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The Limits of a Hardtail

Gibbo3771Gibbo3771 Posts: 145
edited August 2014 in MTB beginners
I would like someone to shed some light on what would be considered the limits of a hardtail or "beyond the bikes ability".

I have been doing a fair bit of biking the past 2 month and I feel myself getting better and better everyday, I am hitting the downs faster, I am looking for places that take my bike of the ground, my cornering has greatly improved.

What would be considered beyond the ability of a hardtail bike?

Here is my current bike specs:

Frame : Carrera Vengeance
Fork : RockShox Recon Gold TK Solo Air 120mm 2012

Chainset : FSA ???
Shift Levers: Stock
Front Derailleur: Stock
Rear Derailleur: Stock
Cassette: ???
Chain: Shimano 8 Speed
Wheelset : Hope Hoop Pro Evo 2
Tyres : Maxxis Highroller Super Tacky 26" 2.35

Front Brake: Shimano Deore M615 Hydraulic Disc, 203mm Rotor
Rear Brake: Shimano Deore M615 Hydraulic Disc, 180mm Rotor
Handlebars: Carrera
Grips: Not stock, not sure
Headset: Carrera
Stem: Carrera
Saddle: ????
Seatpost: Carrera

I really enjoy riding this bike and it has not really let me down but I am not sure what would be the limit of this, I really like doing downhill and where I bike the track is loose, boulders and a couple of small jumps.

I have upgraded the important parts of the bike, brakes, forks and wheels. I am wanting to replace the entire drivetrain this year, then towards next year replace the seatpost and saddle to try and reduce the weight at the rear.

So what are the limits of a hardtail like this?

EDIT: I do not think I am ready for a full suss bike yet, if I was going to buy a new bike I would either build it from scratch or get a decent £1000+ hardtail.
Imo I have still got a lot to learn and from what I have read, learning it on a hardtail is better as it is less forgiving.
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Posts

  • Chunkers1980Chunkers1980 Posts: 8,035
    Doesn't really exist short of DH. The more hard-core end of AM can still be HT.
  • If you have a decent bike, the biggest limit is the rider on it. I spent two years riding on a hardtail with other riding full-sussers. I broke a load of spokes, but that was due to my cack-handedness, not the bike.

    That said a full-suss will make some things easier.
    One of our very muddy routes had dried out leaving loads of ruts. Those of us on full-sussers bounce over everything. Those on hardtails are bounced around and the back wheel washes out more.

    Good technique (and balls of steel) will trump anything that an expensive bike can manage.
    2007 Felt Q720 (the ratbike)
    2012 Cube Ltd SL (the hardtail XC 26er)
    2014 Lapierre Zesty TR 329 (the full-sus 29er)
  • Gibbo3771Gibbo3771 Posts: 145
    Doesn't really exist short of DH. The more hard-core end of AM can still be HT.

    Even with a frame like mine? Face it the bike stock is a pile of censored , I've always felt that the frame was "ok" for a starter bike.

    Is there anything in particular I should avoid? What brought this on is a label on my friends Fuji Nevada from Evans, it states that the bike should not drop/jump anything that would have the bike falling from a height more than 3ft I think it was.

    Is this just a warranty related sticker to protect the manufacturer in the case that a frame was to break upon impact?
  • Gibbo3771Gibbo3771 Posts: 145
    *Snip*

    Yeah I have seen full sussers fly over parts of the track that I need to slow down as I near and pick a good line, due to massive ditches.
  • Chunkers1980Chunkers1980 Posts: 8,035
    Gibbo3771 wrote:
    Doesn't really exist short of DH. The more hard-core end of AM can still be HT.

    Even with a frame like mine? Face it the bike stock is a pile of censored , I've always felt that the frame was "ok" for a starter bike.

    Is there anything in particular I should avoid? What brought this on is a label on my friends Fuji Nevada from Evans, it states that the bike should not drop/jump anything that would have the bike falling from a height more than 3ft I think it was.

    Is this just a warranty related sticker to protect the manufacturer in the case that a frame was to break upon impact?

    You asked about HT - not what bikes can handle. Having a FS doesn't automatically mean it can be jumped - you need the right tools for the jobs.

    If you're going to be riding the harder end of AM then you need a frame fit for the job.

    Yours is just a regular XC bike to do XC things on.
  • Gibbo3771Gibbo3771 Posts: 145
    Gibbo3771 wrote:
    Doesn't really exist short of DH. The more hard-core end of AM can still be HT.

    Even with a frame like mine? Face it the bike stock is a pile of censored , I've always felt that the frame was "ok" for a starter bike.

    Is there anything in particular I should avoid? What brought this on is a label on my friends Fuji Nevada from Evans, it states that the bike should not drop/jump anything that would have the bike falling from a height more than 3ft I think it was.

    Is this just a warranty related sticker to protect the manufacturer in the case that a frame was to break upon impact?

    You asked about HT - not what bikes can handle. Having a FS doesn't automatically mean it can be jumped - you need the right tools for the jobs.

    If you're going to be riding the harder end of AM then you need a frame fit for the job.

    Yours is just a regular XC bike to do XC things on.

    I might have a bit specific yeah. You can probably understand that I am a bit concerned for my safety lol, if my style of riding is adapting differently and my bike can't handle it, then it is difficult to go out and buy another bike, although not impossible ("she" would interfere).

    The sticker on that specific bike got me though, as I have done more or less what it said don't. Different frame ofc but 3ft drop onto a flat is quite a bit, especially at my weight of 220lb.

    On a plus side, if I do break the frame...new bike time :p
  • CitizenLeeCitizenLee Posts: 2,227
    Full sussers are actually harder to jump until to master the technique. The suspension steals your pop until you learn to work with it, rather than it working against you.

    Might be worth looking at some of the more aggressive hardtails, there's enough of them out there.
    Current:
    NukeProof Mega FR 2012
    Cube NuRoad 2018
    Previous:
    2015 Genesis CdF 10, 2014 Cube Hyde Race, 2012 NS Traffic, 2007 Specialized SX Trail, 2005 Specialized Demo 8
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,747
    Your frame is actually pretty good, it is the same frame as they use on the Fury of the same age, of course I don't know the age of yours as there were subtle changes along the way, but it's on a par with a Spesh Rockhopper frame (made in the same factory). Have you posted in the Carrera HT thread (link in sig), have a read as well and you may find some inspiration!
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    You can ride any trail on a hardtail. It's just easier to ride harder and faster on a bigger full suspension bike.
    As for the size of jumps and drops it can handle it's how you ride them that matters. Ride a big jump well and it puts less stress on the frame than riding a small jump badly.
  • My bikes a 2009 stumpjumper ht and I'm doing all the stuff a full sus is doing, cliff paths, steps etc just a bit slower and more cautious lol
    I've only been riding for 6 months but I looked at getting a full sus but got persuaded to buy a hard tail as most of the lads said you'll learn how to ride on a ht, keep it for a year or 2 before considering a full sus as it will make you a better rider as you can get lazy on a full sus.
    So eventually my hard tail will be my race bike and the full sus will be my 30mile+ sunday bike.
  • KajjalKajjal Posts: 3,404
    To give you a comparison the the early 1990's MTB's when I started mountain biking most bikes had rigid forks, cantillever brakes and seven gears. This meant you got beaten up by even slightly rough tracks, were lucky to be in the right gear and enjoyed steep downhills with effectively no brakes. Still enjoyed it though.

    Newer bikes are alot better with suspension and disc brakes. I am also about 220lbs and my XC hard tail (Carve Comp) is great for riding on all sorts of trails and terrain. The only thing I don't do are any big vertical drops or jumps as I don't want to risk it. All other stuff is fine red runs, single track, rocky trails :)
  • Gibbo3771Gibbo3771 Posts: 145
    Thanks for your replies guys!

    I have been riding this hardtail for 5 years on and off now (off in winter, on summer). I will pop over to that thread as soon as my brakes come :p. People might notice something missing from the handlebars lol.

    I also ride a full rigid bike, a 1996 Specialised Hardrock. Gets me back and forth to work a lot faster than my Carrerra, less resistance in the tires. Brakes suck though -_-.

    I will continue to ride my hardtail the way I do, it's held up so far. My next bike will either be an AM or another Hardtail, had my eyes on the Whyte 905 2014 for a while, missus made sure that never happened :(.
  • aldo45aldo45 Posts: 13
    Look at what some of the top BMXers are doing on rigid bikes; there are no real limits to a hardtail but certain areas you'lll go faster more easily on a FS.
  • felix.londonfelix.london Posts: 4,067
    "Why have that extra tooth if you're not using it?" - Brian Lopes

    Votec V.SX Enduro 'Alpine Thug' 2012/2013 build

    Trek Session 8
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    I disagree about hardtail being good to learn skills before moving on to full suspension.
    A lot of the riding techniques are different, especially jumps but even things like just holding speed over rough ground.
  • KajjalKajjal Posts: 3,404
    I disagree about hardtail being good to learn skills before moving on to full suspension.
    A lot of the riding techniques are different, especially jumps but even things like just holding speed over rough ground.

    True enough but a hardtail teaches you a lot about line choice, smoothness and momentum. The first time I rode my full suspension bike it was great until the corners and then I realised how fast I was going :)

    On a hardtail I would have been beaten to bits at that speed with the lines I was riding ;)
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    But you're learning things you won't need on a full sus bike. You don't need those smooth lines and smoothness is all down to forward observation, looking towards those corner exits and ignoring everything else. If anthing hardtails encourage bad line choices dictated by the smoothest part of the trail rather than the best line to a section exit.
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,904
    Or just ride a bicycle.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

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  • paul.skibumpaul.skibum Posts: 4,068
    But you're learning things you won't need on a full sus bike. You don't need those smooth lines and smoothness is all down to forward observation, looking towards those corner exits and ignoring everything else. If anthing hardtails encourage bad line choices dictated by the smoothest part of the trail rather than the best line to a section exit.

    I don't think I chose lines based on smoothness on my hardtail - I think I plan my line based on the smoothest line to the exit I want to take so sometimes in order to get out of a corner where I want I am picking a harder line - exactly as I would on my full susser no?
    Closet jockey wheel pimp censored .
  • benpinnickbenpinnick Posts: 4,148
    A hardtail has no limits, but an FS will be more forgiving...

    14490301338_3703e9aea9_o.jpg
    A Flock of Birds
    + some other bikes.
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    ^^^Spot on^^^

    I used to race downhill on a hardtail and woul hit every jump, drop and rock garden. When I made a mistake it would spit me in to the scenery and often on to A&E.
    The full suspension bikes I ride now let me get away with some mistakes and just give me a warning! When I do crash it's usually faster though.
  • swod1swod1 Posts: 1,639
    yeah i dont race but i am getting to the point of being bored of my hard tail bike, riding local bridleways and stuff the roughness of the trails isn't nice on a rigid frame and it isnt fun anymore.

    I'm looking at building my first ever full suspension bike with a nukeproof mega frame as loads of you guys seem to really like the bikes and the price of the frame is great value on crc.

    Rockmonkeysc, do you still see at races long travel hardtails as from talking to a few guys out riding a lot seem to be going back to these as they are lower maintenance etc.
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    There are still plenty of hardtails at races.
    The Mega won't be a good choice if you're riding lots of bridleways. Even the TR is a bike that needs to be ridden hard to feel good.
    Unless you get a very good fork, shock and frame a full sus bike isn't really more comfortable on rough trails. Most don't have the small bump sensitivity to damp out the roughness of a trail. Even my downhill bike with a Cane Creek shock feels rough on bridleways etc but point it at a rock garden and it's brilliant.
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,904
    My bike feels great over small bumps, but point it at a rock garden and it's rubbish.
    And that has nothing to do with rider.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

    Parktools
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    cooldad wrote:
    My bike feels great over small bumps, but point it at a rock garden and it's rubbish.
    And that has nothing to do with rider.

    Is it a Pendleton with a Brooks sprung saddle and basket?
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,904
    cooldad wrote:
    My bike feels great over small bumps, but point it at a rock garden and it's rubbish.
    And that has nothing to do with rider.

    Is it a Pendleton with a Brooks sprung saddle and basket?
    Obviously. Where else would I carry my limes, liver and string?
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

    Parktools
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,747
    swod1 wrote:
    yeah i dont race but i am getting to the point of being bored of my hard tail bike, riding local bridleways and stuff the roughness of the trails isn't nice on a rigid frame and it isnt fun anymore.

    I'm looking at building my first ever full suspension bike with a nukeproof mega frame as loads of you guys seem to really like the bikes and the price of the frame is great value on crc.
    Sounds like you need a short travel XC type FS, Giant Anthem, Pivot mach4 or similar, they are very much like riding an HT, don't weigh much more but will soak up the little bumps that can make an HT quite hard work over a long ride.

    My Son has an old (2006) Scott Genius RC20 (well we bought a frame and built it up) and that does the job really well.
  • swod1swod1 Posts: 1,639
    There are still plenty of hardtails at races.
    The Mega won't be a good choice if you're riding lots of bridleways. Even the TR is a bike that needs to be ridden hard to feel good.
    Unless you get a very good fork, shock and frame a full sus bike isn't really more comfortable on rough trails. Most don't have the small bump sensitivity to damp out the roughness of a trail. Even my downhill bike with a Cane Creek shock feels rough on bridleways etc but point it at a rock garden and it's brilliant.

    I forgot to mention the local woods too, which can be rather rough i managed to break the rear wheel on my hardtail, as i ride it pretty much over anything stones, roots in the ground etc.

    i'd was looking at putting some pikes/revelations on the bike if they are availble in 140mm travel anything more is going to be ridiculous for what i use it for.

    Can the mega be used with some decent 120mm forks or does that alter the ride too much having a lower front end ?
    The Rookie wrote:
    Sounds like you need a short travel XC type FS, Giant Anthem, Pivot mach4 or similar, they are very much like riding an HT, don't weigh much more but will soak up the little bumps that can make an HT quite hard work over a long ride.

    Yes i have been looking at canyon nerve, trek fuel ex something with 120mm travel would be good.

    As currently running 100mm rebas and they arent so great on small bumps even after a lot of fiddling with the rebound adjustment to find the best setting, i can do rides of 30 miles easily
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    120mm is far too short for a Mega. I have 150mm on my Mega TR and that's spot on.
    You won't get really good small bump sensitivity unless you go for a coil spring or a very good for with separate high and low speed compression adjustment which is very rare on forks shorter than 150mm.
    The purpose of suspension is to improve control and grip not to make it comfortable.
  • swod1swod1 Posts: 1,639
    120mm is far too short for a Mega. I have 150mm on my Mega TR and that's spot on.
    You won't get really good small bump sensitivity unless you go for a coil spring or a very good for with separate high and low speed compression adjustment which is very rare on forks shorter than 150mm.
    The purpose of suspension is to improve control and grip not to make it comfortable.

    I'm not so bothered about small bump sensitivity, that i can deal with.

    Its when riding rough stuff on hardtail frame the ride is so much more harsher and you can feel it a lot more through the back end.

    I'm after something more fun but nothing thats going to be over the top for what i want to ride, thats why i thought of the mega with crc' keep reducing the price of the 26" frame to under 700 quid i thought that a steal and could build something i want rather than buy something that i'll eventually swap out bits on.
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