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  1. #1
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    Poll: Full suspension vs Hardtail for FR/DH

    some hardtail-pride guys would not go anywhere near a full suspension bikes, and vice versa. what are your reasons for owning a f/sus rig or hardtail for freeride/DH?

    how do handling, responsiveness, ability to do rough stuff compare between the two? i'm on a 7.5" DH bike these days, but to try something new and because of the dramas with shocks blowing and needing annual service etc i am thinking of switching to a bombproof HT such as the Banshee Morphine. another reason would be to do more DJ and urban, since it is sometimes frustrating to spend 60% of DH days in the shuttle van or carpark.

    what say you?

  2. #2
    VIA
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    Quote Originally Posted by oli_f
    some hardtail-pride guys would not go anywhere near a full suspension bikes, and vice versa. what are your reasons for owning a f/sus rig or hardtail for freeride/DH?

    how do handling, responsiveness, ability to do rough stuff compare between the two? i'm on a 7.5" DH bike these days, but to try something new and because of the dramas with shocks blowing and needing annual service etc i am thinking of switching to a bombproof HT such as the Banshee Morphine. another reason would be to do more DJ and urban, since it is sometimes frustrating to spend 60% of DH days in the shuttle van or carpark.

    what say you?
    You need biger balls to ride a HT

  3. #3
    Doesnt ride Banshees
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    I'll lay it out for you.

    Riding a HT takes alot more skill than a FS, its a simple as that and anyone who rides bikes knows it. You gotta be cleaner, you gotta be smart and pick good lines, and you cant make as many mistakes. Ive spent the past year on my HT and have had a lot of fun, i went from a kona stinky to a banshee morphine. My handling, riding, basically every skill you need, has improved for me. It takes a while to get used to dropping stuff, it hurts for a while since your so used to riding a FS but im convinced when i hop back on a FS ill be a much better rider for spending all that time riding HTs only. I rode quite a bit of DH on my morphine this year, its defenitly a whole nother world for sure, you gotta be on the ball all the time and when you pick the wrong lines, lol the bike lets you know it . You just gotta keep riding a HT and figure out the best way to control it, especially in the woods. I really like riding my HT, its a good time. this upcoming season ill be back on a FS but i still plan on riding my morphine alot. Id say give it a try, why not ya know? it'll be a good experience, and you'll appreciate having suspension when you decide to go back. I sold my FS when i got my morphine and i kinda regretted it, I like riding a HT and all but when thats the only thing you got to ride and your havin one of those days where you just wanna have that squish, you'll want the FS. Id say go for it. Ive progressed more on my HT than i did on my FS, ive dropped bigger stuff, ridden more tech sh*t, and its been a good time. Heres a pic of one the drops ive cut and hit this year.


  4. #4
    What's this for anyway???
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    Well I've got one of each. For FR/DH I would definately go for the full suspension, especially if you're racing. But saying that, it depends on your interpretation of FR/DH. I consider that to be big drops and high speeds down hill. There is no doubt in my mind that if you ride a full suspension bike you'll have less trouble going fast down hill than on a hardtail and are less likely to crash if you make a mistake.

    So one vote for the full squish from me.

    ---Matt---

  5. #5
    I HUCK WITH CHUCK
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    When I broke my bike about 5 or 6 weeks ago (I dont even know anymore) I built up my old HT frame. There were some parts of it that I liked, and some that I hate. I really have had a lot of fun on the dirt jumps on this bike. I also had very little trouble dropping on it, if there was a nice tranny. I hit a fiver or so to tranny, and I had only done 6 feet on my old FS. It was no problem, I landed it super smooth. The bike is a lot slower in situations where there isnt really a good line, like really rooty spots at really high speeds, and in that situation you just have to get loose and flow over it all. The main place I hate it is slow speed tech moves. Mainly because if you broadside one rock wrong, your momentum is totally shot. I have a lot of trouble on our trail we have been building, because its on such a small piece of property, trying to make fast trails would be stupid, so the trails are slower, but super tech. Conversly, I spent last saturday shuttling big descents in the mountains on the HT and it wasnt that much different from my fs. You just have to be able to really float over the obsticles. Overall, my vote goes to an FS if you only have one bike, because I am starting to really hate my HT right now on some days (today), but if you can own both, hardtails can be a lot of fun.

  6. #6
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    Hmmm

    They still make HT's???
    GOD made DIRT & DIRT don't hurt!!!

  7. #7
    Master of Custodial Arts
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    What???

    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Thumper
    They still make HT's???
    Please, on everything that is HOLY, tell me that you are kidding....right?
    When my mom tries to tell me what to do I tell her to SHUT HER HOLE BEFOR I KICK HER IN THE NUTS!

  8. #8
    Doesnt ride Banshees
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    I agree with matt that you obviously can go much faster and make more mistakes if you ride a DH bike, its a given, its common sense, more squish = go faster, roll over stuff smoother, make more mistakes and not pay the price. But I know for me, riding the only mountain here in maine (Sunday River), riding the steep nasty tech trails on a hardtail, the rush was incredible. There was nothing fast about riding a HT for me on some of the stuff there, I mean we're talkin 2-3 mph CREEPIN threw the steep rock gardens, just barely pullin out of this ****, it was awesome and scarey but i was still in control, its such a challege riding that **** on a HT. Thats what its all about for me. I want to get to a better rider, get a rush all over again hitting the same stuff i always hit, i choose the HT. I wanna bike that i can be alittle careless with, go fast, charge steep rocky **** and not go over the bars, then ill choose a FS.

  9. #9
    Yay! Bikes !
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    As just about everyone else, I started riding on a hardtail. Nothing too crazy, just simple fun trail riding. As I became a "better rider" I bought my fisrt F/S bike. I loved the fact that I could ride longer (less fatigue) I started jumping, trying stunts and doing larger drops.and enjoyed the bike (i-drive) immensely. I DID beat the hell out of the bike, as it gave me the sense of security, false as it was, to ride harder and rougher stuff.

    Then I cracked my frame. Oh No! I have to ride my hardtail again? No way. But I did ride my hardtail and loved it. It was not at all designed for what my riding had progressed to, but I toned things down for a while as to not break my only remaining bike while I shopped for a new F/S frame. Talk about a reality check. Riding the F/S allowed me to forget about choosing lines, I lost much of what some would call "finese", I was relying on loading my suspension in order to bunny hop ... basically my true bike handing skills suffered.

    Then I bought an RFX. I absolutely loved the ride and the hardtail went back to collecting dust in the garage except for the occasional ride around town. I thought the more time I spent on the RFX, riding everything and everywhere, the better off I'd be in the long run. Back to jumps, stunts, DH trips, I rode the bike on the street, in the woods, everywhere.

    Then, last year, I met a guy with more bike handing skill than I could ever imagine. He rode lines on his fully rigid hardtail that I wouldn't ride on my 6x6" F/S bike. It was an eye opener, the skill is in the rider and the bike is just a bike. I wanted to hone my 'real' bike handing skills to where I felt the should be. This past winter I built a new hardtail, a SC Chameleon, and I since I stole a few parts from the Turner to finish the build it's now the RFX that sits in the garage. (don't get the wrong idea, I'm waiting on a few parts to rebuild it and it'll bebut I don't feel any real urgency at this point).

    I have so much fun riding my SC ... I can't even tell you. My first ride on that bike I saw how weak my bike handing had become from relying on my bike to do all the work. I ride it on trails, have been trying to learn trials moves, ride street, stunts, even a trip to the indoor skatepark. Now after just a short time I feel like my skills are back, and they never really left they just suffered from atrophy from not being exercised for a long time.

    I know, I'm rambling. What was the question again? Oh yea, which is better.
    If I were the boss I'd say ride a hardtail (regularly) to maintain and build your skill set, and ride a F/S bike when the conditions favor it, like real downhill or in a case where you'd rather go faster than you think you could on the HT, or just becasue its comfortable and fun. Once you develop your skills you can always apply those skills to any bike you ride.
    Nick.

  10. #10
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    Overall...

    DH racing - FS
    Hucks - FS
    Urban/DJ - HT

    Reality is ride what you have and have fun!

  11. #11
    woe unto thee.....
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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    c'mon, its gotta be a hardtail any time. why waste valuable energy bouncing around when you can just get on with it. plus, theres also less little fiddly bits to go wrong!!!

  12. #12
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    Poll.

    Full suspension is the way to go!. sure you could use a hartail.....takes more skill, and it's a little harder on your general parts.... I hear some people freeride on unicycle's....still, a FS Rig all the way

  13. #13
    rockin the mid-west
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    Idea! reply

    Full suspension all the way.
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  14. #14
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    yeah fellas, I see your arguments for both. As for me, I have ridden both. I used to race downhill on a banshee scream. sick bike, hands down. I loved it, sold it to my brother. I ride a Banshee Morphine (hell yeah!!!) now, and I am not sure if I will ever go back to full suspension. I can go out my front door and hit any type of terrain I want. I shred a skatepark or hit some dirtjumps to warm up for a shuttle run with my friends. believe it or not, I keep up with my buddies on their 8" downhill rigs. no b.s. I think that a ht is necissary. if I could only have one bike for the rest of my life, my morphine would be it. if you build it righ, you can do anything. first, I had a z.1 up front. After I broke that, I put a junior-t on it. that was a good fork that really opened my eyes to what is possible on an HT. I had that fork fall apart on me, so now I run a Marzocchi 66 170mm fork, and love it. I routed my front brake through the fork so now I can do barspins or ATTEMPT tailwhips. I run an e-thirteen with a 36 tooth ring up front and nine in the rear. 48 spoke wheels, too. I beat that bike like a red-headed stepchild acting up in church, and it eats all of my abuse with a smile. doing drops, like ten foot or so, you just dive off the end and stay back, let the fork take the impact and you won't even miss that rear suspension. Seriously, HT's are low maintenance, too. you can't go wrong with them, as long as you have the nuts to put them to the test.

  15. #15
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    I ended up splitting the difference and going with a short travel 4" FR bike, the Preston. I wanted a little cush but not a full on mattress. The nice thing is much of the time it performs with the good attributes of the hardtail until you hit or drop off something big, then the suspension kicks in to help out the bones a little. Basically it's short enough travel to still feel the trail but enough travel to dampen the stuff I don't want my body to have to take the full impact.

  16. #16
    N* Bomber Crew
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    Well...I prefer Full Suspension due to the DH fact of it. I'm sorry, but I don't think I could ever DH on a hardtail, I would just be out of control 24/7 trying to keep up. However, my bike gets owned on DJ's cause its so hard to get good pop and keep momentum, cause its lost in the suspension.

    Anyone that can ride any bike smoothly I got props for, FS or HT. To be honest, it's also quite tricky to make a FS bike look smooth and flowy in the air, theres a lot more weight and other stuff going on while you're in the air. Not to say that its easy for a HT either, you gotta have rythm and a good sense of "accuracy" for a HT.

    Its a odd arguement, but for the sake, I say FS for DH/FR. HT is primo for DJ's, Street, etc.
    [size=3]Northstar 2008 Riding Crew[/size]

  17. #17
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    what is that!?does that replace the bighit or something?
    so this is how you add a signature!!

  18. #18
    wishiwereridingmybike
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    i dont think its actually a specialized bike, I think their just saying that their using specializeds fsr link

  19. #19
    New project, TBA shortly
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    both.

    FS for DH, HT for FR. Ok, sometimes I cheat and use the FS for FR too... I'm sorry hardtail!!!!

  20. #20
    The Bad
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    i started on a hardtail...i have only ridin a couple of DH bikes and i have to say i dont really like them...there is to much play for me..i come from a bmx dirt and park backround....i like the stiffness of the HT....it might just be that i havent ridin a DH bike that i like yet or one that is set up for me...that might make a difference...but for now...all my DH, FR, DJ, and URBAN riding will be done on my hardtail...its the only way to fly

  21. #21
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    oops its a norco,my bad!
    so this is how you add a signature!!

  22. #22
    Mountain Biker
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    I have been riding my balfa minute man with a dj soon a pike for 3 years. I have gone down some crazy stuff and still seem to pass all the guys on the v-10's. If your racing a calm DH then hardtail is far better. if there is huge gaps and its really rocky then get a suday with a boxxer or v-10. I just cant seem to like the FS..So ride HT hell ya!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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  23. #23
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    Hardtail

    I've been riding and racing dh with a hardtail for about 3 years now. I race in the expert class and can seem to keep up with all the guys on full sus dh frames. The only part that slows me down slighty are super rough rock gardens. Large gaps also seem easier than a full sus frame. My first season of racing I started on a full sus and I could not keep up with other riders. I currently ride an Evil Imperial w/ 66RC2X

  24. #24
    2 wheel drifter
    Reputation: blackbart's Avatar
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    Well since this is a DH/FR forum I suppose for that type of riding I use my vpfree. Hell I use it for trail riding too. But I have found that basically any place where its legal to ride and it is not some wicked shuttle or lift run, the hardtail with a 66rc set to 150mm is nearly as good and in some situations better, and a lot more fun. When peddling a big duallie I just dont get the responsiveness and it can bog down over bumps when going slow plus a lot of decents just become too damn easy, but nothing smoothes out a crappy rocky climb like 8.5 inces of rear travel.

    So bottom line, ride the bike the terrain warrants. don't bring a knife to a gunfight and don't use a bazooka to kill a mesquito.

  25. #25
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    balfabiker,you runnin 24's?
    so this is how you add a signature!!

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