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Hard Tail

If you pick the right line and shift your weight a bit back on the down hill, no advantage with a FS on 98% of the trails that I ride - I'm a XC single track demon. A FS allows you to be all over the trail down hill and picking a line is not as important on rough sections but once you get on the smooth section, no advantage.

Since I spend 80% of the time climbing, I prefer a hard tail. With time you become a better rider and a FS is not an advantage.

What type of riding do you do or want to do? Drops? Climb? XC
 

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83 feet less per minute
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I finally converted to FS this year. My type of riding, lots of roots, some rocks,hard pack and loose sand, has allowed me to stay in the saddle more and is, I believe more efficient than standing on a HT. A good rider on a a super-light HT can probably out climb and out ride me, but at the end of the day my old bones appreciate the softer ride of the FS bike.
 

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Actually a fs bike is more efficient climbing due to the rear wheel maintaining contact with the ground more than a hardtail.

If lack of rear suspension was such a good thing then you'd be riding a rigid bike and have twice the goodness. :)
 

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Without getting into an engineering based discussion of the differences between the two, and why one will work better than the other in specific instances... I think that I would have to agree with LBGuy, and say that it depends on the trails that you ride on whether or not you should go FS or not. I would have to say that most of the time, probably 96% of the time for just everyday trail riders, FS is not really needed. Sometimes it is not a bad thing to have, but not extremely necessary.
 

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I prefer a hardtail.......

Nothing scientific here. You asked about preferences and that is my preference. I get annoyed at the "rebound" on my FS and find my hardtail more precise. I also don't buy the "old bones" theory. I'm 55 and do not feel beat up after a day on the hardtail. If anything, I feel fresher since I'm only pushing 23 to 24 lbs around and my legs provide all the rear suspension "I" need.

After years and years of riding all types of bikes and conditions, I can only tell people to ride what makes them smile the most.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
i have a hardtail now becuz i'm just a rookie. i do some xc, climbs, little jumping (as in like a foot at the most) however sometime down the road i would like to upgrade into FS model
 

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It kind of depends. I prefer my hardtail for most of the riding I do because it is fire roads and smooth single track making the snap of the hardtail more fun. On more technical trails I prefer my fs bike because I can clear sections that I can't on my hardtail. There is a reason that people are going to single speed bikes and hardtails and there is a whole retro movement. It makes those same trails that are a walk in the park on a 5 inch fs bike challenging.

I'll also throw out that there is a great deal of difference in the ride qualities of different hardtails. I recently swapped out my Fisher Kaitai frame (straight gauge tubed) for a Titus Riddler (butted 6069 tubing known to be very nice riding) and the difference is unreal. It felt like I went from riding a rock to a softail in term of how the frame take the edge off of bumps. If you are considering a hardtail, I would strongly encourage you to look at a steel frame for this same reason. The improvement in ride quality over a low end aluminium frame is unreal.
 

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CDMC said:
I'll also throw out that there is a great deal of difference in the ride qualities of different hardtails.
That's also true with FS. My Fuel has much more "snap" and responsiveness than say a Liquid.

I'll never go back to a hardtail. I'm faster on my Fuel than on my old hardtail in most trail conditions, not because of the comfort but because of the added control and forgivness the suspension gives me, which in turn gives me more confidence (I'll admit it, I'm no pro). The comfort is an added plus that keeps me fresher at the end of the day.

For racers, hardtail efficiency makes sense, and they are also a good value, and certainly capable bikes with a skilled rider. But I'll bet 90% of off-road riders out there would prefer a FS if they gave it a chance. Cost is the biggest issue IMO, and for many that cost isn't worth it for their needs.

Just my thoughts...
 

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as you can see, there are many varied opinions and arguments regarding hardtail and full suspension setups. what you really need to do is find some guys who will let you ride their hardtails and f/s bikes so you can get an idea of how a few of those bikes ride and then make your decision.

but now for my two cents:
i recently was buying a bike and ended up deciding on full suspension. i fractured a vertebrae when i was playing football in high school and my back feels a lot better after rides -- trust me on this one, i can seriously feel the difference between a hardtail and full suspension after a 2 hour ride. i'm 19 so i definitely don't have 'old bones' -- just sensitive ones.
 

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Good, I'd rather be part of the 10% any day.....

" But I'll bet 90% of off-road riders out there would prefer a FS if they gave it a chance. Cost is the biggest issue IMO, and for many that cost isn't worth it for their needs."

Most people strive to blend in. I strive to be different. Makes me smile more and, as I said before, its the smiles per mile that count, not the type of bike.
 

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I prefer both

sky84 said:
just curious, which one do you guys prefer?
I was an anti-FS, hardtail-only rider until I started riding a short travel FS bike.
Now, I own one of each and each excels in a different area. (My "hardtail" is a fully rigid singlespeed.) When I know I'm going to encounter steep climbs and/or rocky/technical descents, I ride the geared FS bike. However, on smoother, more gentle singletrack, I'd rather be on the rigid bike.
 

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For 75% of all mountain bikers, FS is the better choice, especially with the wide diversity of FS rigs- from race, XC, all-mountain, free-ride and downhill designs.

But there is that 25%, the elite racers, dirt jumpers, budget minded new riders, SS fiends, retro kings, ect that make hardtails thrive still.

My thought is switch every third bike purchase- I have gone through a bunch of disc equipped FS rigs, so I am building up a light hardtail with V's for fun. Mix it up a bit.

Best of all worlds is both of course, if you can swing the $$.

:)
 

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sky84 said:
just curious, which one do you guys prefer?
All things being equal I'd say the FS. ie., if it cost the same and weighed the same.

If you've only got $1000 (or less) to spend, you'd most likely prefer the HT to the FS at the same price. If money is no object, you'd probably prefer the FS.
 

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Rigid and FS

I like balanced suspension front and rear. Hardtails were an amazing improvement over rigid bikes for speed. Although some rigid forks worked nearly as well as the early suspension forks such as the Manitou-2 and were lighter. FS was another step forward in improving the handling balance compared to hard tails.

I prefer FS even on the streets to get to the trails (we have a lot of bumpy patched up roads in Nor Cal). But I want to get back to my mountain bike roots, sort of, with a fully rigid ti 29'er for a very light weight alternative to the full suspension luxury RV I've become accustomed to.

;)

- ray
 

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I agree

fred³ said:
Actually a fs bike is more efficient climbing due to the rear wheel maintaining contact with the ground more than a hardtail.

If lack of rear suspension was such a good thing then you'd be riding a rigid bike and have twice the goodness. :)
I have two bikes, both high end, one hardtail and one FS, and I never touch my hardtail anymore! I climb a nice little mountain (2.5 miles up fireroad) and come down the western face (.5 miles of tough technical singletrack) about 4 times a week. I did it back to back/up and down, on both of my bikes. FS killed the hardtail in every aspect. Climbs faster, turns better (holds on longer at the limit), and it descends awesome!!!
I am a very experienced rider who fought the FS trend for years, and I can't believe how much time I wasted being a "traditionalist". Buy a nice XC FS (with lockout if you want the hardtail experience) and you will enjoy your rides so much more. BTW...I never use my lockout, as I found no benefit to it on road or trails...
 

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Hardtail for me, SS style!

being a singlespeeder, the hardtail is the obvious weapon of choice. Still, I think I'd have a hardtail always even if I bought a FS down the road. I race it, jump it, do urban and park on it, cuddle with it, you name it, I do it with a hardtail. Im even taking it to Whistler this coming week to not only ride the park but some of nasty stuff too. Learn to do it well on a hardtail and you'll see its all you need. Not knocking FS but its not a necesity for most riders as much as its a preference on feel. Do what makes you happy in the end, If you know you'll get sketchy and want the peace of mind to know the FS might forgive that, go for it. If you want FS because of comfort issues, go for it. No matter what you pick, or what the reason, its all good - just go for it!
 

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sky84 said:
i have a hardtail now becuz i'm just a rookie. i do some xc, climbs, little jumping (as in like a foot at the most) however sometime down the road i would like to upgrade into FS model
Good call for a rookie!!! I used to tell my newby friends to ride rigid bikes for a few months before they got into hardtails (this was in the early 90's) because it forced them to learn how to ride. Only when you know how to read the conditions and pick a good line should you consider FS. They are more comfortable for beginners, but they bypass some critical parts in the learning curve.

To be a really good rider you need to learn at the most basic level and progressively embrace the technology. There are definitely things I can do on my current bike that I could never do (safely) on my hardtail, but the time on the hardtail (and the rigid before that) is how I learned the foundations to be a good technical rider.
 
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