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Hard Tail or Full Suspension?

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Hard Tail or Full Suspension?

Old 06-20-07, 07:03 PM
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pdq 5oh
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Hard Tail or Full Suspension?

Hi everyone. I'm going to buy a mountain bike soon. I'll spend around $2,000. What would you all recommend for a new trail rider. My intention is not to ride especially fast, just for fun. Here in Ohio I've been able to find there are a good variety of trails, some hilly. Not knowing what exactly to expect, I wonder if my money would be better spent on a hard tail with better components, or a full suspension bike. It seems the fs bikes still have decent components at the price point I'm looking at. Also, any suggestions as to bikes to try out in my price range? Of course, if I can get a good ht bike for less than 2K, I'd be happy. What about 29" tire ht bikes? Thanks for any input.
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Old 06-20-07, 07:16 PM
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Old 06-20-07, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by pdq 5oh
Hi everyone. I'm going to buy a mountain bike soon. I'll spend around $2,000. What would you all recommend for a new trail rider.
I have a feeling this is a troll, $2000 but I'll answer anyway. A new rider doesn't need to spend that kind of money for bike. In fact I often suggest $500 as a starting point

The bikes in this pricepoint) are solid entry level bikes that are intended to get people interested in the sport so that they can decide to

1. Continue in the sport upgrading to a more expensive bike later
or
2. Decide that they don't like the sport but find that they still aren't out that much money

Go to your LBS (Local Bike Shop) see what they have and test ride. Find two or three that you really like and feel good then come back for our opinions. (If you bombard us with 8 bazillion Bike A vs Bike B questions the quality of response WILL go down.)

The #1 thing is "Does the bike FEEL right?" components are a secondary concern (You really don't want ***** components but it's still not as important as feel.) It's my opinion that buying a bike is 80% FEEL and 20% everything else.

Go To A Real LBS

My suggestion is to go to a REAL bike shop were bikes are the MAIN business (not Sports Authority and the like) and see what they have to offer. Even a used bike would be a better choice than those boat anchors sold at Sports Authority X-mart and the like.


Online Purchase

NEWBIES SHOULD NEVER BUY A BIKE ONLINE EVER!
That sums it up perfectly in my opinion.

Component Levels:

For example: Alivio vs Deore. It's a slight difference it's not like going Alivio to LX or XT but to a newbie I doubt that you'll notice a difference. Also remember the fact that the rear dérailleur does most of the work and has more parts in motion at any given time as compared to the front so a notch up in the rear is fairly common at any price point. Case in point my Rockhopper Comp FSR came with a Deore front an a LX rear.
Another thing to consider is the fact that an upgrade at this pricepoint can be reletivley cheap if you go up only a couple levels.

Weight (Racing Purposes):

Honestly all of the bikes at the $500 mark (hardtails) are going to weigh in fairly close to each other. You won't get to the light stuff until you start looking at better equiped racing models which are normally double (or more) the pricepoint you have in mind.


Disc Brakes

Personally, ]I'd rather have a decent set of V- brakes than a cheap set of discs. It's my opinion that disc brakes on a $500 bike are nothing but a marketing gimmick.. Disc brakes can always be added on later if you decide you need them, but the average Joe just starting out doesn't need them.
Plus if you pay attention to specs between a disc version and a non-disc the non-disc will typically have better driveline components and or fork than the disc. In order to pay for the disc components other components MUST be cheaper to remain at the same price point

In short: Discs are great for the all weather properties and for extra stopping power but it does no good when the rest of your bike sucks.


Dual Suspension

Good suspension bikes start at around $1000. At the $500 price point you're MUCH better off getting a hardtail.

With a FS bike there are more (expensive) things to go wrong especially on a low end model such as those suggested by the pricepoint. Bikes such as the Discovery 1 or the Y-26 can't handle the kind of abuse inherent in more technical riding nor will they make a good "ride with the family" bike as the suspensions systems of both will eat large amounts of energy due to suspension bob.

A suspension bike isn't going to do ANYTHING to prevent knee / wrist injuries caused by jumping as most of them are caused by crashing / falling off the bike rather than landing correctly.

One last thing the reason a GOOD full suspension bike starts at around $1000 this is due to the better shocks and all around better designs.


Accessories


Priority: Helmet, gloves

Very good to have: A good multi tool -I recommend Topeak (something from the Alien line) Mini pump, water bottles & cages (for short trips), A Camelbak (long trips and trail rides) spare tube(s), patch kit

Extras: Jerseys, bike shorts, as for fenders I recommend the Topeak DeFender series should you require them for rainy days.

Car Branded bikes
Anytime you see Jeep, Honda (except the new DH bike which the average Joe can't buy yet), or Hummer RUN AWAY
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Old 06-20-07, 07:31 PM
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The Honda DH bike will be available in 2008 as frame set only.
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Old 06-20-07, 07:34 PM
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get a kona king kikapu good level shocks alright weight and its built to be abused
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Old 06-20-07, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Smashy
The Honda DH bike will be available in 2008 as frame set only.
Well then I guess you're going to have to edit the FAQ then eh? I have a feeling that this thread was started by our Gila monster under a new handle.
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Old 06-20-07, 08:40 PM
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How many bike shops are within a 30 mile radius from you and what brands do the sell? Buy from a reputable shop that isn't just after the sale. Most "good" bike shops will setup the bike for your weight and seat height before you take it for a spin. Check out their website (if they have one). Do they offer 1 or more free adjustments? Do they offer a discount on accessories at the time of bike purchase? Do they offer additional warranty coverage beyond what the manufacturer provides? There are alot of good bikes in the $2,000 price range. Keep an eye out for a last year model for the best deal. Never pay MSRP on any bike. Good customers looking to spend money are always treated the best so don't be afraid to browse and go into a store several times to show interest. Go on test rides. Some shops have test bikes that you can rent for a day if you want more that a ride in their parking lot. Listen to people that have actual experience with riding mountain bikes. Give more trust to salespeople that actually own and ride mountain bikes.

I ended up with a left over 2006 Cannondale Rush. It fits me like a glove. I choice it over a Specialized Epic, Trek Fuel EX8, Seven Duo, Gary Fisher '29er and ProCaliber.
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Old 06-20-07, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by xcracer13
get a kona king kikapu good level shocks alright weight and its built to be abused
kona sucks
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Old 06-20-07, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Raiyn
Well then I guess you're going to have to edit the FAQ then eh? I have a feeling that this thread was started by our Gila monster under a new handle.
Nope, you're wrong about a trolling Gila monster. Let me back up a bit. I'm not new to bikes, just mountain riding. I currently have a Trek 7500 and a Pilot 5.0. I've found out there are lots of nice trails close by my house, so decided maybe trail riding would be fun. The money isn't a problem. I have no problem spending for good toys. I understand the start cheap thinking. I have looked at some bikes. All at LBS as I know box stores aren't the best place to get good stuff which is set up properly. My main question is would I be happy with a good hard tail? Or should I get a FS bike? The reason I felt 2K was a good point is the better rear suspension not giving up lots of efficiency (I've researched this). What I'm thinking is this.......do I really NEED rear suspension?
I appreciate the information you've given. You make some good points. BTW, I realize I have only 2 posts. So did everyone..........at some point.
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Old 06-20-07, 09:03 PM
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You'd be happy with a good hardtail. I've got a gary fisher piranha, and if you're just getting into mountain biking, honestly, it's all you need. and it looks wicked cool, so that helps.
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Old 06-20-07, 09:05 PM
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BP302, thanks. There are quite a few good shops within reasonable distance of home. I've been to some of them. I thought I'd get some opinions from people with no interest in selling me a particular bike. HT or FS is my main concern. Thanks again.
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Old 06-20-07, 09:08 PM
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If you're interested in looking at a 29er I would recommned taking a look at the Cannondale Caffeine. The bike is a hardtail with a Lefty on the front, a decent mix of components, and a retail of $1600. The Lefty takes a little getting used to when you first see it but it rides great. I would recommend upgrading the rotors to 185mm but everything else can stay until you wear it out. You could have a blast on that bike and be well under your $2K budget.
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Old 06-20-07, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Breitling
You'd be happy with a good hardtail. I've got a gary fisher piranha, and if you're just getting into mountain biking, honestly, it's all you need. and it looks wicked cool, so that helps.
Thanks. For what I intend, you may well be right.
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Old 06-20-07, 09:11 PM
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The biggest shop around here is a Cannondale dealer. I'll look at that bike. The 29" wheels interest me. I expect they'll ride smoother on a HT bike, and absorb bumps better than 26". Has that been your experience?
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Old 06-20-07, 09:13 PM
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In my experience, 29ers are a little hard to ride. If you're looking at cannondales, i'd suggest the f4. it's a great bike with a nice headshok.
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Old 06-20-07, 09:21 PM
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If you are looking at Cannondales, then you owe it to yourself to look at the Rush line. They are well within your range, and are fabulous bikes. I had it narrowed down to a Rush, and an FSR xc comp. I went with the FSR due to better spec'd parts, but the Rush was one fine bike. It was my hearts first choice, but my mind told me that the FSR xc would be better for me.
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Old 06-20-07, 09:27 PM
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If your butt-o-meter is calibrated the same as mine, you'll enjoy the full suspension more. I just went from a no suspension bike to the full-suspension Cannondale Rush last week. Incredible difference in comfort even on the flat, easy XC single track I ride on. If you want higher end components, then go for a hardtail. I was looking at two bikes at one shop. The '06 Cannondale Rush was $2,000 with cheaper components. The '05 Giant XTC, carbon frame, had really high end components and seemed really light for $2,400. Shop around and you'll find something. It took me a month of researching and shopping before I purchased a bike. The local bike shop I purchased from ended up being a 2 1/2 hour drive from my house. So much for "local".
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Old 06-20-07, 10:09 PM
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you don't need a full suspension rig in ohio unless you are an old fart with a bad back. get yourself a nice hardtail. the stumpjumper with disc brakes is around 1700. happy trails!
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Old 06-20-07, 10:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Terrapin Ben
you don't need a full suspension rig in ohio unless you are an old fart with a bad back. get yourself a nice hardtail. the stumpjumper with disc brakes is around 1700. happy trails!
I kind of am an old fart with a bad back. That's why I bought the Pilot.
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Old 06-20-07, 10:52 PM
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that's sweet. i bet it owns face. please don't take offense to my bitterness. I am just coming to terms with not having enough expendable income to buy a full suspension bike to add to my fleet and still be able to feed myself. I was born and raised in Indiana and can think of plenty of rooty nasty trails that a dual suspension would be wonderful on. i am sure they are great in ohio too. enjoy your ride!
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Old 06-21-07, 12:31 AM
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I was told by some of the elite races around me when I started out that if I began riding a full suspension I wouldn't learn to handle my bike as well. I don't know if that is true or not, but the corallary would be that if you are just interested in having fun a full suspension should be really well suited to you. I hear tale that the Santa Cruz Superlight is supposed to be a wonderful deal.
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Old 06-21-07, 06:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Terrapin Ben
that's sweet. i bet it owns face. please don't take offense to my bitterness. I am just coming to terms with not having enough expendable income to buy a full suspension bike to add to my fleet and still be able to feed myself. I was born and raised in Indiana and can think of plenty of rooty nasty trails that a dual suspension would be wonderful on. i am sure they are great in ohio too. enjoy your ride!
TB, I'm not bothered nor offended by your comments. I am what I am. A HT may well be all I need as I don't intend to race or try to kill myself. Years of MX and dirt track racing did that. Thanks, and I WILL enjoy whatever I get.
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Old 06-21-07, 06:29 AM
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Originally Posted by delay
I was told by some of the elite races around me when I started out that if I began riding a full suspension I wouldn't learn to handle my bike as well. I don't know if that is true or not, but the corallary would be that if you are just interested in having fun a full suspension should be really well suited to you. I hear tale that the Santa Cruz Superlight is supposed to be a wonderful deal.
You may be right re: starting on a HT. Santa Cruz bikes do look nice on the net. I'll check them out.
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Old 06-21-07, 08:23 AM
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I don't feel any pedal bob on my full suspension kona dawg, but then again I don't do mad sprints anymore. HT may feel lighter and stiffer but I like the added benefit from some suspension under my butt so I don't have to stand as much.
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Old 06-21-07, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by delay
I was told by some of the elite races around me when I started out that if I began riding a full suspension I wouldn't learn to handle my bike as well.
They were right.
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