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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just curious as to how high of a drop y'all are comfortable taking a hardtail without worry of it snapping the frame? I had a chance today, and chickened out, on a drop that would have been about 2+ feet but is just got me wondering if the bike would even handle it. I know that it would depend on the bike itself and the rider on top...I want to get more adventurous but I don't want to buy a new bike either.

Thanks

Bill
 

· bi-winning
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I took a two foot drop on a hardtail frame that was already cracked. It did not break.

I would not knowingly do the same today, but hey, I was young....
 

· since 4/10/2009
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I think the biggest drop I've taken on a hardtail was about 2-3ft. It was a drop to flat, my tires were underinflated, and I got a flat spot in my rim from that. That's about the max height I'm comfortable with on my FS these days, too. All that previous talk is regarding drops to flat.

When it comes to drops to tranny, my comfort level extends a bit because the landing is much smoother. It doesn't jar the body and it's not as hard on the bike. There's really not anything bigger than about 2' on my local trails, though. We have one elevated structure that has a drop to tranny on the exit. The total drop right off the lip is maybe a foot or a foot and a half. If you have much horizontal momentum on the exit, that drop can be much more (the structure is probably 5.5' high). We have some jumps that you can get MAYBE 4' of air on, but the landings are almost all flat ones, so I scrub a little speed before hitting them.

I've just never been all that comfortable in the air, so I keep myself from going overboard.
 

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Ya, as long as you got a decent bike and are comfortable with your handling of it, I wouldn't worry about it.

On my current favorite trail I have a couple 2' drops and a couple jumps that I can that 3'+ on. My KHS HT is still in one piece.
 

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I went off a 2 1/2 foot jump, frame handled it fine, front tire folded like a tent. That was on single wall rim. I have since upgraded to a Trek Mamba which has double wall rims. I think there are other things that would give before the frame but thats just me.
 

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How you break the bike depends on how you land it. Most harsh landings will break your fork or taco your rims before they'll break the frame. Others will break the frame at the headset, some will break it elsewhere. Learn to land smoothly and fluidly consistentlyon smaller drops first. Once you can land it without jarring or bouncing every time at one height, you're ready to take it up a level. As others have already pointed out, if you land it right you won't break anything. Don't ask me how I know any of this.
 

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Unlikely you'd break a frame on just one drop. Much more likely that you'd crack a frame from repeated flat landings, and THEN snap it. If you have a creaky headset or bottom bracket that you just can't figure out, check all your welds for hairline cracks.

Large drops are easy on the frame, as you can't stick them unless you land smooth. The repeated 2 or 3 footers to the front end are the frame killers.

I routinely hit 6' high stuff on my hardtail, and I've been running it since 2005. But I'm not hitting stuff with harsh landings either. Not as young as I was, eh?
 

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If it's just a "normal" coasting drop with no funky moves or a stall right at the edge required, get your body low before you drop. Considering you can drop your body about a foot without even getting off your bike, you get low, then your bike drops 2 ft. while your body only drops 1 ft. It's much less punishing to both. Just don't forget to get your 1 ft. of body compression back before the bike lands. Otherwise you get tire burn.:ciappa:
You can even lower your body, then when you ride off the drop, lower your rear wheel so that it sorta "reaches out" to the ground in anticipation of your landing. That is prob'ly the smoothest way to go because then your body drops even less before your bike makes contact, spreading out the landing impact.
I've done a few 4 ft. to flat landings using light weight XC gear. It wasn't pretty. It wasn't smooth. But nothing broke. I'm 185# and riding rigid with 1650g wheels.

Of course, if you're pulling some sorta hot doggin' move do a front flip. Everyone likes a front flip.:thumbsup:

-F
 

· Real Mountain Bikers!
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Legs & arms

Like Jeff just said...Use your legs, That's the best suspension you have on a hardtail!
With a hardtail your body is the shock absorber. Use both legs & arms to smoothen the impact when you land. Do it on the right moment you hit the ground. O course a nice landing will help a lot.

You won't believe me the size of the drops I've hit with a hardtail. You can do almost any drop!

Riding a hardtail gives you also lots of skills and when you pass to a full suspension bike, everything is much easier.
 

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I went off a 2 1/2 foot jump, frame handled it fine, front tire folded like a tent. That was on single wall rim. I have since upgraded to a Trek Mamba which has double wall rims. I think there are other things that would give before the frame but thats just me.
Yup, one of my wrecks this year was just like this - went over about 2' jump, landed fine, but rear tire went as flat as my wife's chest. ;)
 
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