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Hey everybody. so i need to buy a new bike, and i am plagued with the question: Should i get a full suspension bike or continue using a hardtail. On the extreme cross-country trails that i do, my rockhopper gives a hard and lumpy ride, and sometimes just doesn't quite cut it for what i need, so that i why i ask you, fellow mountain bikers, is full suspension worth the extra price?
 

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To me, this is easy to answer. In many situations, a FS can actually climb BETTER than a hardtail. Why? Because while a hardtail is bouncing around, a bike with a good suspension is soaking up the bumps and making the rear tire stick to the ground. This is not applicable when riding a really smooth trail, of course. But then you have to go down the hill, and the FS will rule for sure.

You say your Rockhopper doesn't cut it for you so I would say you should go FS for sure.
 

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If your current hardtail gives you a 'hard and lumpy ride,' buying another hardtail won't resolve that issue. However, if the budget is very limited (say under a grand) getting a heavy bike with a crappy rear shock and fork won't be much better. I would think that $1500 would be a starting point to get you a decent fork and shock unless you go used. My brother just got a 09 Trek EX 8 for $2000 (new) and I think he got a really good bike for the money. He just put on a better saddle and tires and was good to go.

Yes it is worth the money- I'm almost 50 and just don't want to be beat-up when I am trying to have fun. And that's really what it is about, having fun (unless you are racing and I feel it should be fun then too.) Yea it is more money than a similarly setup hardtail but one ride was all it took for me to see the point.
 

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See if you can try a full squish on the trail. Lots of LBS's have demo bikes. Yeah I'd say $1500 is around the lower end for a good FS. The Fuel EX, Trance/Anthem, and FSR/Stuntjumper have all gotten good reviews. It's all about what you like best.
 

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I road my hardtail today for the first time in a long
while. All I can say is it will be a long time before I
do that again.

Best, John
 

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I have a hardtail and a fully, and I'm looking to get another Hardtail. If you can only have one bike, you'll have to decide for yourself what you want, but I like the simplicity, terrain feedback, and challenge of riding a HT on stuff that no longer thrills me on my Big bike. Plus learning to flow a hardtail through a Rock garden will let you ride like a pro on a 5" bike where the bull-in-china-shop guys are breaking out the 7" rigs. Remember too the added maintenance involved with a fully; it's not much but if you are a chronic gear abuser who only checks up on stuff when it has clearly failed completely, a hardtail give you several fewer potential problems.

And whatever you decide to do, if you are on a budget, buy used. You can pick up a killer bike used for what a middle of the road/cheapy bike would run you new.
 
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