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I rode hardtails for a LONG time before I rode my first fully suspended bike (1990-2013) so I keep thinking that I really need to have a HT in my shed along with my “full sus enduro rig” . But I don’t really know if I can decide why I want it: do I really think riding a HT will make me a better rider, or possibly cause the local trails to feel less boring so that it makes the trails more interesting on a HT so I’ll be more inclined to ride them...or if I really just want to impress people by showing them that I can “ride the gnar” on a hardy tail...

but I won’t get one because i’m more scared that l won’t actually be able to impress anyone with my lousy riding skills???!
 

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Do hardtails make you a better rider? No, it just requires a slightly different technique/riding style, line choice, etc...

Full sus or hardtail? Who cares as long as you're having fun but nice to have both.

Making a decision based on what 'anyone' else thinks or if they will be impressed or not is nuts! 🤪 🪙🪙
 

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So Cal Slayin'
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Riding my hardtail has for sure made me a smoother rider, which translates over when riding my full suspension. I don't know if that necessarily makes me a better rider though, just taught me some new techniques. The main reason for me to get one was like you mentioned, to make my local trails a little more exciting again.
 

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I only ride ht's but I don't know if I'm any better because of this. I'm at best an ok rider given the years I ride and the mileage, certainly nothing fancy. On harder trails it's a very involving ride so it forces you to be on top of your game, but fatique sets in at some point and then technique starts to deteriorate. One could argue that a bike with rear suspension opens up new possibilities and new lines, which can make one a better rider. Then once you can see something is possible you can do it on your ht too.

Sometimes people are impressed I cleaned a certain section "on a hardtail" but I bet they would too if they tried. Modern enduro/trail hardtails are very capable machines, you can do almost anything on them, it will just be bumpier and possibly a bit slower than an fs, but not by much.

Personally I like the feedback and the low maintenance of a good ht, plus I like them as objects. Most of the time they look better than a full suspension in my eyes. Simple, cleaner lines.

In the end, I think some people see it as a fun ride and others as a painfull one.
 

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Evolutionsverlierer
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I rediscovered my hard tail I build up as a back as a gravel/trail bike and I am really enjoying it.
Like said before you need to choose your lines more carefully but that is part of the fun for me.
Getting used to flat pedals is a whole different story.😉
 
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... One could argue that a bike with rear suspension opens up new possibilities and new lines, which can make one a better rider. Then once you can see something is possible you can do it on your ht too.
...
We had this exact discussion this past weekend on our ride trip. Yes, rigid/HT helps you pick a good line, but FS teaches you how to deal with what line you picked when it was not the best choice. So yes, sParty, all bikes make you a better rider (if you are open to becoming better).

I just installed a 140mm fork on a bike that has been rigid for 10 yrs. It forgives some mistakes, and def. reduces fatigue for a guy who doesn't ride as consistently often as he used to. But in no way does it make the bike clear previously unrideable obstacles.

-F
 

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Evolutionsverlierer
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Riding more often, longer and taking chances makes you a better rider.

When I screw up, I don't blame the equipment. When I do well, I credit the equipment.
Yes but I also hope you give yourself some credit too.
 
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Does riding a hardtail make you a better rider? I ride a hardtail, so absolutely.
 

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Wanna ride bikes?
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Hardtails are fun. Period.

Will it make you a better rider? Maybe. Riding technical or steep terrain is definitely harder on a hardtail. Some people enjoy the challenge, others have no interest in anything that makes their riding harder. IMO most people seek anything that makes their riding easier.

Would I ride anything because of what other people thought? No.

If you want a hardtail, get a hardtail. If you want to try and impress people, get a Unicycle and learn to juggle.
 

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Something goes here...
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It's weird but I prefer HTs. I pick up a FS and I'm stoked to get out on the trail with it. What do I find? Well, I find it sloppy and just all over the place. I never feel as stable on a FS as I do a HT. So I always sell the FS and go back to my HTs. Of course, frame material makes a HUGE difference. I will only ride steel. Alu will practically rip your whole body apart on super rocky or rooted terrain.

I've been on my custom Samsara XO steel HT for 5 years w/o ever riding a FS. I'm almost 50 and this bike rides so well that after 5 years, I still find myself loving the ride. I have no desire for a FS. Does that mean I'm a better rider? No idea but it makes me enjoy the riding more.
 

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I rode hardtails for 30yrs and only got my first FS last year. I gave my HT to the Ms and I rode the FS exclusively all of last year but I missed having a HT so I built up a 2021 Meta HT frame. WOW! I'd forgotten how much fun and lively it is to be on a HT and so playful and just want to pop off everything. I did notice how sloppy I'd gotten in some of my technique that I managed to get away with on my FS. Another thing I noticed was how much more taxing it was on the legs. It's not like I can comfortably sit through some of the bumpy trails like I can on my FS. Most times I'm off the saddle on the HT.

Does my HT make me a better rider? Well, maybe to a point but more so for me to choose better lines and keep that lively back end under control. Bunny hop, manuals, hitting drops (other than harsher on a HT when huck to flat) and jumps all use the same technique. In some, the HT makes it a little easier but that doesn't equate to making me a better rider.

My HT has become my weekday workout bike and on weekends, it's full send on the FS.
 

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Evolutionsverlierer
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If you want to try and impress people, get a Unicycle and learn to juggle.
Yeah around here the unicycles are a tad to frequent so you are absolutely right that you need another skill.
Bonus points also for a clown suit especially with those oversized shoes.

Descending on my last ride I almost ran into one because his smaller statue and his earth tone clothes.
 

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They might help with specific skills but from a speed perspective I think it's unlikely once you have the basics down. While I'm sure there are exceptions I never see or hear about pro enduro/DH riders practicing on hardtails. It's kinda the opposite in a way, you're more likely to see the DH racers riding moto. Getting used to riding at higher speeds definitely helps. I think as far as skill development your better off adding a bmx, DJ, or moto to your lineup than a hardtail trail bike.
 
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