I was leading this group ride, surrounded by all kinds of bikes, and a lot of them were 6"+ travel 26ers with big, heavy tires. Now, where I live and ride it is the land of long, smooth climbs and fast long downhills. Sure, the doubletracks can get pretty rough and all, but you have to go out of your way to look for something that deserves more than a lightweight 4" 29er or 5" 26er.
So I was riding alongside these guys in this steepish fireroad climb as they talked. One guy, small but very fit, was riding a pretty burly Bionicon. The other guy asked how much his bike weighed...38 lbs. 38 lbs!!! That was over 10 pounds heavier than the SS 29er I was riding. He said he drops it to 35 lbs when he has his XC wheels on there for, well, ya know, races and stuff.
Later we were regrouping at the top of the hill (one of many that day) and I was talking to a guy on a pretty stout looking bike, at least 6" of travel. It weighed about the same as the other bike, so I asked him where he rides that calls for that kind of armament. He just kinda looked around and gestured to say, pretty much everywhere. Well, why would you do that on such a heavy bike? This thing must have had 10 extra lbs in wheel weight on it.
He said that he found that he did not climb any slower on the bigger hit bike...he was a sorta stocky sit and spin guy, no greyhound here...and so he figured this bike was more fun the rest of the time. In his words, "Point and shoot" I get that...I really do understand that line of thinking. I would not do it that way, but I can see why he would.
However, I do wonder how many guys have bought into the bigger is better mantra, are killin' them selves in the hill climbs and are making up for a lack of skills on the downhills by masking it with the pedaling version of an RM-125 (or whatever moto you prefer) and they would be better off with less.
No doubt that many of them are able to do things in a hucking frame of reference that I can only dream of, but the way many of them talk, they seem to be convinced that they NEED that big a bike, almost like they would be under equipped on less for the typical So Cal conditions. In fact, for many it was their first FS bike, so they have little understanding of the bigger picture.
I suggest the MTB version of an herbal enema...put 'em on a rigid SS 29er for a while. At first it would suck. Later it would still suck, but it would clear out the constipation that is keeping them tied to that fully suspended crutch they are riding. Then, when they have realized that you can do a lot with less, they can go back to the other bike with perspective. Yep, I think that is what this doctor prescribes.
I will even let them wear those cute little knee and elbow pads during the treatment.