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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm sure this is a contentious topic. Watching the UCI circuit this year I saw very little hardtail use. I recall Koretzky, Nash and Stigger each using a hardtail at least once this year, but other than that ...almost totally full suspension setups. Are the FS bikes finally light enough for the women to justify using them all the time? Or have courses gotten more rough the last 2-3 years?

The question then becomes how far the weekend warrior crowd tires to emulate what the Pros do. I like that I can have a 21-22lb XC bike without spending an arm and a leg - what I'd have to do in order to achieve that weight on a FS bike. I definitely lose out on some courses but there is an elegance and simplicity to the hardtail.
 

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I bought another HT this year to race local XC, train on, use in the winter. I enjoy riding the HT and its a great addition to my other bike. The new geo bikes are very capable and can be built up super light. Mine floats between 23-25 depending on wheels and tires. I wouldn't hesitate to race it on the right courses, even some endurance races.
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I think some peoples scales are off, or maybe mine is. My Ti rigid hardtail is just under 21 and I don’t have a heavy part on it. I could prob swap the tires and save half a pound, ditch the dropper and lose another 1/3 but not all that much more. Sure I could throw silly money at it but probably sitting at 10k already so I think we are already there.
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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Hardtails are still faster on a lot of terrain...if you can stand the pounding. IME, the really young racers can take the pounding better than the older ones, so you'll see more of the younger expert/pros on hardtails more of the time.
 
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Over the years many have rushed to anounce the death of the hardtail, but they were wrong each time. Apart from pro level racing there are various amateur classes and events and there the ht remains the most affordable bike to race on. But even for pros it may offer an advantage on shorter and/or smoother courses.

It's true that terrain in XC events has gotten more technical and I'm a huge fan of this. As a result we see athletes riding on full sus, droppers, wider tyres. Bikes now resemble what people ride in actual trails. A hardtail with a dropper post is still light and can handle a lot. Personally I prefer this to a rigid post full sus.
 

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OOOOOOOh Gee Are Eee
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Cross country races courses aren’t what they used to be.

10-15 years ago, World Cup races looked a lot different than they do today. Now they are much more technical than they used to be. In the men’s courses there are often big drops and rock gardens.

I think the riders are just adapting to the more aggressive courses. At local races where the courses are tamer, I still see a fair number of hard tails.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Cross country races courses aren't what they used to be.

10-15 years ago, World Cup races looked a lot different than they do today.....
But what about current courses versus courses 2-3 years ago? Since then almost all the women have switched from HT to FS race bikes. Leads me to believe the bikes have gotten a bit better, or something else...

It was fun seeing Nash on her HT in rowdy snowshoe.
 

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Full suspension has been dead to me since the beggining.

I want to ride the bike, not service multitude of bearings that invariably start creaking, shocks, and crap that can go wrong. I have enough work having to service a fork, a transmission and a dropper to the point that more than once I considered going fully rigid.

I'd like to be able to ride my mountain bike with the same servicing my road bike needs (lube the chain every 300km, pump the tires once a week, and check everything is allright once a year).
 

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Hardtails are still faster on a lot of terrain...if you can stand the pounding. IME, the really young racers can take the pounding better than the older ones, so you'll see more of the younger expert/pros on hardtails more of the time.
Captures it for me. I'm older, but still ride a ton. I've got one of everything, and the hardtail doesn't get used much at all, though it makes for an AMAZING rough gravel bike when shod with lightly-knobbed 40s.

But, though it doesn't get a lot of use, I wouldn't want to part with it.
 

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I started MTB way back on a hardtail. Eventually got the first gen Epic FS, and now I am back on a hardtail. Its an older Giant XTC with a 100mm fork. In a few years Ill likely build up a new hardtail when that time comes. Half or more of the bikes at the weekly group ride are hardtail. I don't think they are dead by any means.
 

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The question then becomes how far the weekend warrior crowd tires to emulate what the Pros do. I like that I can have a 21-22lb XC bike without spending an arm and a leg - what I'd have to do in order to achieve that weight on a FS bike. I definitely lose out on some courses but there is an elegance and simplicity to the hardtail.
Personally around here I see the ~$3-5k mark as the price point most advanced amateur riders select. Most of those fall into the full suspension trail bike category, say 60%. But for those that do primarily XC racing it's mostly hardtails. Occasionally I'll see a high end XC racing full suspension or a all mountain long slack hard tail but those seem to be in the small minority. So for amateur XC racing hard tails are alive and strong. But they are in the minority of overall bike ownership.
 

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As you said, the course got really rough and even Nino Schurter rides a 120mm already. I think it's also for the athletes safety and preservation, preventing injury and overfatigue. I imagine hardtails will really beat you up on these course. It's hard on the knees and back.

I personally have a full suspension xc, a gravel bike and a road bike. I would want to get hardtail but then my gravel bike will overlap it somehow. When i feel like going trails and single track, i would take the fullsus. But when i feel like going fast uphill on a not so rough terrain, i'll just take the gravel bike (42C tires). So I skipped the hardtail altogether.
 

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Full suspension has been dead to me since the beggining.

I want to ride the bike, not service multitude of bearings that invariably start creaking, shocks, and crap that can go wrong. I have enough work having to service a fork, a transmission and a dropper to the point that more than once I considered going fully rigid.

I'd like to be able to ride my mountain bike with the same servicing my road bike needs (lube the chain every 300km, pump the tires once a week, and check everything is allright once a year).
Same thoughts for me. I ride a carbon Kona Honzo and it rides as good as it did two years ago when I bought it. No creaks, nothing to think about but the basic maintenance. I've had full suspension bikes, but have no plans to go back; hardtails are too much fun! And this honzo is like a fighter jet on single track….
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Every WC racer has access to hardtails and full suspension. They make the choice based on the course.

A modern full suspension might weight 1 kg more than a hardtail but it is faster on almost every course. Only for the smoothest steepest courses are hardtails an advantage.

For me, the real advantage of a full suspension is control through corners and reducing vibrations on high speed sections of the course. You might go slightly slower up hill because of the extra mass but you also have better traction.

A comfortable bike is a fast bike. I'm always surprised how hard it is to ride fast 1+ hour into riding a hardtail over moderately bumpy terrain. Those hardtail vibrations are really fatiguing and feel like the equivalent of having downhill tires on.
 
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