What's a Slopestyle Bike?
For those who enjoy spending time defying the laws of gravity, Dirt Jump and Slopestyle are terms you’ve probably heard before but might not know exactly what the difference between them is. Below we explore the similarities and differences between the two types of bikes and help you choose the right one that matches your riding style.
Hardtail Dirt Jump Bike
Dirt Jump evolved from BMX bikes, in a sense that keeps the same amplitude on jumps but instead of concrete skate parks, Dirt Jump takes you into the bush, where jumps are masterminded, carved out and perfected by the riders who called that place Home. Dirt Jumping is all about style, tricks and flow. Dirt Jump bikes are usually as light as they can be, to keep speed constant and maximise air time. Front suspension is not set up as a normal mountain bike, it’s not there to soak up the small bumps on the trail, instead is set quite firm to give you some cushioning and control on those bigger jumps and sloppier landings. Single speed drivetrains are the norm with riders running high gearing to give that extra boost of speed with half a turn on the pedals. Brake setup varies massively from rider to rider, with some running front and rear brake, others running back brake only (most common), and daredevils running no brakes at all. Bar width sits around 760mm and saddle is as low as it goes.
Slopestyle Bike – Dual Suspension Dirt Jump Bike
Slopestyle bikes were designed to allow dirt jump riders to fly higher, hit rougher trails and give you extra stability when on air. Slopestyle is all about maximising air time whilst giving riders flexibility to pull the same tricks you would on a dirt jumper, with extra amplitude and wow effect. Slopestyle bikes are similar to dirt jump bikes, with the rear shock boosting 100mm of travel plus the option to run gears or single speed, depending on your riding style. The rear shock, similar to the front suspension is set quite firm, to prevent the rear end of the bike from diving in when you’re loading up for a jump but soft enough to absorb big impacts on landings. Gears on a Slopestyle is a very debated topic, with some riders appreciating the flexibility gears give them, either it be because they want to adapt the bike’s speed to a different line or because they ride different parks and dirt jumps, which require faster or lower attack speeds. Another great Slopestyle bike feature is the added weight the bike gains from sporting a rear suspension system, with jumps getting bigger and bigger, riders spend more time “flying” than ever before. A heavier bike gives you better stability especially when you hit those bigger jumps. That extra kilo is concentrated near the bottom bracket and just condenses all that extra weight lower on the bike, bringing the centre of gravity closer to the bottom bracket where your pedals are, enhancing cornering and pre-loading for jumps.
Why do I need a Slopestyle bike? If you’re hitting bigger and bigger jumps, a Slopestyle bike will help you getting even bigger air with the added reassurance the landing won’t hurt you as much.
Do I need to start with a Dirt Jump bike or can I get a Slopestyle bike as my first dirt jumper? If you’re starting dirt jumping now, a Slopestyle bike might be a little bit overkill but it will save your skin if you mess up a jump or landing.
Can I use a Slopestyle bike as a normal mountain bike? The riding position on a Slopestyle is standing up with most of the torso over the handlebars. The Polygon Trid ZZ drivetrain allows you to take the bike for a few spins around the local mountain bike trails, ride to school or even hit the skate park, however this is not a normal mountain bike where you can sit on the saddle and pedal like a normal bike.
Dirt Jumper Vs. Slopestyle? Take the dirt jumper if you are starting out and want to learn the ropes before committing to big jumps and big air time. Take the Slopestyle if you want to up your game, extend your air time and improve stability mid air.
A slopestyle is an awesome addition to your arsenal of aerial attack bikes. The dual suspension helps heaps with pre-loading for a jump, giving it more pop. Landing from a jump is also much more comfortable and the bike will cope better with your mistakes. By introducing gears to the Trid ZZ, this is now a bike that you can cruise/trick around town and cycle to the skate park or local jumps with, giving you more freedom than a hardtail would.