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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well I went to a bike shop today to buy a bike, and after all my research into hardtails (timberjack, cujo, chameloon, roscoe) the sales guy may have talked me into a FS...So I left the shop without a bike because they didn't have a FS in my size in my price range....I was going to spend $1500-$1800 on a HT...Obviously the FS are more, and now I am considering maybe spending around $2500....I do have a bad back and he mentioned the FS would be better for me and that the ride is more comfortable....

QUESTION: What do you think I'd be more happy with ? the $1500 HT or the $2500 FS...I am basically new to mtb riding...I want something decent...I know how to work on bike so I am not afraid of upgrading when the time comes...I plan to do all sorts of different terrain for riding as I am truck driver that goes all around the country....Do you think those $2500 FS bikes are a respectable starter mtb ?

thanks, RB
 

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Lots of variables. Young and virile a HT is great. Old and feeble (like me) and a FS allows more sitting down through rough terrain. I used to ride on non-stop rocky rooty trails and FS was the ticket for me. Where I'm riding now is mostly much smoother with occasional rough patches and a HT would be good, and superior in some respects.

Ultimately, you can go faster over very rough terrain (if so desired) on a FS. I think you'd be happy on a quality HT until you decide what your next bike will be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
What FS were they offering?
They had a Norco low end model which I did not care for...They had a Salsa Horsethief, and a Cannondale Bad Habit....I also rode a Santa Cruz Hightower which felt ok but was way out of my budget at $4k.

Thing is I rode a Salsa Timberjack NX which actually felt great but like I said I think the guy talked me inot FS...Sigh I have been researching for a super long time and I thought I was finally going to be leaving a bike shop with a bike...but guess not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Lots of variables. Young and virile a HT is great. Old and feeble (like me) and a FS allows more sitting down through rough terrain. I used to ride on non-stop rocky rooty trails and FS was the ticket for me. Where I'm riding now is mostly much smoother with occasional rough patches and a HT would be good, and superior in some respects.

Ultimately, you can go faster over very rough terrain (if so desired) on a FS. I think you'd be happy on a quality HT until you decide what your next bike will be.
I really like the Timberjack.It felt awesome but he talked me into FS....How much worse is your FS when it comes to climbing versus climbing with a HT ? That'a one thing I was wondering about.
 

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I really like the Timberjack.It felt awesome but he talked me into FS....How much worse is your FS when it comes to climbing versus climbing with a HT ? That'a one thing I was wondering about.
FS is not that bad at climbing. If it were really bad, you wouldn't see so many people (> 80%) on FS. It can actually help climbing by keeping your rear (and front) wheel in contact with the earth, lessening chances of slipping and spinning out. Disadvantage of course in loss of energy through bobbing (and weight), but you will adjust to minimize, I believe.

More importantly, you said you have "bad back". And it sounds like you plan to do lots of riding. Without knowing all the details, I'd say "bad back" is very good reason for FS.

fyi, I ride a hard tail. But know I will switch to FS when my body starts giving out.
 

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What I'm seeing is a guy who did his research and picked a good bike for the money. You went in, test road it and liked it.
That's a successful buying procedure.
Now you aren't following it for a fs.
Do your research, again. You'll ID a couple good value fs bikes.
Maybe with info your budget may change. Maybe not.
Stick with your procedure.
 

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What I'm seeing is a guy who did his research and picked a good bike for the money. You went in, test road it and liked it.
That's a successful buying procedure.
Now you aren't following it for a fs.
Do your research, again. You'll ID a couple good value fs bikes.
Maybe with info your budget may change. Maybe not.
Stick with your procedure.
Good advice.
And as part of that procedure to assess your "bad back", be sure to:
a) For each a full suspension and hardtail...
b) Ride repeatedly down small, med, and big curbs or small sets of stairs...
c) Ride up/ crash into and over small curbs...
d) Do above seated and unseated
 

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my question would be:

did you recent develop the bad back?

if you knew your body, why did you spent such a long time researching hardtails? granted you did pick one with plus tires, with the hope that maybe it'll be cushioning.

so back to your question:

of course, from a mechanical stand point, a full-suspension bike will definitely be the more capable bike versus a hardtail and if you end up with a horsethief nx or slx, it should have similarities to the timberjack nx and slx that you already researched.

but whether or not you'll be more happy, only you can answer. and there's no way to know until you've had time to ride both options.

as for the different terrain, either type of bike will be fine. just think back to 10, 20 years ago, the type of bikes people were riding...

but to look at this from a risk-assessment point of view: if you spent the extra money for the full suspension and picked out the best one for you budget, then you would have covered all your bases regarding dealing with a bad back and tackling different terrain.
 

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Hi Rolling Buffalo, as an aside, have you looked into the ways to help your back e.g.: getting your stabilizing muscles working, and improving your core strength?

If you get back pain due to muscle imbalances and overly tight muscles, then it's going to happen on a FS or a HT...

It sounds to me like you'd also benefit from ensuring that whatever bike you choose has been set-up so that it fits you well. These things might really matter due to your back: saddle height & fore-aft position....then, how far it is to the bars, and the bar height
 

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I have both types of bikes. I do suffer from major back issues too. I started slowly on the ht just to ride with the kids. I quickly learned its good for my health and helps my back. THen i wanted more than a bike path. i found out fast that i cant sit down on it much if at all. A small bump when your not prepared goes right through into the spine. On my fs i am riding on a cloud and these bumps are non existent, for the most part. Dont bother with the ht. Get a fs. The 2019 fluid are good bikes. Just a little heavy, next the stumpjumpers are awesome and there are many models to choose from. All bikes are 20-25% off out of season. Good luck with your choice.

Now that i have my fs. Im selling the ht!.
 

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I am also interested in what your "bad back" means. Do you have a diagnosed, irreversible, permanent back injury? Or do you need to hit the gym to lose some weight and build core strength to stabilize your spine?

Personal experience: at 35 I had a "bad back" and visited a chiropractor who helped straighten me out. More importantly, he taught me a lot about how my body works and got me on a routine of strength exersizes that have eliminated the back problems and allowed me to become a better rider.

Either way, starting a routine to get stronger will help your riding, along with your general health, and won't relegate you to riding a FS bike. If you want FS, go for it, but don't let a repairable body issue force you one way or another.
 

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RollingBuffalo, I'd agree with eb1888. Do some FS research. If you're looking at a FS for back issues, you need to consider suspension design. Number of pivots, Horst, DW, various proprietary designs, etc., etc. Also consider what shock is being used, as that affects what your dampening and rebound options are, and can have a significant impact on cost (easily $200-$500+). Keep in mind that design goals may be more about maintaining rear tire contact on rough terrain than they are for comfort.
 

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I'm 49, have a bad back (I had back surgery at 30), and ride a fully rigid Karate Monkey. Get the bike that felt great. :)

If you have a bad back, proper technique and form will protect it more than riding sloppily while depending on the shock to do that for you. If you are a beginner with health limitations, perhaps your terrain choices should reflect that. If you advance over the years, you could move into a full suspension later. Cycling is a multi-year sport, and there is a learning curve to that terrain.
 

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...How much worse is your FS when it comes to climbing versus climbing with a HT ? ...
It depends on the climbing; the grade, the surface, and the roughness. The HT benefits from lighter weight and more efficient pedaling, especially when standing. The FS benefits from better traction on rougher loose surfaces and the rear wheel is less likely to hang up on an edge. Most all current FS trail bikes pedal very well when seated and pretty poorly standing.

On a long varied climb, there will be places where the HT is better and places where the FS is better.
 

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I say get the bike that you love.

The details of the back matter. Note that Muirenn is riding a fully rigid bike with a "bad back". I have both a hardtail and a full suspension and they're different from each other, but honestly, the hardtail doesn't strain my back any more than the FS (unless I'm riding it incorrectly and trying to sit on it through chunk). What it does is engage more muscles in my core and my arms and legs, so I get more of a full body workout on it. I ride it in Pisgah and ride it off drops and through rocks and everything else I ride a FS on. Hardtails can be PLENTY capable.

Now, of course, not all "bad backs" are created equally. Some of them, as mentioned, can be greatly improved by doing exercises to strengthen your core and stabilize your back. Good news! Mountain biking also benefits greatly from a strong core! Some of them are going to require legitimate medical procedures like surgery to address. Some won't feel right with any sort of upright bicycle at all - I know a guy who rides recumbents now because his back just can't handle any kind of upright bike for long.

IMO, if you rode some hardtails (especially if you rode them on trails), and you liked them, then there's a really good chance you're just in the first category and you'll do fine. The fit of the bike is going to be the most important part of ensuring that you're comfortable on it, and working on core strength should take care of the rest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I'm feeling a little bit of regret like I should have pulled the trigger on that Timberjack that was on sale for $1799...now I am out of state..not sure if I'll ever get back there...I've been researching the FS and they seem to be very pricey for my budget
 

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I'm feeling a little bit of regret like I should have pulled the trigger on that Timberjack that was on sale for $1799...now I am out of state..not sure if I'll ever get back there...I've been researching the FS and they seem to be very pricey for my budget
The aluminum Diamondback Release seems to have a nice list of features and snappy enough geometry that it has taken quite a bit of self restraint not to order one since I discovered it.
 
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