Now, suspension travel and the number of pointless pivots and mm of travel you have are king. Hardtails are a far smaller percentage of the (much bigger) market. So far more people are riding 35lb+ full sussers than ever were. And they look for MORE travel, MORE strength, so everything gets heavier......... a lot of them can't ride for toffee either ;o)
There really aren't that many people riding 35lb+ FS bikes on normal trails. Mostly it's sub-30lb 120mm ish bikes. Most people were riding barely sub-30lb bikes twenty years ago too. Also the MTB market isn't bigger, it's been pretty much flat for quite a few years now. There are more expensive bikes available, and people are buying bikes more often or owning more than one bike.
Regardless of that, I'm not sure that an early-90s 23lb race hardtail is any more suitable for all-round trail riding than an overweight, over-travel FS bike. Differently unsuitable, perhaps
I wouldn't be at all surprised in the major market share for enthusiast sales is now the 1000-1500 full sussers. 20 years ago it was the equivalent value on HTs. (allowing for inflation of course!)
Seems fair. But my essential point stands -- there's a difference between "heavy modern bikes are available and some people choose to ride them" and "modern bikes are heavy".
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