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.
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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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    why is my hardtail harder to pedal uphill than my fs?

    i brought it out today (after months sitting in my garage) for my easy midweek ride. I was thinking it would be easier to pedal up the hills, but it took noticeably more effort to get make it up.

    ht: GT Karakoram 2.0 (skinny kenda tires) 29'r
    FS: Force GT (fat Schwalbe tires) 26'r

  2. #2
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    For one its a 29er. More rotating weight.

    Hardtail is not as efficient as FS. It may feel solid but not more,efficient. When you roll over the bumps it translate in to a vertical movement that kills momentum. FS absorbs the bumps and keeps you more linear.

    Many people would tell you that hardtail is faster and efficient but it's not entirely true. I'm faster on my hardtail not because its more efficient but it feels more solid when I pedal the power feels like it transfer directly to the ground, and I'm more motivate to push harder.

  3. #3
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    Re: why is my hardtail harder to pedal uphill than my fs?

    I just got an FS after riding HT for decades and what I notice is the suspension smoothes out the pedal stroke a lot. Which means to say, if your stroke is irregular or not perfectly circular, the suspension removes the sharp "spikes" in your stroke, which would transfer to your body without suspension (excluding mashing, where FS would definitely bob more compared to HT).

    That said, because my body is more stable on FS, I feel less tired pedaling even if just on pavement.



    Sent from my GT-N7100 using Tapatalk 2

  4. #4
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    squishy bikes dig in.
    roccowt.
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  5. #5
    My little friends
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    It may also be that the FS bike is geared lower.

  6. #6
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    After 20+ years of riding HT's, the thing that surprised me the most when I demo'd my first FS bike was how much better it climbs. I erroneously thought FS was all about descending and comfort. At age 48, I needed help with both But 10 minutes into my demo ride I was amazed at how well the bike climbed, especially out of the saddle.

    On really smooth trails and fire roads, the HT may have some advantages but for any trail with a little personality, I think a lightweight FS bike is the better choice.

    One disturbing trend I'm seeing on the forums is how many people overlook "trail" bikes when discussing bikes. There seem to be two choices: Hardtail or 7" full suspension. In other words, people constantly discuss "XC versus AM." Uh, guys, there is a bike right in the middle that is the better choice for a lot, if not most, trails people ride! Give me a 26 lbs. 5" travel FS bike and I'll have a blast on nearly any terrain!

    Hardtails are getting lighter and less forgiving. 29" fully rigid HTs were called "road bikes" when I started riding. No thanks! And AM bikes are getting heavier and squishier. 35 lbs and 8" of travel were called downhill bikes when I started riding No thanks!
    I live with fear and danger every day. And on the weekends she lets me go mountain biking.

  7. #7
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    why is my hardtail harder to pedal uphill than my fs?

    I am a mediocre skills rider .... Usually finish in the bottom third of my trail bike races .... But still get over 2500 miles a year and can scorch the weekend warriors. I have two Cannondale 29'ers set up very similar, and the full-sus is definitely faster, safer, and smoother than the hard-tail. As posted above, its all about forward linear motion. If I could only have one bike, it would be a 29" 100mm travel full suspension trail bike.... But I still end up riding the hard tail more often. Hey, the heart wants what the heart wants!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by brainhulk View Post
    noticeably more effort to get make it up.

    ht: GT Karakoram 2.0 (skinny kenda tires) 29'r
    FS: Force GT (fat Schwalbe tires) 26'r
    Calculate your gear inch ratio, and you'll have your answer.

    Sheldon Brown's Bicycle Gear Calculator

  9. #9
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    Re: why is my hardtail harder to pedal uphill than my fs?

    If fs were better, we wouldn't see 95% hard tails in the Olympics xc race.

  10. #10
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    All I know is I fell in love with my 29r, FS on first ride. So smooth and forgiving. Hills were much easier to climb wihthout spinning in the dirt and gravel.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob13bob View Post
    If fs were better, we wouldn't see 95% hard tails in the Olympics xc race.
    Funny you mention that. I just recently watched the Mens' '12 Olympics. I ride 29" HT, and was jazzed to see most of them on 29" HTs too. I was amazed how those guys got around on the hardtails.

    The winner was actually on a FS, and what I saw with the winner duking it out with two hardtails surprised me. The FS wasn't faster on the rocky downhills. The HT guys seemed to actually gain on the downhills. Where the FS guy gained was on the climbs.

    However, I am not ready to accept that an FS climbs better. I rode both a Trek Superfly AL Elite HT and the Superfly AL Elite 100 -- the FS version of the same bike -- for about an hour each back-to-back before deciding to buy the HT. The FS certainly did not pedal any easier.

    I believe that either the FS guy was less beat-up by the downhills, or he was just a stronger rider. Also, an Olympic-class FS bike is lighter than the best HTs that you typically see on the trails. And the commentator mentioned that they had remote lockout. Don't know if that was just on the front or both front and rear however.

  12. #12
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    Like anything else having to do with mountain bikes, it's all about the terrain and the rider. Yes, there are race courses where a HT is the best choice. There are trails where FS is the best choice.

    I am absolutely faster on my local trails on FS. I've got significant data that supports it. Could I find a set of trails where I was faster on a HT? Probably.

    Could I find a race course where Olympic pros would be faster on FS? Probably.
    I live with fear and danger every day. And on the weekends she lets me go mountain biking.

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