Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 20 of 71 Posts

·
Tonic Fall Guy
Joined
·
216 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’ve been riding about 15 years. First few years on hardtails, then switched to a fully (everyone was saying “you need a full suspension”), then another fully, then this year I built up a Transition Throttle. It’s light, and I put on some rugged components. My goal was a formidable, aggressive HT with 650bs. Also excited for the simplicity and weight.

I ride in the northeast mostly. So rooty, technical stuff and I’ll use Kingdom Trails at least 30 days a year. I don’t do DH, but I will do enduro kind of stuff.

I rode it most of the summer and I was really feeling like the trail was kicking my ass more on the chuddery stuff. So I sold some stuff and built up a Scout. Did my first few rides yesterday and it was flowy and such an easy ride. But I did feel less connected. I also didn’t think about my line as much; I just smashed everything!

This had me wondering if my form with hardtails was never great to begin with. Whether I wasn’t positioned to take the trails more in terms of my body. IE, did getting stronger and faster on fullys over the last 5-6 yrs allow me to get away with questionable body position? Lots of times I’d fly through a section on my Throttle and think, “ugh that hurts”. But I’m also much faster at riding this year versus when I had my hardtail 6+ years ago.

Sorry for the long screed here, but I’m basically asking:

Do you feel you can be as fast on your hardtail with proper mechanics and positioning?

If so, does this come at a detriment to your body? I’m 40 this year and want to riding another 40 so if the rear suspension helps protect my body, that is worth it. But if with better mechanics I can get by on a hardtail (or, say, 90% as fast), then I’d choose simplicity and that connection over the trail over the much burlier Scout. I like picking lines, and sort of strategizing my technical climbs more with the HT and the lower weight allows me to be a bit more nimble with it. Maybe someone could link a video or a reading on style for HTs, etc. Thanks for reading!

Small addendum: I do feel with being clipped in the hardtail was also a bit hard because all the impact just transferred up my legs to my back. With flat pedals on a HT my feet would spread a bit more during the hardier stuff, for better or worse. Clipped in on my Scout I just crushed everything.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,868 Posts
Are you racing? Is "fast" the most important thing to you? Unless you're comparing yourself to others all the time, it might not matter. Ride the bike that fills you with confidence and gives you control to take different lines and try new stuff. The results might be slower than always taking the easiest line.

Fun is my goal. I can ride fast enough to keep up with a group most of the time, so that's fast enough for me. If my bike made me feel timid, or made the trails feel so easy that I have to ride faster than my friends can keep up for the challenge to be there, I'd ride something different. Sometimes being slow is fun. Why is everyone so obsessed with speed?
 

·
since 4/10/2009
Joined
·
34,568 Posts
Too much "it depends" I think.

Don't get me wrong, I love my hardtail and I had a blast riding it yesterday on a really burly downhill.

But 2 things about that. Yes, I had to be much more selective about line choice, which in some respects takes more energy. I'm almost 40, as well, so I get it. But for me, the impact of a hardtail on the body is more about my muscles than anything. Riding several miles of rowdy descents on a hardtail left me soooooore. But only muscle soreness, which is something that better conditioning can address. I also noticed that the more tired I got, the sloppier my line choice, the rougher the ride, and the more tired I got. Yay for positive feedback loops.
 

·
EAT MORE GRIME
(ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻
Joined
·
7,869 Posts
I have multiple bikes and pick the one that matches what I want to do for the day...


it depends on the ratio of chunk your body or the bike can absorb vs your will and ability to absorb it over distance

I can be much faster on my hardtail all over the place but maybe I hit a long section of chunk or all chunk and that starts to suck energy over time...if I can sitz I'll sitz and the bouncy bike allows me to sitz more.

so

it is all dependent on the actual trail you are on

hardtail always faster *** but you better have your arm and core strength dialed to make that a true statement -and- the fitness to cash those checks

*** but if it's all gnar then the bouncy bike might be faster


what i have been doing lately is 20 miles hill repeats and there isn't as much gnar so it's been hardtail almost all summer. but then to mix it up I seek 14 miles of chunk and you bet the AM bike is my choice for that crud
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,394 Posts
I'd say descending over rough terrain you're always going to be faster on a full suspension, no matter how good your riding mechanics are. If you're talking true cross country with ups and downs then I'd say it all depends on the terrain - horses for courses and all that.

From my experience as a 40+ dude, I feel way worse after riding a hard tail on rough stuff than riding the same rough stuff on a full suspension.
 

·
Tonic Fall Guy
Joined
·
216 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Are you racing? Is "fast" the most important thing to you? Unless you're comparing yourself to others all the time, it might not matter. Ride the bike that fills you with confidence and gives you control to take different lines and try new stuff. The results might be slower than always taking the easiest line.

Fun is my goal. I can ride fast enough to keep up with a group most of the time, so that's fast enough for me. If my bike made me feel timid, or made the trails feel so easy that I have to ride faster than my friends can keep up for the challenge to be there, I'd ride something different. Sometimes being slow is fun. Why is everyone so obsessed with speed?
Thanks. Well I'm not racing but the speed definitely contributes to the fun factor for me. I get pretty adrenalized from it. So it's about being cool or aggressive or anything. I'm usually pretty chill on the climbs and flat stuff but like to let wayyyy loose on the downhills and crank the corners pretty fast.
 

·
Tonic Fall Guy
Joined
·
216 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'd say descending over rough terrain you're always going to be faster on a full suspension, no matter how good your riding mechanics are. If you're talking true cross country with ups and downs then I'd say it all depends on the terrain - horses for courses and all that.

From my experience as a 40+ dude, I feel way worse after riding a hard tail on rough stuff than riding the same rough stuff on a full suspension.
Thanks. Haha, I'm trying to justify consolidating to one bike but not sure that's possible. I'd love for it to be the HT
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,819 Posts
I am 45 now and about 18 months ago I got rid of my geared HT for 100/100 XC FS bike. The HT was good, but I was limited in speed and distance. I could go fast on the HT, but over time it would create more fatigue. The XC FS is just about as light (23lbs vs 22lbs) and climbs really well but takes edge off the really rocky stuff.

That said I still have HT. That is a 29er HT Steel Single speed. I love that bike for a lot of things. I currently have 29x2.6 tires on it and I really like Singlespeed riding. It very different from geared riding and is fun challenge. Some place I am faster an others slower. The HT does put more energy in to my body on rocky trails, but that is ok. I can choose which bike I ride given the trails and experience I want for that day.
 

·
Tonic Fall Guy
Joined
·
216 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I am 45 now and about 18 months ago I got rid of my geared HT for 100/100 XC FS bike. The HT was good, but I was limited in speed and distance. I could go fast on the HT, but over time it would create more fatigue. The XC FS is just about as light (23lbs vs 22lbs) and climbs really well but takes edge off the really rocky stuff.

That said I still have HT. That is a 29er HT Steel Single speed. I love that bike for a lot of things. I currently have 29x2.6 tires on it and I really like Singlespeed riding. It very different from geared riding and is fun challenge. Some place I am faster an others slower. The HT does put more energy in to my body on rocky trails, but that is ok. I can choose which bike I ride given the trails and experience I want for that day.
Thanks! It's sort of against my nature to have anything redundant and two 650b bikes seems a little that way. So in trying to figure out what to do. Mostly wondering about my technique. But seems here there's no way around wanting speed and ease on the body
 

·
well mannered lout
Joined
·
3,326 Posts
Very few hardtails on the starting line at the World Cup XC races so there's that.

My experience was that, as the speed increased, I was more likely to crash a hardtail than a suspension bike. That said, I did once ride the DH trail from the top of Burke Mt on a steel hardtail (On-One Summer Season with a 120mm Revelation on the front).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,819 Posts
Thanks! It's sort of against my nature to have anything redundant and two 650b bikes seems a little that way. So in trying to figure out what to do. Mostly wondering about my technique. But seems here there's no way around wanting speed and ease on the body
Personally I think 650b HT is pointless. Even 650 trail bikes are not ideal. I ride in places with lots of rocks and where rollover is key. Have use 27.5 x 2.3, 2.6, 2.8 and 29 2.3, 2.6 and 3.0. The 29x3.0 rolls over everything so well. It is heavy, but rolls so nice. The 27.5 was ok but never as good as 29x2.3. I have settled on 29x2.3 for racing and 29x2.6 for general gnar riding. It may not be what works for you, but it seems like what works for me. And it was Feb 2016 when I finally moved form 26" HT to a 29er HT. But in the thousands of miles since then I have had no desire to go back to smaller wheels.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
11,819 Posts
I've been riding about 15 years. First few years on hardtails, then switched to a fully (everyone was saying "you need a full suspension"), then another fully, then this year I built up a Transition Throttle. It's light, and I put on some rugged components. My goal was a formidable, aggressive HT with 650bs. Also excited for the simplicity and weight.

I ride in the northeast mostly. So rooty, technical stuff and I'll use Kingdom Trails at least 30 days a year. I don't do DH, but I will do enduro kind of stuff.

I rode it most of the summer and I was really feeling like the trail was kicking my ass more on the chuddery stuff. So I sold some stuff and built up a Scout. Did my first few rides yesterday and it was flowy and such an easy ride. But I did feel less connected. I also didn't think about my line as much; I just smashed everything!

This had me wondering if my form with hardtails was never great to begin with. Whether I wasn't positioned to take the trails more in terms of my body. IE, did getting stronger and faster on fullys over the last 5-6 yrs allow me to get away with questionable body position? Lots of times I'd fly through a section on my Throttle and think, "ugh that hurts". But I'm also much faster at riding this year versus when I had my hardtail 6+ years ago.

Sorry for the long screed here, but I'm basically asking:

Do you feel you can be as fast on your hardtail with proper mechanics and positioning?

If so, does this come at a detriment to your body? I'm 40 this year and want to riding another 40 so if the rear suspension helps protect my body, that is worth it. But if with better mechanics I can get by on a hardtail (or, say, 90% as fast), then I'd choose simplicity and that connection over the trail over the much burlier Scout. I like picking lines, and sort of strategizing my technical climbs more with the HT and the lower weight allows me to be a bit more nimble with it. Maybe someone could link a video or a reading on style for HTs, etc. Thanks for reading!

Small addendum: I do feel with being clipped in the hardtail was also a bit hard because all the impact just transferred up my legs to my back. With flat pedals on a HT my feet would spread a bit more during the hardier stuff, for better or worse. Clipped in on my Scout I just crushed everything.
I had a similar experience. Moved from the end of my full suspension experience from a Santa Cruz Bullit to a rigid salsa El Mariachi. The 29er with some large tires (at the time not a lot was available) was pretty good for the chuck and technical of southern Arizona and Phoenix trails. Eventually though I decided that maybe a little more cush was needed and so I picked up a salsa enabler fork and built a fat front. That was a lot better but it is a pretty heavy tire and the treads available weren't great....until the Nate came out and then it was pretty capable as an offroad trail tire. Finally I updated to a jones rigid and have ridden that for the last 10 years, a few final years in AZ and now the last 5 in Seattle.

What i noticed initially was that I wasn't as good as picking a line and over the years I got better and better, even able to pick a good line in blind or first run conditions but, and this is a big but, the margin of error is so much more on the rigid bike. Stuff a tire in a hole and there is nothing but your own body suspension to react, have your arms compressed or be sitting on the saddle and you are ejected. Best addition for fast tech riding recently for me was the dropper. Gives me a little more leeway to not blow my body into space. I run a fatter panaracer rampage on the back of the bike and most of the time run the 4" Nate up front for cush and traction.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,292 Posts
If you ride 30 days at Kingdom, where else do you ride?

I own and ride a Kona Honzo(similar to your Throttle) and a Giant Trance SX. There are certain trails the SX is jsut more fun and easier on no matter what I do. I really prefer my Honzo at places like darling hill and actually in tighter and more technical trails like Millstone, and then natural flow like Cady's Falls in Hyde Park.

with that said I can have fun on the Honzo is really rough high speed stuff, and can have fun on the Trance on smooth flowing stuff as well.

I think you need to stiffer soles if you find the hardtail transfering to much clipped in. And or get some clips with platforms. Flats on a hardtail seems extra hard compared to a FS to me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
95 Posts
I'm a similar age as Op and recently bought my first hardtail in over 15 yrs. After so many years on full suspension bikes, it beat the **** out of me my first ride. Not sure if it's bc of improved technique or more likely muscle development but after a couple months, rides are no longer as hard on me. I still find that I'm faster on my Ripmo on all but the smoothest of trails which I did not expect.

I had the opposite experience as Op with pedals. I switched to clipless on the hardtail after starting out with flats. I never felt like clipless provided me much advantage on full suspension bikes so have almost exclusively run flats (my SPDs were relegated to the road bike) but much prefer clipless on the hardtail as it was a challenge to keep my feet planted through the fast rough stuff on flats.

I'm enjoying riding a hardtail again but if I could only have one bike, it would be full suspension hands down. Overall it's just more fun, faster, and easier on the body. My hardtail is also a 29er btw.

Sent from my SM-G955U1 using Tapatalk
 

·
high pivot witchcraft
Joined
·
6,178 Posts
...Sorry for the long screed here, but I'm basically asking:

1. Do you feel you can be as fast on your hardtail with proper mechanics and positioning?

2. If so, does this come at a detriment to your body?....
Answers:

1. No. Not me. Ever. Virtually anything worth riding is faster on my FS.

2. My body always takes a bit of a beating on my hardtail, no matter what.

I ride my hardtail with my daughter and with slower friends. I ride my FS with my buddies who ride like crazed lunatics. I usually ride my FS when I ride solo, but not always. It depends how strong I am feeling and what terrain I plan to cover.

My HT makes me a much better rider on my FS, just as commuting on my fixed gear makes me a much stronger rider on any bike. As well, riding at a slower pace is much more fun for me on my HT than on my FS. Those are the primary reasons I ride it.

But again - no. I will never expect to be as fast on my HT as on my FS, at least not on the terrain I ride. And yes, I hurt a bit after I ride my HT, especially when I have to push it, but whatever. First world problems. Sometimes my HT is just more fun, regardless of the lower speeds and pain.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,270 Posts
I broke my full sus and took the parts and rebuilt it as an aggressive hardtail. I have zero regrets and zero desire to go back to a full sus. I just find the hardtail more fun even if it is a bit more tiring.

That being said I was still a bit sore on Monday from riding Black Mountain in Pisgah on Saturday.
 

·
Tonic Fall Guy
Joined
·
216 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
This is a terrific exchange and I really appreciate everyone’s input! After watching a few videos I’m thinking that one big mistake I’m making with my HT is not having a dropper post. I keep my seat in a pretty middle position but I could probably use my legs much more in the rough terrain and drop my seat, which is something I don’t do. This causes more work for sure.

I’ve also considered keep both frames but moving my i9s between the two frame to mitigate costs, but that’s probably silly. Trying to justify consolidating to one bike, but that’s just not realistic. As someone said, first world problems.
 
1 - 20 of 71 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top