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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
With the same rider on the same trail, which is typically faster between HT & FS? I don't wan't to get real specific here. This is more of a "generally speaking" type of question.

For the sake of the question, i'm looking between two different bikes here.
One is the Trek Stache 8, the other is the Fuel Ex 7 (maybe 8 if I can scrape some more pennies).




**EDIT** I Bought the Fuel EX8
 

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In general, smoother terrain the HT is faster, rougher terrain, full suspension might be faster. A lot depends on the rider, even the same rider, and type of terrain. Some riders are just faster on one or the other. Generally, I'm faster on a HT on the trails I ride but like a FS for a less jarring ride, much for fun on the rough down hill runs too.
 

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I don't think there is a typical answer, but I'd say it is more of an up and down thing. Down faster on FS and up on HT, but there is argument as above that when it's lumpy the FS will be better. too much personal preference and trail difference to say if it works out that way for you. I am personally faster everywhere on my rigid SS except for lumpy fast downhill, compared to my hardtail.
 

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There's always next year.
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The faster bike's the one with the faster rider on it. I've passed FS guys on my hardtail, and vise versa-mostly that one, really...

Buy the bike that's that fits you, and you'll get faster and have fun.
 

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Same rider, same trail - depends on the trail. Very rocky will favor FS. Smooth or tons of climbing will favor HT generally.
 

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If you are planning on racing, you can build a lightweight competitive hardtail for much less than a FS bike. To go 22lbs or so for a hardtail is pretty easy, with a chinese carbon frame you can do this easily for around $2K with a suspension fork and smart choices (lightweight saddle, seatpost off of amazon, etc), maybe a smidge more for a better fork. To do the same with a quality FS frame that will be light, efficient, work well, etc, will cost more like 5-6K at a minimum. So the entry-cost is a lot higher with the FS bike. Most people do not go "all out" and spend that kind of money on an FS bike. Sure, some do, but most people end up with a more "middle of the road" bike, which makes a bigger chasm between the hardtail and FS bike, since the FS now weighs significantly more, probably has heavier wheels, may not come with the best shock that would allow for better pedaling or suspension, and so on. Said bike is not a *bad* bike, but if your goal is simply to go fast, it's probably not the fastest, but it probably will be more comfortable and handle much better over rough terrain/inspire confidence.

No XC race is won on the downhills. A master-downhiller may come in a few seconds ahead on a specific downhill, but a marginally more fit climber will make that up easily and more on the climbs and level stuff. FS bikes are great and there are some that are absolutely worthy of XC racing. The entry cost is high though if you want to outfit them as competitively as a hardtail. You can go amazingly fast by "holding on for dear life".

And I agree with that's been said, a smooth dirt trail can even seem to favor rigid, whereas a very rough one will usually favor more suspension. Just a suspension fork can make a world of difference though on something that is a little rough for rigid but doesn't really require FS.
 

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With the same rider on the same trail, which is typically faster between HT & FS? I don't wan't to get real specific here. This is more of a "generally speaking" type of question.

For the sake of the question, i'm looking between two different bikes here.
One is the Trek Stache 8, the other is the Fuel Ex 7 (maybe 8 if I can scrape some more pennies).
Generally speaking, an average rider on rough trails like those bikes were made for will be faster up and down on the FS. If it is smooth or the rider is very skilled, then that may flip depending on the trail. Between the two trail bikes you are comparing, there is minimal weight difference, and if you ride rough trails the Fuel will climb and descend faster for most riders IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks guys. Some good insight here. I just try to keep envisioning the trails I ride with either bike. I labor over decisions like this.
I'm not a racer, i'll probably enter 1 maybe 2 races this year tops. I'm just looking to be faster than the guys I ride with.....:ihih:

They're mostly all on FS bikes while i'm currently SS rigid. I keep up pretty damn good now, But they lose me a little on Uphills/Downhills.
 

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The biggest difference will be the downs. Duh.
I'm thinking of a DH I ride regularly with a pretty beefy rock garden at the end.
On my fatbike (lets call it a particularly bouncy rigid) I slow down a lot, and pick my way through.
On my HT, I slow down some and pick a line.
On my FS, I don't slow down at all.

I've had a bunch of hardtail 29er's. By far the Paradox is my favorite. Looking for a new FS bike, my ideal was the Banshee but with rear squish. The Trance is close enough that I can even contemplate selling the Paradox (gasp!) and having only the Trance. Maybe.
 

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29ers Forever
2021 Rocky Mountain Altitude A70
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On rough stuff I actually ride a FS at speed, while on the same trails, I tiptoe my HT. But on smooth flowy trails, my HT is faster than them all!
Now I just want all this snow to melt :( All this talking of riding is making me sad.
 

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This is a little off camber from your original question. you're asking which is faster, but do you race? do you ride with guys much faster than you? i have a 22lb carbon hardtail and a 28 (almost 29lb) 130/130 fs... the f29 is fast as all get-out. it climbs like crazy, and i'm fine on downhills. the rockier they get, the more focus you have to put into it but i was a skater as a kid so no big deal...

that said, almost every time i go to ride, even with people quite a bit faster than me, i find myself grabbing my longish travel FS almost every time... the smile on my face is MUCH bigger when i'm hauling ass downhill and not even checking the trail, just eyeing my exit turn and having a blast.

i bought the f29 because i thought speed was exactly what i wanted, light, fast and a bit jarring, but as i have found out more recently, the fun factos is in getting air confidently over stuff where, on my f29, both wheels would be on the ground, or pumping on the way down to gather more speed.

just my $0.02, take it for what it's worth, but my FS is just more fun (even though i'm comparing very opposite ends of the spectrum, i hope this helps)
With the same rider on the same trail, which is typically faster between HT & FS? I don't wan't to get real specific here. This is more of a "generally speaking" type of question.

For the sake of the question, i'm looking between two different bikes here.
One is the Trek Stache 8, the other is the Fuel Ex 7 (maybe 8 if I can scrape some more pennies).
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
This is a little off camber from your original question. you're asking which is faster, but do you race? do you ride with guys much faster than you?
Thanks guys. Some good insight here. I just try to keep envisioning the trails I ride with either bike. I labor over decisions like this.
I'm not a racer, i'll probably enter 1 maybe 2 races this year tops. I'm just looking to be faster than the guys I ride with.....:ihih:

They're mostly all on FS bikes while i'm currently SS rigid. I keep up pretty damn good now, But they lose me a little on Uphills/Downhills.
This will give you a better idea of the use. Thanks again guys
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
With the ex7 & ex8 sharing almost everything besides brakes, drivetrain & hubs, is that worth the $350ish price difference?

I really dig the green on the Ex7, but will I really notice the part spec difference? The suspension is all the same.
 

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Can you elaborate?
For me I rode hardtail forever. When the FS came on the seen I bought a carbon trek. I hated it too much bob so I sold it and went back to hard tails. I finally rode a 29er FS and was sold! The suspension tech now has lockouts and different settings. I can stay in the saddle more then ever and the rear digs in when you need added traction. Also Im not getting younger, I dont race though and I never ride my hardtail anymore except with my daughter on bike paths. I also dont seem to notice the added 5 lbs the FS bike added from my hardtail. Its just a much more enjoyable ride for me. I almost bought the Fuel EX8 and I do think its better for the money then the EX7. I think its a well spec bike for the money with better brakes and such but I would toss the 3x10 cheap crank and throw in a 2x10 drive train slx or XT, thats the one thing I didnt like about it. You might be able to have the bike shop switch it for you at cost at time of purchase if you wanted the 2x10. You should be able to land a EX8 for $2500 or under!
Anyway thats my opinion on it, take it for what its worth
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
For me I rode hardtail forever. When the FS came on the seen I bought a carbon trek. I hated it too much bob so I sold it and went back to hard tails. I finally rode a 29er FS and was sold! The suspension tech now has lockouts and different settings. I can stay in the saddle more then ever and the rear digs in when you need added traction. Also Im not getting younger, I dont race though and I never ride my hardtail anymore except with my daughter on bike paths. I also dont seem to notice the added 5 lbs the FS bike added from my hardtail. Its just a much more enjoyable ride for me. I almost bought the Fuel EX8 and I do think its better for the money then the EX7. I think its a well spec bike for the money but I would toss the 3x10 and throw in a 2x10 drive train, thats the one thing I didnt like about it. You might be able to have the bike shop switch it for you at cost at time of purchase if you wanted the 2x10. You should be able to land a EX8 for $2500 or under!
Anyway thats my opinion on it, take it for what its worth
Can't you just drop the 3rd ring? Maybe put a bash guard? Would that accomplish the same thing?
 

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Can't you just drop the 3rd ring? Maybe put a bash guard? Would that accomplish the same thing?
I think you can ,you also have to change something in the shifter its easy, but its still not SLX or XT crank,lol. They cheeped out there, why I dont know.
Also I forgot to add its easier to load up the FS bike to jump stuff then the awkwardness of loading up just the front suspension of the hardtail for me. The front dives and the rear doesnt move where the FS moves all as one in harmony.
Just works better for me.
 
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