What happened to Soft Tail frames?
I've been out of the game for a while. I remember these being the bees knees, but I haven't see any manufactures making them anymore. So what happened? I always thought they were pretty sweet.
I see moots is building one. Anyone else building these frame in 29er?
Turns out their appeal is very limited these days. I tend to believe that Softtails were designed to mitigate the issues with URT bikes which were (are) just terrible and to compensate for the really basic damper technology of the time. Modern bikes are either designed to be a bit more reliant on the shock technology or designed with complex linkages so that they don't rely on shock features to get the ride quality the manufacturer wants. So with a modern bike you get better performance while being able to ride a 4" travel bike. Softtails are neat but their appeal is very limited.
With a swipe of my magic Google wand:
DEAN Titanium Bicycles 2012 (looks like the website may have issues)
Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?
I thought they were great and are still valid for XC/racing applications; just enough to take the sting off but not so much that you 1) add the weight of a true FS and 2) don't loose all of the power. I agree with zeb that modern FS bikes are pretty good at both of these so their appeal is likely only for the XC racing/weight-weenie crowd. Also, with the advent of the 29er HT, the "sting" isn't quite as bad as it was with the 26ers so this has also likely been a reason.
Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!
2012 Specialized Stumpy EVO 29 HT
I'd suggest that wider tires also reduce the sting of the HT. I run 2.3" wide tires on both front/back on my steel HT and it really helps.
Custom options still exist--Curtlo and Siren right off the top of my head. I love my Curtlo softail 650b! The ride is more like a very forgiving hardtail than a super-short travel full suspension. Perfect for someone who still appreciates the efficiency of a hardtail but not so much the ass pounding...
gratuitous pics of mine:
Cannondale's carbon Scalpel frame can be built up into one of the lightest short travel XC bikes out there.
Bigger tyres with a bit of cushion, 29ers and 650's smoothing stuff out and superlight short travel FS frames.... no doubt the custom softails are awesome but for mainstream prices there are cheaper and easier options.
Sensation looking Curtlo BTW
Trek 9.9 Superfly SL
Pivot Vault CX
BH G6 Roadie
Having ridden a soft tail (a Dos Niner), a good suspension seatpost adds more comfort, and can be moved from bike to bike.
I just bought a Moots YBB this year to replace a ridgeline hartail.
I love it so much I solely use it for SS xc racing, SS cx racing and SS road training. I've got a state of the art carbon full squish sitting in the corner that doesnt get ridden any more.
I see you are in College Station (whoop) so that probably means you are young, financially strapped, live in flat, central Texas and moving to a new town after graduation. If that was my situation (and it was 25 years ago) I'd by a 29er hardtail with 100-120 mm fork and put some big tires on it. (chooses were more limited in 1987, so I picked up a RockHopper at University Schwinn
Originally Posted by down2ride
Study hard and get a good j-o-b somewhere with miles and miles of single track. Then you can build that custom ti softtail (that's what I did)
Not sure what the difference is!
That would be a good guess, but I was actually born here and never left
Originally Posted by GlazedHam
I'm currently riding a 29er HT and love it, but I've got a back back. I am thinking about going to a softtail as a compromise.
BTW, thanks everyone for all the info on this thread.
Thanks for that info. I've been wondering what the comparison was between a soft tail and a thudbuster. The thudbuster is certainly the cheaper option. I do love the bike I'm on, so not looking to make a change for the sake of change.
Originally Posted by seat_boy
29ers pretty much killed the softail.
This is the rational I used for buying a softtail: I really only use that little bit of travel you experience over marginally rough trails when seated and pedaling. For the rougher stuff, I generally stand on the pedals and thus have my legs for suspension. I started riding way before suspension and that's just how I ride. It's great for the low back by the way.
Originally Posted by down2ride
If you are not the type to stand much and have a bad back, I would go full suspension rather than softtail or hardtail. I've had a bunch of full suspension bikes and they are a blast to ride but I find them unnecessary for my style of riding these days. I really loved my Ibis Mojos for pedaling efficiency, but for whatever reason I couldn't keep the frame in one piece.
My softtail has a lockout and I can tell you that 4 hours on a hardtail is going to be a beat down compared to the same on my softtrail.
I am thinking of trying one of the suspension seatpost but I have developed a severe, irrational bias against them and --more importantly --so have those who will judge me on the trail