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A really high end dual suspension Trek Fuel vs same weight or lighter hard tail 29er

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A really high end dual suspension Trek Fuel vs same weight or lighter hard tail 29er

Old 08-13-13, 08:12 PM
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A really high end dual suspension Trek Fuel vs same weight or lighter hard tail 29er

I am thinking of upgrading to a faster bike and suggestions are welcome. My wife has a really sweet Trek Fuel 100 carbon everything dual suspension. My bike a Felt weighs the same in a 29er hard tail (24lb). Her bike though just goes so fast and I cannot totally figure this out. It just seems to me that with her bike (we are same size) that she can just keep pedaling through just about anything while I cannot. But shouldn't weight being the same bring these bike to similar performance. Her front shock could/probably is much better than mine. But I want to upgrade as I have earned some spare money recently but don't know whether to go full suspension or hardtail. Intended usage is singletrack in Michigan with some racing in the masters class for the Iceman and Mud Sweat and Beers. I just don't know as to buy a high end hard tail ( potentially lighter than full suspension) or a high end full suspension.

Thanks for suggestions

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Old 08-13-13, 11:26 PM
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Before I get started, a nitpick: it's a fork, not a front shock -- 2nd post in a row the OP has called it that.

The question of "hardtail V. FS" has been going on ever since FS hit the scene, and there IS no definitive answer.

Some people prefer the simplicity and overall lesser weight of the hardtail, and accept the extra 'pounding' on the body during rougher rides as their cost of doing business. Others prefer the smoothness and comfort of the FS, which has been shown to maintain speed through rougher sections better, and the comfort matters more at the end of the ride, less fatigue. Advances in tech have brought the weight difference down, but not gone.

Using myself as an example, if it were all about performance, I'd be on a hardtail; pure acceleration is unmatched, and the weight difference is noticeable. But, I'm at an age where speed is less important than comfort, and my poor abused lower back won't take the hardtail's pounding AT ALL, not even with a suspension post. Knees and ankles feel the diff, too....

Without knowing what type of terrain you two are riding through, I can only say this: in smoother conditions, a 29er will roll over small obstacles better, and hold speed longer, due to the rotating weight of the bigger wheels. 26ers accelerate faster, and FS handles rough stuff better. This has been shown pretty conclusively, at least AFAIC.

Bottom line, only you can answer that question -- and you can only answer it for YOU.

List your top 3-5 demands for the next bike, and buy the one that best fulfills most of that list.
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Old 08-14-13, 07:54 AM
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Based on what the OP described it looks like a pretty clear case for a FS bike. That is the point of not only full suspension, but also longer travel FS bikes. Do you have to slow down to pick a line, or can you go the fastest direct path? That's the value of FS. FS doesn't mean that you can't pick a smooth line like you would for a HT or a rigid. It means that you can use the smooth line when it's faster, and go over stuff when that's faster.

The pedaling penalty for certain FS bikes is also nearly eliminated when in the saddle. Out of the saddle, anything that isn't rigidly locked out is going to bob to some extent, but it's manageable. Many forks and shocks are moving away from rigid lockout to simply adding a boatload of low speed compression.
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Old 08-14-13, 08:26 AM
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Just noticed that the OP said his wife is the same size he is.

Simple solution: trade bikes for a ride. You will need to reset sag if you weigh more-- I'm not sure if 'same size' means similar in all respects or same height, and different weight.

If she still dusts you it's not the bike.

However, what you're really trying to find out is if you prefer the FS, and ideally, if you seem to be faster on it. If your wife is possessive about her bike-- and that's not a knock on her, some people are and it's fine-- just borrow a bike from a friend if you have one with the right sized FS bike, or rent one from a LBS. Even if it's $50 for a full-day rental that is worth knowing before you go buy a new bike.
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Old 08-14-13, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by ColinL
Just noticed that the OP said his wife is the same size he is.

Simple solution: trade bikes for a ride. You will need to reset sag if you weigh more-- I'm not sure if 'same size' means similar in all respects or same height, and different weight.

If she still dusts you it's not the bike.

However, what you're really trying to find out is if you prefer the FS, and ideally, if you seem to be faster on it. If your wife is possessive about her bike-- and that's not a knock on her, some people are and it's fine-- just borrow a bike from a friend if you have one with the right sized FS bike, or rent one from a LBS. Even if it's $50 for a full-day rental that is worth knowing before you go buy a new bike.

Wow! Excellent, and EASY, point made here! You've got a great demo bike in the garage! Set it up for your weight, and give it a go. All around, some great points have been made here. Your wife might be "faster" than you simply because she can stay seated, and pedal through anything, whereas you have to be more mindful of the trail, and get the tail up out of the seat on occasion. The differences between the two bikes are minute, but aggregated over the course of a ride, they add up.

You can readily compare 26 vs 29; full vs hardtail; and the differences in forks. You have access to some great testing to see what you do, and do not, want in your next bike!

Last edited by Papa Wheelie; 08-14-13 at 08:41 AM.
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Old 08-14-13, 09:56 AM
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Rear wheel on a full-suspension tracks better. Whether they'll be faster than a hardtail depends largely on terrain. That said, it kind of just sounds like your wife is the better rider.
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Old 08-15-13, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by reallyok
$50 for a full-day rental that is worth knowing before you go buy a new bike.
Yes, but sometimes a bike shop won't have your exact model and size in stock for you to demo. This is especially common on 'really high-end' bikes. However, I don't think it would take a really high end bike to answer this question. Mid-grade should suffice, if the OP can't ride his wife's bike for some reason.
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Old 08-15-13, 02:23 PM
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My Carbon FS 29er is 23.4 pounds. My hardtail 700c/29er commuter is only 19.7 pounds. It's all in the parts, baby:

FS:


Hardtail:
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