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Hardtail vs Rigid mtb for trails and a commute.

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Hardtail vs Rigid mtb for trails and a commute.

Old 11-20-16, 05:18 PM
  #1  
Jack_Neil
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Hardtail vs Rigid mtb for trails and a commute.

So I cycle everywhere school, work you name it I recently got my bike stolen. I have always been into mountain biking for years but haven't had an mtb in years also. Ideally I would purchase two separate bike but the funds are not there, my budget is around 1300 euro [1114] [$1376]. I want a bike that can handle decent trails but also something light and not sluggish that I can use for a daily commute.

I am considering buying a hardtail but recently i have been introduced to rigid mountain bikes with no suspension what so ever and slightly slicker tires along with the added bonus of being lighter. But the downside of a rigid mtb are obvious less capable on trails and also the rarity of stock rigid mtbs that do not cost an arm and a leg.

Ant advice/ thoughts are appreciated

Thanks.
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Old 11-20-16, 06:43 PM
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I think to some extent the answer depends upon the person. I strongly dislike suspension on pavement, but others don't seem to mind it. As well, where I live we tend to have machine-built trails and frankly a road bike would be almost ok on them. I own a suspension bike, but more often it's easier to just grab the rigid and go. So it's down to preference and the sort of trail conditions you deal with.
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Old 11-20-16, 07:11 PM
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I think that it depends on what you mean by "trails". A suspension fork doesn't really do much on a typical rail trail. The more gnarly and technical the trail, the more you will appreciate a suspension fork.
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Old 11-21-16, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
I think that it depends on what you mean by "trails". A suspension fork doesn't really do much on a typical rail trail. The more gnarly and technical the trail, the more you will appreciate a suspension fork.
When someone says that they've been into mountain biking for years, we can assume that they know the difference between a "trail" and a railtrail. Just sayin'.

Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
I think to some extent the answer depends upon the person. I strongly dislike suspension on pavement, but others don't seem to mind it. As well, where I live we tend to have machine-built trails and frankly a road bike would be almost ok on them. I own a suspension bike, but more often it's easier to just grab the rigid and go. So it's down to preference and the sort of trail conditions you deal with.
That's why lockouts were invented.

Originally Posted by Jack_Neil View Post
So I cycle everywhere school, work you name it I recently got my bike stolen. I have always been into mountain biking for years but haven't had an mtb in years also. Ideally I would purchase two separate bike but the funds are not there, my budget is around 1300 euro [1114] [$1376]. I want a bike that can handle decent trails but also something light and not sluggish that I can use for a daily commute.

I am considering buying a hardtail but recently i have been introduced to rigid mountain bikes with no suspension what so ever and slightly slicker tires along with the added bonus of being lighter. But the downside of a rigid mtb are obvious less capable on trails and also the rarity of stock rigid mtbs that do not cost an arm and a leg.

Ant advice/ thoughts are appreciated

Thanks.
I started on rigid mountain bikes and I can't see the appeal. After I got my first suspension fork, I knew I was never going back. However, I wouldn't say that the greatest advantage of a suspension fork is comfort as most would. The greatest advantage of a suspension fork is control. It allows you to ride over things that would trap a wheel a cause you to crash with a rigid.

I wouldn't necessarily commute on a dualy (sometimes I do) but I commute regularly on a hardtail with a suspension fork. The key is to find one with a good lockout on the suspension. Fox and Manitou have excellent lockouts on forks. They are solid lockouts that don't bob much when out of the saddle. The forks will dive a little under braking but that's not an issue.

Rock Shox, on the other hand, have horrible lockouts. Even if you are a light rider, they don't have a positive lock and for a heavy rider, the lockout might as well not exist.

If you do want to use a mountain bike for commuting, you just need to get used to its eccentricities. With an off-road worthy tire, the bike is going to be slower on pavement. On the plus side, you will work harder which builds strength.

On the other hand, you really embrace the eccentricities of a mountain bike for commuting, you can make a commute a whole lot more interesting. Instead of just riding the same boring roads to work, look for ways to use the mountain bike for what it was designed for...off-road riding! Look for trails along creeks and rivers, cut through fields and forests, take the long way around and hit that single track that's on the way home. Even if the trail is flat, you can push the bike to higher speeds which makes even the flattest trail a lot of fun!

I tell people who want to get into bicycle commuting that they have to look at the world with different "eyes". Most people look at the world with "car eyes" and only see the routes they would take in a car. If you look at the world with "bicycle eyes" you start to see alternative routes which work better for bicycles. The same applies to using a mountain bike for commuting.

Instead of looking at the world with commuter bicyclists' eyes, look at the world with mountain bike commuter eyes. You'll find a whole new world of possibilities.
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Old 11-21-16, 09:48 AM
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Just a thought: why not spend the majority of your cash on the MTB, and just find an old rigid road/MTB/hybrid/whatever you come across in your general area for cheap to use as a commuter? I can't imagine that if you are actually mountain biking, you're going to want the same tires as you would while commuting anyways.
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Old 02-15-17, 09:17 AM
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What you are saying about yourself is like my experience...

***Summary:***
-My suggestion: Hard Trail with 29’’ wheels.
-Ensure you can lock the suspension with ease.
Not mandatory but air suspension makes a difference rather than a coil suspension.
-Get a bike you enjoy. You can think: “Great. Tomorrow is Monday again I’m going to use my bike to go to work”.
Remember most of people thinks: “Tomorrow is Monday… ohh god… going to work again.”

***Further details:***
I'm used to an old MTB to commute.
My bike: giant "boulder alu lite" - Red+Metal Gray Search the google images:
I'm for years looking forward to buy a new bike but I find this bike quite good... that I decide to do postpone the purchase over and over.
My bike is a 20years old rigid bike. Great seated position - fits like a glove. Wheels 26’'. fork aluxx 6061 light 21.5' frame. Stand-over height is 800mm and I've 810mm of leg Height and 1.80m tall.
I do around 8Km+8km a day where 1.5km is a trail. I can say that there's a quite tiring 1Km road going up hill( one of lisbons' 7 hills...).

I'm about to buy a rockhopper expert. Reasons:
-Hard tail ... no need in my opinion for FS.
-Front suspension is cool. I’m saying this based on other MTB that I've tried (quite cheap but with front suspension). It makes a difference in control specially in trails and even in some roads - "parallelepiped roads". If you can lock suspension going up than you are good... This reason made me stop buying a Hard Tail 2 or 3 years ago.
-29Wheels... - Looks like that you go faster and easier. They look great.
-Better breaks

I don’t get both an hard tail and a Rigid bike. You can get a bike that you can use and **“ENJOY”** everyday to commute and to do MTB.

That’s the most important - Enjoy - Get a bike you enjoy.

Last edited by HortasPT; 02-15-17 at 09:34 AM. Reason: adding bikes name.
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Old 02-15-17, 12:20 PM
  #7  
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I am of the two-bike school. Buy an old, used, rigid MTB for urban use and a hardtail for trails. Shop used, set a max budget of maybe €200 or €250, and save up a little more for the hardtail while you ride the rigid.
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Old 02-16-17, 10:04 AM
  #8  
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Another option is maybe looking into an adventure/gravel or CX bike? These are drop bar bikes that can be taken off road and are a lot faster on the roads for commuting. I take my CX bike on single track trails and they are a lot of fun. If you only want one bike this one can do it all...
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Old 02-16-17, 10:31 AM
  #9  
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Any suspension mtb with knobbies will be slower feeling and sluggish on road commutes. Locking out the fork doesnt make soft knobby tires roll fast and smooth.

An adventure bike, either flat bar or drop bar, could work well and play double duty. I can ride my monstercross on our local flowing singletrack and have fun, though I couldnt do other MTB activities like downhill or jumping. I can also ride my monstercross on the road and it is basically as fast as I ride my road bikes. Some quality mixed tread 40mm tires can roll smooth on pavement but be large enough to absorb bumps on light rough singletrack and still have fun.

Most every large company has an adventure bike or three in their lineup at this point. Flatbars and drop bars exist.





With that said, if you are set on an MTB only, I would go rigid every day of the week. According to some here you will come close to death by riding a rigid bike on trails, but it isnt close to as bad as they make it sound.
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Old 02-16-17, 10:44 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Any suspension mtb with knobbies will be slower feeling and sluggish on road commutes. Locking out the fork doesnt make soft knobby tires roll fast and smooth.
No, locking out the fork won't make the knobbies roll better. But if you go looking for reasons not to just ride the road on a commute, a suspended mountain bike can make for a nice change of pace. And knobs work a bit better in ice and snow than a road tire...not as good as studs but better than slicks.

Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
With that said, if you are set on an MTB only, I would go rigid every day of the week. According to some here you will come close to death by riding a rigid bike on trails, but it isnt close to as bad as they make it sound.
I haven't heard anyone say that "you will come close to death by riding a rigid bike on trails". Nor have I said it myself. But if you are going to ride a mountain bike on trails having suspension is a plus. Rigid requires a very different style of riding and there's no advantage to not having a suspension fork. Quite the opposite, actually.
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Old 02-16-17, 10:50 AM
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This is my daily commuter,. a mountain bike rescued from the scrap pile. I replaced the front shock-able forks with some Nashbar carbon fibre forks. Plus, I added a Brooks B-17 and replaced the quick release seat post clamp with a non-quick release one with a ball bearing glued in the hex socket.

Since that picture was taken, I replaced the entire drive line, upgraded the BB5's to BB7's and the headset. Also, I added some Planet Bike fenders. Never could get the indexed shifting right so I replaced the indexed shifter with friction shifters. Best improvement by a long shot. Now I have perfect shifting. And I just got a new set of wheels, which will be my summer wheels. The old one's will be my winter wheels with the studded tires.

It is a very rugged commuter that doesn't look too expensive. I have to leave it outside, sometimes in a bad part of the city. I do keep it in my office when I am not in the field. I have a job where I need to travel to different areas of the city. I can do this mostly by bicycle. Faster than a car and with no parking issues.
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Old 02-16-17, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
When someone says that they've been into mountain biking for years, we can assume that they know the difference between a "trail" and a railtrail. Just sayin'.



That's why lockouts were invented.



I started on rigid mountain bikes and I can't see the appeal. After I got my first suspension fork, I knew I was never going back. However, I wouldn't say that the greatest advantage of a suspension fork is comfort as most would. The greatest advantage of a suspension fork is control. It allows you to ride over things that would trap a wheel a cause you to crash with a rigid.

I wouldn't necessarily commute on a dualy (sometimes I do) but I commute regularly on a hardtail with a suspension fork. The key is to find one with a good lockout on the suspension. Fox and Manitou have excellent lockouts on forks. They are solid lockouts that don't bob much when out of the saddle. The forks will dive a little under braking but that's not an issue.

Rock Shox, on the other hand, have horrible lockouts. Even if you are a light rider, they don't have a positive lock and for a heavy rider, the lockout might as well not exist.

If you do want to use a mountain bike for commuting, you just need to get used to its eccentricities. With an off-road worthy tire, the bike is going to be slower on pavement. On the plus side, you will work harder which builds strength.

On the other hand, you really embrace the eccentricities of a mountain bike for commuting, you can make a commute a whole lot more interesting. Instead of just riding the same boring roads to work, look for ways to use the mountain bike for what it was designed for...off-road riding! Look for trails along creeks and rivers, cut through fields and forests, take the long way around and hit that single track that's on the way home. Even if the trail is flat, you can push the bike to higher speeds which makes even the flattest trail a lot of fun!

I tell people who want to get into bicycle commuting that they have to look at the world with different "eyes". Most people look at the world with "car eyes" and only see the routes they would take in a car. If you look at the world with "bicycle eyes" you start to see alternative routes which work better for bicycles. The same applies to using a mountain bike for commuting.

Instead of looking at the world with commuter bicyclists' eyes, look at the world with mountain bike commuter eyes. You'll find a whole new world of possibilities.
\\


Bravo! So well said! Bicycle eyes, indeed!


And I agree with everything, basically. A bike with a suspension front fork that can be easily locked out makes so much sense for someone who wants what appears to be an "everything bike".


The other comment I would make---based on the fact the OP said a budget of something around $1300 EUROs, which seem pretty dam substantial to me as opposed to what I would characterize as limited---I would offer the following:


1) Two bikes as someone else suggested, one mountain with hard tail and front suspension and an old ten speed road bike/touring bike you commute to work on.
2) A mountain bike (with front suspension ONLY) as suggested with TWO SETS OF WHEELS, so you can really go quickly from fatter with treads to thinner even slicks.


For under $1300 Euros you could easily get either of the above and yes to get the absolute best value you would be buying PRE-OWNED.
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Old 02-16-17, 11:26 AM
  #13  
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I think the biggest factor is theft. If you've got a secure location at work (locked office, etc), I wouldn't hesitate to get a nice hardtail with suspension fork. If you're less secure, and have a short-ish commute, then getting a used rigid bike for commuting is an excellent option.

When just riding along, the suspension fork basically adds 2-3 lbs, but doesn't slow things down. Even if you're standing on the pedals hammering, the fork will have minimal losses. The people who typically have problems with suspension forks are larger riders on cheap forks, which don't have a stiff enough spring for the rider so they bob like crazy.

Just some perspective, I have three bikes, a road race bike, a full suspension bike (Yeti 575), and a rigid (Giant Toughroad). I can do most of my local trails on the Toughroad, the Yeti is just smoother and will handle highly technical sections. The Toughroad is 2-3 mph slower than my race bike, and 1-2 mph faster than the Yeti. The difference is basically all in the tires.

I enjoy riding the rigid Toughroad, but when I'm on moderately technical trails, I really wish I had gotten a hardtail with good air fork instead.

If I had to have one bike, it would be a hardtail 29er with a decent air fork. You can ride anything with that.
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