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  1. #1
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    hardtail vs. fs for xc racing....

    Hey guys,


    I was curious what the general consensus is about racing xc with either a hardtail or full suspension bike. I am beginning to ride quite a bit and am wanting to ride in a couple of series this year but I'm wondering if I need to consider getting a different bike. We live in a relatively flat part of the world(Memphis,TN) so fs is kind of over kill for most of our trails. I currently have a 2001 specialized fs pro comp(xtr equipped). I kind of feel as if I may be losing some of my power through the full suspension and am unsure if maybe I should think about a hardtail? Any opinions? Thanks.


    -lee-

  2. #2
    The Zon Is On! Middi-zon's Avatar
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    I race a hardtail, but in my 3 years of racing I see more and more fs rigs each race, not a lot of FSRs (only 3 or 4 Specialized dealers in NH, and all of them are on the seacoast, off the racing scene), mostly Giant NRS and Trek Fuels, and the rest are exotic companies (at least for me) like Moots, Rocky Mountain, Elsworth, and Seven.

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  3. #3
    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    well it depends a lot on where you are and what kind of trails...

    but there tend to be more and more FS in the XC scene --- especially the lightweight FS bikes... which the FSR is one. but also the Treks, Giant NRS, etc.

    i have an '02 FSR Comp XC which i use for XC racing and for the "Marathons" which are longer (3-8 hours), usually less technical (unfortunately) races here in Europe.

    unless there is a ton of climbing (my race in may had 3650 meters of vertical or 12,000ft and i felt the FS was not much of a limiter) the FSR should be just fine. as for the pros, some of them are still using hard tails, but mostly b/c of sponsor wishes, most are now using FS bikes that are superlight.

    if your bike is under 26lbs and doesn't have excessive pedal BOB (the FSR doesn't), it should be great for XC racing.

    if you were buying a bike specifically to race, i would say you could maybe save some money by buying a hardtail --- equally euipeed hardtail is a LOT less than a FS -- but what you have is more than adequate.
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  4. #4
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    Theres no reason not to race a F/S bike anymore, but a lot of it depends on the person riding the bike. If you feel like you're not getting all of your power to the ground and loosing time because of this then odds are you'll never get it out of your head and you could go ahead and race a hardtail instead. No matter what you do though the bike is never going to be a factor in a race

  5. #5
    ÖöÖöÖöÖöÖö Dannihilator's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Middi-zon
    I race a hardtail, but in my 3 years of racing I see more and more fs rigs each race, not a lot of FSRs (only 3 or 4 Specialized dealers in NH, and all of them are on the seacoast, off the racing scene), mostly Giant NRS and Trek Fuels, and the rest are exotic companies (at least for me) like Moots, Rocky Mountain, Elsworth, and Seven.

    -Middi-zon
    Definately not alot of Specialized dealers in NH. Rocky Mountain isn't exotic to me, when I'm in NH, it's a short walk to a RM dealer. Hardtails are fine for xc racing.
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  6. #6
    Speed Racer Mad Dog JR's Avatar
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    I think it depends on the conditions. But most of the time XC racing has smoother terain and does not require a FS rig, I race XC and use a FS bike and thats mainly becuase i cant aford two bikes (one for trail use and racing) and i love to rip more rugged terain that needs a FS rig while im not racing.
    But the thing only weighs 26 pounds so its not like its a total hog.
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  7. #7
    XtraSuperPlatinumMember spexy's Avatar
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    I'm at the same FS vs. HT juncture. I entered a short 7 mile race last year on my Trek Fuel. Finished near the end of the pack. Have been training this year and know I will do better. Thought I'd look at a HT to gain an edge. I tried riding the race course first on my Fuel and then with a Giant XTC 1 (great bike shop).

    Boy did I fly on the HT, got beat up, but I flew. The only problem was that on the really steep, rocky, sandy climbs I lost traction. Can't seem to keep the back wheel down.

    Now I don't know what to do. The Fuel climbs and descends better but is mush for sprinting. The XTC sprints on hardpack like my road bike but is squirrely when the trail gets loose. Maybe I just need more time with the HT???

    Sorry to horn in on your thread but thought it was relevant to the topic.

  8. #8
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    Spexy I suspect the major difference in the two bikes in the climbing departmnt is the geometry. I've found the XTC to be a less than capable climber myself and prefer my CAAD4 or my mates Trek 8000. they just seem to hook up better.

    The fuel is a nice bike but what was very telling for me is that most world racers who use the Fuel run the rear shock very stiff. At Fort William Roland used his hardtail and it was a pretty gnarly course. Yes Meirhaeghe won buthe was simply fitter on the day.

    I've found it to be a matter of horses for courses really but the cost of having two bikes is prohibitive so I still race a CAAD4 hardtail. For really bumpy Xc course I fit a Cane Creek Thudbuster suspension seat post and get the best of both worlds. Climbing efficiency of a hardtail with a bit of cushioning on teh way down.
    An ounce off the wheels is worth 3 off the frame

  9. #9
    XtraSuperPlatinumMember spexy's Avatar
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    TimB Good to know. I may have to stick with my Fuel with the shock pumped up as the only HTs I can get a hold of right now would be a Giant or Bianchi. The bike shop that I use doesn't carry Cannondale or Trek.

    I'd really like to try the Giant MCM or Bianchi Tycoon carbon but both bikes are hard to come by in the U.S.

    Always figured on a susp seatpost to by the way.

    Thanks.

  10. #10
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    I ride and race here in the Rochester/Western NY area, and love doing so on my hardtail. It's all a personal preference reallly, but there are certainly a few good choices for FS/XC bikes. I see alot of Spec. Epics now at the races this year with mixed results...some love it and others don't like the reaction it provides to the rider. Your best bet is to ride some FS bikes at your race pace off-road somewhere if possible. As I said, I love the feel of a hardtail (I bought a Spec. S-Works last summer and love it). I'm more of a purist I guess, despite the questions I get on rides and at races as to why I own a hardtail. Good luck!

  11. #11
    mt.biker and roadie JrXCracer's Avatar
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    for XC i prefer a hardtail to FS i have raced a FS on a XC Race many times and i personally like hardtails

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