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  1. #1
    Senior Member trek1's Avatar
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    Which is faster and why?

    I have been riding my Trek Fuel EX8 full suspension and really like it and am fairly fast (seldom passed) on the trail but I have been trying to look into what would make my trail time faster. I am considering picking up a Trek 8500 with all XTR components to see if the hardtail would improve my speed and handling at all. I know it is the engine and not the bike that makes it happen and I ride 3-4 times a week (trail and road) as it is. It seems all the racers ride hardtails and what do you suggest on this.
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    Te mortuo heres tibi sim? scrublover's Avatar
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    Waaaaay too many variable to say which is faster. It can depend on the rider, the trail, the particular bike and setup, how you feel riding one day vs. the next, conditions.

    I've got a squishy and a hardtail. Some days one is faster than the other, usually based on one of the above factors. Either way, I'm usually having fun...
    I believe the clouds in my coffee more than the weatherman on t.v.

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    Official Website Waterboy born2bahick's Avatar
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    Well For me, I'm faster on the hardtail for about 5-6 miles of my normal singletrack. After that rider fatique set's in and the full squishey starts to shine. For me it depends on what I'm riding and how far, but it's nice to have a choice! I reccommend haveing both!

  4. #4
    Senior Member trek1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scrublover
    Waaaaay too many variable to say which is faster. It can depend on the rider, the trail, the particular bike and setup, how you feel riding one day vs. the next, conditions.

    I've got a squishy and a hardtail. Some days one is faster than the other, usually based on one of the above factors. Either way, I'm usually having fun...

    I agree with always having fun but you can only ride one at a time and if you want the best, which would it be. I don't want to be riding and wishing I had the "other" bike. Does the hardtail beat you up to bad or is it worth the sacrifice? I am in pretty good shape 5-10" 165 lbs but am getting older at 40+
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    Official Website Waterboy born2bahick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trek1
    I agree with always having fun but you can only ride one at a time and if you want the best, which would it be. I don't want to be riding and wishing I had the "other" bike. Does the hardtail beat you up to bad or is it worth the sacrifice? I am in pretty good shape 5-10" 165 lbs but am getting older at 40+
    My hardtail beats me up bad! It's too light, Kinda like trying to hang on to a ping pong ball as it bounces through a rock garden! If I'm on smooth singletrack for an epic ride it's great, But when the trail get's difficult I much preffer to have better control, not to mention comfort.

  6. #6
    Senior Member trek1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by born2bahick
    My hardtail beats me up bad! It's too light, Kinda like trying to hang on to a ping pong ball as it bounces through a rock garden! If I'm on smooth singletrack for an epic ride it's great, But when the trail get's difficult I much preffer to have better control, not to mention comfort.
    I am starting to see that I sould just work on the engine instead and the trade off swings from positive to negative even though I would like the choice. My EX8 does have lock out but still has the weight to deal with but my LBS even said when I bought it that weight (within reason) is not always a bad thing like when you have momentum. Thanks!
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  7. #7
    DNPAIMFB pinkrobe's Avatar
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    It depends a lot on your trails. The rougher they are, the faster you will be on the FS. If they're smoother, perhaps the HT will be faster. You should buy the 8500 and find out for yourself.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member trek1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkrobe
    It depends a lot on your trails. The rougher they are, the faster you will be on the FS. If they're smoother, perhaps the HT will be faster. You should buy the 8500 and find out for yourself.
    I understand and that is the problem also. The local trails are not overly rough but do have there spots and it will add up to fatigue by the end of 10-14 miles XC. I was thinking all along I wanted the most comfortably fast bike so I went with FS. I could always sell the one that I didn't ride enough if I did try it out. I just really wonder if I would only be improving a 30 seconds of more with the lighter hardtail?
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  9. #9
    Te mortuo heres tibi sim? scrublover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trek1
    I understand and that is the problem also. The local trails are not overly rough but do have there spots and it will add up to fatigue by the end of 10-14 miles XC. I was thinking all along I wanted the most comfortably fast bike so I went with FS. I could always sell the one that I didn't ride enough if I did try it out. I just really wonder if I would only be improving a 30 seconds of more with the lighter hardtail?

    Yes. No. Maybe.

    Again, it isn't that easy. I ride both bikes on pretty much the same trails. Sometimes the hardtail is only stuff that the FS might be "better" on. Sometimes it's the other way around. I don't give a rats ass about racing (for me) so the speed thing is fairly a non-issue. Some days I ride fast, some days no so much.

    If your trails are as smooth as you make them sound, then lighten up the FS, and run a bit stiffer suspension for starters. Run some narrower/smoother tires. Do more interval training.

    If you really want light/fast, build up a rigid SS. Sounds like that would be a good choice for where you are.
    I believe the clouds in my coffee more than the weatherman on t.v.

  10. #10
    Senior Member trek1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scrublover
    Yes. No. Maybe.


    If you really want light/fast, build up a rigid SS. Sounds like that would be a good choice for where you are.

    What exactly is a rigid SS? How would you do intervals? I know this doesn't relate to the OP but I am unaware, thanks.
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  11. #11
    Big Ring Circus crash13's Avatar
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    Tires make a difference! What size brand tires are you currently using? Try a set of Kenda Nevagal 1.95's or a similar fast rolling lightweight XC tire...Depending on trail conditions you might want to bump up the tire pressure to 40psi...You WILL notice a difference. But, there are trade offs with a smaller, harder tire...especially in cornering speed and through rocky, bumpy technical sections of trail.
    I'd say play around with tires and pressure first...

  12. #12
    Whistler-bound dminor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trek1
    I agree with always having fun but you can only ride one at a time and if you want the best, which would it be. I don't want to be riding and wishing I had the "other" bike. Does the hardtail beat you up to bad or is it worth the sacrifice? I am in pretty good shape 5-10" 165 lbs but am getting older at 40+
    Stick with your FS. Pound-for-pound, FS is faster; and even giving up some weight advantage, you will be as fast or faster on your Fuel.

    I borrowed my son's hardtail for a couple seasons of XC racing and, even though it was light, it was not what I would call fun. It beat the crap out of me.

  13. #13
    Senior Member trek1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crash13
    Tires make a difference! What size brand tires are you currently using? Try a set of Kenda Nevagal 1.95's or a similar fast rolling lightweight XC tire...Depending on trail conditions you might want to bump up the tire pressure to 40psi...You WILL notice a difference. But, there are trade offs with a smaller, harder tire...especially in cornering speed and through rocky, bumpy technical sections of trail.
    I'd say play around with tires and pressure first...
    I am using Bontrager tubeless 2.25 Race tire but just got some new ones and I was using 2.1 wide prior but they didn't have them in stock so I just got them. Maybe Bontrager makes a 1.95 tubeless but I am not sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by dminor
    Stick with your FS. Pound-for-pound, FS is faster; and even giving up some weight advantage, you will be as fast or faster on your Fuel.

    I borrowed my son's hardtail for a couple seasons of XC racing and, even though it was light, it was not what I would call fun. It beat the crap out of me.
    I know and maybe I really don't care about a few seconds when I am sure the FS gives me a pretty plush ride and the geometry is great and it climbs as well. This is just a thought I had to explore if nothing else and I do like the looks of the 8500, just plain and simple. I started thinking what if when I was seldomly passed last night by a local trail club rider on an old Schwinn Homegrown hardtail but I am not in my best condition yet and can run the same trail 10 minutes faster by last years times. i could see owning both since I am into this sport but I don't like things sitting collecting dust either. I thank everyone for some great comments and suggestions so far, this forum RULES
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  14. #14
    Big Ring Circus crash13's Avatar
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    I'd look into a more narrow tire than the 2.25...I know I'm going to get beat up in this forum for this....
    But, I have some damn fast friends who KILL on 1.95's...Even on quasi-techy downhill sections....Its the rider, not the bike....some people can make any bike fast...I'm not one of those...

    If you can afford another bike, why not pick a up a hardtail? That way you have 2 options. You can always buy used or start a build project...

    You had it right from the start...Its the engine not necessarily the bike. My suggestion...ride with people faster than you on a regular basis...YOU WILL GET FASTER!! I promise you that...

  15. #15
    Senior Member trek1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crash13
    I'd look into a more narrow tire than the 2.25...I know I'm going to get beat up in this forum for this....
    But, I have some damn fast friends who KILL on 1.95's...Even on quasi-techy downhill sections....Its the rider, not the bike....some people can make any bike fast...I'm not one of those...

    If you can afford another bike, why not pick a up a hardtail? That way you have 2 options. You can always buy used or start a build project...

    You had it right from the start...Its the engine not necessarily the bike. My suggestion...ride with people faster than you on a regular basis...YOU WILL GET FASTER!! I promise you that...

    I know and that is why I race the clock because finding riders that can ride when I do or often is a problem and people I have gone with from work have been slower than me and not as into it. Race the clock will always challange you and will never lie. I might have to jump down my tire size a little but I wanted to go tubeless still I think.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member shaharidan's Avatar
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    FS is more flexible, and generally heavier so it takes more energy to peddle, so on a smoothe surface as long as things like engine, drive train, rims, and tires are the same a hard tail will be faster. stiffer usually equals faster. on a trail it would depend on the trail, and your bike handling abilities which would be faster.

    that being said a HD can be a lot of fun and riding one may improve your riding skills. if i could afford it i'd have both.
    No matter how fast I'm going, I'm in no hurry.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member trek1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shaharidan
    FS is more flexible, and generally heavier so it takes more energy to peddle, so on a smoothe surface as long as things like engine, drive train, rims, and tires are the same a hard tail will be faster. stiffer usually equals faster. on a trail it would depend on the trail, and your bike handling abilities which would be faster.

    that being said a HD can be a lot of fun and riding one may improve your riding skills. if i could afford it i'd have both.
    So just evaluate if you think the course is smooth enough or you can take some punishment then ride the HT?

    Here are the tubeless tires I am using right now.

    http://www.bontrager.com/Mountain/Wh...Tires/5791.php

    Looking at even the Maxxis Tubeless is 2.35 wide

    http://www.biketiresdirect.com/produ...9220&c=8793844
    Last edited by trek1; 04-04-07 at 12:08 PM.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by shaharidan
    FS is more flexible, and generally heavier so it takes more energy to peddle
    Actually, it's alot easier these days to "peddle" a full suspension bike. I have found it much harder to "peddle" my old hardtail to someone because everyone is looking to buy from the FS peddlers.

    Quote Originally Posted by shaharidan
    a HD can be a lot of fun and riding one may improve your riding skills
    What's HD? Is that a bike with more pixels?


    Just kidding.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trek1
    It seems all the racers ride hardtails and what do you suggest on this.
    Maybe all the racers in Novi MI, but not "all the racers". Thus the Epic was born.

    Quote Originally Posted by trek1
    What exactly is a rigid SS?
    A rigid SS is a bike that has no suspension, shifters, or derailleurs. It only has one gear ratio and it makes you "strong like bull".

    Quote Originally Posted by born2bahick
    Well For me, I'm faster on the hardtail for about 5-6 miles of my normal singletrack. After that rider fatique set's in and the full squishey starts to shine. For me it depends on what I'm riding and how far, but it's nice to have a choice! I reccommend haveing both!
    I'm just the opposite. I have the power for the first 5-10 miles...then I need a lightweight bike for my little "bird legs".

    Quote Originally Posted by trek1
    I agree with always having fun but you can only ride one at a time and if you want the best, which would it be.
    I've sold my 26lb hardtail and put that money into a 32lb all mountain dually. I've never been happier. (I don't race)

    Quote Originally Posted by pinkrobe
    It depends a lot on your trails. The rougher they are, the faster you will be on the FS. If they're smoother, perhaps the HT will be faster. You should buy the 8500 and find out for yourself.
    I agree with all that except "You should buy the 8500 and find out for yourself." That's a bit of coin to be throwing around on a theory. I do think it's kinda subjective b/c what's rough to you may be normal-smooth to myself or the vice. The trail I ride most has very little in the way of flat/flowy singletrack. It's either up or down...and not too long for either. I'd be faster on a HT IMO, but I love the feel of my dually.
    Last edited by ed; 04-04-07 at 01:24 PM.

  19. #19
    0^0 fubar5's Avatar
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    FS vs HT is always a good debate. Mountain Bike Action did a pretty good article on it 4 years ago or so, and came up with essentially the conclusion that you need more than one mtb (yay!!). On a rocky bumpy trail, a FS is faster because the suspension absorbs the bumps and conserves your momentum. But on a well beaten trail, the HT is faster because it is more efficient at converting power into forward motion. But this is not a conclusion at all really, because what is well beaten to one rider is rocky to another. MBA did say however, that in alot of cases the FS was the faster choice, but most riders felt slower on a FS (whether or not they were really going slower).
    Booyah!!

  20. #20
    Senior Member FreeRidin''s Avatar
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    Paint everything either red or yellow.
    Quote Originally Posted by Killer B
    The way I ride requires the most advanced, toughest wheelset's available.

    Chicago Freeride

  21. #21
    ed
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    Quote Originally Posted by fubar5
    FS vs HT is always a good debate. Mountain Bike Action did a pretty good article on it 4 years ago or so, and came up with essentially the conclusion that you need more than one mtb (yay!!). On a rocky bumpy trail, a FS is faster because the suspension absorbs the bumps and conserves your momentum. But on a well beaten trail, the HT is faster because it is more efficient at converting power into forward motion. But this is not a conclusion at all really, because what is well beaten to one rider is rocky to another. MBA did say however, that in alot of cases the FS was the faster choice, but most riders felt slower on a FS (whether or not they were really going slower).
    I think that was before "leaps and bounds" occurred with pedaling platform too.

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    Official Website Waterboy born2bahick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chelboed
    I'm just the opposite. I have the power for the first 5-10 miles...then I need a lightweight bike for my little "bird legs".


    I've sold my 26lb hardtail and put that money into a 32lb all mountain dually. I've never been happier. (I don't race)
    Hey ED, Do you see a corolation in those two statements?

  23. #23
    ed
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    Quote Originally Posted by born2bahick
    Hey ED, Do you see a corolation in those two statements?
    I'm not happy until I'm vomitting blood.

    'Guess that shows how long I ride at a time now too.

  24. #24
    0^0 fubar5's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chelboed
    I think that was before "leaps and bounds" occurred with pedaling platform too.
    It was about the time the Epic came out.
    Booyah!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by crash13
    I'd look into a more narrow tire than the 2.25...I know I'm going to get beat up in this forum for this....
    But, I have some damn fast friends who KILL on 1.95's...Even on quasi-techy downhill sections....Its the rider, not the bike....some people can make any bike fast...I'm not one of those...

    If you can afford another bike, why not pick a up a hardtail? That way you have 2 options. You can always buy used or start a build project...

    You had it right from the start...Its the engine not necessarily the bike. My suggestion...ride with people faster than you on a regular basis...YOU WILL GET FASTER!! I promise you that...
    +1

    why 2.25's? if its speed you want, try the 1.95 Kenda Karma Pro Stickee, an XC racing tire that's fast...the Kenda Karmalite 1.95 is faster (495g) but has a lower tread design which doesn't work on some trails

    Also, Treks are not the fastest bikes out there...the geometry sucks. My wife flys on her Opus flat bar roadie, beats my 7.5fx every time, and my daughter put her 7600zx in storage after I bought her a Stumpjumper FSR

    for speed I ride an Ellsworth Id, my wife a Santa Cruz Blur...these bikes are built to climb like goats, and fly on the flats...I understand that the Superlight is even faster

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