Re your last paragraph - it all depends. Some 120-140mm trail bikes are not super slack at all. It depends on the manufacturer. The 120mm bikes discussed here are far from slack. That said, for Vrystaat gravel, you probably wont even need 120mm.
Being anti dropper post is very mainstream SA, investing in skills, i.e paying for coaching is not. Dropper posts are a legit way to buy skills and make things easier, just like 29er wheels and light weight carbon bikes.
Just watched a video of it and it's hard to tell exactly what happened. It looks to me that he would have overshot the ramp whether it had been there or not and landed very front heavy leading to the crash. He may of course have tried to correct when he saw it wasn't there and overshot as a result. You can see the rider after him doing it right and landing ever so back wheel first. Quite a gnarly drop for an XC bike to handle multiple times in a race. I wonder if any broke? Pity we were robbed of a Pidcock/ MVDP contest.
Expect to **** off badly compared to road riding. No matter which bike you buy its much harder on your body and there are fewer opportunities to rest.
The advice re 120mm travel, slacker HTA's and dropper posts is sound. Right now Van der Poel is lying in hospital wishing he hadn't been riding the steepest HTA marathon bike currently out there without a dropper post, nogal. You can take a horse to water...
Its funny you like that stuff, I have never had luck with it and I think it leaves a residue? I like the Stans and generic versions of that plastic tape. Bomb proof and easy to remove if it needs to be replaced.
That line looked more dangerous than Rampage and Hardline to me. You can't see how much of a build was done on it but it looked pretty raw , as if he was riding it as is. No foam pads like they have in Hardline where there is a high risk drop off next to the trail. In Rampage, they spend hours making their lines at least ridable to some extent. This felt to me like he was taking things a bit beyond what was sensible even for someone as brave and skilled as him.
Is the Trek Roscoe available at all? Its a trail HT so would probably be more fun and secure to ride if you're a beginner rider. They come with dropper posts if I recall...
edit- i see they have the Roscoe 7 in XXL for R22k...
Look up "Trail Addiction" - they are getting going again after some issues with the French authorities and offer enduro style riding using chairlifts in the French Alps - Savoie region. Depends on what you're after but these guys do seem to know all the secret trails in that area...
Sizing changes every year. Its pretty worthless knowing what size bikes people here ride. many will be on older frames that are smaller or riding the wrong size. You need to be able to get the most out of the sizes you have so opting for the bigger end of the spectrum is a good idea. For instance, my wife who is 1.75m can ride my XL frame, whereas I would battle to ride her smallish medium frame.
The strongest rims I own are old 26" flows made from 6069 alloy. I believe the newer Stans rims and DT are also 6069 which is a harder alloy than a lower number like 6061. WTB are a bit weak IMO - I have some cheap ones on my Enduro and the rear is going square quite quickly. In a perfect world I'd have a EX471 DT wheelset and maybe 2 spare rims for just in case.
You may be right. I have a Rapide boost on my enduro and a Funn on my HT. Both seem to be lasting really well, and if you go Rapide, there are spares and different freehubs available at reasonable prices.
Precisely. Spesh has ditched the fsr pivot in favour of flex stays, Giant has ditched maestro and SC have dropped the VPP on their XC bikes. Brain adds complexity, weight and extra service costs. Spesh is just working on the marketing spin to justify dropping it. That takes time. 😀
Try your local bike shop, you may be lucky with a Shimano cassette. I have just put an 11-42 Shimano on my 10s hardtail. The cassette has an alloy 42 cog but is otherwise all steel. It weights 30g or less more than the Sunrace it replaced. The construction is different to for example an older XT cassette i.e more of a 1 piece so should not damage an alloy freewheel as much as their older stuff. The shifting on this cassette is amazing.
Count me out on the masochism but yes, people here have a very skewed idea what a mountain bike is. Over the pond, Ibis have just started making a USA built XC bike. The article raised the question whether they should be putting so much effort into a niche type of bike. Our mainstream bikes are niche almost everywhere else in the world.
BTW I regularly ride 30-50k rides on a 170/180 enduro bike. Its worth it for the fun on the downs.
Because Morewoord's statement, if he made it is nonsense. its not one or the other. Some marathon riders refuse to run dropper posts because their second bottle is on the seat post. You can have proper suspension, a dropper post and two bottle cages if you want it. But then you have to drop brand fascination and not believe marketing hype.