s all about finding the right bike for you and setting
up for you, as well. – That’s a good point, Neil. You know, not
get too hung up on what bike you have, but kind of focus on engineering the bike
that you choose, be it a hardtail or a bigger travel trail bike, to your needs
and finding the best out for you. – Yeah, you can definitely play around
with tires, bars, things like that and sort of play around with all sorts of
bikes, but I think the biggest thing to remember is actually the equipment does
make a difference to how fast you are, but the rider makes the
biggest difference, so… – Good point, Neil. Talking of skills, why
don’t you watch some of our videos? So, click up here. – Don’t forget bikes, Mark. We just talked
about that. Click down here for those, and you can always click on us if
you want to subscribe to GMBN. – It’s free. Anyway, back to our pint.