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  1. #1
    Outgunned and outclassed
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    Starting on a Full Suspension

    this topic has been dodged around on some other threads...

    well most riders, and I, agree that FS bikes are superior is almost every technilogical facet I do not think that it is good to start riding on a FS.

    one learns alot riding HT and will, in the end, be a better rider if one learn to ride on a HT.

    I've got my own ancedotes to back this up, but does anyone else agree with me?
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  2. #2
    Pedalphile BurlySurly's Avatar
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    No.

    A hardtail is an inferior bike in most ways. Granted on some VERY groomed trails with tons of climbing, an HT can perform better, but with the general direction the sport is taking, with XC racers having 4 inch travel bikes, the best bikes will be FS bikes able to handle it all. A newb can justify his lesser bike if he wishes to make himself feel better about what he rides all day, but a better bike is a better bike. Picking lines in XC riding on a HT vs. an FS is negligable anyway.
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  3. #3
    Gravity Is Yer Friend dirtbikedude's Avatar
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    I would have agreed with you a few years ago but now with the new technology in forks and shocks and even w/some suspension designs your riding style needs to be compleatly differant then on a ht. These days a good fs will out perform a good ht even on fireroads. Technique in jumping, droping, climbing etc, etc, etc are all approched differently with a fs then a ht.


  4. #4
    Senior Member arboc!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BurlySurly
    No.

    A hardtail is an inferior bike in most ways. Granted on some VERY groomed trails with tons of climbing, an HT can perform better, but with the general direction the sport is taking, with XC racers having 4 inch travel bikes, the best bikes will be FS bikes able to handle it all. A newb can justify his lesser bike if he wishes to make himself feel better about what he rides all day, but a better bike is a better bike. Picking lines in XC riding on a HT vs. an FS is negligable anyway.
    i disagree, a hardtail may be technologically inferior, but it is simplistic and stong. Dont get me wrong, the technology is great, and the fs riding is very fun. but i think learning on hardtail is much more benificial to a beginner learning how to ride. The way you learn on a hard tail is much different than the way you learn on a fs. When you learn on an ht, you really become in tune with your style of riding, the trail and your ability. I think the full suspention gives some beggining riders a false sence of security. After learning on a hardtail you have the ability to tell the difference in riding, and any dissadvantages of riding a fs. The bottom line is a hard tail even though simplistic, offers the most options for new riders.

  5. #5
    Pedalphile BurlySurly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtjumpP.1
    i disagree, a hardtail may be technologically inferior, but it is simplistic and stong. Dont get me wrong, the technology is great, and the fs riding is very fun. but i think learning on hardtail is much more benificial to a beginner learning how to ride. The way you learn on a hard tail is much different than the way you learn on a fs. When you learn on an ht, you really become in tune with your style of riding, the trail and your ability. I think the full suspention gives some beggining riders a false sence of security. After learning on a hardtail you have the ability to tell the difference in riding, and any dissadvantages of riding a fs. The bottom line is a hard tail even though simplistic, offers the most options for new riders.
    I completely disagree.

    What false sense of security? FS isnt going anywhere. The bikes are structurally sound and more capable. Knowing how to ride an HT is fine, but again FS isnt going away anytime soon and that style of riding is what the majority of MTBing involves. There are no longer disadvantages of riding an FS as there used to be, as the pros FAR outweigh the cons.
    Your bottom line is also incorrect, as the FS is superior in every facet of the sport except trials and dirt jumping, the rest has gone FS and the HT has gone the way of the dinosaur.
    Dont PM me.

  6. #6
    Senior Member arboc!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BurlySurly

    What false sense of security? FS isnt going anywhere. The bikes are structurally sound and more capable.
    .
    The false sense of security im talking about come with kids wanting to freeride and do jumps, and they think a fs will allow them to do better jumps than an ht, but if they dont know how to ride it properly, they can get hurt. And young kids looking to get into the sport can get a stronger ht then a fs for the same price.

  7. #7
    Pedalphile BurlySurly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtjumpP.1
    The false sense of security im talking about come with kids wanting to freeride and do jumps, and they think a fs will allow them to do better jumps than an ht, but if they dont know how to ride it properly, they can get hurt. And young kids looking to get into the sport can get a stronger ht then a fs for the same price.
    An FS will allow them to do better stuff than an HT when they freeride. And if they start out riding an FS, how will they not know how to ride it properly? How will riding an HT teach them to ride an FS properly? Its a totally different and outdated style thats becoming more and more useless as the sport progresses. An FS is clearly the better choice for 95% of mountain biking.

    the only point you have is that an HT is cheaper, and cheaper does not mean better.

    I see that you ride a P.1, and thats a fine bike, but it simply is not as effective a machine.
    Dont PM me.

  8. #8
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Ok now this is a flashback to 2 years agoish...dbd and burly in one post. All we need now is coolio, a2, kona and jim311 and it will be like old times ahah..

    can't say I disagree with burly or dbd. I started on a ht and it helped but the dually helped confidence way more. I was able to progress quicker on a dually, and now when I go back to a ht I find I am much better on the ht than before. The dually helped me improve in every facet including pedalling.

    Although jumping is better on a ht

  9. #9
    ÖöÖöÖöÖöÖö Dannihilator's Avatar
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    What, I'm right here.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member arboc!'s Avatar
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    well i ride urban and dj, so between lips being absorbed and pedal bob, ill stick with the ht.
    Last edited by arboc!; 11-29-04 at 08:00 PM.

  11. #11
    Ride bike or bike ride? Hopper's Avatar
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    I stsrted on a HT and I think it helped me. It helps you see how line choice is good and I find that doing things on a HT is harder than on a dualie. Due to this fact if you can do it on a HT then you will be better at it on a Dualie when you get one. I also think that when you do make the swap you will progress quicker.

    I do find that around my area, the people who started on HT's and have moved on to dualies are way better then the guy who bought a dualie for a first bike and have ridden for the same amount of time.

    All this is coming from a DH/Freeride perspective.

    Also when I was watching the olympic XC, I saw almost no Dual Suspension bikes there.
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  12. #12
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Race xc there still isn't much in the way of duallies. Roland Green has one in his flock but only uses it for the rougher of courses (bc )...

  13. #13
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    To a newbie FS is a crutch. They rely on it to bail them out of situations they wouldn't have gotten into had they learned to pick lines properly.

  14. #14
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    I have to agree that learning on a ht is way better because you have the rigid a$$ end of the bike which means no bobbing (excpet for ritch sukers who can afford platform shocks) and you can get a reeal good hardtail mtb bike for the same price as a crap fs. Also in the long run a fs sucks because the bushings wear away and in a few years you won't be able to buy them again, so the ht has more relability than a fs. In some ways a fs can be better because you descent more smoothly but you toughen up from a ht and so only softies would use a fs. have a good one.

  15. #15
    Digs technical steeps
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    The argument that the only advantage to a HT is they cost less can be instantly debunked by noting the HT's for sale (and being sold) by top-line bike builders/manufacturers at prices higher than a lot of good FS's on the market.

    There's a reason you still see a lot of HT's on the pro and competitive event circuit and it isn't because they are a bunch of idiots or can't afford a better ride. Granted, FS's are making more of a presence than they used to so the trend seems to favor FS.

    The 'best' bike is the bike that matches the rider to the type of riding they want to do. That might be a HT, a FS, or even a unicycle.

    There's also a lot of good discussion going on about this right now at: Hardtail to FS switch...in reverse
    Last edited by Juniper; 11-30-04 at 08:51 AM.
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  16. #16
    Withdrawal Symptoms! Cornish_Rdr_UK's Avatar
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    Personally speaking, FS bikes are better, but i beleive you cant beat the feel of a hardtail, it just feels so much better than a full suspension, not in a bone shaking kind of way, its difficult to explain, any of you other hardtail riders have this feeling?

  17. #17
    pnj
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    I always thought it had more to do with the rider then the bike.

    for me, it's hardtails and platforms, for life.
    4130

  18. #18
    Gravity Is Yer Friend dirtbikedude's Avatar
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    I was not going to say anything else but the argument about picking a line just seems funny. With a good fs you do not need to pick a line other then to avoid the drops that scare you. lol
    Just point the bike down the hill and roll over everything (without destoying the vegetation and such) At least that is the way we do it around here. The more tech and rougher the trail the better.


  19. #19
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    I think you guys are missing one of the SINGLE most IMPORTANT aspects of the sport...........FUN. Isnt that why we ride, why we beat the hell out of ourselves only to get up the next day and do it again, the joy of knowing you did something that most others would be affraid of, and lets not forget being in the mountains, THAT is one of my favorites about this sport.

    SURE having a good bike is confidence building, and sure its fun to sniker at others who are sidewalk comandos and walmart wanna bees, but you also have to keep in mind that not alot of parents and people arent willing or able to shell out 1-4k for a bike, I can justify it, but my bank account cant, so I do the best with what I got (which aint that bad).
    -Jacob

  20. #20
    Digs technical steeps
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtbikedude
    I was not going to say anything else but the argument about picking a line just seems funny. With a good fs you do not need to pick a line other then to avoid the drops that scare you. lol
    Just point the bike down the hill and roll over everything (without destoying the vegetation and such) At least that is the way we do it around here. The more tech and rougher the trail the better.


    True, so true. I know it isn't every rider's thing but I like the art in picking a good line. We can steam-roll down about anything on a good FR but not everyone can work their way through in one piece on a HT. That's the challenge! It's (sort of) like the difference between taking the gondolla to the top of the mountain and climbing there with ropes. Is 'easier' always 'better'? Like I said, I know it's not what everyone wants to do, which is cool. I enjoy FR, too.

    Unfortunately, and I'm glad you mentioned this dirtbikedude ('without destoying the vegetation and such'), there seems to be less concern these days about not just steam-rolling over everything because we can. I'm seeing more trail sections closed due to erosion and related problems caused by riders pointing their bikes straight down and going for it on fragile hillsides, etc. This can not be good for our sport in the long run. Just because it's rideable doesn't mean it should be ridden. Sometimes it reminds me of people who say, 'We used to party there all the time but it got too trashy.' Uh ... OK.

    Am I like the last guy who thinks there's an art to picking a good line on a HT? Naw ... I have a feeling the single-speed and rigid riders are tuned into it ; ) The best thing is ...it's all good!

    BTW, I like tubed audio, too; maybe I'm just perpetual old school.
    Last edited by Juniper; 11-30-04 at 10:30 AM.
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  21. #21
    Digs technical steeps
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    Quote Originally Posted by snakehunter
    I think you guys are missing one of the SINGLE most IMPORTANT aspects of the sport...........FUN. Isnt that why we ride, why we beat the hell out of ourselves only to get up the next day and do it again, the joy of knowing you did something that most others would be affraid of, and lets not forget being in the mountains, THAT is one of my favorites about this sport.

    SURE having a good bike is confidence building, and sure its fun to sniker at others who are sidewalk comandos and walmart wanna bees, but you also have to keep in mind that not alot of parents and people arent willing or able to shell out 1-4k for a bike, I can justify it, but my bank account cant, so I do the best with what I got (which aint that bad).
    -Jacob

    Thanks! You nailed it.
    'My other bike is a bike.'

  22. #22
    The Rabbi seely's Avatar
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    Overall I think a hardtail vastly improves your handling skills over a "point and shoot" FS, but riding an FS is completely different than a HT. I don't think it really matters that much which you start out on, especially if you don't race. If you start on a FS you will get the FS skillset, if you start on a HT you will get the HT skillset. What works will come naturally with time and practice. I for one cannot ride an FS in any efficient manner at all. When I am on one I still stand up in rough sections, downhills, etc and my legs just naturally do the work. I think they have their merits but its not for everyone. I still have yet to ride one and enjoy it... they just feel heavy, slow and unresponsive in comparison to my hardtail. But thats just me.

  23. #23
    NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS! a2psyklnut's Avatar
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    For a newbie with a limited budget, a hardtail is usually recommended. Why? What newbie is going to drop over $1,000 for a sport they may or may not like. There are a few 'decent' full squish bikes in the $850 to $950 range, but the $1,000 benchmark is the going target point for decent full squish. So, unless you are going to buy a decent full squish bike, you are wasting your money on a bike that "looks" cool but performs like crap. A lighter weight hardtail with better components is preferred over a cheap full suspension bike that weighs a ton.

    Also remember that the majority of people just getting into the sport are into XC type riding, not FR. So the "pick the gnarliest line" isn't something a beginner will consider.

    Remember the ORIGINAL question. HT over FS for BEGINNERS. As a seasoned rider, you have a strong tendancy towards one or the other, but as a beginner, you should focus on a HT.

    Here's my philosophy as to why:

    1) Initial Cost. Why drop a lot of money on a sport you may or may not enjoy. I've found over the years that "a lot" of money for a beginner is about a $500 budget. That includes helmet, some tools and the bike. Plus, a lot of beginners are younger and their parents "help out" with the purchase. A parent who understands the differences between a X-Mart bike and a Bike Shop bike are a rarity. So, $500 is "A LOT" to spend on a bike.
    2) Skills. You will be riding mostly groomed double track or single track, you might jump a little bump every once in a while. You will be learing basic bike handling skills, balance, control, braking, wheelies, bunny hops, jumps, drops. All these are easier to learn with a hardtail as it provides instant feedback as to what the bike is doing. Plus it's lighter and easier to control and move around.
    3) Ignorance. Not a bad thing. But as a newbie you might not know what aspect of the sport really interests you. You might get into racing XC, or Freeriding or whatever. A HT is better suited to be a better "all-around" bike. Plus, many begginers use there bikes for recreation, AND transportation. Transportation being done on the road. A HT is better suited for dual use. Why buy a full suspension bike if all you do is ride groomed singletrack and ENJOY climbing? As a begginer you simply don't know what you enjoy and what style of riding you will adopt as yours.
    4) Maintenance. Although bicycle mechanics are not THAT complicated, there are many bicycle specific tools you need and the skills to do the repair yourself. If not you depend on someone else (your bike shop) to do them for you. There is no denying or arguing that a hardtail requires less maintenance than a full suspension bike. ALWAYS!
    5) Skills (Part 2). Learing to pick lines while descending IS important. Learning proper climbing techniques IS important. Learning to jump IS important. Learning to bunnyhop IS important. All these skills ARE easier to learn on a hardtail. Once you master these skills, moving to a full squish bike will make you a better rider.
    "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW, What a Ride!" - unknown
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  24. #24
    pnj
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    while we're at it, is it really necasary to have special clothes to ride in?

    the shoes, the pants, the shirts, etc......
    4130

  25. #25
    NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS! a2psyklnut's Avatar
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    No, but if you're "into" the sport your wear them. A guy wearing some cut-offs and a T-shirt and some ratty tennis shoes can have just as much fun as the guy wearing a Cool-max jersey, a pair of baggies with a padded liner and a pair of cycling shoes (if using clipless).

    But the guy wearing the Cool-Max jersey will be more comfortable because his jersey aides in the evaporation process. The padded shorts will keep his "junk" from being sore and he'll be riding more efficiently (if clipless).
    "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW, What a Ride!" - unknown
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