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Full suspension or hardtail?

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Full suspension or hardtail?

Old 02-16-20, 07:37 AM
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To your original question about differences between full susp and hardtail, I'd say yes and no.
If all you have ever ridden is a full suspension, going to a hard tail takes some adjustment. Your legs and arms become the suspension and get put into use a lot more whether climbing or descending. You spend much less time with your weight fully on the saddle. With a full suspension putting weight on the saddle helps how the suspension works - that's part of why when you set up sag on a full suspension you sit with all your weight on the saddle. On a hardtail, that saddle needs to have some room to move beneath your butt so it doesn't kick and jostle you around. I also find that without the rear suspension keeping the rear tire in place your arms get used more to help keep the bike in line. As others have mentioned above, a full suspension will do a better job of saving you from your mistakes.
The "no" part of my answer is that it only takes a few rides to realize and practice the differences after which switching back and forth takes no real thought.

Good to read that you brought your air pressure down from 40 to 20. 40 psi on a Stache is ridiculous. I probably wouldn't have my pressure that high if I was just riding a paved rail-to-trail path to the local brewery. If you haven't done so already, set up those tires tubeless.

Kudos to you for taking up mountain biking at such and advanced age (purely tongue in cheek; I turn 54 on Thursday). But based on just the very few words that you've written here I'd suggest you find some friends, a club, a bike shop, or similar to help you gain some more skills and knowledge. A 20 inch drop is not considered very technical. Get a friend or two to take you out to that same drop and session it for ten or fifteen minutes. Watch how they are riding it then do it yourself several times over. Then go do the same with some log overs, rock gardens, creek crossings, etc. etc.

Cheers. Keep riding. Keep learning. Make sure insurance is up to date. ;-)
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Old 10-02-21, 05:39 PM
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I have recently returned to trail riding with a new hardtail bike having riden a full suspension bike up until 20 years ago. I am back in learning mode and watching some of the excellent mountain bike "how-to" videos on Youtube. With your drop off and crash the problem was one of poor technique and not the bike. In very general terms a full suspension will provide more control than a hardtail but there are vast differences between different models and brands with different amounts of travel in the suspensions provided. The full suspension bike makes it easier to have control on downhill trail sections and brake to keep you speed down. With the hardtail you need to look ahead and pick your line more carefully ahead of time.

Hardtail is less expensive and lighter but less forgiving of rider error.
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Old 10-06-21, 07:22 PM
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Just a a personal anecdote.

I started with a hardtail in 2003 and quickly moved on to a full-suspension. Sold the hardtail to my best friend. I honed my MTB skills during that time on the FS bike by riding at least 3-4 times a week in the Phoenix area. About three years later I had to borrow my friendís hardtail for a day and rode all day on some intermediate trails in Tucson. At the end of day, I thought how incredibly fun the hardtail was. This was on a Gary Fisher Tassajara with an upgraded suspension fork.

Thankfully, a lot has happened in bike geometry and technology in the past 20 years to make hardtails more forgiving and maneuverable - a blast to ride, if you have the right skills. In the past 5 years, I am back to solely harding hardtails and no regrets. Obviously, thereís a limit to the trails I choose to ride. A trip to Moab or Downieville, for example, will require me to rent or borrow a FS bike.
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Old 10-10-21, 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by kq2dc7 View Post
The 29 hardtail is a new bike and I'm a 57 year old that took up riding 6 months ago when I retired. I know the difference in the bikes but was curious if the skills to ride them were that different.

Thanks for the reply it's always helpful to hear from helpful experienced riders.
The bike doesn’t define your skill set. Another perspective could be that the full suspension bike was more forgiving of mistakes you made with the hardtail or my take is that your total times on the bikes is too small a sample to attribute a crash to the bikes.
Let’s say as your skill improves you go from one crash in 20 rides to one crash in 100 rides over the year. On ride 8 you buy another bike and crash. Was it because you rode a new bike or simply because the odds were that with your skill set and conditions you ride in a crash is likely. I’m 65 and really don’t want to risk injury that was common in my 20’s. It takes too long to heal.

oh damn, zombie thread
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Old 10-31-21, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
My experience riding the same trails with three different bikes is:

26" rigid old school mtb - slow and picking lines very carefully to avoid rocks/drops etc...
26 hardtail - still need to pick lines but more forgiving on the rocks/drops...
27.5 FS - Flowing over obstacles to the point of going way to fast for some corners until I adapted. Far less concern about picking lines in regards to rocks/drops.
+1 - when i went from a full rigid 26 to a FS (first a 26 then FS 29) i couldnt believe how much easier it was to bike with the FS. it covers up and hides alot of skill deficiencies. one needs to be a far better bike handler with a much higher level of skill to ride rigid bikes. alot of people nowadays that grow up cutting their teeth of FS bikes dont have near the skill level of us old timers that started - and rode for many years - full rigid bikes. just how it is.
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Old 11-06-21, 02:02 PM
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A full suspension bike will be heavier and more expensive but also much more forgiving of issues with the rider's technique, especially on downhill trail sections. Braking on descent is less effective with a hardtail bike and one needs to anticipate and slow down in advance to a far greater degree than with a full suspension bike.
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Old 11-13-21, 12:23 PM
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I started on Hardtails (late 90s) but then moved to FS bikes- Yetis, Turners, etc. I recently built up a nice Hardtail but just don't enjoy it on trails (most are somewhat rocky and have roots). Actually, I did that twice- one nice HT and one nice rigid SS. Yeah, sold both in short order. I have to also focus a lot more and get beaten up a lot more over longer rides on the HT or Rigid, obviously. . I find FS bikes to be more fun and more forgiving. I ride short travel (120mm) 29ers mainly.
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Old 11-16-21, 12:28 AM
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Having a dropper seat post makes a big difference. My FS bike had one as standard equipmnet but with my hardtail I needed to add a third party drop post.
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Old 11-17-21, 05:22 AM
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Have you looked at the geometry of the Stache? I did a few months ago and decided it was too upright for my intended use.

Itís certainly capable of taking 2 foot drops but itís not a long and slack bike.

The hardtail is certainly part of the equation though.

I actually just pre-ordered a Canfield Yelli-Screamy. An aluminum hardtail thatís long and slack with a 140mm travel fork. I expect great sendage from it compared to my 2014/15 Xcaliber.

Full suspension is cool too, I guess.
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Old 11-23-21, 12:08 AM
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There are really only two basic factors in riding a mountain bike: momentum and weight distribution. The fact that you were on a hardtail isn't what sent you over the bars.
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