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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.
    "Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads." -Back to the Future

  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...

  11. #11
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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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  16. #16
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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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  21. #21
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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.
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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.
    2016 Santa Cruz Hightower 29er
    2015 Trek Farley 26fat
    2013 Transition TransAM 29er

  48. #48
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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
    thecentralscrutinizer
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbmb65 View Post
    True, literacy is way underrated.
    Does Literacy ride a HT or FS?
    2015 Kona JTS
    2014 Scott Scale 710
    2014 Giant Anthem 27.5
    2013 DeVinci Leo SL

  50. #50
    Big Mac
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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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