Next bike... hard or soft (noob)?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Next bike... hard or soft (noob)?

    Only been riding single track, in florida, less than 2 years. Bought a used Cannondale SL4 disk. Looking for my next single track bike. Looking at 27.5+ bikes. Looking at Trek Roscow 7/8 for a hard tale or Fuel EX5 Plus for an entry level full suspention.

    Looking for a little lighter. Larger tire through sugar sand. Better brakes. But now I wonder if softer ride for my backside would be nice. I'm not a strong rider and wonder if a soft tale will draw to much energy... or will it ease my roll though the ruff?

    For reference ... I'm 48. My wife rocks a Fatboy. Yeah .. pink rim tape. I can't keep up!










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  2. #2
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    Typically for the same money, a hardtail will usually be a better bike and have less maintenance required. I prefer the efficiency and trail feedback of a hartail, but on steep and technical climbs I have found that FS bikes often climb better because the rear wheel tracks along the rough stuff better that that of a hardtail.

    I don't know that any of my FS bikes was drastically more comfortable than a hardtail, but they did usually allow me to ride faster through chunky terrain. I stopped riding FS bikes a few years ago because I felt they were allowing and encouraging me to push the limits a bit farther than I need to be pushing them.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the reply sgltrak.

    Gives me some insight. Looking for a little extra speed...surefootedness.

  4. #4
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    I certainly found that for riding rough rocky rooty trails, FS was easier on the bod and I could ride for longer. I could sit more whereas I was almost always standing on the HT. Trails I'm riding now are mainly smooth except for occasional techy sections, so an HT works well.
    Do the math.

  5. #5
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    I have a 100mm Kona 29 FS and a recently built KONA Big Honzo ST 29er (built for my brother). I was really looking forward to riding the Honzo as i kept thinking speed and efficiency. What I found was the HT was just too rough for me. It has Ikon 2.35 tires, maybe if it had 27.5's & 2.8+ tires it would be ok. The Fuel EX 5 has 130mm of travel and my personal preference caps @ 120mm when contrasting HT & FS.

  6. #6
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    Where I ride in FL the trails are mostly rocks and roots. Very few (what I would call) smooth trails around here. I own both a Hardtail and a Full suspension MTB and I notice a pretty big difference. Both are setup tubeless with 27.5 2.25-2.35 tires at fairly low pressure which does help absorb the bumps alot on both.

    I do like to go fast, carve through turns, and take on the technical obstacles on the Blue, Black, and double Black trails here. I ride the FS 90% of the time - for me it's just more fun. When I do take the HT out, it is usually for a lower energy, chill sort of ride and as fun as it is, it definitely beats me up way more than the FS.

    As was stated before, you can definitely spend more time on the saddle with the FS which is nice when I have to catch my breath (I'm 10 years older than you...).

    There are some very compelling reasons to get a HT over a FS, but for me, at my age and fitness, riding the trails I ride in FL, the FS is definitely the right choice.

  7. #7
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    Good input.. see where my budget takes me. :/

  8. #8
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    This time of year Trek may have a demo day or two in or close to your area. You get to ride both types on trails. so you'll get first hand experience. Mostly they bring the higher end models. Ask at your shop about the schedule.

  9. #9
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    I'm 49 and I greatly prefer FS.. I have arthritis in my knees , hands, elbow. neck..back.. basically everywhere you can have it.. I can't really take the beating a HT gives on the trail at this point in my life..

    currently riding a Giant Trance Advanced 2 (2018) like it a lot

    Next bike... hard or soft (noob)?-trance_2adv_2.jpg

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by atarione View Post
    I'm 49 and I greatly prefer FS.. I have arthritis in my knees , hands, elbow. neck..back.. basically everywhere you can have it.. I can't really take the beating a HT gives on the trail at this point in my life..

    currently riding a Giant Trance Advanced 2 (2018) like it a lot

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I have the bulk of these problems too but I'm 39 lol! I still haven't learned my lesson from hardtails!

    By the way, your bike looks great
    Trek …monda | Transition Scout | Transition PBJ | Framed Attack Pro

  11. #11
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    If you decide on full squish, this is a nearly unbeatable deal for the money. https://www.chainreactioncycles.com/.../rp-prod186793

    They have the same deal for the 27.5 Hawk Hill if that's your thing. And lower prices on lower spec models.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbf909 View Post
    Where I ride in FL the trails are mostly rocks and roots. Very few (what I would call) smooth trails around here. I own both a Hardtail and a Full suspension MTB and I notice a pretty big difference. Both are setup tubeless with 27.5 2.25-2.35 tires at fairly low pressure which does help absorb the bumps alot on both.

    I do like to go fast, carve through turns, and take on the technical obstacles on the Blue, Black, and double Black trails here. I ride the FS 90% of the time - for me it's just more fun. When I do take the HT out, it is usually for a lower energy, chill sort of ride and as fun as it is, it definitely beats me up way more than the FS.

    As was stated before, you can definitely spend more time on the saddle with the FS which is nice when I have to catch my breath (I'm 10 years older than you...).

    There are some very compelling reasons to get a HT over a FS, but for me, at my age and fitness, riding the trails I ride in FL, the FS is definitely the right choice.
    My noob opinion is that because I am older and don't have great endurance, I ride a hardtail because it is lighter and more efficient. But maybe I have this backwards.

  13. #13
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    How tall are you? If you can fit on a 29+ bike, it sounds like that's what you want. If absolute speed above all else is what you want, generally a full suspension bike is a bit faster. I have demoed many FS bikes and other than for really steep DH/Enduro stuff, I don't see a huge difference over my plus hardtail. I've been meaning to buy a FS bike, but I'm not sure I'd really get that much more enjoyment out of it....and I have ridden some really nice FS bikes. I'm just not sure they're $6000+ nice when my $2500 hardtail shreds just fine.

  14. #14
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    As an old dude (53) that rode a hardtail for four years, I am enjoying my FS. More than smoothing out rough stuff, which it does, it does take some of the chatter and vibration out of the ride and I found that, ultimately, kind of fatiguing. Of course the hardtail had a crap coil fork, but I'm talking vibration coming up through your arse and feet, as well.

    The thing that people don't think of much is that an FS gives better traction in any kind of even slightly bumpy conditions and makes carving turns quite a bit more fun, in my observation. The rear is just less likely to jump and lose traction.

    I am faster on my FS.

  15. #15
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    I recall reading a study on just how much shock absorption a human body can take before unbearable. Sensors were placed on a tank and tank operator and the amount of vibration turning into heat from the body absorbing it was quantified. The operator was being overheated from the vibrations, from merely maintaining their position more than the internal temperature change from the engine's warmth.

    Logic suggests that this applies to how physically exerting a bike is, depending on how much shock makes it through. It certainly happens on the MX side. I think the whole shock absorption thing is a bit overlooked, probably because there's some spartan culture of getting stronger. You perform better when you're not overheated, and you get more efficient at what you repeat. If you're keeping a modest pace avoiding excessive shocks, the more you repeat that, the more it turns into a comfort zone that is "easy" and "natural".

  16. #16
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    I always tell people that ask me if they should get a FS or HT to get a FS with a lockout at the rear shock. That way they can have it both ways.
    You didn't quit riding because you're old, you're old because you quit riding.

  17. #17
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    Good job!

    Thanks for all the responses! The more I think about FS the more I want it. I think a FS will help curb my issues with sciatica too. Several pluses.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    This time of year Trek may have a demo day or two in or close to your area. You get to ride both types on trails. so you'll get first hand experience. Mostly they bring the higher end models. Ask at your shop about the schedule.
    Responces are better with quote ... I'll look into this.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by fredcook View Post
    I always tell people that ask me if they should get a FS or HT to get a FS with a lockout at the rear shock. That way they can have it both ways.
    With a modern suspension design, a rear lockout is useless on a trail bike. Just leave it open.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Battery View Post
    I have the bulk of these problems too but I'm 39 lol! I still haven't learned my lesson from hardtails!

    By the way, your bike looks great
    thanx much indeed... I quite like this bike.. I think the colorway is pretty good.

    If I could tell 39yr old me something, It would be watch out for your knees / back in my 40s the difference in mobility has been surprising.. I had some nasty crashes in my teens and twenties and some youthful stupidity that probably hasn't helped.. I guess in fairness.. kicking the crap out of 15yr old me and knocking some sense into younger me would be more helpful.. oh well.. bad choices make good stories.. and scars

    your choice.. but I'd seriously consider FS now if I was y'all...

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by atarione View Post
    thanx much indeed... I quite like this bike.. I think the colorway is pretty good.

    If I could tell 39yr old me something, It would be watch out for your knees / back in my 40s the difference in mobility has been surprising.. I had some nasty crashes in my teens and twenties and some youthful stupidity that probably hasn't helped.. I guess in fairness.. kicking the crap out of 15yr old me and knocking some sense into younger me would be more helpful.. oh well.. bad choices make good stories.. and scars

    your choice.. but I'd seriously consider FS now if I was y'all...
    I tore my body up in the military. I have a FS bike but I also bought a dirt jumper and a BMX freestyle bike. I hurt all over my body daily but Iím trying to catch up from all my lost time while serving.


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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Battery View Post
    I tore my body up in the military. I have a FS bike but I also bought a dirt jumper and a BMX freestyle bike. I hurt all over my body daily but Iím trying to catch up from all my lost time while serving.


    Sent from my snail mail via Tapatalk.

    fair enough... I want a dirt jump bike... Giant actually made a few special order for some reason (not sure why??) there is some possibility I may get one of them.. there is actually a nice little pump tract that is 1.5miles from my house here.

  23. #23
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    59 here and long time rider. I made the switch to FS about 20 years ago and despite lots of aches and pains at this age, I still ride 3x/week. I like to think the FS has allowed me to keep riding and having fun. My most recent bike (2018 Kona Process 153) has been awesome and I'm riding as hard and as fast as I ever have. It's a huge bike (XL frame) and despite it's 34lbs it climbs as well as anything I've ever ridden. People spend a lot of focus on wheel size but the geo has been a huge factor in how these FS bikes ride and handle on tight XC type terrain. Why be punished by a hardtail if you can get great all round performance with FS?

    150-160 travel is probably a bit much for Fla terrain but something with 120-130mm travel and 'plus' tires for the sand sounds like the right tool for the job. Lots of great choices out there.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by atarione View Post
    fair enough... I want a dirt jump bike... Giant actually made a few special order for some reason (not sure why??) there is some possibility I may get one of them.. there is actually a nice little pump tract that is 1.5miles from my house here.
    They are definitely fun




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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by fredcook View Post
    I always tell people that ask me if they should get a FS or HT to get a FS with a lockout at the rear shock. That way they can have it both ways.
    Each time I think I might want a HT I ride with my shock locked out for a few miles and I lose my enthusiasm for the idea.
    Do the math.

  26. #26
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    Finally bought a bike. Finding full squish was too expensive for quality. Ended up what looks like a decent 27+ ht.... Jona Big Honzo St (Steel). I got to rent it befor buying and hit my local course. "$2400" dollor bike for $1850. Bike shop price dropped on the spot when I told him other bikes I was looking at. Switch my gear over and headed out to the trails again tomorrow.

    KONA BIKES | MTB | BIG HONZO | Big Honzo ST
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Next bike... hard or soft (noob)?-20190518_184021_resized.jpg  


  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pudknocker71 View Post
    Finally bought a bike. Finding full squish was too expensive for quality. Ended up what looks like a decent 27+ ht.... Jona Big Honzo St (Steel). I got to rent it befor buying and hit my local course. "$2400" dollor bike for $1850. Bike shop price dropped on the spot when I told him other bikes I was looking at. Switch my gear over and headed out to the trails again tomorrow.

    KONA BIKES | MTB | BIG HONZO | Big Honzo ST
    Awesome! You picked a great bike!
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  28. #28
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    Welcome to the world of steel, enjoy!
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  29. #29
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    Excellent choice

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