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  1. #1
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    HT or FS for AZ trail riding?

    I know the ole "this bike or that" has been asked time and time again, but hopefully this Q will be a little more specific to me and this area. What I really want to know is whether I should get a Full Susser or stick with a Hardtail for my next bike? A little about me and my situations....

    Me: 33 years old, married with kids, 5'7", 175lbs, not in very good shape

    Current bike: '12 spesh hardrock 29er hardtail; running 2x10 with SLX rd and shifter, mech disc brakes.

    What I ride: trail 100, lookout mountain (although I hate it), other various mountainy trail type stuff, and the occasional 22mi round tripper to work.

    Riding ability: uphills kill me. I know I'll get into better shape as time goes on, but I hate to admit I've thrown up a couple times at the top of a mtn. I go all out climbing and once I get up there I can barely breathe.

    I'm not going to ask the question what bike will make me a better mountainbiker, cause that's just dumb. What I want to know is whether getting a FS is really worth it considering what I ride? Then on the other hand, I already have a HT, so why not grab a FS to have a more well rounded stable? As a beginner, will I really notice the lighter weight of a quality HT? If I'm spending X dollars on a certain HT, why not get a FS right? I just don't know....

    Incase anyone is wondering, some of the bikes I'm considering...

    FS: Giant Trance X 29 1 or 2, Airborne Hobgoblin (maybe XO, bit of a stretch)
    HT: Giant XTC Composite 1 or 3, Goblin (maybe XO), stumpy evo

    I really like the Giant dealer and he's within a few miles of me. If I went with an internet bike, I would probably go to them to get it serviced.
    2013 Giant Trance X29 2
    2012 Specialized Hardrock Disc 29er

  2. #2
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    You have a HT, round out the collection with a FS like you mention. Then you will truly know what you like better.

    or

    Grab a FS that has a soft lockout on the rear... I really enjoy the lockout on my trek fuel when I just go for a quick ride through somewhere flat like Papago or DC.
    "This fish who keeps on swimming, is the first to chill upstream" - 311

  3. #3
    Ahhh the pain....
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    I'm gonna have to say that for what it sounds like you ride, a FS will be overkill. Sure, it will be comfy, but I think it's a wiser decision to have one really good bike, than two lower quality bikes. You'll inherently ride one more then eventually decide to sell the other. Plus the fact that keeping 2 bikes running (fresh stans in wheels, etc) takes more work. If you're on the fence, go borrow or rent a FS and ride it a few times. Also, take in to account that FS bikes have higher maintenance needs (pivots, rear shock). BTW, I ride a Ti hardtail bike and the only stuff I steer clear of is the big drop stuff since a steady diet of that will start to fatigue my back.
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  4. #4
    Ahhh the pain....
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    Also, I'd suggest looking at other brands like Kona and Salsa. You'll get way more for your $ than with a big namer like Specialized or Trek.
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  5. #5
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    In what way do you think your Specialized is falling short that a new bike would address?

  6. #6
    I love bike!
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    Agree with juggles. I would go for the longer travel Giant then you will have two distinct bikes. Plus the Giant will be more capable (slacker angles and longer travel) when your skills improve and you want to test your nerves a bit. Otherwise if you're just looking to log cross-country miles I think you will be overlapping bikes too much with the shorter travel Airborne and keeping the HT. If you want to stick with shorter travel but want to upgrade and take the edge off a bit then I think selling your HT and getting the Airborne would be a nice upgrade. Really depends what type of riding you see yourself doing. I have a HT for the easier trails and a 6" full-susp for the chunkier stuff which to me is a perfect combo. Just my 2 pesos.

  7. #7
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    What do you want to do with the new bike? Do you feel you can't ride certain trails because of the bike you have? Having HT and long travel FS bike is nice, but only makes sense if you ride both of them.

    There are alot of riders who put alot of miles on HT's here in Arizona. Nothing wrong with them. It comes down to personal preference mostly. To me a '12 specialized is new bike already. No need to replace it. I went something like 4 years on my first mtn bike before replacing for something lighter. I have many miles and years on the replacement bike have no desire to get a new bike to place a perfectly good one. I am 38 years old married with one kid and have better things to do with my money than trade in perfectly good bike for another one. Right now I don't feel like the bike I have is limiting where I can ride or how I ride so spending more to ride the same trails as not does not make much sense.

    Don't assume you need to upgrade just because it is the "cool thing" to do or all the other riders on the trails have such and such bikes.
    Joe
    '12 Santa Cruz Highball 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", Fetish Fixation SS 26" XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  8. #8
    How much further ???
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    I purchased a 2011 Rocky Mountain Slayer a few year ago for my slack, long travel AM rig. Fun bike and I really learned a lot riding it. It gave me the confidence on more difficult trails to over come my mental fears. I dont think I "needed" that bike to ride stuff like the waterfall on National but it gave me the confidence to try. It also gave me the confidence to pick up the pace on the downhills a bit more. All of a sudden more lines opened up to me. I saw the trail different and realized I could ride them.

    Fast forward a year and a half and I picked up my TransAM 29er HT. I was immediately impressed on how much faster I felt on it, on everything but the gnarliest DH. I feel I can corner faster on it and maintain more speed in general. No it doesnt feel as confident on the chunky DH but in reality I dont spend much time doing that and running a large volume tire like a 2.4 Ardent helps out a lot. Honestly I felt I was able to take the confidence the Slayer allowed me to gain and then applied it on a more suitable bike for the majority of my riding. Im starting to consistanly see average speeds over 11mph and max speeds over 25mph on a 10 mile ride at Hawes on the Trans AM (not fast I know but getting better for this weekend warrior)

    I would still take the Slayer if I plan to hit up National for example but for everything else (Hawes, Gold Canyon, BCT, AZT Picketpost, McDowell Mtn Park) I feel the Trans AM is a much better choice.

    Its ultimately up to you and it is nice to have variety. That being said if I were to get rid of one of them it would easily be the Slayer. Cant beat the ease of maintenance on a HT either.

    Maybe get a good wheelset for your current ride. I bet you will feel the difference and way cheaper than another bike.
    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did." Mark Twain

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevland View Post
    In what way do you think your Specialized is falling short that a new bike would address?
    Good question. Really it's just the quality of bike all around. And the weight. I'd like a higher end bike with better components and less weight. I figure buying a new bike is better than upgrading this one. I'm just not sure it's worth adding a better fork, etc to this bike.

    As far as the guys asking what I plan on doing and where I ride. Really just trails around phx. Trail 100, and some others. I agree that a FS would serve me better for the chunky stuff, but isn't that really only on the downhill? I do feel that having a FS bike would allow me to do more with regards to chunky downhill and drops (although where are there drops in the greater phx area?). I'm doubtful I'm ready to try drops just yet anyway (see Youtube fail videos).

    Maybe I should ride something like t100 on my current bike then the next day ride the same thing on a rented FS and just see what I like better.


    Also, even if I did end up with another HT, I would probably keep this Hardrock and use it as a spare, or for friends to ride. It's really not worth much $, was only $540 new.
    2013 Giant Trance X29 2
    2012 Specialized Hardrock Disc 29er

  10. #10
    Give it a crank
    Reputation: Mtn-Rider's Avatar
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    Bike choices depend mostly on what sort of trails you intend to ride, and how fast you want to be riding on them.

    In general it's: FS for chunky trails & bombing downhills, or HT for smoother trails, lighter bike, longer ride distances.

    It's really up to each rider. I went from a Trek Remedy AM bike to a Raleigh XXIX+G 29er, even though I miss the chunk-swallowing Remedy, I enjoy riding the 29er more, even though it's slower on the big chunk.

    Ideally, you'd have both kinds of bikes in the garage!

  11. #11
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    If I were in your shoes I'd probably upgrade the wheelset AND don't buy a new bike. That should get the most bang for your buck in terms of upgrades and all around performance. Put aside the extra cash and wait till the fall/winter when all manufacturers flock to Phoenix with their demo fleets. Like you kind of mentioned, riding your HT on a McDowell loop and then hopping on a demo to hit the same loop will give you a much better idea of which way you want to go long term. Whether it be aluminum/steel/carbon HT, 4 inch F/S or longer travel F/S, etc.

  12. #12
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    Ask the shop if they will let you demo the Trance 29er for a few hours and go ride your 'regular' trails to see if you can really tell a difference. If it's the shop I'm thinking it is, they will probably let you do it for $20-$50,and apply the fee to the purchase price if you decide to buy it.
    No one really NEEDS a new bike, but they sure are fun to buy.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jasonf150 View Post
    Good question. Really it's just the quality of bike all around. And the weight. I'd like a higher end bike with better components and less weight. I figure buying a new bike is better than upgrading this one. I'm just not sure it's worth adding a better fork, etc to this bike...
    Not a bad idea. Now on HT vs FS. For a given dollar spend the HT will be lighter and have better components. It just the nature of bikes that the simpler frame can be made lighter and given better parts are compared to paying for more complex rear suspension.

    For riding around here you can do fine on light hardtail. It may limit your speed on downhill chunk, but if that does not bother you so what. Best thing to do is take your time. Ride demo bikes to see how they feel and determine if they are really so much more fun as to be worth the $$$.
    Joe
    '12 Santa Cruz Highball 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", Fetish Fixation SS 26" XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  14. #14
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    A lot of good advice here. I am going to add just this.

    1. You have a nice bike already but it sounds like may be need to get dialed in better. Just proper adjustment of the seat - up down forward or back - can improve your pedaling power. On my bike - putting a shorter stem and seat setback - made much more comfortable on the downhill runs. Going tubeless would make you ride a lot more comfy as well.
    2. FS will not help you climb. So if you have trouble climbing, FS will only make it worse. Yes FS can help better tracking, but you have to work on you technique.

    3. Two bikes make sense only if you do a lot of riding. I average about 80 MTB miles/3-4 rides per week. I have a nice FS bike - Pivot Mach 5.7 with a dropper seat for more gnarly rides - but in reality I don't get to use it that much. I live by Sonoran Preserve and riding FS there is overkill. I do use the FS bike for Deem Hills.
    and maintenance on two bike is a hassle...

  15. #15
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    Of course if you must spend the money on a new bike- I would look at santa cruz tallboy, Pivot 429 or ripley. Very efficient climbers for a FS, light, short travel bikes. They would give you comfort on the chunk without much sacrifice in performance.

    These are high end bikes. Your money would be spent on upgrades to your HT instead of a cheaper FS bike.

  16. #16
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    First off, I do plan on waiting until the 2014's are out so I can at least what color options, even if nothing specs-wise changes. I know Giant has some bikes in 27˝ coming in 2014, but I don't think that size suits me.

    Bikes of Phoenix is the shop I was referring to. Andy has treated me very well in the past. He probably doesn't know me from another other Smoe that comes in, but I like the way he runs a bikeshop. I could take a nice light hardtail, such as the Xtc Composite 1 and the trancex at the same time and just ride them around for a few hours. This would also tell me whether getting a nice new shiny bike will even make that much difference.

    Another option would be to save my dollars and cents for a whole 'nether year and wait until my skills catch up. Wait, what am I saying? That's complete hogwash! Forget I said that.

    I'm anxious for some demo events this fall. Do those really happen? How does one find out about these events?


    Speaking of a Tallboy, there's this one on CL.
    2013 Giant Trance X29 2
    2012 Specialized Hardrock Disc 29er

  17. #17
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    Jason,
    I'm riding tomorrow at 5am from 7th st/T-bird if you want to join me.

  18. #18
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    I'd would, 'cept I gotta be at work at 6am downtown.
    2013 Giant Trance X29 2
    2012 Specialized Hardrock Disc 29er

  19. #19
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    Douger-1 kind of makes a good point, in that learning to ride another type of bike can be worthwhile in and of itself. I have a similar story in that my first "real" bike was my Trek Fuel, and even though I took it down chunky stuff like Geronimo a number of times, it wasn't until I picked up my Giant Glory, and bombed the same lines, that I really had the confidence I now have in my riding ability.

    My fastest time down Geronimo, National, and Javalina are all on my Trek Fuel now.

    The major benefit was the Glory was very forgiving comparatively, and helped me to learn to ride faster and with more confidence.

    With that said, buying a new bike is not really a financially efficient way to help yourself improve, but hey if you got the money and like owning bikes, its way more exciting than the $$$ sitting in a bank somewhere.
    "This fish who keeps on swimming, is the first to chill upstream" - 311

  20. #20
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    In my opinion there is plenty of terrible advice in this thread. Upgrades to a $550 bike should stop at pedals and tires. The money spent on a new wheel set that will improve the performance of your bike will cost at least 300 bux. If you have never ridden a fs bike before a two hour demo on a fs bike will do you no good. There is a different riding style that comes with full suspension that takes longer than 2 hours to learn, once you get it figured out you will be faster on the ups and downs.

    If you love the sport sell the ht and drop $1500 in to a 5" trail bike from 2-3 years ago and ride it all on one bike. Have a bike nerd buddy help you pick out the used bike.

    If you don't plan on becoming an obsessive bike nerd like the rest of us the bike you have is perfect.

    I started on a ht 12 years ago, I currently own one 6" do it all bike and it does it all, I can't imagine going back to a ht.

    *disclaimer: I'm just some dude on the internet!*

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by m77ranger View Post
    In my opinion there is plenty of terrible advice in this thread. Upgrades to a $550 bike should stop at pedals and tires. The money spent on a new wheel set that will improve the performance of your bike will cost at least 300 bux. If you have never ridden a fs bike before a two hour demo on a fs bike will do you no good. There is a different riding style that comes with full suspension that takes longer than 2 hours to learn, once you get it figured out you will be faster on the ups and downs.

    If you love the sport sell the ht and drop $1500 in to a 5" trail bike from 2-3 years ago and ride it all on one bike. Have a bike nerd buddy help you pick out the used bike.

    If you don't plan on becoming an obsessive bike nerd like the rest of us the bike you have is perfect.

    I started on a ht 12 years ago, I currently own one 6" do it all bike and it does it all, I can't imagine going back to a ht.

    *disclaimer: I'm just some dude on the internet!*
    I agree with this... For me a FS opened up so much more fun on the rocky stuff, and I have not seen too much downside on the climbs, and I do some killers. But, the climbs I do are mostly steep and chunky, not too much near me that is long and smooth. A used FS as mentioned, picked out by someone who knows what to look for is a great idea. I am long(er) in the tooth tho, and do not relish my old(er) bones taking too many hits...
    It's all Here. Now.

  22. #22
    Got a suspension fork
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    I rode my Kona Unit rigid on all these rough trails out here for quite a while, I prefer riding rigid, but ultimately the rugged trails beat me up on longer rides and I got a susfork. But I miss riding rigid.

    So unless you want to bomb over obstacles with reckless abandon, unless you have a bad back, unless you have a weak disposition, HT is my pick.
    ONE SHOX, ONE GEAR, LOTS of FUN! www.TrailFu.com My Rides

  23. #23
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    85% of these posts are going to tell you what they like or use. You said you have some time, demo as many brands as you can. After the summer many manufactures will be in town with their demo fleets.

  24. #24
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    Dont listen to these guys saying you dont need another bike. You ALWAYS need another bike. Just one more.

    I started out on a Hardrock 29er like you. It is a good bike, but the geometry and build is geared towards a very entry level, smooth cross-country type of riding. For a newbie, it is not very forgiving in the technical sections. A full suspension with moderately aggressive geometry can really boost your confidence and skills. At least for me, I found adding the FS opened up a lot of riding for me. I developed skills I wouldnt have learned on the Hardrock because I just wouldnt have tried.

    Those same new skills transfer back to the HT, but would have been much harder to develop on the Hardrock. Can you manual your Hardrock? Yeah, neither can I. But being able to do that on a FS 26er will make you much more confident in clearing techy sections on your 29er.

    You NEED another bike.

    I say keep the Hardrock for cross country and get a good do it all FS with 140-160mm of travel for everything else.

  25. #25
    Ahhh the pain....
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    So I think we all violently agree that there is not one type of bike that works for everyone. Just like if you asked what kind of car to purchase, you'd get 100 different answers. We've all arrived at our choices for one reason or another which of course do not necessarily reflect your needs and wants in a bike. Although I hate to say it, all the above is just opinion...no real data. So go out, ride some bikes, have some fun and make the best decision you can...worst case, you sell it and buy something different.
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  26. #26
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    If your in no hurry to buy, try to go to Outerbike in Moab. Its in early Oct. 3 days to demo many bikes.
    Last edited by el poseur; 05-31-2013 at 10:34 AM. Reason: sp

  27. #27
    How much further ???
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    I agree compeltely. I think the most interesting thing is when people say you "need" a particular bike. All I hear in that comment is industry marketing. In part this is why I chose to go with the 29er HT for my last bike to compliment/compare to my 26 " FS AM rig. I wanted to see how much truth there was to all this hype and what I found is most of it is BS. As I get older and as a father of 3 yound kids the only thing I find I truely "need" is time.
    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did." Mark Twain

  28. #28
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    Ideal stable: 1 good bike, 1 piece of sh!t
    Nice KOM, sorry about your penis.

  29. #29
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    I do understand that all these posts are opinion and most people just say what works for them but that's ok. That's what I wanted. My main question was whether a FS bike was too much for the trails I ride. Although, a bike like the Trance X 29 is classified on Giants own website as a Trail bike, so that's what it's for right?

    Is anyone able to answer my question about how to find out about demo events? I follow a few bike manu's on FB so I'm sure ill find out there. And I'm guessing the other method is through the manu's forums here on MTBR.
    2013 Giant Trance X29 2
    2012 Specialized Hardrock Disc 29er

  30. #30
    Give it a crank
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    Quote Originally Posted by jasonf150 View Post
    Is anyone able to answer my question about how to find out about demo events?
    Look up the brands you're interested on the web and find their local dealers. A call should get you their demo dates and what kind of demos they do.

    Tough luck if you want to demo a Giant, I was told by my LBS they don't do demos besides riding in their parking lot. I have to say that was a total turnoff even though I like Giant bikes.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Douger-1 View Post
    ...I think the most interesting thing is when people say you "need" a particular bike. All I hear in that comment is industry marketing..... As I get older and as a father of 3 yound kids the only thing I find I truely "need" is time.
    I hear you on that. Time is the only thing I really need more of.
    Joe
    '12 Santa Cruz Highball 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", Fetish Fixation SS 26" XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by jasonf150 View Post
    ... My main question was whether a FS bike was too much for the trails I ride. ...
    I would never say a FS is "too much bike" for Arizona trails, but that is because FS bikes can be 100mm bikes or 180 mm bikes. There is big difference between a short travel FS bike and 180mm monster FS bike.

    Now as for the trails you ride... I have never ridden lookout mtn and don't know what you mean be "other mtn trails". If you are talking about trail 100 and PMP area then a FS bike is probably not a bad idea, but like others have stated not required. If you are riding the streets in commute mode then all you need is cheap rigid.

    To really understand what is going to work for you it will take a good understanding of the trails you ride now and what you want to ride alot. For the trails I ride my HT works fine, but so would a short travel FS bike. I do not need a 6" bike for what I ride most and would probably hate dragging the extra weight around. That is down to my trails and riding preferences. For now ride what you have every place you want to ride it and use it to understand your desires when it comes to riding. Then look for a bike that will work with these trails and with how you want to ride them.
    Joe
    '12 Santa Cruz Highball 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", Fetish Fixation SS 26" XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  33. #33
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    I've been riding Arizona trails since I was a kid doing it on my Sting Ray with the fenders off and a 10 speed seat on it. I cannot count the number of frames, wheels, cranks and pedals I've broken. It's all about you and your riding skills, and how that relates to your preferences for terrain you tackle. Everyone has a different style, and that's illustrated here on this thread. You can do just fine on the average hardtail with a rigid fork.

    I have a 20 year old Diamondback that I still ride on the roughest stuff and will take straight off a shelf at 51 years old. My preferred ride is my tiny little '99 Jamis Dakar with 120mm on the back and 130mm on the front. But the way you tackle each challenge is what really matters. When we can't hit a trail and we're just hanging out drinking beer, my buddies and I will stack up a row of obstacles like a cinder block to some milk crates to a cable spool or whatever and do trials riding to sharpen the bike handling and balance skills. Another favorite pastime is going up and down staircases like at apartment complexes and office buildings.

    Don't let all the marketing hype and people with 3000 dollar bikes get you going. If you're still relatively new to it, your main concern is developing your skills. Between now and your purchase, get out and hammer terrain big time. Take your bike wherever you go. EVERYWHERE. Ride it to work all the way across the valley. Take it up to pay the utility bills and look for places to cut across the fields. Learn how to get that thing up onto a picnic table at the park. There are a lot of parks with big rock piles and stuff to climb onto. Beat the living crap out of the bike you've got and get the skills under your belt. By the time you are ready to buy, you will know exactly what you're looking for.

    PS: To answer just one of your original questions. YES, as a beginner you will notice a huge difference on a lighter hardtail with high quality components.

  34. #34
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    HT or FS for AZ trail riding?

    Quote Originally Posted by el poseur View Post
    If your in no hurry to buy, try to go to Outerbike in Moab. Its in early Oct. 3 days to demo many bikes.
    Damn, I think you just made my October plans for me! 👍

  35. #35
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    I say all you need is 1 six inch travel do it all bike. Works for me! It's all trial and error. I can't figure out why anyone would even want a HT, but they look as happy as anyone else on a bike. All that really matters is that you're on a bike, right?

    I'd say ride what you have until something needs to improve. For instance, I had a stump jumper. Set up on the lighter side. I'm Canadian, so by birth I am not smooth or coordinated. I kept bending wheels and what not, so I got an enduro. Now it handles everything I throw at it. It's a bit overkill for most things (did the Dawn to Dusk race with it) but its reliable, which is what matters to me.
    “Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world.”
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  36. #36
    How much further ???
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    Quote Originally Posted by tysonnemb View Post
    I say all you need is 1 six inch travel do it all bike. Works for me! It's all trial and error. I can't figure out why anyone would even want a HT
    .
    1) They are typically lighter.
    2) Less maintenance / more reliable
    3) Are faster for 90% of the riding I do
    4) They typically cost less

    # 3 is the key as everyones requirements are different but as someone who is fortunante enough to have both and can come to an unbiased opinion (since I dropped the $$ on both) I can say you would be surprised how capable modern HT's are.

    While there isnt a climb I can do on the HT that I cant do on my 6" FS and while there isnt a decent I can do on my 6" FS that I cant do on my HT each bike does have its place. That being said here are the local trails I ride and which bike I would select when I leave my garage. I have riden both bikes on many of the same trails and this would be my number 1 selection.

    Hawes - HT
    Gold Canyon - HT
    McDowell Mt Park including comp loops and pump track - HT
    Sonoran Mtn Preserve - HT
    San Tan - HT
    Picketpost (Superior to Kelvin) - HT
    BCT - HT
    Desert Classic - HT
    National - 6" FS
    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did." Mark Twain

  37. #37
    Who took my gears?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtn-Rider View Post
    Look up the brands you're interested on the web and find their local dealers. A call should get you their demo dates and what kind of demos they do.

    Tough luck if you want to demo a Giant, I was told by my LBS they don't do demos besides riding in their parking lot. I have to say that was a total turnoff even though I like Giant bikes.

    Humm... They just had one a few months ago out at MMP... Also, usually see posts here in the AZ forumn whenever a demo is coming, just watch this group...

    EVENTS - Giant Bicycles | United States
    Demo Bicycles High Performance Bike Demos Phoenix ? Javelina Cycles Phoenix AZ Bicycle Sales, Repair, Parts

  38. #38
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    This is turning in to the senseless HT vs. FS debate.

    IF race XC get a light HT.
    IF you want comfort on chunky trails get FS.

    I got one of each
    29 HT with clipless pedals
    and
    26 FS(6 inch) with flat pedals

    26 vs 29 --- HT vs. FS ----flat vs. clipless
    they all rock with a right person and on a right trail

  39. #39
    How much further ???
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    Its not senseless and Im not sure its even a debate. Simply discussing the differences between the two. I look at it as the more opinions and user experiences the OP reads, or anyone else reads for that matter, the better they can match what they are looking for in a bike.
    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did." Mark Twain

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by GR1822 View Post
    Ask the shop if they will let you demo the Trance 29er for a few hours and go ride your 'regular' trails to see if you can really tell a difference. If it's the shop I'm thinking it is, they will probably let you do it for $20-$50,and apply the fee to the purchase price if you decide to buy it.
    No one really NEEDS a new bike, but they sure are fun to buy.
    Great advice

  41. #41
    Give it a crank
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbdennis View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Mtn-Rider View Post
    Look up the brands you're interested on the web and find their local dealers. A call should get you their demo dates and what kind of demos they do.

    Tough luck if you want to demo a Giant, I was told by my LBS they don't do demos besides riding in their parking lot. I have to say that was a total turnoff even though I like Giant bikes.
    Humm... They just had one a few months ago out at MMP... Also, usually see posts here in the AZ forumn whenever a demo is coming, just watch this group...

    EVENTS - Giant Bicycles | United States
    Demo Bicycles High Performance Bike Demos Phoenix ? Javelina Cycles Phoenix AZ Bicycle Sales, Repair, Parts
    I already walk into any LBS with a grudge, now I even come out misinformed. I really don't like LBS's.

  42. #42
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    oh wow...this was my dilemma 2 years or less ago. I had a giant trance 2010...great bike i learned a lot while riding it...now it is gone and I have a HT specialized Rockhopper with all aftermarket components. I also went from a large Giant 26 frame to a XL frame and a 29er. THe 29er is where it is at imho. Although I dont ride gnarly stuff and I ride for only fun and zero racing. I can do pass mountain on the 29er HT and that was enough for me to say the 29er is all I will need.

    I spent a good amount of money on custom wheels. Since I am tall a setback seatpost made a HUGE difference for me. Finally, I feel one with the bike. Im out of shape, I ride for fun, and its a good workout. I don't keep track of my time.

    Get whatever bike you feel safe and comfortable on. Invest in some good tubeless wheels and never look back.

  43. #43
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    100-120mm of travel helps a lot. It will be a better ride and you can go faster. I dropped 5 minutes off my best time on DC going from a 22lb HT to a 26lb FS on the very first ride. You may not notice it but I bet your Specialized has a lot of BB flex and absolutely little flex in the seat stays (it will mess up your back... just give it time). Not all HTs are created equal. Better frames have vertical flex with stiff BBs. Unfortunately, good frames are hard to find now that everything has been mostly shipped over to China. If you plan on riding a lot spend the money. A Ti frame is another option over a FS as it will abosrb some of the trail chatter. Just move your parts over and upgrade over time.
    Killing it with close inspection.

  44. #44
    Happy Trails
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    HT or FS for AZ trail riding?

    I didn't read all of this thread so may be redundant, but upgrading $250 in SLX hydro brakes and a nice set of hoops from wifey for Christmas, you have a super-functional Arizona hard-tail. Then save your $$, chase Strava-boys, demo some nice bikes, join MBAA and AES, improve your fitness, ride the hell out of your bike, and be ready for a no-compromise full suspension in 2014 or 2015.

  45. #45
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    One issue that we've had to endure over the years is that the biggest racing event has always been XC racing, and that has been pushed by all the manufacturers and shops, so it ends up in magazines, shops, and everywhere that if you want to be a "serious" mountain biker, you have to ride an XC race bike, and race. I can't tell you how many people have asked me "do you race?" over the years. It makes you sick after a while hearing it over and over.

    So what happens is that shops tend to push these XC race bikes, people tend to buy them because they think they are doing the "right thing" since they are interested in mountain biking a little more seriously.

    The fallacy of this is that most people would be happy on a 5"ish all-mountain 26er or 4-5" 29er with relaxed geometry that isn't about turning the wheel around with a headtube angle so steep you're going to endo on every significant bump and be scared to go down every slightly technical downhill. The XC race bike can make them dislike mountain biking or the stuff that other people seem to have fun with.

    Unfortunately, the hardtails seem to suffer from this more than the FS bikes, as there will generally be one high end hardtail line, and if you take it out to the top model, it's only an XC race bike. With the FS bikes, there'll be maybe 3 "top tier" lines, and only one of those will be the XC race bike, then there might be lower-cost lines that are entirely different frames, still decent bikes, but again relaxed geometry that isn't as agressive for XC than that one XC FS bike.

    So, my advice is usually to pick up a nice XC FS bike that is a good all-around bike, not too heavy, not too light, and definitely not an XC race bike. You shouldn't be worrying about it being the "most efficient" or "pedal like a hardtail". That just gets you back to square one usually.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    So what happens is that shops tend to push these XC race bikes, people tend to buy them because they think they are doing the "right thing" since they are interested in mountain biking a little more seriously.
    Funny, I feel like the most advertising goes toward new and improved full suspension bikes - they cost more, have higher mark ups, higher maintenance costs so both bike makers and dealers win. There is a flood of new FS 26.5, ibis, santa cruz/julianna models. Just name all the advertised or featured HT bikes that you see vs. FS bikes. It's so much easier to name FS bikes isn't it?

    but you right high travel bikes are a lot more comfortable to ride and HT are just cheaper than comparable high end FS needed for racing.

    so whatever floats your boat bro

  47. #47
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by metalaficionado View Post
    Funny, I feel like the most advertising goes toward new and improved full suspension bikes - they cost more, have higher mark ups, higher maintenance costs so both bike makers and dealers win. There is a flood of new FS 26.5, ibis, santa cruz/julianna models. Just name all the advertised or featured HT bikes that you see vs. FS bikes. It's so much easier to name FS bikes isn't it?

    but you right high travel bikes are a lot more comfortable to ride and HT are just cheaper than comparable high end FS needed for racing.

    so whatever floats your boat bro
    Well, yes, I agree the advertising goes towards the more expensive FS bikes, but it's not "equal" and you still get a lot more "air time" for the XC race stuff. Note, I'm not talking about XC race hardtails specifically, I'm talking about both the XC race hardtails and FS bikes, that there's always been a disproportionately large amount of advertising and pushing of those bikes to riders, and even if that's changed a little with all-mountain and trail type bikes, it's still there to some extent and the effects are still worn in many people's minds. Sure, you got the new bikes on the block, a few 27.5 models, but it's still the Epics, the Scalpels, the Fuels, the Anthems, that drive a large part of the advertising. That is my point. That trickles down to the shop and most aspects and makes people think they should get these "XC race" FS bikes when they start thinking about an FS bike.

    It would be real interesting to see how the market has changed, although I think a lot of these effects from back in the 90s and 2000s are still causing some repercussions.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  48. #48
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    most of the ads I see are toward 6" AM bikes. At least that is case with Bike magazine ads. Same with the articles and test bikes. Pretty much all 5-6" AM bikes. IMHO that is what the market is driving. I personally think that a t 5-6 bike is way too much bike for 90% of riders. Simply because 90% of riders don't ride the terrain that would require that. Now if you look at cross section of the forum it would a different ratio as we tend to ride our bikes more over harder stuff.
    Joe
    '12 Santa Cruz Highball 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", Fetish Fixation SS 26" XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  49. #49
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    The cubic douche dollars still go into dirt roadie sanitizer bikes, and always will.
    Nice KOM, sorry about your penis.

  50. #50
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    My thing is, you can bring a FS bike with a lot of travel down to any trail, but for most riders, you're not going to bring a HT up to any trail as easily. I'd rather have too much bike than not enough, but that's me.

    If you just wanted one bike, I'd go for a FS with good travel. Certain suspensions like Specialized Brain or Santa Cruz VPP work better at mitigating pedaling forces than others, so that helps if you want to ride on mellower trails where power transfer is of concern.

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