Hard Tail or Full Suspension

Did you find a down hill trail and you have decided to trade in your cross country racing bike for something that will give you more of a thrill.  You have always wanted to try it, and you figure you can find a great mountain bike in town.   You know that the basic choices are a hard tail and a full suspension mountain bike, but which one will you need?

You have done a little research and have spoken to a few guys about which of the bikes would be best.  Some tell you that hard tails are lighter and cheaper, but you think you want to go full suspension instead.  What you learned about them was that they are heavier, and require more maintenance, but it will be worth it.

The next step when deciding which one is right for you is to keep in mind the maintenance needs altogether.  You now have a fork and a shock to maintain.  We aren’t talking about just a tube here or a few extra tires there.  Many people often choose the full suspension for its durability and comfort.  However, although they are durable, they most often need more maintenance than your standard styles.  What this means for you is the need for extra bike parts for when  things brake (e.g. shifters, brake levers, hubs, etc).  Because this is a heavier machine, it gets more wear and tear on the trail.

A smart thing to do would be to keep your eye on mountain bike classifieds and online forums.  You will be amazed at the awesomely cheap parts you can find from others just like you.  From cassettes to cranksets riders are always buying and selling parts and bikes.  What’s more, if you are tight for cash and really want that awesome bike, then this is also the best place to find great used bikes for sale.  Because let’s face it, these babies can be quite expensive.

Whether you choose a new or used bike, another important factor to consider is the type of design.  Are you looking for that perfect all purpose sweet-spot design?  Or perhaps you would prefer a single-pivot design.  These tend to be much simpler than others and require the least amount of maintenance.   Although that may not seem as important now but the right choice could make you more comfortable on the trail.

The last important tip is to really have an idea of what kind of terrain you will ride on the most as both the weight and design styles can rely heavily on what type of biking you will be doing.  Some terrains will cost you more on your parts in the long run but rest assured, there are many great do-it-yourself tips online to help you do these jobs yourself.  The only other word of advice is always remember your water bottle is an important hydration tool to help you have a safe ride.