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Hardtail or Full-suspension Trailbike

Which bike shall I get as replacement of my 26" Stylus?


29" Hardtail
33.3%
29" Full-suspension Trailbike
66.7%
Total votes: 12
Nov. 25, 2020, 3:14 a.m.
Posts: 13026
Joined: Nov. 24, 2002

Dear fellow riders,

Next season I want to replace my beloved Stylus. I still love that bike, but it does feel a little small and short and ....

Now the question that is really tormenting me...shall I get another hardtail, but this time with 29" wheels, such as the Rootdown - or go the full-suspension route and get myself that lovely Meta TR?

Thank you,

Undecided M.

"You don't learn from experience. You learn from reflecting on the experience."
- Kristen Ulmer

Nov. 25, 2020, 4:05 a.m.
Posts: 2044
Joined: Jan. 5, 2010

Either way you’ll want both. Only having a hardtail limits my riding a bit. I currently only have a full suspension trail bike and it’s better than when I only had a hardtail for the riding that I like to do.

Nov. 25, 2020, 4:23 a.m.
Posts: 843
Joined: Sept. 10, 2012

If you made me choose right now I'd keep a hardtail as it's more versatile for the various things I want to do on a bike. No wrong answer though as long as you are having fun.


 Last edited by: Vikb on Nov. 25, 2020, 4:23 a.m., edited 1 time in total.
Nov. 25, 2020, 6:10 a.m.
Posts: 205
Joined: Dec. 6, 2017

I tried the hardtail route, but my ankles weren't up to the task. At 50 and the riding I was doing, the hardtail beat the crap out of my body. No problems on a full suspension, so easy decision for me.

Nov. 25, 2020, 8:13 a.m.
Posts: 816
Joined: Jan. 31, 2005

Keep the Stylus, add a FS bike, now you have both.

Nov. 25, 2020, 11:32 a.m.
Posts: 451
Joined: Jan. 2, 2018

Agree with cheezits and craw. Answer is always n+1 if possible. Don't dump the hardtail. 

I recommend hardtail and 140-160mm 29er. 

That leaves a big enough gap in between to justify a 120-130mm bike in the future. :-D

Nov. 25, 2020, 10:35 p.m.
Posts: 1142
Joined: May 11, 2018

Here is how I'd break it down

Hardtail if - you do a lot of mixed surface or bike packing like vic, don't ever feel beat up after riding your hardtail and your hardtail doesn't limit your trail choices. The lack of need for service is a great bonus for those with only one bike. Also, the rootdown is a great all around bike and its hard to have more fun riding anything else. 

Full sus if - you ride all trail, feel beat up sometimes or shy away from things that you'd like to ride. No doubt the full sus helps out on days when you are a bit off or when you get nervous about a big feature. I know when I'm nervous about a feature, if I'm on my hardtail I'm more likely to skip it. Also, if you like to ride park, its a no brainer.

If I could only own one I think it would be a rootdown.

Nov. 26, 2020, 11:35 p.m.
Posts: 13026
Joined: Nov. 24, 2002

Thank you for your input so far, I do own a Kona Operator which is my park bike/bike for really gnarly stuff.

But I really understand the issue with feeling beat up after a day on rowdy trails aboard a hardtail. I always thought it happens because of smaller wheels and a shorter frame, and therefore, because of a more compact riding position that is a bit the opposite of a more relaxed body language, longer frames with modern reach feel more relaxed and makes for a better ride, I think. Could be wrong though.

I got a gravel bike that doubles as my commuter if I should ever start to really bike pack. The hardtail or full-suspension bike would really only be used for singletrack surfing and the annual trip to the Alps and Finale Ligure, and the local areas, which range from proper mtb trails to old and forgotten forest service roads. Kind of like in England.

Dec. 3, 2020, 2:38 a.m.
Posts: 13026
Joined: Nov. 24, 2002

Soooo many bikes to chose from, be it used or brand-new. 

RMB, Knolly, Commencal, Transition, Norco, Banshee, Cotic (steel dually), Kona ..... the options are truly insane. Right now I think that getting a used bike might be in order.

Dec. 3, 2020, 5:25 a.m.
Posts: 69
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

I just built up a hardtail from spare parts and a cheap frame and I have been having a blast on it.  Likely going to replace the frame with a Chromag Stylus (27.5) as soon as they are back in stock.

I always thought hardtails were perfect 2nd bikes, low maintenance but still capable.  I don't find mine holding me back any.

Dec. 3, 2020, 9:15 a.m.
Posts: 52
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

Ride a hardtail while you can, especially since you have a park bike. Old hardtails were insane fun, the new ones look like an absolute riot. Your body will tell you when it's time to move to a fully. Knees, ankles and your L2/L3 will speak.

Dec. 3, 2020, 9:40 a.m.
Posts: 96
Joined: Feb. 13, 2018

I have a SB130LR and a Doctahawk (which is a bit under-forked). I had a Rootdown as my hardtail before that. Honestly I tend to ride my hardtail more than my squishy bike these days. I'm 41 and ride Seymour and Fromme regularly. Re the "hardtails beat you up" thing, while it is true, there's a lot you can do to make a hardtail less jarring to ride, including 29" wheels, 2.6 rubber, cushcore, good suspension, foam grips, comfortable bars, etc. I do feel a little more beat up after riding my hardtail than my squishy bike but its not a drastic difference. That might seem like a lot to do to make it more comfortable. For me its totally worth it still. There's something so awesome about how the bike responds instantly when you push on the pedals and also something great about re-learning familiar trails on a hardtail.

Dec. 3, 2020, 7:24 p.m.
Posts: 1142
Joined: May 11, 2018

Posted by: Bushpilot

cushcore, good suspension, foam grips, comfortable bars

Have done all this and couldn't agree more. Run my tires at 17F/19R with cushcore. silicone push on grips and a well tuned fork and you are good to go. I think if you are out of shape, the hardtail will let you know. You need more strength and muscle endurance to ride a hardtail, that's for sure. Your legs and lower back need to absorb the bumps and if you are not going to keep up your riding or work on your core/lower back strength. A hardtail may not end up being that enjoyable.

As for FS vs hardtail. I sold my process 134 to get a primer. Although the 134 had some rear squish, the bike was actually less confident as the frame had a lot more flex. I've never ridden a SB130 but I wouldn't be surprised if I had a similar experience to the 134. I think it was said up top, but I know I'd go for a knolly or something like that if I was going to get another 130-140mm bike. How do you find the sb130 on something like bookwus or upper oil can?

Dec. 4, 2020, 6:09 a.m.
Posts: 843
Joined: Sept. 10, 2012

Posted by: RAHrider

Have done all this and couldn't agree more. Run my tires at 17F/19R with cushcore. silicone push on grips and a well tuned fork and you are good to go. I think if you are out of shape, the hardtail will let you know. You need more strength and muscle endurance to ride a hardtail, that's for sure. Your legs and lower back need to absorb the bumps and if you are not going to keep up your riding or work on your core/lower back strength. A hardtail may not end up being that enjoyable.

I was expecting to be beat up a lot more on my HT last year than actually happened. I'm glad a gave it a real shot vs. keeping it for gravel/bikepacking mainly. No plans to get rid of my FS bike. Having both options is the best. :-)

Dec. 4, 2020, 9:47 a.m.
Posts: 96
Joined: Feb. 13, 2018

Posted by: RAHrider

Posted by: Bushpilot

cushcore, good suspension, foam grips, comfortable bars

Have done all this and couldn't agree more. Run my tires at 17F/19R with cushcore. silicone push on grips and a well tuned fork and you are good to go. I think if you are out of shape, the hardtail will let you know. You need more strength and muscle endurance to ride a hardtail, that's for sure. Your legs and lower back need to absorb the bumps and if you are not going to keep up your riding or work on your core/lower back strength. A hardtail may not end up being that enjoyable.

As for FS vs hardtail. I sold my process 134 to get a primer. Although the 134 had some rear squish, the bike was actually less confident as the frame had a lot more flex. I've never ridden a SB130 but I wouldn't be surprised if I had a similar experience to the 134. I think it was said up top, but I know I'd go for a knolly or something like that if I was going to get another 130-140mm bike. How do you find the sb130 on something like bookwus or upper oil can?

I haven't ridden Bookwus or Upper Oil Can in ages. But the SB130LR is excellent on stuff like Lower Oil Can, Executioner, Dale's etc. Mine's set up with a 160mm fork and the shock has the "lunch ride" treatment so its 136mm travel in the rear I think. The bike is extraordinarily capable bike for its travel.

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