today i took a beginner out for a ride, she had a great time, she had a full suspension bike, which allowed her to ride comfortably and in control. she had, in the past, an old rigid hardtail and she would be afraid, but her full suspension gave her confidence and she rode more and rode better. she told me she went back and rode the trail she first tried on her hardtail, and with her full suspension, she had fun and rode it.
so many times i hear "i'm just a beginner, i don't need full suspension." so many times we joke that "riding this (6+ inch travel bike) is like cheating."
it struck me....i think we have it backwards....
i think (and i could be wrong, probably am) the current thought is a full suspension bike is for extreme advanced biking, and a hardtail is for the common casual rider. however, full suspension corrects and forgives so many mistakes, it gives confidence and makes riding difficult stuff waaaay easier, and seems to be a perfect bike for a beginner. it's like training wheels.
if i were really really good, i'd be able to ride the stuff i ride with a hardtail, i would have the skills and strength and ability to deal with the drops and rocks and crap. right now i depend on my suspension to get me through, over, and down stuff.
i've also noticed, when i take my hardtail out on the same trails, i ride the hardtail better, because i've ridden the line, i know it, and i know how to ride it, and i am able to ride it with my hardtail, where as, before i did it on full suspension, i couldn't. my full suspension bike taught me to ride better.
i think beginners should all start on full suspension, and as they get better, they simplify, stop depending on mechanical advantage, and end up on a hardtail (if they want to), because they are good enough to ride a hardtail on techy stuff.
this is just the random crap in my head from today's ride. i don't even know if it makes sense.