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Old 12-21-10, 03:56 PM   #1
Lawrence08648
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full suspension or hardtail

For average trail riding and jumping logs in New Jersey, whatever average is, is there an advantage for a full suspension bike? Do you lose power uphills with full suspension? On rocky terrain does the real wheel stay on the ground better with a full suspension? What are the advantages to a hard tail?
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Old 12-21-10, 04:40 PM   #2
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For average trail riding and jumping logs in New Jersey, whatever average is, is there an advantage for a full suspension bike? Do you lose power uphills with full suspension? On rocky terrain does the real wheel stay on the ground better with a full suspension? What are the advantages to a hard tail?
I ride in CT and NY, similar terrain to what you likely have. Ride both. Love both. Assuming a similar build, the hardtail will be lighter. On smoother trails, the hardtail tends to be faster for me up and down. On long pedaly rides, without a lot of chunk, I take the hardtail. Rides where I know it'll have plenty of chunk, or longer descents where the rear suspension will come more into play, I take the squishy bike. My two rides are very similar in build, though the squishy bike weighs 2.5# more - mostly the frame, larger fork, and tires. It's also near 2 degrees slacker at the head angle. Rides where long climbs make that not as much fun are no big deal, because then there will be more descending with that slacker head angle as well.

The hardtail may be more efficient in the pedaling department, but the trade there is it also tends to not maintain rear wheel traction as much. OTOH, the hardtail is also much easier to throw around underneath me, with it's slightly shorter wheelbase, steeper angles, slightly lighter weight, and super stiff rear end - fun on rides with lots of rock crawling or slow speed trialsy stuff.

Is this a budget thing? Only can have one bike, and it needs to do it all? IMO, either a beefy hardtail with different tires for different rides, maybe a travel adjust fork OR a nice tough little 5" trail bike. Do you want to have to be more choosy and smooth about picking lines, and work the bike around, or do you just want to have the bike suck everything up?
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Old 12-21-10, 07:37 PM   #3
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Scrub has it pretty much covered. The only other things I can think of is the hardtail is more responsive when pumped and you don't get the little delay that you get with a full-suspension, and a full-suspension is more forgiving for those little screw ups. In a perfect world, we'd all have a garage full of bikes where we could pick the most appropriate weapon for the job every time we rode. In the real world, we pick what's best for the majority of our riding and buy that. If I could only have one bike, I'd go with my full squish. But that's not to say that hardtails don't have their place too.
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Old 12-21-10, 10:41 PM   #4
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i think it might have a bit to do with preference. over the last 2-4 years i have been driving full suspension and they are nice but this summer i jumped on the hardtail that i gave to my brother-in-law and i missed driving it. the hardtail felt like it has better control.
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Old 12-22-10, 09:53 AM   #5
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I only have one bike now, hardtail, 7 speed Cannondale with the lockout front fork with V brakes. I'm needing to upgrade, to a 9 speed with mechanical disk brakes. I'm a roadie and in the winter I do more MTBiking because I can't find my roadie friends to do any MTBiking with me during the spring & summer months. For the amount of MTBiking I do, I want and only can afford one bike. It seems I should be leaning towards a hard tail again, don't know what the price difference is but it would seem to be less money and of course lighter.
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Old 12-22-10, 12:45 PM   #6
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I have had a ti hardtail for years and I like it. However, last year I bought an older Gary Fisher frame and built it up with parts I wasn't using and stuff from Craigslist and Ebay. The best was getting a barely used R3 rear shock for a good price. I have to say that the experience of riding a FS bike has been amazing. It's really fun. Sure, you lose a bit on climbs but it's just so ... comfy.

However, I've put a Schwalbe 2.4 tire on my hardtail and a 2.3 Exiwolf on the rear, and that certainly added some cushioning.

In the part of the world where I ride -- I guess you'd call it "North Shore" -- most riders go with a FS bike as their sole bike/do-everything bike. If I were you, I'd go and ride some of the lighter FS bikes with lock-out.
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Old 12-22-10, 09:06 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Lawrence08648 View Post
For average trail riding and jumping logs in New Jersey, whatever average is, is there an advantage for a full suspension bike? Do you lose power uphills with full suspension? On rocky terrain does the real wheel stay on the ground better with a full suspension? What are the advantages to a hard tail?
Oh Shiit.
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Old 12-22-10, 09:09 PM   #8
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Does it really even matter? Cases can be made for either, so it comes down to a personal preference.
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Old 12-22-10, 09:18 PM   #9
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if you can afford it, get a full suspension. otherwise, a hardtail can do most of the east coast stuff without a problem.
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Old 12-22-10, 10:00 PM   #10
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Does it really even matter? Cases can be made for either, so it comes down to a personal preference.
Oh sure, be, like, all nice and succinct about things. That's okay. I guess. If you're into that sort of thing.
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Old 12-22-10, 11:36 PM   #11
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I'm done picking sides with this stuff. Seen threads like this way too many times.
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Old 12-23-10, 01:09 AM   #12
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You should:
  • Go hardtail if you don't want to go full suspension.
  • Go Full suspension if you don't want to go rigid or hardtail.
  • Go full rigid if you don't want to go any suspension.
  • Go Muni if you want to lose a wheel and suspension.
  • Go full suspension and an engine if there's somewhere to ride it and you want to.

Just get on some wheels and go . . . and enjoy.
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