Titanium HT vs. FS, first good bike reccomendations- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1

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    Titanium HT vs. FS, first good bike reccomendations

    I've been biking ever since I can remember, but I just started getting serious about it this year. Right now I'm riding an old aluminum rockhopper on my local trails in central WI, and I'm tired of getting all beat up by roots and rocks. I don't pass up any jumps and am starting to work into small drops. I want a bike that I can grow with and basically take to whatever trail I want to and not be held back by it (short of actualy DH or FR). Basically, I'm torn between titanium HT , or a FS, probably specialized enduro. I don't really have any place to try anything without a long drive (local specialized dealer didn't carry enduros this year, and forget titanium stuff). I'd like some input on a couple things: Is it harder to get pop off jumps/bunny hops with a FS? how much does the compliant titanium smooth out bumps? and should I expect a good titanium frame with a quality build (think marzoc. or fox, xt) to cost about as much as I'd spend on the enduro?

    One last consideration: I've thought about just getting the HT with the build I want and opting for a FS frame later on. Will riding a HT for another year or two be good for my skills compared to riding a FS?
    Last edited by Mighty Drop Off; 09-30-2004 at 05:29 PM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mighty Drop Off
    I've been biking ever since I can remember, but I just started getting serious about it this year. Right now I'm riding an old aluminum rockhopper on my local trails in central WI, and I'm tired of getting all beat up by roots and rocks. I don't pass up any jumps and am starting to work into small drops. I want a bike that I can grow with and basically take to whatever trail I want to and not be held back by it (short of actualy DH or FR). Basically, I'm torn between titanium HT , or a FS, probably specialized enduro. I don't really have any place to try anything without a long drive (local specialized dealer didn't carry enduros this year, and forget titanium stuff). I'd like some input on a couple things: Is it harder to get pop off jumps/bunny hops with a FS? how much does the compliant titanium smooth out bumps? and should I expect a good titanium frame with a quality build (think marzoc. or fox, xt) to cost about as much as I'd spend on the enduro?

    One last consideration: I've thought about just getting the HT with the build I want and opting for a FS frame later on. Will riding a HT for another year or two be good for my skills compared to riding a FS?

    A titanium HT is an efficient pedaler, built right it will be light, seemingly bulletproof, virtually maintenance free and always has that certain appeal that turn heads on the trail.

    However, it is not full suspension bicycle.

    A full suspension bicycle would be heavier, not as efficient pedaler, would require some maintenance, and enduros are one of the most popular fullys out there, so you'll be seeing a lot of them on the trails.

    Nevertheless it is a full suspension bicycle, and as such it can be more fun going downhills, doing jumps and on rooty and rocky trails.

    Now you just have to sort out which characteristics are more important to you.
    __________
    older guy

  3. #3
    Frame Building Moderator
    Reputation: Walt's Avatar
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    The hardtail *will* be good for you...

    First off, the titanium (or steel) frame won't smooth out the bumps in the same way as a full suspension rig - you're talking about small amounts of frame flex versus a generous 3 or 4" of travel - no comparison. But the hardtail will be easier to pedal, easier to wheelie off drops with, and will help you build really good skills. I know plenty of people that started riding FS - and they never end up being as fast (in the end) as the folks that rode hardtails for a few years.

    FS teaches you that you don't need to pick lines perfectly, that the bike can help make up for mistakes, and this means that eventually you won't have the same skills as an equally talented hardtail rider. Do the FASTEST downhillers ride FS? Yes. But they have the skills from YEARS of riding all kinds of bikes - skills they did NOT get by jumping straight onto a dualie. There are of course exceptions to this, but in general, I think it's fair to say that the hardtail will make you a better (more skilled) rider.

    Keep in mind also that the titanium frame will last the rest of your life - whereas no full suspension frame (or any aluminum bike) will last more than about a decade or so. Combine lots of highly stressed moving parts (pivots and bushings) with a material that will eventually fatigue, and you have a nice formula for a disposable bike. That's not to say that 10 years isn't a good run - but the ti bike will last literally FOREVER if you take decent care of it.

    -Walt

  4. #4
    Ride on
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    DS worth it

    I recently switched from an AL Rockhopper to a longer travel trail bike, so I can answer at least one of your questions. I don't think I get quite the same pop off of jumps, and bunny hops are different. You have to preload your suspension before the jump, so you have to adjust your timing. But I have already started to get the knack of bunny hops, so I figure jumps are just a matter of time. Still, common wisdom says that generally HTs are better for jumping.

    That stuff doesn't matter to me at all because going up and down trails is much more fun with dual suspension. I no longer have to sweat little roots and bumps; I just roll over them. My bike has a slacker head angle, longer effective top tube and longer wheelbase, which all make my bike more stable while descending or riding at high speed. The ample travel allows me to recover from mistakes, which has given me the courage to try stuff that I would have walked down on my HT. This applies not only to downhills with drops and ruts but also to uphill climbs with step-ups and other challenging terrain.

    I'm sure that riding a HT will improve biking skills, but you can keep your Rockhopper for that. Personally I enjoy cycling for the thrill and the exercise, and my FS bike is more thrilling. Bike skills are a means to an end, so don't get wrapped up in accomplishing the goal of "increasing your skills". This will happen naturally if you keep riding. My goals are more like "clean this climb" or "charge this hill without brakes", and my FS is a better tool for these goals.

  5. #5
    gray hair in my shammy
    Reputation: Old_Bashturd's Avatar
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    Get a FS and turn your HT into a single speed

    Quote Originally Posted by Mighty Drop Off
    I've been biking ever since I can remember, but I just started getting serious about it this year. Right now I'm riding an old aluminum rockhopper on my local trails in central WI, and I'm tired of getting all beat up by roots and rocks. I don't pass up any jumps and am starting to work into small drops. I want a bike that I can grow with and basically take to whatever trail I want to and not be held back by it (short of actualy DH or FR). Basically, I'm torn between titanium HT , or a FS, probably specialized enduro. I don't really have any place to try anything without a long drive (local specialized dealer didn't carry enduros this year, and forget titanium stuff). I'd like some input on a couple things: Is it harder to get pop off jumps/bunny hops with a FS? how much does the compliant titanium smooth out bumps? and should I expect a good titanium frame with a quality build (think marzoc. or fox, xt) to cost about as much as I'd spend on the enduro?

    One last consideration: I've thought about just getting the HT with the build I want and opting for a FS frame later on. Will riding a HT for another year or two be good for my skills compared to riding a FS?
    Get the Enduro for long epic rides. For $50 or less, you can turn your Rockhopper into a SS. Use that for shorter rides. Your strength will improve, and you'll keep those skills some FS riders lose. I have a TI HT and use that as my SS. Its a great ride, but its still a HT. A FS is just allot more comfortable, gives you more confidence on the decents ,rocks, roots etc.
    "Veni, vedi, pulsus" "I came, I saw, I pushed"

  6. #6

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    Go FS.

    There is alot of myths behind Ti and how it's ability to smooth out the trail. There is no magical ability for a Ti hardtail to feel like a FS frame.

    Ti does flex, but it's very small in millimeters or fractions of an inch. Jeff Jones' BEAUTIFUL Ti frames do offer more of cush feel, but his Ti frames are not based on the traditional double diamond frame.

    Get the Enduro and enjoy the cush and new found freedom or riding with a suspended rear end.

    Like the previous poster said, convert your current hardtail for to a single speed and you will have two new avenues of fun on bikes: full suspension and single speeding.

    Gussets make a rear SS conversion for les than $20.

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