Big Bike Dreams
We are entering a new area in mountain biking, and things are changing swiftly. The 5″ bike market is taking the industry by storm, and riders who thought they would never be on that much travel are now making the switch. What does that mean for the riders that were already on longer travel bikes? We are just going bigger. I have had numerous conversations with riding buddies about our progression, and it seems the more our tires leave the ground…the higher we want them to get. Hence…the big bike dreams.
All of us that have been around awhile remember the days where 3.5″ forks were considered dh. Now, you can’t even find a cross country bike with less than 4 inches unless it is rigid. So what changed? The technology did. With lighter components and better geometry, the 5 inch travel bike market now appeals to a wider range of riders. I believe this is a good thing.
Remember the days when xc pictures were the staple of industry rags? Those days are long gone. We are now in the “Whistler area” where big air on 40 lbs bikes are most cover shots. I don’t know about you, but when I see shots like the one on the cover of this months Bike…I want to skip work, get on the bike and try it for myself. These high flying aerial assaults are becoming common place for the biking community, and while not all riders have the same dreams that I do…they are appreciating this style of riding more and more. Even our local urban trail, Big Creek, has a small freeride/dh section in the back where even the cross country guys get there shot at a gully run or two.
I am extremely excited about where the industry is headed. The aggressive trail riding style of mountain biking is becoming the “normal guys” regular ride, the dh/freeride guys are bringing publicity and attention that the sport has never seen, and this recognition will create more trails and hopefully more technical features instead of the usual beginner “paved” systems. I would have never imagined my everyday bike would be 36 lbs., but with every ride…I am glad it is.
So are you having big bike dreams? Are you, like me, sitting in your office at work daydreaming about how big you are going to go the next run? Even if you aren’t, you have to like the way things are going. The diversity is helping the sport tremendously and it is also attracting the next generation of riders to push the limits even father than they are now. Just when we start to think nothing else could be possible, a rider proves us wrong. There are hundreds of non-pro riders, just out in the woods with their friends, pushing the limits past what we know as true now. I think the part I like best about this progression is how it reminds me of riding when we were kids. Back then we were trying to build or find anything to jump. Now the jumps are just much bigger! So now for the big question…where are we going to be 10 years from now? I can’t wait to find out…