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switch from hard tail to full suspension. Is it time?

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switch from hard tail to full suspension. Is it time?

Old 03-07-11, 01:08 AM
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switch from hard tail to full suspension. Is it time?

I've been a diehard hardtailer forever and I'm now in the market for a new bike. I ride a 29er cross-country, no racing and mostly weekend warrior riding on fairly steep single track and I like to spin long miles occasionally on fire roads or even pavement for fitness rides or to get to and from the trail. If it matters, I'm a Clydesdale at 240+ and 6'4". there are some trails I've been riding that are rocky and on my full rigid ss 29er it beats the crap out of me.

I've never ridden a full suspension bike and figured it wasn't worth the extra $ to get the same component set and extra weight as compared to a ht 29er.

Example bikes I'm considering at a similar price point:

HT: Trek/Gary Fisher Paragon x9 and fox fork ~$2100
Full sus: Giant Anthem 29x 3 SLX and fox suspension ~$2350

Is it time to make the switch? Will I be frustrated with my rides on the flats with FS? Will it add quality to my ride? Help.

Last edited by sprocket47; 03-07-11 at 01:11 AM.
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Old 03-07-11, 04:57 AM
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I switched from a full suspension to a HT 29er because I also love to ride fire road type trails for fun and fitness and I like the responsiveness of an HT. I'm also using a Cane Creek "Thudbuster" seat post to make the ride more plush. When I want to go on more technical trails, I just lower air pressure in the tires for more shock absorption. I'm loving this setup.
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Old 03-07-11, 05:22 AM
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Why do you have to switch? Nothing wrong with having both.

Or add a suspension fork to your current ride, fatter tires or a tubeless setup that lets you run lower pressure. Or a dropper post to let you get a little different position when on the steeps. Shorter stem/wider bar combo can also help with some of this maybe.
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Old 03-07-11, 07:06 AM
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yes it's time to make the switch. no you won't be frustrated on flats. it will greatly improve the quality of your ride. i rode hardtail for 15 years or so, all over, and swore i would never need a full suspension. now 90% of my riding is done on my full suspension and i love it.

there is no way i could describe what a difference it makes. if you can rent and test ride a full suspension on actual trails, do that, so you understand and see for yourself. if you can't, trust me....it's worth every cent you spend.

if you got the cash...do it.
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Old 03-07-11, 09:16 AM
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I'D GO FULL-SUSS just based on your choices -- for ME, the Giant seals the deal! I'll take a Giant over a Trek every time!

That's personal preference thing, but, you asked..........

FWIW, I've been riding FS since '05 exclusively; there is no extra load on my legs due to it.
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Old 03-07-11, 10:30 AM
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It's time to switch.
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Old 03-07-11, 10:53 AM
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I used to ride HT, but have made the switch FS (check out my profile for full list of bikes)

it is time to make the switch and all fox RL and RLC forks have lock out and the rear RP2/RP3's are nice with the lock out and/or propedal. i run RP2's on most of my bikes and i have one with an RP3.

lock out on the flats and ride, switch it off for DH sections
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Old 03-07-11, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by scrublover
Why do you have to switch? Nothing wrong with having both.

Or add a suspension fork to your current ride, fatter tires or a tubeless setup that lets you run lower pressure. Or a dropper post to let you get a little different position when on the steeps. Shorter stem/wider bar combo can also help with some of this maybe.
Exactly! Save the hardtail for the fire roads/pavement and the squishy for the rougher stuff.
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Old 03-07-11, 09:58 PM
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I don't have the budget for both bikes so I need the one that will the most versatile.
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Old 03-07-11, 10:13 PM
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Short travel 29'er dually.
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Old 03-07-11, 10:37 PM
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I thought the same, but eventually don't even bother to turn pro-pedal on anymore... too much fun to fret a little bit of power loss. Switch up, it's pretty safe.
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Old 03-07-11, 11:34 PM
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Originally Posted by electrik
. . . but eventually don't even bother to turn pro-pedal on anymore... too much fun to fret a little bit of power loss.
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Old 03-08-11, 01:03 AM
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The choice is yours my friend
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Old 03-08-11, 10:13 PM
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Never!
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Old 03-11-11, 12:37 PM
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Your descending ability will soar, with a FS bike. Good thing your skills have been honed on the HT. The transition to FS will be complete, once you stop picking lines like you did on the HT and just plow through downhill.
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Old 03-11-11, 02:12 PM
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There's only one question to ask yourself if you aren't going to be racing: Is your current bike keeping you from having as much fun as you could be?

If the answer is yes, or even maybe, it's probably time to make the switch.
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Old 03-11-11, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Bighec
Never!
Search your feelings boy, you know it to be true.
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Old 03-12-11, 12:26 AM
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Man, you guys are killing me. I feel like staying hardcore and sticking with hardtail but a fast fun decent would feel great. But I'm still worried about the lost cruise on long flats or if it would end up feeling like a tank after a few hours. The few extra pounds climbing doesn't sound like fun to me either and I can use all the help I get. It's an expensive gamble and I really don't think a test ride can give a person a true feeling since you can make it feel however you want it to to justify the purchase. It's a few months in that will tell the true story.
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Old 03-12-11, 01:18 AM
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Let me put it this way. I do 100km and 100mile mtb races and i have had better times and felt better/less beat up at the end of them on my FS, i have raced them with HT and ST mtb's but the FS is my favorite.


you learned to pick lines with HT which is good you can now read the terrain alot better than most (i started on HT) but now it is time to go FS
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Old 03-12-11, 07:07 AM
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FS just gives you something else to fix/replace when it breaks. Unless you're racing a lot, I'd stick with the hard tail.
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Old 03-13-11, 11:56 PM
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Originally Posted by sprocket47
Man, you guys are killing me. I feel like staying hardcore and sticking with hardtail but a fast fun decent would feel great. But I'm still worried about the lost cruise on long flats or if it would end up feeling like a tank after a few hours. The few extra pounds climbing doesn't sound like fun to me either and I can use all the help I get. It's an expensive gamble and I really don't think a test ride can give a person a true feeling since you can make it feel however you want it to to justify the purchase. It's a few months in that will tell the true story.
The key is to have your new FS closest to the weight of the old HT. My new Giant FS was only 2.2lbs heavier than my 19-pound Cannondale HT. It took me about a dozen rides on the FS and my up/downhill confidence has exceeded what I ever accomplished on the lighter HT.

Last edited by Dilberto; 03-14-11 at 12:04 AM.
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Old 03-14-11, 11:05 AM
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I fit your description to a tee on size and used to be weight, biking and stuff has me down to 210. I like the same kinda of rides that you describe.

I switched from a much enjoyed HT to a FS Scott Spark. I love the difference. More speed, smooth handling and chicks just follow me home!

You named a couple of good choices, I really like the Fisher. I am a big Scott fan now, I also like Craigslist. In the last 6 months I have seen Niner Rip 9s and Ellsworth Evolve's for $1500 for 2009s. My Spark is a 26. Its just what I bought, no huge reason.
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Old 03-14-11, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by BlueRaleigh
FS just gives you something else to fix/replace when it breaks. Unless you're racing a lot, I'd stick with the hard tail.
It's posts like this that keep these kinds of threads entertaining.
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Old 03-14-11, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by dminor
It's posts like this that keep these kinds of threads entertaining.
+1
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Old 03-14-11, 03:14 PM
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I just built a Kona Hei-Hei full suspension 29'er out of a donor Kona King Kahuna hardtail 29'er. My impressions on both.

The HT is light, responsive and "feels normal" compared to my old vintage Haro. No big difference in fit, performance or ride.

The Hei-Hei is a HUGE difference. The fit feels the same from the "cockpit" but it's different from the ground. It's taller for one thing so mounting is different than "usual." Performance is the same as the Kahuna since the weight difference is minimal (under 3 lbs) and the components are the same ones since I switched them from one frame to the other. Ride quality is the biggest factor that's changed. The Hei-Hei's ride is more comfortable and easier on my degenerated spine. The pro-pedal doesn't lock out the shock but it does make the shock significantly stiffer. This allows the bike to climb ALMOST like a HT but be a cruiser on the way back down.

For smooth fireroads, the FS is overkill most of the time. On rolling hills/descents you will be locking/unlocking the suspension a lot so your fingers will also get a workout. On the plus side this means you will KNOW where the controls are even in pitch darkness. On the minus side you will get sick of doing this so much you will leave the suspension locked out even on the downhills most of the time.

On rougher terrain the FS really shines. You still can't climb fast on cow track cobbled road surfaces but the downhill is so much better. There's a lot less fatigue in your hands and arms. And, once you've gotten the suspension dialed in the ride is superb.

Bottom line is that if you're OK with the HT you should probably stick with it if you're only looking to upgrade "just because." The FS is better if you're ridng rough roads or do a lot of rocks, roots, or dropoffs.
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