Age old question.....FS or HT

bobcheese Posts: 343
edited January 2010 in MTB beginners
Hi Guys,

So i've been stalling over buying my first serious MTB for a while now as i am just unsure about what will suit my needs best. I usually ride trail centres like llandegla and some road/local XC just for fitness.

What would suit me best? I am 28, 12st and have a decent level of fitness.I have about 1K to spend either on a FS or a bit less on a HT to leave a couple of quid for some other gear like tools and a camlebak etc.

Any advice is appriciated


  • stumpyjon
    stumpyjon Posts: 4,069
    Probably a hardtail given your budget and riding. You'll get a decent hardtial for that money but only an entry level FS.
    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
  • MikeWW
    MikeWW Posts: 723
    stumpyjon wrote:
    Probably a hardtail given your budget and riding. You'll get a decent hardtial for that money but only an entry level FS.

    Got a fully riigid single speed, full suss and a hardtail. Hardtail is by far the most versatile and quickest
  • diy
    diy Posts: 6,473
    Except you can buy some pretty decent Full sus 2009 models at around 1K at the mo - my LBS was doing Marin Mount Vision 5.7 for under £1,100 and Wolf ridge 5.7 for not much more.
  • Daz555
    Daz555 Posts: 3,976
    I have a £1k FS and rate the experience very highly. It is extremely unlikely I'll ever go back to a HT.
    You only need two tools: WD40 and Duck Tape.
    If it doesn't move and should, use the WD40.
    If it shouldn't move and does, use the tape.
  • pdid
    pdid Posts: 1,065
    Buy a cheapish hardtail now, then get saving for a full susser for when you've been bitten by the bug.
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    ive ridden an fsr xc by specialized and it is excellent, it well reviewed and although heavier and poorer spec than an equivalent priced hardtail, i thought it was more enjoyable and allowed me to ride faster and longer due to the comfort and whatnot of the extra portion of sus.

    also, fs bikes are better than hardtails. FACT
  • fcumok
    fcumok Posts: 283
    also, fs bikes are better than hardtails. FACT

    Here we go again :lol:
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    c'mon, im only joking.

    but the rest of my sentiments remain. a bike is more than the sum of its parts so a heavier worse spec could be a better bike if it is better to ride.

    i suppose the old advice of make a shortlist and test is the best advice here.
  • From what you have said about the type of riding you are going to be a doing, a HT will be fine

    But either way, Its the Rider not the bike that is more important ! :D

    Also HT are better !! :lol:
    On One Inbred 456
    On One Inbred SS
  • bobcheese
    bobcheese Posts: 343
    Thanks for the input guys. I have a FS at the moment its a 2002 GT Idrive 5.0. The problem It was given to my by a freind that bought a new bike. The problem that I have with it is that I find it really heavy on the uphills (ive weighed it and its about 15.5 Kg) plus the fork is a low budget and has no lockout. I'm afraid of buying a FS and having the same problems on the uphills. Is 15.5 Kg an average weight for a modern FS or has this come down alot? I dont mind the extra effort going up as long as i have enough energy to enjoy the downs again.

    I have seen the following which are top of my list at the moment: ... 231&z=2589 ... 30117.html
  • Matt N
    Matt N Posts: 160
    ive ridden an fsr xc by specialized and it is excellent

    +1 although a long travel steel hardtail will give you some good fun aswell
    If calsberg made bikes... they'd probably be the best bikes in the world

    ’My Spesh’
  • Northwind
    Northwind Posts: 14,675
    Weight has come down a lot, but also suspension designs are better too so you get lockouts, platform damping, better linkages etc. If I was you I'd be looking at a hardtail mind but modern full sussers, even at this price, can be brilliant.

    (that Avalanche looks a bit pricey to me btw, I know nothing about the Trek. Get a Carrera Fury for £500 and spend the rest on hookers)
    Uncompromising extremist
  • Tomred
    Tomred Posts: 41
    HT all d way! faster n just more rigid! great fun! but depends on what terrain ur most fun of riding!
  • diy
    diy Posts: 6,473
    The problem with this forum in general is people recommend what they bought. I guess its human nature.

    The Trek Fuel EX 6.5 is 13kg. 15kg is more common for the chunky end of the FS market, like the Marin Wolf Ridge for example.. Full susers tend to start at around 2kg more than HT and you need to spend at least 30% more than the equiv HT to get the same spec.

    My Full sus frame is quite old now, but still has short and long travel suspension settings, flipable linking and lock out. So there is really no debate when it comes to stiffness, unless you ride on the road mostly.

    A lot of my riding in climbing flinty, rooty, muddy hills and the full sus has the advantage, because I can get greater contact going up when I try to bump up steps or rocks etc. I can also squash it right down to get the CoG nice a low.
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    my advice is try a modern fs bike. seriously try one and see what you think. fs has come a long old way in the last 3 yrs especially and is well worth considering.

    be under no illusion though that the same priced ht will definately be lighter (probably by a couple of pounds) and will have better components.

    but as i like to say all the time to anyone who will read it, a bike is more than the sum of its parts and oftn the spec isnt what makes a bike awesome. you might find a heavier, worse spec fs bike is awsome.
  • supersonic
    supersonic Posts: 82,708
    At 1k often 5lbs lighter.

    I'd try a few out as the FS models cary so much in feel.
  • My Vote:

    Hard tail, full suspension later.

    You can do everything mountain biking is about on a hard tail and don't get me wrong a full sus. bike can be awesome but you will have extra time and money to spend in the maintenance department.

    An idea, you could even go for a hard tail, keep upgrading it and then use the left over parts to build up a full susser from the frame up. That way you get to know your bikes inside out.
    Get a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live. ~Mark Twain
  • bobcheese
    bobcheese Posts: 343
    Thanks Charles for the idea. Maybe not a bad route to go down. I am a relative newbie so maybe I should serve my time on a HT to begin with? I have alot to learn especially on the maintenance side.
    Okay so HT it is (I think?) but now what HT? I posted a link to GT Avalanche expert earlier its an 09 model discounted to £630. Any thoughts? I had a look at carrera fury but I they only have them in 18" and above im only 5"7 and in the past 18' have been too large for me. Anyone got any other ideas?
  • pdid
    pdid Posts: 1,065
    Merlin Malt 2 great spec for the price: ... ition.html

    You could possibly upgrade the fork to a reba within budget too.
  • bobcheese
    bobcheese Posts: 343
    thanks pdid i'l take a look. Also saw this on wheelbase looks like everything I need and some what you think? Its on sale until the end of the month.

    they also have the 6300 on sale too:
  • pdid
    pdid Posts: 1,065
    Can`t really comment on the Trek`s bob as I`ve not ridden or even sat on one. They are one of the bigger manufacturers so will generally be a fairly safe bet.

    Best advice is to make a shortlist of bikes you like the look of and go and have a ride or at least a sit on them. Wheelbase will let you take there bikes out for a quick blast around the outside of the shop, worth a visit if you are fairly local.
  • bobcheese
    bobcheese Posts: 343
    Just seen Boardman Comp & Team at hafords both with £100 accessories voucher when ordered online. Looks like they have them in at my local halfords. Will have to take a look. They look like good bikes for the cash even more so with £100 voucher!
  • pdid, that meta 5 is absolutely gorgeous
  • GTs always had a rep of being harsh, being a bit stiff.

    I rode a Specialised hardtail whilst on holiday in Spain earlier in `09 and was pleasantly surprised at how well it di as was my mate @ 6.4in and 16st he gave it a serious workout. We both ride Kona Dawg fs and at the time I had my Bontrager ht and he his Cove Handjob ht.

    There are a lot of good hardtails around including Merlins own brand, the Boardmans and the Edin Bike co Evolution own brand have been getting good reviews.

    I was going to say something along what Charles said, sound advice for a newbie. FS bikes at the cheap end can be fragile and therefore costly to maintain. I do like the EX btw, if I was after another bike I would seriously consider that or the Remedy before any Speccy

    I have recently striped the Kona and built the bits onto a Ragley Blue Pig.

    Stick with the hardtail for now until you build up your skills and bank balance. Try as many as you can, then try them again. Ended up not liking a bike(Rocky Mountain estx)on a second try.
  • bobcheese
    bobcheese Posts: 343
    Now im confused! went into halfords to look at the boardman team but they didn't have any built up so I will have to go back at the weekend. However, the carrera fury caught my eye. What a nice bike! only had a 20" in though which was a little too big (crotch was resting on crossbar with feet flat on the floor. I'm searching the webiste to locate an 18" one but they are showing up as the 09 fury. There is a review on here for the 2010 fury anyone seen one in halfords yet as the web shows all fury's as 09?
  • supersonic
    supersonic Posts: 82,708
    There isn't a 2010 FUry - 09 is the curent.
    MTB-NCL Posts: 49
    I skipped a few posts so i don't know what people have said lol, but for your 1k budget, get a GT XCR for £750 and spend the rest on gear.
    Specialized rockhopper Pro Disc
  • Unarce
    Unarce Posts: 16
    Having owned plenty of both (ti, cf, al), I'd much prefer HT. Especially, if your body is still up for it. Weight and design is evolving, but efficiency and maintenance hasn't changed a whole lot. At times, it's too complicated to matter for non-pros like us :wink:

    How about a steel niner hardtail? Simplicity with plushness. You'll just sacrifice a little flickability, but I don't think you'll be jumping fences or anything :D