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  1. #1
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    29er hard tail vs. f/s?

    Hi guys,
    Background: I am getting back into mtn biking after a 20 year absense. Currently a compeitive cat 3 roadie, so I have some fitness and competitiveness but am a long way from great. Dirt handling skills are good enough....motocross and car racing experience as well. I am currently racing a trek full suspension 26'er. I dont really "ride" the mtn bike that much, mostly race unless its a sunday ride in Auburn (my training happens on the road bike) - meaning I'd like my bike to be optimized for racing and I am less concerned about comfort on training or pleasure rides.

    The 29'ers have caught my attention, specifically the fisher superfly's. I'm curious, what are the pro's and con's with regard to full suspension and HT on the 29'ers? Given I am mostly interested in race optimization, should I be considering a HT or stick with FS?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    the new Gilbert Grape
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    The same answers that apply to a 26er FS versus HT apply.

    The courses that you choose to race on need to be the big consideration. How rough are they? If they're relatively smooth a hard tail can be better. If they're rough, a full-suspension could be better.

    Generally, hard tails are lighter, less expensive to buy, and less expensive to maintain. That's their big pluses.

    A full-suspension will be better on rocky downhills, possibly better on rocky climbs (you get more traction if your wheel is on the ground), and may allow you to pedal through rough terrain when a hard tail does not. The weight of a FS can be low, but it quickly increases the price.

    If you're planning on being competitive and have lots of $$ to throw at a bike, a light weight FS is hard to beat. However, lots of top riders do fine on hard tails. Most race courses are not particularly rough, so a hard tail will work just fine most of the time. In your area, the Cool MTB Race, Sea Otter, and Lake Sonoma would all be great on a hard tail. If you race at Napa (Skyline Park), or Tahoe you'll appreciate a FS.
    Each bicycle owned exponentially increases the probability that none is working correctly.

  3. #3
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    thank you for the reply. I thought I had read somewhere that the 29'ers took some of the "edge off" in rougher terrain. While that may be true, sounds as though it isnt material enough and as you said same answers would apply.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by jclarkhall12
    sounds as though it isnt material enough and as you said same answers would apply.
    IMHO - that IS material. I've found riding a 29er HT is definitely less "rough" than a 26er HT (I've had both). I live in your area and ride the same trails - 29er HT is superb for racing the trails in our area especially if you're racing the TBF stuff out in Granite Bay, unless you're planning to race down the Confluence trail (I don't think there are any races down that trail).

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