Full suspension over a hard tail ? where when and why ?

weeksy59
weeksy59 Posts: 2,606
edited January 2009 in MTB general
Novice question here i guess lads.

Why would i buy a F/S over a hardtail ?

Purely for downhill / jumps ?

what about XC ?

Uphills ?
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Comments

  • [insert zipped mouth image here]
  • weeksy59
    weeksy59 Posts: 2,606
    bigbenj_08 wrote:
    [insert zipped mouth image here]

    Why's that fella ?


    You obviously have an opinion on it :)
  • bigbenj_08 wrote:
    [insert zipped mouth image here]
    :lol:
    *Rock Lobster Team Tig SL (22lb 14oz)
    *C. Late 1950's Fixed Gear
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  • weeksy59 wrote:
    bigbenj_08 wrote:
    [insert zipped mouth image here]

    Why's that fella ?


    You obviously have an opinion on it :)

    :lol: it always starts a bit of an argument on here!
    I'd say it depends on the rider, some prefer HT, some FS.

    I myself prefer HT... unless your doing stuff like Bender or full on downhill, i don't see the point/benefits of a full sus.
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    The significant increase in traction you gain from a full sus is a big factor, most jumps are fine on a hardtail as long as you know how to land properly.. but for drops to flat or very uneven terrain then a full sus will most likely work to your advantage.

    As far as XC and uphills go, for the price of a mid range full suspension bike you can get a top end hardtail so bare that in mind.

    Most full suspension bikes now come with a lockout function on either the rear shock, fork or both.. these are usually easy to activate/deactivate and they limit the suspension movement so your bike should climb well.
  • Difficult to just compare a hardtail to a Full susser as there are several disciplines of MTB that a FS could be used for.

    So it depends what you want to do with it.
    Whyte 905 (2009)
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    Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp (2007)
  • The significant increase in traction you gain from a full sus is a big factor, most jumps are fine on a hardtail as long as you know how to land properly.. but for drops to flat or very uneven terrain then a full sus will most likely work to your advantage.

    As far as XC and uphills go, for the price of a mid range full suspension bike you can get a top end hardtail so bare that in mind.

    Most full suspension bikes now come with a lockout function on either the rear shock, fork or both.. these are usually easy to activate/deactivate and they limit the suspension movement so your bike should climb well.
    not necesseraly, on most trails there is only so fast you can go before you reach the limits of the trail. With FS being heavier, not the best at climbing and more expensive than HT's....whats the point?!
  • Thewaylander
    Thewaylander Posts: 8,594
    To be fair i climb faster on my FS than i ever have on my hardtail, CWm Carn's climb really pays back the grip bonus,

    Also with a good full susser it is so much easier to ride all day with losing feeling in your bum! Hardtails are good and definately what you should ride firsst, but once past a certain point FS is a gift.

    Try it and see, i guess it depends on your local trails, mine are welsh tril centers which are very rocky, and a HT just kicks you all over in my mind in comparison
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    bigbenj_08 wrote:
    The significant increase in traction you gain from a full sus is a big factor, most jumps are fine on a hardtail as long as you know how to land properly.. but for drops to flat or very uneven terrain then a full sus will most likely work to your advantage.

    As far as XC and uphills go, for the price of a mid range full suspension bike you can get a top end hardtail so bare that in mind.

    Most full suspension bikes now come with a lockout function on either the rear shock, fork or both.. these are usually easy to activate/deactivate and they limit the suspension movement so your bike should climb well.
    not necesseraly, on most trails there is only so fast you can go before you reach the limits of the trail. With FS being heavier, not the best at climbing and more expensive than HT's....whats the point?!

    Eh?

    The matter of fact is, with rear suspension that is well set-up a rider will benefit from increased traction.

    Most modern shocks and linkages actuallly perform very well at climbing nowadays, plus its always going to be more expensive..

    The point is, in the right hands.. full suspension offers a faster, more comfortable and ultimately more enjoyable riding experience.

    By the way I'm a big hardtail fan too..
  • Sarnian
    Sarnian Posts: 1,451
    It's started again :D
    It's not a ornament, so ride It
  • Agoogy
    Agoogy Posts: 66
    I've had HT for 18 years, for speed, for looks for cost, stiffness and lack of weight

    I've owned a FS for 2 weeks and its a different world. PERSONALLY I now climb faster, I certainly go downhill faster, my rides are longer and more comfortable....

    but yes it costs more to get the tech you need to get rid of pedal bob etc and again personally they never look as pure, although I'm warming to my Lap 714 quite quickly.

    If you had to own one bike, a FS with loc-out suspension when needed is hard to beat.... I'll always check out prices of SCOTT SCALES though....gorgeous
    Lapierre 714 - nicked from Centre Parcs
    2009 Stuntjumper HT Expert Carbon
  • P-Jay
    P-Jay Posts: 1,478
    I'm a confirmed FS rider.

    I've never owned a HT, rode a few, once on a 55 miles xc ride for charity and had a rigid years back.

    TBH the places I ride really let you make use of the extra grip and compliance over the rough stuff (Afan, Brecfa, Cwmcarn are a very short drive away) living in southwales even my little local loop than begins and ends at my Garage has steep rooty sections, little drops and a MONSTER of a rockgarden the likes of which you wont see at any trail centre in south Wales. You can ride all these places happily enough on a HT but I'd have to admit that I couldn't ride them as quickly as I do on my 6" or 8" bike on a HT, never in a million years.

    As for climbing, well, I've always considered it as something that needs to be done, I'm a thrill seeking rider, I'm not all that fazed about climbing quickly or otherwise as long as I get there. I live for the downs.

    Oh, and now I'm over thirty and weigh too much, the old bones and joints need a bit of help with landings, ha ha.
  • I have a HT and a FS, but have the bikes set up differently for different types of riding.
    ie Hardtail has 100-120mm of fork travel and 2.1" tyres.
    My FS has 140mm travel 2.3" tyres and a more relaxed riding position.

    You can't really compare ht and fs unless both bikes were intended for similar use

    Sure, I could ride either bike in the same situation but I always make a concious decision of which bike to use depending where I'm going and how long for!

    This probably doesn't help you but there you go!
  • shin0r
    shin0r Posts: 555
    For me my full suss does everything far better than my hardtail did. I'd never go back.

    Some people may disagree. It's rider choice.
  • Banned!
    Banned! Posts: 34
    if i rode the trails i ride the way I ride them on a HT i would crash roughly every single time, at a conservative estimate.


    however, if i rode a HT to work in the morning i would get there roughly 20% faster and with less grunting as I try to pedal a 6" travel rear end up a steep hill.

    you need to decide what sort of riding you want to do and choose a bike accordingly. this sounds scarey; what if you make the wrong choice and find that you really wanted to ride whippet xc trails and you cant because you have bought a tractor, or the other way round.

    if I were you I would compromise and buy a mid travel all mountain bike. this way you dont have a full on DH rig and neither do you have a twangy hardtail that would spell death on most fun trails in the wrong hands.the worng hands here being the hands of a novice.

    FS bikes are far more forgiving of your poor skills on trails, a HT will spit you off as soon as look at you.
  • shin0r wrote:
    For me my full suss does everything far better than my hardtail did. I'd never go back.

    Some people may disagree. It's rider choice.

    Completely agree, I go further and faster of FS than I ever did on hardtail.

    Carbon frame helps offset some of the weight gain, and locking sus helps especially when you hit the inevitable road bits.

    Suits me.
    Be happy, communicate happiness.
  • weeksy59
    weeksy59 Posts: 2,606
    Completely agree, I go further and faster of FS than I ever did on hardtail.

    Why would you say that is ?
  • forgot to say...........

    although my ht has less travel and skinnier tyres than my FS, it's actually heavier because all my best components are on the fs as that's the one I ride for the longest time.

    Saying that though, riding the HT every so often on gnarly tracks, focuses the mind and makes me a better rider!
  • Banned!
    Banned! Posts: 34
    weeksy59 wrote:
    Completely agree, I go further and faster of FS than I ever did on hardtail.

    Why would you say that is ?

    sorry to jump in, but its the same for me.

    i have a lot more confidence on my sussers then I ever did on a HT. I know that the bike will grip the trails and not skip all over them everytime it hits a pebble.
  • HT will spit you off as soon as look at you.
    Sounds like fun to me! :lol:
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    *C. Late 1950's Fixed Gear
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  • supersonic
    supersonic Posts: 82,708
    I go further and faster on a HT over XC ground! The wight savings, cheaper build (or lighter parts for the same total cost) and more efficient power transfer see to that.
  • weeksy59 wrote:
    Completely agree, I go further and faster of FS than I ever did on hardtail.

    Why would you say that is ?

    Er because it's true.

    I'm not the most tecnically competent rider, and therefore not the most confident when it gets gnarly, the full sus helps me keep out of trouble and I can bounce around with more confidence than I could on my old HT, therefore faster. And for XC, which I do a lot of, it's less tiring on the FS - less hammer - and therefore further.

    Of course part of that will be because it's got better quality components than the HT and it's lighter, being CF, therefore further and faster by default. Also since I can lock the suspension then I get the benefits of firm suspension when I need them too.

    That's my opinion, but then I said Rach Atherton was hot, so what would I know!!
    Be happy, communicate happiness.
  • Thewaylander
    Thewaylander Posts: 8,594
    Have to say for trails to be faster on a HT for me, they would have to be really smooth single track, or big open fire roads,

    The rest time traction + confidence of the FS really does make a speed difference
  • xtreem
    xtreem Posts: 2,965
    FS bikes take more time to clean it.

    That's very important in British weather.
  • GHill
    GHill Posts: 2,402
    For the type of riding I do (I guess it's most easily badged as trail) I find that a FS doesn't give me the same pain in my lower back that I get from a HT after an hour or so of being bumped around.

    I still love HTs though.
  • Andy B
    Andy B Posts: 8,115
    edited January 2009
    Xtreem wrote:
    FS bikes take more time to clean it.

    That's very important in British weather.
    Not strictly true, my Orange 5 is very quick & easy to clean. Less tubes than on a classic double triangle frame hardtail.

    I'm faster on a full suss than on a hardtail of the same weight over 90% of the terrain I ride.

    In fact I've just sold my hardtail, it never got used once I bought an Orange 5.
    2385861000_d125abe796_m.jpg
  • tompug
    tompug Posts: 227
    I have a HT and my bro has a FS. It's normally around 10 miles to our DH/FR trail, he is noramally lagging behind when we get there. On the trail I simply can't keep pace, even when I put it all on the line and really try. His bike just sails over the rocks, roots and jumps.

    You really need two bikes, or a FS with lockout on both ends.
  • gcwebbyuk
    gcwebbyuk Posts: 1,926
    I suppose its all down to the trails you ride and the way you ride them.

    When I was in the market for a new bike, I asked several LBS what they thought my £1200ish would be best spent on for riding on the south downs (near Eastbourne). All of them said HT was the way to go as its mainly hilly and chalky but fairly smooth.

    I therefore went with their suggestions, and glad I did.

    I would like a FS as a second bike, but I don't think I would be any faster on trails on it, as I would sh*t myself if going much faster downhill than I do now, and I wouldnt enjoy hauling it up the hill in the first place.

    For me a classic HT is a nice thing to look at - but a FS is a great mechanical thing to look at too.

    If I only rode Trail Centres, then I would prob stick with an FS though.... or maybe an HT.....
  • Andy B
    Andy B Posts: 8,115
    I really don't know why so many folks think that a full susser is considerably heavier than a hardtail.

    ok so a £1000 hardtail will be lighter than a £1000 susser, but if you compare bikes of an equal spec level there's not much in it at all.

    My susser weighs 28lb, which is not exactly heavy for a 140mm travel bike.
    2385861000_d125abe796_m.jpg
  • i can keep up with my bro's stinky quite well on the downhills at glentress. Although, i'm probably fitter than him (no offence dave) and once he does regain his fitness he'll probably give me a run for his money...but he'll still die trying to ride his stinky uphill :lol:

    As i've said before, if i was to buy a FS it would have to be special.. (a Specialized SX Trail FSR II to be exact) i'd never buy one for XC or plain trail riding...