In case there was any doubt, XC mountain biking (at least at the World Cup level) isn’t lacking for technical challenges these days. Check out these shots from World Cup Stellenbosch in South Africa by Jochen Haar, Scott / SRAM.
I am pleased to see this after years of watching “mountain bike” races that were on what amounted to dirty streets. Enduro racing IMHO has the most in common with the way most people ride, but it’s cool to see the sweet suit types having to ride some gnar.
But, but, they’re riding 29ers, which are cheater wheels, right guys? Oh this is xc? Not dh? Could’ve fooled me with that course, that’s pretty gnarly. I know I wouldn’t trust an xc bike to get me down those logs without buckling.
I am definitely not a fan of spandex and I come from a motocross background so I’m naturally drawn to enduro over XC. But I have to admit, the XC guys I’ve ridden with have earned my respect. In my area, the fastest dudes and KOMs are all set by XC riders. They train the hardest and don’t let equipment substitute for bike handling skills. I know at the pro level, the enduro bros are bad asses, but in the real world, most of the guys I see riding long travel bikes with big fat tires are using equipment to compensate for bad bike handling. They think they need a 65 head tube angle to tackle rock gardens while the XC guys just say f*ck it and do it on their 71 HTA hardtails.