Touring - Hardtail or full suspension ???
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10-12-06, 08:58 AM
Any thoughts out there regarding mountain bike styles for touring ?? Hardtail or full suspension ??
Planning on having a BOB trailer in tow. Anyone had any experience with BOB trailers ??
I have a BOB Ibex and love it.
I use a hard tail expedtion Thorn Raven
It has a Fox Vanilla sus fork which I can lock off when going uphill.
Why full sus???
10-12-06, 09:17 AM
A full suspension bike would flex too much. Go with a hardtail and a Brooks Champion flyer or a Thudbuster. The suspension should only be on the saddle.
Suspension means more parts to wear and service, and there is the inherent difficulty of replacing them when they finally die. A good quality front suspension fork is possible, but I wouldn't think of fitting one that is worth under $1,000, and even then would do a lot of research on longevity -- and take along a service kit for it. There also is that waste of energy thing when pedalling.
There is a reason why touring bikes are simple machines without suspension. A Brooks with springs should be just as effective.
10-12-06, 01:12 PM
I ride a steel frame with a steel fork (no suspension) and treking handlebars. The bars have a lot of flex which combined with the forgiving steel frame is fine for dirtroad/offroad touring. It depends how rocky the trails will be, but front suspension at most should be enough.
10-12-06, 01:19 PM
I'd probably go with a hardtail for simplicity. Add an air sprung fork with lockout. Spring fork with a lockout would be more reliable but those are hard to find.
10-12-06, 02:40 PM
Are you doing offroad touring? If not then hardtail or full-rigid.
If you are adapting an MTB to be a standard touring bike, then as everyone has said, go with the one that is most like a touring bike, a rigid. You get a lot of micro shocks with riding on roads, you don't get stuff that requires 3" of travel, or you shouldn't if you are watching out.
On the other hand if you want to carry bags and need full suspenssion, try something like the panamericana. Intergrated full suspension and rack system:
I've toured with a hardtail and a BOB. It was fine. The bike was a Cannondale with lockout, but I found the lockout wasn't useful most of the time- front sus doesn't bob if you stay seated, and there was a noticeably smoother ride on rough tarmac with suspension on.
If I was starting from scratch, I'd go with a rigid fork just so I could mount panniers. They make the bike more stable and easier to wheel around congested areas (airports, cities). The BOB is okay, and easy to throw a big pack on.
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