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Downhill Bikes

If you are looking to start this sport we are not going to lie, it is not the cheapest sport you could take up, but it is possibly the most fun! If you are already a keen cycling you will know that bikes and equipment do not come cheap. Here we will aim to give you some good tips on how to get everything you need as cheaply as possible.

What is the difference between a normal mountain bike and a Downhill mountain bike?

There are many differences. Firstly the suspension travel is a lot greater than say a cross country bike. Most Downhill bikes will have between 7-10 inches of front and rear suspension travel.

The whole bike has to be made to take more stress so this means they are usually quite heavy. The use of lightweight materials such as carbon fibre and some clever engineering techniques are bringing the weight down but this is expensive.

Another difference is the geometry. This is a lot slacker on a downhill bike. This means the head angle is a lot lower. As world cup tracks get faster and faster these head angles are getting slacker and slacker. Some frames are being built with figures as low as 62 degrees. A cross country bike will have a head angle of about 70 degrees. Most current Downhill bikes will have a head angle of about 64-65 degrees. This makes the steering less responsive but helps compensate for the bike pointing downhill, most the time, and gives the bike a much more stable feel, inspiring confidence on the bike.

Next is the gearing. Most will have 9 or 10 gears with just a single chainring on the front. This is because these bike are only designed to go down. Do not buy a downhill mountain bike expecting to pedal it everywhere. As mentioned they are heavy, do not have gears designed to pedal up hills, are horrible to sit on due to the geometry and bounce up and down as you pedal due to the amount of suspension travel.

 

So, how much do these bikes cost? Most Downhill bikes start at about £3000-4000. This can then go up to nearly £10,000 for a World Cup carbon fibre bike!! However, there are some alternatives. There are a couple of “straight to manufacturer” brands that are appearing on the market. This cuts out the middleman so reduces the cost dramatically. The disadvantage of this is that if you have any problems with the bike, it will have to be sent back to the manufacturer. In both the cases below, that is Germany.

 

Firstly a company called Canyon Bikes. They can supply you with a Downhill bike for as little as £1600. It is difficult to work out how they can sell these at this price, but they do.

Torque-FRX-2012

 

The second is YT Industries. They can supply one from around the 2000 Euro mark. Again, looking at the spec of these bikes it is hard to see how they can sell these for this price.

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We have not ridden these bikes so this is in no way a review but if you look around, there are good reviews on these bikes, especially for the price.

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