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  1. #1
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    Hardtail AM/Enduro VS FS Trail Bike: Which would be better for rough riding?

    Looking to up my game from an XC hardtail to something a bit beefier, and my max price is about $1800, and the bike that fall into the upper part of that price range are:

    FS:
    Marin Hawk Hill 2
    Giant Stance 2
    Gt Verb
    All 120mm front rear, 27.5x2.2
    Hardtail:
    Comencal Meta HT AM Essential
    160mm Front, 27.5x2.8


    Drivetrain isn't my biggest concern

    Which bike would be better for "getting rowdy" and soak up hits better and more comfortably. I currently ride an XC race bike so almost anything would be a better upgrade.

  2. #2
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    FS is going to be more comfortable in the rough. Even 100mm of rear travel is more than none! My first FS bike was a Trek Fuel (130mm, 26Ē wheels) and I could ride longer before getting beat up and tired from holding on for dear life.

  3. #3
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    Went from a FS to a hard-tail last year,,couldn't be happier,,I don't miss it as much as I thought i would,I actually think i have more fun on the HT,i went to a Comencal Meta HT AM FYI and love it

  4. #4
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    How well does it absorb bumps, drops, and how well does it jump?

  5. #5
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    Just a small advice, if you go for HT chose one with the longest geometry available.
    You need every single mm of wheelbase

  6. #6
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    Might want to add the diamondback release to that list as well

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G935A using Tapatalk

  7. #7
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    It depends on how good a rider you are but full-sus is hard to go back from. Last weekend we did a ride that ended in flashing down a forest road. I took my hard-tail as it was all easy riding. Battering down that road I was very aware of how much more comfortable the full-sus would've been ;0)

    You can do the same things on both. The full-sus is just easier on your body and less likely to toss you into the scenery.

  8. #8
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    Bike fit is everything.

    For four years I owned both a hardtail and an FS whip. The hardtail fit me better (FS frame was too small) so I rode the hardtail mostly. But since getting a new proper-sized FS, it's unlocked the world of higher performance riding. I don't know if you enjoy getting your wheels off the ground (or will in the future) but if you do, I'd recommend an FS. I jump my hardtail too, but it's not quite as fun.

    Anyway whatever you do, get a bike that fits properly. Today's fit is roomy. Don't fear the long wheelbase. A steep seat tube angle will help you climb as though your bike were 5# lighter.
    =sParty
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    We don't quit riding because we get old.
    We get old because we quit riding.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus View Post
    Bike fit is everything.
    That goes w/o saying though. What's he gonna do buy the wrong sized bike?

    That said FS all the way if I had only one ride.

  10. #10
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    You can get pretty rowdy on a hardtail. The limits are going to be how fast you can ride gnarly terrain or clearing extremely steep gnarly sections. You consider saving up for a bit more for a Trance 3. I wouldn't get the Stance for rough terrain.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by thesmokingman View Post
    That goes w/o saying though.
    We'd think so, wouldn't we.

    Quote Originally Posted by thesmokingman View Post
    What's he gonna do buy the wrong sized bike?
    Sadly I've seen it done one too many times. "They had a hold-over on half price! It's a little small for me but I couldn't pass up the savings."

    Talk about making the wrong mistake.
    =sParty
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    We don't quit riding because we get old.
    We get old because we quit riding.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus View Post
    We'd think so, wouldn't we.


    Sadly I've seen it done one too many times. "They had a hold-over on half price! It's a little small for me but I couldn't pass up the savings."

    Talk about making the wrong mistake.
    =sParty
    Hehe. That should be in the beginners FAQ. Things never to do when at the LBS clearance section.

  13. #13
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    At that price point, I'd focus on plus hardtails, but be sure to get a dropper. There are a lot of sweet, slack hardtails out there. Plus takes a bit of the hardtail edge off without totally killing the hardtail feel. I ride a Diamondback Mason Comp. It's been a good for general trail riding, drops, DJ lines, tech, etc. The Commencal above looks like it might be fun, but look around.

    Here's a clip of me on a downhill run last weekend:


  14. #14
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    Just went from a FS Santa Cruz Tallboy LTc to a ďAll Mountain ď hardtail. XL Pedalhead 29er
    I Love it about 75% of the time (flow trails, jumps, drops).
    I Like it 20% of the time (rough trails , climbing, technical descending).
    I Hate it 5% of he time (pedaling rock gardens, very technical uphills)

    It can handle more then I can. But itís also a beefy build ( Iím a super Clyde at 6í4 270#) . So far I donít miss the maintenance and setup drama of the full suspension except on the really rocky stuff. Over all on Jumps, drops, climbing and flow type trails itís a blast to ride and makes me a better rider in the other areas.





  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonH MTB View Post
    How well does it absorb bumps, drops, and how well does it jump?
    If your rides will be long, say 25+ miles, on rough terrain, a FS may be better. I find I get fatigued more on rough terrain with my HT on longer rides.

    Sent from my MotoG3 using Tapatalk

  16. #16
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    I own a 2017 Giant Reign 2 & a 2017 Nukeproof Scout 290.

    If I had to give up one.....

    ...it'd be the Reign o_0

    The AM HT is just a better all around bike ^^

    80% of the time HT fits the bill.

    'Born to ride!'
    "Mountain biking: the under-rated and drug-free antidepressant"

  17. #17
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    For ME the hardtail is unquestionably the superior ride. A little slower in high speed chunk, a little scarier on rough take-offs, and less tolerant of shitty technique... and that's it. In exchange i get a proper fork, proper geometry, and a somewhat better build kit. Let's go scare ourselves.

    That said, if you totally suck/ are a puddle of flab/ enamored with suspension/ obsessed with DH PRs/ don't have any awesome fast smooth-ish descents... you're going to be disappointed. There's nothing wrong with that. Big hardtails are for weirdos who don't give a crap about being mediocre sometimes.

    It's definitely wise to get a bike similar to what your buddies ride, but just a little nicer.

    I Hate it 5% of he time (pedaling rock gardens...
    Barely hover off the saddle, and lean back just a bit hanging off the bars. This allows the rear wheel to track free from your body without you having to do much. It works awesome. ...But maybe you already know! it's never as good at that as a FS.
    "Things that are complex are not useful, Things that are useful are simple."
    Mikhail Kalashnikov

  18. #18
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    Hardtail AM/Enduro VS FS Trail Bike: Which would be better for rough riding?

    Barely hover off the saddle, and lean back just a bit hanging off the bars. This allows the rear wheel to track free from your body without you having to do much. It works awesome. ...But maybe you already know! it's never as good at that as a FS.[/QUOTE]




    Thanks. I am learning that. Just at my size I prefer to sit and spin. The only time I really was hating it was on a 3 mile long rock filled trail that had a ton of flat pedal sections and short punchy ups all covered with 2 ft baby heads. It was straight demoralizing. Lol but thatís what makes you a better rider and That is not my normal riding. thatís why itís only the 5% of the time. Overall itís a blast and goes down almost anything with a huge smile on my face.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy3220 View Post
    You can get pretty rowdy on a hardtail. The limits are going to be how fast you can ride gnarly terrain or clearing extremely steep gnarly sections.
    I would agree with this.

    An AM HT or slack FS can often tackle the same terrain. Going down steep stuff is often about HA,reach and body position. Dropper post, long reach, slacker angles even on a HT will allow you to clean alot. However it won't be as fast. I have been an XC HT guy and rear suspension allows you to hit the rocks faster. So chunky lines can be hit with more speed. Sometimes results in simply more speed. Sometimes that speed give you momentum to clear more features. It depends on your riding style and trails. When climbing a FS will not be as efficient on smoother climbs, but can give better traction on rocky climbs. On special super techy climbs at HT can give you just enough extra power to climb over stuff, but you need to manage traction better. the FS just needs more pure power to account for energy lost in suspension action.

    This past weekend I did a couple rides with my GF on some pretty mellow trails, but a few had some short punchy climbs, rock features and some tight twisty stuff. Normally I would go XC HT, Singlespeed or XC FS for this stuff. My 5" trail bike was way overkill, but despite being 7lbs heavier than my other bikes did pretty good. I am sure I could have climbed faster on my lighter more responsive bikes, but for just messing around it did fine and was still fun.

    Also I just replaced my XC HT 29er with a XC FS 100/100. This was NOT to ride trails I could not ride on the HT, but for highspeed descents and for long distance (4-8hr) chunky rides. There is very little if anything I could ride on the XC FS bike that I could not on the XC HT. Same head angle on both bikes in fact. It just smoother and more comfortable on chunk. I have been chasing long distance speed and pushing downhills on the HT is just tiring. Not that it can't be done, but it works me more than on the FS. So I am more fatigued or have to simply slow down. I still have 29 XC HT (singlespeed) so I know how they descend, but I slacker 5" bike for more comfort, but really to hit lines I would not try on the XC bikes. The reason it not my primary bike is the lack of uphill speed from it and that fact that 80% of my riding sees me within the limits of good XC bike and my skill set.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  20. #20
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    Good discussion!

    I've been riding enduro class bike for a while (160-ish mm suspension front and rear) thinking that if you mostly climb for descend you can not be overbiked. I've got myself slack steel hardtail to replace dirt jumping hardtail which is too small for me - I am 6'5''. With plus tires I am riding it everywhere and it's huge fun. Direct connection to the trail and sharp handling makes hardtail very special. On familiar trail I could be as fast as on big full suspension bike - and it FEELS way faster I still can not ride it with the same abandon as full suspension - and I have to stop for rest more often.

    I am interested in lighter trailbike - like new Specialized Stumpjumper - but I am going to seriously test ride one to see if it really provides a happy medium between big slack full sus bike and big slack hardtail...

    Again - on familiar trail being in right mood hardtail is king. But when you want a little bit of help - still having fun - some rear suspension could hopefully make it fun-ner. I will check for myself. Really steep and rough and fast trails call for big full suspension bike - but in reality such trail are few and far between - even in Colorado

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