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  1. #1
    Senior Member doonster's Avatar
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    Softtail vs full suss

    Couldn't find what I was looking for in a search, so here goes:

    Was just looking to buy a full suss XC bike when I started seeing good reviews of softtail bikes. This got me thinking (in a bit of a dilemma really). I'm looking for an all-day bike tht will take the hits out of trails. Not looking to huck of large objects or anything, just regular XC stuff, moderately technical. Will be a high budget bike.

    Question really is: anyone ridden both and can offer an honest comparison? Did riding a softtail offer all the advantages wthout the drawbacks, or did you really miss having 4" rear travel?

    Not looking for specific recommendations, can find that elsewhere (other threads, reviews etc) just a type comparison.

    I already have 2 hardtails (alu & steel) and they don't really cut it for long periods in the saddle - let alone multi-day stuff.

  2. #2
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    A soft-tail will never be a full suspension bike in the way that it takes hits. If you really want a softer feeling ride the FS is the only way to go and with the newer suspension designs, if you're looking for a bike that wont beat you up much, the drawbacks are all minimal. Take your steel hardtail and take a little more off of that and thats what a soft tail will feel like

  3. #3
    I'm bikey hitek420's Avatar
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    I've ridden both a soft tail and a fs with 4" in the back.

    I would rather have the fs, it seemed to take the hits better.

    The softtail just felt cheap in my opinion.

  4. #4
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Hmmm... I may be the only person who likes soft-tails. I admit they're not meant to take the place of a full-suspension and I do own a full-suspenion but for what they're designed for, they're usually good bikes. If you really like the feel of a hardtail but just need a little bit more of the edge taken off in the rear then go for soft-tails. Bear in mind that this opinion comes from someone who also likes riding full-rigids. The problem with a soft-tail of course is that while it works very well within its design scope, its design scope is a bit narrow.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
    "Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send." -- Jon Postel, RFC1122

  5. #5
    :\ ping of death troie's Avatar
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    Ive never heard of a softtail. Whats that, rear suspension only?

  6. #6
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Originally posted by troie
    Ive never heard of a softtail. Whats that, rear suspension only?
    A soft-tail is a bike with limited rear suspension... usually under 1" travel. There are several designs but many don't involve complicated linkages and some rely on just the flexing of the material (such as in titanium frames) in the stays. Some use simple elastomer bumpers and others may have a small air shock. Most of the time the shock unit can be load-bearing since the travel is so small it doesn't have to be designed to be as beefy.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
    "Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send." -- Jon Postel, RFC1122

  7. #7
    Short bus rider H. Star's Avatar
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    I have both a hard tail and soft tail Specialized in the garage. I ride what I think of as XC, but because I am in SFLA which is very flat, there are plenty of stunts to make it challenging (and to remove my flesh). Without question the FSR is superior. Certainly it depends on your fork and shock, but if you get good components, go squishy.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Jim311's Avatar
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    I saw a sweet Trek soft tail the other day... I wanted it. I think it'd be perfect take the edge of the trail but still remain very efficient. If you ride that kind of XC stuff with no big drops/jump/hits it would be sweet.
    My money pits:

    Cannondale Jekyll 500 with Avid Mechs and Sun DS2 rims with XT disc hubs.

    Cannondale F900 with SRAM XO shifters/derailler, Mavic X3.1 tubeless wheels, Avid Mechs, Race Face Next LP cranks, Time ATAC pedals, SRAM levers.

  9. #9
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    I'd DESTROY a soft tail in very short order. (i'm not small nor am I gentle on my equipment.) So a full susser (like my FSR) is my best bet.

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