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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 10:43 am 
MacRetro rider
MacRetro rider

Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2007 4:16 pm
Posts: 8658
As I sat poised to launch myself down 'Spooky Wood', the upper section of the Red Route of Glentress Mountain Bike Centre near Peebles in SE Scotland, someone said something to me that left me feeling surprised.
Most of the mtb'rs at the top grinned and pointed at me and my steed with the' 'he's quite mad !' look I've got used to. My bike is a rigid Raleigh Massif, a very low tech hi-tensile steel machine shod with lots of Shimano Exage stuff and a far cry from the Orange, Santacruz, Specialized, Yeti etc kit that predominates these days.
What was said was, "you must be a really skilled rider", this flumoxed me in that I had never considered myself anything better than barely competent. When I asked them to qualify this statement they said "Your riding that down there thus you've got to be really good !"
Thus my question for the Forum:
Has mountain biking become less skilled due to the higher levels of technology compensating for rider input or has the modern rider just gone soft ?
Personally I think riders are as good as they've ever been but that technology has allowed them to push themselves further than my rigid riding skills allow. I think modern full sussers are amazing but as I like to tinker and I'm not mechanically brilliant then simple bikes suit me better. I do not think I'm an expert rider, the skills I've gathered since 1994 allow me to ride a rigid bike at speeds I find exciting over rough ground without to many crashes. My riding style would have to change to ride a modern full susser well.
What do you lot out there think, I look forward to the discussion if any !

Cheers


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 11:01 am 
Gold Trader
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Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2006 11:14 pm
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Location: Somerset
MMM, Interesting topic.

I belive that there is some merit in this, I was talking to my Bro in law who rides freeride and DH. He is very good at it, jumps huge stuff and seems to have a good bike handling ethic. However he hates rigid bikes because they feel 'nervous' and he gets 'trapped by ruts' on them. I wonder if this is because he is used to the dulled sensation from 3"+ of travel on his bikes, or of it is a genuine dulling of the senses, I personally feel too insulated from the trail on his bikes to be able to judge properly what the hell is happening to the bike.

It may be that younger riders lack the 'skill' to ride rigid at speed in marginal situations, but the do have the keenly judged senses to get the best out of a full susser or whatever.

Added to that the challenge of setting up a canti brake pales compared to maintaining a disc braked full suss bike! :lol:

It is, I belive, not that we or they are more skilled rides, just diferently skilled.

I am pleased to hear that they took an interest in what you were up to, we are all mountain bikers at the end of the day!


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 11:17 am 
Retro Guru
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Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 11:23 am
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Location: Winchester
Stick Legs wrote:
It is, I belive, not that we or they are more skilled rides, just diferently skilled.


Agreed. It's just a very different sport now...


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 12:14 pm 
East Midlands AEC
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Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2006 7:45 pm
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Location: Derby, UK
A modern full suss bike can mask poor skills, but can also enhance them too.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 12:20 pm 
Retro Guru
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Joined: Thu May 04, 2006 11:25 pm
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Location: North Herts
suspension - a.k.a. 'ineptitude filtration' :wink:


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 12:32 pm 
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Location: Lincolnshire
It's just a different kind of riding that requires different skills. Modern bikes with alot of suspension travel will carry alot more speed over terrain where a rigid bike would just get 'out of shape'. The extra speed of the modern bike does take a high level of skill to control.

I still think newer riders who've jumped staight onto 'all moutain' type bikes could learn alot from riding rigid or hardtail mtbs... they do sharpen your skills.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 2:14 pm 
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Location: Scotland!!!!!! Yay, at last, only 4 years waiting!
I'm inclined to agree, however, we started riding at a time where full sus just wasn't so readily available if at all.

I think that it may be less about pure skill and more about experience. We've had many years of riding rigid.

Tim


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 2:23 pm 
Lincs AEC
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Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2007 8:34 pm
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I am of the opinion that us lot that learnt how to ride on a fully rigid bike have more skill than todays 'full sus' rider.

We know the secrets of weight distribution, unweighting, bunny hops etc etc.

Todays rider may be able to cope with 5ft drops, but ask them to ride a technical section on a rigid or front sus only; they wouldnt have a clue.

They blast the trails rather than flow though them. They can get away with more. They may look quicker but they aren't riding the trail, merely bouncing over it.

I'll get off my soap box now :lol:


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:31 pm 
Retro Guru

Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 3:35 pm
Posts: 420
Location: Newbury
its not just the bikes that have changed over the years, its the terrain we ride. basic competitive human nature that wants to go faster, higher, harder etc. has pushed the boundries of what we ride, in both aspects of bike technology & terrain.

when i started riding, mountain biking was more about adventure, & being able to ride offroad was a novelty! it was great fun, but the local woods, & the network of bridleways is what we mainly rode..

the man-made trails we have now are awsome fun on a modern bike, completly riddable on a retrobike aswell, but put is this way, id much rather take my oldy bikes on the routes i did as a young lad, that attempt what we just did in afan yesterday!

Its evolution in every sense, that being a very natural process, but nostalgia is a powerful thing (it is in me!) so i like to be very aware of what people want from their bikes when they come into our shop.

what is so cool, is that today, anyone can get a mountain bike & do what the hell they want! we have it all, so you can get a bike to suit your personality, & ride whatever type of terrain you want. what i notice more & more is that peoples aspirations are getting bigger. We have guys coming in buying elbow pads just to go xc riding..& there is more focus on riding harder, faster etc than ever before.

so for me its not just what you ride, its where.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 4:49 pm 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2007 6:29 pm
Posts: 51
Location: Cheshire
This is quite an interesting one for me!

I started mountainbiking in the early '90s (my first was a yellow Saracen TuffTrax) and eventually stopped (seriously riding) in the late '90s when my mountainbike buddy moved away.

I rode (and still do) a lot of BMX all the way through from '79 to this very day!

A couple of years back I was riding some dirt jumps on my BMX and was having difficulty clearing a BIG set of doubles, a pal was with me and in his van he had some kind of Curtis mountainbike with silly amounts of travel in the forks, a hardtail and a set of tyres that would put a Honda ATC to shame!

I asked if I could have a go of it and spent the whole afternoon clearing everything in sight without really trying!

It was like driving a Monster truck over everything and it didnt really matter if you got it wrong as the huge tyres and massive suspension travel would bail you out of almost every problem!

I think you would need a hell of a lot of skill to ride a lot of the modern terrain on a full rigid than you would on a modern mountain bike!


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