- Off road riding has always been about the great outdoors,
the throw a single track, and for a lot of people
having a really good workout, that's fun.
Now as the sports progressed over the years,
it's divided into different identities,
different niches, different genres,
all under the same name of mountain biking.
- And seemingly the latest is down country,
basically the adoption of a cross country bike
to make it go back downhill.
But how is it that different to a trail bike?
Well, thanks to Shimano, there've have specced up
a couple of bikes for us.
We'll give you the lowdown but more importantly
take them for a ride.
♪I know someday we could find you, ♪
♪ I know someday we could find you. ♪
- A generation ago mountain biking was born,
well, cross country mountain biking to be exact.
Now over the last 30 years things have really changed,
from those mountain bike comm roadies
that were originally on.
And now we have a whole plethora of choices.
Everything from our long travel downhill bikes
to our brutal enduro bikes and our trail bikes,
but there's still a bit of a gap.
Our trail bikes typically have around 140 mil
of rear wheel travel, but our cross country bikes
can have as little as 80 millimeters.
- But what if you want something
that's a little bit more nimble, a featherweight flyer
compared to your middleweight bloater.
Well cross country bikes, they're fantastic,
they're super refined, super lightweight
and in the right place they're super fast.
But what if you want something a little bit more relaxed
something that's a bit more of a party animal bit more fun.
- So Neil, what you're talking about could it be referred
to as down country, triple xc, sexy xc?
- Well down country, it seems to have gained momentum
in the mountain bike world with even manufacturers
started to turn their bikes down country.
By thing we have to credit pig bikers
on Mike Levy more specifically.
So Mike trademarks of the check is in the post, is not.
So today I'm riding a souped up cross country bike
an Orbea Oiz here
- Cross country bike you say.
So let me guess, 27 gears and a triple,
a handlebar as wide as a chopstick and a saddle
skewing your rectum like a toffee apple.
- Not quite how many times they've changed.
Yeah, cross country might be the bread and butter
of mountain biking but things have progressed
as of down country bikes have got wide vast, short stem
bigger fork, dropper posts and one by 12.
A bit like a trial bike.
- Yes, sounds familiar.
And it's funny, I'll be riding a trail bike today.
I think trail biking the one the most ambiguous terms
in mountain biking.
Some people raise EWS stages on their trail bikes.
For us, when we think trail bike, we think something
that's typically around 130, 140 more travel
all day capabilities,
and the canyon new one we'll be riding
is very pedal efficient.
So realistically, if you were thinking about
getting a down country bike, that would be the sort of bike
you'd be comparing it against.
- Alright, Henry, make it simple for me,
what is the main differences between
a down country bike and trail bike?
- Well, 30 seconds on each bike, Let's do it.
In bike design, the devil is often in the detail.
Before we've looked at the real differences
between two and four part brakes.
Well, today, there are going to be
lots of differences like that.
Small but not inconsequential.
Added together, they really do make a difference
to how your bike rides.
Shimano have invited us out again to examine
this exciting new breed of bike.
Neil, take us through your bare.
- [Neil] A World Cup cross country frame
but with an added 20 minute travel.
A step cast fork, again 120 minute travel.
Two part breaks, 180 mil rotor front, 160 on the back.
One by 12, the 1051 cassette, the 34 ring.
Shimano XTR M900 pedals.
A carbon fiber frame with linkage, saddle bass stem,
stem spaces and bottle cage.
The new one uses a traditional 130 mil fork paired
to 130 mil of rear travel.
A slightly more aggressive cockpit is also paired
to slightly more aggressive tyres.
Shimano XTR M8020 trail pedals as we know
four ports can deliver a lot more power.
The newer one uses a four port but only on the front.
This just goes to show how much different a four port makes
and they're definitely worth sparking,
but they're being very tactful and trying to find a balance
between big mountain ability and all day speed.
A 32 chaining on the front means you've got a range of gears
for big days, even when you're tired.
- [Henry] A trail bike like this could be the answer
for a lot of people.
Versatility is the name of the game, a proper amount
of suspension, bigger brakes and stopping power.
You could cover a pretty broad spectrum of riding
with this bike, heavier, more robust eyes.
It's a big mountain bike, light XC tires
and endurance machine, maybe even nipping at the ankles
of your down country bike.
I would happily race a local cross country race on this
with some lighter tyres, and the next day
riding the bike bark.
That's what's so great about the trail bike.
It's just so versatile.
- [Neil] In a spectrum of bikes, you get some
that are more aggressive and some less so.
it's the same with these bikes.
And thank goodness because different riders
want different things.
- [Henry] Those down country bikes are so capable,
they often have to run as little as 15 to 20% sack
but throw in a progressive spring rates
and a supportive field, you'd be surprised about
what you can not only get away with, but also enjoy.
This means that while somebody like you knew,
who I believe has ridden a bike a little bit before
can ride them up, down, over and through anything,
they might sometimes be not quite as comfortable
as a lightweight trail bike on big day rides.
- [Neil] That's down country all over.
Better bikes, better componentry, better geometry
combined to make a better package.
That's why people like me are revisiting
the idea of shorter travel.
It's also why 130 mil bike, like the neuron
can play with bigger boys in the enduro category.
A point for point the featherweight cross country bike
can surprise you with it's capability.
- Come on now Neil, between friends,
admit you've just ruined a perfectly good
cross country bike.
- No. - It's like putting
the tow bar on a 911.
- Yes, that's a great idea.
I've always thought it would be cool.
- You know, you stick a bike rack on the bike
big lights and feel like a rally car, brilliant.
- No, I don't think so.
I think it's just a cross country bike for people like me
that like going downhill, short stem, wider bars, yes,
more travel, yes,
do you like that, not too much.
Still super lightweight that's what I love about it.
Pick it up, chuck it on the car, it's crazy light
but really capable downhill.
Two pop breaks, more than enough for the rolling hills
of the sort off cross and trial more than I do.
So I love it.
And what I do love about is racing it.
- For Christ's sake Neil, you're going to give me a migraine.
Not everything is about racing.
That's the cool thing in my opinion about this
down country bikes
is it's cross country performance
without cross country millisecond.
- So you do like it?
- Yeah, and it's time for race.
- [Neil] I'm only joking Henry, it's not always about racing
but the BC bike race is a place where
the down country bike is king.
Technical trails demand that people ride cross country
bikes with beefier tyres, wider bars, shorter stems,
because it's a super long race,
but it rides really technical trails.
For me the down country bike is a refined specialist tool,
great for the job.
But Henry isn't the trail bike just a jack of all trades,
master of none.
- Jack of all trades.
Come on Neil, not everyone has the opportunity
to have a different bike for every occasion.
What a view.
- Lovely, isn't it.
- Pretty sick.
So you spend a lot of time in your cross country bike.
- I do actually, yeah.
- Can you tell the differences between a cross country bike
and a down country bike?
How would you describe the difference?
- Yeah, I mean, I can but only in what I've done
to a cross country bike because this is my version
of a cross country bike
and I love it.
You know, gone are the days
when we have long stems and narrow bars.
And yes, you do compromise a little bit
on the most extreme of the climbs
but I don't mind that I'd rather have it.
You know, tacked on to the other end
of the slightly better the diner side of it, so love it.
- Yeah. - What about you,
can you tell the difference between a trail bike
and a cross country bike?
- I mean, I think you now, I spend a lot of time trail bikes
is the type of riding that I love.
I think a lot of trail bikes now nibbling at the ankles
of most enduro bikes.
I think certainly it's down country bike,
really, really does interest me.
- Yeah. - But I think the trail bike
is still so versatile and for UK riding.
I've been running pretty Niner 130 more
like this one every winter.
She's such a versatile bike.
- Yeah, and I wonder if down country label will stick,
- Time will tell.
- Thanks for watching.
Don't forget to check out our GMV on store for merchandise,
get yourself kitted up for summer winter, all year round.
- Nice one, thanks very much guys
and we'll see you next time.
- See yah.