Hardtail 29er vs. Full Suspension 26"- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    Clueless Rider
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    Hardtail 29er vs. Full Suspension 26"

    Been riding for 5 years. Consider myself an intermediate rider. Have entered races, but not competitively. I just like to participate. I really want to step up to a 29er, but my budget is tight (max. $1500). I only see hardtails at that price. I've never ridden a hardtail and want need some experienced advice. Do I get a hardtail 29er so I can keep up with my riding buddies, or simply upgrade the 26" to a better model?

    Thanks in Advance.

  2. #2
    Total Goober
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    Are you wanting a 29er for racing, or just riding?

    I raced a HT 29er last year (beginner, moving to sport this year), and saved the FS for the Super-D. Depends on the terrain you ride, of course, but I save the HT for race days.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fuglio View Post
    You guys suck im all bummed now

  3. #3
    Rider and Wrench
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    What type of Full squish 26" bikes (3", 4" etc...) have you been riding and what/where type of trails do you spend most of your time on?
    I Just wish I could ride more!


  4. #4
    mtbr member
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    I just made the switch from a 5" xc full suspension 26er to a 3" HT 29er and noticed a big difference in comfort.
    Be ready for bumpier ride! The speed and roll + no loss in pedal effeciency more than made up for the ride comfort dowgrade.
    Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein

  5. #5
    mtbr member
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    haven't looked back

    I moved to a rigid SS 29er from a Santa Cruz Blur. I haven't even touched my Blur in a year. I ride hard and fast in Washington. The 26" full suspension ride is way overrated. I used to think that as an old man I needed to suspension to keep my back from getting sore. The rigid 29er is faster on most trails and just as comfortable. Move forward, have fun.

  6. #6
    On wuss patrol
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clueless Rider
    Do I get a hardtail 29er ...?
    Yes. With 5 years of riding, you should have the leg strength to begin to be more comfortable out of the saddle more as you would have to be on an HT. Take one for a real trail spin if you can. I think you'll like it. Keep the FS as is for rides more suited to FS and as a backup once you go HT full time.
    Sometimes, you need to go fast enough that the trail is a blur to find clarity. -- Wild Bill

  7. #7
    Master of Disaster
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clueless Rider
    Been riding for 5 years...I've never ridden a hardtail...
    This amazes me.

    What has your experience been with shock and pivot maintenance? How desirable would it be to you to not have a shock or any pivots to worry about?

    I do only moderate-level trail riding on a HT 29er but I'd switch to FS in a minute if I could afford it. Personally, I'm not worried enough about pedal-bob and efficiency for that to offset the extra comfort of a FS rig. I've demoed a lot of bikes and the smoothness of FS always impresses. On the other hand, seeing US$2,500 bikes with brakes a step down from the XT brakes on my HT stops me cold.

    My bottom-line is that I DO have a limited budget and nice components are a priority over the high cost of a FS frame with shock. Unfortunately, I can't have it all.

  8. #8
    Clueless Rider
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    My curren full suspension is a 2005 Ibex Ignition 20" frame. I'm from Northern Virginia. My races have been limited to the Cranky Monkey series and the Leesburg snotcycle-hotcycle-baker's dozen. I ride every weekend, weather permitting, on Fountainhead, Wakefield, or Reston, and midweek during the summer months. My main reason for riding is the feeling of accomplishment for finishing a ride, not necessarily competing. When on the course, I actually live for the hill climbs and the obstacles, much more than downhill speeds. Given I'm approaching 50, I'm interested if other older riders see a tradeoff between back comfort and acceleration ability between the two.

    Very appreciative of the feedback.

  9. #9
    Plan #123-D
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    For what it's worth, I bought a SPOT Longboard (steel 29er HT, SS) last year to supplement my race steed, a 2007 Epic 26er. I thought that the 29er would be my "fun" bike and I would keep my 26er as my race and longer ride bike. I was wrong...I honestly have not ridden my Epic since I bought my 29er HT. I'm on the smaller side (5'5) and was nervous about making the jump. But Spot nailed their geometry and the steel ride sort of feels like 1 inch of travel (compared to an aluminum hardtail). My advice, buy a steel 29er HT and upgrade as you go. It will become your race day bike, AND your everyday bike.
    C'mon lets go for a whirl.

  10. #10
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    Agreed

    Last post is right on for me. I moved back to rigid frame cause I got tired of maintaining the pivots. I forgot to mention that I do use a thudbuster short travel seatpost to take some edge off. I say go with a steel frame an build it up as you go.

  11. #11
    Out spokin'
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    OP, get yourself a 29er HT and if you're lucky enough to have at least 8" of seatpost showing, splurge on a ti post. You'll be amazed at the amount of comfort a ti post can offer (the more post exposed, the greater the benefit).

    You can thank me later.

    --sParty
    (about 10 years ahead of you)
    disciplesofdirt.org

    We don't quit riding because we get old.
    We get old because we quit riding.

  12. #12
    joek9999
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    Yes, the 29er hardtail almost "feels" like it has a little suspension. The bigger wheels crush smaller bumps and if you run tubeless, you will really like the change. Aluminum is lighter and stiffer for me, and the steel frame that I rode had a forgiving feeling that would be good as a rigid ss, but not as a geared xc racer with a fork. My opinion of course! (I race my 29er hardtail too, and get crushed by guys on FS xc 26" bikes. Only hardcore training will bridge that gap. The bike doesn't matter that much if you're just out for the sake of participating in fun events!)
    Trails, Tinkering and Togetherness!

    joek9999

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