Hardtail vs Softail vs Fullsuspension

Discuss light weight issues concerning mountain bikes & parts.

Moderator: Moderator Team

Post Reply

by Nobby

I would like a new lightweight frame for XC racing and trailquest.

My Current frame weighs 3.0lbs. As I am getting older comfort is a consideration. Is a Titanium Hardtail the answer or would you go ST or FS?
I am willing to have an increase in frame weight, as I can now compensate with a lighter fork.

Let me know your thoughts and frame suggestions

Cheers Nobby UK :D

Posts: 248
Joined: Sat Jul 27, 2002 9:57 pm
Location: Latvia

by karlux

GT ful suspension frames are very great. But I think that it isn't necesary to use full susp. , but if you would like it very much - then TREK VRX (or some els) would be the lighter and maybe the best one, but I'm not a real fan of full susp.
Light weight everything!


by mtbindy

Unfortunettly whether to go hard tail or dual is not easily answered. As I see it there is a progression from fully rigid to downhill. It goes like this

Full rigid - front suspension - front suspension with suspension seat post - soft tail - race designed dual - cross country dual - free ride -down hill.

The hard part is picking whether you fit in and what type of terain you primary race on. In a perfect world, we could all have several bikes, but its hard to build up multiple race ready bikes.

Having progressed from full rigid - front suspension - front with sus seatpost - race dual, my thoughts are that a front suspension bike with a suspension seatpost is hard to beat. The ride is only marginally rougher that a race inspired dual design, it is lighter, cheaper, and requires less mantainance and setup time. I was very skeptical when I first tried one, and was quickly sold.

I would suggest trying a suspension seat post on your current bike and giving it a shot. It is a lot cheaper experiment than going full sus. If the suspension seatpost doesn't provide the back relief you need, then you know you need to move on to the dual suspension bike.

Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2002 12:06 pm
Location: Maine USA

by Davefromaine

mtbindy has it right in my humble opinion. I ride a Giant XTC SE-2 hardtail. I bought the frame from my local shop and it's advertised at around 2.5 pounds. My riding and racing partner rides a VRX. He is 20 years younger than I am, and kicks my butt in road races. Our first XC race of the year, I beat him by over 2 minutes in the Sport class, and he won his 20-year old class! (I didn't win in the over 40.) Right after the race, he bought a Trek STP softail with some nice light components on it. We estimate his bike is about one pound lighter than mine. The next race about 2 weeks later, he beat me by over 2 minutes. Of course, his VRX is a climbing pig that weights a ton, but that STP softail is some sweet. After I tried it, I immediately went out and bought a Rock Shox suspension seatpost for my Giant, and was truly amazed at the transformation in the ride. I wouldn't trade my hardtail with suspension post for anything right now. I offset the 100 gram weight penalty of the seatpost with a lighter saddle, which I should have had on all along.

Recently, another riding partner of ours bought a Giant XTC NRS-2 full suspension bike. I've riden it, and can't get comfortable with the monkey action - even though it is quite limited with their good design. I guess I'm a hardtail holdout.




by nobby

Thanks for that sound logic, I think I WILL give a suspension seatpost a try. Got to be cheaper than a Titanium frame which I though might have given me some back relief, due to the flexible nature of the material

Cheers Nobby :D


by Guest

The option you've all missed is to stick with a good lightweight framest (I have a Giant ATX Team that is on the light end of the scale) and then add carbon seat post and bars. It will give you a bike that is as light as they come, with sufficient trail damping through the bars and seat post to allow you a responsive and comfortable ride. Try it. You'll be surprised at the difference it makes to the comfort - and the bike will still really responde when you stand on the pedals...[/quote]


by Guest

I must say I have been there. I race, have tried many different bikes. The seat post does work good for the back .but what about the knees. I had a Ti hard tail with the Rock shox post rode nice. Then I decided to fs bought the Santa Cruz super light. The bop is so minimal you do not notice it and light 23 lbs. I also own a hard tail but I always go to the Santa Cruz. I race the Super Light and have performed much better overall. With the right part selection you can't go wrong with this FS


by Mike MERLIN

Lets cut to the chase:

You want comfort ride Dual Suspension: check out INTENSE TRACER or SEVEN DUO.

You want light weight hard tail 'comfort: Look at a Premium TI Builder: Seven, Independant Fabrication, TiTus, Moots


Good luck. :twisted:


by Barna

One thing that I havn't seen anyone mention is the ability to haul over rough terrain in the saddle while continuing to pedal on a FS bike. I'm a beginner biker so I don't know a whole lot. I used to ride a rigid a while back and when I started riding (I've ridden SC Superlight, Blur, Heckler, and a Marin) I quickly noticed that I was flinching and bracing for impacts that never came. In my opinoin, an inexpensive hardtail is FAR superior to an inexpensive FS bike, but a high quality bike's suspension works transparently.

Post Reply
  • Similar Topics
    Last post