Hardtail V Full Suspension For Trail Riding

Postby bikedog on Mon 18/Jul/16 8:30pm

I've never rode a full suspension bike, but imagine it must be more comfortable on ya old bones at the end of a long day on the trail?
Would appreciate the opinions from those of you that have experienced both full suspension and hardtail bikes, and whether you feel the cost of full suspension is worthwhile or just stick to hardtail?
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Re: Hardtail V Full Suspension For Trail Riding

Postby shmoodiver on Mon 18/Jul/16 8:42pm

I have a long travel hardtail and a long travel full sus, I reckon the HT climbs better and descends slower. The full sus is harder to pedal etc but more comfey over the roughies. If i were going for just one it would very much depend on where I predominantly ride. Also the amount of travel makes a big difference too
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Re: Hardtail V Full Suspension For Trail Riding

Postby adikt on Mon 18/Jul/16 8:57pm

I ended up outriding my hardtail, so got a full suss.

FS soaks up a LOT of fail. Totally different riding style I found, gives you a lot of confidence, but that almost means when you come off you come off harder.

Found it took me a little while to be able to ride the same trails as fast as on my hard tail, but after a while on the FS, I found my skill had improved to the point I could ride my hardtail faster of the same terrain, and harder terrain, than I could before.

Really depends on your riding style, skill level and terrain.
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Re: Hardtail V Full Suspension For Trail Riding

Postby mudguard on Mon 18/Jul/16 9:00pm

Where do you ride? Do you want to ride trails that you feel that you can't because of the bike?
For me it's simple, I've no desire to ride a hardtail unless it's a commute. But then the trails I ride can vary from smooth to rough, up and down. In fact my bike has 170mm front and 180mm rear, which was basically a downhill bike ten years ago. And weighs 32lbs (14.5kg).

But again, if speed for climbing, or using it to ride to work, you might want a hardtail but I have much more fun on full suspension. More grip, more comfort, I can ride longer, and probably stops killing rear wheels.
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Re: Hardtail V Full Suspension For Trail Riding

Postby Astoria Paranoia on Mon 18/Jul/16 9:03pm

adikt wrote:FS soaks up a LOT of fail. Totally different riding style I found, gives you a lot of confidence, but that almost means when you come off you come off harder.


+1

My full sus is a lot of fun, I can get aggressive and have that margin for error.
Lets you ride longer/harder and doesn't beat you up as much.
The hardtail is also fun but doesn't need all that much speed and it punishes you for less than ideal lines.
Keeps me honest.

Whatever you do, keep the hardtail.
Last edited by Astoria Paranoia on Mon 18/Jul/16 9:16pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hardtail V Full Suspension For Trail Riding

Postby adikt on Mon 18/Jul/16 9:07pm

Astoria Paranoia wrote:
Whatever you do, keep the hardtail.


This.

Plus it gives you something for the pump track as well.
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Re: Hardtail V Full Suspension For Trail Riding

Postby Velocipedestrian on Mon 18/Jul/16 9:47pm

Hardly worth posting a reply (but this is the internet after all)

+1 to all prior posts.
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Re: Hardtail V Full Suspension For Trail Riding

Postby Conners on Mon 18/Jul/16 9:58pm

Astoria Paranoia wrote:
adikt wrote:FS soaks up a LOT of fail. Totally different riding style I found, gives you a lot of confidence, but that almost means when you come off you come off harder.


+1

My full sus is a lot of fun, I can get aggressive and have that margin for error.
Lets you ride longer/harder and doesn't beat you up as much.
The hardtail is also fun but doesn't need all that much speed and it punishes you for less than ideal lines.
Keeps me honest.

Whatever you do, keep the hardtail.

This is all true.
I found riding a fully after 10 years on a hardtail went like this:
Riding the hardtail: Dukka dukka dukka bang crash holding on for dear life.
Riding the fully on the same trail: Holy crap this is so smooth it makes everything so much easier.
A month later riding the same trail on the fully: Dukka dukka dukka bang crash holding on for dear life - but going a lot faster.

I only have one mountain bike, its a 4-5" trail bike. Its nearly 10 years old and going strong (touch wood).
As a do everything bike I reckon a mid travel (120 ish mm) trail bike is really hard to beat. Something with modern geometry is no doubt even betterer.
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Re: Hardtail V Full Suspension For Trail Riding

Postby swtchbckr on Mon 18/Jul/16 11:18pm

I'm another +1 to the above posts.

Rode steel hardtails for 20 years, marin, extreme, khs, dmr, cotic, getting progressively more and more travel. Made the move to the 5-spot a couple years ago and honestly I'm not sure I could ride a hardtail as hard as I either used to or anywhere near as hard as I ride the Turner. When I take the rigid fat bike out on rough trails it kills me. It's like my whole focus of smooth line picking has been subverted to picking lines that the full-suss will handle - and that translates to a very bumpy ride on a hardtail.

I'll have to re-learn how to ride if I ever go back... Just as, when I'm on the fatty, I have to a) stay off the rocky trails (a la Greenwood/Godley/CaptThomas), and b) retune my brain - then it's fun!

Mind you, you stay harder and fitter riding hardtails. Everyone I know went a bit soft when they made the switch.
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Re: Hardtail V Full Suspension For Trail Riding

Postby dragon_style on Tue 19/Jul/16 9:38am

I'm going to go again trend and say I've switched back to hardtail from full suspension and won't be going back for as long as the body can handle it. I found riding a 29'er hardtail with reasonably big tyres run tubeless made a massive difference in terms of the ride comfort (compared to the 26" hardtail I had previously) and I don't have any problems with comfort even on pretty rough tracks like Red Rocks (dropper seatpost makes a massive difference too). A whole days riding on really rough stuff might be different but I don't get to do big rides often enough for it to be of concern and if I was doing a big ride I could put on a suspension seatpost if the comfort concern outweighed the benefits of a dropper. I like being kept honest with the hardtail as with a fully you can just blast through stuff and rely on the bike to save you - and crashing hurts much more at high speed. Maintenance is less with a hardtail and for the same money you get a much better specced bike.

Having said all that it's entirely personal choice and highly dependant on what sort of riding you do. I totally agree that if possible, if you do go fully that you keep the hardtail for the variety and so you can appreciate the differences.
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Re: Hardtail V Full Suspension For Trail Riding

Postby jimmi71 on Tue 19/Jul/16 11:18am

swtchbckr wrote:I'm another +1 to the above posts.

Rode steel hardtails for 20 years, marin, extreme, khs, dmr, cotic, getting progressively more and more travel. Made the move to the 5-spot a couple years ago and honestly I'm not sure I could ride a hardtail as hard as I either used to or anywhere near as hard as I ride the Turner. When I take the rigid fat bike out on rough trails it kills me. It's like my whole focus of smooth line picking has been subverted to picking lines that the full-suss will handle - and that translates to a very bumpy ride on a hardtail.

I'll have to re-learn how to ride if I ever go back... Just as, when I'm on the fatty, I have to a) stay off the rocky trails (a la Greenwood/Godley/CaptThomas), and b) retune my brain - then it's fun!

Mind you, you stay harder and fitter riding hardtails. Everyone I know went a bit soft when they made the switch.


This is classic cos I went the other way: I rode full suspension bikes for 20 + years just smashing my way down trails and hucking off everything I could find. Then about 10 years ago I decided to ride hardtails. Man, it was like learning to ride all over again! After about 3 months of getting beaten up while riding I just kind of got used to it and will probably never go back. Its all personal preference though and either way you will be fine. Good luck with the search.
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Re: Hardtail V Full Suspension For Trail Riding

Postby swtchbckr on Tue 19/Jul/16 11:36am

i find on the full suss i sit down a fair bit more where i would have been standing on the hardtail. this is where hardtails keep you fitter. But, that said, sitting down a little more often means you're not as worn out at the end of the ride.

Also, yeah, with hardtails you pick your line more carefully (tho, not as carefully as someone on fully rigid), so my riding has transitioned to that of not picking my lines quite so carefully. meaning, when i do go back to hardtail or rigid i've gotta completely change my riding, which takes a while and beats me up in the mean time.

I'd still quite like to go back to a sweeeet Soul like hardtail with burly mothah 150mm forks... It'd have to be as nice as the Soul, and not as burly as the BFe tho... there's quite a difference between those two bikes...
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Re: Hardtail V Full Suspension For Trail Riding

Postby dwgknz on Tue 19/Jul/16 11:55am

swtchbckr wrote:with hardtails you pick your line more carefully


occasionally on a hardtail I find there isn't any favourable line and you pretty much got to go limp, hold on and bounce your way across!

on a hardtail your knees act as the rear suspension, a shocks going to eat up a lot pressure on them so also depends on how sturdy they are......
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Re: Hardtail V Full Suspension For Trail Riding

Postby Philthy on Tue 19/Jul/16 12:22pm

Definitely worthwhile having both, I reckon. A lot of trails I ride regularly are too tame for my 6 inch fully, it takes all the fun out of it. Riding my rigid 29r keeps it interesting and keeps me honest. Also, a fully allows you to go much faster so if you do bin it the consequences are usually more serious. But of course there are plenty of sweet riding where the rigid would suck arse.
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Re: Hardtail V Full Suspension For Trail Riding

Postby swtchbckr on Tue 19/Jul/16 3:23pm

n + 1
(s - 1)
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