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Old 08-07-09, 09:48 AM   #1
Thunder Dan
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Have You Ditched Full Squish for Hardtail?

I am currently riding a 2008 Trek Fuel EX8 and have nothing but good things to say about it. However, as is the case with even the best of the best full sussies out there, more moving parts means it’s prone to more problems. My rig is currently sitting on the workstand, waiting for the repair of some rider-induced trauma. Looking at it sit there, I was half-heartedly musing on the fact on whether or not I would be happier with the simplicity of a 1X9 spd 29er hardtail…maybe even something fully rigid. Sure, I’d have to re-acquire that thing known as “bike handling skills”, but would I avoid the occasional mechanical headache in the process? Any stories from posters here that gave up their beloved full squish in favor of something simpler? If so, please share.
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Old 08-07-09, 10:24 AM   #2
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I am currently riding a 2008 Trek Fuel EX8...I was half-heartedly musing on the fact on whether or not I would be happier with the simplicity of a 1X9 spd 29er hardtail…maybe even something fully rigid.
This information leads me to believe you are confused about your intended riding style. the former is designed for different terrain than the latter.

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My rig is currently sitting on the workstand, waiting for the repair of some rider-induced trauma.
What happened exactly?

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I am currently riding a 2008 Trek Fuel EX8 and have nothing but good things to say about it.
As is the story I've heard from other EX8 owners. Good bike.

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I was half-heartedly musing on the fact on whether or not I would be happier with the simplicity...
That's going to be a personal preference on your part.

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Sure, I’d have to re-acquire that thing known as “bike handling skills”...
A common misconception...you'll be fine either way...unless you began as a hack and never improved. It takes just as much skill to ride the EX as it does a Hardtail. You just do it "differently".

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...would I avoid the occasional mechanical headache in the process?
Possibly...but not excessively.

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Any stories from posters here that gave up their beloved full squish in favor of something simpler? If so, please share.
I went from rigid geared - front suspended geared - 24spd dually - 24spd front suspended - 29spd front suspended - 1x8 front suspended - 27spd front suspended - 18spd dually - 1x9 front suspended - rigid SS 26'er - 18spd front suspended.


Going from my 5x5 22/32/bash to a front suspended 1x9 26er was a big change for me. My reasoning was that after weighing the fact that I couldn't keep up with my XC riding buddies on their XC HT's and light/efficient duallies on my 32lb 5x5 against the reality that 90% of my trail riding was spent at a trail network that was pretty groomed and climby...I decided to lose the 6lbs of bike and inefficiency of the rear suspension so that I could climb standing up and fly uphill while still retaining enough energy to enjoy the terrain. Mind you...had I the time to spend honing the motor instead of spending it with my kids...I would probably still be riding the heavy 5x5.

Now even more recently...I did the rigid SS thing. It's great, I love it. My knees do complain a bit though. I have decided to keep the rigid SS to ride now and then, but my 1x9 26'er is now back to a 2x9 26'er. I'm loving Granny. It's a nice change. I wouldn't mind building up one more bike as a 1x9 so I have all 3 setups. Ya just never know what you'll be in the mood for.


As far as mechanical headaches...sure, a dually will require pivot bearing replacement and shock rebuild every few years. (make/model pending)

It is all gonna boil down to your terrain, riding style, energy level, and just plain ol' personal preference.


Do I regret that I don't have the dually? Yes. Would I trade my hardtail for the dually I once had? Probably not. If I could afford to build a nicer one than my old 5x5...probably would.
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Old 08-07-09, 11:08 AM   #3
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I recently made the switch from hardtail to fs, it's an older one ('01) so the rear suspension doesn't have the same functionality as the new ones do.

With that being said, I could easily see myself back on a hardtail for two reasons.

1. The terrain I ride is conducive - very long fireroads up and nothing too technically challenging down.

2. And what seems to be a rather good selling point, it seems you get so much more for your money when you opt for a hardtail. For 2k I can get into a really nice 29'er Stumpjumper (h/t) for example, that won't even get you invited to the party for the f/s version.

I think it's a tough sell to yourself if you think a hardtail is going to require less maintenance then a full suspension. I suppose with a rear shock that is another opportunity for failure (which you must have found), but that doesn't seem like something that would happen too often.
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Old 08-07-09, 11:09 AM   #4
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I'm doing just the opposite. I'm trying to ditch my hardtails. Thanks to a hand-me-down frame from my son, I was finally able to build a full-suspension trail bike this year . . . and have been loving it to pieces, even if it is a bit on the chunky side. The only thing I really want to be aboard a hardtail for is the occasional cross country race (and that is only because I can't justify buying a FS XC race bike).
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Old 08-07-09, 11:12 AM   #5
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This information leads me to believe you are confused about your intended riding style. the former is designed for different terrain than the latter.
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What terrain is fuel ex8 designed for? You can't ride a hardtail on that?
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Old 08-07-09, 11:16 AM   #6
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I recently made the switch from hardtail to fs, it's an older one ('01) so the rear suspension doesn't have the same functionality as the new ones do.

With that being said, I could easily see myself back on a hardtail for two reasons.

1. The terrain I ride is conducive - very long fireroads up and nothing too technically challenging down.

2. And what seems to be a rather good selling point, it seems you get so much more for your money when you opt for a hardtail. For 2k I can get into a really nice 29'er Stumpjumper (h/t) for example, that won't even get you invited to the party for the f/s version.

I think it's a tough sell to yourself if you think a hardtail is going to require less maintenance then a full suspension. I suppose with a rear shock that is another opportunity for failure (which you must have found), but that doesn't seem like something that would happen too often.
Do you ride Wilder and UC? Because seeing that you live in Los Gatos and describing the terrain, I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND! For where we live and ride, I really can't see the advantage of a full suspension over a hardtail... in fact, with the fireroad climbs the hardtail just makes sense. I'm in spitting distance of Santa Teresa County park and my full rigid SS works just fine for it.

I guess you really have to take your riding environment into consideration.

My next bike will be a geared hardtail for sure.
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Old 08-07-09, 12:00 PM   #7
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What terrain is fuel ex8 designed for? You can't ride a hardtail on that?

Sure, you can ride a BMX bike on the same terrain...but a Fuel EX was designed to ride a different sort of trail than some possible rigid 29'er that the OP is considering. I ride rocky crap on my rigid 26'er...but if I lived near trails like that and rode them all the time...you'd better believe I'd be back on a dually.

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Old 08-07-09, 12:06 PM   #8
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Have You Ditched Full Squish for Hardtail?
Am debating that question right now, but it's more due to coming to a fork in the road of MTB life. My old Jeckyl is worn out and I know from test rides I'm going to have to ante up $2K to get something I'll be happy with to stay in the DS game. Rode hardtails for years and did OK, but downhill was always tough- I'm super light and got pounded mercilessly. OK maybe it's not that hard a decision.
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Old 08-08-09, 10:28 PM   #9
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I enjoy going back to riding a full rigid bike from my dualy, every once in a while.What I really do'nt like is the next day,I'm getting older and trail riding takes a bigger toll now than it did.You add a couple more wear items but,just about every part on a bike is a wear part.I will gladly take a few more things to go wrong in a trade for all the good things(and there are a lot)that come with fs.
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Old 08-09-09, 05:18 PM   #10
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I gave up my cutting edge 4 bar linkage speciakized FRS Expert for a HT Gary fisher mid range HT....I luv it...I never felt comfy on the thing....no wI can clear stuff I could not...I was so uncomfortable it was slow.....I am now gonna get a suspension post to take the edge off..I am so much faster now.....Oh yeah and I a 40 somethin gold fat dude....been riding Mt bikes since 1986.....I had the c-dale beast of the east back in the day.....
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Old 08-09-09, 05:46 PM   #11
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Is this really a life choice for some? I thought everyone had three or four bikes.
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Old 08-09-09, 06:38 PM   #12
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is this really a life choice for some? I thought everyone had three or four bikes.
+1, or 5 or 6.....
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Old 08-09-09, 07:32 PM   #13
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Is this really a life choice for some? I thought everyone had three or four bikes.
Yep, you really have to have one of each type of MTB.
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Old 08-10-09, 11:17 AM   #14
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I'm a recent convert back to full rigid - I like the simplicity, stiffness, responsiveness and light weight, plus i still have some (full) adjustable suspension (adjustable pressure in 2" tires !)
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Old 08-10-09, 12:03 PM   #15
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Gave up on my 2007 Trek Fuel EX7 to a 2009 Moto Ti Fly. I do miss the full suspension when going over rough terrain while seated, but all that goes away when I am flying up the hills of Mount Wilson on my new hardtail. All I do now is just to get off the saddle during the bumpy descents.
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Old 08-10-09, 01:53 PM   #16
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I'll just say this: one ride on a real trail would make anybody a believer in all the suspension they could stuff under themselves.

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Old 08-10-09, 06:52 PM   #17
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I'll just say this: one ride on a real trail would make anybody a believer in all the suspension they could stuff under themselves.

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So your saying it's the quality between your legs and not the quantity?
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Old 08-10-09, 07:41 PM   #18
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I have 4 bikes ..

2 hartails for XC stuff and 2 FS for downhill stuff. I wouldnt trade my hardtail for a FS on a XC track nor woud i trade my FS for my hardtail on a downill tack .

Each bike has its place in my opinion , depending on your riding style , where you ride and what you can afford.
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Old 08-10-09, 10:46 PM   #19
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So your saying it's the quality between your legs and not the quantity?
Quality is fine but quantity is everything. Just saying that I raced down a trail yesterday so perversely steep, deep and gnarly that I don't even think I would ride three years ago. End of discussion.
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Old 08-10-09, 11:27 PM   #20
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Quality is fine but quantity is everything. Just saying that I raced down a trail yesterday so perversely steep, deep and gnarly that I don't even think I would ride three years ago. End of discussion.
On the Santa Cruz single-tracks I rode yesterday on my full rigid, I remember descending the same ones on my Big Hit a few years ago. And yes... the rigid almost bucked me off a half-dozen times. Made me want my Big Hit again just for that section.

But then again, my veteran CX racer brother was dropping other riders like flies on his 20 yr. old Rock Lobster steel CX bike.

Damn I suck.
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Old 08-11-09, 06:10 AM   #21
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Obviously all in where you ride.


If I had my 'druthers...I'd be shuttle riding a Blindside down Galbraith every day.
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Old 08-12-09, 02:48 PM   #22
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I like the elegance of a rigid bike, and own two of them. The one I ride most, though, is the full-suspension outfit. Why? It's comfortable. The rigid bikes are quicker, smaller, more manageable and prettier, but I'm not a racer. So for my long rides I take the Turner and come home smiling. Maybe it's a little slower but I'm not all that fast anyway.
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Old 08-13-09, 12:42 AM   #23
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There's no law saying you can't have both. The N+1 law says you should have one more (and then one more, and then one more, and then...)
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Old 08-21-09, 07:17 PM   #24
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yeah, it's a matter of affordability, too.

i will probably go for the FS next year...i am just warming back up to hitting the trails and it's been years...

in 1993 my first 'real' ride was a Giant Iguana with an added FlexStem...

and i just took front suspension off my current (but old) Trek which is now totally rigid.

i admit, 80% of the time, i am glad to have it as it is. new knobbies deflated just right will up that to maybe 85%....(something like that).

but today, big, loose rocks and large washout pounded my wrists. they still hurt.

again, that was a new trail, so next time i'll know how to hit it. still, HD and FS have their place and change the rules. not for better or worse. just different.
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Old 08-21-09, 08:16 PM   #25
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I know everyone here is gonna say never say never but I don't think I'll be owning a HT or a full rigid bike as long as I can afford to have a full suspension bike. I a few days ago I swapped bikes with my buddy who owns a rockhopper pro because he is looking to get a stumpjumper and man I am telling you that bike sucked! Go a head flame me all you want I am telling like it is, I was bouncing over every rock and pebble I think I lost a few fillings from my teeth. IMO arguing about benfits of an FS is like saying first computers we build 30-40 years ago were better than the ones we have today or ford model T rode better because it had stiffer suspension, cmon people how is it that possible?
What's next? Replacing the shocks in our cars with steel rods?
Go a head let the firing begin.
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