Is there a real upgrade path from the current "top end" bikes?

NUTTTR

Likes Dirt
Some of the top end frames, I.e. Spec Enduro (heck, maybe even stumpjumper), Yeti 5/6c, Ibis HD3/Mojo3, etc are all impressive frames, they all have their own characteristics, but overall no one is necessarily better than the other, they all do what they were designed to do very well.

Question is, for top end frames like that, is there a real upgrade path? Is something amazing going to come out? Is there anything other than minor evolution from now on?

Likewise for most of shimanos XT range, its all excellent gear, reasonably priced and durable, you gain very little (other than a lighter wallet) by upgrading it. Another example might be the current Pikes and/or Fox 36's. They are more fork than most need and there's not really an upgrade path which doesn't make your wallet a LOT lighter.

Thoughts?
 

Paulie_AU

Likes Dirt
I am finding the latest xt a downgrade from old X9 (my wife particularly hates hers). The upgrade path for both of the XT 11 speed bikes in my house will be sram.

Good forks keep being good forks with maintenance. I still rate my 2009 Reba Teams as nice forks when the pressures are right.

Frames are frames. If the geometery isnt rooted they ride well. I would suggest the upgrade path for a nice dualie would be better rear shock.
 

shiny

Likes Dirt
It just becomes upgrades for upgrades sake. I actually prefer the feel and shifting of my old 10 speed set up vs the 11 speed but I do like having a touch more range.

Changing the suspension (front and rear) made a big difference, but my frame is 2012 so things have changed a bit 34mm or larger forks and better rear shocks.

The choice of tyres and compounds is also mind melting and changing these can change the way a bike feels or rides as well.

As you said it has become more evolution rather than revolution.
 

MrZ32

Likes Dirt
i think the biggest upgrades in the future will be adaptive electronic suspension.. something like what lappiere has produced in the past but a lot more refined. We might get lucky and score a version of e-tapp that sram has (wireless shifting.. no cables or wires).. other than that.. I dont think things are going to get that much better.. 29ers may become the norm once the geometry makes them as maneuverable as 650b.

XC might end up with 36" wheels? But i dont think that suspension platforms will change too much more.. although I think that reach lengths and chainstay lengths may become more moderate again as riding with the extreme numbers works well when ridden aggressively but it is hard to do for long periods of time.

agreed, not impressed with xt 10 or 11 spd... shift quality peaked with the old sram 9spd xo gear... but the clutched derailleur has changed the game for chain retention.
 

mooboyj

Likes Dirt
Still rolling on an old 2005 Heckler. It has modern shifting, brakes and suspension, but the biggest "upgrade" I found was tuning the suspension and decent tyres. I could have bought a new big full of depreciated/ing standards, or tuned my existing one. The minister for war and peace made that decision for me :D
 

The Reverend

Likes Bikes and Dirt
I guess once one gets to an über bike it just comes down to personal preference.
Is the best bike the, 429 Trail / Recluse / Hightower / SB 5.5 pick current wonder bike.... the list goes on.

We all get tired of that specific version of perfection and keep wanting something a little different.
Most of the time I doubt it's worth the extra coin.
As I'm often reminded, new isn't necessarily better.

My XT M8000 brakes are nowhere near as good as the M785 they replaced.
That said, it's only one example. There's bound to be some stuff that's amazing. Carbon wheels are...
 

NUTTTR

Likes Dirt
Wireless electronic shifters could be cool, no wires! But still, my wires give me very little hassle...

As mentioned above I think it is definitely evolution and the upgrade path has become disproportionately expensive... To upgrade, say, my Ibis HD3, I might get, what 2.5k-3k for the frame second hand then I'd need another 2-2.5k for another equivalent frame that has a better [insert sound logic here]... Maybe it's a combo of costs going up with more expensive materials plus evolutionary changes meaning it feels less like a good idea nowadays?
 

Mr Crudley

Eats Squid
Still rolling on an old 2005 Heckler. It has modern shifting, brakes and suspension, but the biggest "upgrade" I found was tuning the suspension and decent tyres.
Phwoar, yours is new :mmph:

I have an 02 Heckler which is utterly antique these days. I still like it and just keep riding it and it keeps going. It was a good design to start and new gen rear shocks seem to have smoothed it out a bit more. It feels very Vanilla coil like using the RP23 boostvalve on it now. I throw it out there that modern shock tech probably has a bigger influence on how the rear travel feels over the type of linkage in use. It all comes out in the wash. More travel definitely feels more surefooted though.

I have upgraded bits and pieces and agree fully with getting the suspension just right and chaining the fork/shock oil and seals regularly covers most of it. Write down you old settings before you mess around with it and make it worse. I put some sharp new tyres on it recently and and it does make a big difference which is easy to forget about as they get older and blunter.

I could have bought a new big full of depreciated/ing standards, or tuned my existing one. The minister for war and peace made that decision for me :D
I have the funds to upgrade if needed but tossing out my ye olde which if probably 75% the way there of a shiny new doesn't sell me yet. I still manage to keep up with newer bikes - forgetting 29" CF hardtail whippets :smow:

Most advances are incremental now. I still have 3x9 and it doesn't sound like they have found the gearing sweet spot that gives a stupid low granny without a front derailleur yet. I shouldn't really comment since I don't have a 1x11 yet but I won't lose a lot staying where it is now and hills aren't getting less steeper and my knees aren't newer either.

I've had a brief blat on a v1 Bronson and it is hell of capable bike. The laid back angles compared to upright ye olde is the biggest noticeable difference to me after all the gee whiz of more travel is done. The overall weights aren't a light as I'd hoped with the CF newer bikes. I guess no dropper post would shave a bit of weight since buggered if I can think of place that I've really needed one in the past.
 

Mr Crudley

Eats Squid
Wireless electronic shifters could be cool, no wires! But still, my wires give me very little hassle...
1337 h4x0r's will sit in the bushes and mess up your WiFi / Bluetooth shifting :third: It sounds like something that could be interesting but let them perfect it first. When we have Deore wireless then they have it nailed.

Maybe it's a combo of costs going up with more expensive materials plus evolutionary changes meaning it feels less like a good idea nowadays?
True, is the bang for buck incremental upgrade worth it and are you happy with the end result for said slab of bleeding edge spendage? Smaller advances make it less attractive to throw $$ at it IMHO. Changes from rim to disc brakes is still the biggest one in recent history for me. Most other stuff is a slower tweak, good and all but less compelling and the story is still slowly unfolding.
 

Lazmo

Old and hopeless
Cracked record here...

when they sort the bottom bracket mounted gearbox... mountain bikes will rise up from the derailleur dark age.
 

schred

Likes Bikes and Dirt
Probably, I often wonder if we are in control of that path or is the intent of the people designing it for us 'good'? Dunno. Then I wonder what's the % of people who actually need the upgrade vs. aspirational rider, pointless questions but I'm guessing pretty low. E.g. Maybe BNG (bold new graphics) would do for 75% of people or an equivalent easy sell on the benefits of the new model, until the industry decides what new direction to take us on if not already decided.

What does the future actually hold? Dunno, consulting my crystal glass (of rum) maybe better execution and integration of new technologies (electric or electronic) that make old things old e.g. integrated smart parts (dropper, susp, brakes, gears & drive systems, display units, comms, steering/wheel systems, telemetry & other data gathering for big bro, whatever)
New electronic parts that are not user serviceable or compatible with existing things
Parts installed as integrated systems that aren't user serviceable making bikes economic writeoffs & upgrade, vs repair
Prob more likely, just more standards that aren't standards making old things perceptually less valuable and typical new uber-efficient designs, gimmicks and special coated parts that make old designs/parts bad
All changes made incrementally to lineups to be drawn out and have maximum duration of upgraditus effect, like 5-10yrs when next cycle is due.
Don't discount nanny state crack down on safety and availability of trail types that may dictate what bike you want to ride for the ultraflow
Uber-mtb will disrupt the e-bike market by shifting ebike riders onto riderless fatbike tandems to enjoy the view with even more convenience and less effort.
 

Nambra

Postmeridian
I'm going to suggest that "top end" bikes by definition are going to have high-spec kit on them, and that at the premium end of the market performance is more important than price. Low and mid range bikes are built to a price point and there are all sorts of upgrade options, although you'll spend less overall by opting for a higher spec bike in the first place instead of buying aftermarket upgrades.

Do folk here agree that the frame, geometry and suspension design are pretty much dialled now, or are there still major improvements yet to appear? I look at the Focus FOLD linkage system and Trek ABP and correct me if I'm wrong, but they're both fundamentally single pivot setups. Seems that there are still two schools of thought in rear suspension design, and both are probably legitimate.
 

pink poodle

Clinically Inane
Some of the top end frames, I.e. Spec Enduro (heck, maybe even stumpjumper), Yeti 5/6c, Ibis HD3/Mojo3, etc are all impressive frames, they all have their own characteristics, but overall no one is necessarily better than the other, they all do what they were designed to do very well.

Question is, for top end frames like that, is there a real upgrade path? Is something amazing going to come out? Is there anything other than minor evolution from now on?

Likewise for most of shimanos XT range, its all excellent gear, reasonably priced and durable, you gain very little (other than a lighter wallet) by upgrading it. Another example might be the current Pikes and/or Fox 36's. They are more fork than most need and there's not really an upgrade path which doesn't make your wallet a LOT lighter.

Thoughts?
I use wait patiently for the corporations to tell you what is better...

- Aluminium frames
- Suspension forks
- Hydraulic brakes
- 26...no wait! 29 errrrr 27.5...Ummm?

When you have a team of people dedicated to making existing tech obsolete, they will find a way. Whether it is true or not.
 

rowdyflat

chez le médecin
I have to agree with just about everything said.The bike industry truly is capitalism at work.
Broken record but I still ride a 2004 Spec Enduro and other old frames 2012 Santa cruz etc , enjoy 3x9, dont like new standards and happy with straight fork steerers.
Best improvements would have to be hydraulic disc brakes, tubeless tyres, air shock suspension and less weight.
 

Daniel Hale

Likes Dirt
Cracked record here...

when they sort the bottom bracket mounted gearbox... mountain bikes will rise up from the derailleur dark age.
yes pls, [can I get fries with that?]

we should all be on SS setups then , exciting-then again sram will be producing a 15spd cassette capable of 800% range by then costing $2k called peregrine, can't wait
 

Mr Crudley

Eats Squid
Cracked record here...

when they sort the bottom bracket mounted gearbox... mountain bikes will rise up from the derailleur dark age.
I eagerly await one of these too. I'm spend well for one of those but won't buy v1.0 though. I know better :)
 

Mr Crudley

Eats Squid
Don't discount nanny state crack down on safety and availability of trail types that may dictate what bike you want to ride for the ultraflow Uber-mtb will disrupt the e-bike market by shifting ebike riders onto riderless fatbike tandems to enjoy the view with even more convenience and less effort.
Yes, nanny state brakes that work automatically if you go too fast to exceed a hill gradient. A holographic image on the current PM appears projected from the lens embedded in the stem cap and shakes a finger at you with 'Oh no, uh uh......... we are stopping this fun time now'.

Maybe automatic tyre deflators that kick in as soon are the integrated GPS detects that you have passed into a naughtily zoned crown land type areas.

I could get a big kick out of e-bike hacks that disable the battery assistance mid way up a hill and put it into on gear higher that the rider feels comfortable before having no choice but crank it big time to get to the top and busting a gut in the process. Then smart arse bike automatically takes selfie while all red faced and posts in on the riders Facebook and *.* bicycles sites :mmph:
 
Top