FS or Hardtail for 6'5 novice rider?
Please bear with me... Im sure this question as been asked numerous times. But I am so indecisive, I had bought a Diamond Back Coil EX 07' (20" frame) that I had for 3 weeks and then i broke a few things and decided I wanted a better bike so I returned it. It was a full suspension. I am looking to spend between $500-$1200 for a bike. I know that leads me to an entry level full suspension or a decent hardtail. I have never ridden a hardtail, so I dont know how that will feel on the trail. I am a pretty aggressive rider. I ride trails obviously a few times a week and also use a bike to commute to work and around locally for exercise. I also once in a while want to be able to handle some 3' drops and some small jumps. Also a bike that can handle almost any trail that I can find in NC. The biggest problem is I am 6'5" and 210lbs. in in very good shape... I need to find a bike that fits me. I am assuming a 22" frame is a must, I tested a 25" giant hardtail... I want a bike that can suit my needs and that I will be the happiest with. Please any info would be greatly appreciated, and any pros vs cons between hardtail and FS..... Thanks!
You are going to find it almost impossible to find a frame that fits you no matter what it is (fully or HT) I am 6'5" and my 22 is barely adequate. I run a 150mm stem and a whole lot of post to get the fit right. My inseam is 36 inches btw, so if you have longer legs you will be in an even worse situation.
If I was buying a new bike I wouldn't even bother with 26 inch wheels, I'd go straight to 29s. Same problem there though, only a few manufacturers make xl frames. Anyways, 29s just look right for big guys. I kind of dwarf my 26er!
You pretty much shouldn't go below 22 inches on the seat tube at your height. As for ride HTs beat you up after a few hours. They have very solid power transfer and generally acclerate quicker. Needless to say a dualie will rock in the gnarly stuff by comparison. I've only ridden dualies twice, and they were the wrong size, so I never really tested them on the trail. Just riding around I felt like a lot of my power was being sucked up by the suspension.
You should definitely go to one of the many 'bike fit' sites and dial in your dimensions. I used Colarado Cyclist's and my bike matches their recommendations almost exactly.
I'm 6'5", 165 pounds, and I went with a 29er as well. I tried a specialized rockhopper(26" wheels) in the largest size frame and it felt too small. Went with a Fisher 29er and haven't looked back. Just ride what fits you best.
Its really a matter of personal preference. I currently ride a full suspension Cannondale (a Super V) and Ive ridden various hardtails and I actually prefer the hardtails because they are a little bit lighter and seem to climb better.
You lose some pedaling efficiency with FS (the rear suspension soaks up some of the force each time you push down on one of the pedals).
However, if you ride on really rough, uneven terrain and dont do that much climbing perhaps youd be happier with a FS.
One who conquers himself is greater than another who conquers a thousand times a thousand on the battlefield.
- The Buddha