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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    Do I Need A Full Suspension Bike? If so, Which Specialized?

    I have been riding my Specialized Hardrock Sport for about two years, and I love it. I ride light trails, no huge drops or anything crazy like that, just basic pavement and single track trails, dirt, hills, etc. No jumps.

    I have never been on a full suspension bike so I don't know what I am missing. Looking at the type of riding that I do, would a FS be beneficial? Would I see a major improvement?

    If so, sticking with Specialized, which bike would you recommend?

    Or, do I pretty have the most comfortable bike for my type of riding?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    spec4life???..smh...
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    Id say that if you dont feel that your hardrock "just isnt cuttin it anymore" than your skills and type of riding havnt advanced far enough yet to warrent a new FS bike.
    The hardrock is a good bike to just ride XC which looks to be what you are doing. Yes they make better bikes for XC riding but seems to me if you still feel like the hardrock is good enough stick with it and develop your skills further.

    Also if you do decide to get a new bike dont be so loyal to specialized. I love my spec but if i were looking for a new bike i would look for the bike that gave me the best componets and frame for the money.

  3. #3
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    Need? The only thing you need to mountain bike is the bike. Whether a full suspension will benefit you is up to you. It will make the ride smoother and allow you to take drops more comfortably. It will also allow you to recover easier from picking a bad line.

    On the negative they are usually heavier than a hardtail, and generally speaking arent as effecient pedalers as hardtails.

    I wouldn't be so narrow minded either. There are plenty of bike companies out there, no need to limit yourself to one. Maybe when it comes to a FS bikes specialized wont be your favorite.

    In other words go try some bikes out, and expect to spend more money than you did for your hardtail.

  4. #4
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    You don't "NEED" an FS bike.I bought one for the comfort,my old and brittle bones just took too much of an beating on my HT otherwise I really liked the HT.

  5. #5
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    I rode a HR on local trails for a while and actually switched to a fully with 4" of travel in the back because some of the trails I ride are heavily rooted and rocky as hell and it would cause my vision to "blur" considerably when making quick descents. With a fully I experience this less. I only bring it out though if I know I'm riding more rough terrain, otherwise I stick to my HT.

  6. #6
    jalopy jockey
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    All you need is a full rigid single speed. BTW I usually ride a geared hard tail.

    I've never been on a trail that a full suspension beneficial for anyone but the geriatric, we don't have much in the way of drop long downhills, etc. personally I can't stand 'em.

  7. #7
    Bikecurious
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    I decided to treat my aging ass to an FS and it thanks me. The terrain around here is pretty rocky and it provides a lot of extra traction on the rocks. That being said, a hardtail feels so much more lively, esp with a stiff frame. This is a def advantage on climbs, unless its really rocky, because you don't expend extra energy flexing the rear end like you do with a dually. With a full-suspension you can ride over a lot of stuff that you might normally go around on a hardtail, so you kind of have to relearn to ride in a way. A hardtail will make you a better rider, a FS will make your ride better. A comprimise to consider might be a 29er hardtail. I'm interested in trying one myself. Supposedly the larger wheels make up for the lack of rear suspension, while allowing you to roll over a lot of stuff that a 26" hardtail might have trouble on. I guess it comes down to what kind of terrain you ride. A FS does tend to be overkill in a lot of situations, but it really is nice on those long rides and is a big confidence booster on the downhills. See if you can demo both on trails, or borrow a friend's. I started out on a Spec Hardrock too, and that thing def lived to it's name, till it got stolen.
    Howdy Doody's past the House of Aquarius

  8. #8
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    you dont need a FS for what you are doing. if it is "light trails" your hard rock will do just fine. if you feel like upgrading in the specialized line, go for the rock hopper or even the stumpy HT.

    you'd be pretty suprised how far you can push an HT. all it takes is some practice. some of the people out there will do stuff on a fully rigid bike that others wouldnt touch with anything less than 3 inches of travel front and rear.

    whether or not to upgrade is all up to you. but for "light trails" your hard tail will be more than fine.

  9. #9
    billiebob
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    You only "need" full suspension when the terrain you ride is just too punishing to be enjoyable or you have to take it way too slow to be fun. Full suspension allows you to ride rougher terrain faster without getting thrown off the trail or destroying your tubes, tires, and rims.

    I've been riding the same awful rock gardens for many years and enjoy them much more with full suspension. If there were no rocks or roots every 10 feet I would stick with the lighter, cheaper, more reliable, and faster hardtail.

  10. #10
    DH.FR.0ne
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    Yeah everyone above is talking sense. If your comfortable on the hardrock you probably wont benefit much from full suspension. Try to test a full susser to be sure. If you can happily stick with your hard tail though, Id say you should. It gets heavier and more complicated with full suspension...

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by drmain View Post
    I have been riding my Specialized Hardrock Sport for about two years, and I love it. I ride light trails, no huge drops or anything crazy like that, just basic pavement and single track trails, dirt, hills, etc. No jumps.
    My riding buddy has an old '95 Giant Yukon that's fully rigid and I bug him to swap bikes with me on the trail. It's a blast! If you're not doing jumps, drops or stuff like that a full suspension bike is going to be heavier, harder to get up hills.

    Besides, it's a mountain bike. It's supposed to be bumpy. Otherwise what's the point? You want smooth, go ride on a road.

  12. #12
    Picture Unrelated
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    Quote Originally Posted by DH.FR.0ne View Post
    Yeah everyone above is talking sense. If your comfortable on the hardrock you probably wont benefit much from full suspension. Try to test a full susser to be sure. If you can happily stick with your hard tail though, Id say you should. It gets heavier and more complicated with full suspension...
    Quote Originally Posted by SgtBaxter View Post
    My riding buddy has an old '95 Giant Yukon that's fully rigid and I bug him to swap bikes with me on the trail. It's a blast! If you're not doing jumps, drops or stuff like that a full suspension bike is going to be heavier, harder to get up hills.

    Besides, it's a mountain bike. It's supposed to be bumpy. Otherwise what's the point? You want smooth, go ride on a road.
    It's a 3 year old thread, it's not bad advice but there's a bunch of more modern threads just like this you could post in.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  13. #13
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    LOL. I was just about to post, and caught the dates.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  14. #14
    inner peace to make peace
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    Quote Originally Posted by drmain View Post
    I have been riding my Specialized Hardrock Sport for about two years, and I love it. I ride light trails, no huge drops or anything crazy like that, just basic pavement and single track trails, dirt, hills, etc. No jumps.

    I have never been on a full suspension bike so I don't know what I am missing. Looking at the type of riding that I do, would a FS be beneficial? Would I see a major improvement?

    If so, sticking with Specialized, which bike would you recommend?

    Or, do I pretty have the most comfortable bike for my type of riding?

    Thanks!
    Unless you're doing DH or "Cali" DH races, you do not need a FS bike.
    Get disk brakes, an oil damping (open bath or cartridge) front fork (100mm to 160mm+ suspension-- depending on the design of frame), and rear (or both) tubeless wheel(s) set up (UST rim and UST tire plus sealant).

    There are DH classes for hard-tails (front suspension)

    A steel or titanium frame and a steel or titanium seat-post for hard-tails (HT) are a nice luxury, but not needed
    The state that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards & its fighting by fools.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    It's a 3 year old thread, it's not bad advice but there's a bunch of more modern threads just like this you could post in.
    lol... I just caught the date from the guy that posted before me.

  16. #16
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    Suspension is to keep the wheels on the ground for better handling. If you are staying with rain rutted trails, cobblestone, small logs, and baby-head sized boulders you'll be fine with a hardtail especially in hilly terrain. You'll be much happier than your buddies with full suspension doing the same thing.

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