FS or HT?
So, I have recently sold the only FS bike I have ever owned; it was a Cannondale Prophet, great bike in its day, but despite sticking with it for the last 3 years since I built it up, I just never gelled with it.
By contrast, I’ve fairly recently built up an On One 45650b in SS guise, which I’ve been loving riding locally recently. I’ve had one before, and having another one again, it just feels ‘right’ to me.
My riding is 95% local tech-xc, with (very) occasional trips to the Peaks, Lakes, North Wales. There’s a couple of places near me (Otley Chevin, Ilkley Moor) with both great natural trails and some built enduro-ish lines; the latter is not my natural habitat but would like a bike capable of riding that.
The obvious, sensible, thing to do is put the money from the sale of the Prophet towards a (used) more modern, 27.5 / 29 FS bike … Max budget would be around £1000-1200, and would involve saving for several more months. But keep the 45650b for local (and winter) stuff.
But part of me feels I’m just a HT kind of guy really …
I want something confident yet poppy and playful, not just a sled to plough through everything.
So, do I look for a reasonable, used FS bike? How much better will a 2017 Whyte/Bird etc be than a 2009 Prophet? Will it feel lively and fun on the local stuff as well as the bigger terrain? Or, will a modern HT with 29er wheels and room for 2.6 rubber be all the bike I need?
Interested particularly in hearing from those who have taken the HT route.Posted 3 months ago
But part of me feels I’m just a HT kind of guy really …
Some people are, some people aren’t. 🤷🏻♂️
So, do I look for a reasonable, used FS bike? How much better will a 2017 Whyte/Bird etc be than a 2009 Prophet?
It’ll either be a world apart, or no different at all, dependent on your point of view.
Will it feel lively and fun on the local stuff as well as the bigger terrain?
Yes/no/maybe… Delete as applicable! I can’t answer that for you, nor can the next person. One man’s playful trail bike is anothers plough monster.
Or, will a modern HT with 29er wheels and room for 2.6 rubber be all the bike I need?
It wouldn’t for me for sure, but I’m not you…
Certainly, given what you’ve said, I wouldn’t spend any money right now (especially as 2nd hand bikes are fetching crazy money!). I’d sit tight for a while, and if you’re FS curious again, find a bargain when the 2nd hand values go down again over winter. If you pay top money for one now and don’t like it, then have to sell it on and lose a chunk, it’ll be a worse experience than buying one when they’re a lot cheaper and at least if you don’t like it again, you can pretty much get your money back.Posted 3 months ago
I’ve spent the last few years giving full sus a go. I’m now riding a last gen Cotic Soul. Finally figured, after swapping bikes several times, that I just prefer hardtails.Posted 3 months ago
And I’ve decided the opposite.
Cotic Solaris was a great bike but my short travel 29er is much faster, more fun and more versatile.
So I’d recommend a short travel 29er, but quite long and slack if you can.Posted 3 months ago
I’ve got a 1st gen hightower and a nukeproof scout 290 in the garage and since I fitted some wide rims and 29×2.6 tyres to the scout it is my go to bike, fitting the bigger tyres was to me at least a revelation I am really questioning the need for a full suspension bike.Posted 3 months ago
And I’ve decided the opposite.
Loved all my cotics over the years, but once I went FS, never looked back.
With that budget, and your penchant for HT’s though, I’d stick with them.Posted 3 months ago
I went FS (Carbon Kona 140mm) for a year and couldn’t live with the extra maintenance and poor climbing characteristics. Got a SolarisMAX and reckon it’s 90% of the FS dh, 120% of the climbing ability. Plenty rocky where I ride too.
I like the relative simplicity of a HT, really can’t imagine buying a FS again. If I go to a DH/uplift park I’d hire one but that’s it.Posted 3 months ago
I’ve got a 2017 Bird Zero TR I built up. It’s not for sale. I’m a buy a bike & keep it type.
Only had 1 FS bike, a 2012 Canyon Nerve XC, 120mm suspension F+R. The Zero TR has 130mm front. The Canyon is just out of date, and not as durable as the TR which I built up to withstand what the Canyon won’t. It does. Dropper post has been the only pesky bit of kit to let me down so far, so currently running a regular post I just undo & lower when in an area requiring a low saddle. I rarely travel outside of my local area to ride (one of the flatter parts of the SE). I make use of urban features for fun/skills.Posted 3 months ago
Is the answer whichever one doesn’t have a press fit BB?
I have both, if I only had one bike it would be a hardtail (not the one I have).
The FS is brilliant, it takes the rough out on a big day out and it allows me to go faster but I don’t feel I will need another when it goes but I could still end up buying one depending on my mood at the time. I almost bought a MK1 Stooge a week before I bought the Camber!
I think I just like bikes and probably a bit of a hardtail bias. But honestly I think only you can answer the question.Posted 3 months ago
Depends how you look at it, and to a lesser extent where you ride.
I always had HT’s, then a couple of FS’s, then got pissed off and had rigid bikes for about 8 years!
Ironically rigid bikes ride a lot closer to FS than hardtails, the HT is the od one out because it requires you to compromise your weight distribution to balance speed and control between he fork and the back end. Head into a rock garden on a FS bike and you lean back slightly to allow max speed and minimum chance of the front wheel stopping dead and sending you OTB. Exactly the same on a rigid bike, just a bit slower. On a HT you have to stay as far forward as you dare to maximize the work the fork does and minimize the weight on the rear wheel.
I got pissed off with FS bikes because I just seemed to break them, shocks would just blow up. I’m no riding god but presumably, I was riding stuff in the Lakes/Peak at the same perceived level of effort as on HT, but with 150mm of travel doing a lot of work as well, it just wasn’t reliable for me. Same with forks, I went to rigid bikes after the price of forks skyrocketed yet reliability seemed to hit an all-time low, I wasn’t paying £££ for another fork only to have the damper fail in a matter of months.
Currently loving my HT (new Scandal), but it does feel weird riding a propper hardtail for the first time in ages rather than a rigid bike, it’s a completely different way of riding.
OTOH HT’s just don’t work in rocky areas, yes you can ride all day in the Lake District on a HT and have a lot of fun. But there’s a threshold of roughness beyond which they just slow down. And if the track isn’t quite steep enough to overcome that then however supple your knees are you just end up riding down slowly and uncomfortably as your mates on FS bikes disappear into the distance.
I’ve just been given a Prophet for free 😁 it needs some TLC to the bearings and bushings but I plan to use it till it breaks and then put the lefty on a 29er. Perhaps as I’m back down south and away from the damper destroying rocky chunkiness of the Peak and Lake Districts I might even find a reliable FS!Posted 3 months ago
I ride the peaks as my local(ish) route and find hardtails are great for it. Everyone is different though so get the bike you like the look of 😀Posted 3 months ago
I love hardtails, but FS is just less punishing as i get older, that’s what pushes me to using the FS more than the hardtail, I don’t think i could use the hardtail for a 3+ hour ride nowadays and still walk properly the next day.
As for 2017 vs 2009, as always, the big changes in modern bikes is the geometry and longer travel, for your style of riding it’s not going to be noticeable i dare say, if you were more into the downs than the ups it would be an improvement, but with the right shock/fork you could get them to be tuneable to what you’re after i guess.Posted 3 months ago
I’ve had 26″ FS, and still would quite like one.
However, I had £1k budget and for that I could get really nice HT, with decent wheels, dropper proper damping fork and decent kit.
The FS bikes at that price were all heavy wheeled, dodgy cheap damping forks and no dropper on skinny tyres. Just not as good.
The biggest changes on modern bikes are big skooshy tyres, much better geometry and a dropper. Combine them and the move from 26″, steep and skinny tyres FS is easy. I still enjoy the immediacy of the HT acceleration, the skill it takes to ride it fast and the light weight.
My son’s both have modern geometry 150-170mm FS. Incredibly capable and without a doubt faster. But both were £2.5k+ new, both take more maintenance and both make average trails rather dull…
He who has most fun wins imo, not who is fastest.Posted 3 months ago
I think a short travel, modern geo FS is probably the best ‘compromise’ – doesn’t make trails dull, still fun to ride, extra traction on climbs and comfort for big days. Having said that I’m going back to a ss hardtail 🙂Posted 3 months ago
If I only had one bike it would be full suss – but I don’t – so I’ve got both.
Since I moved away from a more enduro full suss to a trail one (now on 140f/130r instead of 170f/160r) I’m taking the fs out more than ever and the hardtail has just been used for local playing about rides.
I think if you try full suss again it would be worth going short travel 650b – from what you say I think a bigger wheeled bike or longer travel would feel less playful for you.
My mate has a circa 2015/2016 Kona Process 134 – I think that’s an ideal fs bike coming from a HT. it’s not that modern in terms of angles – but it’s more modern I’d imagine than the Prophet you came off.
Every time I’ve ridden that Process it just wants to manual and pop off everything. It’s ok on longer rides as it’s not shockingly heavy, it’s peppy on easy flow Singletrack and it’s also lapped up a few uplift days we’ve done. My mate wasn’t an uplift centre kind of person but I’ve got him into the occasional uplift and he’s loved it.
Once everything calms down bike purchasing wise I’d imagine you could pick up a Process frame / bike fairly cheaply as they aren’t long / low / slack etc, as is the trend these days.Posted 3 months ago
I want something confident yet poppy and playful
A spaniel perhaps?Posted 3 months ago
A few years ago I decided due to lack of riding I was going down to one bike. I Umm’d and ah’d over which to keep between my 650b HT and 29″ FS. Kept the FS in the end as as although the HT was ace fun the FS was just more suitable more of the time for the riding I do. Saying that, if most of your rides are around Ilkley Moor and surrounding area then that’s the natural habitat for HT’s.
Ultimately things have moved on so much since 2009 you really need to try a modern FS to really know what you want.Posted 3 months ago
HT obviously 😉Posted 3 months ago
So I’d recommend a short travel 29er, but quite long and slack if you can.
I’d second this, but it’s a personal choice.Posted 3 months ago
I found that as Ive got older I fell out of love with hardtails, so sold the Cotic Solaris and bought a short travel FS (Blur TR with F120/R100). I do also have a gravel bike but don’t think I’ll ever own a hardtail again.Posted 3 months ago
There is no “or”, there is only “and”
ImoPosted 3 months ago
Hmmm. Food for thought but it’s not making the choice any easier …
Budget is a factor. If I went FS, I’d want to keep my current HT and run it SS for local and winter stuff. That puts the budget for FS at around £1000 with what I’ve got for the Prophet plus what I can realistically save over the next 6-9 months. Even when the used-bike market calms down, chances are that’s only going to get me something thats been pretty ragged about & needs some work.
Whereas, if I go down the HT route, I would potentially sell my current one, which puts the budget at £1000ish straight away, and probably £1300-1500 in a few months time. That potentially gets me into something (still used) but tidy condition, and steel, possibly Ti …
Heart is still, I think, saying HT, and there’s a good financial argument too. And this
He who has most fun wins imo, not who is fastest.
Think the thing that holds me back is whether, on the rare occasions I head to the mountains, I’d wish I had a FS for the steep and the rocky. That said, I have previously had only a HT, and ridden (minced) down tricky stuff, and tend to find it’s always me, rather than the bike, that backs out of scary looking stuff first, and I have no real issue in walking down stuff I don’t much fancy!Posted 3 months ago
I’m the same – my bottle and skills let me down before the bike let’s me down.
I miss my ST4 not only for the confidence and extra grip, but the end of long day comfort it brought.
That said, my HT’s ride everything you can think of, from Glentress blues, local trails, Laggan Black, Munro’s, heck is even been to the Alps twice.Posted 3 months ago
I’ve only ever ridden HTs, and my last new bike was a Bird Zero AM nearly three years ago. Absolutely loved it. Still do.
But last Sunday I bought an Airdrop Edit V2 frame off my Airdrop fanboi mate who’s just bought the Deity V3. I’ve just finished transferring all the bits across. Only had a quick spin in the street to make sure nothing was catastrophically wrong.
So now, at nearly 43, I own my first ever FS! But I still think HTs are brilliant, and will be rebuilding the Bird as soon as financially possible.Posted 3 months ago
Old legs ?, knees, back…4r5e 😕 = Full Suspension.Posted 3 months ago
Old legs ?, knees, back…4r5e 😕 = Full Suspension.
I’m 52. I always found the Prophet more tiring than either of the HTs I’ve run at the same time. Don’t have any significant knee or back issues, so yes, whilst I will inevitably find, over the next 10 years or so, long rides more fatiguing, I still think a 29er steel HT with 2.6 tyres should be comfortable enough over several hours.Posted 3 months ago
Hardtail with plus tyres. Job done.
Its been an age since I rode a full susser but I always felt that there was not much need for it on the trails I rode.
I often felt like it was like playing a computer game with cheats activated; unlimited ammo, maximum power that type of thing.
If I was a better biker pushing the limits more then perhaps a full susser would be more of a requirement.
That’s before you get to the practicalities as well i.e. chuffing heavy and just something else to go wrong.
Hardtails on the trails I ride make me smile.Posted 3 months ago
Thought I’d update this thread.
Went the HT route, bought a used Ragley BigWig from here (plus a Pike & a rear wheel!), and have then acquired bits and pieces, some new, some used.
And here it is, quick shakedown on local trails. Fun, stable, comfortable, fast, confident. I’m REALLY looking forward to taking it to the Lakes this weekend!View this post on Instagram
Shakedown. New (to me) #ragleybigwig being put through its paces on local trails, just to check everything is all bolted up properly and works as it should. I'm going to have so much fun on this in the Lakes this weekend #beastofabike #29aintsobad #ragleybikes #ragleybigwig29er #steelisreal #shakedownride #trailslikethese #whereiride
That looks great. Is it Northwind’s old one? Never ridden a Big Wig, but they do look capable. Happy ridingPosted 1 month ago
Yes, it was @Northwind ‘s … Early impressions, but think I’m going to like this bike a lot!Posted 1 month ago
Your delivery of beast mode has arrived 🙂Posted 1 month ago
Sweet ride. 😎Posted 1 month ago
How’s the ribs now Kev?Posted 2 weeks ago
I love hardtails, but I didn’t have one, because I’ve only got room for one MTB and I don’t miss a hardtail at home as much as I miss a full suss when I go on holiday. Going to Afan was the nail in the coffin for my hardtail, it crippled my back, and wasn’t much fun.
I’ve got a Marin hawk hill, and it’s a pretty much perfect hardtail replacement, poppy, pedals well and doesn’t let you get away with ploughing through stuff.
It’s great 👍🏻Posted 2 weeks ago
How’s the ribs now Kev?
Much better now.
Yeah, wasn’t the perfect weekend by any stretch (company & weather excepted)
Smashed my mech into the rear wheel on the first ride. Did a SS Bodge. Smashed my chest into a rock second ride.
Otherwise, a fine bike to ride!Posted 2 weeks ago
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