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  1. #1
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    HT or FS? Simply a question of price?

    I have just finished reading an article in the best mountain bike publication available - 'Singletrack magazine.' In it Mike Ferrentino (a magazine editor) writes that having ridden a FS for so long (Blur LT being the latest I tink) he cannot believe how responsive and fun going back to his HT was and that he has no immediate plans of returning to his FS.
    Many people post that the FS/HT quesion is merely down to your budget. ie: if you have $3000/2500 you should opt for a FS. Do you agree? If XC racing and entering endurance events would you opt for a FS if your budget was high enough or are you a firm believer in front suspension being all that you need? Do you think that spending that sort of money on a HT is a wasted exercise?

  2. #2
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    If you take the HT argument a little further a few riders out there are going for 29er bikes with rigid carbon forks. I just took my HT out for the first time this year and did a 30 mile ride on some bumpy road. During the ride I wished I had the FS bike.

    For racing purposes if the track is smooth enough the HT makes sense but if you can have only one bike go FS. I raced expert out at Schweitzer-Norba a couple of years ago with an HT. Out of about 200 riders or so I was about the only one on an HT. In a two hour race it probably cost me about 6-10 minutes in my opinion. I raced an HT exclusively for three straight seasons with reasonable success but it also cost me on several courses. If you have only one bike to buy go FS. You can buy a race grade FS bike on Ebay for a lot less than $2500. A lot of sponsored racers only keep their bike on or two years and they typically end up on Ebay in the fall. Maybe half the racers have both bikes. I know a few other riders who only go HT for racing. I dont think its a waste because most of the races courses are suitable for HT where I live and they might pick up a couple of minutes. Giant one of the leaders in race bikes has quit making a race grade HT. I would take a look at the Giant Anthem.

  3. #3
    (Ali)
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    Quote Originally Posted by vintage
    Many people post that the FS/HT quesion is merely down to your budget. ie: if you have $3000/2500 you should opt for a FS. Do you agree?
    No, I don't agree at all. I had the same question/reasoning myself some time ago.

    FS bikes are more expensive by nature, not because they are in more demand. That same flawed question is the one that causes most of us buy FS bikes. Then others think that FS must be clearly better. No.

    If you are an experienced rider, you don't have the question because you know what is best for you. If you are a rider with that question (like me, a few months ago) price shouldn't be the only reason to go FS.

    Ali

  4. #4
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    Go FS

    There's never a time when I am faster on a hardtail. I've done time trials on a loop on my local trails where I've used many different styles of bikes. I am always faster on a full suspension. Full suspension lets you carry more speed over bumps, lets you carry more speed into the turns by braking later and having better traction. Plus I enjoy it more and feel less fatigued at the end. The only race a HT may be faster is one that's ALL up hill, and I haven't found one of those yet.

  5. #5
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    As technology progresses,so should we.

  6. #6
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    There are many top pros riding HT, others FS. Find what's right for you for the time being. I certainly wouldn't give any credence to a magazine editor's comments in any given issue. These guys are in the business of selling magazines and will say whatever it takes to entertain most of the people, most of the time. Read next months issue and he'll be soapboxing about the newest VPP brainbox or something, or complaining about a sore back from riding HT. Also, there are plenty of HT XC racers that cost as much as any FS XC racer.
    BTW, personally I prefer a HT.

  7. #7
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    ^Depends, although there are freeride and dh hardtails, what do you only see on youtube? FS FS FS.

  8. #8
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    "These guys are in the business of selling magazines and will say whatever it takes to entertain most of the people, most of the time. Read next months issue and he'll be soapboxing about the newest VPP brainbox or something, or complaining about a sore back from riding HT." Spinny

    This was the point he was trying to make. Mike Ferrentino has been in the business of selling bikes. He says its been easy selling bikes because people have simply jumped onto 'the more suspension is better' bandwagon. The need to sell products often outweighs the need to improve products in the eyes of some companies. More money goes on marketing than design and R&D. As for the need to sell magazines he does not need to do this as he is a guest writer on this particular publication and his articles cover one A4 page.

    The concept I struggle with is that a 25lbs FS bike can get round a course quicker than a 20lbs HT (both of which can be had for a simiar price) unless the route is mostly downhill. Of course if it is a circuit race the amount of climbing to descending will be the same. I guess if the suspension system was good and the bikes weighed the same then the FS would be quicker.

  9. #9
    No longer 26
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    Other things to consider is the type of rider you are and the type of courses that you ride and race on. Are you a sit and spin kind of rider with bigger lungs than legs or are you all powere. I am more of a sit and spin rider and can stay much fresher on a FS bike over the course of a couple of hours because I can stay in the saddle over repetitive bumps. However, I know a couple of guys that are more powerful than me that can take more bump abuse with there legs over bumpy sections and hardtails seem to be OK for them. Probably a lot about what you are used to as well.
    You can't depend on honest answers from dependant hands...

  10. #10
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    I broke the handlebar on my xtr blur months ago and started riding my trek 8500 ss. I though it would be a stopgap for a few rides until i got the blur going again. Nope. The first few rides on the ss were horrible, but after that something clicked and i started having fun like it was 1999 all over again and i was just starting to ride. The blur is gathering dust.

    Now, i maybe faster on the blur, (although I'm not sure about that) but riding the ss ht has increased my force tremendously and improved my handling noticeably. The lack of gearing alternatives of the ss combined with the requisite line-picking and momentum maintaining skills associated with a ht have pushed my fitness further than i would have guessed. I don't think we realize how much skill we lose when we switch to FS suv's. They really make you a crappier rider.

  11. #11
    mutaullyassuredsuffering
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    Price

    I do think price is huge. I will always be faster on an expensive FS than a HT. However, on a cheap FS you will likely be slower because of low-tech suspension and damping. The key to racing FS is getting one that controls bob, but still cusions you over a bump. If I didn't have the money to get a high end suspension a HT would be the way to go.
    Free will is an illusion, people will always choose the perceived path of greatest pleasure.

  12. #12
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    My choice is HT 29er. It is more efficient and faster than anything i've ever rode. Its lighter, it transfers power much better and it fits my riding style much better.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by vintage
    ...he cannot believe how responsive and fun going back to his HT was and that he has no immediate plans of returning to his FS....
    Notice he didn't say "faster", he said "responsive and fun". A HT is more challenging than a FS when going down a mountain. For me, more challenge = more fun.

    How about you get a FS with a rear lockout so you can have both.

  14. #14
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    I like hardtails. I maintain my own stuff, I'm fundamentally lazy and I have a six month old son. After lusting for a $1250 FS frame for a year, I replaced my roached out hardtail with...another hardtail frame, at about a third of the dream frame cost. My new frame choice was still obsessed over and well thought out (fun to do), is still quite fast (podium at local race=fun) and is a blast to ride. It was paid for by only three days of side work. Hurray!

    My point? In the meantime, I am socking away money every month so that when my kid becomes sentient, my wife and I can take him on mind blowing vacations and introduce him to the world. That's the fantasy anyway, more so than having my very own Titus. I guess what I'm saying is, hell yeah money is a factor, but you can have a seriously nice bike and a seriously nice time without blowing your savings on two squishies. Greed is bad, but money is like potential energy. Energy conservation is good. Yay hardtails.

  15. #15
    ride hard or die
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    I just sold my fs bike and bought a hardtail. I rode the trails for the first time with a hardtail today. My reasoning was that with a hardtil frame you can fix them up nice (componment wise), and make them race worthy, for a good price. Which is what I am concerned about. Also, they are simple. It does beat you up though.
    In Northern California were I currently reside, the trails are really rocky (baby head rocy), so fs would work better, but for smoother stuff which can also be found in nor cal, I think a hardtail will work fine.

    GOAT

  16. #16
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    It all depends on your style of riding if you ask me. It doesn't matter what you ride, but rather how you ride.
    Some peeps have little skill picking lines and ride their equipment really hard. Others are better at picking the path of least resistance and are easy on their equipment.
    I bought a Flux about 2 years ago. I rode it for a year. While I really liked the bike, there was a sense of detatchment I felt while riding the bike. I raced it 2 times(once at Downieville) and it really didn't work for me.
    2 years ago I would have said the the HT race bike was going to be extinct, BUT after racing a HT 29er last year(I beat many a rider on F/S on many different courses) the HT race bike is REBORN.
    Less maintainence, lower price, all equal up to a better bike than F/S.
    At the NOVA National in Phoenix, JHK and his teammates all rode the 29er over the F/S on a super bumpy course.
    In the semi pro category I spotted many guys riding 29er like me. We also had to ride the 40 mile bumpy course. After the race, my back hurt a little, nothing of concern.
    My opinion is that while f/s is comfy, a smattering of sit ups and lower back excercises will give your back strength to avoid the pain. Races are won on the climbs, not on the dh's.
    If you want a really good F/S race bike, one does have to drop some serious bling.
    My .02

    Quote Originally Posted by vintage
    I have just finished reading an article in the best mountain bike publication available - 'Singletrack magazine.' In it Mike Ferrentino (a magazine editor) writes that having ridden a FS for so long (Blur LT being the latest I tink) he cannot believe how responsive and fun going back to his HT was and that he has no immediate plans of returning to his FS.
    Many people post that the FS/HT quesion is merely down to your budget. ie: if you have $3000/2500 you should opt for a FS. Do you agree? If XC racing and entering endurance events would you opt for a FS if your budget was high enough or are you a firm believer in front suspension being all that you need? Do you think that spending that sort of money on a HT is a wasted exercise?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by nobody'
    Notice he didn't say "faster", he said "responsive and fun". A HT is more challenging than a FS when going down a mountain. For me, more challenge = more fun.

    How about you get a FS with a rear lockout so you can have both.
    I upgraded from a hardtail to a Specialized Epic for this reason. No noticeable bob, HT acceleration and FS control. I'm loving this bike.
    :wq

  18. #18
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    How highly do you rate the Epic? Can you give me a little comparison to the other bikes you have ridder? Does the stumpjumper also have the brain fitted on the higher end models? Thanks.

  19. #19
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    I just wanted to weigh in as this is a totally subjective/ opinion based discussion. I really like the ride of a light, stiff hardtail (and some of the new gen. of carbon hardtail race bikes give a pretty amazing ride) -- though as a previous poster mentioned, I am certainly more power than fly weight endurance. I came to mtb a bit backwards -- road to CX to XC -- perhaps that has something to do with it. I am not the line picking master that some hardtail riders are but find that my legs offer a ton of suspension. The one place were FS riders have an unquestionable advantage is a hard turn. The rear suspension takes alot of that side energy and transfers it into traction instead of wash-out-force.

  20. #20
    Always Learning
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maxrep
    JHK just won a major NORBA race on a HT 29er. All the big races in MI are being won on 29ers.

    Less rolling resistance.

    Front wheel is more forgiving than F/S front.

    Rear wheel is more forgiving than 26er HT.

    More efficient power transfer than FS.



    This is my 3rd season racing semi pro on 29ers. I've done the 26er HT and FS plenty. Never looked back after my first ride on the 29er. For this year I have a sub 21lb geared carbon lefty F29.

    All the major manufacturers are unveiling their 08 29ers. Fox, Mavic, Specialized,etc..........its going to be an intersting year!
    "Stick a fork in it, the 29"er is done!"

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by vintage
    How highly do you rate the Epic? Can you give me a little comparison to the other bikes you have ridder? Does the stumpjumper also have the brain fitted on the higher end models? Thanks.

    I cant speak for Sonicsuby but other racers apparently rate the Epic pretty high. Its probably the most popular FS race bike along with the Stumpjumper, Trek Fuel and Giant Anthem-NRS in that order. The hgher end 07 Stumpjumpers have a brain shock. The Brain shock itself has changed I think twice since its inception in 04 improving each time.

    It doesnt surprise me that a lot of riders are touting the 29er. Most of the riders I see with the 29er are expert, under 40 yoa and would be podium riders whatever they ride. I campaigned a 24 pound HT for three seasons. This year I raced a FS Giant NRS at the Old Pueblo. Each of my five laps was 2 to 6 minutes faster than my comparable laps from previous years. I found myself going much faster down hill and through the rocky parts of the course.

    If you arent sure what bike to get you might see what the local racers are riding by going to a race. If the area where you are racing is really smooth dirt then the HT might be worth looking at. I think the Epic, Stumpjumper, Fuel 110, and Giant Anthem would all be worth taking a look at

  22. #22
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    I think you might be right borregokid but I can't bring myself to buy a Giant Anthem even though they are great value for money and highly rated. I guess it is that Giants look crap and I want one bike that can do it all.
    Due to unforseen circumstances my budget has dropped to 2.5k ($3000) from 3.5k so I am starting to look again. I want a bike that is as close to 25lbs as possible but would rather have a good frame that I can upgrade over time. I am going to go FS and would like a carbon frame. I think that the carbon models will be cheaper next season (as in the road bike trend) but I need the bike in the next month or so.

  23. #23
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    I think you are on the right track looking at a FS close to 25 pounds or so. Finding a bike that fits and at the right price is a lot harder than it might seem. I took a quick look at Ebay UK and there is not a lot there. This Epic was the best of the lot. Of course it has to fit and be the right price.

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/SPECIALIZED-S-...QQcmdZViewItem

  24. #24
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    I recently did the same thing; got back on my HT after years of riding a FS. I also had the same reaction; I couldn't believe how responsive and fun the HT was, and have been riding it ever since. I find the FS is more well rounded. It does everything well, and I don't get as tired at the end of the day from being bounced around and using more body english to get the HT around the obstacles. The HT is lighter, faster in the sprints (or at least feels that way) and very nimble, but is more demanding on my body.

    If you can only have one bike, I think it is smarter to invest in the FS bike. If you can have two, having both a FS and HT is a great combination.

  25. #25
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    Thanks for looking borregokid but ebay Uk aint great for bikes and an XL would be way to big for me at 6 feet tall. I might get a stumpjumper carbon but going to check weights as Specializeds tend to be a bit on the heavier side. Santa Cruz Superlight might be a good bet as well.

  26. #26
    (Ali)
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    I keep reading the subject of this thread as

    Simply a question of pride?

    Yes, I am proud of my HT!

    Ali

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by vintage
    How highly do you rate the Epic? Can you give me a little comparison to the other bikes you have ridder? Does the stumpjumper also have the brain fitted on the higher end models? Thanks.
    When looking at the Epic I rode the Stumpjumper (non-brain), and the Canondale Rush. Both the stumpjumper and rush were way too soft for my tastes (I hated the Rush). I rode them all back to back multiple times. The epic was the only one that kept making me excited to test ride .

    I'm not a hardcore racer, I'm doing beginner class at my local race series. I bought the Epic to be a bit faster on the trails with friends and also to use for light competition. In my first race last week, I was thrilled with it .
    :wq

  28. #28
    Tech geek and racerboy
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    I ride ht because of one reason:

    I ride hardtails because I am personally faster on them. For my riding style, I stand and mash a lot, and the courses here (in CO) usually feature some huge climbing. For my riding style, my sub-20lb ht climbs better on these courses than even some of the lightest duallies. My descending skills don't concede much to the duallie riders either, and I often pass on the most technical high-speed downhill sections because most people are so unwilling to just go for it and hope for the best. In these cases, momentum and my skill and confidence carry me through, and I'm still one of the faster descenders. Compared to other riders, I gain more on the big climbs than I lose on the downhills, so for me a hardtail is fastest for XC.

    HOWEVER: For a significantly longer endurance race, like a marathon or something (more than 2-2.5hrs) I think the HT causes more fatigue than it's worth, and I'd ride a full suspension rig if that's what I were doing. Also, while my training bike is fully rigid (and I race with a rigid fork in some cases), I think if I weren't racing (ie: just riding for the love of it and not "training" to race) I'd buy myself a 4in travel duallie, because they're simply more fun to ride on the technical stuff.
    A hardtail is forever

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