WHO RIDES A LONG TRAVEL TRAIL BIKE? The aggressive rider who enjoys having the wheels of his/her mountain bike leave the ground. This someone may also like to ride super technical, rocky and fast downhill sections that will use all of the bike‘s travel. This rider‘s probably not someone who‘s going to ride a long endurance race, but the bike pedals well enough that they shouldn‘t feel like they can‘t. The enduro racer who needs a bike that can climb uphill but still be confidently pointed downhill. And then again, this rider may just want a bike that pedals efficiently and has more travel because going out and having fun is what‘s important and more travel often means more fun. LONG TRAVEL DOESN‘T HAVE TO BE INEFFICIENT Most companies today offer at least two trail bike models, if not more. And it used to be that the longer travel trail bikes were less efficient, didn‘t climb well, were more specialized to a certain type of riding. This isn‘t necessarily the case any longer. You might be surprised at how capable a 150-170 mm aggressive trail bike can be these days. Take the RIP 9 for example. It shares the same rear suspension platform, Niner‘s patented CVA linkage, which allows it to stiffen up and pedal well. But, point it downhill and hang on. Overall, when compared to a shorter travel trail bike, these longer travel trail bikes are designed for more aggressive riding and will be more at home, and competent, on more technical downhill trails and/or at the bike park. Here are a few differences:
- Designed to run 150-170 mm fork
- Designed with 140-170 mm of rear travel
- Designed to run tires up to 2.4” in width and/or have boost spacing so the rider has the option to run 27.5 plus tires.
- May accept a coil shock instead of an air shock
- May allow for a 1x drivetrain only eliminating the need for a chain guide as well as the front derailleur
- Be built on a burlier frame in order to handle bigger jumps, drops and more aggressive riding.
- Be able to climb efficiently. Probably won‘t rocket uphill but won‘t make you feel like you‘re dragging an anchor.
- A slightly longer wheelbase helps increase stability at high speeds while still offering a playful ridiing experience.
- Can handle a day at the bike park or on the enduro race course.