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Full suspension vs. Hardtail Bikes Question

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Full suspension vs. Hardtail Bikes Question

Old 04-05-08, 10:25 PM
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Etan
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Full suspension vs. Hardtail Bikes Question

Intermediate level mtn biker would like to know experts opinions on whether a full suspension bike is a better and/ or necessary to buy rather than a hardtail bike for average to above average difficulty trails? Thank you.

Also does anyone have input on whether Motobecane bikes from BikesDirect are any good for quality/ durability etc?
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Old 04-05-08, 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Etan View Post
Intermediate level mtn biker would like to know experts opinions on whether a full suspension bike is a better and/ or necessary to buy rather than a hardtail bike for average to above average difficulty trails?
First off, that's not a question.


Anyway, define "difficulty". Would a difficult trail be one in which the trails are rough, with a lot of rocks and roots? Or is it a twisty trail with lung busting climbs?

There are two ways to define difficulty- Physical and technical. Physical is how much strain is placed on your body. Technical is how much skill his required to traverse the trail. Of course, you can subdivide "technical" even further (built features, drops, et cetera), but it won't be useful in deciding on what bike to get.

If your local trails are smooth but very physically challenging, a hardtail is the way to go. It's by far more efficient, simpler, and lighter do to the lack of the rear shock and pivots. Plus, HT's generally handle quicker, which can also be attributed to the lack of a rear shock.

On the other hand, if you there is crap all over your trails, a FS bike will suck up the bumps and keep both wheels planted, maximizing power transfer and keeping you fresh longer. You'll notice that you're much faster on descents than a hardtail.

In a third scenario, you have rough, physically tough trails. While this complicates matters on what is BEST, it also lowers the penalty for choosing the wrong bike. I'd personally choose a FS if I weren't planning on racing. It sucks to have your rear wheel bounced all over on a climb

It should be noted, however, that either bike can be used very well in any situation. A skilled rider can move a HT's rear wheel under them and avoid most rocks, while another rider can pedal smoothly to avoid pedal bob on a FS.

PS- As technology advances, FS bikes are starting to weigh only a few pounds more than their HT counterparts.


BD bikes are fine, just take it into a shop to get properly assembled.
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Old 04-06-08, 12:03 AM
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"BD bikes are fine, just take it into a shop to get properly assembled".

That should also read, just take a ride on one before you buy it. Quite a few people do get the wrong size or wrong suspension and then you have made an expensive mistake by going the BD route. And if you are intermediate rider as you state, you should know the answer or have a good opinion on hardtail vs fs. If still in the dark, ride a buddys (or a loaner from a LBS) fs and then decide. I've seen riders on some nasty, rock strewn, root tangled trails here in N. Cal. on hardtails passing riders on fs bikes. I have also seen a few fixed fork hardtail riders travel where the fs riders tread...pretty cool watching their expert skills. Short answer is either will work and neither one is mandatory.
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Old 04-06-08, 05:59 AM
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IF theres a bunch of hills, I'd go hardtail.
The race I just did I was one of like 3 people with a hardtail in my 9 man wave, I was able to catch up to the other wave(s) that were 3,6,and 9 minutes apart.
I passed a lot of Fully's out on the trail.

I guess It's personal preferrance
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Old 04-06-08, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Cheeto View Post
IF theres a bunch of hills, I'd go hardtail.
The race I just did I was one of like 3 people with a hardtail in my 9 man wave, I was able to catch up to the other wave(s) that were 3,6,and 9 minutes apart.
I passed a lot of Fully's out on the trail.

I guess It's personal preferrance
I wouldn't. Hills (when they are remotely technical) are sooo much easier to climb on a full suspension.
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Old 04-06-08, 10:10 AM
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I run a HT over moderately rocky and heavily rooted trails. I often find myself bouncing over stuff and losing traction on climbs with such obstacles, however when I ride many of the smoother up-and-down trials with steep climbs and lots of downhill hair-pin turns, I'm glad to be on a HT. Regardless, I'm still looking at picking up a FS.
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Old 04-06-08, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Etan View Post
Intermediate level mtn biker would like to know experts opinions on whether a full suspension bike is a better and/ or necessary to buy rather than a hardtail bike for average to above average difficulty trails? Thank you.

Also does anyone have input on whether Motobecane bikes from BikesDirect are any good for quality/ durability etc?
What part of the country are you in? What trails are you talking about?
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Old 04-06-08, 11:24 AM
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Aha, the old FT vs FS question. I think that regardless of the level of difficulty, either physical or technical, the most important thing is to feel comfortable on your bike and ride enough to get to know how to use it. I went back to a HT after going form a HT to a FS to another FS. Now I’m back again. I just never felt “right” on a FS. I’m not bashing them or anything, and being an old motocross racer, I fully agree with the concept, but it just never worked for me.

I feel much better on my 22lb hard tail than on a 28lb FS. To me my bike is light, nimble, and maneuverable. FS’s just always felt sluggish and awkward to me. It is true that the newer FS’s are lighter, but they are, all else being equal, still heavier that a HT. Also, they usually are more expensive due to the added parts and labor required to make them. That means that for the same price you can usually get a better HT, or at least better components. This could be an important consideration if you are on a limited budget.

Another reason that I like the hard tails better is that I feel that they accelerate better. I feel that my leg power is more efficiently put to the ground. It feels like the rear suspension sucks up some of that power. Now, as I said, this is how I feel. Others may feel that the power required to hover over the saddle in bumpy terrain is wasted energy. It is also true that the newer FS’s are leaps and bounds better at putting power to the ground than their predecessors from just a few years ago, but I still prefer my HT.

One last thing. I ride in the north east. We mainly have tight twits trails with not a whole lot of elevation to speak of. Your results may vary.

Last edited by DogBonz; 04-06-08 at 11:36 AM.
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Old 04-06-08, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by mtnbiker66 View Post
What part of the country are you in? What trails are you talking about?
++

In my area, it's sheer masochism to do any serious riding on a HT.
In others with buttery-smooth trails, it's complete overkill.
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Old 04-06-08, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris_F View Post
I wouldn't. Hills (when they are remotely technical) are sooo much easier to climb on a full suspension.

False.


Hills are easy to climb if the rider is capable of climbing them, the type of bike is of no consequence.
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Old 04-06-08, 08:02 PM
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thanks for the reply, that helps. i'm in arizona which has a ton of rocky and technical trails, which it sounds like a FS would be much more useful on, but sounds like i will have to just go test out both. thanks again.
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Old 04-06-08, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris_F View Post
I wouldn't. Hills (when they are remotely technical) are sooo much easier to climb on a full suspension.
They're so much easier to climb on a hardtail if you got the bike handling skill.
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Old 04-07-08, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by xcracer13 View Post
They're so much easier to climb on a hardtail if you got the bike handling skill.
Ha, ouch!

Maybe try a hardtail with clipless, you'll have a lot more control of the rear-end that way. I'm still back and forth between clipless and platforms... Clipless give me way better control and efficiency for climbing, but I love platforms for going down hill.
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Old 04-07-08, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by the1amradio View Post
Ha, ouch!

Maybe try a hardtail with clipless, you'll have a lot more control of the rear-end that way. I'm still back and forth between clipless and platforms... Clipless give me way better control and efficiency for climbing, but I love platforms for going down hill.
I tend to rip my legs open when I ride platforms. They never seem to hold my feet well.
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Old 04-07-08, 05:50 PM
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^^ Cheap platforms will do that.
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Old 04-07-08, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by dminor View Post
^^ Cheap platforms will do that.
True, yet so wrong.

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Old 04-07-08, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by ProFail View Post
True, yet so wrong.
Correction noted: cheap and/or bad platforms will do that.
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Old 04-07-08, 06:04 PM
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Thaaaaanks.
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Old 04-07-08, 08:11 PM
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No.
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Old 04-07-08, 08:26 PM
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I love clipless. But I can still do minor trials riding on platforms.
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Old 04-07-08, 08:35 PM
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my welgo WAM b67's are fine for me... i think you might just need some better shoes!
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Old 04-07-08, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by troie View Post
Hills are easy to climb if the rider is capable of climbing them, the type of bike is of no consequence.
Wise readers will disregard this bit of nonsense.
 
Old 04-07-08, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by urinal mints View Post
Wise readers will disregard this bit of nonsense.

Further explanation needed. I don't think there are any absolutes here.
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Old 04-07-08, 10:03 PM
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Originally Posted by jimx200 View Post
Further explanation needed.
I believe urinal mints was stating that the quoted statement is nonsense.

Originally Posted by jimx200 View Post
I don't think there are any absolutes here.
I disagree. Example: the quoted statement was absolute nonsense.
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Old 04-07-08, 10:43 PM
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Oh yay guys, I've been riding hardtail (ok, plus the roadie) for the past 4 years on a couple different bikes (on mixed offroad terrain including ye old urban concrete jungles) and have wanted more (meaning moving into FS) and when my brother purchased a nice SC Blur - he made the ultimate mistake of letting me do a test ride on it - shoot - clip in, get up some speed and pick it up! ... <sigh> I wanted to go from HT to FS for a while anyway and so I just made the purchase. And I'm a clipless person too - riding commuter and off road in winter snow (off and onroad) too.

Done did the purchase and can't wait to pick it up. Of course my elderly Mother is not please, one brother is (owner of Blur) happy, other brother has smirk on face and sister is the one who likes to do the "I told ya so".

hehe, I shall prove them all (cept mtb bro) wrong!
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