Do i really need a full suss?

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  • Do i really need a full suss?
  • Premier Icon mattjg

    You don’t need one but some rides become more fun if you like the speed. It depends what you want.


    always work on the rule of N+1


    need has nothing to do with it…. do you really need gears? or a suspension fork, or disc brakes…. etc

    try it and you’ll see why you want full sus 😉

    Premier Icon takisawa2

    Or something steel, a dropper post & 140mm forks.
    Your talking yourself into a 456 / BeFe / Soul / PA etc.


    Currently ride a 09 Carrera Vulcan and have upgraded bits as they have worn out. Now a lot of my local riding is Rivi and Darwen moor and the woods at Entwistle. I enjoy windy wooded trails as opposed to rocky drops and stuff. So would I benefit anyway or would a slacker Hardtail be better? Or maybe putting 120 mm forks on my Carrera be a cheaper option.


    Try and demo a c456 and giant trance, both good middle of the road bikes.
    Then measure your grin and decide


    I do like Hardtails. I kinda like the out of control back end feeling. But after this knee injury I don’t want to damage it again.


    Everyone should go full-reta…I mean sus at one point in their MTBing life, if only to realise, three years down the line, that hard tails, for all their perceived compromises and foibles, are bloody wonderful.

    If you don’t go FS, then X-Fusion will be bringing out their new forks in May. You’ll find an excellent (and light) pair of travel adjust 100mm/140mm in their range. Perfect up front on a Brant-designed 456 Evo, and at sensible prices.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith

    no I can ride 99% of what I ride on my Heckler on my Steel 456.
    Want? Probably I can ride for longer and do things a bit quicker on my heckler. It doesn’t have the same pain feeling after a long rock descent.
    Is it more fun? Sometimes.

    Go and try some 🙂


    yes get a full suspension bike, don’t listen to the cotic loving Luddites on this forum that think riding steel hardtails makes them super skilled trail warriors.


    Depends on comfort and cost. FS would be comfier for what sounds like the XC type riding you do, but even if you get it 2nd hand the cost and effort of servicing the rear shock and suspension bearings should be taken into account (if you can’t DIY).

    Budget new FS are usually fairly heavy too with lower end components (although a budget Merida FS I saw looked great vfm the other day)

    Steel hardtails are comfy to a point (being a Soul luddite, but does not profess to being super skilled…unless that’s at falling off!) But building from frame only costs a fortune (unless you have all components or can be bothered trawling the classifieds for weeks/months).

    Get out and try both FS and hardtails if you can at a demo day.

    Personally it sounds like your type of riding suits a hardtail and (hates saying this) have you thought about a 29er?

    Get yourself to a demo day & try a few.

    Glentress has one soon – 13th & 14th April.

    Premier Icon sefton

    They are my local trails, I gone from HT to FS and now ride rigid HT.

    I’d say some good forks (throw some 100mm rebas and some good wheels/tubeless) on your HT. 😉


    untill you get one, you will always wonder

    b45her – Member
    yes get a full suspension bike, don’t listen to the cotic loving Luddites on this forum that think riding steel hardtails makes them super skilled trail warriors

    Haha it’s true


    Those are my local trails too. I’ve got the luxury of having a 100mm hardtail and a 140mm FS. Both are equally suited and more than up to anything on those trails. Overall, I probably ride about 50% of the time on each.
    In Winter slop I tend to take the hardtail.
    At the moment I’m tending to take the FS as I’m really enjoying the speed of the descents in these rare perfect dry conditions.


    Hardtails are fun sometimes but full suspension is more funner most of the time IMO.

    Premier Icon iainc

    Currently moving from FS and short travel HT to a Soul 🙂

    Why ? Most of my riding is west of Scotland natural trails, with the very occasional trail centre. My orange 5 gets ridden 10 times a year tops, and most of the time I am on the hard tail. Deliberated long and hard as I am definately “middle aged” but I am not one for jumps and big drops and it makes sense financially.

    Each to their own though 🙂


    At the prices you can get a fantastic FS bike for these days the question is really, why wouldn’t you? Pretty much every off road conveyance has suspension and there is a reason for that.


    I think the most Technical Descending I will ever do is San Marino run at Rivington and I don’t feel phased by that on my Hardtail.

    Currently have 100mm Tora SL coils on at the Moment, would I notice if I changed them to 120mm Air forks?

    Premier Icon bumps

    You might need to try FS and either love it or get it out of your system.

    I like FS but got rid of my 07 Stumpy recently and have a SC Chameleon with 120mm forks at present. Love that and still would probably ride it most of the time over a FS but doesn’t stop me wanting another FS…

    Premier Icon mattjg

    I think the most Technical Descending I will ever do is San Marino run at Rivington and I don’t feel phased by that on my Hardtail.

    Yeah but it’s not about working at the limits at the bike, it’s about how you want the trail to feel.

    After months on a rigid, I’ve been riding some familiar trails on an FS recently. They’re smoother (of course), faster, the bike adds flow where my skills can’t provide it, the trails feel shorter and hazards come up quicker.

    Rigid is a bit pick your way and anticipate, FS is more let the bike go, get your bloody head up, look ahead and hang on.

    Both are fun.

    Premier Icon nickc

    Modern FS bikes are **** amazing bits of kit. You’ll be faster, descend quicker, corner harder, and it will less fatiguing, you can set them up to be hard, soft, or anywhere in between.

    You’ll have a blast

    Me? I ride a hard tail for all the same reasons above.


    When I first rode San Marino, I was on my hardtail (456C) and my immediate thought at the bottom was “That was ace, I can’t wait to come back on my full suss!!!”. It wasn’t about being phased on the hardtail, it was about knowing I could go faster and have more fun on the full suss.

    And then riding round the rest of Riv, whilst its not that techy, every time I’m on a hardtail or a full rigid, I think “these stutter bumps and cobbles are a f***in tedious pain in the behind, I could be riding faster up or down and in more comfort on the full sus”

    And yet I still have a hardtail. Its N+1 isn’t it?!


    I have ridden my HT Rockhopper everywhere, Afan, CyB, Scotland etc after having a full suspension for years. Enjoyed riding both of them just as much and never felt limited by the HT.

    I have now just bought an Anthem 29er and enjoy riding that as well, its an absolute rocket ship over everything I have the balls to ride over. I have to say I am very curious now as to what a 29er HT would be like, I reckon it might be spot on for the riding I do.

    Do you need full suspension? Most definitely not.

    Do you want full suspension? That’s down to you 🙂

    Premier Icon roverpig

    This might seem pointlessly pedantic, but it’s worth remembering that we all ride full suspension. Nobody would really recommend using solid tyres and the pneumatic tyre is nothing more than a form of suspension.

    So, it’s not really a question of “do I need it”, it’s just a question of “how much do I need” 🙂


    I was asking myself the same question some time ago. However I decided on sticking with just an HT bike. I prefer the simplicity of the HT bike, cant be arsed with fannying around with rear suspension, its more costly. Puts weight on the bike and again cant be arsed with fanning around with it.

    Also, i tend to think that HT bikes change less over time. FS on the other hand, there seems to be another iteration almost every year.

    Also depend how you ride. I see plenty of pussy riders on expensive FS bikes who dont do them justice. At the speeds hey ride they could let a bit of air out and ride HT and it would probably be the same.

    If you have a knee problem and you worry about more damage. i suspect that you will not be taking big risks. Go for the simplicity of an HT bike. Spec it up nice and make it light and take it easy doing nice rides.


    I think if I had £1500 to blow on a full suss I would want one. But saving up for a wedding limits my disposable income some what. I think maybe I should actually get out and ride my Hardtail to rediscover the buzz again. The problem is apart from a woodland ride about 10 weeks ago my last bike ride was back in October at Gisburn. I’m lucky to have Darwen moor practically on my doorstep. I always seem to think buying something new will ignite the passion again. When really riding the perfectly acceptable bike I have now will ignite the buzz.

    The hardtail I have now is light years ahead of the rigid steel framed Raleigh I blasted down San Marino on as a teenager. Hoping to have my first bike ride next week after I get the results of my mri scan on Tuesday.

    Premier Icon bumps

    Hoping to have my first bike ride next week after I get the results of my mri scan on Tuesday.

    Best of luck. In those circumstances you’ll be happy on any bike. I really hope you get out on that ride next week and have a blast.

    Premier Icon mattjg

    the passion comes from riding bikes not buying them, the buying then comes as a side effect but feeds back in to double the fun

    go ride, the fitter you get the more fun it is

    on the other hand … wedding ceremony … new bike … easy one for me!

    N plus 1

    I have both, but if I could only have one I’d keep my HT. I ride in the Peaks, where FS is more the norm, but I just love the simplicity of a light HT.

    Try hiring or borrowing a FS locally to help make up your mind.


    You don’t need full suspension, but if you want one, get one.

    FWIW, I first rode the Belmont/San Marino 20 years ago on a gas-pipe-framed Raleigh Mustang. I’ve since ridden it on various hardtails and full-sussers …and my cylocross bike (shortly before riding the Ice Cream Run and the frame snapping).

    Full suspension (set-up/tuned correctly) is more forgiving and can allow things like the aforementioned trails to be taken at very high speed, but it’s more about the rider (It’s always fun to pass full-susser riders on a hardtail, or even a ‘cross bike)

    I have both, but if I had to choose one mountain bike, I’d take a fairly tough hardtail -with something like a Reba or Revelation up front, a short-ish stem, wide-ish bar and a fairly fat (tubeless) tyre on the back, like mine 😉

    Edit: Strangely, I’ve just noticed that the posts above mention very similar things. I should have read the whole thread first!

    Premier Icon downshep

    Not ridden my full sus in well over a year but still really enjoy the hardtail. Everyone has their own opinion but only yours counts. Borrow or hire a FS to find out if it is for you. Make sure you try it on terrain that you enjoy riding the HT on and terrain where the hardtail rattles you. Only you can decide if, on balance, the extra comfort and downhill speed is worth the extra wedge and lower challenge / reward ratio.

    I ride an ’07 Clockwork. Few weeks back I ‘borrowed’ a pal’s Orange Alpine 160 for a particularly quick bit of Calderdale downhill just outside of Tod.
    What struck me was the way the full-suss seemed to ‘forgive’ a lot of my mistakes. I took some crap lines and the bike just ate up the problem. With the Clockwork I’d have been thrown all over the shop and felt like I had to take speed off.
    I did some of the Withens Road climb out of Ogden on one and what struck was the way the same bike ‘smoothed’ out the terrain (if you know the climb it’s like a million mini speed bumps, on a hardtail it rattles the fillings out of your teeth even at slow speed).
    If I had the money I’d probably think about getting one but then I’d think of the Bronto or the Engin I could buy with that kind of brass and probably just accept the ‘rattles’….


    I’m curious as to why a lot of people think that full sussers are faster than a hardtail.

    On the way up a fs has the advantage of smoothing out any bumps and keeping your arse in the seat so it’s definitely has the edge there. But going down (unless it’s proper DH stuff) a suitable hardtail should be faster. It’s faster and on trail centrey style trails (and feels faster on more natural stuff), and i’ve been as fast or faster than my pals on their fs bikes with far less effort as I can pump the trail more tellingly. They have to pedal to maintain speed whereas I can pump and freewheel. The back end can bounce and skip about something shocking at times, but you get used to it and it’s of no concern as long as the front goes where you want. I think some people get a bit spooked when the rear of a fs does the same thing (and for good reason, there’s the extra kick from the suspension that i find a bit unpredictable). It could be that most of my years of cycling have been on a bike with no rear suspension and i’m just not riding my fs bike in the correct way, or that a lot of guys aren’t riding their ht effectively. Probably a bit of both, but if i had to choose one over the other, it’d be a hardtail.

    So, in short, you don’t need a fs.


    Euro – Member

    I’m curious as to why a lot of people think that full sussers are faster than a hardtail.

    I always wondered until I did a 12 hour solo, had hard tail and full susser fastest laps [7 miles] were on the full susser. But would depend on what course/trail you were riding. On the day there was some fairly lumpy rock garden climbing with some difficult descents interspersed with fire road.
    Some of my local trails would be faster on a hardtail but not many.


    Some pro’s and cons of both. Another one to throw in the mix or two. I obviously have a qr seat post clamp and spend half my time lowering the thing for steep descents, would a dropper post be beneficial? Also my current bike has upgraded bits on it, new forks, wheels slx transmission. Would I benefit from a slacker Hardtail frame?


    I think I can see what you are saying Euro, but I reckon an FS is still faster (and IMO more fun), if the rider is exploiting the bike’s potential i.e. pumping/weighting unweighting. Maybe learning that is easier on an HT but once you have the mojo an FS is faster, smoother and better controlled. I’ve had all sorts of mtbs in the past, but I’d never go back to a HT for regular riding, I enjoy the feeling of suspension too much. Also I find long travel HTs a bit unbalanced, the geometry changes so much whilst riding.

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