Posted by: Vikb
Read some interesting comments on the RM Element review. Essentially people were saying you shouldn't put aggressive tires/fork/brakes on a 120mm bike because "The (excellent if I do say so myself) geometry is cashing cheques the 120mm travel can't always handle when things get really rough, and there will be instances where the rider forgets that." Of course there are lots of folks on 0mm rear travel bikes with aggressive geo/tires/inserts/brakes and even some on 0mm/0mm travel double hardtails. I can't recall any times in the last few years of dedicated hardtailing when I've just lost my mind and thrown my bike into stuff on black diamond+ trails and had my Bank Manager call to talk to me about bounced Geo Cheques. ;-)
Heck my last few FS bikes have been 130mm-140mm with burly parts/aggressive geo and no Geo Cheque bouncing has occurred either. It seems like one of the fun things about riding any particular bike is learning what it does well/poorly and figuring how to get it down the trails you want to ride with the most smiles.
Is this concern actually a valid one? It sounded kind of odd to me.
If that comment sounds odd to you, it's probably because it requires context.
All else being equal (ie the rider) every bike has a limit with respect to terrain vs speed, basically.
Better Geo ups the level of terrain but not necessarily the speed at which you can ride it.
That's where the cheque cashing comes in, as soon as speed increases, and in some terrain there's just a minimum speed at which you can even maintain, at which point sketchiness in unavoidable.
It's entirely possible for someone's particular terrain, riding style, and skill set to make it seem as though suspension does not mean a lot, sounds like that's you.
Obviously not the case for everyone.
Take a rigid, hard tail, or 120mm bike for a few cypress laps at speed.
You'll either ride slower or feel more stressed (psychologically and physically), or both. I guarantee it. And that's ok. But it's a thing, and it'll happen no matter how slack you are.
There's a point at which suspension definitely matters.
I'm not hating on rigid/HT, have one and love it and my main FS is only 130mm, but these posts that basically imply suspension travel is universally irrelevant are just wrong. Maybe it's largely irrelevant for how and where you ride.
I was up on Seymour yesterday and came across a trail that starts with what is basically several six foot drops a couple bike lengths apart with landings that are just loose chunky gnar and thought of this thread. If anyone could look at that entrance in person and tell me with a straight face that it's be fine a a rigid bike as long as it had good geo, they're either delusional or a super hero. Just no way. There comes a point where suspension matters. Maybe not for you, but it does exist.