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. #1
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    When do you REALLY need a FS bike?

    Hey everyone. I'm new to the sport and I an trying to figure out at what point do you really need a full suspension bike. I know they look awesome and they are all you see in all the action shots in bikes mags but then I'll talk to riders at my local shops and they will tell me that they don't help for climbing and that it most helps for big downhills. I plan on doing mostly trail riding and decided on get a Motobecane 29er http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...om29pro_SL.htm because it provided the most bang for my buck for my first bike. So whats the no BS truth...do most people really need these FS bikes that I see advertised everywhere or is it alot of merely wanted the latest and greatest?

    Disclaimer - I'm not trying to be the new guy rubbing people the wrong way. I'm just trying to be better informed.

  2. #2
    Underskilled
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    You will never need a FS bike.

    It is a luxury,

    Just in the way you will not 'need' 29er wheels, hydraulic brakes, a suspension fork or a saddle.

    They are all things that combine to make a ride more fun for you.

    I ride a Niner WFO.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaveGiant
    You will never need a FS bike.

    It is a luxury,

    Just in the way you will not 'need' 29er wheels, hydraulic brakes, a suspension fork or a saddle.

    They are all things that combine to make a ride more fun for you.

    I ride a Niner WFO.
    yeah, I agree. And you don't even NEED A MOUNTAIN BIKE EITHER. But we all own one anyway!
    GregRidesTrails.com--An informational and instructional mountain bike blog.

  4. #4
    locked - time out
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    My back and my a$$ like the rear suspension though.

  5. #5
    Professional Speed Bump
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    I ride both and I like both...an HT is fun to ride on pretty much all types of terrain, but if you're not used to technical trails, you're better off on a FS bike. You have to concentrate harder to keep your feet from bouncing off the pedals and also you'll find yourself off the saddle more than you would on a FS bike because even small rocks and roots can be uncomfortable.

    If I plan on going on a smooth trail or a short run on a techy, I take my HT. If I plan on a long ride on a techy, I take my FS.

  6. #6
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    It depends on the type of riding. Normal trail riding, even in fairly rocky conditions doesn't demand full suspension. Full suspension will give you more options in terms of where you can put your tires on the trail, but IMO it makes you lazy. I went from a hard tail to full suspension and back to a fully rigid bike. I never realized how much easier trail riding is with a full sus bike, and how much more fun it is on a hard tail or rigid.

    All personal preference of course, but that's my opinion on it.
    :wq

  7. #7
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    I needed a full suspension bike when I was following a fast group of riders and I was less fit. Not so much on the technical stuff as I was able to keep up just fine. But with smoother sections of undulation and small bumps. The FS guys sat and pedaled. I had to lift my butt off the seat and hover or bmx pedal the entire section. They got to rest while I kept the effort up. Wore me down a lot faster.

    I got an FS bike and really pedaled out the miles on the trails.

    Then I got bored.

    So I picked up a rigid, single speed.

    Then it got anti-social. I was killing everyone on the climbs and rougher areas.

    So now I have a hardtail with 9 gears. I can be social and have fun dancing with my bike on the trails. It lets me feel the terrain but not get pummelled by it.

    Ah....so much fun.
    Just get out and ride!

  8. #8
    MTB skillz = NADA
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    I thought I needed a full suspension when I got into to MTB at the beginning of the year. In fact, many of my friends told me I did. The problem was, I never could muster up a good FS budget, so I settled for a HT 29er for a little less than $1 k (including tax). Now, I love that bike and have started heading towards the more technical obstacles, just to do it. For instance, when I hit a rocky section on a downhill, instead of taking the smoothest line, I often head toward the area with a little more drops, gaps, etc. You can ride everything you want with a HT...I have no regrets at all.
    Since I don't like writing, I don't have a blog to pimp. This space for rent.

  9. #9
    bi-winning
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    I'd argue that you need a full suspension bike if you want to be competitive in high levels of downhill racing.
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.


    Shorthills Cycling Club

  10. #10
    MTB skillz = NADA
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    Quote Originally Posted by rkj__
    I'd argue that you need a full suspension bike if you want to be competitive in high levels of downhill racing.
    That's not mountain biking...that's downhill coasting for speed.
    Since I don't like writing, I don't have a blog to pimp. This space for rent.

  11. #11
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    let me put it this way there is only so much a HT can do, but FS can do all the things a HT plus more. A good FS MTB can also be a good HT
    2008 Novara System 2.0

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbGreg
    yeah, I agree. And you don't even NEED A MOUNTAIN BIKE EITHER. But we all own one anyway!
    Pshaw! Of course we NEED mountain bikes. Just take a look at Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.

    Physiological: MTB improves our breathing, sleep, and sex (get fit you get more).
    Safety: MTB makes us healthier.
    Love/Belonging: Some MTB people (Yeti) even talk about belonging to a "tribe."
    Esteem: Self esteem and confidence get a big boost after finally getting that techy section down, no?
    Self-actualization: Spontaneity/creativity. Just look at some of the MTB FR videos out there to see what level of spontaneous creativity can be reached.

    So I guess we need FS, to answer the OP, when a HT just no longer provides those. Up until then it's all about comfort and fun.

    David B.

  13. #13
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    Then spend the extra $300:
    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...elite_ds09.htm

    Or go with slightly lower end components at $1k.
    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...mcomp_ds08.htm

  14. #14
    Misses elastomer shocks
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    we rode rigid or hardtail for a long time before these new-fangled full suspension bikes came around. we did just fine on all but the most gnarly trails (ie 8 foot drops).
    _________________
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  15. #15
    Professional Speed Bump
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    Like this?


  16. #16
    local trails rider
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    On a FS bike, it is easier to go fast over rough ground.

    The more difficult question is: is that what you need/want?

    I usually seem to enjoy riding my HT more than my FS. Despite/Because it is more work over the bumps, rocks and roots.

  17. #17
    I Have Cookies
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    Quote Originally Posted by captainjoon
    Like this?

    I actually hate this video.....Seen it so many times before! OH THE PAIN!!!! That first dude that misses the turn and throws his bike! WHAT A DOUCHE!

    Seriously OP I ride the same single track trails with my 5"FS as my HT and I can honestly say the HT does the job but the FS does it way way better! The combined BB height and traction advantage as well as the added comfort Id say go with the FS as long as it's a good design it fits your riding style well!
    The most important thing is what God thinks about it. He will have the final say. Joshua Stinebrink

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  18. #18
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    Awesome insight guys thx. Like I said I'm new to the sport and am trying to get a grasp at it all. I'm glad I bought the HT so that I will be a better rider when that day comes that I feel the need to upgrade to a FS.

  19. #19
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    If you haven't bought yet, spend the extra $300 and get the full suspension Fantom Elite.

    It sounds like you have the budget, so why not? It's different when noobs pop up saying they want full suspension for $500 which will be a pile of garbage. If you do any real downhill (ie. you climb a mountain for 30-45+min to get to the top) you're going to be pissed that you didn't go full suspension.

  20. #20
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    When you want to go as fast as possible off road.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbeinct
    Pshaw! Of course we NEED mountain bikes. Just take a look at Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.

    Physiological: MTB improves our breathing, sleep, and sex (get fit you get more).
    Safety: MTB makes us healthier.
    Love/Belonging: Some MTB people (Yeti) even talk about belonging to a "tribe."
    Esteem: Self esteem and confidence get a big boost after finally getting that techy section down, no?
    Self-actualization: Spontaneity/creativity. Just look at some of the MTB FR videos out there to see what level of spontaneous creativity can be reached.

    So I guess we need FS, to answer the OP, when a HT just no longer provides those. Up until then it's all about comfort and fun.

    David B.

    Haha nice, i like it
    GregRidesTrails.com--An informational and instructional mountain bike blog.

  22. #22
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    i still say go with the FS 300 more is not a lot to pay plus it seems to have better parts too. By the looks it seems your are already thinking n moving to a FS my .02
    2008 Novara System 2.0

  23. #23
    2006 Yeti AS-X
    Reputation: Lawson Raider's Avatar
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    The decision on a HT or FS depends on the rider's preference. There is nothing wrong with riding a HT or riding a FS. I ride FS but I am turning 40 and like the cushion and being able to ride over rough stuff and let the bike take most of the absorption.

    However, a HT has better pedaling efficiency because you don't lose a portion of the power to the rear suspension. A good FS will allow you to adjust the "squishiness" of the front and rear shocks to either loosen them up or tighten them to where it practically acts like a HT. Heck, my AS-X I can get it to act like a HT rigid almost (not exactly).
    I don't use Strava. Don't need an application to tell me I am slow because I already know.

  24. #24
    T.W.O.
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    They are all great, but you need different flavor sometimes

    They both serve different purpose to you. You can ride a rough terrain on the FS one day and another you can do it on the HT to hone your skills. FS, to me makes things on the trail easier, more comfortable, and eventually faster.

    Can you do it on a rigid HT sure you can, you just have to spend time developing the skills. One of my riding partner is riding Fullly rigid Fat Chance and he kick everyone's ass up and down the trail. It's not the bike I can tell you that.

    To OP, a good design FS is faster for most riders on the climb and on the descend. My wife has a custom HT 23lbs consistently do our normal ride in 1hr and 35 min. When she got her Racer X 25lbs the first ride she did it in 1 hr and 20 min a lot of that is the faster time on descend, and new bike syndrome. Now she's consistently do 1hr and 15 min. It's easier to ride FS than HT, now she own's 2 HT and 2 FS



  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by MonkeyTrail
    i still say go with the FS 300 more is not a lot to pay plus it seems to have better parts too. By the looks it seems your are already thinking n moving to a FS my .02

    I second that. FS is awesome, and if that's all the more it is, it's a definite must!
    GregRidesTrails.com--An informational and instructional mountain bike blog.

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