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  1. #1
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    Is hard tail all the rage now?

    Today was my fourth time being on one of the trails Michigan has to offer and i have seen only 3 FS mtb out of the 4 times iv been out. I own a FS and im thinking to my self wft what's with all the hard tails? Im not a hard tail hatter im just wondering are they all the rage now?
    Last edited by trail-adventure; 05-16-2013 at 08:58 AM.
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    Can't speak to how technical your trails are, but around here, full suspension is used for its comfort, not its performance. The guys on full suspension are fast, but they are actually faster (and race on) hardtails.

    I'd think that since a full suspension bike will almost always be more expensive for component/material spec, you will always see more price point hardtails than full suspension.

    I would have loved full suspension, but I would have spent 2x to get the bike I wanted compared to what I spent on a hardtail.

  3. #3
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    Is hard tail all the rage now?

    In the Midwest a fs bike is overkill IMHO. A hardtail is usually a better value. Fewer parts to break and adjust. We don't ride them because its fashionable. It just makes sense for the application.

    Notice we don't use 780mm bars and 50mm stems either?
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    I agree with previous poster. Hardtails are popular depending on the type of riding/trails but it's probably more of an economic decision for many given that full suspension bikes are about twice the price of a decent hardtail.

    That plus full suspension are for girls and sissies. Hardtails on the other hand are only a couple of slight modifications away from being a 'real mans' rigid single speed.

  5. #5
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    Of the five bikes I ride regularly, only one is full-supension. But I ride it fifty percent of the time or more. Nothing beats a good full-supension bike for having a pleasant ride.

    But sometimes you want to go faster or be a little more challenged or even go slower (Krampus..cough...cough).

  6. #6
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    Is hard tail all the rage now?

    Spell check is your friend. It really is.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by trail-adventure View Post
    Today was my forth time being on one of the trails Michigan has to offer and i have only seen only 3 full suspension mtb out of the fore times iv been out. I own a full suspension and im thinking to my self wft what's with all the hard tails? Im not a hard tail hatter im just wondering are they all the rage now?
    Hardtails are just way cheaper...not everyone can afford any type of bike they want. I think I'd prefer a FS but it's just not in the budget for the foreseeable future.

    And like the other dude said you, FS is overkill for a lot of trails around here unfortunately.

  8. #8
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    It's not always about the money......believe me. Some folks "like me" just prefer hardtails.

    To expound a little, I purchased my first MTB when true full suspension wasn't yet available, and have just always stuck with hardtails. I've ridden the rooty rocky mess of the Mid-Atlantic, and now live in Northern California. There is nothing I have not been able to do yet based solely on lack of rear suspension. Do I get beat up on fast downhills and rock gardens? Yes. I will however ride a hardtail until I am un able to.

  9. #9
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    When I lived in SE MI, I rode a hard tail with a 80mm fork, bar ends and clipless pedals. Now that I ride in different terrain, my main bike is a 6" FS bike, but I still have a hard tail for the days that I want to take it easy. I don't think it has so much to do with cost as personal preference; my hard tail was more expensive than my FS new...
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  10. #10
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    Come out to the desert. You will see the exact opposite. Ride a hardtail around here and farts stop making sounds. I lived in the South for a year. Trails were easy and smooth. HT's as far as the eye could see...

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    I can't afford a full susp. rig. I put together my 26" HT while working on-again off-again in 2008-2009, bought a 29" HT while working 3 p/t and temp jobs in 2009-2010. Now we moved to an area where the job situation REALLY sucs! Getting together $2000 or more for a decent full suspension bike is in my dream book right next to retirement!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbmb65 View Post
    Spell check is your friend. It really is.
    Spell check is useless when they use the wrong word spelled correctly. Still need to be literate.
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  13. #13
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    In technical terrain a f/s will always be faster/more capable, but unless you're racing, speed isn't what mtb is all about. The point is to have fun. A ht with a good fork and big, grippy tyres is light, nimble and still provides enough control in rough descends.

    The cost/vfm issue has already been mentioned, but equally important for many people, a ht is easier to clean and requires far less maintainance than a fs (linkages and such).

    Learning to ride without rear suspension also forces you to learn some skills and pick better lines.

    Ideally I'd have one of each (plus a road bike) but I can only afford and store one bike and that's a hardtail for me. I ride it around town and up & down techy singletrack and enjoy it all the time. I clean and lube the drivetrain every 2 or three rides and clean the fork stancions and that's all the tlc it needs.

    Edit: One occasion where I'd love a good full suspension rig is all day epics. Staying relatively fresh for the tech bits after pedalling for hours has it's appeal.

  14. #14
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    Is hard tail all the rage now?

    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    Spell check is useless when they use the wrong word spelled correctly. Still need to be literate.
    True, literacy is way underrated.

  15. #15
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    michigan/midwest......i would not ride anything but a hardtail. the desert (southern nevada)....well still a ht although f/s is way more common. I just like the simplicity of h/t. just two triangles bonded together for a frame.


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    I personally don't understand the need for FS for most riders/situations myself. I ride a 29er hardtail on trails that are technical, rooty, and all the rest, and I far prefer it to FS. I like to spend a lot of time out of the saddle anyway, so I simply let my legs absorb the extra bumps you might get from a HT compared to FS. I've demoed quite a few FS bikes over the last few years, figuring that I must be missing out on something as most riders in my area ride FS, but every time I find myself quickly wanting my HT back.

    When I casually ask FS riders why they went the FS route (most of which are 29er FS), pretty much every answer involves comments relating to absorption and such. But then again, I rarely see these guys riding out of the saddle, whereas I borderline despise being in it. Maybe I'm doing myself a disservice by spending so much time out of the saddle in terms of faster fatigue or whatever, but it simply is what I'm used to and is far more fun for me overall.

  17. #17
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    OP......just noticed your signature line. C'mon man. The message that is coming across in this thread is that hardtails are for beginners and/or poor people. This thread is pretty lousy.

  18. #18
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    Hard tails are generally lighter and certainly more rigid which is best for climbing and efficiency. You'll see more of them ridden by new riders, too. If your body can handle the abuse, hard tails are all the rage. My body cannot but I trained on one to get back into shape. It practically pedaled uphill for me. Once I got my strength, balance and endurance back I found myself blasting down the hills a high speeds. It was then that I had reached the limit of how much abuse my middle aged body could handle. I stripped the components of the HT frame and sold it. Bought a FS frame, put the components on it and now things are just fine and dandy.

  19. #19
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    Another point - when I got into mountain biking 20+ years ago, a 2.1" tire was wide. Pumped to 40 psi on a 26" wheel, that tire was your only suspension.

    Now tire volumes are bigger and air pressures are lower which gives HTs a lot more comfort/passive suspension than before.

    Of course, maybe I could have avoided the bruised shoulder, swollen calf, and banged up knee I'm sporting if I had had rear active suspension. Got rolling at a pretty good pace. I got the front over the roots, but the third big root bounced the back wheel up and over my head. By then I could only tuck and roll.

  20. #20
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    I rode fully rigid 26ers for 20 years and loved it.

    Last year, I bought my first hardtail and love it, too! I like to ride aggressively and am out of the seat all the time. I long ago taught myself that my body is my suspension. I have demo'd several FS rigs and they are fine, but they ride like a Cadillac. If you want no bumps, why not just ride on the road with a road bike? To each his own, but I prefer hardtails.

    That said, I can feel my body getting worn out more now than 20 years ago. I'm sure eventually, I'll have to get a FS to absorb more bumps so my body doesn't have to. But I'm not there...yet.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barheet View Post
    I rode fully rigid 26ers for 20 years and loved it.

    Last year, I bought my first hardtail and love it, too! I like to ride aggressively and am out of the seat all the time. I long ago taught myself that my body is my suspension. I have demo'd several FS rigs and they are fine, but they ride like a Cadillac. If you want no bumps, why not just ride on the road with a road bike? To each his own, but I prefer hardtails.

    That said, I can feel my body getting worn out more now than 20 years ago. I'm sure eventually, I'll have to get a FS to absorb more bumps so my body doesn't have to. But I'm not there...yet.
    I'm right there with you. I mountain bike so I can get out there and feel the bumps and all the rest, while letting my body act as the suspension as many, if not most experts advise. As you said, I don't want to feel like I'm in a luxury car driving through the woods, in which I don't get to feel and experience all the thrills of MTB. I also certainly don't want to sit in the saddle all day either...that isn't fun for me at all, as I can do that on my stationary bike at home.

    I'm in my mid 30's now so I'm not terribly young, but thus far my body has held up great with few aches/pains. I know guys in their 50's that ride HT, so I plan on riding another 20 years before perhaps having to make a switch.

    All in all, it mostly comes down to how healthy of a lifestyle you live. The guys in their 50's I know who ride HT are all in great shape, eat very healthy and exercise 5-6 days a week (including weight training). On the flip side, I know plenty of guys in their 20's and 30's who ride FS because, in their words, HT is too brutal on their bodies. Yet these same guys tend to be weekend warrior types, eat a poor, fast food diet, drink quite a bit, and aren't in as good of shape as the 50 somethings I mentioned.* The connection is obvious.

    *note, I'm NOT saying all or even a majority of FS riders fit this profile, or that all HT riders are fitness freaks. What I am saying is, based on my experience, if you feel HT is too brutal on your body, perhaps try making a few lifestyle changes before thowing in the towel and going the FS route.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgw2jr View Post
    Notice we don't use 780mm bars and 50mm stems either?
    what? i'm in MI and ride a HT w/ 740mm flat bars and a 50mm stem. its way better for me. i tend to push the envelope when i ride so it makes sense to me.

  23. #23
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    I bought my first mtn bike May of 2012. It was a HT, and the nicest bike I had ever owned. After my first year of consistent riding, I'm ready to try out a FS bike. The trails I ride during the fall/spring semesters in VA are super rocky and rooty...I've gotten at least 7 flats just from going too fast over rocks and roots downhill. My HT has been great, but I think I'll be able to go faster and not worry about flats as much with a FS. I'm not concerned with comfort, 'cause I don't hardly sit on the seat anyhow...
    "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gregon2wheels View Post
    Can't speak to how technical your trails are, but around here, full suspension is used for its comfort, not its performance. The guys on full suspension are fast, but they are actually faster (and race on) hardtails.

    I'd think that since a full suspension bike will almost always be more expensive for component/material spec, you will always see more price point hardtails than full suspension.

    I would have loved full suspension, but I would have spent 2x to get the bike I wanted compared to what I spent on a hardtail.
    what he said... for me its all about cost. Also what I need it for. I'd feel like a dweeb riding an FS on the carriage paths of Acadia, or the local fire roads. But i do ride less technical singletrack, and so far the HT cuts it. Though I hear at my age (56) FS is more popular!
    Last edited by iCollector; 05-16-2013 at 12:30 PM.

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    my previously compressed vertebra cant take a hard tail but i dream about riding a 17 pound carbon ht
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Is hard tail all the rage now?-227693_41067_tif_raw_4.jpg  


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    If I was going to do trails with big drops, a FS would do this a bit better than a hardtail, probably. Then again, I'm not in an area that would really need this unless it was man-made.

    Then again, my bike is more 90% transportation, 10% trails so far; and aiming for "going the distance". With this goal in mind, a FS bike has more stuff that can fail while riding, and I might not be in an area with a bike shop...

  27. #27
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    How is FS for girls or sissies? I once owned a hard tail but i cracked the frame by riding it so hard and i happened to come across a awesome FS frame a fuji adventure hi for $100 and when it was new in 2005 the frame was $700 and up so i couldn't pass that deal up.today i dont have the money to go out and buy a new bike like HT so i just ride what i got. i dont care what i ride even if its a mtb from the 1990's at least im doing something i enjoy.
    mountain biking is my passion. ill bike just about any were even it its off limits to bikers.

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    For me it's a matter of finances. A decent HT is what I can afford and it's fine for almost everything around here (Grand Junction, western Colorado), which are mostly rocky, techy and chunky singletrack trails. The only time when it is a pain is on extended sections of slickrock. Although the slickrock (e.g. Slickrock Trail in Moab) looks smooth, it has nearly constant irregular undulations, and this gives one a nearly constant low-level annoying hammering. It just gets to be unenjoyable after an hour or two. Really techy trails (without big drops) such as Moore Fun in Fruita are oddly much more fun for me on a HT than, say, Slickrock.

  29. #29
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    The question is not "Is hard tail all the rage now?", it's "FS, is the rage dying down a bit?" The quality and reliability of fs went way up the past few years and cost is reasonable, so many people gave it a shot. Now lots of those people realize it may be overkill if not detrimental to most of their riding.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by tylerw View Post
    shiggy,
    1998 join date.......thats crazy

    Interesting.

    The power of supermoderator I guess. A lot of people here would have a similar join date if the forum platform that is used today was used then instead of being introduced in December 2003.

  31. #31
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    I would say that cost plays a bigger role than it previously did.

    Therefore Ht's are a better choice than they used to be.

    Because China raised their prices ( about 30%, per Richard Cunningham) on manufacturing costs, bike costs have risen significantly.
    A top end FS bike will cost 8-10k, a good Ht will run 2-3k.

    2-3k will just get your foot in the door of FS.

    As for the it takes more skill, more fitness, to ride a Ht argument?

    I have been riding since front suspicion forks needed a sports ball needle to inflate them.
    I don't really care about skills and fitness. I am out there to have fun.

    I don't need to be the fastest climber, nor do I want to be.

  32. #32
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    FS w/lock-out

    I have an older Giant DS1 Warp,excellent condition. I put a new Fox shock on it,w/full lock out.For "trail riding",the lock out is always on.Only in "full shock" mode down hilling. I can go much faster,easier,in the "hard tail mode"

  33. #33
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    Around where I live (middle of the map), I'd say only maybe 10% of the bikes I see on trails are FS. I don't believe it has anything to do with skill or manliness, it's just that FS really is overkill if you're riding XC terrain for fun with no big downhills. I can see no reason to spend way more money on a bike that requires more maintenance for the trails we have. I went back to riding rigid a few years back and I'm having more fun than ever. If I lived in a different part of the country I'm sure I'd feel differently.
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  34. #34
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    I agree with you 100%. I start my ride on the rail trail ,trail head by my house,cross a fairly busy road in 2.5 miles.Another mile of road and I'm in a state forest with an established 20 miles of trails,some hilly.Not mountain biking,trail riding.I always seem to find another trail I haven't seen compeletly or a stretch of quiet road.

  35. #35
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    I think its more a matter of cost. HTs are cheaper than FS.
    For me personally, it was a combination of the cost and the fact that when I was on a full susser, I felt like I was on a couch. When I ride I like to "feel it." Whatever pops your corn I guess.

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    No.

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    FS-overkill

    Another thing. When I bought my Giant FS.I bought a meduim size.I'm 6'.All my friends buying bikes than bought bikes medium sized as well.We believed the smaller size were better for tight turns going down hill,fast.For jumping rocks as well.Now I have a 2012 Giant Roam 1,size large.I'm not cramped at all on this size frame.On a flat rail trail,I shift on to my largest chain ring and pedal as fast as I can ,for as long as I can.There is a noticeable difference in faitage ,being less on the large frame. I don't miss the shock doing this kinda of riding.I would switch to a rigid fork,but my first bike one and I couldn't deal with the endless vibration in my fore arms the entire ride.Now,anything I don't need on my bike to have a good ride is overkill.

  38. #38
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    not sure what michigan is like, but around central WI, i sometimes question whether to even run my knobbies.

    I love my hardtail because it is simple, and it is stiff. When I stand up out of the saddle to hammer out a hill, I don't feel like I'm running through a field of mashed potatoes. I feel like I am going up the hill.

    I hate my hardtail because it is simple, and it is stiff. When I come back down the mountain I feel like someone is jackhammering my ass.

    But it's fast, and it's cheap. That should be capitalized. My ht is FAST.
    Don't buy all the lies that they feed ya.

  39. #39
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    The bottom line is that you choose your bike based on the conditions, which incorporates terrain, riding, ability and desired comfort. In Michigan (where the climbs are measured in feet instead of miles), you simply don't need a FS bike, and in many circumstances it will slow you down and actually be counterproductive. You also won't see many folks riding the wide bars either because they simply don't fit through the tree's as well.

    I lived in MI for over 20 years and rode all over the state on a 26" HT with a 100mm fork and never once felt the need for a FS. Riding a 29er would further mitigate the need for rear suspension. Maybe up in Copper Country, there's some benefit to a FS bike, but down state it'll just slow you down.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 007 View Post
    The bottom line is that you choose your bike based on the conditions, which incorporates terrain, riding, ability and desired comfort. In Michigan (where the climbs are measured in feet instead of miles), you simply don't need a FS bike, and in many circumstances it will slow you down and actually be counterproductive. You also won't see many folks riding the wide bars either because they simply don't fit through the tree's as well.

    I lived in MI for over 20 years and rode all over the state on a 26" HT with a 100mm fork and never once felt the need for a FS. Riding a 29er would further mitigate the need for rear suspension. Maybe up in Copper Country, there's some benefit to a FS bike, but down state it'll just slow you down.


    I use to ride HT until my fram cracked and then i switched to FS and riding on luton or canonsburg i can see why you'r saying why you dont need a FS but i dont notice FS being slower or counterproductive at all. In fact im finding myself going faster and riding harder than when i road HT. It all boils down to you'r riding habits you'r bike budget and what you'r looking for and want.
    mountain biking is my passion. ill bike just about any were even it its off limits to bikers.

  41. #41
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    Is hard tail all the rage now?

    Being that I'm from Michigan and now live in Northern California I will tell u the trails in Michigan can all be done in a hard tail no need for a full suspension I always rode hard tail out there now I have both here in nor cal

  42. #42
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    Is hard tail all the rage now?

    I have an xc fs that has been with me to OH, IN, PA, NC, MI, UT, and TX. It has been a great, versatile bike for a lot of places. Maybe fs was unnecessary for most midwestern trails I've ridden but I have also ridden some trails where I didn't have enough bike. And I have avoided trails where I was short on bike AND skill.

    A 6" AM bike? Sure, that's a bit much. But nothing wrong with a short travel xc fs in the midwest. I have a LOT of fun on mine. The twisted gnarls of roots of the midwest used to beat the snot out of me. Now, I hardly notice them (combining suspension with meaty cushy tires). I get just a little more enjoyment out of what downhills we do have.

    That said, I am pretty sure my next bike will be a fully rigid fatbike. They are killer fun, too.

  43. #43
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    ht vs. fs is like ss vs. gears ... where I live (south spain), it's impossible to ride a ss, way to much altitude difference, and a fs is much safer on downhills, gives you way more grip climbing and apart from that, much more comfortable. Peaple in my home country, Belgium, where it is flat and muddy, can have a lot more fun and go way faster on a ss hardtail with a rigid fork ... I think I'm just saying the obvious ...

  44. #44
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    At this moment in time I prefer riding a HT and have no intentions any time soon of getting a FS.

    The reasoning is purely preference; I prefer the response and rear wheel control of a HT; it works for me so there's no need to change it.

    Although; if I lived in a more mountainous region I would definitely consider a FR or DH bike

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    I have a 26" f/s xc bike its great for some of the trails that have technical features and lots of roots rocks and small undulations. I also have a 26" h/t single speed and semi slicks, this is my neighborhood grocery getter, and path bike. But still I am now shopping around for a carbon framed HT 29r for some of the trails which are longer, have lots of climbing, smooth and few bumps and tech features, something that can eat distance. I also want to try some long distance rail trails with this bike, sort of an all day excursion/expedition. Different tools for different jobs. If I could only have one bike though it would be the xc 26" f/s. I feel fortunate that I can afford all three and have a garage to keep them in. My wife hates my spending though.

    Blueliner

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    As far as whether HTs are all the rage right now, I think it has as much to do with marketing as well as cost. The marketing "rage" still seems to be toward 29" wheels (with 650bs gaining momentum). For many that have been in the bike market the last few years, the push has been toward 29ers; most of those offerings being HT until the last year or two. The increase in manufacturing costs noted by saidrick doesn't help the full suspension market either (the MSRP for my Trek EX8 has jumped by almost $600 in the last 3 years). The reason for my thoughts has to do with what I noticed in my LBS during my last visit. Except for the lowest entry level bikes, all of the new mtb stock on the floor were 29ers, split about 75% HT and 25% full suspension.

  47. #47
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    My daily driver bike is a slack, steel 29er hard tail. I have DH bike for lift served days but I love a nice solid hard tail for the trails around here. Most guys ride full suspension around here, but I still like my hardtail.

    I rode a full suspension bike for awhile and ended up spending a lot of time and money maintaining it. I spent so much time and money on new bushings, annual shock rebuilds, new bearings, tracking down creaks and clunks, having to rebuild/clean/re-grease the frame hardware a few times per season - it got to the point where every few rides I needed to do some sort of maintenance.

    So I sold the full suspension and took the time and money to build a top notch hard tail and I had $ left over for a DH bike.

    There are definitely times I wish I had a light 5 inch full suspension bike; I'll probably end up buying a used one at some point. But for everyday riding fun, a simple hardtail is great. Very little maintenance, just lube the chain, keep it clean and check the tire pressure.

    I am a little faster on my hard tail, but its not a huge difference. I still way ahead of my riding buddies on heavier, full suspension bikes.
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    Just picked up a FS 26er to go along with my 29er HT Happy Trails
    SWING YOUR LEG OVER IT AND PEDAL

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbmb65 View Post
    True, literacy is way underrated.
    Does Literacy ride a HT or FS?
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  50. #50
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    Is hard tail all the rage now?

    Quote Originally Posted by mopartodd View Post
    Does Literacy ride a HT or FS?
    Depends on how it "reads" the trail.

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    I ride a steel hardtail with a 140mm fork on XC trails that are on hills. The bike is a little more aggressive than I need but it makes riding really, really fun plus I love the way it looks! I'd like to have a short travel fs frame, 100-130mm in the rear with the 140mm fork. I think that would be fun but when I am ON my hardtail, other bikes never cross my mind. I think my hardtail is just fine for the vast majority of trails I'm likely to ride plus I like having one less part that needs maintenance.

  52. #52
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    HT only for me because not only is FS overkill for the trails around here, but also because I use my bike for a lot of road riding as well. Plus, HT looks way cooler than ugly FS bikes!

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgw2jr View Post
    In the Midwest a fs bike is overkill IMHO. A hardtail is usually a better value. Fewer parts to break and adjust. We don't ride them because its fashionable. It just makes sense for the application.

    Notice we don't use 780mm bars and 50mm stems either?
    based on some of the photos from wisconsin and other places in the midwest i've seen in these forums, you'd better rethink your words...

  54. #54
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    One thing about ht's is that the overall design has changed greatly in the 15 years I've been biking. A hard tail used to mean steep angles with 80-100mm of travel; more of a XC machine than anything else. My new HT has nice slack head angle and a 150mm fork.
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is youíll crash.
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  55. #55
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    Is hard tail all the rage now?

    Quote Originally Posted by shekky View Post
    based on some of the photos from wisconsin and other places in the midwest i've seen in these forums, you'd better rethink your words...
    I will post a few of Schooner in Brown County, IN after my visit tomorrow. That trail is pretty gnarly. The race on it tomorrow evening ought to be a fun watch.

  56. #56
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    I have lived in Colorado for the last 8 years and was a hardtail holdout for a while. But after a few rides with FS and I was sold. Climbing technical terrain and having the rear tire feel it was stuck to obstacles when you hit them rather than bouncing off was awesome. Hitting braking bumps in a banked corner and not almost flying off the bike was very nice as well. Then the factor of just not feeling so beat up after 15-20 miles is nice too. But I still have a full rigid SS and hit the trails with it too!
    Just circles turning circles....

  57. #57
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    Hardtails have always been the rage. I'm still riding one 20 years after getting into mountan hiking.
    Last edited by Mattcz; 05-23-2013 at 11:30 PM.

  58. #58
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    "Everybody" rides a FS bike here. I found it a bit boring: the bike does all the work over the rocks and roots.

    ... so I went for a slackish rigid 26er with pretty fat tires.

    You bet the guys on the sofas are faster over the small bumps. I'm not racing, though.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  59. #59
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    Like many who have commented, I began riding over 20 years ago. I made the whole transition from no suspension, to front only, to full. I ride primarily in central NC and also hit rides in the NC, VA mountains often. No doubt the full sus was more comfortable and faster. I guess the faster part was relative for me... I have never been and will never be truly fast.

    A few years ago, while recovering from a crash, I began to look at other bike styles. Wound up on a slack steel hardtail. Rode it 2x9, then 2x1, now singlespeed. As has been mentioned in this thread, HT design has changed and made for much better trail bikes. the On one summer season with a 140 puts me in my comfort, ability and fun sweet spot. I am not faster than I was on a full suss, but enjoy the ride more. So depending on how you look at it, my riding has either evolved... or devolved... to being just about how fun a time I have on the trail. For right now... and the last few years, it has been on this bike. That may change in time.

    I never want for a new whiz bang fancy bike when I am on the trail... now when reading the mags or here on MTBR... I get all druelly over all that stuff... then I look at the price tag for a decent rig... then I look at the two youngn's I have in college... then I look at my 3 year old...

    Then I go ride... and I never think about those fancy whizbang superdeduper bikes while I am on my chunk of steel :-) enjoying my ride, in the woods, at my speed... I marvel at those who fly by me, love how this bike handles the downhills, and yes... sometimes walk an uphill (gasp).

    It's about having fun on the trail. Whatever is your fun is what you should ride.
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  60. #60
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    I'm sitting here reading this, and wondering why it MATTERS.

    Ride what you ride, and let others do the same. NO ONE has any business telling another rider "what's best", unless the other person ASKS. This OP didn't, he was asking "WTF w/ HT's?"

    I use FS for COMMUTING, because: a.) my back won't take HT at ALL; and b.)that's what I LIKE.
    A bike is the only drug with no bad side effects....

  61. #61
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    Where I live FS isn't necessary, though I would love it if I could afford it! We usually give our FS buds a hard time, but its mainly just because we're envious haha.

  62. #62
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    you don't see to many hardtails in the mountains around here.

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    Is hard tail all the rage now?-dscf1308.jpg

    A pic from the race on Schooner. I don't know of anyone who's ridden up this, but folks do ride down it. FS is absolutely beneficial here. Most folks in the race had FS bikes. There were some hardtails, and one guy was on a rigid SS that I know of. Three of the bike patrol guys monitoring the course were on fatbikes, but no fatbikes were in the race.

  64. #64
    dru
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    Quote Originally Posted by woahey View Post
    One thing about ht's is that the overall design has changed greatly in the 15 years I've been biking. A hard tail used to mean steep angles with 80-100mm of travel; more of a XC machine than anything else. My new HT has nice slack head angle and a 150mm fork.
    I don't really think that this is all that true. I've got a bunch of old mags from back in the day and rode back then too in the mid 90's. HT bikes have changed yes, but not as much as you suggest. I checked out Rocky, Giant, and Trek's sites and the vast majority of 26er HT they offer today have 100 mm forks and HAs between 69 and 71 degrees.

    It is true that there are a few long travel HTs out there but they are in the minority.

    As for the old bikes VS most of the HT 26ers now, the angles are still very close, with slightly longer TT lengths and 100 mm forks instead of 80 mm. Really old school HTs had 60 mm forks and even the 80 mm ones of the late 90's had considerably shorter axle to crown lengths than later models.

    Back in the day most everyone ran flat bars, 150 mm stems weren't uncommon for the tall, with 100 mm or 120 mm being typical, and seatposts almost always had an inch or so of offset.

    These days front ends sit higher now because of the longer AC length and extra 20 mm travel. The typical riding position has also changed a fair bit, moving the saddle forward, running a shorter stem, and riser bars. The longer TT takes weight off the front tire making it easier to pull up over obstacles

    Because of all this the newish 26er is going to feel vastly different than its ancestor, even though the frame geometry hasn't changed much at all.

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  65. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by dru View Post
    Because of all this the newish 26er is going to feel vastly different than its ancestor, even though the frame geometry hasn't changed much at all.
    I thought you just listed a lot of ways that geometry HAS changed.

    Anyway, if you want a sturdy HT with slack head angle and 150mm fork, they are available. I wouldn't worry about Rocky, Giant, or Trek not producing one.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  66. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime View Post
    I thought you just listed a lot of ways that geometry HAS changed.
    I don't really consider stuff like seat posts, bars and stems to be geometry.

    Angles, my friend, angles, and tube lengths are what I'm talking about.

    The other stuff is 'fit'.....
    occasional cyclist

  67. #67
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    Is hard tail all the rage now?

    Quote Originally Posted by dru View Post
    I don't really consider stuff like seat posts, bars and stems to be geometry.

    Angles, my friend, angles, and tube lengths are what I'm talking about.

    The other stuff is 'fit'.....
    Not really. The post, stem, bars, and frame dimensions all need to work together and that is the overall geometry AND fit of a bike.
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  68. #68
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    After 25 years on a HT, I demo'd my first FS bike. I bought one the next day.

    On my trails, full suspension is better climbing and descending. It's also a pound lighter than my old HT. What's not to love?

    I think people are so wrapped up in the All Mountain bike craze that they've forgotten that there are FS bikes out there completely outperform HT's on most trails. So when people think "full suspension," they picture a 32 lbs. 7" travel beast that is meant to be walked up all but the gentlest grades. With that in mind as FS, a trail rider goes for a HT. The better choice for most riders is a trail-geometry FS bike: 4" to 5" of travel and under 27 pounds with good climbing gears.

    Most of what people call "all mountain" I wouldn't consider "all mountain" due to the difficulty in climbing. Fortunately, there are GREAT bikes between AM and HT. But those bikes are getting virtually ignored.

  69. #69
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    Is hard tail all the rage now?

    Quote Originally Posted by dgw2jr View Post
    In the Midwest a fs bike is overkill IMHO. A hardtail is usually a better value. Fewer parts to break and adjust. We don't ride them because its fashionable. It just makes sense for the application.

    Notice we don't use 780mm bars and 50mm stems either?
    I've got 780s and 50mm on my YelliScreamy. It took ages for friends to convince me. I just kick myself for not doing it sooner.

  70. #70
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    FS is just so much more forgiving than a Hardtail.
    Hardtail requires your full concentration all the time. Stray off-line slightly and she'll throw you off.
    A properly set up full suspension bike will let you get away with a lot more and allow you to choose a more aggressive line.
    I still ride my hardtail from time to time - when I feel like I need to sharpen my skills a bit, but FS is my preferred choice.

  71. #71
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    I find my full-suspension bikes more enjoyable to ride. I can ride longer and pick any line I want to without worrying about my knees, and I'm able to use trail features that I wouldn't really want to with a hardtail. For example, there are quite a few roots and rocks around western NC, and using them to gap rock gardens or hit a transition full of nasty isn't really all that enjoyable on a hardtail. Sure, it makes the more tame sections of trails boring at times, but it really opens up some of the more challenging or technical lines. I'm not saying you couldn't hit those lines on a proper hardtail, but for me, it just wasn't as inviting. To each his own.

  72. #72
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    I've been riding for about 2 years or so. First bike was a Jamis FS AM with 6 in travel. I loved it. Nice cushy ride. I NEVER got out of the saddle.

    2 months ago get a hardtail , Airborne Goblin XO.

    Totally different experience. On the Jamis I just sort of cruised the trails. Kept my 59 year old butt in the saddle and just absorbed it all in a very lazy fashion. I am not suggesting that FS riders are lazy. Just sharing my experience.

    On the Airborne I am much more "in tune" with the terrain. I'm out of the saddle, making constant changes to my body position and overall feel more like a fighter pilot than a commercial airline pilot ! Not the best analogy but it's early in the morning.

    One other thing, my FS Jamis is a 26 whereas the Airborne HT is a 29er. I suppose this complicates the comparo a bit.

    Anyway: The other day i rode the FS for a couple of miles and did not like it . At least compared to my HT. Could have been the 26 wheels, the 17 inch frame as opposed to the 18 inch on my HT or just the fact that I am more aclimated to the HT at this point.

    I have more fun on the HT !

    I would think terrain may dictate what you ride but IMHO this is a smaller part of the equation. We have all seen FS riders on flat trails and HT riders on some pretty technical stuff. Again just my opinion.

    In short, they all work. So ride something.

    BTW: There is a guy who must close to 80 years of age where i ride. His choice is a fully rigid single speed and this guy can ride!

  73. #73
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    Nope.

    As much as I like my 26" steel hardtail, I think FS 650b is all the rage these days.

  74. #74
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    I'll be 64 in a month and I still ride a steel hardtail with an 80mm SID about 40% of my time on dirt. My riding is in the rocky, rooty mid-Atlantic area where FS is a nice option but the nimble feel of the light 26" hardtail is still a great option. Up until I was 55 I rode downhill on a long travel hardtail so really, there isn't much a hardtail can't do. For what it's worth, I ride some type of bike over 100 days a season. Staying in shape has it's advantages but in the end, you can not hide your age.

  75. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by justwan naride View Post
    In technical terrain a f/s will always be faster/more capable, but unless you're racing, speed isn't what mtb is all about. .
    Actually, in the hands, and legs of a very skilled rider can be very fast, if not as fast on a HT in technical terrain. It's why HT bikes are still very prevalent in racing. Comfort however, is a different story. FS race bikes have gotten very light and with all the various lockout systems they pedal very efficiently, but they still can't match a top end race HT for light weight, simplicity, and efficiency.

    I own a FS and a HT and like them both.

  76. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rev Bubba View Post
    As much as I like my 26" steel hardtail, I think FS 650b is all the rage these days.
    That says it all. All the rage.

    Alot of this is marketing. It is a business.

    Just sayin

  77. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rev Bubba View Post
    I think FS 650b is all the rage these days.
    Any moment now, people will start PAYING to get rid of those so-last-decade 29ers, so that they have room for a new stable of 650b's. If someone wants to get rid of a 29er that looks promising, I'll pay shipping

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  78. #78
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    I'm still relatively new at mountain biking, having only started spring of last year. Bought a used Felt HT 29er and hit the trails 3-4 days a week. Fell in love with riding the singletracks. Decided to upgrade and went with a Turner Sultan FS. A different ride for sure. Lots more confidence on the more technical downhills. Now I look for the drops or bumps and launch off them. Couldn't do that as aggressively before as the landings usually had the rear wheel bouncing around and throwing me off the trail if I was carrying any speed And even with all the launching and more aggressive riding now, I'm not as beat up at the end of a 2 hour ride as I'd been on the HT. Once I get my HT fork back from being rebuilt, I'm sure I'll be swapping back and forth between rides. But right now, I'm really enjoying the extra airborne thrills the FS is allowing me

  79. #79
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    If could afford a FS I would have it, not because of the trails but because of the comfort.

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    I recently sold my full suspension and am just rise my hard tail as a fully was over kill for about 90% of my local trails. Dumb question. When I ride my hard tail over rough trails, how do I prevent my back wheel from locking up and still be to slow down and control the bike if I need to? At times I feel like I'm going too fast and need to slowdown as I'm bouncing around way too much should I use more of the front brake and get my butt over the rear wheel? Suggestions?

  81. #81
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    The day my hard-tail was stolen ... was one of the best days that I've experienced, during this Century. It didn't feel like it at the time of course, but the thief did me a big favour.

    I'd rather walk nowadays, than ride a hard tail. (Written without reservation).

    I like feeling like a Kangaroo on a trampoline, ... boing ... boing, boing, boing ... boing ... BOING!




    Warren.

  82. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by trail-adventure View Post
    Is hard tail all the rage now?
    No... Bikes have just gotten stupid expensive.
    Killing it with close inspection.

  83. #83
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    To each his own. I own a hardtail that is mainly used on the road as a commuter bike, but could easily be a trail monster (Ritchey P-21), but honestly the trails that I do are 50% technical and 50% uphill which makes me favor my Turner 5-spot(2009) instead. I do agree that the Turner is overkill for the trails I do and I will probably end up purchasing a 650B when they become lighter and more affordable. For the time being though, the only component I need to upgrade is myself. Instead of saving grams, I am focused to dropping 15-20 pounds to get down to 165. Beats forking out dollars on the latest component! Imagining pedaling uphill without 15-20 pounds of weight is motivation enough! Just go ride!

  84. #84
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    Now there's just more options than ever before.
    I went for a ride today, and three other guys showed up. We had a pretty good variety of bikes:
    - my rigid 26" singlespeed
    - 26" FS XC/Trail bike
    - 29er HT
    - fatbike

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  85. #85
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    I don't see many of them in the mountains. I am sure they are still great for commuting and riding the flat lands and I imagine some xc racing, but for mountain riding, lets have some suspension.

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    I'll just chime in and say that I have a $3k+ full suspension bike.... that collects dust since 90% of the time I ride my single speed hardtail that cost 1/4 as much. And I ride in PA, which is one of the rockier states in which I have ridden (AZ, CA, CO, PA, NC, NJ, DE, FL, SC, AL, TN, MD, NY, UT, etc...). Rode a 26" hardtail the whole time I lived in AZ. I would say PA and AZ are both much more "mountain" and was less "commuting and riding the flat lands", and a hard tail is fine.

    Nothing to do with what is fashionable, or what I can afford. But more, what provides the smiles. You smiles may come from FS bikes. Nothing wrong with that either.

    And the hardtail is faster. All my best Strava times (uphill and downhill), with the exception of the "flat areas" were set on my single speed hardtail.

  87. #87
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    After riding hardtails for a quarter century, I finally realized they are a bad idea.

    I now ride a carbon rigid 29er and a rigid fatbike. Love the lightness, the trail feel, the joy of picking lines, and slowing down and savoring the downs.

    I'm not against suspension at all though-- saving for my over 50 bike in a couple years which will have full suspension and lots of it!

    I guess I'm not a half suspension kind of guy- I want it on both wheels or neither.
    Last edited by Teton29er; 08-20-2013 at 10:51 PM.

  88. #88
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    I don't know about being "all the rage", but - shall we say - the rumors of the hardtail's demise are greatly exaggerated. I started riding seriously in 2000 and it certainly seemed to me then that hardtails were mainly for newbies and weight weeny XC racers. "Serious" trail riders had FS. Since then, even with a lot of advancements in suspension technology, hardtails (and rigid) have a found a new popularity due to 29ers and SS. Its not just newbies and weight weenies anymore. The crappy economy of the last few years is probably pushing more riders towards hardtails as well.

    For my part, I'm in the "can't afford one and don't really need one anyway" camp. I don't have the coin for a two-grand mountain bike. I'd rather have a nice steel hardtail than a cheap bargin basement fully. And the local trails around here are all either flat dirt roads or buff, IMBA-ized, pumptrack-style singletrack. The hardtail is responsive and fun on trails like that. Steel takes the sting out of the trail chatter. Its all good. A 29er hardtail would be perfect, but I can't afford one of those right now either. So I run what I got.
    Surly Cross Check: fat tire roadie
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    Quote Originally Posted by spadmike View Post
    I recently sold my full suspension and am just rise my hard tail as a fully was over kill for about 90% of my local trails. Dumb question. When I ride my hard tail over rough trails, how do I prevent my back wheel from locking up and still be to slow down and control the bike if I need to? At times I feel like I'm going too fast and need to slowdown as I'm bouncing around way too much should I use more of the front brake and get my butt over the rear wheel? Suggestions?
    Hmmm. Hard to envision what you're describing. If you're out of the saddle in the "attack position", shifting your weight rearwards (or sideways) as necessary, and braking front and rear evenly, you should be good to go descending rought terrain. Modulate the brakes to control your speed, but don't drag the rear brake. Actively pick the best line, so your front suspension doesn't write a check that the rearend can't cash. (stole that one from a review on twentynineinches.com) And if you do "just go for it" over a rock garden or something, make sure your saddle is dropped far enough that it doesn't smack your gonads when the rearend bounces. I know that's kind of basic, so I don't mean to insult your intelligence. But that's what I do, and have never had a problem. Other than that, what rear tire are you running? Hardtails definitely benefit from a high volume, high traction rear tire.
    Surly Cross Check: fat tire roadie
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  90. #90
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    I have 3 rigs now, a FS Cannondale, Ibis Hardtail and Ibis Softtail and I grab the softtail more than anything at this point, perfect compromise for me, just enough cush to not feel like a bad night in jail over our New England trails and light enough that climbing is fun.

    I like the FS for rides with more flowy and rough downhills obviously and/or the second half of endurance events etc.

    The comments about cost are very valid as there isn't a new FS rig that I would want for less than like $4K and that is just getting nutts. My buddy just picked up a Yeti 575 which is a sweet frame but his rig cost $3200 and the build is very very very average from a component standpoint and it is like 29lbs and change. Pick a decent FS frame ($1800-2500 alone and then slap on an XT/X9 quality build and you are easily in the mid $4K+ zone.

    I can build a 22lb HT or softtail for <$3K and enjoy the trails 90% and not think about FS.....

  91. #91
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    I lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan for ten years. I rode Poto, Maybury, Island Lake - but also Fort Custer, Holly-Holdridge, Brighton, and Pontaic. I thought those trails were "tough" although I rode them on a hardtail. I got tired of all the people from other parts of the country ragging on the MidWest.

    Then I moved to New England - Boston/North Shore specifically.

    I tried to ride Harold Parker, Lynn Woods, and even the Fells. I was so depressed by how much harder and more technical it was that I didn't ride for a whole year. I bought a FS and got back into riding. I had to learn a whole new way of riding. The FS was my gateway back.

    Now I ride the FS, hardtail, and even a rigid in New England. When I take the hardtail or rigid, I just know I have to slow down a little and be choosier about my lines.

    If I moved back to Michigan, I would likely sell my FS. With my new perspective, I would think it's overkill.

  92. #92
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    I have an FS and a hardtail. If I'm really going to push the technical stuff,I always ride the FS. I like the hard tail better of longer and all around stuff.

  93. #93
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    I like my HT for all the reasons people's dislike them. Ultimately of course it is slower than a FS, but I enjoy the challenge every ride.

  94. #94
    local trails rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by tim208 View Post
    I am sure they are still great for commuting and riding the flat lands and I imagine some xc racing,...
    You mean like this:



    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  95. #95
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    I am faster on my FS than on my hardtail...both 26 inch. HT 3x9, FS 3x10. Most of the young whipper-snappers who pass me, though, seem to be on HT 29ers. I'm sure it's NOT my age!

  96. #96
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    Me losing 5 lbs. is like getting another bike,that's 5 lbs. lighter. For no extra money. Plus I'll have more energy when riding.

  97. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by lidarman View Post
    Interesting.

    The power of supermoderator I guess. A lot of people here would have a similar join date if the forum platform that is used today was used then instead of being introduced in December 2003.
    Agreed. I remember hooking up for a ride with you through mtbr, must have been the year 2000.
    My brain's living room is my stomach.

  98. #98
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    For me, my 26", 3 x 9, full suspension trail-bike is all the rage. I like feeling the rear suspension working under me when I ride. There's nothing better than jumping off a root or rock while blazing down the trail & catching some air & feeling that suspension compress & soak up the hit. I have nothing against hardtails, I rode one for 14 years-I just prefer dual suspension now. " I do often ride mtn. bikes, but when I do ride,.....I prefer full suspension." The most interesting rider in the world
    -always thinking about the next ride-

  99. #99
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    perttime

    All I know is that 70% of the time, I don't even see another bike on the trails or hikers. yes I am a lucky man for that. And the other times I do see bikes, I don't see hard tails. But I ride more rural areas in north Idaho.

    so I am sticking by my statement.

  100. #100
    local trails rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by tim208 View Post
    so I am sticking by my statement.
    I totally believe this: "I don't see many of them in the mountains."

    ... The one about the impossibility of riding them over rough ground ... Not so much

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

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