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Mountain Bike Advise - HT or FS?

Old 07-25-20, 09:50 AM
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August West
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Mountain Bike Advise - HT or FS?

I'd like a little advise from you senior or soon to be senior mountain bikers out there.

I'm currently a road only rider and ride my Domane just about every day. Only about 1 hour rides usually but always have plenty of climbing so it gives me a great workout and I really enjoy the rides.

But I'd like to vary things up a bit and do some mountain biking. I live outside of town in a high desert area at the base of a small mountain range in the desert southwest. I envision I would be riding mostly on the rocky desert trails around here that are wide open with no trees and are used for both hiking and biking. The trails have both loose rock and exposed solid rocks. There are hills around but I don't intend to attempt anything too radical. Nothing like most of the videos on YouTube I see of people flying down hills, through trees, doing jumps at breakneck speeds.

Turning 65 next month so my #1 priority is to not seriously injure myself.

I'm trying to decide between a nice hardtail or a lower end full suspension. Before the whole Covid-19 thing hit I was able to ride some bikes at my LBS around the parking lot and side streets. I did the like the direct feel of the hardtails but in doing curb jumps the full suspension sure seemed like it would be more comfortable on bumpy trails for longer rides. I've read that FS also gives you better control on descents and on bumpy ground.

Right now I'm thinking a 27.5+ HT or a 29er FS since it doesn't seem many come in 27.5+. I don't want to break the bank but was thinking I could get a decent HT for around $2k. For a decent FS I think I'd have to spend more which I'd being willing to do if that is the direction I go. Of course finding a bike right now is another problem but I deal with that when time comes. At some point supply will have to start to catch up with demand I hope.

Do any of you have experience with both HT & FS or have gone from one to the other? Any advise will be appreciated.

Thanks
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Old 07-25-20, 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by August West View Post
I'd like a little advise from you senior or soon to be senior mountain bikers out there...

...Do any of you have experience with both HT & FS or have gone from one to the other? Any advise will be appreciated.
I'm currently less than a month from age 69. I've have had a full-suspension MTB for about four-five years and recently purchased a carbon hard-tail just less than a year ago. I also am a roadie and only recently started off-road riding. Most of my off road riding are forest roads and fairly smooth single track trails. Don't have any desire for the technical stuff. The FS has shock lockouts and I found that I use the rear lockout quite often, especially when climbing. Downhill on bumpy roads, it is welcomed.

However, my HT is very light and "fast", (relatively). Comfortable enough. I have not used the FS since I purchased the HT and am considering selling it. Both are 29ers.

For you, depends on what type of riding you are going to do. For fairly smooth forest trails, a HT is fine. For the rougher stuff, get a FS, (especially if it has a shock lockout).
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Old 07-26-20, 07:50 AM
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If you're riding rocky trails a full suspension is better. Some people can ride a HT everywhere but suspension gives you more control, makes line choices easier, (or irrelevant), and makes the rear brake work better.
I rode 3 different hardtails before I switched to full suspension in 1998. I am now on my 3rd full suspension bike. Sure, when I'm on a smooth climb I wish I was on a 23 pound XC hardtail, but when I go into a bunch of loose rocks, I'm glad to have the full squish.
In 2018 I bought a KHS full carbon 27.5 plus bike. It has saved me many times when I get in over my head and it can do things I never would have tried on my older bikes. Mountain bike geometry changed a lot starting in about 2017 and these changes have swept across the industry.

My bike has 160mm in front and 150mm rear. 27.5x2.8 tires and weighs about 32 pounds. I have thought about putting a set of smaller tires or even a set of 29" wheels just to see what it would be like. Probably will just stick with the 2.8s. I run the front tire @15 psi and the rear 17-20 psi. Good traction on slippery trails.

There are so many different bikes out there if I were in your shoes I would consider something a little more on the "trail bike" side. Maybe 130mm 29er?

I'm 66 and rode dirt bikes for years and a lot of the skills work on mtb riding. If you get a mountain bike, get some instruction from an experienced rider or watch instructional videos and practice your skills. It's a lot of fun and when road riding gets old, a nice ride in the dirt can be great.

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Old 07-26-20, 09:24 AM
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August West
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Thanks guys.

I called my LBS yesterday to talk with the manager about this and ended up putting on deposit down on a FS trail bike. 140mm/130mm F/R travel, 29er with 2.6"/2.4" tires. His ordering software was telling him a Jan 2021 delivery so I wanted to at least get in the queue. He said it may be sooner or possibly later on the delivery just no way of knowing with the current situation.
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Old 07-26-20, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by August West View Post
Thanks guys.

I called my LBS yesterday to talk with the manager about this and ended up putting on deposit down on a FS trail bike. 140mm/130mm F/R travel, 29er with 2.6"/2.4" tires. His ordering software was telling him a Jan 2021 delivery so I wanted to at least get in the queue. He said it may be sooner or possibly later on the delivery just no way of knowing with the current situation.
Wow that's a long wait! Sounds like a good choice, though. Such a bike should be able to handle whatever you throw at it.
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Old 07-26-20, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by big john View Post
Wow that's a long wait! Sounds like a good choice, though. Such a bike should be able to handle whatever you throw at it.
I'm thinking (hoping actually) that it won't be that long but who really knows. I'd bet it will be before the end of the year. Every where I looked the bikes in this range were sold out with earliest delivery I saw Oct. It is pretty insane the way the pandemic has turned the cycling industry on its head.
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