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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I currently ride an '05 Kona Kula hardtail w/100mm forks. It was my official first re-intro to mtn biking after a many year hiatus.

I *thought* I wanted to upgrade to a FS All-mountain bike as I'll be living in Colorado, riding the Western Slope.

I'll be livin' lean as a student so I'm trying to decide whether to go for a mid-range FS AM bike or upgrade the forks on my current HT and ride on 'til I graduate and have the $$ for a finer AM FS bike.

What is the ideal type(s) of trail for an all-mountain hardtail?
 

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Welcome to mtbr

Glad to see you're getting back into the sport. Don't worry about buying a new bike so long as your Kula is still performing well. As fo the "best ttrail for AM", it's hard to answer, but what comes to mind for me personally is a trail that has challenging technical sections with rocks, roots, and other obstacles mixed in with some windy singletrack, climbs and descents. Take all of this together, toss it up in the air, and ride it however it lands on the ground. Other than that, your favorite trail is always a good recommendation.

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the advice Bob. The trails I have been riding avidly over the past year and a half were technical (rocky, steep-climbing, rooty) Ozark highland trails. My counterparts predominately ride FS XC bikes. I will be riding the Western Slopes of Colorado: Gunnison, Fruita, Crested Butte, Monarch. I like the technical challenges and will be seeking out such trails. What is the ideal ride to conquer the more technical sections of these areas. BTW, I am a 5'4", 118 lb female. I was curious about the new (to me) class of all-mountain hardtails and wonder if they are ideal for certain trails (relatively smooth with some decent drops, larger rocks) or if they are just a more economical way to get into the backcountry?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you, Andrew. On any given all-mountain trail, what would be the reasoning behind selecting a hardtail all-mountain bike vs. a full-suspension all-mountain bike? Specifically, I will be riding the Fruita, CO area and area ski resort trails.
 

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Old man on a bike
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Personally I prefer a full suspension bike but I'm quite a bit older than you and not on a student's budget either. There are some nice rocky trails in your area and while a hardtail is certainly fine for them, I find I enjoy longer rides and a full suspension bike makes the rides more enjoyable in that my choice of lines open up somewhat, fewer penalties for dumb or unexpected moves and they just allow me to be less fatigued on a long day of riding. I guess you could say I just find full suspension more fun to ride as well.
 

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"for an all-mountain hardtail"
smooth and fast, or slow and technical. One local trail has lots of berms, and not many bumps, and feels pretty good on the HT.

Fast bumpy trails are better on dual suspension. On a HT it takes a lot of work to keep under control at speed, on FS it's just easier to go fast, don't get knocked off-line as easily etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Bikinfoolferlife, I'm not so young, but thank you for thinking so! I'm returning to school for a 2nd degree--early mid-life career change. Not too impoverished yet, but saving for being unemployed/underemployed! Won't be buying anything over $2k 'til Dec. '09. My first foray into mtn biking was a brand new '89 Specialized Hardrock as a high school graduation present! I do think a FS AM bike is probably the way to go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
fsrxc, that is exactly the info I needed. Sounds like an FS AM bike is what I'll want. Surely I'd be disappointed if I couldn't keep up with my friends. I'm already all too familiar with the problem of getting dropped through the body/bike rattling sections, having to catch up on climbs and/or ride like I've got a *brass set* on the downhills ;-).
 

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Not exactly on topic, but If you are on a budget, you might consider buying a used bike. Seriously, it is very common for $2500+ bikes to go for a grand or less. Just figure out what you want and then watch e-bay, mtbr, and the ridemonkey classifieds.

As for an AM hardtail, ridng it will make you a better rider in the long run. My wife has always ridden a hardtail and prefers it for our tight, flowy singletrack. I built her Jamis Komodo w/ some pretty sweet components on the cheap just buy keeping my eye out for sales. Lol, I keep telling her she's lucky it's so small or I would steal it!
 

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i've ridden my burly hardtail a bunch over there. the biggest thing you can do is go for some fatter/beefier tires. possibly a slightly shorter stem, depending on what you've got running now. i would probably not mess with it too much otherwise, and keep saving up money for your FS ride.

with that stuff in mind, you can ride pretty much anything out there, at least of the stuff i know about. maybe a taller fork, if your frame can take it.

a lot of the stuff out there can be ridden on a standard xc bike, but larger tires/slacker angles/more travel can make certain parts/lines more enjoyable, depending on how you like to ride, as well as giving a bit more confidence.
 

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upgrade the HT. dont worry about adapting your bike to the terrain, worry about adapting your riding style. some of the most technically gifted riders ive ever had the pleasure of riding with were on HTs.

oh yeah, you only have one FORK on your bike! no forks, unless its some sort of a franken-bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Jersey, since I've got my heart set on a FS that I won't be able to buy for another year and a half, I'll probably be doing just as you suggest. I'll be working in a bike shop this May, so I'll look into a FORK upgrade! Thanks ;-).
 

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Well, I'm in a situation just like yours. I have a '04 Kona Cinder Cone, and after upgrading it with a nice fork, brakes and tyres, I think it's more than suitable for AM.

My fellow riders have FS bikes and with no doubt, the way you ride is more in the rider than in the bike. I do 4ft drops, jumps, singletracks, crazy climbs, everything. The "only" difference is in big jumps or in fast bumpy downhills, there I get very my ass kicked, but most of the time I'm up for the chalenge.

Nice rides and let's make an AM/HT international group!? ;)
 

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I have a 7" FS and a burly hardtail with a 6" fork up front which I built up to ride MOST of the same trails on. I actually like riding the hardtail most of the time because I have to be more aware of the trail obstacles, and I like the punishment. :D
After a few rides on the hardtail, I feel I can control my FS bike a lot better.
I would say if ur Kona can take it, get a shorter stem (70mm or so), mid-rise bars (Easton EA30 should work), and 2.35 tires (I like maxxis highroller 60a Kevlar), an a 5" fork up front (Fox Van32 if you are on budget) .

That should be enough to hold you over untl 2009 and you can move the fork to ur new FS bike then .
 
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