Move from a HT to a FS

r3 guy
r3 guy Posts: 229
edited November 2009 in MTB general
I am a FS virgin, At the moment I have a fairly high end Marin hardtail that cost circa 2k with good quality components, fox fork etc. The fork travel is 100mm. Its more of a XC race bike and is very light.

I am primarily a roadie, but with the onset of winter have found myself out on the trails more and more, I mostly ride at Gisburn and Whinlatter. I would describe my skills as between beginner and intermediate, I ride red routes at trail centres and occasionally have to get off and walk down a tech section (about twice per trail)

I have decided to get a FS bike and have ordered a yeti 575 with fox 36 talas on the front (160 travel). (didn’t have a demo in my size, so did a car park test)

My question is how much easier or more fun will the yeti be over the HT. Has anyone else made the switch and can you explain what differences to expect (besides that fact that it has a back suspension)


  • paul.skibum
    paul.skibum Posts: 4,068
    Fun is relative - I dont find my FS is more fun as such, just different. Maybe more fun in truely tech terrain where I'd be fighting the HT a bit too much.

    Personally FS or HT my brains survival instinct or "fear" kicks in at pretty much the same things - drop offs, rock gardens and narrow trails on precipices!
    Closet jockey wheel pimp whore.
  • stumpyjon
    stumpyjon Posts: 4,069
    I find the weight penalty my FS has over my hardtail is negated by the improved comfort from the FS. If you stand up and pedal alot you may need to adapt your riding style, FS generally respond better to sitting down and pedalling smoothly. I think Gisburn would be a lot more fun on a FS personally.
    It's easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission.

    I've bought a new bike....ouch - result
    Can I buy a new bike?...No - no result
  • I do have to question though that your going from a relatively short travel weight weeny 100mm machine to something with a 160 mm talas 36... thats a hell of a lump of weight up front.
  • joshtp
    joshtp Posts: 3,966
    100mm ht to 160mm AM bike? whoooo, now thers a change! well, i dought it will be more "fun" probably diferent, and awsome in its own way, keep the ht tho, its always good to have a ht for easyer stuff. one note of caution, did you order the £200 optional carbon stays? cuz MBR just did a super test, 575 included and said that the carbon stays introduced a huge amount of rear end flex, so much that it ruined the feel of the bike, made it corner poorly, made the brakes howl, and the chain derail. but when they put on the £200 quid cheaper alu stays, all of that stoped, and it became a fantastic bike, getting joint second in the test. it only saves 200g, anyway, not worth it.....
    I like bikes and stuff
  • bomberesque
    bomberesque Posts: 1,701
    OK. No. 1 I hate you; a 575 with a fox 36 Talas is a very nice build indeed

    Mrs B has the 575 with a vanilla 140 but I reckon the 36 would really unlock the hooligan potential in the frame.

    as for potential downsides or more accurately differences;

    Weight the 575 is a light frame, however the 36 Talas is not a light fork in absolute terms (although it's light for its class). Depending on the rest of the spec (and I suppose it'll be top end give the frame and fork) I suppose you'll come in around 28 lbs. This you will feel next to your (if I get my guess right) sub 25lbs HT.

    Sprinting and climbing having ridden Mrs B's I can say the 575 is not a sprinter's bike. Out of the saddle the suspension is quite active, even with the propedal to up the damping (handlebar remote for the propedal switch please Fox, when you've time). It climbs perfectly well (very well in fact) in the saddle though so depending on what type of climber you are will depend on whether the 575 hampers your climbing or, potentially, improves it. One of the marketting bollox-cum-true things is the fact that rear sus tracks the trail better instead of skipping like a HT does. in the saddle, you will find you feel like you have more grip that you have on your HT, that's the sus working for you. Out of the saddle .... not so much.

    Angles. Fundamentally the 575 is going to be slacker angled than an XC race bike. The Talas 36 particularly gives some interesting options. at 160 you will find it really quite slack, great for DH but probably well over forked and slow handling for trail centres. At the middle setting (130) it'll still be slacker than your XC bike but will be sharper handling, good for all dayers and trail centres. At the short setting (110) you'll find it steepens quite a lot, this may be useful for climbing, bringing your weight forward a bit but it will drop the BB (not sure if this will turn into a problem or not, you'll have to see)

    In the end you've just ordered yourself a dream bike that, while you might not want to race XC on it, you will be able to take part in just about every other MTB discipline out there. That said, given the riding you say you do, I suspect you've ordered too much fork but nvm, it'll be lovely at 130 and when you need the extra travel on next year's trip to Morzine, it'll be there for you

    Everything in moderation ... except beer
    Beer in moderation ... is a waste of beer

    If riding an XC race bike is like touching the trail,
    then riding a rigid singlespeed is like licking it
    ... or being punched by it, depending on the day
  • Alex
    Alex Posts: 2,086
    FS bikes respond much better to "Sit and spin" than "stand and grind", so you may need to adapt in that regard.

    If you buy an FS bike in the same niche as your hardtail, any weight increase will be negated by a decrease in fatigue and an increase in traction.

    If you go from a 100mm hardtail to a 160mm FS bike, I'm pretty certain that unless you're finding the hardtail is really, really holding you back on the downhills, that you'll dislike the transition.

    I've always said that the best thing about having a Full Suspension bike is that you get to have a hardtail too. Get the new bike. Keep your hardtail.
  • bomberesque
    bomberesque Posts: 1,701
    575 is actually about 140 rear travel, he's just specc'd it with a longer (but adjustable) fork

    run in the middle settings it'll be roughly 140 F+R and the yeti is much more XC oriented than the phrase "160 FS bike" makes it sound
    Everything in moderation ... except beer
    Beer in moderation ... is a waste of beer

    If riding an XC race bike is like touching the trail,
    then riding a rigid singlespeed is like licking it
    ... or being punched by it, depending on the day
  • Is a 160mm FS actually needed for Gisburn and Whinlatter :? :?:
  • joshtp
    joshtp Posts: 3,966
    bigbenj_08 wrote:
    Is a 160mm FS actually needed for Gisburn and Whinlatter :? :?:
    ye, i thought that too....
    I like bikes and stuff
  • El Capitano
    El Capitano Posts: 6,401
    Alex wrote:
    FS bikes respond much better to "Sit and spin" than "stand and grind", so you may need to adapt in that regard.

    Indeed. Especially coming from a road background.

    I went from having a HT (2004 Giant XTC) with 80mm travel, extended travel to 100mm, then got 120mm forks. I then bought a FS (Kona Coiler) with 150mm travel, which I use for trail centres, still raced the XTC. I then changed the frame of the XTC for an NRS with 100mm travel F+R, which I've raced this for a couple of years. Still use the Coiler for trail centre type riding.

    I'm now considering going back to a HT to race on...

    Basically, it's all down to personal preferance. I like having the FS for Enduro type events, however I'm much slower on it as, like the OP, I come from a roadie background and my riding style (push large gears) seems to suit a hardtail more than a full sus bike.
  • I went from a Kona Kula 100mm hardtail to the Felt 95-140mm AM
    The entire geometry was alien to me on the first few rides, needless to say as I was armed with a new FS bike, I was rather ambitious and dared to leap where the wise would tread with care. I paid the price and was convinced the FS was out to kill me.

    Being a big and strong chap, the extra weight isn't an issue for me. The cockpit position, suspension, steering geometry and Juicy brakes (vs. the HT's HFX9) were the biggest areas of immediate difference

    It took me a few good rides to get the hang of it, but I also discovered that the FS would gobble up all those roots and bumps that an alloy HT would feed back into one's skeletal system.
    In certain areas the FS is in its element but when it comes to cranking up hills, nothing quite beats a born and bred rigid rear end. I don't care what the pundits say about Equilink, Propedal and other pedal efficient systems, the HT is god of the long hill climbs
    However I will point my FS bike down almost any descent and love getting air, something I rarely did with the HT

    The Kona is now a dust collector, I have become so accustomed to the FS bike I'll ride it almost anywhere - commuting and tarmac excluded..
  • bigbenj_08 wrote:
    Is a 160mm FS actually needed for Gisburn and Whinlatter :? :?:
    ye, i thought that too....

    I dare say at some point he may ride somewhere else that will use that 140mm+? Plenty of natural stuff in the Lakes that will make you of longer travel bikes..
    08 Pitch Pro
    14 Kona Unit
    Kona Kula SS
    Trailstar SS
    94 Univega Alpina 5.3
  • delcol
    delcol Posts: 2,848
    i went from a 100mm rockymountain vertex hardtail to a 140 then 160 fox talas r and then talas rc2 santa cruz heckler,, i found as my riding progressed the vertex was holding me back, i got the sc with fox 32 140s then changed them for 36 160 i found the slacker geom made tecchy terrain easier to ride,,
    i only put the 36 talas on when i went to whistler for the first time the 32 140 were eating through there travel over there and i kept bottoming them out..
    i now got rid of the vertex xc bike and got a pace rc 305 i had it on the fox 32 but now run it on marzocchi 55s set at 150mm.
    i find my self reaching for the pace more than the sc.. i rode gisburn on the pace with the fox talas r 32 and the marzoc 55ata to be honest both forks were more than up to the trail i rode both red and blk even the rock slab at the top...
    i never rode the santacruz full susser at gisburn. or whinlatter just the pace. and it's more than up to the job.
    i think you will find the yeti an amazing bike when you get used to the slaker angles. you will notice it more on the decents and the tecchy stuff..
  • toasty
    toasty Posts: 2,598
    bigbenj_08 wrote:
    Is a 160mm FS actually needed for Gisburn and Whinlatter :? :?:

    Are disc brakes needed? Not the point is it :P

    It's a light AM type bike, perfect for chucking around UK trails imo! I've found all my <120mm bikes (even full sus) drastically less fun than my Meta, that's all I know. :)