Hard Tail vs. Full-Spension

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May 7, 2009
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I can't comment too much on SRAM, but I did ride it for a little while before the bike I had was disposed of (long story). I remember the rear derailleur had an issue where it would lock-up due to the angle of pull being not offset enough to the parallel swing arms, or something to that effect. Also, I prefer the Shimano trigger shifter options to the SRAM shifting.

The FS MTB is full XTR and I have no complaints.

Yes, the hydraulic disks are a huge improvement. Another thing that makes your hands even happier is Ergon grips. Between those grips and the disk brakes, my hands do not suffer like they do on the hardtail. Obviously, the suspension also helps.

A few other things: as some have posted, Camlebacks are pretty popular. I don’t use them (for cycling) but I can see why so many do. I prefer waterbottles since I don’t like having anything flopping around on my back.

The stress of road riding with cars can be replaced by the stress of trail riding with: other bikers, angry hikers, equestrians, etc.. but it doesn’t have to be that way. From what I have seen, doing MTB riding in a group of over maybe 3 or so leads to a situation where it might annoy other trail users for obvious reasons.

I have been following your saga somewhat here and only know bits and pieces based on reading several posts. I can’t begin to imagine what it must be like to be involved in something like this. I can only guess that what you may be doing to “help the situation” may come into play when the decision makers make their decisions…
 
May 21, 2010
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Still on a loaner Joe or parted with $$?
Cant speak with up to date experience personnaly as am a lil chubby too be MTB'n round my way but....
know lots who do and most people riding mixed terrain ie in the "should I buy a short travel full bouncer" camp, are buying long travel hardtails instead and loving them.

O yes camelback essential
 
User Guide said:
Still on a loaner Joe or parted with $$?
Cant speak with up to date experience personnaly as am a lil chubby too be MTB'n round my way but....
know lots who do and most people riding mixed terrain ie in the "should I buy a short travel full bouncer" camp, are buying long travel hardtails instead and loving them.

O yes camelback essential
I'm kinda mad at myself for under-appreciating the summer weather as it relates to mtb'ing... While I treated every ride as a unique and special opportunity that I might not get to experience again for 10-fcking-years, I wish I'd done more MTB'ing in June/July/August. When I finally went back to the woods in late-Aug., I was floored by how dry the trails were and how fast I could go on them, and yet how comfortable it all was on a FS bike. Now it's obviously getting cooler and there is more rain and less sun, which translates to more mud and less fun. Still better than sitting in an oversize-cage, but not as sweet as choking on dust from a dry trail.

Funny thing - I hopped on my road bike on Tuesday after at least 10 days exclusively mtb'ing and for a second thought I'd been speared by the saddle, it was so not plush. lol. Add being stretched out like a proper roadie and I feel suddenly quite old and worn-out. lol
 
Mar 13, 2009
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Deagol said:
I...as some have posted, Camlebacks are pretty popular. I don’t use them (for cycling) but I can see why so many do. I prefer waterbottles since I don’t like having anything flopping around on my back. …
If one is going to be doing any serious MTB riding then a camelbak is essential, IMO.

Not aware of what kind of trails you are riding, but there are very few opportunities to ride one handed long enough to drink from a bottle where I ride.
 
May 7, 2009
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Black-Balled said:
If one is going to be doing any serious MTB riding then a camelbak is essential, IMO.

Not aware of what kind of trails you are riding, but there are very few opportunities to ride one handed long enough to drink from a bottle where I ride.
I ride all over Colorado and Utah when I get a chance. I never had a problem with waterbottles, it's just timing when you drink, especially during a race.

Not really a big thing.
To each their own...
 
Sep 16, 2011
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So I rode a 29er full suspension all summer. It's a great bike (Giant Anthem X 29er) and I really have no complaints. But the other day, I did take a friend's 26 in hardtail out for a spin...man that bike is fun. Same sensation as driving a Mini Cooper. Sigh...I don't need another bike. :confused:
 
Parera said:
So I rode a 29er full suspension all summer. It's a great bike (Giant Anthem X 29er) and I really have no complaints. But the other day, I did take a friend's 26 in hardtail out for a spin...man that bike is fun. Same sensation as driving a Mini Cooper. Sigh...I don't need another bike. :confused:
No one ever needs another bike. But we can almost all enjoy the prospects of adding another machine to the stable. Good luck on making a decision (assuming $ isn't the issue?).

How tall are you? I steered well-clear of the 29ers b/c I look like I'm riding a clown bike (and I'm the midget clown) when I'm pedaling b/w a pair of 29's.
 
User Guide said:
Still on a loaner Joe or parted with $$?
Cant speak with up to date experience personnaly as am a lil chubby too be MTB'n round my way but....
know lots who do and most people riding mixed terrain ie in the "should I buy a short travel full bouncer" camp, are buying long travel hardtails instead and loving them.

O yes camelback essential
Too chubby to ride up hills? Get on the vegan high carb, low fat programme and go ride up bergs and you will be shredded like you thought couldnt be.

You can buy up grades.
or you can ride up grades.
One is free. One works the best.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Here on the wet coast the rides are technical steep and rocky. 29ers are leading the trail.
26 in FS or 29 hard tail are the more common but the really skilled riders are using rigid 29ers and to great effect.
The group I ride with ranges from Max Plaxton on rare occasion to a lot of guys that were cat 1 roadies. Trek, Specialized Rocky mountain, Santa Cruz and Niners dominate the frames of choice. Funny I said I ride with. Actually I show up for the MTB ride on my road bike just so I can ride with them to the trail head and off on my own. I am by far the weakest climber.
A lot of the guys on hard tails went from FS 26ers. My buddy who is now 60 and can still keep up with the fast guys, raves about his Carbon Niner hard tail as the best mtb he has owned and he has owned a lot.
I have an almost new condition 26" Fuji dual suspension that I bought from a pro that I wish I waited another 6 months and I am sure I would have gone 29er. The Fuji was a huge improvement over the Hei Hei but the niners roll so sweet and just carry their momentum well. If I could sell mine I'c change today.
I am sure that there are really great places to use a FS but around here it seems like a little more than the XC oriented guys prefer. By XC I still need to point out that some guys have trials skills but the regular thursday group meet in town and transit to the trails so road efficiency is important too. These guys can really explore the limits of 1.8 and 2.0 tires with most of the tread worn off. most use 2.2 but there are still a few guys that prefer narrow high pressure over wider and low pressure that the majority roll. I guess since they both regularly finish at the front that debate will rage for a while longer.
I have never ridden east coast but if I remember my geography lessons and from camping in eastern Canadian mountains that if they ride hard tail 29ers here then they are good for there. Adjust for your reality.
 
May 7, 2009
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I've been riding hardtails continuously from when I started MTBing in 1989 to the present. I got a full suspension 26 also after doing a race of about 25 miles where I got beat up pretty badly towards the end by the rocky course. I started the race out physically stronger than a good portion of the pack, but was wasted near the end due to the constant hammering. I saw a good handful of riders on FS just cruise by me down the bumpy downhill near the end that I didn’t have the energy to ride effectively after the distance we had already gone. That was an enlightening moment and I decided to go FS. This was maybe 6 years ago? I still ride both bikes, depending on the terrain and both bikes have their place. To make a blanket statement about FS not being “needed” for XC does not acknowledge the very real difference in trail conditions. This is all with the caveat that you don’t have a 29er, which admittedly may accomplish the same thing as a FS 26er. I can agree with those who wish they had been able to wait a few years to decide between HT 29 and FS 26. It would be nice to give both bikes a try on very rough XC terrain to see what works better for them. Now, of course you have FS 29ers, which seem to be so much easier, that it tilts the odds in your favor significantly over HT 26.
 
Well, I'm still glad I got the FS bike and not a hardtail, but I desperately wish I'd gone w/ a 29er and not stupid 26-inch wheels. Gah. I hate riding w/ guys on 29ers now lol - they eat logs for breakfast, lunch and dinner that I feel like I have to be an acrobat to get over.

oh well - all-carbon FS still beats steel hardtail from 1993 any day of week ;)
 
Mar 10, 2009
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My current 29er FS is lighter than my last titanium HT. I had a 26 FS in between. After 20 years of hard tails I won't be buying a Hard tail again. the 29 FS improved my riding a lot.
 
I would love to have a hardtail as an extra bike, just 'cause. But I cannot fathom the circumstances under which I'd actually shell out money for one at this point. Suspensions are just too good. Too light, fun and so much grippier on climbs.

If you're racing a smooth, flowy and grippy XC course with no loose climbs or extended technical downhills I could see maybe using a hardtail. For the everyday rider, I cannot imagine why one would choose a hardtail other than for reasons of finances or simplicity of maintenance. There is no argument that they offer the better ride at this point in tech development. I'd put my Ripley up against any hardtail on a climb.
 
I love my hardtail, which is now a monstercross bike, but I'm under no illusions as to how lacking it really is compared to a full suss set up for the same trails. I like it because it can be a challenge to ride, whereas a lot of the time a full suss makes trails so easy you might as well be on the road (hyperbole but only just!).

What I will say for hardtails is that with an adjustable travel fork of 120/140mm or 140/160mm travel you have a bike which will suit a vast array of riding and allow you to get the most fun out of any trail you care to chuck it down. With full suss bikes they still seem to be very much geared towards a particular discipline, so I wouldn't want to take an enduro bike out on an XC run and I wouldn't want to take an XC bike out on a proper all mountain day in the saddle. However, when my hardtail had suspension I could swap between 130 or 160mm and feel fine blasting along flat XC days or sticking it down the EWS trails at Glentress/Innerleithen. So I think in terms of overall versatility, HTs still win out.
 
Not buying it. :)

For me, I wouldn't want to take a hardtail out for an all-mountain day no matter what kind of front travel it had when I could do it on a short or medium travel 29er. I find I get radically better performance out of the latter. I would prefer my short travel 29er over a hardtail on an XC course–FS bikes (well at least the one I have) simply climb better with the additional traction, and the performance on the descents is not comparable. The weight of the rear shock and suspension doesn't make much difference in my riding versus the traction advantage, as I'm carrying enough water and gear to make either a fairly heavy ride. When I ride with guys with hard-tails now we just wait for them, up or down. It's not a problem to wait of course, you're always waiting or being waited on when you ride with a group, but I don't know any of the hard-tail guys who don't wish they had a FS rig in the group ride. My buddy went from a hard-tail to a Ripley and he's setting new Strava times on climbs everywhere he goes.

For my riding, I can push a FS to go much faster and get all the challenge I want out of it. It's just more fun and less painful. Longer rides are much more likely as I'm not getting pounded and rattled into fatigue. For me the FS rig just opens up more trails and more options.
 
pre-beginner :lol:
I rode a colleague´s MTB (front) last winter, twice.
the bike was too big, and there was a bit too much mud.
I said "never again" and I hopped on the road bike as usual. I must admit I rode this mtb but I was biased. so wasnt willing to use it for a week after the first 2 bad days, I didnt try enough to get used.
now it happens I broke my femur on a rainy downhill over Nice in August. so during these 2 months I had time to think. and I guess I have to give it a second try with a mtb. and will do that for the whole winter, while asphalt roads are wet or covered in salt/sand. I have unpaved roads 100 meters from where I live.
I ride alone, average 4 rides per week. 1h30- 2h rides.

I found those 2

http://www.subito.it/biciclette/mtb-trek-superfly-100-29er-2013-verbano-cusio-ossola-184027248.htm

http://www.subito.it/biciclette/trek-superflay-29-genova-183355119.htm

I ride a size S no brand road bike, I´m 174cm, shorts legs

any suggestions?

thanks
 
Since this thread started, there have been so many changes and updates in mountain bikes. Fat bikes, plus bikes, and so many geometric differences, such as Specialized's "EVO", which has been adopted by other brands, on top of wheel size, tire size, then tubless tires. Much of this makes the entire FS vs. Hardtail almost trivial. Just a few short years ago it was the question to ask, now, it's one of many.

Just as an example, if you were to ride a Scott Scale plus bike, with it's big tires on a HT, you'd find the traction on it on climbs is shockingly good, a big jump over what you'd see on their $10k, Scale 700 from just a few years ago. The speed lost on the flats, would possibly be made up on the up/down on the hills and bumps.

Your terrain is another factor. If you live somewhere that's extremely rocky and rooty, with sharp hills, you're going to want a different bike than riding on a lot of fairly flat, smooth, dirt. There is a world of difference between riding in New Hampshire and Nevada for example.

Here's another angle to that, in recent gravel rides and races that are on tough courses, you'll see guys showing up on a XC HT 29er mountain bike with high air pressure in tires, because they're light, and can easily handle 50+ miles of gravel with some dirt and grass here and there, with more comfort to the rider, if not quite the speed of a gravel grinder. Trying this on a FS bike would feel like a slog.

Skill is also another factor. I live in New England which is very rocky, some trails look like dried creek beds, plenty hilly, and tight turns through dense woods. You see a lot of fat bikes here, yet you still see riders performing very well on HT bikes, proving once again, you need to find the bike that works best for you.
 

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