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Author Topic: Differences of a hardtail and a full suspension  (Read 6762 times)

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Offline Garry

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Differences of a hardtail and a full suspension
« on: May 05, 2007, 06:02:21 PM »
Generally speaking, and this is not true for everyone but is just an observation; the best riders that I see, the fastest and the strongest and usually with  the most skills, they choose to ride hardtails. With a hardtail, you get a true feel of the trail, the bike does not waste any energy and the rear of the bike is where  its supposed to be all the time. This can be hard to imagine what I'm saying, but the bike will track better as it moves through ups and downs, obstacles, downhills and jumps. Any rear suspensin, no matter how much it is, 1/2 inch to 8 inches, all it does is make it easier for the rider to accommodate the conditions. If you don't have the skills or the energy  or the desire to be jostled, jolted and jammed while riding the hardtail, the suspension will soften and make easier, the ride for you. Look at how big the BMX riders go. They go frickin huge! No suspension at all. If you are doing mostly big drops and riding man made structure, it makes sense to have a big hit bike. If you are doing any of the jumps or structure on the trails, you really do not need it. You may want it, but you don't need it. If you are a large or heavy rider, then it could be different because the big hit bikes are just about the only bikes that can handle the forces a big rider is going to put on the bike. Until you get back to the hardtails, as these bikes are strong. However, how many riders can put the effort into and take the beating that riding a hardtail gives you.
     I have three bikes that I have accumulated from riding the past ten years. A single speed that I seldom ride, a road bike that I just got and love it ( mostly because  it is great training to be a stronger rider ) and the third bike is a HANDCRAFTED AMERICAN MADE 4" full suspension cross country bike that has a lifetime waranty on the frame. I graduated to this bike after having several cheaper bikes the previous years and because I like to ride so much. Saving and spending the money on a bike like this is a worthwhile investment. The money spent for quality products is an investment in myself on what is really the only hobby that I have. You won't see me dropping 200 bucks at a golf course or spending big to go out boating. Having all these bikes doesn't make me a yuppie, or even wealthy. From being in the sport for so long, you accumulate things. Keep riding and i'm sure you will have a stable of ponies too. I am anything but a yuppie, but if I was, would I not be accepted? As Seinfeld said in one his episodes, "not that there is anything wrong with that" .  Grin  Out on the trails, we are all riders. I am finding out from riding the road, the roadies are cyclists just like the mtbers. Alot more in common than I would have imagined. So whatever the reason is that a cross country bike won't last a day for you, that problem can be overcome. Whether you have to become a stronger rider,  or increase your skills so as to be able to land properly once you get airborne, you can lighten your load from that heavy 40 pounder big hit monster. Grin

Offline Gregg

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Re: Differences of a hardtail and a full suspension
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2007, 06:51:00 PM »
Garry, I could agree with you more!

I have a lot of people tell me, now that I have upgraded everything on my bike, at least once, all I need to get is a full suspension frame.

That is not going to happen, and hear is why.

I am a guy that is just about 40, when I grew up I was a gonzo I will jump anything ( within reason) BMX er. In fact one of the reasons that I originally picked out my bike was that it resembled a bike from the early 80's called the PK Ripper. This is back when Mongoose was still made in California and it was the standard bearer ( I had a "Team Mongoose"). We used to drool over the PK Ripper.

Anyway, the reason that I still prefer the hardtail is the responsivness of the frame. If you have a quality frame, with minimal flex it will respond to every nuance of your inputs, good or bad. You learn to use your legs as suspension, keeping your butt just a little off of the seat throught the rocky and rooty sections.
 I do not pretend to be the greatest rider, but I do beleive that I am more involved in the direction that my bike is moving.

I don't expect to convince any full suspension riders, to run out and get a hardtail, I think that I am merely explaining why guys like me and Bob, and some others on here are so adamant about how we feel about or hardtails.

This is not to say that I will never own a full suspension bike, because I probably will, but it will never be a replacement for my trusty Kona.

Happy Riding!

P.S. Garry, this topic made me happy :)


Offline slowfatguy

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Re: Differences of a hardtail and a full suspension
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2007, 07:29:43 PM »
A hardtail will make you a better/smoother rider, and you'll learn real quick to pick out smoother lines. But for longer rides and more technical decents than you'll find at Boyette, Alafia, or Carter I'll keep my full-suspension bike.
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Offline Gregg

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Re: Differences of a hardtail and a full suspension
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2007, 07:52:45 PM »
LOL!

Told you I wouldn't convince anyone!
There are definitely days that my rear end would prefer a rear suspension.
I would say that Alafia, and Boyette are not the places that I feel that, for me it is more on the really rooty sections of Flatwoods, that I would prefer a little more cush.

Gregg

Offline chisel

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Re: Differences of a hardtail and a full suspension
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2007, 08:54:47 PM »
Dude, if some really strong riders rode a hardtail it would not last a day! ::) ;D

Offline Gregg

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Re: Differences of a hardtail and a full suspension
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2007, 09:36:02 PM »
Original,

I am interested in your perspective. I am not sure what your comment means. Could you please elaborate. With the pretext that I do understand, and believe that Ellsworth makes an exceptional frame. Probably the direction that I would look if and when I get into the market for a second bike.

Which hardtails? Most, if not all purpose built dirt jumpers are hardtails. All Bmx bikes are hardtails. You can't think that none of those guys are really strong riders.

One of the strongest riders I know rides a hardtail. (no I don't mean me!)

There is no doubt in my mind, based upon my limited knowledge of you, that you are a very strong rider. So it is with respect that I ask you to elaborate on your opinion.

Please explain?

Gregg

Offline Homer 2-Niner

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Re: Differences of a hardtail and a full suspension
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2007, 09:49:13 PM »
Dude, if some really strong riders rode a hardtail it would not last a day! ::) ;D

i dont know bout that one daddy.. i'm not trying to toot my own horn here but i ride a hardtail, have been for years and i have never had a frame fail on me.. 

and i would like to think im a really strong rider..   8)

-bob  ;)
the world should ride a rigid singlespeed!

Offline Gregg

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Re: Differences of a hardtail and a full suspension
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2007, 09:50:47 PM »
Hey, maybe he the really strong rider I was talking about!!!!!!


LOL

Offline KJ-Renegade

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Re: Differences of a hardtail and a full suspension
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2007, 10:02:01 PM »
I agree with this statement as well. I've rode a bmx all my life when I was a kid and started mountain biking in   
1990 in PA, then quit when I move to Florida. I've brought a full suspension last Jan. and I didnt like the feel of how loose it was riding it on the trails. So I sold it and got myself a hardtail and now I'm so glad I did.

Offline Garry

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Re: Differences of a hardtail and a full suspension
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2007, 01:38:03 AM »
P.S. Garry, this topic made me happy :)

Wasn't my topic.  I gave it a proper subject heading and lost the original posters name.  I'll be careful to retain that next time.

Offline FACTORe

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Re: Differences of a hardtail and a full suspension
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2007, 07:25:05 AM »
the laws of physics say that you get better traction and control with a full suspension.  if you really get all these advantages of going hardtail, why not take the shock off the front too and go rigid front fork?  that has to be even better.  All those big bmx jumpers that a lot of you are referring to don't use shocks on the front either.   If you set your sag properly in the rear, it is not only absorbing bumps, but it is pushing the rear tire down to keep it on the ground while it is going over bumps.  This means that when you are cornering it is keeping a more consistant amount of pressure from the tires to the ground which means faster cornering speed.  faster acceleration over bumpy terrain.  the big downside to rear shocks in the early days of that technology was pedal bob.  that has now been eleminated with the advancements in shocks and pivot point design.  I know there is a lot of personal preferance involved, but there is also the law of physics to consider.   

now i say all these things while usually being the slowest rider on the trail....lol....so take it with a grain of salt

Offline chisel

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Re: Differences of a hardtail and a full suspension
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2007, 08:06:33 AM »
In my comment I was just talking smack about this dude on one of the other threads saying he would brake our  little bikes in one day of riding. Truth is I love hardtails, i am actually shopping for A carbon hardtail right now. My goal is to have it at 20 lbs by the race season. :o

Offline Gregg

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Re: Differences of a hardtail and a full suspension
« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2007, 08:11:27 AM »
Oh,

You mean the guy that refer to us as "yuppies"

He is probably one of those guys that wears elbow and knee guards to ride north creek on his 8 inch travel bike.


LOL


Thanks for clearing that up!!!


Gregg


P.s. my goal is to loose 20 pounds by race season........

Offline EllsRider

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Re: Differences of a hardtail and a full suspension
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2007, 09:08:37 AM »
FactorE wrote :

the laws of physics say that you get better traction and control with a full suspension.  if you really get all these advantages of going hardtail, why not take the shock off the front too and go rigid front fork?

You answer your question because suspension can give you better traction and control but not in all situations. Front suspension definitely gives you better control of your bike as it absorbs the impacts and allows your steering to stay constant and consistant. Take away the front shock and the front wheel is bouncing around more which affects the handling of the bike. There is also a bigger diference in the comfort level of riding the bike between the font and rear suspension. No suspension up front and and the upper portions of the torso are being worked and worked hard. The rear suspension affects the legs an mid to lower torso more than the arms, chest, neck... this goes back to the part that says:

          You may want it, but you don't need it.


The body (at least my body) can take the lower torso impact much more than the upper torso impact and with the use of the legs as shock aborbers it is not as strong of an impact. The question is for every rider is what level of comfort do you want or are willing to sacrifice?  There are trade-offs for everything.

A full suspension is slower because you will have an energy/speed loss as you maneuver through corners  and in G -out  sections of the rail (where you shoot down a hill ). The suspension is going to compress and that very action of compressing is an absorbtion of energy which means that energy is not being released through the bike which translates to going slower. Read  about Slingshot bikes on their web page. They build a bike that captures this loss of energy and puts it back into the pedal stroke. This reduces rider fatigue over the long rides as the rider benefits from reduced energy  output from pedaling. I believe that the top two women endurance racers in the US (maybe the world) use Slingshot  bikes. At least they are sponsored by Slingshot, they may ride any bike  that they were being sponsored for. It is a very noticeable feeling , this loss of energy, and if you have the opportunity to switch between bikes on a G - out section it will make alot more sense. A full suspension is faster because it will produce less rider fatigue and can give a rider better control. When its all said and one, the hardtail is more efficient. Thats why many of the best riders are on hardtails.

Gary wrote:

Wasn't my topic.  I gave it a proper subject heading and lost the original posters name.  I'll be careful to retain that next time.

I will take credit for the original post. I thought Garry switched my name from it because he didin't like my new avatar.  ;D  (just kidding)  The avatar is me  dancing in the woods up in the mountains while I was waiting for The Original Ellsrider and the Idster to catch up with me! I got tired of standing and waiting  at the top of the hill so I broke out danced the jig of dominance!!!   :o   (hows that for some smack talk Original Ellsrider!) In your face!
" Not this time, Lance"

Offline chisel

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Re: Differences of a hardtail and a full suspension
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2007, 10:10:43 AM »
The truth will set you free.

 

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