<p style=”text-align: left;”>I’m looking to buy a second mountain bike I currently own a Commencal Clash 180/165 travel. I’m torn between either buying a Hardcore Hardtail like the Meta HT AM, or a Downhill bike like the new Furious, throughout the year I ride alot of singletrack but also like to go to bike parks from time to time. Also I’m thinking about venturing into Enduro or Downhill racing this year, any suggestions would be appreciated</p>
If you are going to get a new bike, get the hardtail. With the travel your Commencal Clash has you could comfortably ride park for days, maybe a set of different tyres for it? Get the Meta HT AM or another hardtail. You seem pretty set on getting Commencal but maybe have a look at the Nukeproof Scout or Kona Honzo, they are both solid options.
With the Clash, it seems like you already have an Enduro/Downhill bike? So why would you buy another one? Nothing against Hardtails, but I get pretty beat up riding one. Even just 100mm of rear suspension makes riding so much more enjoyable. Maybe you should get a “Downcounty” bike—very short travel but with progressive geometry and wider tires. Something that’s light-weight and pedals/climbs efficiently like an XC bike but that descends much better than an XC bike. Check out the Ibis Ripley, Santa Cruz Tallboy, and Norco Optic—to name just a few. Many bike companies debuted Downcountry bikes just this year. In my opinion, it’s a new category of Mountainbike which shows a lot of promise. I would like see some bike company make a bike with 100mm rear and 120mm front suspension with a 66 degree head angle and some aggressive 2.4-2.6 tires.
What kind of riding is your current bike holding you back from? The biggest thing to consider to make the most out of the N+1 bike mentality is to try to minimize the amount of capability overlap between bikes. You mentioned being interested in possibly racing DH/Enduro but your current bike would be a perfectly capable enduro racer and would be more than adequate for lower-level DH racing (at least enough to see if it is for you before taking the full plunge) so you’d have a ton of overlap there. If you have a lot of more XC-ish trails in your local area that your current bike makes feel boring, I’d say a HT is the way to go.
For example; I have a YT Jeffsy for more aggressive trail riding/ light park days (I’m on the wrong side of 40 and don’t get too aggressive or ride serious DH anymore), a steel XC hardtail for trails that are just a bit much for a gravel bike but are pretty boring on the Jeffsy, and a fat bike for winter. They maximize my capability for riding I’d want to do while minimizing capability overlap.