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.
mtn. biking 101
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. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    People who think "line selection" means riding around all the obstacles don't understand line selection.

    Picking lines is about whatever you want it to be. Hitting all the kickers is a line that some riders select. Actually, a good one for a hardtail - the rigid rear triangle really lets you boost.
    line selection simply mean choice of line. Picking smooth line "often" mean riding around obstacles. It depends on the mood, fitness level I may want over not around one day but opporsite the next

  2. #52
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Well, there's also the smooth line and the fast line. And they're not always the same. Usually, but sometimes there's an 'A' line that's a lot rougher but gets it done.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    True, but I think if you have the money, get a good FS vs. a hard.

    As I admit, my experience if very different. I was a BMXer in the past, so my low end HT was a waste of money for me, first time out on the trails and I knew I needed a better bike.
    ]

    I agree

    Yes, FS for NuB may be too much bike in the beginning but it would be better in the long(er) run.

    IMO the benefit of choosing the HT for beginner is mostly "on the bright side" reason not necessary the main reason.

    Cheaper
    More simple
    Good learning tool; make you a better rider in the long run
    Low investment to walk away from in case Mountain Biking ain't your thing
    Efficiency; though I disagree with HT being more efficient than FS but solid power transfer sure give you more motivation to surge forward.

    BTW, my goal on every ride is not to plow thru obstacles but to minimized both wheel to touch it, front is much easier than rear for sure but I keep trying.

    Like jt"the king"martino said you can score great used FS for relatively good price. I help many of my friends into their first full suspension bike under 1k, all of them still riding. My favorite search would be the Cannondale Rush or Prophet with lefty for $700-900.

    I'm not against Hardtail in anyways but I find the reason for recommendation weak considering this thread has no price attach to it.

  4. #54
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I gotta say that after my latest bout of test riding, my money-no-object bike is actually a hardtail.

    The Santa Cruz Highball is a pretty sweet ride.

    If things haven't changed when I'm in position to change out my competition bikes, I'll have some ulterior motives not to go with that brand. Oh well.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    I gotta say that after my latest bout of test riding, my money-no-object bike is actually a hardtail.

    The Santa Cruz Highball is a pretty sweet ride.

    If things haven't changed when I'm in position to change out my competition bikes, I'll have some ulterior motives not to go with that brand. Oh well.
    My money-is-no-object dream bike is a hardtail as well, although I'd go custom Ti instead of carbon. Eriksen, Potts, Strong, etc.

  6. #56
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    If I was going to do metal, I might actually do steel.

    S3 Custom Bicycles from Rodriguez bicycles

    A mountain bike would benefit from slightly more conservative choices, but steel is awesome stuff, and those tubesets keep getting better. Crazy.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    If I was going to do metal, I might actually do steel.

    S3 Custom Bicycles from Rodriguez bicycles

    A mountain bike would benefit from slightly more conservative choices, but steel is awesome stuff, and those tubesets keep getting better. Crazy.
    Steel is real (long-time and current steel hardtail owner here) but Ti is blingy and baller. And it doesn't rust. And it's easy to repair. And it's easy to maintain the finish (with a scotch brite pad, no less.) And it's easy to modify (think adding disc brake tabs.) And it just looks so sexy.


    But damn, those new steel bikes are awesome. So are the stainless ones.

    But Potts and Eriksen don't make steel rides anymore, so that limits my "dream bike" choices.

  8. #58
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    LOL. Rodriguez is down the street from me. If I was going to do an artisan bike, I'd want one that was truly local.

    I'm curious to see what happens with composites, especially now that the automotive industry is starting to really use them. We're getting better and better at manipulating carbon on a molecular and atomic level, so the potential to create carbon fibers and whiskers with an even higher tensile strength is there. Maybe we'll figure out some better matrixes to go with it.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  9. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtmartino View Post
    My money-is-no-object dream bike is a hardtail as well, although I'd go custom Ti instead of carbon. Eriksen, Potts, Strong, etc.
    Don't forget Seven, I love Seven. I have a custom Steel Sola, Steel Axiom Road bike and a Duo ti they know what they are doing. I also have custom size Eriksen era Moots YBB. I've been thinking about Jeff Jones Spaceframe steel and Wolfhound 29er but spending that kind of cash on another bike instead of a new FS is tough because I'd never want to let it go

    I don't know if I'd go with the Stainless steel choice though, I rode the IndyFab road bike SS and Ti back to back the Ti feel noticeably more comfortable and cheaper than SS too. Though I'm sure that they can build it to how you like to ride but that's my limited experience with SS tube.

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    If I was going to do metal, I might actually do steel.

    S3 Custom Bicycles from Rodriguez bicycles

    A mountain bike would benefit from slightly more conservative choices, but steel is awesome stuff, and those tubesets keep getting better. Crazy.
    Racer like you may also like Soulcraft option 3, my wife's has a woman's version called Title9. I have a few nice ti and steel in my collection I'd say you can't go wrong with either decision.

  10. #60
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    After reading all the posts im sure glad i went with a HT (Raleigh Talus 3.0 2011)

  11. #61
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    When I refer to line choice, I mainly am speaking of through rooty sections, or rock gardens. My 29er makes short work of roots and smaller rocks, but my choice of line is the one that lets me go the fastest. Not for racing purposes, but because it's just fun to go fast! Usually means I'm zig zaging through rooty/rocky sections. Which is also quite fun.

    I'd probably do the same on FS, but it's not as important.
    SS ==> Nut up or Shut up!

  12. #62
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    I am over 35, and having used both, I think the dual suspension bikes are much easier in your body, especially in long rides. So I would say if you have the money (or find a good used one) go for dual, your body will thank you!

  13. #63
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    buy whatever bike you like the look off, its down to rider ability more then what bike

  14. #64
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    I'm 43 and have never needed a full suspension bike. If you drive to your trails, get whatever bike looks prettiest to you. All my trails are local and I ride to them so a hardtail is pretty much a no-brainer.

  15. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    I think it boils down to your riding style. I keep reading a HT teaches you how to pick the better lines. Better for who?
    Excellent point

    Here's another one:

    When you are new, you probably don't know, yet, what your riding style is.

    So one approach is to keep the initial cost low(ish) and get a hardtail for finding out what you really like to do with your bike. A HT or rigid bike certainly lets you know what is on the ground, which may be an asset. I still do not think that a HT automatically makes a better FS rider.
    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    line selection simply mean choice of line. Picking smooth line "often" mean riding around obstacles.
    ... but not always (you did say "often"). Sometimes trying to ride around one thing leads to trouble at the next one. So you need to pick which obstacles to go over.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  16. #66
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    I wish i would have bought a HT 29er , but i ended up with a FS26 bike. Soon i will sell off the FS26 , buy a HT 29er and a FS29er and finally an aggressive 26er. What a pain buying bikes for all the different types of riding i want to do.

  17. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by terrasmak View Post
    I wish i would have bought a HT 29er , but i ended up with a FS26 bike. Soon i will sell off the FS26 , buy a HT 29er and a FS29er and finally an aggressive 26er. What a pain buying bikes for all the different types of riding i want to do.
    Are you're riding styles so different they require 2 bikes? I've test ridden a 650B 130mm bike and I'm going to ride a 29er with a 130mm travel.

    I ride mostly crosscountry, but I'm the type that tries to make a jump out of everything. I go lift rides 2-3 time a summer.

    If the ride goes well I may actually end up on the 130mm 29er. I was jumping it out in the front yard and it handled in the air nicely for me. Now I have to see how it handles tight single track at speed.
    13 Lenz Lunchbox punkass

  18. #68
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    Kind of parallel to riding style is what's your local terrain like? Smooth single track, rocky trails, etc. Love my HT and have no desire for a FS bike, but if I was out west with all of the rocks I may have gone FS.

  19. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime View Post
    ... but not always (you did say "often"). Sometimes trying to ride around one thing leads to trouble at the next one. So you need to pick which obstacles to go over.
    Excellent point, quite a few trails I ride this is a delima especially on the climb where smart line choices would allow you to clean the section. It makes mtb riding fun one day I pick one line and another day I can try the way around. Both can be fun, as long as it's not just one way to do it

  20. #70
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    I started with a FS back in '01 and after my bike was stolen I took about a 7 year break. When I got back into the sport I went with a HT.

    The biggest factor was price and my riding style.

    I used to FR and bomb down trials but now that I'm older I like to go the distance and take in the scenery. I also can't stand heavy bikes on the up hill climbs no matter how fun it is coming back down. I might go FS sometime down the road but right now, it's cost prohibitive and not a priority.

    Whether I do go FS or not, I'll always have a HT in my stable.

    One last caveat, start with what ever you'll ride the most. I don't buy into the HT will make you better, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH... if you're not going to ride because you don't like the bike then it really doesn't matter. Like many things, finances will dictate.

  21. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_cowboy View Post
    ^
    Start with a hardtail.

    Makes you learn how to ride better (read lines, use your legs, etc)

    Cheaper
    Totally agree.

  22. #72
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    The bike industry has cooked up different specialist bikes for different riding styles. I think the specialist bikes are better at their particular styles, maybe, but it doesn't mean that generalist mountain bikes have stopped being able to do whatever. I'd like to have a screw around bike for one of the local skills parks, but that doesn't mean I don't go there with the 26" hardtail I have, high saddle and all. If I did lift-served, though, I'd probably rent something.

    "XC" doesn't have to mean "can't handle a mountain bike."
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  23. #73
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    Even though my first proper mountain bike was full suspension I would definitely recommend a hardtail for two reasons:interest and cost.

    As a beginer you don't know if you'll be mountain biking in four to five months. If your interest level,especially your future interest level is uncertain, I would definitely recommend a hardtail because the cost of buying one and having it turn into a "hanger queen" is much lower than a the cost of having a full suspension "hanger queen."

    Case in point. About four years ago my friend and I both bought folding bikes. As a I started to do more riding eventually I bought $2,600 cross bike and then went on to buy several mountain bikes. My friend on the other hand just sold his folder because he didn't tide it very often. The loss wasn't that great because he was able to recoup part of the money in garage sale and only spent $570 on the bike and various accesories. However if had spent $2,000 on a new full suspension mountain bike I don't think things would have worked out so well for him.

  24. #74
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    for me the hardtail is the jack of all trades, and i get the moust usage out of it

  25. #75
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    very informative thread. have been wondering this same thing while looking at bikes for myself.

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