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  1. #1
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    I think I need FS, maybe.

    I've rode enough that my confidence level has rose to the point that I feel more comfortable moving at faster speeds through the trails around the local park. In doing so all the rocks, bumps, and roots shake the crap out of me even when I'm up out of the saddle. Maybe I'm just being a wimp. Maybe I'm looking for a reason to get a new. Maybe I just need to ride more and just deal, I don't know. What do you think?

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  2. #2
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    I think it's a matter of preference. I dont think anyone NEEDS a FS but if you want a smoother ride and don't mind the loss in climbing performance, then get one and be happy. My suggestion is find a buddy who has one that is willing to let you ride it and see what you think. Good luck!

  3. #3
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    So a better climbing performance would be what a HT has over a FS? I wish a had a buddy that rode period, much less had a FS I could try out. I'll probably just stick with what I have and ride it like a mad man. My climbing skill don't need to be hindered anymore then what they already are.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty Trails View Post
    So a better climbing performance would be what a HT has over a FS? I wish a had a buddy that rode period, much less had a FS I could try out. I'll probably just stick with what I have and ride it like a mad man. My climbing skill don't need to be hindered anymore then what they already are.
    The old chestnut...
    What climbs better a HT or a FS?
    No doubt a HT does climb more efficiently

    However.....

    IMO unless you forefill one of the following catagories:
    - Too broke to be able to afford a decent FS
    - Want to or do race XC
    - Too mechanically enept or too poor to be able to maintain a FS bike
    - A total weight weenie

    The advantages of a FS bike to the "Average" rider far far out way any shortcomings they "may" present when it comes to climbing [I mean seriously, how much of your ride is climbing - 50%? and how much more fun is the descending - 200% more fun I bet].

    - They are MUCH more fun descending [not to mention safer and faster]
    - They are more comfortable
    - They have heaps more street cred [OK I'm digging here - lets stick with the two above]

    Once you have ridden a decent FS that is suitable for what you want to do - I.E. Donot expect a DH or AM bike to climb like your HT - look for a 4 inch FS XC bike for that, you will never go back to a HT

    Case in point.
    I just got back from a 30km Saturday morning ride with 9 friends
    6 on FS bikes, 4 on HT's.
    The ride was a mix of well graded fire road and granite based, fantastic, flowy, gnarly, rooty single track just begging to be ridden hard and fast.
    The HT guys got hammered!
    they were at least 2-3minutes behind at every stop and barely in control on some of the rain rutted rockey descents.

    HT?
    never again my friend

  5. #5
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    A good FS doesn't give much, if anything away to a HT as far as climbing goes - in fact if the climbs are rough, rutted and traction is at a premium an FS can be a better climber. And I say this as a long time alloy hardtail lover who has an FS. Some of the XC oriented FS bikes climb really well and don't seem to sap any power.

    If your trails are predominantly smoother terrain with long, smooth, big ring climbs then I say that a HT will be more efficient than an equivalent FS if due to nothing else apart from the lighter weight and stiffer frame. A light HT just encourages you to lay down the power, jump up and sprint etc.

    But if your trails are rough and rutted then I think you might well benefit from, and enjoy a good FS. You can stay on the power over stuff that would see you coasting on a HT.

    The only real bugbear is the extra maintenance - and all FS bikes are not created equal in that respect.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty Trails View Post
    I've rode enough that my confidence level has rose to the point that I feel more comfortable moving at faster speeds through the trails around the local park. In doing so all the rocks, bumps, and roots shake the crap out of me even when I'm up out of the saddle. Maybe I'm just being a wimp. Maybe I'm looking for a reason to get a new. Maybe I just need to ride more and just deal, I don't know. What do you think?

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    This conversation cannot be had without knowing what kind of budget you're talking about.

    You can land a $2k ti hardtail with fully tricked out components, fox fork and a weight around 22lbs. Good luck pulling that off with a FS bike in that price range.

    Hardtail bikes, downhill bikes, trail bikes, full rigids, the new 29'rs, road bikes... they all have their place. You would be remiss to completely discount a bike simply because another has some traits that may make it superior in one way or another; they all shine in their respective domains.

    Who says you have to have just one?

    Your profile says you started riding in 2011 so at most you've only been riding for 9 months? In my opinion, keep your money and work on your technique. If you really feel the need to spend money, go for it and get a FS bike, but don't cheap out or you'll have a tank that makes your rides more work than they need to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffgre_6163 View Post
    The HT guys got hammered! they were at least 2-3minutes behind at every stop and barely in control on some of the rain rutted rockey descents.
    I'll take the Pepsi challenge on that

    I don't think that's a fair assessment to say that anyone who rides a medium travel FS XC bike would not ever go back to a hardtail. Case in point, I just picked up a new HT myself and in many regards the FS bike is not even in the same ballpark.

    I look at it like motorcycles. Just because a Harley or cruiser bike is uber comfortable, that doesn't mean it is the harbinger of doom for my sport bike. That said, I have and have had sport bikes, sport touring bikes, cruisers, standards, dual sports and dirt bikes.

    Many different bikes, many different purposes. IMHO
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  7. #7
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    Yea each post above has very good points. The main thing is you get something and ride it!! If that means rip around on your hardtail for the forseeable future then so be it. I will say that my buddy who has a FS said he became a MUCH better rider because of his hardtail. He said it made his technique better cause he had to choose his lines better and take more care over rough rutted terrain. just some food for thought.
    Oh and by the way the reason you normally can't climb as well on a FS is cause they are 1: heavier and 2: they get "pedal bob". Some else here would be able to explain it better than I could but basically it makes it a little harder to transfer power to your rear wheel. But as mentioned above it might not be a major factor for your particular riding style depending on the type of trails you ride.

  8. #8
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    To the OP: Maybe you are riding your tire PSI too high? If it's too high you will definitely feel all of the really small bumps (small cobbles, small roots, etc) and get beaten up pretty good over the duration of a longer ride. If you can smooth all of those out a bit with lower PSI, then you'll only have to be beaten up by the bigger ones. You can take all that extra $ and buy beer for additional relief!

  9. #9
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    Toughen up. Learn to ride the trail obstacles smoothly. Once you develop enough skills to handle your current bike effectively, then approach this question again.

    I ride with both types of riders; those who learned to ride on a ht/rigid, and those who started on fs. I've noticed that those who come from a background of ht riding are much more advanced in their skills.

    For what it's worth, I ride a rigid 29'r. The only drawback for me is my own physical fitness.

  10. #10
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    Lotsa good points made. If you wanna improve technique, ride ht, if you wanna have more fun instantly, get a fs. If you do get a fs don't cheap out.
    Getting better at bunny hops and manuals will smooth out stuff for you lots on a ht
    FWIW I'd rather ride my hts than my fs most of the time.
    Maybe swap bikes with one of your fs riding buds for the day to see.
    Round and round we go

  11. #11
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    Btw just food for thought, my FS has a rear air shock. I run it a little firm so it takes out the big bumps but doesnt compress much otherwise.
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  12. #12
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    I own a 2011 Hardrock Disc and an old 1999 FSR Comp and I am a newb but here is my input anyways.

    I can tell you from my experience that FS is very nice overall even when you aren't hitting the trails. Hell I just rode a kickass 30+ miles today on paved bike paths and around the city to work on my stamina and the thing rides super comfortably and beautifully. I think it actually goes a little better than the hardtail mainly because the suspension absorbs all the bumps and lets me just focus on maintaining speed.

    As for climbing, i find it to be better on FS. This is mainly because w/ a hardtail you have to look for roots/bumps and scope out and plan your climb. When you do hit roots/bumps it can disrupt your putting of the power down etc.

    With FS I've found that it's much more forgiving while climbing over rough stuff. The suspension will absorb the bumps and not disrupt your powering up the hill and it will also keep that tire planted more consistently for better bite.

    To be honest when I bought the FS I thought that it was going to be not as good of a performer on climbs, I found that to be not true and in rough situations the opposite.

    On smooth climbs then the HT may have an advantage....but compared to these newer FS bikes...not sure.

    The other nice thing with FS and platform pedals as that it will keep your feet planted on the pedals better when rolling over rough stuff at speed. This is one of the things I didn't like about the hardtail on the trails.

    I'm a newb but this has been my experience with the two platforms so far. I also ride both bikes about 50/50 as I appreciate riding hardtails too. I really enjoy FS on all kinds of terrain though, even pavement.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sideknob View Post
    A good FS doesn't give much, if anything away to a HT as far as climbing goes - in fact if the climbs are rough, rutted and traction is at a premium an FS can be a better climber. And I say this as a long time alloy hardtail lover who has an FS. Some of the XC oriented FS bikes climb really well and don't seem to sap any power.

    If your trails are predominantly smoother terrain with long, smooth, big ring climbs then I say that a HT will be more efficient than an equivalent FS if due to nothing else apart from the lighter weight and stiffer frame. A light HT just encourages you to lay down the power, jump up and sprint etc.

    But if your trails are rough and rutted then I think you might well benefit from, and enjoy a good FS. You can stay on the power over stuff that would see you coasting on a HT.

    The only real bugbear is the extra maintenance - and all FS bikes are not created equal in that respect.
    This, I keep reading HT climbs better, but I don't buy it at all. I may not best the best rider in the world, but I'm not bad either.

    There is a trail in my area with a step, rooty climb. I always lost traction going up it and never made it to the top. I had a nice Stumpjumper HT, when I found a good deal on a SWorks FSR, first time out I made it to the top.
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  14. #14
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    You don't have to spend a hoke lot of money to get a decent used fs bike. I got my dh bike for 800 bucks. Been riding as hard as I can and the only thing I've upgraded so far are the pedals and grips.

    Like you I was riding a hardtail xc cannondale f7. Almost no travel at all. Maybe a few inches. Then I started riding harder trails and people told me the a fs made a big difference and ended buying a fs dh bike. I haven't touched my xc ht again sine. I had been riding for a few weeks only before I decided to go with the dh bike.

    It all depends on your preferen e and the trails you ride.

    If you are able to push your ht to its limits then you'll notice the difference between your ht and a fs.

    For now keep pushing with your ht until yo can't anymore and then get a fs. Just my two cents.

  15. #15
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    Your profile says you started riding in 2011 so at most you've only been riding for 9 months?
    That may be a little miss leading. I grew up on a BMX bike doing all the BMX stunts I could think to do. About 2006 I bought a 2004 model Giant Yukon with rim brakes. I mainly used it for commuting to college and doing some urban off roading. Riding a big loop but doing it all at night and mainly riding through parking lots which called for going through pothole riddled asphalt, down stairs, bunny hopping onto sidewalks, jumping off of 2-3 foot drops, fun stuff like that. Earlier this year I discovered the single track trail that runs around the park (about 10 miles of trail). I rode it a few times and really liked it and on an impulse traded in the Yukon for a 2011 GF Trek Marlin. That's when I starting looking into the sport of MTB more seriously.

    A lot of the area around the park is gravel pits, and I would say that much of the slops on the trails are large loose rock. Most of the plateaus are dirt with an occasional log, root, or stump along the way. The track has a lot of up and in parts with some fairly steep down hill runs, a creek at the bottom and then a fairly steep climb on the other side.

    (DStaley) To the OP: Maybe you are riding your tire PSI too high? If it's too high you will definitely feel all of the really small bumps (small cobbles, small roots, etc) and get beaten up pretty good over the duration of a longer ride. If you can smooth all of those out a bit with lower PSI, then you'll only have to be beaten up by the bigger ones. You can take all that extra $ and buy beer for additional relief!
    I've thought about that, but I'm 6'3" @ 235lbs and ride pretty aggressively, if I think I can get some air off a root or bump I'll try it. I'm afraid that if I lower the pressure too much I might pinch the tube or something.

    This all could be just a matter of getting into better physical shape, I really haven't been riding long enough to overcome the years of setting in an office.

    What would my fellow MTBers recommend? My budget isn't terrible limited but since I don't thing I'll ever be racing, I wouldn't be looking to spend any more then $1500-$2500. I've been checking out the bike on BD, but since I'm still pretty green I don't know what to look for and what is just overkill, what's good and what to stay away from when looking at bikes.

  16. #16
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    As long as you are going to continue to ride, i'd say get nice FS bike. you'll love it.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty Trails View Post
    Maybe I'm just being a wimp.
    +1.

    I'm willing to bet your trails are perfectly rideable on a hardtail. On a hardtail, you sometimes have to be more active. I'd work on staying light on the bike. Better fitness also helps. You could also get higher volume tires and experimenting with tire pressure. Buy a new bike if you must, but make sure it's a substantial upgrade over what you have currently.

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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty Trails View Post
    I've thought about that, but I'm 6'3" @ 235lbs and ride pretty aggressively, if I think I can get some air off a root or bump I'll try it. I'm afraid that if I lower the pressure too much I might pinch the tube or something.
    I too was very skeptical about lowering my PSI. I ride pretty aggressively on rocky, rooty stuff. I'm 6' and 195lbs with all my gear. I run 32-35 PSI and have rarely had a flat since my initial experiments.

    There is a great thread on the benefits of lower PSI in the tires forum. I used to run WAY too high PSI (55-60) thinking the same way as you until I read that thread and started experimenting. I took a spare tube on the rockiest/rootiest section of trail that I ride fairly regularly (Mountain Lion Trail, Golden Gate Canyon State Park in the CO Front Range) and played around with PSI until I got a pinch flat (around 28-ish PSI). Then, I bumped up the pressure by a few PSI and have been ecstatic with the results ever since. It dramatically improved my bike handling, traction, and response to small bumps, with minimal loss of efficiency (if any). Give it a shot, even if you end up getting a new FS bike!

  20. #20
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    Running low psi can be a great way to get a little extra cush, and better traction. This works best if you're tubeless though. I am 150# and run my tires around 17 - 25 psi.

  21. #21
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    Good info here.

    I was fortunate to get a killer deal on a Gary Fisher hi-fi plus for my first bike and I hope it won't hinder my ability when I finally get in shape to go out on the trails.

  22. #22
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    IMO nobody really NEEDS a FS bike unless they're doing strictly DH. If you have money to burn and you can afford a decent/good FS bike I would say it definitely can't hurt.

    However this reminds me of new riders who buys a 600cc motorcycle, rides it for a few months and decides they NEED to upgrade to a 1000cc because they are outriding their little 600.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by apfroggy0408 View Post
    I was fortunate to get a killer deal on a Gary Fisher hi-fi plus for my first bike and I hope it won't hinder my ability when I finally get in shape to go out on the trails.
    Wait...you have a Hi-Fi Plus and have yet to take it on the trails? What are you waiting for? Go out and ride. You'll get in shape soon enough.

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    I have been able to go so much faster on a FS bike then the HT. This could be due to the quality of my old HT compared to a new FS or just merely that I don't have the skills yet. Either way hills were a booger until I realized that I was not shifting low enough because I was in a much higher gear on the trails.

    On a side note I thought I had gotten some skills and really been able to go faster. Last week I got passed by someone that I doubt I could have kept up with on a motorcycle. I simply cannot believe the path she cut through the trees that left me so far behind... Oh and she was on a HT

  25. #25
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    Learn to pick a better line on the HT. You may eventually want a FS, but you have to spend big money to get one that will be efficient.
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty Trails View Post
    What would my fellow MTBers recommend? My budget isn't terrible limited but since I don't thing I'll ever be racing, I wouldn't be looking to spend any more then $1500-$2500. I've been checking out the bike on BD, but since I'm still pretty green I don't know what to look for and what is just overkill, what's good and what to stay away from when looking at bikes.
    Well, I can't say what bike is best for you it's really just personal preference; but I can make some suggestions. First, what bikes do the people in your area ride? A good way to get an idea of what bike is appropriate for your trails is to see what others are riding. Do the people who ride in your area ride FS bikes or HT bikes? Not the guys on Walmart specials, what do the people who buy bike shop bikes get?

    What kind of bike does the bike shop recommend for your area? They probably have a handle on what the trails in your area are like and what kind of bike is appropriate.

    Ask your regional forum about what bike is good for your area. Local riders can help you and you might even be able to get a bit of a pedal on someone's bike to check it out.

    Any bike demos or shops with test bikes near you? It's probably worth a drive if you can find one.

    Bikesdirect.com is not a good idea unless you know exactly what you're buying. The full suspension bikes on that site are not the same quality of design and build as if you got one from a major manufacturer. Quite frankly, fit is the most important part of buying any bike and you simply can not ensure you'll fit and enjoy any bike from the internet. You might get lucky, but it's probably not worth the risk.

    Some great FS bikes in your price range are things like the Giant Trance X4, Trek Fuel EX5 or EX6, Specialized Camber Comp or Elite, and I'm sure others. The nice thing about buying a bike right now is that if there's anything in stock it will be priced to move. Of course, I'm assuming you're still interested in FS bikes with those suggestions. HT 29ers would be a reasonable choice depending on terrain and preference, as would a AM HT if you want to get a little crazy with your trails.

    Just remember to test ride everything you can get your hands on and buy the bike you like the best.
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by s0ckeyeus View Post
    Wait...you have a Hi-Fi Plus and have yet to take it on the trails? What are you waiting for? Go out and ride. You'll get in shape soon enough.
    I've been riding about 24-30 miles a week for the last 3 weeks and I think I'm confident enough to go try something out this upcoming weekend.

    Haha, I feel like I'm insulting my poor Hi-Fi Plus only riding it on the city trails so far.

  28. #28
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    Sounds like you don't need a FS, but you might enjoy a FS. If you don't have enough $$ to get a good FS bike (or don't want to lay out the cash for a good FS bike), wait until you do. In the mean time, test everything you can get your hands on and keep your eyes open for a killer deal. If you see a bike you like, ask your bike shop if they or their representative have any 2011's at really good prices. Now is a good time to find that type of deal.

    I like having a FS and a HT. On some trails, I prefer to ride my HT and on others I prefer my FS. For very long rides, I prefer my FS as I don't get as tired because I don't have to use my legs as much for suspension. On fast, flowy trails, my HT is sooo much fun. If you buy a FS, keep your HT as a back-up bike. Nothing sucks more than having your bike in the shop and having no back-up.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by apfroggy0408 View Post
    Haha, I feel like I'm insulting my poor Hi-Fi Plus only riding it on the city trails so far.
    Yeah, your bike is probably dying to have some fun. Riding on the roads is a totally different experience than riding some good trails. Get to it!

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by s0ckeyeus View Post
    Yeah, your bike is probably dying to have some fun. Riding on the roads is a totally different experience than riding some good trails. Get to it!
    Yeah I hear you. I've been having a lot of fun just exercising on the city trails so I'm sure it will be even finger funner in the trails.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    Do the people who ride in your area ride FS bikes or HT bikes? Not the guys on Walmart specials, what do the people who buy bike shop bikes get?
    The few people I've seen that aren't on Walmart bikes have been using HTs. I don't know how much of that is choice and how much is of that is affordability. The one guy that I saw on the trails that looked like a serious MTBer was on a HT.

    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post

    Some great FS bikes in your price range are things like the Giant Trance X4, Trek Fuel EX5 or EX6, Specialized Camber Comp or Elite, and I'm sure others. The nice thing about buying a bike right now is that if there's anything in stock it will be priced to move. Of course, I'm assuming you're still interested in FS bikes with those suggestions. HT 29ers would be a reasonable choice depending on terrain and preference, as would a AM HT if you want to get a little crazy with your trails.

    Just remember to test ride everything you can get your hands on and buy the bike you like the best.
    Thanks for the suggestions. Right now I am riding a HT 29er, it rolls over everything. I think before I go crazy and spend a couple of grand on a FS, I'm going to try a few rides on a lower PSI. Right now I'm running pretty high, but I'm interested in what the ride will be like if I drop the PSI down to about 38lbs.

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    Sold my 2011 Trek 6000 and got a 2012 Remedy 8 recently. Riding faster now over the rougher stuff, FS is more forgiving on my thighs and back. Used to avoid 2ft drops, but now taking them and the suspension just soaks it up. Personally I feel the level of control and rate of speed on rougher terrains where FS bikes are built for. Don't miss my HT much these days.

    Go for it, get a FS.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidR1 View Post
    Learn to pick a better line on the HT. You may eventually want a FS, but you have to spend big money to get one that will be efficient.
    I feel I'm pretty good at that, but sometimes there's is no good line, just the lesser of two evils.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty Trails View Post
    Thanks for the suggestions. Right now I am riding a HT 29er, it rolls over everything. I think before I go crazy and spend a couple of grand on a FS, I'm going to try a few rides on a lower PSI. Right now I'm running pretty high, but I'm interested in what the ride will be like if I drop the PSI down to about 38lbs.
    I'd try even lower. Start with 35psi, and drop down 5psi every ride until you get to 25 or so. Find out which works best, and +/- a couple psi until it's perfect.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by dubthang View Post
    I'd try even lower. Start with 35psi, and drop down 5psi every ride until you get to 25 or so. Find out which works best, and +/- a couple psi until it's perfect.
    Yeah, definitely go lower. I'm 6'1" and 215 lbs without gear, and I run 30 PSI on all the rocky, rooty trails we have around here and I've never once pinch flatted. I could probably go lower if I wanted too.

    For everyone who says "just pull the trigger and buy a FS:"

    There are factors to consider. It's been said, but one is that a FS of the same quality as a HT will cost substantially more - 3 times as much for an entry level bike. And it will be heavier. Two is that FS bikes do have their place in the stable, but they're not for literally everyone. OP, I would suggest riding a few FS bikes to see if you like it more or not. You may find you don't care for it. You may be able to demo some bikes at a LBS or a fat tire festival.

    Personally I started on a HT. I've ridden a few FS bikes but I just don't feel connected to the trail. It also doesn't suit my style of riding. I like having to carefully choose a line on the fly. It adds to the technical nature of the ride. If the bike can just plow over everything it's not as entertaining for me.

    My next bike will be a SS rigid 29er. For $1500 I can get A LOT more bike than I could if I went FS. Sure I'll still use my HT for some of the more gnarly trails, but that's why you need a stable of bikes .

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty Trails View Post
    I'm going to try a few rides on a lower PSI. Right now I'm running pretty high, but I'm interested in what the ride will be like if I drop the PSI down to about 38lbs.
    Let us know how it goes. Good luck!

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    I went by my LBS and talked with Jason ( very knowledgeable and had worked for a while with Competitive Cyclist but I can't remember exactly what he said). I asked him about what he sold more of HT or FS. What he told be was pretty much what I thought, it boiled down to the persons pocket book. If someone had more then $2000 to spend they generally bought a FS under $2000 has a HT, with some exceptions. Anyway, he seemed to most proud of the Camber Comp 29, and the Epic Comp 29, and I'd have to say, they did look good. The Epic was actually about 5lbs lighter then my Marlin. He's suppose to be putting together a large Epic for me to test ride later this week. I told him if I came back and rode it around I'd probably end up buying one. He said with a smile, that's what I'm hoping for. The bike shop isn't far from the rail road track that would be a good place to test suspension.

    I'm going to try to hit the trails in the morning with some flatter tires and see how that goes. It should be an interesting ride since we got a good, hard rain on Sunday.

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    Can you rent them at that place? My LBS rents bikes for you to try for the weekend etc. Could be a super way to try it out. (not sure if this was mentioned before).

  39. #39
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    im in the same boat as the OP. almost 3 months on my hardrock and im quite speedy but am held back by getting rattled around. the only time i can really fly is when the singletrack is packed and clean. otherwise i pay for it big time.

    my question regarding FS would be, will i see an immediate improvement on my average speed over my hardtail? keep in mind i ride on an entry level with extremely entry level components, my fork is a joke.

    in my head it would make sense, less energy wasted from getting thrown around, more energy to focus on keeping speed. energy aside, i would be physically bouncing all over the place either. im wondering if the bike would actually roll smoother and sustain speed over obstacles as well.
    Gary Fisher HiFi Deluxe 29er

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    OP - what do you weigh?

    For comparison, I weigh a bit over 150 lb right now, and have 20 psi front and 25 psi rear, 2.1" (nominal) tires.

    Also, if your fork is a POS or poorly tuned, you owe it to yourself to demo a hardtail with a nice, well-tuned suspension fork before writing off the platform. And, you won't necessarily like all FS bikes. They behave more differently from each other than how hardtails feel compared to one another. So again - demo. Since this isn't a first bike, it's not like you're losing riding days by taking more time on the purchase.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    OP - what do you weigh?

    For comparison, I weigh a bit over 150 lb right now, and have 20 psi front and 25 psi rear, 2.1" (nominal) tires.

    Also, if your fork is a POS or poorly tuned, you owe it to yourself to demo a hardtail with a nice, well-tuned suspension fork before writing off the platform. And, you won't necessarily like all FS bikes. They behave more differently from each other than how hardtails feel compared to one another. So again - demo. Since this isn't a first bike, it's not like you're losing riding days by taking more time on the purchase.
    230-235lbs

    Forks = SR Suntour XCM w/mechanical lockout, preload, custom G2 Geometry, 51mm offset, 100mm travel

    It seems to do what it's suppose to.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty Trails View Post
    230-235lbs

    Forks = SR Suntour XCM w/mechanical lockout, preload, custom G2 Geometry, 51mm offset, 100mm travel

    It seems to do what it's suppose to.

    That's your problem right there..... those forks.

    I had the exact same ones on my new gt avalanche 3.0 and I was appalled by how crappy the forks were and I wasn't even riding the gnarly fast decents. It felt as if I was riding with rigid forks. Trust me, they are not doing what they're suppose to do.... not at all.

    On top of that I only weigh about 155lbs, and the forks would bottom out by just going off a curb.

    I switched to a set of 130mm marzocchis and it was like a night and day difference. I can blast down uneven descents and don't feel that I ever need a FS.

    You don't need a FS, you need to upgrade your forks... stat.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty Trails View Post
    230-235lbs

    Forks = SR Suntour XCM w/mechanical lockout, preload, custom G2 Geometry, 51mm offset, 100mm travel

    It seems to do what it's suppose to.
    Try riding a stiffer fork, with a rebound damper, and see if you still say that. It's amazing how much smoother the ride feels if I only need to soak up trail chatter with my legs. And, forks without rebound dampers do make it a lot harder to control the bike. I don't have a ton of trail time on rigid or FS mountain bikes - mine is a hardtail - but it's been my experience that the difference between riding a rigid mountain bike and a front suspension mountain bike is really big, the difference between a crappy suspension fork and a good suspension fork is really big, and the difference between a hardtail and a FS mountain bike, if it's significant, isn't something I want. On a slight tangent, I do get a reasonable amount of trail time on my cyclocross bike. So I always get at least a little rigid off-road time. I actually found I liked riding rigid better than riding with the RST fork my bike shipped with.

    I'm not saying you won't decide what you want next is a full suspension bike. I am saying that it's not fair to the hardtail platform to judge it based on examples with low-end forks.

    Take your time, try to demo examples of a lot of different bikes, and really get it right.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  44. #44
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    Any suggestions for an upgrade that doesn't cost as much as the bike or more. I've looked around before,but being a newb I don't quite know what I'm looking at. I know that it needs to have around a 50mm offset, 100mm or travel, aside from that I'm lost.

  45. #45
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    I don't know what your bike cost. Suspension forks people would ride on purpose start at $200-$250 - Manitou Match, Rockshox Recon closeouts - and work up. It's a subject of a lot of research and a certain amount of argument. I have an aging Manitou R7 I picked up on EBay for $75. That was a little unusual, and part of it was that it's an 80mm fork. Normally, sub-$100 is the domain of rigid forks. (I guess that makes $100-$200 no-man's land.)

    My recommendation, though, would be to get out and demo a bunch of bikes before you make a purchase.

    A lot of the time, hardtails that have a Suntour on the front of them can benefit from having everything else replaced too. You're prepared to spend a lot of money. So, figure out what "your" platform is. Unless you decide that you're all about 26" hardtails, which would be fine, throwing money at this one isn't terribly efficient. If you do decide you're all about 26" hardtails, starting over on one that's higher-spec at every point would probably still make more sense. It'll have a nicer fork too.

    My own bike is a bit of a poster child for upgradeitis and I have some defensive things to say about my decision-making process in upgrading almost every component. I'm not sure I'd recommend that course of action to another person, though.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    My recommendation, though, would be to get out and demo a bunch of bikes before you make a purchase.

    A lot of the time, hardtails that have a Suntour on the front of them can benefit from having everything else replaced too. You're prepared to spend a lot of money. So, figure out what "your" platform is. Unless you decide that you're all about 26" hardtails, which would be fine, throwing money at this one isn't terribly efficient. If you do decide you're all about 26" hardtails, starting over on one that's higher-spec at every point would probably still make more sense. It'll have a nicer fork too.
    I'm beginning to think that either way I go, HT 29er or FS I'd be better off getting rid of the Marlin. It was $600 new and it looks like with the special G2 geometry I'd be looking at spending 2/3 - 3/4 of what the bike cost just on a fork upgrade.

    I keep hearing getting out a demoing bikes, which is something I wished I'd heard before I made the impulse buy and picked up the Marlin. Though I can't really complain about the Marlin, it is what it is, a good entry level bike.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    I don't know what your bike cost. Suspension forks people would ride on purpose start at $200-$250 - Manitou Match, Rockshox Recon closeouts - and work up. It's a subject of a lot of research and a certain amount of argument. I have an aging Manitou R7 I picked up on EBay for $75. That was a little unusual, and part of it was that it's an 80mm fork. Normally, sub-$100 is the domain of rigid forks. (I guess that makes $100-$200 no-man's land.)

    My recommendation, though, would be to get out and demo a bunch of bikes before you make a purchase.

    A lot of the time, hardtails that have a Suntour on the front of them can benefit from having everything else replaced too. You're prepared to spend a lot of money. So, figure out what "your" platform is. Unless you decide that you're all about 26" hardtails, which would be fine, throwing money at this one isn't terribly efficient. If you do decide you're all about 26" hardtails, starting over on one that's higher-spec at every point would probably still make more sense. It'll have a nicer fork too.

    My own bike is a bit of a poster child for upgradeitis and I have some defensive things to say about my decision-making process in upgrading almost every component. I'm not sure I'd recommend that course of action to another person, though.
    That's exactly what I did. I'm not sure what the OP's bike is, but mine is a 2011 gt avalanche 3.0. Bought it for $399. I originally bought it thinking it'll be a decent weekend warrior but I ended up changing every component on the bike except for the drive train.

    What I ended up with is a $1100 GT avalanche. I did question myself whether that was a wise choice but in the end, I have some really high end components and I had the luxury of choosing the exact parts I want on my bike.

    If the OP's bike has a decent frame, I would think it's a good idea for him to upgrade the components. The marzocchi forks I have on my bike cost almost as much as my entire bike. I thought it was worth it because I like the GT frame. If you don't think it's worth it, then go spend $800-1000 and buy a new bike.

    In regards to fork recommendations, for around $200 you can get a rockshox tora.

  48. #48
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    I just found out my LBS rents out Camber Comp 29er and I'm also in the FS 29er market (more 29er than FS). I am also a tall guy at 6'4" but only weight 190lbs. Gonna try one out next weekend and take it on some trails. I've also found some really nice bikes on CL that I want to test out on trails but I do not know how to proceed on the seller. I guess I'll just ask and see what they say. Keep up updating us and what you pick.

    I've been riding a stock 2001 Trek 6000 26" for about 8 months now and I think I'm due for a nice upgrade.
    Last edited by slimphatty; 09-27-2011 at 12:16 AM.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Will Goes Boing View Post
    I'm not sure what the OP's bike is...If the OP's bike has a decent frame, I would think it's a good idea for him to upgrade the components.

    In regards to fork recommendations, for around $200 you can get a rockshox tora.
    The bike in question.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by slimphatty View Post
    I just found out my local LBS rents out Camber Comp 29er and I'm also in the FS 29er market (more 29er than FS). I am also a tall guy at 6'4" but only weight 190lbs. Gonna try one out next weekend and take it on some trails. I've also found some really nice bikes on CL that I want to test out on trails but I do not know how to proceed on the seller. I guess I'll just ask and see what they say. Keep up updating us and what you pick.

    I've been riding a stock 2001 Trek 6000 for about 8 months now and I think I'm due for a nice upgrade.
    Look forward to hearing from you.

  51. #51
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    To be honest, my mountain bike was a little bit of an impulse purchase too. I was living in Manhattan and dating a girl who claimed to like cycling, both road and mountain. I only had my road bike at the time and the way she surged and faded was incredibly irritating. I like to ride the road at a much more even pace. I thought maybe mountain biking would be a good thing for us to do together, and had $600 burning a hole in my pocket after a ridiculously long day of work during Fashion Week. So I walked into my local shop, bought the best-fitting hardtail for $600, and was riding it that afternoon.

    I figured at the time that I'd replace the bike if I found I was riding a lot and being more serious again. But I figured out quickly that the massive riser bars weren't "me" and go flat bars, like I'd had in college. Then the fork seized. Then I managed to stop for a while, but when I moved to my current city, I started riding a lot again and began competing, and some of the other components started showing some limits. If I had a job, maybe I'd have started over. But this was early 2009, I'd just lost my job, and nobody was getting back off unemployment, certainly not a stagehand in a new city. Once you already have the bike, it's all too easy to chip away at a build one piece at a time.

    Oh well. I'm happy with my life and where it's going. I just don't get to have shiny new toys again until I finish my degree. Then I probably will start over. Right now, I'm thinking carbon 29er hardtail, but we'll see.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  52. #52
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    I took the bike out this afternoon, but I took my son with me so I didn't run near as fast as I did the other day and we took the easier parts of the trails. I wasn't running my tire has high as I thought. I only had to drop about 8psi to bring them down to 35psi. I could tell a little bit of difference. I think if I end up keeping this bike getting a new/better fork will be a must though. I'm going to try and go back out tomorrow and hit the trial and bit harder and see what happens.

  53. #53
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    Since I posted last I was able to get another ride in by myself. I was able to move much fast then the last time and it did seem the lower tire pressure did alleviate some jarring. It also made me very courious how a better fork would do. After that I went to the LBS to talk to them about and fork upgrade. I came to the conclusion that it would be cost prohibitive. While I was there I test rode a Spec Carve Comp, the bike did feel more nimble under me, but I hated the front shock. It was very springy, even after the LBS adjusted it some it was still too springy. The LBS said the had an XL Camber that they could put together if I wanted to test ride the next day. So I came back so see what it was all about. After about 15 min of riding and jumping, I was sold. My plan was to test ride it and then talk to them about the Carve Expert but I didn't figure that riding the Expert version of the Carve would do much for me and I was willing to pay the difference for the FS. After it was all said and done I ended up trading my Marlin in on the Camber. Later that day I took it to the trails was impressed with how well it climbed and just absorbed everything on the trail. My only issue I have with it, I believe lies in the handlebar length. Corners seemed to be sluggish compared to the Marlin, but the Marlin's handlebars are 4" shorter then the Carve's. In the end I really don't believe I needed the FS, but it sure is nice.

    I posted up some pics in the Passion section for those so inclined to check them out.

    Thanks for all the help, suggestion, and feedback everyone.

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty Trails View Post
    My only issue I have with it, I believe lies in the handlebar length. Corners seemed to be sluggish compared to the Marlin, but the Marlin's handlebars are 4" shorter then the Carve's. In the end I really don't believe I needed the FS, but it sure is nice.
    Congratulations on the bike! A good choice for sure.

    Don't be too quick to cut the bars. I think you'll find that the added length is a benefit in the long run even though it feels a bit different at first. The geometries of Fisher bikes tend to be pretty quick in the steering so I don't think handlebar width is the major difference anyway. Wider bars offer better leverage and do slow the steering down a bit. When you start going fast having slower steering is a major benefit. I would suggest just running it for a while and see if you get used to it, it will probably take several rides.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  55. #55
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    ^^^This.
    You can always cut the bar to your liking, but you can not add Take your time.

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    I really think it all depends on what your riding and what your budget it is. Best thing to do- get out there and try one somehow caus the last you want is drop a pretty penny only to find out you hate it

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