I built a rigid singlespeed specifically for two trails in my area. One has been around for over 20 years that I have hundreds of laps on. The other is relatively new but is machine built, really smooth hardpack, with good flow.
The old trail is mostly flat, tight and twisty, rooty, oldschool handcut singletrack. My 140mm trail bike was a bit of a hand full in the tight sections. There are a lot of low speed 180deg flat turns. The trail bike just doesn’t have that sharp low speed handling. And the weight of the bike was taxing after numerous accelerations out of those flat tight turns. On the rigid singlespeed I can really whip the bike through the turns and carry more speed with less work. And the lack of suspension forces me to pick better lines through all the exposed roots on this well worn trail.
<p style=”text-align: left;”>The newer trail is just flat out boring on my full suspension trail bike and hardtail trail bike (29er, 130mm fork). It is basically a 2.5mi pumptrack through the woods with three short climbs. There is no challenge to going fast on this trail with 1×11 gears, wide grippy tires, and bump (what little bumps this trail has) absorbing suspension. The rigid singlespeed forces me to maintain momentum into the climbing sections. Flow through the fast sections where im spun out. The skinny, fast rolling tires and lack of suspension keeps me on my toes in the turns searching for the lines with the most grip.</p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”>There is a bike suitable for every type of trail, but not all trails are suitable for just one bike.</p>
i like to add some road road miles to my usual single track spot. It has 11 miles of trail. I will ride a different route most of the time. I ride the main loop and decide which extensions I will ride off the main loop. It’s amazing how I continue to learn more about the same 11 miles worth of trail.
Yep, everything everyone else has said. Night, backwards, build and maintain, try to be Strava times on certain segments, etc. Try different bikes if you have them (or even a trail-run if you’re into that sort of thing.)
I was getting bored and had extra time so I decided to session and make a video of a certain trail at my local MTB trail system and it helped me ride some of the features better. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntSGD1BNRwk
I have 3 different bikes to ride the trails with: a 29er HT, rigid 26er and a rigid 26er SS. I’ll ride a different bike almost each time. Also the trail has several loops so I can take different routes each time. Lastly, these are my home trails and I’m really the only person regularly riding them so I can build in features and different lines. Mother Nature sometimes provides new features and lines by dropping dead trees after nearly every storm.