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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've rode enough that my confidence level has rose to the point that I feel more comfortable moving at faster speeds through the trails around the local park. In doing so all the rocks, bumps, and roots shake the crap out of me even when I'm up out of the saddle. Maybe I'm just being a wimp. Maybe I'm looking for a reason to get a new. Maybe I just need to ride more and just deal, I don't know. What do you think?

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I think it's a matter of preference. I dont think anyone NEEDS a FS but if you want a smoother ride and don't mind the loss in climbing performance, then get one and be happy. My suggestion is find a buddy who has one that is willing to let you ride it and see what you think. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
So a better climbing performance would be what a HT has over a FS? I wish a had a buddy that rode period, much less had a FS I could try out. I'll probably just stick with what I have and ride it like a mad man. My climbing skill don't need to be hindered anymore then what they already are.
 

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So a better climbing performance would be what a HT has over a FS? I wish a had a buddy that rode period, much less had a FS I could try out. I'll probably just stick with what I have and ride it like a mad man. My climbing skill don't need to be hindered anymore then what they already are.
The old chestnut...
What climbs better a HT or a FS?
No doubt a HT does climb more efficiently

However.....

IMO unless you forefill one of the following catagories:
- Too broke to be able to afford a decent FS
- Want to or do race XC
- Too mechanically enept or too poor to be able to maintain a FS bike
- A total weight weenie

The advantages of a FS bike to the "Average" rider far far out way any shortcomings they "may" present when it comes to climbing [I mean seriously, how much of your ride is climbing - 50%? and how much more fun is the descending - 200% more fun I bet].

- They are MUCH more fun descending [not to mention safer and faster]
- They are more comfortable
- They have heaps more street cred [OK I'm digging here - lets stick with the two above]

Once you have ridden a decent FS that is suitable for what you want to do - I.E. Donot expect a DH or AM bike to climb like your HT - look for a 4 inch FS XC bike for that, you will never go back to a HT

Case in point.
I just got back from a 30km Saturday morning ride with 9 friends
6 on FS bikes, 4 on HT's.
The ride was a mix of well graded fire road and granite based, fantastic, flowy, gnarly, rooty single track just begging to be ridden hard and fast.
The HT guys got hammered!
they were at least 2-3minutes behind at every stop and barely in control on some of the rain rutted rockey descents.

HT?
never again my friend
 

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A good FS doesn't give much, if anything away to a HT as far as climbing goes - in fact if the climbs are rough, rutted and traction is at a premium an FS can be a better climber. And I say this as a long time alloy hardtail lover who has an FS. Some of the XC oriented FS bikes climb really well and don't seem to sap any power.

If your trails are predominantly smoother terrain with long, smooth, big ring climbs then I say that a HT will be more efficient than an equivalent FS if due to nothing else apart from the lighter weight and stiffer frame. A light HT just encourages you to lay down the power, jump up and sprint etc.

But if your trails are rough and rutted then I think you might well benefit from, and enjoy a good FS. You can stay on the power over stuff that would see you coasting on a HT.

The only real bugbear is the extra maintenance - and all FS bikes are not created equal in that respect.
 

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I've rode enough that my confidence level has rose to the point that I feel more comfortable moving at faster speeds through the trails around the local park. In doing so all the rocks, bumps, and roots shake the crap out of me even when I'm up out of the saddle. Maybe I'm just being a wimp. Maybe I'm looking for a reason to get a new. Maybe I just need to ride more and just deal, I don't know. What do you think?

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This conversation cannot be had without knowing what kind of budget you're talking about.

You can land a $2k ti hardtail with fully tricked out components, fox fork and a weight around 22lbs. Good luck pulling that off with a FS bike in that price range.

Hardtail bikes, downhill bikes, trail bikes, full rigids, the new 29'rs, road bikes... they all have their place. You would be remiss to completely discount a bike simply because another has some traits that may make it superior in one way or another; they all shine in their respective domains.

Who says you have to have just one? :thumbsup:

Your profile says you started riding in 2011 so at most you've only been riding for 9 months? In my opinion, keep your money and work on your technique. If you really feel the need to spend money, go for it and get a FS bike, but don't cheap out or you'll have a tank that makes your rides more work than they need to be.

The HT guys got hammered! they were at least 2-3minutes behind at every stop and barely in control on some of the rain rutted rockey descents.
I'll take the Pepsi challenge on that ;)

I don't think that's a fair assessment to say that anyone who rides a medium travel FS XC bike would not ever go back to a hardtail. Case in point, I just picked up a new HT myself and in many regards the FS bike is not even in the same ballpark.

I look at it like motorcycles. Just because a Harley or cruiser bike is uber comfortable, that doesn't mean it is the harbinger of doom for my sport bike. That said, I have and have had sport bikes, sport touring bikes, cruisers, standards, dual sports and dirt bikes.

Many different bikes, many different purposes. IMHO
 

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Yea each post above has very good points. The main thing is you get something and ride it!! If that means rip around on your hardtail for the forseeable future then so be it. I will say that my buddy who has a FS said he became a MUCH better rider because of his hardtail. He said it made his technique better cause he had to choose his lines better and take more care over rough rutted terrain. just some food for thought.
Oh and by the way the reason you normally can't climb as well on a FS is cause they are 1: heavier and 2: they get "pedal bob". Some else here would be able to explain it better than I could but basically it makes it a little harder to transfer power to your rear wheel. But as mentioned above it might not be a major factor for your particular riding style depending on the type of trails you ride.
 

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To the OP: Maybe you are riding your tire PSI too high? If it's too high you will definitely feel all of the really small bumps (small cobbles, small roots, etc) and get beaten up pretty good over the duration of a longer ride. If you can smooth all of those out a bit with lower PSI, then you'll only have to be beaten up by the bigger ones. You can take all that extra $ and buy beer for additional relief!
 

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Toughen up. Learn to ride the trail obstacles smoothly. Once you develop enough skills to handle your current bike effectively, then approach this question again.

I ride with both types of riders; those who learned to ride on a ht/rigid, and those who started on fs. I've noticed that those who come from a background of ht riding are much more advanced in their skills.

For what it's worth, I ride a rigid 29'r. The only drawback for me is my own physical fitness.
 

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Lotsa good points made. If you wanna improve technique, ride ht, if you wanna have more fun instantly, get a fs. If you do get a fs don't cheap out.
Getting better at bunny hops and manuals will smooth out stuff for you lots on a ht
FWIW I'd rather ride my hts than my fs most of the time.
Maybe swap bikes with one of your fs riding buds for the day to see.
 

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Btw just food for thought, my FS has a rear air shock. I run it a little firm so it takes out the big bumps but doesnt compress much otherwise.
 

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I own a 2011 Hardrock Disc and an old 1999 FSR Comp and I am a newb but here is my input anyways.

I can tell you from my experience that FS is very nice overall even when you aren't hitting the trails. Hell I just rode a kickass 30+ miles today on paved bike paths and around the city to work on my stamina and the thing rides super comfortably and beautifully. I think it actually goes a little better than the hardtail mainly because the suspension absorbs all the bumps and lets me just focus on maintaining speed.

As for climbing, i find it to be better on FS. This is mainly because w/ a hardtail you have to look for roots/bumps and scope out and plan your climb. When you do hit roots/bumps it can disrupt your putting of the power down etc.

With FS I've found that it's much more forgiving while climbing over rough stuff. The suspension will absorb the bumps and not disrupt your powering up the hill and it will also keep that tire planted more consistently for better bite.

To be honest when I bought the FS I thought that it was going to be not as good of a performer on climbs, I found that to be not true and in rough situations the opposite.

On smooth climbs then the HT may have an advantage....but compared to these newer FS bikes...not sure.

The other nice thing with FS and platform pedals as that it will keep your feet planted on the pedals better when rolling over rough stuff at speed. This is one of the things I didn't like about the hardtail on the trails.

I'm a newb but this has been my experience with the two platforms so far. I also ride both bikes about 50/50 as I appreciate riding hardtails too. I really enjoy FS on all kinds of terrain though, even pavement.
 

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A good FS doesn't give much, if anything away to a HT as far as climbing goes - in fact if the climbs are rough, rutted and traction is at a premium an FS can be a better climber. And I say this as a long time alloy hardtail lover who has an FS. Some of the XC oriented FS bikes climb really well and don't seem to sap any power.

If your trails are predominantly smoother terrain with long, smooth, big ring climbs then I say that a HT will be more efficient than an equivalent FS if due to nothing else apart from the lighter weight and stiffer frame. A light HT just encourages you to lay down the power, jump up and sprint etc.

But if your trails are rough and rutted then I think you might well benefit from, and enjoy a good FS. You can stay on the power over stuff that would see you coasting on a HT.

The only real bugbear is the extra maintenance - and all FS bikes are not created equal in that respect.
This, I keep reading HT climbs better, but I don't buy it at all. I may not best the best rider in the world, but I'm not bad either.

There is a trail in my area with a step, rooty climb. I always lost traction going up it and never made it to the top. I had a nice Stumpjumper HT, when I found a good deal on a SWorks FSR, first time out I made it to the top.
 

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You don't have to spend a hoke lot of money to get a decent used fs bike. I got my dh bike for 800 bucks. Been riding as hard as I can and the only thing I've upgraded so far are the pedals and grips.

Like you I was riding a hardtail xc cannondale f7. Almost no travel at all. Maybe a few inches. Then I started riding harder trails and people told me the a fs made a big difference and ended buying a fs dh bike. I haven't touched my xc ht again sine. I had been riding for a few weeks only before I decided to go with the dh bike.

It all depends on your preferen e and the trails you ride.

If you are able to push your ht to its limits then you'll notice the difference between your ht and a fs.

For now keep pushing with your ht until yo can't anymore and then get a fs. Just my two cents.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Your profile says you started riding in 2011 so at most you've only been riding for 9 months?
That may be a little miss leading. I grew up on a BMX bike doing all the BMX stunts I could think to do. About 2006 I bought a 2004 model Giant Yukon with rim brakes. I mainly used it for commuting to college and doing some urban off roading. Riding a big loop but doing it all at night and mainly riding through parking lots which called for going through pothole riddled asphalt, down stairs, bunny hopping onto sidewalks, jumping off of 2-3 foot drops, fun stuff like that. Earlier this year I discovered the single track trail that runs around the park (about 10 miles of trail). I rode it a few times and really liked it and on an impulse traded in the Yukon for a 2011 GF Trek Marlin. That's when I starting looking into the sport of MTB more seriously.

A lot of the area around the park is gravel pits, and I would say that much of the slops on the trails are large loose rock. Most of the plateaus are dirt with an occasional log, root, or stump along the way. The track has a lot of up and in parts with some fairly steep down hill runs, a creek at the bottom and then a fairly steep climb on the other side.

(DStaley) To the OP: Maybe you are riding your tire PSI too high? If it's too high you will definitely feel all of the really small bumps (small cobbles, small roots, etc) and get beaten up pretty good over the duration of a longer ride. If you can smooth all of those out a bit with lower PSI, then you'll only have to be beaten up by the bigger ones. You can take all that extra $ and buy beer for additional relief!
I've thought about that, but I'm 6'3" @ 235lbs and ride pretty aggressively, if I think I can get some air off a root or bump I'll try it. I'm afraid that if I lower the pressure too much I might pinch the tube or something.

This all could be just a matter of getting into better physical shape, I really haven't been riding long enough to overcome the years of setting in an office.

What would my fellow MTBers recommend? My budget isn't terrible limited but since I don't thing I'll ever be racing, I wouldn't be looking to spend any more then $1500-$2500. I've been checking out the bike on BD, but since I'm still pretty green I don't know what to look for and what is just overkill, what's good and what to stay away from when looking at bikes.
 

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Maybe I'm just being a wimp.
+1. :D

I'm willing to bet your trails are perfectly rideable on a hardtail. On a hardtail, you sometimes have to be more active. I'd work on staying light on the bike. Better fitness also helps. You could also get higher volume tires and experimenting with tire pressure. Buy a new bike if you must, but make sure it's a substantial upgrade over what you have currently.
 

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I've thought about that, but I'm 6'3" @ 235lbs and ride pretty aggressively, if I think I can get some air off a root or bump I'll try it. I'm afraid that if I lower the pressure too much I might pinch the tube or something.
I too was very skeptical about lowering my PSI. I ride pretty aggressively on rocky, rooty stuff. I'm 6' and 195lbs with all my gear. I run 32-35 PSI and have rarely had a flat since my initial experiments.

There is a great thread on the benefits of lower PSI in the tires forum. I used to run WAY too high PSI (55-60) thinking the same way as you until I read that thread and started experimenting. I took a spare tube on the rockiest/rootiest section of trail that I ride fairly regularly (Mountain Lion Trail, Golden Gate Canyon State Park in the CO Front Range) and played around with PSI until I got a pinch flat (around 28-ish PSI). Then, I bumped up the pressure by a few PSI and have been ecstatic with the results ever since. It dramatically improved my bike handling, traction, and response to small bumps, with minimal loss of efficiency (if any). Give it a shot, even if you end up getting a new FS bike!
 
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