1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    Any hardtail free ride bikes?

    Still pondering for my next bike and really looking into a free ride type, because of the lighter weight, steeper head angle and able to go fast downhill as well made to climb and take hits.

    It seems like it would be better in all types of things, not just XC or downhill....All around and can take some nice jumps and drops.

    Do they make a Free ride hardtail?

    I'm thinking this is the way I want to go rather than another XC trail bike.

  2. #2
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    There are some dedicated freeride hardtails out there...

    NS Bikes makes one....the CORE I think it's named.

    Chromag makes hardtail frames that are made to take abuse.

    Transition has the TransAM, although that's more of an All Mountain frame, hence the AM.

    Ragley (UK brand) has cool steel frames that take abuse....they did the mmbop, an aluminum long travel, slack frame that was very popular, but it's been discontinued I don't know why...and it was CHEAP!

    Others that come to mind are...COVE Stiffee FR, Identiti AKA.

    Check the All Mountain thread.....and check the Hardtails gallery.
    My Bike: http://forums.mtbr.com/showpost.php?...3&postcount=49

    On-One Whippet 650b XC machine

  3. #3
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    Ya, and check out the downhill-freeride forum on here.
    the strongest trees grow on the windiest plains... ~Tone's

  4. #4
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    On-one does one too, I think.

    I wouldn't use words like "light" and "steep" to describe any of these bikes. What are you comparing it to?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  5. #5
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    Some guy on youtube said they are like an all around bike, lighter than DH bikes and have gearing for climbing like a trail bike and a steeper head for slow speed stability for tight technical stuff.

    It just sounds like a more aggressive, better handling trail machine to me, bu tcan do a lot of punishing jumps and drops too.

  6. #6
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    This could be what you're looking for:

    http://www.on-one.co.uk/i/q/FROO456/...ail-frame-2011

    These are in that category too:

    http://www.santacruzmtb.com/chameleon/#description.php

    Kona also has some DJ/Trail bikes (Shred, Stuff & Steely):

    http://www.konaworld.com/platform.cfm?content=djtrail

    If you're going truly hardcore, one of these should take all you could give it, but it's overkill for most riders if they're being honest with themselves:

    http://covebike.com/bikes/stiffee

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ganymede_Illusion View Post
    Some guy on youtube said they are like an all around bike, lighter than DH bikes and have gearing for climbing like a trail bike and a steeper head for slow speed stability for tight technical stuff.

    It just sounds like a more aggressive, better handling trail machine to me, bu tcan do a lot of punishing jumps and drops too.
    You keep saying "steeper", I am not sure you understand how head angle relates to bike handling. A FR hardtail will have a much more slack head angle leading to a bit slower steering and more comfort in downhills and technical terrain.

    Steep head angles are good for twitchy steering and going over the bars, usually found on XC race bikes.

    I suspect the bike you'e actually looking for would be called an all mountain hardtail or long travel hardtail. Something like the Transition TransAM, Kona Steely, On-One 456, or a Chromag (several examples). A FR hardtail would be a bike like the Cove Stiffee and maybe something like an old Azonic Steely, Evil Imperial, or Surly Instigator.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    You keep saying "steeper", I am not sure you understand how head angle relates to bike handling. A FR hardtail will have a much more slack head angle leading to a bit slower steering and more comfort in downhills and technical terrain.

    Steep head angles are good for twitchy steering and going over the bars, usually found on XC race bikes.

    I suspect the bike you'e actually looking for would be called an all mountain hardtail or long travel hardtail. Something like the Transition TransAM, Kona Steely, On-One 456, or a Chromag (several examples). A FR hardtail would be a bike like the Cove Stiffee and maybe something like an old Azonic Steely, Evil Imperial, or Surly Instigator.

    I've been doing a lot of research on bikes as I feel I am ready to upgrade big time to a full out awesome dream bike. My budget is now 2,000 that I have now and saving another 1,000, so in all my budget is going to hit the 3,000 dollar mark for a top hardtail.

    I guess i have mistaken the FR bike capabilities. They made it seem as a great "all around" bike that was suited for downhill, jumps, drops, but was light enough for trail riding and geared up for steep climbing. Sounds like a more aggressive bike than a mere trail XC bike.

    I feel I would probably like to take it beyond trails and XC stuff. I'd like to do jumps(medium) stuff a hardtail can do, aggressive chunks and probably some good downhill runs.

    Basically more than a light XC bike could handle. I'm already doing these things with my Diamondback and it's clearly starting to break apart doing that to it.

    I'm ready for a more aggressive, better more awesome bike.... but taking my sweet time, because I want the perfect one.

    Feels sweet to know I have enough experience now and worthy of a more awesome bike....

    Currently checking out the TransitionAM.....

  9. #9
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    This wikipedia article enthused me about free ride bikes too...

    "Modern freeride bikes are similar to downhill bikes, but feature slightly less suspension travel and are lighter - which enables them to be ridden not just downhill but through more technical sections, such as North Shore obstacles. Additionally, most freeride bikes feature slightly steeper headangles and shorter wheelbases than pure downhill bikes to facilitate maneuverability on slower, technical sections of trail."

    It says basicaly a downhill bike that has a steeper head and short wheelbase to be better in slow tech stuff on the trails, but has downhill capability as well as XC as it is lighter and geared for climbing too.

    It sounds like the perfect bike for what I plan to do.

  10. #10
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    Time for another "Pussification of XC" rant

    Back when I started, there were two kinds of bikes: DH and XC. Downhill bikes could go in one direction, and XC bikes did everything else.

    Now there are a ton of different kinds of bikes, and it's true that some of the really racy XC bikes might not be as much fun for general riding. But XC race courses can be pretty gnarly, often incorporating the Super-D course at a venue. Really, there are only a few things I'd exclude from XC - big jumps, really massive freefall drops, and man-made stunts. And that doesn't mean I don't occasionally play around on flowlines on my XC bike. I'm just more conservative than the guys who mostly do that kind of riding.

    You're planning to spend a lot of money, but not for a little while. Find out which demo tours will be coming through your area, and try a lot of bikes so you have a better idea of what you're doing. Maybe you really do want a freeride hardtail, but honestly, I doubt it.

    "Trail" bikes are the bike industry's apology for screwing up the image of XC bikes. But in reality, XC bikes haven't become any less capable than they were in the '90s. People just see them differently because there are some other options now, and some of them are more fun to descend on, at least according to most of the marketplace. Lots of people find them to be their perfect compromise.

    The "All-mountain" category is tailor-made for people who want to charge on descents and have to ride to the top. I think they're already starting to lose some singletrack climbing ability (but then I think that of everything but XC hardtails - obviously this stuff is pretty subjective.)

    Demo, demo, demo. Our opinions are all subjective to our trails, experience, and riding style and preferences. You're the one proposing to spend a whole lot of money.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  11. #11
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    To say Transition bikes are built solidy is an understatement of sizable proportions. Every one I have seen and handled (haven't actually ridden one though) have been extremely solid, and definitely on the heavy side. You'd have to be pretty ballsy to ride one up to it's potential IMHO.

    Probably something like the On One 456, or similar 'all mountain' hardtails mentioned above, will be all you need without being overlbuilt. Freeride bikes also generally have a relatively high bottom bracket, which is nice for clearing obstacles if that is an issue for you, but other handling traits may suffer (cornering for one). If BB height wasn't an issue, more companies would just make one bike for both FR and DH and call it a day. One major difference is that DH bikes need to corner at speed, not just clear obstacles and fly through the air. JMHO.

  12. #12
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    I agree with Switch: Demo demo demo. Find the one that fits you best on the kinds of trails you love best. And, to push a little favorite: check the Banshee.
    Also, don't discount 29ers: SC's Tallboy is bananas.
    Yet: DEMO!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Back when I started, there were two kinds of bikes: DH and XC. Downhill bikes could go in one direction, and XC bikes did everything else.

    Now there are a ton of different kinds of bikes, and it's true that some of the really racy XC bikes might not be as much fun for general riding. But XC race courses can be pretty gnarly, often incorporating the Super-D course at a venue. Really, there are only a few things I'd exclude from XC - big jumps, really massive freefall drops, and man-made stunts. And that doesn't mean I don't occasionally play around on flowlines on my XC bike. I'm just more conservative than the guys who mostly do that kind of riding.

    You're planning to spend a lot of money, but not for a little while. Find out which demo tours will be coming through your area, and try a lot of bikes so you have a better idea of what you're doing. Maybe you really do want a freeride hardtail, but honestly, I doubt it.

    "Trail" bikes are the bike industry's apology for screwing up the image of XC bikes. But in reality, XC bikes haven't become any less capable than they were in the '90s. People just see them differently because there are some other options now, and some of them are more fun to descend on, at least according to most of the marketplace. Lots of people find them to be their perfect compromise.

    The "All-mountain" category is tailor-made for people who want to charge on descents and have to ride to the top. I think they're already starting to lose some singletrack climbing ability (but then I think that of everything but XC hardtails - obviously this stuff is pretty subjective.)

    I'm 36, I feel great and recently DXed with Multiple Sclerosis, but I am a fast learner, when I am on that bike I am 20 again and feel 20....I go at it hard and want to do all I can do with the bikes until I cannot do it anymore.... because I love this damn stuff so much that it is not even funny. Being out on that bike within nature looking at all the awesome stuff around you and the thrills of taking on a new track plus stopping by a river bank, take a swim then ride home for dinner, not to mention the biking community whom have the best people I have ever met in my life, I'll never give it up.....I love this ****!!

    This is why I am confident and willing to spend some google money on a bike so I can go forward with my riding.

    From my research and great help from you all.....I'm really leaning toward AM bikes now...Seems they are a little more "built" than XC trail bikes for taking more aggressive stuff but retain their XC capabilities. I know DH is out of the question....anything that I have to ride a chair lift to ride.....isn't for me... I'm one that has to ride that hill up or down.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by bisicklay View Post
    I agree with Switch: Demo demo demo. Find the one that fits you best on the kinds of trails you love best. And, to push a little favorite: check the Banshee.
    Also, don't discount 29ers: SC's Tallboy is bananas.
    Yet: DEMO!

    I agree fully too and will be finding a demo going on even if I have to travel a ways.

    When you think about spending this amount of money....a test drive is not an option..it's a necessity.

  15. #15
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    Just looked at the AM forum....it says "more than XC less than DH"

    They climb well and are built for coming down fast too...

    So I guess this would be considered the "all around bike" rather than having a special purpose.

    I think AM is what I need to look at.....

  16. #16
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    I remember once a guy looked at my Response frame and told me it would make one hell of an AM frame if I "forked it" Meaning more travel I guess?

    It looks like AM bikes are heavier and have more travel in the fork, tougher parts....

    I guess it would not be as quick or nimble as a efficient XC bike.

    Guess I'll have to really think hard if I'm really going to hit major hard stuff all the time... If I buy an AM bike and do mostly moderate single track....I'd just be driving a tank for nothing.

    Mayby I should just get the Stumpjumper comp as I was going to do....Maybey even a little higher up model of the SJ

  17. #17
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    I like the Trek 8 series... http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes..._series/8000/#

    It's a XC race bike.

    I don't know....with the trails we have, XC bikes make the most sense....and this one is well within my budget.....Looks like a wicked bike.

  18. #18
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    I think I am starting to understand the difference...

    XC bikes are built for maximum endurance and pedal power on nice trails and wicked climbs with pretty good roughness sometimes.

    AM bikes are built heavier for bombing over chunks and taking harder pounding trails than on on XC single track... Usually not as efficient in pedal power and more relaxed head angle for better down hill fast riding.

  19. #19
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    Trek Elite 9.7 looks awesome.....carbon frame and in my budget....

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ganymede_Illusion View Post
    I think I am starting to understand the difference...

    XC bikes are built for maximum endurance and pedal power on nice trails and wicked climbs with pretty good roughness sometimes.

    AM bikes are built heavier for bombing over chunks and taking harder pounding trails than on on XC single track... Usually not as efficient in pedal power and more relaxed head angle for better down hill fast riding.
    If only you had searched out one of the infinite number of threads describing the differences between bike styles before you had started this thread...

    You finally have an idea of what's going on as far as what bikes do what. I'll add that freeride is big jumps and stunts and downhill is straight up racing. Neither of those is likely what you're looking for. Go to a shop and test ride some bikes, you're all over the place and you need to narrow your focus.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  21. #21
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    I have it down to two categories and bikes.....

    High end XC and All Mountain with the Trek Elite 9.7 for XC or the Transition Trans Am for All mountain.

    I'm kinda leaning toward the Transition, because it looks classic and not from a normal bike company..it's a lil different and not as common to see in the field like a typical specialized or Trek. I lik ethat "odd" aspect. I really like the looks too. Looks like an old school Mountain bike and you can get it in a nice green color +1

    It would come down to riding both to make the final decision.... That is my goal.

    I really hope it's the Transition that I like better....I'm in love with it lol.

  22. #22
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    TransAm movie http://www.transitionbikes.com/Bikes_TransAM.cfm

    I can actually ride like that pretty well plus it would take extra pounding..... I don't care fo rDH or mega stunts I guess.

    I'm thinkin TransAm is my bike....

    Now where do I test ride one? lol.

  23. #23
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    I've ridden in the mountain range where they filmed that.

    One of my favorite race courses is on a really little hill there. I finally got around to doing some riding on one of the bigger mountains a couple weeks ago. Don't know why I waited so long... awesome.

    Here's some food for thought. The Transition has a slacker head angle and higher bottom bracket than the Trek. What do you think happens when you reduce the travel on a suspension fork?

    Demo some FS bikes too. Why limit yourself? Honestly, I've had more trouble trying to hop on a hardtail at demos.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  24. #24
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    not gonna get a test ride unless you live near bellingham wa, they are not very common things even at a transition dealer.

  25. #25
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    Woop Woop Bellingham!

    While you're up, if you want to test ride my On-One Summer Season, you can!
    (Got my vote, solid steel frame, slllllaaaaaccckkkk head angle, rips downhill.)

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