April 7, 2015 at 12:36 #127019
Trying to figure out the nomenclature of MTB trail / bike categories — the meaning of XC, Trail, All-Mountain, Enduro. Downhill is pretty obvious, so is a lot of XC / roadie "mtb-ing". But, for me, Trail & A.M. gets a bit blurry.
The best way for my brain to process this is to offer some Colorado trails I have ridden, then you tell me how you would classify. I may be out-to-lunch with some of my guesses, but this is why I am asking…
Monarch Crest: overall an A.M. ride? Starvation & Silver Creek considered Enduro track? Rainbow, Trail?
Oil Well Flats: Trail ride?
CT, Kenosha Pass to Georgia Pass: Trail ride with some A.M. descents?
CT, Molas Pass: Trail to XC?
CT, Bolem Pass over Blackhawk to Hotel Draw: Trail?
Heil Ranch: Trail?
Western Rim (Loma): Trail?
If there are better examples let me know. I’d like to know when does Trail bleed into A.M.
April 7, 2015 at 19:54 #127020
I tend to think of those terms as part of a continuum with Cross Country at one end and Downhill at the other. "Trail" and "All Mountain" lie inbetween with trail being closer to XC and all mountain being closer to downhill.
I agree with your basic assessment of Oil Well Flats. I think of it as a trail ride, but there are definite all-mountain bits along the way, especially in the newer segments.
I haven’t ridden some sections of the CT, but I of all I’ve done, I think of it as trail riding that is very cross country in nature. There are some slightly techy spots in the sections I’ve ridden, but for the most part, it’s pretty buff, comparatively speaking.
If I understood your previous post, you live in Steamboat? If so, you’ve got pretty good examples of the continuum there. The Base Camp trail is very much a trail ride, but when you turn down Fish Creek Falls, you’re going All Mountain.
Of course, all this taxonomy is just that. When you’re actually riding, you shouldn’t be thinking "is this an XC or AM trail?" or worse "OMG, I’m riding a trail bike on an AM trail!" I understand the need to categorize everything as that’s precisely how my mind works. But I have learned that the ride is the thing and a wise rider learns to appreciate each trail for its own virtues. I’ve had fun on my old 26" hardtail on what I would call a challenging AM ride and I’ve also enjoyed rides on my 7" travel AM bike on pure cross country trail. Unless you’re really rich, it’s impossible to have the perfect toll for every ride, every time. That should in no way hold you back!
Also, the marketing world tries to categorize things for you. But they do so based on what’s hot at the moment and what labels they think will encourage you to buy their product, not necessarily what is most accurate. These days, few bikes are pigeonholed into a single, specific category, and the ones which are tend to be on the extremes of the continuum–pure XC and DH racers. But every manufacturer will tell you their AM bike pedals great, like an XC/trail bike and they will tell you their trail bike handles the gnar like a AM bike. Given the current state of bike technology and design, these are pretty accurate statements, if sometimes a little exaggerated.
April 7, 2015 at 21:23 #127021
Hey John —
I certainly do have the ability the "break it down", ha, but in this case I am just curious what is what in the MTB lingo. This will be season #5 for me (a new sport I picked up in my 40’s), so now, with a bit more experience it is about learning and dialing it in. I ride for the freedom, peace, challenge, improvement, nature, and smiles.
Yes, Steamboat (N Routt County to be more specific) is where I live. What a State to live in to be a mountain biker!
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