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  1. #1
    Soy Chingon
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    Hard tail to full suspension back to hard tail.

    Who else out there started riding a hard tail MTB then moved on to a full suspension bike and found themselves back to riding a hard tail.

    I started riding a Trek hard tail about fifteen years ago. That bike made me fall in love with the sport. I've since had a few full suspension bikes. I kept my SC Nomad which I love for MTB parks, and trips to Moab and other places, but I find myself riding my hard tail Niner EMD the most nowadays. I don't know if it's because I like the efficiency of the 29er wheels or that and the hard tail. Maybe I should look into getting a full suspension 29er.

    Anyone else have the same experience? Went from HT to FS back to HT? Or should I change that to HT 26er, to FS 26er to HT 29er and is now thinking that maybe I should look into a FS 29er? Well now that I think about it a FS 27 1/2er?

    Too many options... Think I'll demo a bunch of bikes and see what I like.

    What do you guys think?
    Soy Chingon

  2. #2
    mtbr member
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    Many years riding = many changes

    For the first 20 years or so mountain biking, there was nothing but hardtails. My first FS was a GT I-Drive. I didn't like it and I moved the parts to a SC Chameleon and build what I would call a long-travel HT (had the original 140 mm Pike fork). That was fun but heavy so I built up a custom steel XC hardtail. Eventually the Chameleon sat unused and was sold. Over the years, no surprise, I got older and it was back to FS. A Giant Trance. All were 26" of course. Now I'm selling the custom XC hardtail and thinking of a 27.5" or 29" FS for my one and only mountain bike. For me (and my back), riding in the rocky, root filled Northeast, FS is the only way to go. My road bike is my hardtail. I find myself interested in something like the Diamondback Mason but realistically, that is not the right bike for me and where I ride.

  3. #3
    How much further ???
    Reputation: Douger-1's Avatar
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    My latest bike happens to be a HT 29er but I also have a FS 26. To me variety is the spice of life. Where I live (in AZ) I tend to lean toward an AM geometry (read slacker HA and slightly more suspension travel) whether its a HT or FS. I think having both is a perfect balance. I usually use my Trans AM 29er for my endurance rides > 40 miles and my Slayer for hitting the chunk. I alternate between them on my local trails, with it all coming down to what experience I want to have. Sometimes I want to rip on the HT using a bit more finesse and line selection. Other times I just want to hammer through everything on my Slayer. To me the best bike to ride is the one you are on at that moment.

    I think pigeon holing yourself into the "I need this bike for A and this bike for B" is just short sighted. I can climb everything on my FS 26 that I can climb on my HT 29 and I can descend everything on my HT 29 that I can on my FS 26 it just comes down to the riding experience that a particular bike gives you.
    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did." Mark Twain

  4. #4
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    I went from a tricycle to a rigid SS (BMX) to a rigid geared (Huffy MTB) to a hardtail (Raleigh M400) to a FS (bunch of them). Then several years ago, went back to a HT, then back to a SS, then back to a rigid SS. Just need to get a tricycle to complete the circle.

  5. #5
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    rigid to hardtail to full suss back to rigid.

    SPP
    Rigid.

  6. #6
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    I'm back on a hardtail after spending the past decade on full-suspension. The biggest thing I noticed was how much of a difference the wider tires and rims we take for granted now have increased the abilities of a hardtail. Back in the 90's a 1.9 was the standard XC tire width. Nowadays anything 2.1 and thinner is practically a road-bike tire.

    That extra volume (and no doubt decade of tread design and compound advancement) gives a lot more grip and capability and helps to take some of the hard out. I feel a lot less beat-up after a ride on my current hardtail than I used to with a ten year younger body on my old hardtail.

  7. #7
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    I've made this transition twice over the past 10 years. Went from a 26" hardtail Trek to a 26" FS Trek. Then to a rigid SS 29" (Karate Monkey) and a 26" HT (Kona Cinder Cone). Then back to a FS 29 (Spearfish), but now I just have two HTs (one geared YelliScreamy and one SS Nimble 9).

    Probably won't ever go FS again unless it's an enduro or downhill bike.

  8. #8
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    Go FAT.

  9. #9
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    Trek 830 rigid 26" (91) to ht 26" to convert my rigid 26" to ss to rigid s 29er (luddite) to ht 29er (El Mar). The last two I ride. My original bike Trek I still have also but is sitting in the shed. will not get rid off her. Thinking of making it to a gravel grinder/commuter?

    i did try a few fs bikes but never really liked them. Would love to try a fat bike. next bike will be a cx bike or fargo

  10. #10
    mtbr member
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    I have always been a hard tail guy. I got a really nice 29er full last year, and while it is a nice bike and there are some places that it can just flat out go faster. I am a hard tail guy, take the light weight and the simplicity and its a joy to ride. A better all around choice for myself. Then again I have both so, there isn't really much to complain about.

  11. #11
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    I'm one of those riders that can't seem to stay put been through the progressions.

    Rigid26....Ht26....FS26....FS29 120mm....HT29....FS29 100mm.

    The bike I simply fell in love with was my 29HT but I got restless once again and find I sit and spin more now "age" but still wanted the efficiency of my HT so I now ride a 100mm FS race bike with lock-out front and rear
    I may stay put for awhile but will always love HT's .

  12. #12
    slow
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    My first 7 mountain bikes were all rigid front and rear because there as no other choice. Then I went to a ti soft tail MOOTS YBB and felt like I had found the perfect bike. Next bike I got was a 26" FS (Trance 1), which I rode for a couple of years, but never let the soft tail go. I sold the FS because I prefer the simplicity and lower maintenance requirements of the soft tail. A little over a year ago, I picked up a FELT Nine 29" hard tail, but is only sees about 25% of my riding time. My 26" soft tail is still the go to bike and sees the remaining 75% of my trail time, including endurance races and short track races. It is nice to have a bit of cushion, but still have most of the efficiency of a hard tail.

  13. #13
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    I did the back and forth thing and then in 2010 I went to the 29er HT and FS bikes. I liked the HT 29er better at first because it was lighter then I got a better FS 29er and got the weight down & also learned that a FS bike gets better traction. I do the 24 hour solo racing thing so it's good to have a back-up bike and that is what my HT became and while all this is going on I'm getting older and I have a bad back to the point of not wanting to look at a HT bike anymore other than a fat bike I just ordered, I took all the parts off my HT 29er and sold them. I kept the HT frame 1. it's beat 2. I might build it back up into a gravel road bike later.

  14. #14
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    Why not keep the current cycle collection and add the 27.5 to the stable? If'n space and $$$ are not of concern, then having a surplus is a good thing! You can hop on whatever rig you desire...
    Puff Tijuana Smalls
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  15. #15
    inner peace to make peace
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    "26" HT and a "26" 7" dual-crown/7" FS.
    “Everyday is a good day,” from the Blue Cliff Records, Yun-men (864-949 AD).

  16. #16
    local trails rider
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    - 26" HT
    - 26" 7" travel FS
    - converted HT to SS
    - second 26" SS HT
    - replaced second 26" SS HT with 26" rigid SS

    "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"

  17. #17
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    Bottom line is you need both.

  18. #18
    wounded knee
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    Started out on a hard tail (hardrock), got a FS (Gary Fisher Hi-Fi Deluxe) just couldn't get the bike setup and went over the bars more times than I can count on that bike, went back to a hardtail (salsa El Mariachi), then updated that with a custom Rich Adams steel hardtail, just had an opertunity I couldn't pass up a 2013 Giant trance X1 for $1500.00, it's been 2 years since I rode an FS and I gotta say I'm impressed with how well it climbs, the suspension is incredible, on full open it floats on fast downhills, definately doesn't beat me up as much in the rock gardens.
    My plan the FS on chunky rock rides
    Hardtail on smoother faster rides
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  19. #19
    mtbr member
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    I've always been a HT guy. Started on a Marin Nail Trail to a Pine Mountain back in the early 90s. Since then, I've had a GT Zaskar, a newer Nail trail and ended up with a Marin Team Issue Scandium. Never felt the need to go full suspension especially for the riding I was accustomed to, but we started on more aggressive trails and I picked up a Rocky Mountain Altitude a few years back. Its always nice to have the option to go FS or HT depending on where I'll be riding. If I'm riding Repack or a similar trail out here, I take my HT but for rides like Skeggs or Waterdog Lake, I'm on a FS. I also like to throw slicks on my HT and do night rides around the city.

  20. #20
    Sergeant Spandex
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    Quote Originally Posted by phsycle View Post
    I went from a tricycle to a rigid SS (BMX) to a rigid geared (Huffy MTB) to a hardtail (Raleigh M400) to a FS (bunch of them). Then several years ago, went back to a HT, then back to a SS, then back to a rigid SS. Just need to get a tricycle to complete the circle.
    That is funny

    I started on a full rigid went to front suspension and now am back on full rigid.

    Steven

  21. #21
    Happy Trails
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    Hard tail to full suspension back to hard tail.

    Me. I rode my hard tail F-29 on my long ride last Sunday, then rode the full-sus Scalpel today, but am planning to go back to the hard tail on Tuesday.

  22. #22
    Soy Chingon
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    Great replies! I guess we've all been through the different bicycle journey. Conclusion get one of each. Next purchase I'm thinking if making is a SC Bronson.
    Soy Chingon

  23. #23
    29ers Forever
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    I had some hardtail from Kmart, then a Next Power Climber from KMart, then a Schwinn Sidewinder from Kmart.
    Lol.

  24. #24
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    I started with a hartail and went FS but I don't see myself going back to hardtail again anytime soon. I have considered one for the smoother rides around the house but a majority of my rides involve DH and the hardtail wont cut it.

  25. #25
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    My most recent bikes were a 26 inch hard tail, then I went to a 26 inch full suspension now I'm back in a 29 inch hard tail. Then I had to have a DH bike for lift served days.
    2016 Santa Cruz Hightower 29er
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  26. #26
    mtbr member
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    I like both, Carve & Stumpy FSR, ride them just about evenly...

    mudhen
    "Lighten up Francis" Sgt. Hulka

  27. #27
    mtbr member
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    Started in 1992 on a hardtail anchor, trek 930. Switched to FS in 2001, broke 2 FS frames (each replacement cost $100 in labor) in one year, went back to hardtail immediately... Still pissed off about it and I guess Ill be on a hardtail from now on...

    With 29 inch wheels and a carbon frame, the bumps arent that bad...

  28. #28
    I like turtles
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    Started on HTs in the early '90s and went FS in '95. Back to a HT in late '90s and have been on them ever since. Will likely be back on a FS at some point in the next few years to ease the pain.

    Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

    2012 Specialized Stumpy EVO 29 HT

  29. #29
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    I finally got around to getting a 29er HT this year, after rising FS 26errs for 12 yrs. In the first few rides I thought that the HT was unlocking new potential and faster speeds for me. Then I timed some laps back to back on my 29er and my Trance X 26er, and to my surprise, the Trance turned out faster laps every time, even though it felt mushy and slow. I concluded I wasn't ready to give up FS yet, but would keep the 29er as well. They can both ride the exact same trails, they just offer a different ride, and I enjoy both.

  30. #30
    balance_fit
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    Started as many do, HT 26er...then, many changes came, to FS, to long travel FS and gadgetry...then...one day, i used a 26er again...wow ! Sold everything, and thanks to 29ers, went rigid. Several years rigid and fat. Hmmm....you understand me....
    Simple, not easy.

  31. #31
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    I started on a rigid, then hardtail, then full suspension, then back to hardtail.

    Quote Originally Posted by Streetdoctor View Post
    Bottom line is you need both.
    Something that drives me nuts about MTBR is that the answer to every question is that the op NEEDS to buy something to even SURVIVE mountain biking. The problem is that in my case, streetdoctor is right.

    A full suspension, even a short travel bike, is pretty much overkill for the local riding around me. However, I've taken my 20 pound carbon hardtail to Pisgah and had to be pretty cautious to make sure I didn't destroy anything. Even so, I managed to mangle my back wheel. A slightly burlier full suspension, like a Stumpy FSR, SC Tallboy LT or RIP9 would've worked out much better.
    Last edited by msrothwe; 12-19-2013 at 08:55 AM. Reason: cant spel gud

  32. #32
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    26er FS to 650bfront/26er rear to 29er HT and 29er HT rigid SS then 650b FS and now settled on 29HT and a 29er short travel FS.

    For me it's not really about the wheel size but more the frame fit and geometry.

  33. #33
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    I tell you what - going back to a hardtail on the local trails has definitely given me a new appreciation for my full suspension bike. I picked up a steel Bianchi hardtail on craigslist last year, as a project. I haven't quite gotten the position right on the bike yet, only a few rides so far. I got it mainly for rides that start at my house, on 10-15 miles of road, to get to a trail and ride road back home.

    I enjoy the power transfer on this bike, and steel does feel (real!) better than what I remember of my aluminum hardtail on the trail, but I am glad I have the FS for most of my rocky trail riding.
    My brain's living room is my stomach.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by phsycle View Post
    I went from a tricycle to a rigid SS (BMX) to a rigid geared (Huffy MTB) to a hardtail (Raleigh M400) to a FS (bunch of them). Then several years ago, went back to a HT, then back to a SS, then back to a rigid SS. Just need to get a tricycle to complete the circle.
    Oh, I think I found it.

    One-off fat trike attempts world record Antarctic trip

    Hard tail to full suspension back to hard tail.-image.jpg

  35. #35
    The White Jeff W
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    Hardtail to FS to a better FS then back to hardtail then to a better hardtail. Now I have one of each.
    No moss...

  36. #36
    mtbr member
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    This year I went from a 26er HT straight to a 29er FS. I'm loving it so far. I still have a 26er as a SS. One day I could see a 650b or 29er HT in my stable but probably won't replacing my FS. I ride further and with less beating end of day with the 29er FS rig.

  37. #37
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    I've always been a hardtail guy also. My first real MTB was a Kona Kula in 1994 and loved it. back then FS was just getting onto market and as odd as it seems now, back then, a mountain bike was a mountain bike and you rode EVERYTHING on it not just xc. It didn't take long before North Shore guys destroyed parts and people started to realize that super light wasn't always the best plan. I broke the fork and frame and other stuff but it was warrantied and I kept it until about 2000. I just got back into riding again and didn't really realize that the majority now ride FS. I suppose I could have gone that way but there are still too many designs to choose and I like a lighter weight bike as I like to just ride...both up and down, and a hardtail just seems like a do it all because that was where I came from. I did choose to go 29er though and glad I did despite living on Vancouver Isle where its quite technical and tight. I'm not a big air type and the big wheels are awesome going over stream beds and all sorts of debris. Its feels much easier climbing loose fire roads and keeping speed is also easy, I don't feel like I'm fighting to maintain speed. I also chose Ti and xtr from one of the online sellers and couldn't be happier. There are times when I think if I had FS I could do this much easier but really there isn't much I cannot do outside of crazy DH or big hucks but I'm not doing that. I just like to ride my bike on trails where ever it takes me, I'm not taking lifts. I guess its grassroots mountain biking.

  38. #38
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    I've done the full rigid, hardtail then full suss. couple of years ago an xray of my lower back showed it to be full of stress fractures. so on a squishy i will be staying as i'm not sure my back could survive a hardtail anymore

  39. #39
    thecentralscrutinizer
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    I've had one FS bike in 22 years of MTBing...I prefer an HT, but I have to admit that the new 27.5 FS bikes are looking kinda nice.
    2015 Kona JTS
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    2013 DeVinci Leo SL

  40. #40
    mtbr member
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    I have been wanting to get a jet 9 carbon for a while. Lately I have been thinking of just getting the air 9. I live and ride in San Antonio. It would be nice to have one of each but not sure. Is it all preference and how much you want to spend?
    '13 Trek Mamba/shimano-m780/pro taper carbon 720 AM bars/
    '13 Trek Madone 4.5/shimano ultegra 6700.

  41. #41
    Soy Chingon
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    Jason81, I grew up in SA. Left in 2000. Where do you ride there? I didn't start MTBing till I moved to Austin the following year. I heard through some friends who recently got into cycling in SA that the city is finally getting more bicycle friendly. Heard of a bike path from DT to McCallister. Good for SA!
    Soy Chingon

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by gallorody View Post
    Jason81, I grew up in SA. Left in 2000. Where do you ride there? I didn't start MTBing till I moved to Austin the following year. I heard through some friends who recently got into cycling in SA that the city is finally getting more bicycle friendly. Heard of a bike path from DT to McCallister. Good for SA!
    The trai is in the works. I generally ride at mcallister park just because it is close. I love to ride the leon creek and and the salado creek greenway trails. Last time I went I was the only hard tail. I hope to hit the rpr pRk I have heard about.
    '13 Trek Mamba/shimano-m780/pro taper carbon 720 AM bars/
    '13 Trek Madone 4.5/shimano ultegra 6700.

  43. #43
    ballbuster
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    29er hardtail
    29er ful suspension
    29er singlespeed

    I've been switching around those three bikes pretty much every week. I've been favoring the singlespeed lately. That bike is just so much dang fun to ride.

    I also have a hardtail 29er set up as a bikepacking bike, but I keep that bike at work for errands and last minute lunchtime rides. It doesn't see much trail time. I probably put 40 miles on that bike all last year.

    But yeah, no issues at all with switching for me.

  44. #44
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    I currently ride 13 Trek Fuel (26er) which I LOVE! I was going to trade it in to get 29er FS but bike is so nice I can't part ways with her. To spice up my riding I just ordered 14 Trek Superfly to switch it up. My son getting into the sport and really likes riding my Fuel. Can't wait to start carving up the trails with him...Happy Trails
    SWING YOUR LEG OVER IT AND PEDAL

  45. #45
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    i've been on a full rigid (mongoose iboc comp circa about 1992) then replaced that with a hardtail stumpy in 2001.

    i've never even sat on a full squish bike as i viewed it similar to a harley davidson or ducati: i don't need to sit on one of those either to know that they are freaking awesome.

    all these years later, i'm now joining the modern age and will be pedaling a brand spanking new Transition Bandit 27.5 w/ Pike as soon as ye ol LBS is done building it & i can't freaking wait!

    i can't imagine wanting to go back to a hardtail.

  46. #46
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    For the record I tend to have more back disk catches and pain from riding the full suspension because I sit over more bumps where I'm well off the seat for bumps on the ht.

  47. #47
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    For the record I tend to have more back disk catches and pain from riding the full suspension because I sit over more bumps where I'm well off the seat for bumps on the ht. Only later after the ride do I think enough to guess that this is the reason this happens.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by rakerdeal View Post
    For the record I tend to have more back disk catches and pain from riding the full suspension because I sit over more bumps where I'm well off the seat for bumps on the ht. Only later after the ride do I think enough to guess that this is the reason this happens.
    interesting, i never considered that. i've only been on my new bike for a handful of rides & am loving how i don't feel beat up after a rough decent. hell, i barely feel anything at all and i'm running over the same roots and rocks at a much higher speed than i did on my HT.

    i would consider using my old HT on gravel roads maybe & for hauling the kid in the burley. but for actual trail riding, i don't think i'll ever go back. my new ride is a bit of a pig, so i can't make it up the real tech parts of climbs (yet - if i actually get in shape, this may change) but it's so much more comfortable both in riding posture and the afore mentioned sweet suspension.
    New Bike Tech: It's almost like cheating. Really awesome cheating.

  49. #49
    DFMBA.org
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    I know this thread is a little dated but..

    In the last 5 years I've owned 6 bikes, all but 1 a 29er. Two of those ,including one I have now, have been f/s 29ers and now I'm looking to get rid of it. This would leave me with my Vassago Bandersnatch which I love and ride most of the time. For me, the power transfer is so much different on a hardtail. My first real race was on a $1000 entry level Felt Nine over some pretty chunky terrain. The next year aboard a Giant Trance X 29 my time over the same course was 15 min slower over 24 miles and I felt dead after it, despite better training.

    I attributed this to the loss in pedaling efficiency while climbing despite having a more capable bike for rough terrain. Fast forward to today with a Specialized carbon-everything f/s 29er and it still feels dead at times. I then alternate to my steel Vassago which weighs almost 3 lbs more and it feels like it wants to go.

    Right now I'm strongly considering the one category of bike I haven't owned, that being a 120mm Ti hardtail. Capable of getting rowdy while tailing the trail chatter a bit all at the same time.
    Please donate to IMBA or your local IMBA chapter. It's trail karma.

  50. #50
    29ers Forever
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTBeing View Post
    I know this thread is a little dated but..

    In the last 5 years I've owned 6 bikes, all but 1 a 29er. Two of those ,including one I have now, have been f/s 29ers and now I'm looking to get rid of it. This would leave me with my Vassago Bandersnatch which I love and ride most of the time. For me, the power transfer is so much different on a hardtail. My first real race was on a $1000 entry level Felt Nine over some pretty chunky terrain. The next year aboard a Giant Trance X 29 my time over the same course was 15 min slower over 24 miles and I felt dead after it, despite better training.

    I attributed this to the loss in pedaling efficiency while climbing despite having a more capable bike for rough terrain. Fast forward to today with a Specialized carbon-everything f/s 29er and it still feels dead at times. I then alternate to my steel Vassago which weighs almost 3 lbs more and it feels like it wants to go.

    Right now I'm strongly considering the one category of bike I haven't owned, that being a 120mm Ti hardtail. Capable of getting rowdy while tailing the trail chatter a bit all at the same time.
    This post is making me rethink my future bike purchases.
    I am between a 140mm Niner Ros9 and a 130mm full suspension Rocky Mountain Instinct.
    I was going to sell my 29er hardtail in order to pay for part of the expense, but now it seems that I may want to keep my hardtail as a bike for less technical trails so I won't feel bogged down (if I buy the Instinct).
    If I buy the ROS I'll sell my current hardtail.
    Either way I'll probably keep my 26" hardtail, it's too much fun and I wouldn't get much money for it.

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