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Old 05-25-07, 12:20 PM   #1
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Hardtail vs rear suspension

how bad does a trail have to be before a rear suspension bike becomes a real asset? Are we talking rocks and boulders here? Riding down stairways?
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Old 05-25-07, 12:31 PM   #2
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Depends on the individual plus how would you measure or define that. Very subjective. I like full suspension because of comfort on all trails (I ride a lot of them) and the fact that the rear wheel stays on the ground better on steep technical climbs and curvy rough descents providing better traction. You do pay a weight penalty..

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Old 05-25-07, 02:05 PM   #3
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I ride a fully and a hardtail on the same trails. Just depends on my mood and how I want to ride. If aggressive, I tend to bring out the fully, if laid back and technical, I bring out the hardtail. Both can be used on the same trails just the riding is different. The fully takes alot of hit out of the road. You can stay seated more. With a hardtail you are out of the saddle more using your legs and knees as suspension so where I can pedal on the fully, I have to cruise on the hardtail. To me hardtails are very quick and responsive - more like race cars, the fullies are your caddies!
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Old 05-25-07, 03:29 PM   #4
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How about a hardtail with a suspension post?



Just bought a Thudbuster. Shows up in a couple of days.

I've heard good things about them. Not quite a FS feel, but allows you to stay seated, and pedal more than without.

I will report more once I get a ride or two in on it.
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Old 05-25-07, 03:48 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by BugsInMyTeeth
How about a hardtail with a suspension post?



Just bought a Thudbuster. Shows up in a couple of days.

I've heard good things about them. Not quite a FS feel, but allows you to stay seated, and pedal more than without.

I will report more once I get a ride or two in on it.
They're ok as long as you realize that Thudbusters are a comfort item not a performance item, and that you realize that the true function of a full suspension bike is not simply to cushion the ride. It is not a cheap way to get an FS bike, however it will take the edge of of some jolts which is all it was ever meant to do.

It's not a panacea it's a band aid.
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Old 05-25-07, 04:51 PM   #6
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hardtails are fun to play with on the trails. they tend to jump easier and most of the time i like it.
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Old 05-25-07, 04:53 PM   #7
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i like hard tails better, if i were to get a freeride bike it would be a hardtail, there more fun to ride, and more challenging to ride
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Old 05-25-07, 04:56 PM   #8
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I also prefer the hardtail . You can get up and go much more effeiciently than with your suspension collapsing below you. However, if I was on a serious trail with big rocks, logs, etc, I may consider it someday. Also, if I was doing DH, I would definitely go suspension. But, I don't DH.
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Old 05-25-07, 05:19 PM   #9
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I prefer my hard tail too...My buddy and I switch all the time and his bike feels like a tank to me...it feels sloppy at best...maybe its not tuned right or something...but the stumpy fs I rode felt ok...but that bike is thousands of dollars. My buddys bike was about 1500...trek fuel 80. My bike is a trek 6500 with a couple of added odds and ends. My bike is light...quick...and nimble. Last time my buddy and I switched...He didnt want to give my bike back.
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Old 05-25-07, 05:24 PM   #10
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I have a hardtail and a dualie. All I can say is, if you're going to take out the dualie, make sure you're riding something that really needs dual suspension. Hardtail climbs better, more nimble, lighter, etc.
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Old 05-25-07, 05:28 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Pheard
I have a hardtail and a dualie. All I can say is, if you're going to take out the dualie, make sure you're riding something that really needs dual suspension. Hardtail climbs better, more nimble, lighter, etc.
I dont need a damn dualie...its just another luxury I can do without. I drive a Heep Wrangler not a caddy...I ride hardtail not a full suspension...in my Jeep I point it at the rough parts on purpose and on my bike I go around it unless going over it will get me there faster
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Old 05-25-07, 06:09 PM   #12
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Thanks all. Sounds like a hard tail is really more along what I'd want. I won't be doing logs and boulders. More likely trails with some semblance of a path. I'm also thinking mtb'ing is a better father / young son thing than road cycling - more ability to hack around and less worry about traffic.

Any rec's for good bikes?
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Old 05-25-07, 06:18 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by SpongeDad
Any rec's for good bikes?
Best advice I can give you is to hit the local shops and test ride. Our opinions won't mean a damn if the bike doesn't feel right to you. Come back when you have two or three that you like.
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Old 05-25-07, 06:26 PM   #14
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I have an adjustable rear suspension. There is a nut that tightens or loosens the spring on the shock abs. I haven't quite figured out which way I like it yet. My old bike had NO suspension and I was always on that thing. Of course I was younger.
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Old 05-25-07, 06:29 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Minesbroken
I dont need a damn dualie...its just another luxury I can do without. I drive a Heep Wrangler not a caddy...I ride hardtail not a full suspension...in my Jeep I point it at the rough parts on purpose and on my bike I go around it unless going over it will get me there faster
...now thats a real man!
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Old 05-25-07, 06:32 PM   #16
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I will put another voice for the hardtail. I have a higher end hardtail - it was 2,000 dollars. For 2,000 you used to be able to get a very good hardtail - not sure you can say the same for full suspension.

A high end hardtail is light enough to double as a hybrid if you just want to cruise. I have done Metric Centuries on my without a problem. It was mixed too, a lot of rock road and then pavement. Nice to have a bike that can handle just about anything, but not feel like a tank on the road if you hit pavement.
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Old 05-25-07, 06:37 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpongeDad
how bad does a trail have to be before a rear suspension bike becomes a real asset? Are we talking rocks and boulders here? Riding down stairways?
A FS bike is not needed for riding down stairs at all since it is smarter to ride down 'em off and back of the saddle.

I go slow over rock gardens and stuff and stand for optimal balance control so I wouldn't need a FS there either.

The only time I gripe about having a hardtail are riding long periods on grassy areas and when there are long sections of very rough roots.

Of course thats just me.
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Old 05-25-07, 06:50 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpongeDad
Any rec's for good bikes?

Well, I'll be starting a thread soon on the rebuild/repaint of an old Rockhopper I got from a friend. It needed a major overhaul, and it was too big for him anyway. So, I traded him my cheap Wally-World Mongoose full suspension for it. He rides it all the time now, because it fits him.

Anyway, you can usually pick up a used Rockhopper or Stumpjumper for a few hundred, and they're usually pretty lightweight for what they are. Unless of course you want something brand new. There's lots of good mid-grade starter bikes in the $700-$900 range.
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Old 05-25-07, 08:46 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by z415
A FS bike is not needed for riding down stairs at all since it is smarter to ride down 'em off and back of the saddle.

I go slow over rock gardens and stuff and stand for optimal balance control so I wouldn't need a FS there either.

The only time I gripe about having a hardtail are riding long periods on grassy areas and when there are long sections of very rough roots.

Of course thats just me.
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Old 05-25-07, 10:33 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by z415
A FS bike is not needed for riding down stairs at all since it is smarter to ride down 'em off and back of the saddle.

I go slow over rock gardens and stuff and stand for optimal balance control so I wouldn't need a FS there either.

The only time I gripe about having a hardtail are riding long periods on grassy areas and when there are long sections of very rough roots.

Of course thats just me.
it really depends on your terrain and what you will most often ride. There are 3 parks near me, 2 of which are mostly smooth, a few rock gardens and massive amounts of roots. the other one is called "rocky ridge" and is massive amounts of rocks. lots of fun, im glad i have a hardtail for the up hills, but the down hill sections are pretty damn bumpy. unless you go really expensive i would stick with a hard tail. Weight is just too big of a factor.
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Old 05-25-07, 11:32 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Raiyn
They're ok as long as you realize that Thudbusters are a comfort item not a performance item, and that you realize that the true function of a full suspension bike is not simply to cushion the ride. It is not a cheap way to get an FS bike, however it will take the edge of of some jolts which is all it was ever meant to do.

It's not a panacea it's a band aid.

So say those who do not use Thudbusters.

No it's not a substitute for a full suspension system. The thuddy, does provide a degree of suspension for the wheel between your ass and the trail using the front wheel as a pivot. They allow you to be seated longer which saves energy.

This is an old argument. Do we really have to get into it again.
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Old 05-25-07, 11:36 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raiyn
They're ok as long as you realize that Thudbusters are a comfort item not a performance item, and that you realize that the true function of a full suspension bike is not simply to cushion the ride. It is not a cheap way to get an FS bike, however it will take the edge of of some jolts which is all it was ever meant to do.

It's not a panacea it's a band aid.

While agree with your paragraph, I must take issue with your tagline. While BugsInMyTeeth may have implied he hoped it could be a panacea (i.e. a solution to the lack of rear suspension on a hardtail), I think your comparison to a band aid is lacking in accuracy. A band aid is a temporary dressing for a generally minor problem (and used idiomatically to declaim the sufficiency of such a dressing). However the ThudBuster at issue is neither. There is no fault with hardtails -- they are bikes perfectly adapted within their own scope of riding to the very same trails others ride with AM/FR/DH rigs. Like BClpam noted, the trail is the same, just the riding is different.

The thudbuster was designed to do as you point out in your paragraph above -- it takes the edge off some of the rougher bits of riding a HT. It was not designed to fix a weakness of the HT design and make it more like a FS. To many, the responsiveness of the back end while descending, or flowing rocky/rooty sections, is anything but a weakness -- it's feedback and control, not bumps and bangs.

That'd be like saying a padded seat in a formula 1 car is a bandaid in the problem of comfort. There is no comfort problem: it's supposed to be that way.

I only write to keep you on point, as you so faithfully do for others. And while it may be a minor point, we can all improve if others catch us where cannot catch ourselves. Let the minuteness of the point be itself a compliment to how thoroughly you have developed your ability to catch yourself before committing thought to digital medium.

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Old 05-26-07, 07:06 AM   #23
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Err..

No. For the record, I didn't mean to imply a suspension post as a replacement for a FS bike... though I believe it will let me stay seated more, which should improve my pedal performance a tad.

Panacea? Nice.

I'm new here.. looks like a sparked some sort of knee jerk reaction.

Never tried one. Soon will. Will know more then.
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Old 05-26-07, 08:24 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by mtnbiker66
...now thats a real man!
Not so as hardtail riders are wimps; just a little less so than us FS riders. I meet this guy periodically in Tanasi (SE Tenn.) who rides a single speed with no suspension. Not only that, but his tires are inflated around 25/27 psi and he uses light-weight tubes. He unweights on all the rough stuff which is plentiful in Tanasi.

Now that's a real man!

Al

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Old 05-26-07, 08:34 AM   #25
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Err..

No. For the record, I didn't mean to imply a suspension post as a replacement for a FS bike... though I believe it will let me stay seated more, which should improve my pedal performance a tad.

Panacea? Nice.

I'm new here.. looks like a sparked some sort of knee jerk reaction.

Never tried one. Soon will. Will know more then.
I used one on my hardtail as my tail is not hard. Works well and it is a performance enhancer as it reduces fatigue. It lowered my times on my local 18 mile trail. You need to stand on the bigger stuff as the rebound is not damped. However, that's not a real negative as you need to be out of the saddle then anyway. The only real negative is weight.

I find that I'm off the saddle about as much on my FS as I was on my old hard tail (with or without the suspension seatpost) for control.

Al
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