DH Bike Vs Cross Country Mountain Bike – What Are The Differences?

DH Bike Vs Cross Country Mountain Bike – What Are The Differences?

– Bikes are almost at
each end of the scale when it comes to mountain bikes. – Yeah, I’ve got my
downhill bike right here, which is built for all out
speed, aggressive riding, and hitting big jumps and gaps. – Whilst this cross-country
bike has to go up, down, cover ground as fast as possible. So, let’s take a look at them and see what makes them so good for their respective disciplines. (electronic music) So, let’s start off with
the geometry of these bikes. This is a Scott Spark 700. It’s got a 67 degree head angle and a 325 millimetre
bottom bracket height. So, the relatively steep head angle makes it really nice and
agile on the slower tracks. Very nimble bike, not
so good at high speeds. And the relatively high
bottom bracket means you’ve got the clearance to
pedal over all sorts of terrain. – Okay, so on this Scott
Gambler I’ve got a 63 degree head angle, a lot slacker
than the cross-country bike. And the bottom bracket with
that is 343 millimetres. Yes, you’re right, you’re
thinking that is higher than the cross-country bike. However, when I actually sit on the bike, ’cause I’m running 30%
sag, sometimes even more depending on the tracks, as these things sat a bit further into the travel, flattening the bike and
lowering the bottom bracket. Now this bike is not necessarily designed for the slow speed compared
to the cross-country. It’s designed to go really fast and that’s why the
geometry is so different. You’ve got that bottom bracket
that is absolutely lower than the cross-country
bike, the head angle, and then the longer wheel base makes it so stable at those high speeds. – My cross-country bike is 120
mills travel front and rear. A lot of cross-country
bikes are actually hardtail, so just suspension on the front. It’s air sprung, which
you’ll find on all the mids and high level cross-country bikes, and they also have a remote lockout on the handlebars to
firm up the suspension to make it more efficient for climbing. – The Gambler’s suspension
is quite different to Neil’s cross-country bike. On the rear, I’ve got 210
millimetres of travel. On the front, I’ve got 200 millimetres. What is similar about them both is the fact that my fork
and the shock are air. Now, not all downhill
bikes have air suspension, but on this one it is, and
what that actually allows me to do is put some volume
spacers in the shock, which increases the bike’s progressivity. What I mean by that is the
further I go through the travel, the more force is going to be required to actually get through that suspension. Other things about this
shock is the fact that I have high and low speed compression adjustment, and also rebound adjustment. The fork has also similarly got
that compression adjustment, just so you can really
control the suspension and get dialled in for
those big hard hits. – So to the controls, I’ve
got 740 mill wide bars and a 60 mill stem on this bike. That’s a relatively long stem. It just helps keep that
weight on that front wheel, which is essential for climbing. The seat post, I’ve actually got a Crankbrothers drop
seat post on this bike. An awful lot of cross-country bikes, you’ll see that old style fixed seat post, more likely to be carbon
than anything else. But actually, even at
the very highest end, the cross-country World Cup racing, we are starting to see more
people run drop seat posts. – I’ve already talked a
lot about the suspension, but what I haven’t mentioned is the fact that these stanchions are 40 millimetres, and then it’s a dual
crown fork, so one, two, and then attached to that is this stem, which is totally different
to the cross-country bike. In a sense, it is attached
onto the actual fork itself, and it’s only 50 millimetres in length. I have actually got the option on this one to change it to 45 millimetres, to make it even shorter
for those snappier tracks. Then we talk about the handlebars. These are 800 millimetres in width, and they’ve got a 25 millimetre rise. Take a look at that seat. Well, it’s fixed. There’s no need for a dropper here. There’s only one thing aimed
at this bike has to do, and that’s to go downhill. Then the seat, well,
it’s at a slight angle so you can get your
weight right over the back for those steeper sections of trail. – So to the wheels. Cross-country tends to
stick to the larger wheels, so 27.5 or 29, this bike is actually 27.5. It’s got lightweight
wheels, really thin rims, so actually, again, to
keep the weight down. Got these really fast
rolling lightweight tyres and the brakes have 180 mill discs. – On to the downhill bike then,
and the biggest differences have got to be in the tyres,
so let’s take a look at them. Look at those side knobs,
just how aggressive they are, really designed to dig in and give you as much corner grip as possible. Then the brake ganches,
well, they are just going to slow you down and they’re
so much more aggressive than what the cross-country
bike is running. Of course, you can change these
to different conditions too. You can get a muddier
tyre on with bigger knobs just to dig in even more. The wheel sizes, well,
they tend to be 26 inch or 27 and a half, not
really into the 29 any soon, but maybe something that
we’ll see in the future. You’ve got big wide rims on there to give a massive tyre volume, and
then a disc rotor size. They’re 200 millimetres, a lot bigger than the cross-country bike,
and they’re a four part brake. – So now it’s the drivetrain,
and this is one of the relatively new school cross-country bikes with this one way system,
one chain ring up front because there’s no shifter and
that’s a 34 tooth chain ring. That’s paired to this absolutely massive 10-50 1×12 cassette, so it
gives me that huge range of gears, from down in the
bottom in those faster sections and that 50 tooth house can grind up even the steepest of hills. Pedals-wise, at the highest
level, racing cross-country, everyone uses clipless pedals. – So the clue is really in the name. This is a downhill bike. It is not designed to be ridden uphill and the drivetrains are so different, comparing it to Neil’s
dinner plate of a cassette, this thing is tiny. It goes from 11 tooth
all the way to 25 tooth. Then the mech, it’s a lot shorter as well. It’s got a really small
cage so if you’re riding through rock gardens, you’re
not going to be worried about catching on a rock, ripping it off, or even damaging the derailleur. Then I’ve got a 36 tooth
chain ring up front. The crank length is a little bit shorter and then I’ve got a chain device too, and a bash foot underneath,
just to prevent any damage happening when you do hit a rock or come up short on a
jump onto the chain ring. Of course, I’ve got a set
of flat pedals on this bike. You see a lot of the World Cup pro racers using clip pedals, but for me, they’re just a little bit funner. Last year, there was
actually only one rider on flat pedals in the top 10 overall. Leave us a comment down below
if you can guess who it is. – So that is cross-country
bike versus downhill bike, but there could only be one winner. – I think that means that
we should have a vote for the viewers, so if
you click right up there, you can pick which one
you think is better. Is it going to be the
downhill bike or well, it’s only going to be the downhill bike. – Actually, there doesn’t
have to be one winner, they’re both great bikes. If you click over here, that means you’ll subscribe to JNBO. – If you click right here,
you actually get to see this bike being ridden through the rocks, with some top tips from Neko Mulally. – A click over here for how
to train for cross-country.

Only registered users can comment.


  2. You could do a test with a pilot with a camel pack and another with a 750ml 2 bottle to see which one leaves the biker slower. Weight on back or frame.

  3. This Spark is bluring the lines between XC and Trail. Definitely not a true pedigree XC bike, but what ever… the bike industry is changing so fast i guess we'll just believe what the manufactures want us to think – great alround bike all the same

  4. why does no one slam there seat on downhill bikes?? wouldn't you want to get it completely out of the way?

  5. Been looking to invest in a new bike and this video surely cleared up some questions about the type of discipline to choose. Thanks guys!

  6. Get a ALLMOUNTAIN hardtail that can take a 160mm fork up front! Pair it with a saint groupset and pike your bike will feel awesome

  7. Honest opinions on the x2? thinking of swapping my dhx4 for one, mainly because of the tune ability of an air spring.

  8. 67 degree xc vs 63 degree DH head angles……….does 4 degrees steeper really make a noticeable difference?

  9. Why is it that they only use clipless for XC in the States? Here in the Netherlands it's like 95% clips. It feels much saver and it's easier to climb, because you can also pull.

  10. I have both. I have to brake for roots with the Mondraker Foxy (Fox DPS 200×57+X-fusion Slant RL2). With the Mondraker Summum (Fox DHX RC4 w/ SLS+Manitou Dorado Expert) I can just close my eyes and trust in the bike to take me there.

  11. I don't have enough money for downhill, so I'm forced to buy xc bikes… but when I can I go to bike park and rent a DH bike…
    I'm in love with DH

  12. DH bikes are serious waste of money period .. you can easy get as much fun from a normal fucking bike that resorting to spending silly money on a dh bike .

    Also the video just showed 2 people talking shite as usual

  13. I want a dh bike but we don’t have any mountains just hills and creek bottoms that has 4 to 17 foot cliffs on the sides. everyone I see here has cross country all the way to enduro bikes, I’ve been to most of my local shops and nun of them have the dh bikes. Is this a good place to ride a dh bike?

  14. at the beginig of this vid scott sounded like the nurse in peppa pig (I have a baby sister so that's why I know that)

  15. I realize Scott's bike is designed for heavy abuse on the downhill, but Jesus….that rear cantilever suspension looks like an unnecessarily complicated fustercluck! That's got to be an extra 2-3 lbs of weight.

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