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  1. #1
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    dual suspension vs. hardtail

    What do you guys think? I have a Trek 4900 and it seems to work well but is dual suspension better for trail riding?

  2. #2
    beer *****es n' bikes
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike_Rides_Red
    What do you guys think? I have a Trek 4900 and it seems to work well but is dual suspension better for trail riding?
    Hey Mike, a lot depends on what you ride and where you ride. A trailbike/all mountain has 5" + suspension travel, good examples being the Cake and Enduro. They are a compromise between XC and Freeride rigs. XC rigs typically have a 69-70 deg. headtube angle for better climbing, and freeride/trail rigs are more in the 71-72 range with adjustable angles through variable travel. This makes for more stable descents.

    You may be less fatigued on a FS after a long day in the saddle since the suspension is doing the work your legs formally did. Typically I am faster on a hardtail vs. a FS. I have ridden on an Epic, and its considered by many to be the pinnacle of FS technology, but to me it still feels very back end heavy and unbalanced. I prefer hardtails. But I'm 21 and in good shape so that makes a difference too.

    Some stuff to think about...
    Jon
    bike dude, velocity employee (this is my personal account)

  3. #3
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    i went from an 03 marlin to an 03 fuel 90 last year after i realized how much i liked mtn biking. for me dual suspension helps the most controlling descents. i haven't noticed a penalty going up, i probably do better because the suspension doesn't bump around going over rocks in the trail. braking feels better because the suspension keeps the tire on the ground. you don't need a rear suspension by any means, it just makes the trail more comfortable and you don't have to be as picky with your lines (but that's cheating right?)

  4. #4
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    better, yes..

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike_Rides_Red
    What do you guys think? I have a Trek 4900 and it seems to work well but is dual suspension better for trail riding?
    ..yes, dual suspension bikes are more enjoyable to ride. But do you need it? If the hardtail works fine, then no.

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  5. #5
    jl
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike_Rides_Red
    What do you guys think? I have a Trek 4900 and it seems to work well but is dual suspension better for trail riding?
    MIke,

    I rented a blur Monday to ride down Porcupine Rim in Moab. Let's just say full-suspension is the equivalent of mountain biking cocaine. I understand the thrill, and the lure. It took 2 days to get back to "normal" riding my hardtail.

    It make riding better, it does not make you a better rider! You don't have to pick a line, just ride stuff that would normally bounce you out of your seat. It was cheating, simply cheating

    I'm might be getting one next year to add to the stable, $$ limitations... I won't be getting rid of the hardtail though. I'll be fully recovered, from the MTB COKE when my shoulder has recovered from the blur endo. When you crash, you crash at a higher velocity... I was riding way above my capabilities, because the full-suspension lets you do it way to easily...
    We don't need more to be thankful for; we just need to be more thankful.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike_Rides_Red
    What do you guys think? I have a Trek 4900 and it seems to work well but is dual suspension better for trail riding?
    I rode an older late-80's fully rigid Specialized Hardrock about a decade before switching to FS. FS is definitely more forgiving on your tail when all-day epic rides are concerned. My old Hardrock was a 28 lbs beast, and my 2003 Truth is about 26lbs, so I actually shed weight going towards FS.

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    So much better on the glutious

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike_Rides_Red
    What do you guys think? I have a Trek 4900 and it seems to work well but is dual suspension better for trail riding?
    Learning technique on a hardtail is fine and it gives your legs a constant workout...lifting off the saddle. Still, on the pockmarked trail you will be taking a serious amount of abuse compared to a FS bike. People will say how the active suspension will "hook-up" better on hills but I think it is more of a matter of riding style. With a FS bike you can hunker down and stay seated over any rough stuff.

    Danny

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Disaster
    Learning technique on a hardtail is fine and it gives your legs a constant workout...lifting off the saddle. Still, on the pockmarked trail you will be taking a serious amount of abuse compared to a FS bike. People will say how the active suspension will "hook-up" better on hills but I think it is more of a matter of riding style. With a FS bike you can hunker down and stay seated over any rough stuff.

    Danny
    yes that is why I ride a hardtail and always will.. more of a workout, quicker climbs, and less weight. My Hucker only weighs about 22 lbs.
    I like the constant stand on a hardtail... Ithink people hurt their backs on hardtails because they dont stand when they get in the rought stuff... Isimply get up abit off the saddle and let my legs be my rear suspension... like skiing...if I wanted to plant my a$$ in the saddle constantly I'd get a road bike, and a horse for the trails

  9. #9
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    If you're not a great technical rider

    dual suspension can really save your @ss when you make mistakes (pick a bad/wrong line). Of course comfort is a big issue on rough trails or extended rides - but the area where FS really shines is traction. For me, there is no better feeling than feeling my wheels stick to the ground! I ride both, but my dually comes out for anything technical now that I'm getting older (41)!

  10. #10
    Shortcutting Hikabiker
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    Quote Originally Posted by seely
    XC rigs typically have a 69-70 deg. headtube angle for better climbing, and freeride/trail rigs are more in the 71-72 range with adjustable angles through variable travel. This makes for more stable descents.
    No, its the opposite. Steeper is better for XC and makes for more responsive steering and climbing. Slacker head angles make descents easier and handle better at high speed. Personally I ride and XC bike with a 69 degree head angle (really slack for XC) but I like it better than my HT with a 71 degree HA. The pros out weigh the cons, at least for me. It really depends on the riding you're doing.

  11. #11
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    To each his (or her) own, but here's my take...

    Get the right tool for the job.

    I worked for many years as a carpenter. I own several different hammers with each one being best for a particular task.

    I know that there is not one hammer that would be great for every task. I wouldnít use a 10 oz. finish hammer to pound #16 green sinkers and I wouldnít use a 2 pound maul to pound #4 finish nails.

    Having the right hammer for the job will allow your body to perform for several years, but there are limits to that and I have the surgical scars to prove it. Now there are nail guns available that can extend your ďcareerĒ even further. I was denied the use of one on a particular extended project because my foreman didnít want me to wear out the companyís nail gun. I soon developed carpal tunnel and tendonitis. Wearing out that nail gun would have been much more cost effective for the company and itís possible that I would have never needed surgery.

    How does this relate to mountain biking?

    Mountain biking has progressed a great deal over the years to the point where there are several different types of bikes aimed at doing certain things particularly well and many levels of quality and durability. I decided I wanted to take up mountain biking and bought a rigid steel framed 21 speed GT back in 96. It was OK for cruising on some of the gentler trails, but after riding with some more experienced riders, I soon found it had itís limits and my body had limits too. At the bottom of long descents, my arms would be pumped up and hands sore from pulling furiously on the cantilever brakes. If I rode at a more leisurely pace, my ride was OK, but I really liked pushing my pace, especially descending (Iím a slow climber and probably always will be Ė Oh well). I soon discovered front suspension, good tires and V-brakes. These components allowed me to ride more like I wanted to ride.

    I plan to have mountain biking be a part of my life for as long as my body allows me to enjoy it. I enjoy a particular style of riding that may not be safe or sane in some peopleís eyes (and yet others will think Iím a slow poke so Iím not at the insane end of the spectrum by any means). In order for this to happen, I need to remain physically healthy. In order to remain physically healthy and ride in the manner I enjoy, have decided that there are certain types of gear (including bikes, helmet, gloves, hydration pack, etc.) that will keep me healthy and riding in the manner I truly enjoy for many years to come.

    Now, my trusty rigid GT was a damn fine hammer. Itís like a good 20 oz. framing hammer for pounding green sinkers. It works much better than a 10 oz. finish hammer ever did or will, much safer too. But my FS rig? Now THATíS A NAIL GUN!!! Hopefully my body stays healthy enough to wear out several of them.
    Last edited by jeffj; 03-24-2004 at 10:50 AM.

  12. #12

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    I went from a Trek 8000 hardtail to a 2004 Specialized Epic Comp FS bike. The difference is outstanding. I race XC and I can tell that I am faster. My average speeds are about 2mph faster on my Epic. The traction and control are greatly improved, and the comfort definately helps too! The Epic is a great ride, but if you aren't into racing, or if it's a little out of your price range, look at a Trek Liquid 20. It's about $800 cheaper, and has more travel. My dad has one and he really loves it. I've rode it myself and it's a great bike! I'll never go back to a hardtail. If you get a FS bike, you won't either. Matt

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