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  1. #1
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    New question here. Hardtail or Full-Suspension?

    I'm trying to decide whether to get a full-suspension or hardtail bike. I'm thinking either freeride or trail bike. What are the pros/cons of full-suspension and hardtail?

  2. #2
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    What's your price range?

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    $400 and under.

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    At that price range, you only real option is hardtail. The only full suspension you will find under that price will be a walmart special. You can get a decent starter hardtail for the price, but you won't be able to find a full suspension unless you are looking used.

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    OK. Anyone else?

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    If you ask enough times, someone might tell you full-suspension.

    But I don't think they start getting worthwhile until about $1000, unless you find a kickass deal on a used bike.

    How do you feel about used?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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    Used is Ok if theres a good description or i can see the bike for myself. So are you guys telling mr that a full-suspension bike is better for what I'm looking for?

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    FS is a lot more comfy.

    At $400 though, your only real option is HT, and it'll be entry level at that. But if you're just getting into mountain biking, that's probably the price range you want to start at until you know how much you enjoy the sport.

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    Where do you suggest I buy a bike? I mean I found some HT's online at dick's sporting goods some for 200 and some for less. Are those just not good quality?

  10. #10
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    go to a bike store (not a store that sells bikes and grills and baseballs, just a bike shop) and look at all the bikes in your price range. test the ones that call out to you. buy the one you like best. enjoy riding your new hardtail.

  11. #11
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    There's a whole thread on this forum on why not to buy a bike from a Walmart, sporting goods store, etc. That's not just elitism - I really don't think they're adequate for off-road use. I've bought bikes at REI and can imagine doing it again, and Performance carries both garbage and more serious bikes.

    Big hit bikes are almost always full-suspension now. There are a few exceptions, but I think it's safe to say that downhill and freeride are best done on full-suspension.

    For trail riding, it depends on rider taste, budget and skill level. I think most people who ride for fun, don't race and can afford it are on full-suspension bikes, at least in my area. People who do race can be competitive on a relatively inexpensive hardtail but in general, the full-suspension bikes I see at races are very expensive models.

    It doesn't sound like you know mountain bikes that well yet. In that case, I think trying to buy used via Craig's List or EBay is a pretty tricky proposition. See if there's a used bike store in your area and follow b-kul's advice. Pay special attention to geared dirt jump bikes, but don't limit yourself to them.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  12. #12
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    Well..

    Basically I want a quality bike that will last and effectively traverse rough terrain wiithout spending more than 400 dollars.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by LoneWolf27
    Basically I want a quality bike that will last and effectively traverse rough terrain wiithout spending more than 400 dollars.
    hardtail......

    OR...full rigid SS
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHUM
    OR...full rigid SS
    What's that?

    Also, would a nautilus bike shop be a good place to get a bike?

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    Quote Originally Posted by LoneWolf27
    What's that?...
    bike with zero suspension (rigid) and 1 gear (SS..or singlespeed)....

    more fun than you know....

    makes you a stronger rider to boot
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    Um..that doesn't sound like what I'm looking for. Could anyone tell me if nautilus bike shop would be a good place to buy a HT?

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    Quote Originally Posted by LoneWolf27
    Um..that doesn't sound like what I'm looking for. Could anyone tell me if nautilus bike shop would be a good place to buy a HT?
    Never been there...

    Their website is a bit thin... but they appear to carry a couple of good brands - Cannondale and GT. If you're in Sherman, you might want to take a trip to DFW - lots more options there.

  18. #18
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    $390 specialized hardrock

    thats a good starter bike that you can pick up from a lbs that means it will be built correctly and any good bike shop will help you out if you need adjustments down the road
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  19. #19
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    here's a good article about department store bikes.

    http://www.dirtragmag.com/print/article.php?ID=657

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    As someone said earlier, most of the bikes at Dicks, or other sporting goods stores are not meant to be used as mountain bikes. They look like mountain bikes, they have suspension and everything else, but if you pay attention, most of them will have a little sticker on the head tube saying this bike is not meant for off-road use. Alot of those frames were not meant to withstand the abuse that mountain biking will through at you and will cause it to break. You can get a decent beginner hard tail for 400, but a FS will run you more along the lines of 1000-1500 to get a decent one. I just switched from a HT to a FS, but it hasn't came in yet so I don't have experience with it on the trail yet.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by LoneWolf27
    Where do you suggest I buy a bike? I mean I found some HT's online at dick's sporting goods some for 200 and some for less. Are those just not good quality?
    DO NOT listen to the cattle, you can get a good entry level bike from a sporting goods store. As far as the, "not for off road use," it's just a disclaimer. The same manufacturers of the parts on sporting store bikes are the same as the LBS bikes. The real truth is that any entry level bike is a transitional bike, and will likely be up-grade for a much better bike in a year. This is if you like the sport. At your price range anything you get is going to be garbage in the big sceme of bikes. What I do know is that dicks has this bike in your range with some quality components on it. here it is.
    http://www.dickssportinggoods.com/pr...367828.2716578
    There is other bike with the same name, but you DO NOT want that One. If you order make sure you get the idem # of the above bike. Let us know your height so we can empower you by showing you how pick the proper size frame yourself..
    Last edited by Drth Vadr; 04-01-2010 at 09:00 AM.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drth Vadr
    DO NOT listen to the cattle, you can get a good entry level bike from a sporting goods store. As far as the, "not for off road use," it's just a disclaimer. The same manufacturers of the parts on sporting store bikes are the same as the LBS bikes. The real truth is that any entry level bike is a transitional bike, and will likely be up-grade for a much better bike in a year. This is if you like the sport. At your price range anything you get is going to be garbage in the big sceme of bikes. What I do know is that dicks has this bike in your range with some quality components on it. here it is.
    http://www.dickssportinggoods.com/pr...367828.2716578
    There is other bike with the same name, but you DO NOT want that One. If you order make sure you get the idem # of the above bike. Let us know your height so we can empower you by showing you how pick the proper size frame yourself..
    Actually, that bike looks like a pretty good start to me too, at least competitive with the sub-$400 Hardrock. I didn't realize that DB sold their "real" bikes outside of specialty stores.

    My experience has been that I've kept almost all of my bikes for at least a couple of years. I've had one of them since 2000, and I keep maintaining it and recently upgraded the shifters and handlebars. My "starter" mountain bike has given me three years so far, and at the moment I think I'm going to be trying for another three from it before I can consider something new.

    I'm still putting my vote in favor of a used bike from a shop. Make some phone calls and see what's in your area. You could get more from your dollar, and if the bike starts with an 8- or 9-speed cassette, disc brakes, and a 100+ mm fork, future maintenance and upgrades will be a lot easier; if you start with a mid-level bike and get the frame size right, it may give you a decade or more of service.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  23. #23
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    Hey that bike you saw at Dicks for 200 is good if you think you will have fun jumping the curbs. If you deside to get one the only one i could say is the response or higher in db or something equal in another company.

  24. #24
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    That Diamondback is a smokin good deal, better then the specialized IMAO

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    I haven't done any serious trail riding and have been out of MTBing for about 20 years or so. I'm now 40 and still have the bike I bought in 1991 in Fayetteville NC while in the Army. its a Trek 7000 rigid. Having wanting to ride again I just bought a Diamondback Response Sport from performancebike.com. I didn't want to spend alot yet before I really figiured out what kind of riding I wanted to do or what kind of bike I really wanted. After that maybe I'll drop more coin on something nicer.

    Will get my DB in a week or so and will try to let ya know how it is. My very first MB was a Diamondback Ascent (circa 1988) and took it everywhere.

  26. #26
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    GS-TREK-PINARELLO

  27. #27
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    The Dick's DB

    There is very little technical description or specs listed in the DB page but if it is kitted like it shows in the pic, it's the best bike recommended in this thread. Sram RD, Avid brakes, a beefier looking fork. Comes in 16", 18" and 22" so sizing should be possible-no one size fits all like some of the bikes Dick's has on their store floors. If I had $400 to spend, it's the one I would move to the top of my list.

    EDIT: Just went to the DB website and here's the complete spec sheet on this bike. A smokin' deal.

    http://www.diamondback.com/bikes/mtn...ponse-comp-10/
    Sometimes, you need to go fast enough that the trail is a blur to find clarity. -- Wild Bill

  28. #28
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    ok I rode a Cheap full spring I mean suspension bike from walmart for five years, I used it on light trails and for just riding around town to get into shape, Things you will run into, first off, it will not shift well at all, Second you will have to go through and tighten everything as the moron slapping it together really didnt care or know what he was doing. The suspension on those bikes is not real, the rear suspension is merely a spring that does help to "cushion" you somewhat as you go over small obstacles, it has zero rebound or damping and is not comparable to a real shock at all. If you end up with one and it sounds like you are instant to go that route, you would have to take it in for a professional tune up which will help the over all bike tremendously, but still does not come anywhere close to equaling even a cheap name brand hard tail.
    What you will notice on a quality bike is that peddling will even be easier, far easier. the base components are really just fine for most people for years and years to come. Nearly everyone I ride with have base model bikes which have served them well for years.
    Even with the good deal on the diamondback, it really is not such a good deal as you will have to set the bike up yourself, something you may be able to do on a basic level, but would not get the benefit of having a pro tuned bike.
    Give you an example in the motorcycle world, My first track day was a guy whom I did not know of going around adjusting peoples bikes for free, I really didnt want him to touch it as I thought it worked just fine, he talked me into it, and lemme just say WOW what a huge difference, it even TURNED QUICKER, the guy turned out to be a former pro rider and managed some of the biggest names in the business, but the point is, a true technician will set your bike up and it will be 100 times better than if you mucked through it yourself, money well spent.

  29. #29
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    I throw my Response all over the place and in the bed of the truck at times when I am too poop to put it pretty. The gears are fine... have no issues with them but the only issue is the puddy color... some animals see it as blending in with the surrounding and **** can happen!

    You wont regret getting that model.
    Ragley Blue Pig

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blurr
    Even with the good deal on the diamondback, it really is not such a good deal as you will have to set the bike up yourself, something you may be able to do on a basic level, but would not get the benefit of having a pro tuned bike.
    .... a true technician will set your bike up and it will be 100 times better than if you mucked through it yourself, money well spent.
    Seriously, you think so? Most bike shop mechanics are hacks who can't get jobs fixing more complex mechanisms. (Okay, that was a harsh generalization, sort of)

    I have had my bikes "tuned" by some who would be considered the better ones in my geographic region. Yet, I always take along a few tools on shakedown rides and fine tune to my liking. Otherwise, its 2-3 shakedowns and 2-3 trips back to the shop for minor adjustments. I like my shop but not that much.

    Get a book, watch some Youtube videos on bike maintenance, buy a basic set of bike tools and learn to take care of it a little yourself. Cracks me up when I see guys with $5K bikes coming into the shop for a cable or brake adjust and whipping out $20 every time.
    Sometimes, you need to go fast enough that the trail is a blur to find clarity. -- Wild Bill

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    If your in decent shape, with no serious back issues, and your not planning on doing any extreme riding, I'd go with a hardtail for starters. You may love it and be perfectly happy with it for years to come. Or you may discover you would like to eventually get a fully. Either way, there's nothing wrong with going with the hardtail, which is really what you can afford right now, and it will get you off and riding and the ball rolling so speak.
    I may not have the best of everything, but I have everything.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malibu412
    Seriously, you think so? Most bike shop mechanics are hacks who can't get jobs fixing more complex mechanisms. (Okay, that was a harsh generalization, sort of)
    Not at all, I feel the same way about most professions to be honest, however they do have a bit more time at it, and with some checking around, they should do well.

    I have had my bikes "tuned" by some who would be considered the better ones in my geographic region. Yet, I always take along a few tools on shakedown rides and fine tune to my liking. Otherwise, its 2-3 shakedowns and 2-3 trips back to the shop for minor adjustments. I like my shop but not that much.

    Get a book, watch some Youtube videos on bike maintenance, buy a basic set of bike tools and learn to take care of it a little yourself. Cracks me up when I see guys with $5K bikes coming into the shop for a cable or brake adjust and whipping out $20 every time.
    my front brake was dragging, took it down to the shop and it was only moderately better, so I ended up figuring it out on my own, which really wasn't that big of a deal when I got into it. I am a heavy equipment contractor so no it should not be a big deal, IM just sick of working on ****.

  33. #33
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    I would just make sure of the specs on that Diamond Back from Dicks. It shows a Respnse Comp at a normal Response price.

  34. #34
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    yep, Dick's web page is wrong

    Quote Originally Posted by bdundee
    I would just make sure of the specs on that Diamond Back from Dicks. It shows a Respnse Comp at a normal Response price.
    Must be a mistake on the part of Dick's. If you look at the page listing all the DBs they carry, the Comp and the regular Response are priced at $349. Somethings up.
    Sometimes, you need to go fast enough that the trail is a blur to find clarity. -- Wild Bill

  35. #35
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    I agree

    Quote Originally Posted by Malibu412
    Seriously, you think so? Most bike shop mechanics are hacks who can't get jobs fixing more complex mechanisms. (Okay, that was a harsh generalization, sort of)

    I have had my bikes "tuned" by some who would be considered the better ones in my geographic region. Yet, I always take along a few tools on shakedown rides and fine tune to my liking. Otherwise, its 2-3 shakedowns and 2-3 trips back to the shop for minor adjustments. I like my shop but not that much.

    Get a book, watch some Youtube videos on bike maintenance, buy a basic set of bike tools and learn to take care of it a little yourself. Cracks me up when I see guys with $5K bikes coming into the shop for a cable or brake adjust and whipping out $20 every time.
    I agree! Some bike shops just employ shop rats or high school students to do basic sales and build cheap bikes for display and over time they just end up doing a lot of repairs.

    I have so many bad experience with them. My recent encounter was at a well known bike shop, I brought my custom Seven frame in as they are Seven dealer. One of the older guy was asking around about who knows how to remove the pivot bolt. One kid said, yeah kid he's about 17, "I'll take a whack at it!" I asked if he's work on similar frame before he said know, but willing. I said that he should get his education from some of the shop display first, took my frame and RUN . I ended up doing it myself, hey if it's going to break might as well be me, since no one can do it.

    Blurr is also right most pro can set up bike and suspensions better than shop, They have more experience doing it, and know the limitation through trails and errors. I have mine set up by Joe Lawwill on one of the clinic I took. He change the setting recommended by manufacture and take time to explain things to you. The bike feels much better with more control.

    It's a steep learning curve the practice of maintaining your bikes. It takes time and cost of tools. I understand why people choose to take their bike to the bike shops. I found a few good one and I hope that they stay in the top shape as long as I ride, in the mean time I'll keep learning more ways to maintain my bikes and building up my tools inventory.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/17268606@N06/4428352380/" title="03122010591 by al1885, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4041/4428352380_609927ffa1_b.jpg" width="1024" height="768" alt="03122010591" /></a>

  36. #36
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    At under $400 I only see a couple of options unless you scour craigslist and local bike shops:

    The Forge Sawback from target.com @ $379.99 (don't forget to sign up for a target card for an extra 10% off...and wait for free shipping to come back).


    or a bikesdirect.com model:

    2010 Motobecane 400 HT Mountain Bike @ $329.99


    2010 Motobecane 500 HT Mountain Bike @ $349.99


    Windsor Cliff 4700 Mountain Bike @ $349.99


    2010 Motobecane 600HT Mountain Bike @ $399.99


    Windsor Cliff 4900 Mountain Bike @ $399.99


    Make sure you try some bikes at local stores to get a good idea on what size you need, though all bikes are different. Oh yeah, all the above bikes are going to perform within an inch of each other so just pick the color you like lol (though the Avid BB5 discs on the target bike are the best out of these).

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by RideStrong
    If your in decent shape, with no serious back issues, and your not planning on doing any extreme riding, I'd go with a hardtail for starters.
    you can always get the HT now and throw a suspension seat on it...

  38. #38
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    I'm am starting my 2nd season of mnt biking and love it! Yes I'm HOOKED!! I bought a nice Marin Hawk Hill HT (about $1k with the clip in pedals) from a store that no longer exist, early last season.
    Can one of the more experienced riders tell me what the difference between a HT and FS are, besides stating the obvious rear suspension. Is it just a comfort item or is there more to it? I definitely struggle on anything technical. Will a FS bike help me with the technical stuff? I am toying with the idea of upgrading but I'm not sure if i need a FS bike or not. If i do upgrade i have strong recommendations to go Yeti, Specialized or Rocky mnt. Any opinions?
    I live in Golden and ride all around the Golden area. South Table Mnt is in my back yard.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by coloskifreak
    I'm am starting my 2nd season of mnt biking and love it! Yes I'm HOOKED!! I bought a nice Marin Hawk Hill HT (about $1k with the clip in pedals) from a store that no longer exist, early last season.
    Can one of the more experienced riders tell me what the difference between a HT and FS are, besides stating the obvious rear suspension. Is it just a comfort item or is there more to it? I definitely struggle on anything technical. Will a FS bike help me with the technical stuff? I am toying with the idea of upgrading but I'm not sure if i need a FS bike or not. If i do upgrade i have strong recommendations to go Yeti, Specialized or Rocky mnt. Any opinions?
    I live in Golden and ride all around the Golden area. South Table Mnt is in my back yard.

    Ride a FS and you will know almost immediately. Besides the comfort issue (it is more comfy, btw), I can carry more speed through technical sections both ascending and descending since the rear of the bike is not skipping and bouncing as much, the rear tire contact patch stays in touch with the trail surface more consistently for better traction and braking control and it makes landing sweet jumps more pleasant.

    Buy the best you can afford and fits you best from any of those makes and I can assure that you will not be sorry.

    You live in a great place for riding, btw.
    Sometimes, you need to go fast enough that the trail is a blur to find clarity. -- Wild Bill

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