Full suspension, hard tail, no suspension?

Discussion in 'Mountain Bikes' started by Rock Creek Rider, Jan 22, 2019.

  1. Rock Creek Rider

    Rock Creek Rider New Member

    Sep 30, 2017
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    Originally, Mt. bikes didn't have suspension. I know because I have an early Stumpjumper with a unicrown chrome-molly fork. I took that bike to Moab and played around on the Slick Rock Trail and did the White Rim Trail on it. The reality is, you can do a lot without suspension. You just spend more time out of the saddle and have to go slower on rough ground. There are actually advantages to a "rigid" fork, which would now be carbon fiber.. For one, on small bumps, it's probably less rigid than a suspension fork, especially if the suspension is locked out for climbing. For another a carbon fiber rigid fork saves quite a bit of weight. Plus, no pogoing.
    The MTB I use now is a hard tail. I like it quite a bit but the ride is pretty harsh and I'm getting old.
    I'm considering going with one of the two extremes on my next MTB. Full suspension or no suspension. I'm considering no suspension because, now, with carbon frame and fork, it would be super light and the ride wouldn't be that bad. I think my days of anything approaching hard core off road are over. I mostly ride my MTB on pretty easy trails and often have to ride on pavement to get there.

  2. BrianNystrom

    BrianNystrom Member

    Aug 13, 2013
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    Don't assume that a carbon frame is going to provide any significant level of comfort. Carbon fiber is great, but it's not magic (neither is any other material). A stiff frame is a stiff frame, regardless of what it's made of. Unless it is specifically designed to provide compliance, it won't.

    I have to disagree with your assumption about carbon forks. In order to be strong enough to handle MTB use, they will end up being very stiff, too. Even a locked-out suspension fork provides a small amount of travel and you won't get that with a carbon fork. Any suspension from a rigid fork is going to come from the tires. If you intend to run the widest tires that the fork will handle, you may end up with a reasonably comfortable setup. Rigid forks work really well on fat bikes due to the huge tires.

    If you want high performance and light weight, and don't want a hardtail, look at short-suspension (100mm) XC bikes. You can make a hardtail considerably more comfortable with a quality seatpost designed to provide some flex. That's what I do on my Ti hardtail.

    I'm not a fan of steel frames, but if you're going to go fully rigid, you can get a steel bike with some flex built into the frame and fork, much like your old Stumpjumper.