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Old 05-21-01, 05:09 PM   #1
Joe Pozer
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After reading the article of Roland Green winning a World Cup race on a full suspension rig I wanted to dredge up the old arguments once again. Which do you prefer, F.S. or HT? and why?

It seems like full suspension designs are getting better with each passing year and the weight has dropped considerably for the XC models. It seems like more and more Pros are now using them for races. So what's your take on this?

I'm a big fan of full suspension bikes. The weight of my bike is comparable to a hardtail and it keeps you from getting too beat up on the trail. This helps you conserve energy when you are on a long ride or during a race. Now I know that a FS bike will cost you much more than a comparable HT but I rather pay a little extra to have the advantages of full suspension. Plus the prices of quality FS bikes are coming down.

So what do you think? Flame away....
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Old 05-21-01, 05:37 PM   #2
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My observations:
Wednesday I rode with some guys who were recreational riders, combining a quick 10-miler with apre's bike beers. I was the only hard tail in the group of 8 or so. Did a lot of waiting for these guys on climbs, but they smoked me on the downhill.

On Sunday I went out for a "casual" ride with some racers. We did about 23 miles of mostly single track. Only two full suspensions with the racers, about 6 hard tails (two singlespeeds). Skill level and athleticism was way above the other group. (I got spanked thoroughly!).

Proves absolutely nothing, just my observation from last week. As I generally don't like having to do more maintenance than necessary, and I lock my bike outside the office. I am leaning at a hard tail for my next ride. But, will seriously look at the full-suspensions for the reasons Joe offered.
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Old 05-21-01, 11:09 PM   #3
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As I mentioned in a previous thread, where I ride is extremely rough. (rocks, roots, etc.) And I've talked to guys who ride hardtails and they even say it's rough on them. If the trails you ride aren't like that it might not make much difference. But personally I like the FS.
I would like to hear, (not being a smart-alec) but I seriously would like to hear what the advantages are of a hardtail. I know a lot of people ride them and would like to know why. (In case my wife ever lets me buy another bike.)
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Old 05-21-01, 11:26 PM   #4
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Well advantage number one is there is no pedal induced bobbing on a climb. I have never been on a FS rig that does not do this other than the ones you can lock out. Advantage nuber two is cost. You can get a much higher quality hardtail for the same price as an FS rig. Advantage number three is maintainance. Advantage number four and this is an opinion is stability on single track.
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Old 05-22-01, 03:47 AM   #5
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I'm with Hunter on this one...

I think there's a certain amount of fun that a FS rig takes out of the ride...yeah, you could probably go faster downhill, and longer on all day rides, but you'd miss the hard buzz and vibe of the trails your riding and the satisfaction that you've done it un-suspended. In a sence I'm doing that on a HT, but to a lesser extent.

I'm still seriously considering a rigid bike again just to get back to that retro bike feeling.

Call me old fashioned. I'm not against FS bikes, I think they're great...but ride a HT and a FS bike on the same trail, then tell me which was the purer sensation.

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Old 05-22-01, 07:14 AM   #6
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XC hardtails have definitely come down in price and weight. I'd have to say one of my biggest reasons for not riding one is paying a lot more for a bike that will require more maintenance.

The Gary Fisher Sugars look sweet though (no pun intended)
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Old 05-22-01, 09:29 AM   #7
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Originally posted by riderx
XC hardtails have definitely come down in price and weight. I'd have to say one of my biggest reasons for not riding one is paying a lot more for a bike that will require more maintenance.)
Me confused now......

Did you mistype or did I misread? Are you talking about F.S. bikes dropping in price and weight?
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Old 05-22-01, 12:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rich

Call me old fashioned. I'm not against FS bikes, I think they're great...but ride a HT and a FS bike on the same trail, then tell me which was the purer sensation.

Rich
I can understand you sentiments on this one Rich, but I love the feeling of flying down a trail on a FS rig. It's like your surfing the trail.

I do agree that the main drawback to FS bikes right now is price. Eventhough prices have come down, you can still get better parts on a comparably priced HT. Still, designs have gotten much better and most good designs have very little pedal induced bobbing, especially the short travel XC bikes. As far as maintenance, there really isn't that much more to do on a FS than a HT. My bike is single pivot so that my have something to do with it. Also, I do have a lockout on my front fork and rear shock if I want to make my bike completely rigid on a climb but I use it very little. My bike only has three inches of travel in the back so it doesn't really bob that much.

I guess I'm a technogeek when it comes to bikes. Some people like singlespeeds and totally rigid bikes for their simplicity but I must admit that I like all of the latest gadgets.

I'm not anti HT. I own one which I still ride often but I just love the way my FS bike rides.

CP
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Old 05-22-01, 12:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by dirtsqueezer


Me confused now......

Did you mistype or did I misread? Are you talking about F.S. bikes dropping in price and weight?
DS - I mistyped. I meant to say FS bikes have come down in price and weight. Please ignore my stupidity!
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Old 05-23-01, 01:31 AM   #10
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Hi Joe,

Fair play my friend...as long as we're riding eh!!!

Here's to summertime

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Old 05-23-01, 10:42 AM   #11
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I ride a hardtail for two reasons. First one being that I don't want to spend the money to get a good FS and secondly I use my bike for commuting. So for me, a hardtail is a much better all around bike. If I were riding purely off road, I would probably get a FS. I have a friend who has a FS and uses it mostly around town and he says he loves it as a commuter. Needless to say he jumps every stairs and retaining wall in sight.
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Old 05-23-01, 02:42 PM   #12
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HI
I just have a HT and not a FS, so I can't shout my mouth off to anyone. I race XC on it and the majority of the guys and girls prefer these as they have the advantage of being lighter and nimbler. All the courses that I have ridden over here have been very rough and very sandy and hard tails have come through with ease.

Whatever is your cup of tea I suppose.....
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Old 05-23-01, 04:39 PM   #13
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Anyone know if AMP is still making bikes? They had a small but fiercely loyal following a few year's back. Saw an AMP last Sunday and it jolted my memory. :cool:
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Old 05-23-01, 04:56 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by dirtsqueezer
Anyone know if AMP is still making bikes? They had a small but fiercely loyal following a few year's back. Saw an AMP last Sunday and it jolted my memory. :cool:
Check this out Dirtsqueezer.
http://www.amp-research.com/products...tain_bikes.htm
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Old 05-23-01, 05:03 PM   #15
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That's a good question Dirt...I thought they had stopped producing bikes. The Amps were way ahead of their time. It's amazing how many new suspension bikes today use the Amp design.

The downfall was that they were under built and were always breaking down. Too bad. Great bikes....

Going back to using HTs for racing vs FS. Giant timed their riders around the courses using both the HT bikes and their full-suspension bikes and their riders were actually going faster on the full-suspension bikes. Many of the Pros are now using F.S. bikes. The C-dale team uses the Scapel, most of the riders on the Gary Fisher team use the Sugar, the Trek team is using the Fuel, same with the Giant Team and GT, and so on.

In fact, Roland Green won a World Cup race on a Fuel.

I know, I know...now I sounds like a preacher.

The main thing is ride what you're comfortable with and just ride!!! I'll see you on the trail.

Last edited by Joe Pozer; 05-23-01 at 05:05 PM.
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Old 05-23-01, 05:08 PM   #16
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Egad, they have joined forces with Mercedes Benz? I'm trying to come up with a witty quip here, but words fail me. I had lusted at the AMP's big time in '96 - and still like their fork design.

O.K. Full Suspension riders I can't see myself going to the local Mercedes dealer to swing a bike deal, point me in the direction of a couple bikes that will make me a believer. To keep it interesting can we keep the MSRP below $1,500?
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Old 05-23-01, 05:13 PM   #17
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For $1500 you have a whole slew of suspension bike to choose from.

The Gary Fisher Sugar3, the Trek Fuel, you have the Giant NRS,
The specialized FSX XC and many more to choose. The ones I've mentioned above all have received great reviews from the Mags and in MTBR.
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Old 05-23-01, 05:13 PM   #18
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Joe - you are one step ahead of me!

the rest deleted since Joe is answering my questions faster than I can post!
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Old 05-23-01, 05:15 PM   #19
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Yeah Dirt. Those bikes that I've mentioned come in different price levels and they do have models for around $1500. Are you looking for a short travel XC bike or more of a Free ride model?
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Old 05-23-01, 05:27 PM   #20
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Pardon my ignorance, Free Ride?

I ride XC mostly, climbing is my strength, lack of guts (trust)on the downhill my weakness. Really don't want to sacrifice climbing rigidity.
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Old 05-23-01, 11:00 PM   #21
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Dirt...Freeride is a passe term used by the bike companies a couple of years ago to describe long travel full-suspension bikes.

All the bikes that I mentioned above are short travel XC bikes that rock. You won't be losing much on the climbs with those bikes. In fact I feel that you can climb steep slopes easier on a F.S. because the back end digs down into the dirt...
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Old 05-24-01, 08:38 AM   #22
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Thanks for the info on Free Ride - short travel xc is what I'd look at.

Question on climbs - with a FS bike, if you are seated while climbing, wouldn't you be dampening your efforts as part of your pedal stroke goes into compressing and relaxing the suspension?

I've climbed on a friends AMP and felt that sensation where the back tire is biting very aggressively. Interesting.
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Old 05-24-01, 11:46 AM   #23
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Dirt, climbing on a full susp. bike takes a little different technique than HT. It's usually best to climb seated and have a smooth pedal stroke. Coming from a HT at first it will feel like you are bouncing your way up but once you get used to the FS and develop a smooth pedaling stroke this will go away. After all we are talking about bikes that only have 2 to 3 inches of travel in the back. If you prefer, you may even be able to find a bike with a lockout.
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Old 05-24-01, 06:32 PM   #24
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Okay, Okay... So what is the final word? Are Full suspensions good for racing or not? I'm getting more confused every time I come on this site. I'm about to get a bike for the first time and I don't have a clue which one to get.. I'm thinking of the Fuel 90 or the 8000.. anyone have any suggestions?

Thanks
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Old 05-24-01, 10:01 PM   #25
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The final word? We haven't even started in on Aluminum vs steel vs composite yet

Trek'n please clarify - about to grab your first bike and looking for a race compatable setup Do I have that correct? Cool - I like that!

If so, I'd point to a hard tail just based on ease of maintenance - get a season or so under your belt and you'll have a much better idea of what you want. Any way you do it, if you get into racing, the first bike you buy won't be the one that satisfies you after a season or so.

My $0.02

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