Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 26
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    197

    hard tail or FS?

    So I have to buy a new bike this season. The one I have now is just about worn out. While I do XC as a Cat 2, I enjoy the endurance races even more.

    So, if you were to be buying a new mtb this season and raced as I do, which would you get: A Hard tail or a full suspension and why?

    (No, this is not a flame on thread. I've been going back and forth all winter on this. Rode a HT for a few days, developed my thoughts. Wondering what others are thinking.)
    If you can be blissfully ignorant to the notion that something is impossible, then you might surprise yourself. -- Andrea138

  2. #2
    Your Best Friend
    Reputation: Silentfoe's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    2,829

    Re: hard tail or FS?

    I've owned many bikes and while I don't race as often as many people on this forum, I do have an opinion. Get as nice of an FS 29er as you can afford. They make excellent endurance bikes and if can only afford one, this is way to go.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    425
    Full suspension for me. I feel less beat up over the longer races and I personally feel I have more traction on technical climbs. I just built up a Salsa Spearfish 1. Amazing bike for the money. I built up one for for a little over 3,000 that weighs 25 pounds.

    I use to ride a 26 inch Santa Cruz Blur XC Carbon but I much prefer the spearfish.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    157

    fs

    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    I've owned many bikes and while I don't race as often as many people on this forum, I do have an opinion. Get as nice of an FS 29er as you can afford. They make excellent endurance bikes and if can only afford one, this is way to go.

    I would have to agree. Biking for me is all about the fun and the cardio.

    Fun #1.

    All mountain is the way to go. Its the core of all mtb divisions to day. Dont do a carbon frame or fork. Build it good and strong. This will give you hours upon hours of the best fun u will get.

    Im 40 and just as much of a kid as i was at 16 on a pk ripper bmx.

    Save some dough if you dont have it. Go Fs.

    Cheers.

  5. #5
    Rod
    Rod is offline
    Endorphin Junkie
    Reputation: Rod's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    4,202
    I agree with what everyone has said. Get a full suspension bike. I raced a 29er hardtail last year and 26 full suspension the year before. In a 12 hour race I had no lower back pain and in a 2 hour race I had lower back pain from the hardtail on the same course. This could've been from constant hammering, but I couldn't imagine 12 hours on the hardtail. The hardtail should be faster in a shorter race, but you will feel beaten up and this will cause fatigue that you wouldn't have on the full suspension.
    There is not much choice between rotten apples.

  6. #6
    Fat-tired Roadie
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    13,480
    A hardtail that fits.

    I'm also in Cat. 2, and mix it up with some 'cross and, last year, track. I don't do a ton of endurance racing, but I have a couple 50s, a 30, and a 6-hour behind me.

    Honestly, though, I think it's more about the courses. There was a section of new trail on the race I did last summer that was pretty choppy. Those sections of trail always get me thinking about FS bikes.

    When I'm riding smoother trails on a demo FS, though, every time I pump or try to do some body English, I miss my hardtail.

    I've been able to get FS bikes tuned to where they reject my extraneous inputs. But then they don't smooth out the trail much anymore. I feel like I've just turned them into hardtails that cost more and have more points of failure.

    Before making a decision on a new bike, I'd still want to demo the Epic, though - they're doing something different enough with the brain shock that I can imagine it changing my mind. I have already demoed the Anthem, and that was my least-disliked FS so far. So I'd recommend a ride on that to anyone trying to make this decision.

    In other words, while I prefer hardtails to those FS bikes I've tried so far, I don't think that FS bikes can be seen as a block of similar bikes - they're fairly different from one another.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  7. #7
    AZ
    AZ is offline
    banned
    Reputation: AZ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    19,998
    My lower back prefers F/S.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    432
    I will be age 50 in 2013, I race XC and endurance races. I ride a Specialized Epic 29...the main reason being that the brain fork, and brain shock allow me to set it up according to the race and trail condition. My back prefers the full suspension with the brains set more to soft side on endurace races, or technical courses. Then set more to hardtail firm for XC races, or less technical rides.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation: shrubeck's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    203
    I've only owned hardtails and have never done an endurance race, so I probably shouldn't even be commenting. I have done a few years of XC racing on my HT 29er and think it's a good bike for that distance/time. But, I demoed a full suspension (Trance X 29er) and rode it for a solid 8 hours in Moab and felt better and fresher than I do after a 2 hour ride on my HT 29er. Since I want to get into endurance racing this year, I will absolutely be going with a full sus 29er. No question.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    451
    I'm also turning 50 this year. I race XC and endurance, with a focus on 12's and 24's. I will be lining up for my 22nd 24hr Solo in less than 2wks.

    I ride an Orbea Alma S-Team 29'er, which is a hardtail, setup as a singlespeed. This will be my third season racing on SS hardtail, prior to that I was always on F/S. I think the key to racing hardtail is ensuring you have enough fitness for the race length/intensity, having an excellent bike fit, and having excellent Core strength. I have raced my SS hardtail to several podiums.

    On to your question... I think hardtail is a viable option (as long as you cover the points mentioned above), it can work on any race course, of any length. That doesn't mean a hardtail is the best/perfect choice for every single kind of course and distance, that bike doesn't exist. The obvious advantage for hardtail is lighter weight and less things to go wrong or wear out, better tracking and wattage transfer. I will be the first to admit that all of these things may be relatively minor advantages but they are real advantages and depending on your race style they can add up to an improvement.

    Having said that, a well designed F/S will (typically) give you faster descending and more comfort, and more flexibility when choosing a line.

    Either platform will work well for racing.

    It's been my observation that having good results in XC or endurance is less about the bike and more about the engine, strategy, pacing, nutrition and prep. No doubt making the bike choice is important and it's good to love your bike (I love mine) but ultimately it's just a tool much like tires, brakes, etc.

    This might not have helped too much with your decision, I just wanted to demonstrate that you can race ultras or XC on a hardtail and get good results.

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    132
    I agree with the last posters comments. Over 50 Singlespeed endurance racing 12 hours and 100 milers on a hardtail past 3 years. Rode FS for years and never thought I would go back to a hardtail.
    I do think there is a overlooked difference with SS and HT riding. I believe that getting out of the saddle as frequently as one does( I live on the Wasatch Front, UTAH) that you save the back from several of the impacts and strains with in the saddle climbing. Just my opinion, but 100 milers, 14K climbing days and no back pain which is something that has been a surprise to me.
    HT just climbs better IMO, lighter and no wasted energy. I enjoy the responsiveness of the HT and tubeless tires and 29er with a good post with a little flex is the way to go.
    Moab and Hurricane good for FS, everywhere else HT.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    197
    All of the feedback is greatly appreciated. I will now mention I currently have a 26 FS bike. The frame is wearing out, but is still rideable. It won't sell for enough to justify not having a spare bike available. I did not want to mention this before as it may influence your suggestion.

    Quote Originally Posted by staylor View Post
    I think the key to racing hardtail is ensuring you have enough fitness for the race length/intensity, having an excellent bike fit, and having excellent Core strength. I have raced my SS hardtail to several podiums.

    ....

    This might not have helped too much with your decision, I just wanted to demonstrate that you can race ultras or XC on a hardtail and get good results.
    The points about fitness were great. I had thought of them before, but forgotten. The pros that ride hard tails for endurance are incredibly fit, which is why they can ride them. I know I need to continue working on my core. But recalling how I have been riding, I need to be off the saddle so the bike can do its thing. Am I fit enough NOW for a 60 miler with a ton of off the saddle? No. Can I be? Yes. (Esp as many have fireroads and groomed trails).

    I'll be going to 29 with this new bike (since the 26 dream bike fell through). Wish I could buy one of each, but that is not an option!

    So, does my still having the 26 FS change your suggestion?

    Thanks!
    If you can be blissfully ignorant to the notion that something is impossible, then you might surprise yourself. -- Andrea138

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    4,309
    Epic with Fox CTD fork and remote.

    Very firm for xc races, and easily softened up for the last third of a 9 hour endurance race (or more casual day on the trail with friends).

    Never could come to terms with the various issues of the brain forks in long races (both RS and Fox), though I would slap one onto a dedicated xc race whip in a second.
    The drive towards achievement and success is the motive power of civilization.

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    451
    Quote Originally Posted by desnaephoto View Post

    I'll be going to 29 with this new bike (since the 26 dream bike fell through). Wish I could buy one of each, but that is not an option!

    So, does my still having the 26 FS change your suggestion?

    Thanks!
    You brought up a good point, I should have mentioned that I think a 26 hardtail is far less forgiving than a 29 hardtail. A 29 set up with a decent volume tubeless tire, like a 2.25, gives a nice amount of suspension (at the correct PSI) and will allow you to stay in the saddle for a lot of trail features.

    Since going to 29, I don't miss 26 at all and I don't think I'll ever go back to it.

    But again, it's less about the bike and more about all the other stuff I mentioned earlier. I've been passed by guys on 26 FS and it wasn't the bike that passed me, it was the racer. And though it hasn't happened yet there may come a day when I'm passed by a guy on a unicycle, it probably won't be because he's using a 29'er tire instead of a 26. ;-)

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation: stevland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    502
    I think it really depends on what you ride and the ride quality you're looking for. After finishing my ride and hanging out to see who was coming in from the Gila 100 this weekend all finishers were on 29ers. 1st and 2nd were F/S. 3rd was on a Ti hardtail. There were 3 Ti SSers in the field too.

    I agree with Staylor, 29 is a go-to for endurance stuff (and almost anything else). I'd say you have get the most bang for your buck and still be able to compete with the hardtails in XC races with a 29 F/S. Upgrading wheels can't hurt; I really like training on the stock wheels and switching to Crests a couple days before the event.

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    197
    Thanks for the thoughts. I have decided to get a Felt Edict Nine 3. (full suspension) For a variety of reasons, I was able to scrape together enough funding for it. I'm excited -- now I just need to be able to get out and ride! (trainer could be worse though).
    If you can be blissfully ignorant to the notion that something is impossible, then you might surprise yourself. -- Andrea138

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation: brentos's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    1,013
    I agree, pretty much word for word. Also in Utah on the Wasatch front.

    I did switch to FS this year as it came with only a 2 lb weight penalty. I also got a bike with solid lockout and a very firm platform (Spark 29). I simply need to stand every now and then, this is where most FS fall short.

    That said, I've rarely had my bike decision make or break a race for me.


    Quote Originally Posted by Canyonman View Post
    I agree with the last posters comments. Over 50 Singlespeed endurance racing 12 hours and 100 milers on a hardtail past 3 years. Rode FS for years and never thought I would go back to a hardtail.
    I do think there is a overlooked difference with SS and HT riding. I believe that getting out of the saddle as frequently as one does( I live on the Wasatch Front, UTAH) that you save the back from several of the impacts and strains with in the saddle climbing. Just my opinion, but 100 milers, 14K climbing days and no back pain which is something that has been a surprise to me.
    HT just climbs better IMO, lighter and no wasted energy. I enjoy the responsiveness of the HT and tubeless tires and 29er with a good post with a little flex is the way to go.
    Moab and Hurricane good for FS, everywhere else HT.
    Race Reports, PreRide Reports, and General Rambling:

    www.roostersbikersedge.com
    http://www.ENVEcomposites.com

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Orthoguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    267
    Quote Originally Posted by RiotMTB View Post
    I will be age 50 in 2013, I race XC and endurance races. I ride a Specialized Epic 29...the main reason being that the brain fork, and brain shock allow me to set it up according to the race and trail condition. My back prefers the full suspension with the brains set more to soft side on endurace races, or technical courses. Then set more to hardtail firm for XC races, or less technical rides.
    X2. I went with a Stumpy elite that is fantastic for the all mountain trails here in western North Carolina but having the brain suspension allows me to do a 6 or 12 hour race when they come up as well. Personally I would like to see Specsh come out with a Stumpy 27.5. Maybe someday.
    I'm not a vegetarian because I love animals, I just hate vegetables.

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    545
    Quote Originally Posted by desnaephoto View Post
    I'm excited -- now I just need to be able to get out and ride! (trainer could be worse though).
    Looks like a nice bike from what i have read, I really dont think it matter what type of bike as long as you are conditioned for it. So you hit the nail on the head just get out and ride, work on nutrition, saddle time, hydration, strecthing, core. Spend a lot of time on an individual bike and you will be able to ride that same bike hard on race day. Doesn't mean you can't road ride, ride other bikes at times but I find my longest ride of the week has to be under similar conditions on the same bike I am prepping for. I haven't done a ton of races and don't finish near the top but I do beleive this is what allows me to enjoy them and makes the training effective. My 2 cents at least.

    staylor, 22 24solos you the man.
    XC, Road, XXC, Endurance, Mtn, All-Mtn, Cross, Gravel, just go have fun on 2 wheels!

  20. #20
    Daniel the Dog
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    6,526
    I am a FS guy but a HT makes sense on shorter races and muddy races. I am a candy arse by nature and suffering is part of racing--I just don't want my suffering to include a hammer job on a 100 mile race.

  21. #21
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Vlad_OfTranssylvania's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    12
    After riding a FS last year, and a HT that past 4 years, I will be returning to the HT this season... The FS was fun for riding and training, but when it came to racing, regardless of the type I wanted my hardtail back. I missed the snap a HT has and when I was getting tired and needed to stand up I didnt want the sag a FS has. Just my opinion though!

  22. #22
    mtbr member
    Reputation: speed metal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    343
    Boils down to money and maintenance for me. I have a hardtail, would have a F/S if I had the money. Maintenance....I had a Klein Palomino the linkage was a train wreck and a had a Fisher Sugar that I never had a problem with. So perfect world..........F/S
    Comas aren't as fun as riding your bike, so wear a Helmet.

  23. #23
    Abby Design & Constructio
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    121

    Whaa?

    Quote Originally Posted by mjs1231 View Post
    I would have to agree. Biking for me is all about the fun and the cardio.

    Fun #1.

    All mountain is the way to go. Its the core of all mtb divisions to day. Dont do a carbon frame or fork. Build it good and strong. This will give you hours upon hours of the best fun u will get.

    Im 40 and just as much of a kid as i was at 16 on a pk ripper bmx.

    Save some dough if you dont have it. Go Fs.

    Cheers.
    Why not carbon? It is much stronger than aluminum

  24. #24
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    84
    I've done both endurance and XC races on both a 29 FS (aluminum 28 lbs) and a 29 HT (carbon 23.5 lbs).
    - I did the 2010 & 2011 SM100 on the 29 FS and the 2012 SM100 on the 29 HT.
    - 2011 I finished in around 13.5 hours
    - 2012 in far worst conditions finished in 12.5 hours.
    - My better finish in 2012 could be attributed to better fitness, but climbing on a 23.5 pound bike made a huge difference. The power transfer of the HT is very noticeable, specially when you are very tired and still climbing towards the end of the race. I missed the FS on the descents, but I don't think I could've made up a lot of time descending compared to the time I could make up on the climbs.
    - For shorter XC races, there is no question I would go with the 29 HT. Once again, power transfer, specially during hard acceleration off the saddle is a lot better than on the FS.

    If I could only have one bike, and I were mostly racing (either XC or endurance) I would go for the lightest 29 HT I could find.

  25. #25
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    211
    I mostly do shorter XC races, but have started to dabble in the endurance stuff. I could only afford one bike so I went with a FS for better all around riding as well as racing. I found good deal on a 2012 Epic last year. I have loved everything about the bike since I picked it up. I love that the brain will stiffen up the rear suspension as well as it does for racing, but I can soften it up plenty for fun riding through the bumps.
    My fat rear also appreciates a little extra softness after the long miles in an endurance race.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •