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Do I bite the bullet - HT to FS

The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,757
edited January 2015 in MTB general
background
I've alwways preferred hardtails for the 'directness' of feel, although I have ridden a couple of FS that came close (notably a Pivot Mach4), but as my riding gets better (faster( and I'm getting no younger I'm finding the downhills wear me out faster than the uphills though using my legs for suspension.

So my dilemma is this, will an FS help me out, if so how much travel do I need (use Cannock FTD/Monkey as a reference as it's my local ride) to make a difference?

Aim would be to reframe my HT (link in sig) using an FS frame - carrying over whatever would fit, so would ideally be looking at something I could start with a 100mm fork up front, or is that too big a compromise?
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  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 14,770
    Giant Anthem would do nicely I think. Light and efficient with 100mm front and rear but far from racey.
    My Anthem ended up with a 120mm fork which was a nice upgrade.
  • CitizenLeeCitizenLee Posts: 2,227
    2010-2012 Stumpy or Camber :)
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  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,757
    Thanks for the suggestions, not really answering the question asked though (which wasn't which frame!)...
  • CitizenLeeCitizenLee Posts: 2,227
    If you're used to HT then I suspect moving to FS will be a bit of a double edged sword, but from what you're saying I think ultimately worth it if you choose the right bike / set-up. They don't have to indirect and energy sapping. For travel, 100mm would be fine but I think 120-140mm may be better as a good all rounder, obviously adjustable if possible.

    I could happily do all my local trails on a HT, but as I can only have one MTB I'll choose FS every time as I just find them more fun to ride.... which is why we do it right? :D
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  • jimothy78jimothy78 Posts: 1,407
    Interesting thread - am in a similar position myself. Riding a 26er HT I've noticed that it's rougher trails (especially descents) that really tire me out, and I've been wondering whether my next bike should be a more forgiving 29er HT or, like you're suggesting, a FS frame that I can simply swap all my components over onto?

    Watching with interest...
  • CitizenLeeCitizenLee Posts: 2,227
    A 29er is the last thing I'd buy to improve my riding experience as the trade offs are too high for what little "extra rollover" benefit you get IMO. Rubbish on tight twisty stuff and needlessly flexy. 650B seems to be the sweet spot but I remain unconvinced they're the new Holy Grail until I can take the Pepsi Challenge on a 26" vs 650B bike that otherwise has the same spec - no use making the comparison on two different bikes as so much other stuff affects the ride.
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  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,599
    As someone who is in the same region of ancientness, get one.

    I went FS not to do gnarly hardcore stuff (your brittle old bones would break) but because by the end of a ride the relative children I ride with would still be hopping merrily over roots and ruts, and I would be cursing each one and totally shagged,

    I put it off because they always felt bouncy, bobby and vague, as well as heavy.

    Biting the bullet I got a nice light scandium 100mm Kona Four Deluxe, with decent geometry, which has no noticeable bob and after a few rides to get used to it, absolutely loved it. Having discs for the first time also helped, but that's another story.

    For some of the downs a bit more travel might be nice. I ride a lot with what has turned into the local Santa Cruz mafia on mighty 150mm+ toys, which feel like a magic carpets by comparison, but for the speeds I do (and I avoid big drops and stuff because chicken), and for my favourite riding - roughish windy singletrack, my bike feels perfect and keeps up with anything, although it's rider is often lacking.

    Saying that I bought a 1996 Kona Explosif frame yesterday to build up into a fun hack as my son pinched my Marin HT. It will complement the Hahanna commuter and Caldera SS. I quite like Konas.
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  • CitizenLee wrote:
    A 29er is the last thing I'd buy to improve my riding experience as the trade offs are too high for what little "extra rollover" benefit you get IMO. Rubbish on tight twisty stuff and needlessly flexy. 650B seems to be the sweet spot but I remain unconvinced they're the new Holy Grail until I can take the Pepsi Challenge on a 26" vs 650B bike that otherwise has the same spec - no use making the comparison on two different bikes as so much other stuff affects the ride.

    Which 29er did you try?
  • CitizenLeeCitizenLee Posts: 2,227
    heavy_rat wrote:
    Which 29er did you try?

    Stumpy FSR, Camber FSR, OnOne Inbred and a Cube LTD. Plus my commuter/hybrid is 700c, so 29er in MTB terms.
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    2015 Genesis CdF 10, 2014 Cube Hyde Race, 2012 NS Traffic, 2007 Specialized SX Trail, 2005 Specialized Demo 8
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,757
    Thanks for the help, especially CD who is only a few years more ancient (and a few stones heavier I think) so your advice is really pertinent, am looking towards a circa 100mm travel frame (although many come with more rear travel than the OE 100mm forks) like an Anthem, Titus X etc

    If I decide to go FS I'll post in buying for specific yes/No's..... but I've come to the conclusion that round Cannock it would be nice to feel vaguely as 'up for it' (physically) at the end as I do at the start and wasn't sure how much difference 100mm would make to that. Still trying to persuade the son to let me borrow his Scott (link in sig below) as a comparison.
  • kesterkester Posts: 79
    There will be trade-off's with having an FS bike. Yes it will be more comfortable overall and quicker on downhill sections, but on longer uphill sections with the added weight of the bike you might get slightly more tired out pedalling. Even being weight weenie I think you may struggle getting an FS bike under 11kg (could be wrong though, also depends what your budget is regarding getting a frame). I started out learning to MTB on a HT then was given one by my step-dad for a couple of years, but after having a couple of FS since then I would never look back to getting a HT.
  • CitizenLeeCitizenLee Posts: 2,227
    Something to keep in mind is the rear shock will make or break the experience, so aim to get a bike/frame with a good one.

    A lot of people don't like them, but the CTD system on Fox is really good. Climb mode on my Float certainly locks my Mega out like a HT when I need it to, Trail keeps it active without wallowing and Descend allows you to let rip downhill. Pretty much fit and forget too... I've only had to adjust pressure and set rebound since I got it. I did get it Pushed, but that's irrelevant at this point.

    As for the weight, you'll get used to it and will end up fitter/stronger as a result.

    There's a couple of Mach 4s on Pinkbike at the moment :twisted:
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    2015 Genesis CdF 10, 2014 Cube Hyde Race, 2012 NS Traffic, 2007 Specialized SX Trail, 2005 Specialized Demo 8
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,757
    kester wrote:
    Even being weight weenie I think you may struggle getting an FS bike under 11kg.
    My Sons frame weighs 600g more than my HT, so (allowing for no other changes, though a few are likely to be needed) that would be a weight of 10.2Kg, sub 11Kg is easily achievable.

    Thanks CL, I wouldnt get one without a decent shock.

    Any other comments on how well an FS will protect me from the fatigue I get over rough stuff on the HT? I'm not interested really on whether it will be faster, just whether I can push harder for longer and enjoy the ride more.
  • CitizenLeeCitizenLee Posts: 2,227
    Future weight savings aside, it would probably easier to adjust to the extra bulk of a FS on the ups than it would be to overcome your current fatigue on the downs/rough stuff when ridng your HT... if that makes sense? They're just more forgiving really. Besides, it's not like you're looking at a Demo 8 or something like that! The pros will outweigh the cons for you, IMO.
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    NukeProof Mega FR 2012
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    Previous:
    2015 Genesis CdF 10, 2014 Cube Hyde Race, 2012 NS Traffic, 2007 Specialized SX Trail, 2005 Specialized Demo 8
  • ilovedirtilovedirt Posts: 5,798
    Just to throw this out there - a decent frame that is set up correctly should not feel 'bouncy, bobby and vague'. I get plenty of feedback from my bike, and know exactly where I've put the wheels at all time (whether or not I've put them where I meant to is a different question). As people said though, it lets you ride faster and/or stops you from getting shaken to bits! It's very noticeable over really rough stuff, and set up right, will keep you feeling better for longer.
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  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,757
    I rode a Trek EX (something) and a Pivot mach4 back to back at a demo day, the Pivot felt like an HT on a more comfortable trail, the EX felt vague by comparison...and compared to my Carrera, it's that slightly disconnected feeling I want to avoid if I do the swap.
  • CitizenLeeCitizenLee Posts: 2,227
    It would have been a Fuel EX. Not a particularly awe inspiring bike.

    The Pivot uses the DW-Link suspension design, where as the Trek uses ABP.

    If you preferred the Pivot then it might be worth looking at other bikes that use the DW Link design.

    Again, when set-up well a full suss shouldn't leave you feeling disconnected from the trail.
    Current:
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    Previous:
    2015 Genesis CdF 10, 2014 Cube Hyde Race, 2012 NS Traffic, 2007 Specialized SX Trail, 2005 Specialized Demo 8
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,757
    I wish I'd noted the Trek model, it was just I was so uninspired by it I wanted to forget it, maybe I'm picky (beyond my skill level for sure) but I know very much how I want a bike to feel, I rode a trek Superfly Elite (HT) and was disappointed out how unwieldy it felt after my Carrera, I ride for fun, so any changes I make mustn't negatively impact that for me, I'm not that fast, and never will be, so may as well focus on what I do well (enjoying myself even when crashing!).

    I'd love a Mach4 frame but can't really justify the layout!
  • ilovedirtilovedirt Posts: 5,798
    It's hard to get comfortable on a bike that isn't set up exactly for you, you can only get so much from a demo day really.
    Production Privee Shan

    B'Twin Triban 5
  • CitizenLeeCitizenLee Posts: 2,227
    Yeah there are a few different Fuel EX, but they all share the same design.

    I understand where you're coming from as I have pretty much the same mantra. I just want to enjoy what limited time I have on my bike, and not feel half dead at the end of it! Plus I like to think I still have a few years of being a daredevil left in me so the full suss helps with that! I rode hardtails exclusively until my mid 20s, but would never go back after getting my first decent FS bike as I find them a lot more fun to ride. A hardcore hardtail would be nice, but I know deep down I'd be taking the FS out a lot more.
    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
  • POAHPOAH Posts: 3,369
    you might find that once you get a FS you want to do more aggressive riding and curse at only having 100mm plus really light weight wheels :lol:

    I think a lot will depend on the weight and geometry of the bike you get. if won't feel anything like your HT.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,757
    Thanks for the comments, I think I'm going to get the piggy jar out the cupboard and start saving the pennies for a new frame.....
  • CitizenLeeCitizenLee Posts: 2,227
    POAH wrote:
    you might find that once you get a FS you want to do more aggressive riding and curse at only having 100mm plus really light weight wheels :lol:

    I think a lot will depend on the weight and geometry of the bike you get. if won't feel anything like your HT.

    I was thinking the same. 120mm - 140mm adjustable would ideal, IMO.
    The Rookie wrote:
    Thanks for the comments, I think I'm going to get the piggy jar out the cupboard and start saving the pennies for a new frame.....

    When you have enough we'll be here to help you spend it :D
    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: 27,757
    Well the intention was to reframe which would limit be to 100mm fork, of course I could add a longer fork as well...... lets see what comes available when I decide to pull the trigger!
  • ilovedirtilovedirt Posts: 5,798
    CitizenLee wrote:
    POAH wrote:
    you might find that once you get a FS you want to do more aggressive riding and curse at only having 100mm plus really light weight wheels :lol:

    I think a lot will depend on the weight and geometry of the bike you get. if won't feel anything like your HT.

    I was thinking the same. 120mm - 140mm adjustable would ideal, IMO.
    I don't see the point in adjustable forks, it means the rest of the bike is a compromise. Get something that suits your riding in the first place.
    Production Privee Shan

    B'Twin Triban 5
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 14,770
    Before I bought my Anthem frame I had the same components built on a Giant XTC frame. Not sure what the weight difference was but just picking up the two the Anthem was noticeably heavier.
    I found that I was getting less tired on the Anthem over long rides, on short rides I didn't notice the difference.
    The full sus bike was just less hard work and less bone shaking. The Anthem didn't feel any less direct, if anything it was more direct because the rear wheel was in contact with the ground more. Climbing was easier on the full sus because of better traction and it was a very good frame with no noticeable pedal bob.
  • I went from my steel Roberts HT to a 150mm travel Remedy which couldn't be more different and not once regretted that decision. I would say it took a good 3 - 6 months to get used to the difference in the bikes and appreciate just how much faster and more direct you can be. Up hill I would say in most instances climbing was improved unless you compared to smooth fire road as the traction you gain from rear end hookup outweighs the extra pedal bob. Over the rough stuff you'll be far quicker as the suppleness from the suspension just soaks it up. As an example on equal trails I'm quicker on my Remedy than my Bird HT.
    Bird Aeris : Trek Remedy 9.9 29er : Trek Procaliber 9.8 SL
  • POAHPOAH Posts: 3,369
    ilovedirt wrote:
    I don't see the point in adjustable forks, it means the rest of the bike is a compromise. Get something that suits your riding in the first place.

    quite a few forks are internally adjustable which makes it cheaper to make.

    mattock can go from 140-160
    recent minutes and marvels can have their travel adjusted with spacers
    pike is the same for 150 or 160 just a different air spring cart
    fox 36 can go from 110-170

    not all are like the talas or duel travel RS
  • .blitz.blitz Posts: 6,197
    The Rookie wrote:
    will an FS help me out
    If you're riding frequently/hard enough to feel sore after a ride and don't want to do another lap or go again next day, then yes a FS will help. But per ride (around Cannock) I don't think it makes much difference
    The Rookie wrote:
    if so how much travel do I need (use Cannock FTD/Monkey as a reference as it's my local ride) to make a difference?
    It depends how much difference you want to make

    If you want to feel less beat up then 120-140 mm is fine. If you want to get inventive with lines and not follow the same 2.25" wide line as everyone else then 150-170 mm gives you that freedom. If you want to hide behind the seatpost and let the suspension sort it out I can recommend 200mm
  • CitizenLeeCitizenLee Posts: 2,227
    ilovedirt wrote:
    I don't see the point in adjustable forks, it means the rest of the bike is a compromise. Get something that suits your riding in the first place.

    I have Lyrik U-Turns which you can adjust in 5mm steps from 115-160mm. I leave them at 160mm 80% of the time but when I do need the adjustment it's great to have it and doesn't negatively affect how the bike rides. It's just a dial on the top of the leg and you can change it when riding, although obviously not as handy as a bar mounted remote. Adjustment is smooth and works perfectly too. Not sure where the compromise comes into it?
    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
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