Riding Rigid is Ridiculous - Opinion

Oct 20, 2017
by Vernon Felton  
The thing about Iron Crotch Kung Fu that may not be immediately apparent—at least not the first time you see a master invite attackers to kick his testicles—is this: While Iron Crotch is truly impressive, it is also largely pointless.

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If given the choice to either:
(A) Have my privates pummeled for years until they no longer hurt; OR
(B) Learn to avoid having my privates pummeled,
I'd always go with option B.

I can't help but suspect that not being kicked in the baby-maker would be smarter, less painful, and would free up my schedule to savor the little things in life, like not bleeding from my eye sockets.

The question of whether or not to subject yourself to unnecessary abuse invariably reminds me of the question of whether or not to ride a fully-rigid mountain bike. Make no mistake, intentionally abstaining from the benefits of bicycle suspension is as pointless as inviting strangers to kick you in the crotch.

Allow me to elaborate on the obvious for a moment....



There is a school of thought, which holds that suspension forks and/or rear suspension are the bane of all things good about mountain biking. True, it's not a school with a hell of a lot of pupils in it—certainly not here on Pinkbike.com—but it does exist and it does have its adherents. Case in point, Eben Weiss (a.k.a "The Bike Snob") recently penned a piece for outsideonline.com titled, Bicycle Suspension is Evil. For the record, the column in question is funny, well written and thoroughly worth reading. And I couldn't disagree with it more.

At its core, The Bike Snob's essential argument boils down to this: Bicycle suspension is unneccessary. Moreover, rigid bikes are actually better.

An angel just died because I typed that.

Alright then, let's get on with this...


Photo by Alexander Baxevanis
Making shit harder than it needs to be isn't awesome, it's just...harder. Photo by Alexander Baxevanis

BACK IN THE DAY....
I'm familiar with the whole "Suspension in unnecessary" argument...mainly because I used to make it all the time myself. Let's take a step back in time. It's 1990, I'm bald by choice and suspension forks are starting to show up at the local bike shop. I am furious about this development. I'd been riding mountain bikes for half a decade at that point and my friends and I had gotten on just fine without those ugly, heavy, spongy things spearheading our rides and stinking up the joint. Were we not rad? Did we not already shred? In retrospect, the answer was "no", but we thought it was "yes" and the idea of some uninvited motorcycle guys bringing "shocks" to the sport made us see red.

You were just a hack if you couldn't ride rigid. Simple as that. We were sure of it. And even if you weren't actually using a suspension fork as a crutch for your decidedly-shit skills, that fork would just numb the whole ride. You'd lose contact with the very thing you were riding!


I was confident suspension sucked. Mainly because I'd never actually ridden any.

I'd never been a dirt-bike disciple, so the magic of squish had always eluded me. I was a Fausto Coppi-worshipping roadie who'd transitioned to dirt... To me, suspension was just the squeaky whatchamacallits that kept our family station wagon from careening off the highway as my father punished the wood-paneled Country Squire for what it had done to his manhood. A combination of poverty and willful ignorance kept me off the suspension train until 1997, when I became an editor at a mountain bike magazine. Now I had to ride the stuff and...aw, crap...it turned out suspension was actually kind of awesome.
elephant

Here's what suspension does for you: It helps you ride faster and with more control on trails that were previously way above your pay grade. Sure, you can clean ugly rock gardens on a rigid bike and, yes, there's a particular gritty satisfaction to be gained by doing so aboard the best technology 1870 had to offer, but you know what's even better? Riding that same rock garden twice as fast, with style, confidence, and a big grin on your face.

Modern suspension makes the simple act of riding a mountain bike a zillion times more fun than humping along, awkwardly, at octogenarian speeds. A zillion, you ask? Yes. A zillion. It's been scientifically proven, so just chill for a second and focus on that other word—Fun. Riding a bike is supposed to be fun. Okay, sure, sometimes riding a bike is actually what happens when your driver's license is revoked or you earn a living by towing a pedicab full of musk-ox dung through the jungles of Laos. If you're reading this, however, it's probably safe to assume you ride a bike because it's fun. You remember the concept of fun? It's that thing that's the polar opposite of sitting in line for three hours at the DMV or filing your taxes or getting a root canal sans novocaine. Who the hell doesn't like fun? Who doesn't like speed? Who doesn't like it when those two things get together, have hot monkey sex and make little fast-and-fun babies?

Photo by Pawel Bienkowski
You can turn mountain biking into one long, slow pain fest. If sadism is your gig, go for it. Swear off the benefits of suspension forever! Some of us, however, ride because it's fun. You know, the polar opposite of sticking something sharp in your eye. Photo by Pawel Bienkowski

Sure, you can turn mountain biking into some kind of drawn-out, grim-faced, rolling sadism fest. Go ahead and make it harder, make it rougher, make it a kinetic feat of strength...but arguing that riding slower and jerkier is a better, or somehow purer, form of mountain biking is akin to arguing that using a hammer to pound nails is cheating when you can just as soon drive those same nails through a block of wood with your forehead.

Is suspension necessary to mountain biking? It is not. I concede the point. Plenty of riders, fast and skilled ones included, ride with nary an inch of squish on board. Fair play to them. But arguing that suspension is unnecessary is to miss the point entirely. Suspension makes riding trails more fun and since most of us don't ride bikes out of some bottomless need to suffer, suspension wins out over going fully rigid every single time. Wait, you've bolted on a fork or gone full suspension and suddenly none of your local trails pose any real challenge to you? You can always up the ante with your riding. Ride further. Ride faster. Ride other trails that you previously thought were completely unrideable. There is always room to grow and become a better rider. Suspension can help you do that.




...And for the Record, Technology is Awesome
The second argument The Bike Snob makes for renouncing suspension is that rigid mountain bikes are, at their core, better than their suspended cousins. To quote The Snob, “On all but the most technical terrain, a rigid bike is perfectly serviceable, and indeed in the vast majority of situations a typical cyclist is likely to encounter, it's actually preferable.”

There was a time when I agreed with that sentiment. A time when the world crawled with all manner of misbegotten, web-toed, sway-backed, buck-toothed proto-full-suspension monstrosities. I remember those years well—I made a living of riding and testing the things. The Klein Mantra? The Gary Fisher Joshua? The K2 Proflex Animal? We were awash in heavy, flexy, bobbing piles of crap. And, yeah, during the mid-90s you could certainly argue that a rigid bike at least did what it did consistently without the horrid, bucking, stinkbugging surprises.

But that was then and this is now. Hell, it’s been well more than a decade since we bid adieu to the profoundly shitty full-suspension bikes that The Snob is talking about here.


Bicycle Suspension is not evil

Case in point: As I type these words, I’m looking at a Devinci Spartan. The test bike sitting in the corner of my office proves just how ridiculously capable suspension bikes have become. The Spartan is a model that doesn’t even pretend to be well-rounded. This is a brawny, slack beast of an enduro machine that's tailor made to save your ass on the rowdiest descents imaginable, yet I’d still choose the new-age gravity machine over a rigid bike when it comes to scaling big climbs on anything other than glass-smooth trails.

While all suspension bikes exhibit some degree of suspension squat, a well-designed suspension bike provides the kind of traction and control a rigid bike could only dream of. To that end, I’ve cleaned root-laden climbs aboard the Spartan that have humbled me for years. Try the same thing on a rigid bike and I’d be pushing the bike up the mountain instead.

Creating light, stiff and efficient full-suspension bikes took time. But we got there…years and years ago. To now abstain from technological innovation simply because the first stabs at suspension greatness sorta sucked, is a bit like saying you refuse to visit the hospital when you break your leg today because, a hundred years ago, doctors tried to cure cancer with leeches.

So, can you rip around on a fully rigid bike? Of course you can. Plenty of us spent years doing precisely that. But to paraphrase famed anthropologist, Christopher Julius Rock III, Just because some shit can be done, doesn't mean it is to be done. Yes, you can swear off suspension. You can also learn to gargle hot coals, sleep on a bed of nails and smash your genitalia with bricks...it doesn't mean you should actually do any of the above. That'd just be pointless.


410 Comments

  • + 225
 Could not agree more, but it would be hilarious if you swapped suspension for e-bike. The comments would be priceless lol
  • + 8
 ∆∆ this!
  • + 43
 @caiokv: well observed! In 20 years there will be an article just like that.
  • + 34
 Came here to say this, haha!

The times I've appreciated my FS bike the most are right after I've ridden my old hardtail on the same trails.
Lack of suspension makes you a better rider - it's important to pick a line, use your legs as suspension...
Lack of e-power makes you a "rider".
  • + 9
 April 1st is coming!
  • + 77
 @themountain: Adding motors to bicycles already happened a long time ago and plenty of people enjoy riding the descendants of those machines today. Yet, some people still prefer bicycles that are solely human powered.

As much as e-bike proponents want to think electric motors on bikes are a natural evolution, there is a pretty big divide between advancing bike technology around suspension, dropper posts, brakes, etc and making them self-propelled. Self-propelled bikes are a fundamentally different vehicle and it fundamentally changes the activity of bicycling and our mental perception of it.

Yeah, yeah, they are pedal "assist" for now, but I think we all know where e-bikes are headed. Even the new Specialized has a "walking assist throttle". Expect this to become a "low speed climb assist" button next year, and then a "flat trail assist throttle" the year after, before finally becoming the "turbo-brap assist throttle" in 2020.
  • + 29
 That reminds me, I need to renew my Flat Earth Society membership.
  • + 0
 Deep Felty, deep.
  • - 13
flag clarky78 (Oct 19, 2017 at 10:52) (Below Threshold)
 This was exactly my thought. 'E-bike' could easily be fitted in to any point in place of the word suspension in that article. And the irony is the exact same thing has happened with every technical revelation in MTB since the beginning of time, or the 70's.. whatever. Suspensions hater; yes. Disc brake laothers; check. E-bike haters; triple-check-out-the-wazoo. Only difference is ebike haters are twice as passionate. No doubt the haters will say that ebikes are different because they destroy land access and yadayadayada... same argument would have created a zillion threads of hate when the invention if MTB itself came about.
  • - 33
flag clarky78 (Oct 19, 2017 at 10:57) (Below Threshold)
 @jslatts: are you serious. The pedal awaits are exactly that and will continue to be so. Walk assited is on almost all ebikes from other brands why wouldn't specialized have it? Main reason they didn't would be lack of controls on the bar before. To claim it will go to full braaap mode classifies you as a typical ebike-hating moron. Unsurprisingly the majority of you are americans...
  • + 0
 But you absolutely could just swap suspension for e-bike in this article, it would still all be true...
  • + 8
 @clarky78: think he meant that is where e-bikes will end up. I can easily see aftermarket 'throttle kits' for e-bikes being available before long.
  • + 4
 Ya, don't you just love all those grumpy guys on their hardtail chromoly 29ers getting all passive aggressive towards FS bike riders, you know the type
  • + 46
 Tempting, but not a parallel. Suspension makes biking better, e-bikes make it easier. Despite our toxic addiction to making things easier, it doesn't always equal better. E-bikes miss the ENTIRE point of mountain biking.
  • + 15
 "BACK IN THE DAY....
I'm familiar with the whole "electric assist in unnecessary" argument...mainly because I used to make it all the time myself. Let's take a step back in time. It's 2017 I'm bald by choice and electric assist bikes are starting to show up at the local bike shop. I am furious about this development. I'd been riding mountain bikes for half a decade at that point and my friends and I had gotten on just fine without those ugly, heavy, electric-y things spearheading our rides and stinking up the joint. Were we not rad? Did we not already shred? In retrospect, the answer was "no", but we thought it was "yes" and the idea of some uninvited motorcycle guys bringing "motors" to the sport made us see red. "
  • + 15
 You were just a hack if you couldn't ride motorless. Simple as that. We were sure of it. And even if you weren't actually using a electric assist as a crutch for your decidedly-shit skills, that motor would just numb the whole ride. You'd lose contact with the very thing you were riding! I was confident electric assist sucked. Mainly because I'd never actually ridden any. I'd never been a dirt-bike disciple, so the magic of power had always eluded me. I was a Fausto Coppi-worshipping roadie who'd transitioned to dirt... To me, electric assist was just the squeaky whatchamacallits that kept our family prius moving down the highway as my father punished the little aerodynamic car for what it had done to his manhood. A combination of poverty and willful ignorance kept me off the electric assist train until 2017, when I became an editor at a mountain bike magazine. Now I had to ride the stuff and...aw, crap...it turned out electric assist was actually kind of awesome.
  • + 0
 Here's what electric assist does for you: It helps you ride faster and with more control on trails that were previously way above your pay grade. Sure, you can clean ugly rock gardens on a pedal bike and, yes, there's a particular gritty satisfaction to be gained by doing so aboard the best technology 1870 had to offer, but you know what's even better? Riding that same rock garden twice as fast, with style, confidence, and a big grin on your face.

Modern electric assist makes the simple act of riding a mountain bike a zillion times more fun than humping along, awkwardly, at octogenarian speeds. A zillion, you ask? Yes. A zillion. It's been scientifically proven, so just chill for a second and focus on that other word—Fun. Riding a bike is supposed to be fun. Okay, sure, sometimes riding a bike is actually what happens when your driver's license is revoked or you earn a living by towing a pedicab full of musk-ox dung through the jungles of Laos. If you're reading this, however, it's probably safe to assume you ride a bike because it's fun. You remember the concept of fun? It's that thing that's the polar opposite of sitting in line for three hours at the DMV or filing your taxes or getting a root canal sans novocaine. Who the hell doesn't like fun? Who doesn't like speed? Who doesn't like it when those two things get together, have hot monkey sex and make little fast-and-fun babies?


You can turn mountain biking into one long, slow pain fest. If sadism is your gig, go for it. Swear off the benefits of electric assist forever! Some of us, however, ride because it's fun. You know, the polar opposite of sticking something sharp in your eye.

Sure, you can turn mountain biking into some kind of drawn-out, grim-faced, rolling sadism fest. Go ahead and make it harder, make it rougher, make it a kinetic feat of strength...but arguing that riding slower and jerkier is a better, or somehow purer, form of mountain biking is akin to arguing that using a hammer to pound nails is cheating when you can just as soon drive those same nails through a block of wood with your forehead.



...OK, I'm done.
  • + 71
 materials, geometry, suspension, tubeless tires, dropper posts.... all welcomed innovation to improve the mountain bike. Adding a motor means it's no longer a mtn bike. END OF STORY
  • + 11
 @bdamschen: it's not all transposable. The vast majority of people who actually BUY electric bikes are not being held back by non electric bikes, because they've probably haven't ridden one frequently enough to be able to use it properly. Suspension was not brought in to overcome the decline of the human body/the fear of suffering, but to shred harder. And the loss of efficiency induced by full sus has made us all stronger, not weaker. It has also reduced butt and ankle pain and that is a beautiful thing.
  • - 20
flag clarky78 (Oct 19, 2017 at 12:25) (Below Threshold)
 @FarmeR57: Yes and no. You missed the point though.. the point was more fun.. suspension makes it easier and faster = more fun.. ebike does the exact same.
  • - 38
flag tetonlarry (Oct 19, 2017 at 12:26) (Below Threshold)
 I read all the negative e-bike comments and it's painfully clear most people have not ridden one. It makes going uphill easier. Riding uphill sucks, has always sucked, and will always suck. I hope we're all riding 25lb e-bikes exclusively in 10 years.

"Just get a dirtbike"

No, I don't want a 250lb monstrosity that doesn't fit on my roof rack. I want to mountain bike without having to pedal = ebike. I think ebikes could really change the moto and bike industries. We'll be looking at old school pedal bikes like we now look at roller skates eventually.

Ride one once and your life will be ruined because every time you ride a regular bike uphill afterwards you will wish you had e.
  • - 10
flag clarky78 (Oct 19, 2017 at 12:28) (Below Threshold)
 @bdamschen: Brilliant mate. Amazingly works so well.
  • - 2
 @BenPea: haha. Not totally, but as you can see from above pretty damn close. And highly amusing from my standpoint of being open minded to it.
  • + 11
 @clarky78: to be honest, the thought crossed my mind too when I read the article. But still, f*ck e-bikes. Pick a form of locomotion and be a dick about it.
  • + 23
 @tetonlarry I have tried a 160mm emtb and it was sort of fun for sure but I like climbing under my own power, I like it and enjoy the benefits. It's like ski touring, X-Country skiing, hiking, swimming, or many other things in life. The effort that leads to extra reward and fitness.
  • + 1
 @RollinFoSho: no chromoly bro, Bespoke TItanium frame. haha
  • - 2
 @RollinFoSho: Yeah but you can do 16,000ft 180km rides during your lunch break dude. And it's really really really really fun.
  • + 6
 @BenPea. I dreamed of a dropper post since 1991. I have never said to myself that i wan't to ride 16,000ft. at lunch. But i guess if that was an option, I'd maybe try it.
  • + 1
 I was going to make the same point.
  • + 0
 @FarmeR57: Exactly right on both points, wish I could have up-voted your comment 100 times. Well said!
  • + 6
 @RollinFoSho: Amen to you too brother! Glad someone gets it! E-bikes do not belong on a mountain bike forum any more than snowmobiles or helicopters. They are not mountain bikes so why bring them up here?
  • + 9
 @bdamschen:
You know what is definitely way more fun to ride up hill than a bike or an ebike? A dirt bike. Go ride one and you will see how lame the concept of an ebike is. If they weren’t banned everywhere, all the ebike proponents would just be riding motos. Hell, so would I. But they are, so we aren’t.

The thirst for speed and power is going to create an arms race for emtbs and they are going to get banned all over the place. Hopefully they don’t take regular mtbs out as collateral damage.

At some point they will probably evolve to be bad ass electric motos. If by some miracle they haven’t been banned everywhere I’ll ride one too. I was motor head long before I was a cyclist.
  • + 1
 @RollinFoSho: End of Story!
  • - 1
 @mikeyrides: I guess we can discredit the Tatshenshini video then. I'm pretty sure that had two helicopters in. Oh and Bearclaws vid on a snowbike. Or Semenuk's BMX segments. All non-MTBs that lend to a much bigger picture.

Stop making MTBing so incestuous.
  • + 1
 @RollinFoSho: like I said before...in 20years to come people will giggle about your comment.
  • + 3
 @dubod22: of course you’ll see other vehicles on videos and whatnot. I throw my bikes in my truck if I’m going for an out of town ride, but I don’t discuss the merits and disadvantages of owning a truck on a mountain bike forum (that’s what truck forums are for). The question was rhetorical because we all know the answer. E-bikes keep getting dredged up because they are a polarizing topic and thus create debate.
  • - 3
 @mikeyrides: I would love to see the occasional review of a truck/helicopter/white water raft/mobile phone/mp3 player/whatever if it relates to MTBing in some form. It all contributes to the greater society. We can learn a lot of things from other industries. After all, it's a lifestyle, not an institution.
  • - 1
 @FarmeR57: Wrong, you miss the ENTIRE point of ebikes - More mountain biking...
  • + 2
 @deadmeat25: Incorrect: it's more mountain bikERS and more MONEY.
  • + 16
 @tetonlarry: You're just weak. That's all. You see the world through the prism of your own weakness. So there is no future for you. Weak individuals die. These are the laws of evolution. And in 20 years you will be fat and you will have diabetes. Here's how your world will look in 20 years:
E-Wheelchair.
  • + 2
 @RollinFoSho: that's me. PA29HT4130er. It comes with the grey hair.
  • + 1
 @Thustlewhumber: Came here to say or see this! #flatearthforever
  • + 0
 @FarmeR57: If you acknowledge that "the point of mountain biking" is not homogenous, your beliefs might change
  • + 1
 @themountain: In 20 years people will just have self driving ebikes that hover over the rocks. They'll look back and laugh at the idea of suspension, be able to go on 32,000ft "rides" at lunch and will cost $30,000
  • + 2
 Theres a ebike company in our town that has a 1000 watt ebike that will smoke the tires with a push of the throttle. No pedaling required. Electric dirt bike is a more accurate description of what e-bikes are rapidly becoming.
  • - 3
 @Bikethrasher: If it has a throttle yes, but people like you keep deliberately ignoring the fact that no one, not one, of the pro ebike members here would call that an ebike either, if it's pedal assist, it's ok, if it can do what you said those bikes can do, it's not. This is wilful ignorance, just f*cking stop it....
  • + 16
 @tetonlarry: Sorry mate but I gotta reply to this. I bought my wife an entry level HT a few years back for her birthday. Horrible fork, tektro cable disc brakes, narrow handle bars etc. she rode it but didn’t enjoy it all that much. Last Christmas she got a CC Bronson from Santa. Strangely for some reason she now sees getting out and riding 4 times a week as a necessity. She talks about the trails, which sections she can now clean etc. etc. She loves what it’s doing for her fitness level and weight loss. She takes pictures and selfies of her bike and with her bike on every ride. Safe to say that “Santa” hit a home run with this one. Can’t tell you what she had to say about the time when she ran into a couple of eBike riders that passed her on a climb one day. And then told her when they stopped at the top of the trail that she looked red faced and winded. They clearly weren’t experienced riders and didn’t understand why she was working so hard to get up a hill. “Because I don’t have a f__king motor on my bike! Was one of her comments to me. EBikes are not bikes. They are motorcycles. Can we please stop? They don’t promote fitness the way a self powered bike does. Sorry.
  • - 11
flag clarky78 (Oct 21, 2017 at 5:57) (Below Threshold)
 @fattyheadshok: Have your ridden one? Dirt did a not entirely scientific, but respectable test back to asking a normal enduro born with an ebike on the same trails using heart rate monitors for comparison. On the majority of tests the heart rate was about the same, but the effort was a little lower on the ebike. Of course the ebike was on average twice as fast. So basically a similar work out in half the time or the same time and twice the distance. You get out what you put in and ebikes simply urge you to tackle ridiculous climbs you know are impossible on a normal bike. That extra effort everywhere increases the output from the rider even though the total output is assisted... Ebikes make riding more fun. Sure they make it easier but you can put in more effort if you want.
  • - 10
flag clarky78 (Oct 21, 2017 at 6:00) (Below Threshold)
 @fattyheadshok: I gave you props for the first part of the story by the way, getting the wife out is cool, getting her hooked is awesome.. I wish 'Santa' was rich enough in my house to buy me a Bronson that's for sure let alone my wife! And I even work at a dealer!... But I have to ask, don't you think she would also be hooked if you had spent the same amount on an ebike? Going riding 4 times a week or more is easier and quicker with one..
  • + 6
 So your trying to tell me ebikes are going to stop evolving? Seriously dude get a clue. High output ebikes are already a reality. I rode that bike. It is wicked fast. Dirt bike fast. Yes is was a blast to ride but the fact of the matter is it’s not a Mtn bike. Motor plus bike equals Motor Bike. Stop trying to blur reality. You ebike, dirt biker, Moped, or what ever, guys need your own website. You should start it you could make a lot of money.
  • - 7
flag clarky78 (Oct 21, 2017 at 11:32) (Below Threshold)
 @Bikethrasher: this is sooo f*cking boring having to repeat... that is not a pedelec. That is a different breed. It is not what mainstream manufacturers are making and won't because it doesn't meet the ebike guidelines set out by the EU. I'm so done with arguing with morons who can't tell the difference. I'm not sitting here advocating taking some electric KTM motorbike on trails, because it is NOT the same.
  • + 2
 @fattyheadshok: I would say ebikes promote fitness for those people that wouldn't ride in general. It is like they get to skip their first 2 years of riding. The comment I hear from most people who don't ride bikes that buy a mountain bike (in a mountainous region) is that it is 'hard to go uphill.' Road biking is a bit different. You can pick a flat route and even an unfit person can ride a good ways and it builds confidence. Mountain biking is much harder to start (unless you live someplaces with more flat/flowy trails) and fall in love with it. If ebikes get people going out more, I'm all for it. But at their price tag, I don't see a lot of first time riders signing up for it.
  • - 2
 @irus: You don't know me. Thank you for informing me that I am weak, have no future, will die soon, but not before ending up in a wheelchair fat with diabetes. You must be an absolute pleasure in person. I enjoy taking advantage of modern technology. I do not pretend to enjoy riding uphill like most people. You all hate it, but pretend you like it so some dude on the internet doesn't call you weak. E-Bikes are not "there" yet. They are too heavy to be fun on DH. I ride my Carbon Bronson on XC trails way more the shuttled DH, but I hate riding uphill not because of the physical strain, but because it's not fun. It's slow and boring. I am 36 years old and weigh 150lbs. When I was 17 years old I weighed 150lbs. I have never been over 155 in my life. I will never be fat.
  • + 4
 @tetonlarry: give it a few years.
  • + 0
 Because a disabled individual shouldn’t have a capable mountain bike right? You think you know everything with your 12 no 10yr old brain. I could’ve gone farther but you may be at least cognitive enough to keep reading these words and realize you’re ignorant.
  • + 6
 @clarky78: “electric assist” “pedal assist” E-whatever you want to call it doesn’t change the fact that it has a motor. It may not be an electric KTM but it has a motor. The EU can put whatever guidelines they want on E bikes, it doesn’t change the fact that motors still do not belong on mountain bike trails. You will not convince mountain bikers that they do, no matter how you word it.
  • - 1
 Damn, Caiokv, I was just about to type the same thing. For me (and my wife) the e-bikes have provided all of the joys and benefits that suspension bikes brought to the table so many years ago that Vernon Felton so perfectly described.
  • - 1
 @bdamschen: Well said! It will fall on deaf, close minded ears that fear change though.
  • + 5
 @tetonlarry: I don't enjoy going uphill either, but I do like not being a fat-body, I like having quads, and climbing regularly to get to the descents keeps me that way. All these people claiming the identical fitness rewards and effort on an e-bike, but in less time and twice the distance are fooling only themselves.
  • + 1
 @irus: Read that in Alec Baldwin's voice from Glengarry Glen Ross.
  • + 1
 @bdamschen: You are 100% right, motorcycles are fun.
  • + 56
 As someone who thinks a dropper post is required now, this is spot on. I go back as far as you, but from dirt bikes. I love my disk brakes, full suspension, indexed shifting, sticky tubeless tires... Ride more technical stuff faster and crash less...not feel like I fell down a flight of stairs after a 2 hour ride.
  • + 42
 Can I be that guy and say that I own a rigid singlespeed mountain bike that has tubeless tyres, disc brakes and a dropper post on it? It's awesome, ride it in the winter, sling it in the garage, ride it again the next day, never bother to wash it and it still runs (kind of) great come March. Maximum bike time for minimum cleaning shite off things.
  • + 8
 @Fix-the-Spade: Same.... i race a fully rigid SS with a dropper. Some courses there's no need for suspension or gears, some make me wish I had it, but it doesn't slow me down. Dropper and disc brakes are a must though...
  • + 11
 @Fix-the-Spade: Same, except without dropper. I certainly wouldn't want a full rigid bike, let alone a rigid singlespeed, as my ONLY bike, but I do love riding it on occasion. The difference is that I can take my FS nearly anywhere and enjoy the ride. The rigid SS is a lot of fun on the right trail, but by no means is it right for all trails.
  • + 5
 @ACree: Yeah, no way would it be my everyday trail bike. Race sled only. That's why we have quivers...
  • + 1
 @Fix-the-Spade: Same bike here. With a kid and both me and wife working fulltime, I'm lucky if I can ride once in three weeks. With no time to tinker with my bike, a single speed with 150mm fork and dropper is the perfect. Ride and forget!

And nothing beats the pride you get from (at least) beimg able to keep up with people riding fully.
  • + 4
 @Fix-the-Spade:
Actually it’s not a surprise at all, you totally seem like that guy.
  • + 0
 @Fix-the-Spade: @mattsavage I rode SS last winter and put gears back on in spring. Gears are so inefficient compared to SS. You just feel all the power going to the wheel. Maybe its time to change back again...

Discs are definitely a must. My dropper was off as well last winter but may run it this one.
  • + 7
 @fartymarty: My first mtb had cantilevers...hydraulic disks may be at the top of the innovation hierarchy.
  • + 2
 @ReformedRoadie: So did mine back in 1990. They were horrible. I would give up everything before I give up disc brakes.
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: I push 32x18 on my SS bike, If I want to go faster than 'geriatric crawl' I need those gears.
  • - 1
 @fartymarty: I feel like any trail in which a rigid is acceptable, a dropper post is also unnecessary.
  • + 2
 @spankthewan: Well obviously you've got them mad skills, I'll be keeping the dropper.
  • + 2
 Steel rigid 29er ss with a carbon Niner fork and 2.5 minion up front. I also have an Orange Five and a Ripley LS. Guess which bike makes me grin the most!
  • + 1
 @ReformedRoadie: pretty sure discs were my favorite upgrade. yes, above dropper and and susp (even front susp).
in fact, my road bike had discs since the day i was able to hack something up, and i dont mind riding it in the dirt.
susp comes second.
dropper comes third.

everything else felt like gimmicks of various value.
  • + 1
 @Fix-the-Spade: did my first rigid ride in about 2 years this morning and it was super sketchy fun. Passed a few FS bikes going the other way with a smug grin on my face.
  • + 1
 Maintenance and durability:

I ride almost everyday and with 2 kids, 2 big dogs and a full time job, I am lucky I can get rides in. If I were to use my FS trail bike everyday I would need to do non-stop maintenance on the fork, shock and pivots, plus wear it out faster. Suspension life is short enough so why waste it on non-tech trails? Rigid is more fun on non-tech anyways.

I use an '88 MB1 I picked up for $150 four years ago most days and the trail bike when I head to the higher elevations. MB1 is super comfortable and pretty much all I do to maintain its near daily operation is tire pressure, chain oil and keep it out of the rain. You think any of these modern full suspension super bikes will be operating in 30 years?

Rigid is easy, fun and always ready to go.
  • + 38
 Flames incoming: I always though the fascination with long travel hardtails was a quirky one. Especially hardtails that weigh as much as most full-suspension bikes and some frames that cost as much too. To me, hardtail = light/fast/efficient/cheap(er). BMX, Trials, XC, Bikepacking, and general long distance riding all seem like great uses for a hardtail, but there does become a limit. I see so many people oggling $1000 7lbs steel hardtails with 65º HTAs and 160mm forks. What a strange bunch they are. Then again, we're also a group who often prefers to pedal our two-wheeled cycle rather than let the motor do the work, so we're all a bit strange I guess. Even those rigid diehards.
  • - 9
flag nvranka (Oct 19, 2017 at 8:28) (Below Threshold)
 I'm with ya...but I've never owned a HT nor do my trails lend themselves to anything other than a full sus
  • + 14
 I agree with the drooling over gucci high end steel hardtail bit. However inexpensive steel AM hardtails are a hoot, especially with today's flow trails. You can get a lot of bike for at least a grand less going the AM hardtail route too, and depending on your skill level you can get down trails as fast or a bit quicker than an average rider with a full sus enduro rig. Not to mention the serious adaptability to riding loaded for bikepacking, or throwing big ass slicks on for an agressive city bike.
  • + 14
 Yup, I'e been on a HT (mostly) for the last few years and I honestly can't tell the difference between a 120mm HT and a 150mm HT because at the end of the day, no matter how smooth and buttery your fork is, the back wheel is still rigidly connected to the handlebars. Now the geo makes a big difference, and maybe that's part of the reason for people ogling the slacked out beasts you're talking about, but I just can't see spending and significant coin on a HT that isn't race-oriented. There are plenty of cheap options that don't have 71° HA.

I'd take a HT with a dropper over a shitty full sus bike any day though.
  • + 5
 I could not agree more. Sometimes I ride my 26" Ht with not too knobby tyres and 100mm fork in the woods to experience chaos. To breathe on necks of people riding fullies, if only for a moment. It is a genuinely stressful experience to hear a hardtail behind you for longer than it makes sense. But I think many hardtail fundamentalists either lack money (which is more than fine) or they externalize some sort of guilt. Or they just like them. There is this sense of excuse, "I ride HT so it's ok for me to not keep up with the rest of the pack, and that's fine. After all if you do pass a fully on a descent while riding an HT your respect points go up. I think I learned to ignore these people. The moment I am back on a fully, I just feel so much appreciation for technology
  • + 3
 @bkm303: what makes a giant difference on HT though is dropper and clipping in. Longer fork is handy when hucking a bit Wink
  • + 8
 I'm not a hardtail fanatic either, but around this time of year I certainly see the appeal of having one less piece of suspension and a total lack of pivot points. I just dropped the coin to get all the bearings done on my Mega, and now I can barely bring myself to take it outside in this muck!
  • + 35
 @WAKIdesigns: I started riding my HT again because my trail bike was actually somewhat ruining my attitude towards mountain biking. I had gotten to a point where all of my local trails seemed like garbage to me (which they are,) and any time I would ride it had to be some epic place I had to travel to. I went from riding 5 nights a week to just once every weekend where I'd drive for hours. Once I started to sort of realize this I tried to get back to my roots, to all the after work rides that even though the trails weren't that great, I could appreciate them for what they are. If that makes any sense.
  • + 6
 I'm only riding hardtail these days. I may grab a fully to hit some special features on the trails, but overall, all trails I ride are much more fun on a hardtail, except from small bits on them. Riding berms and using trail features to pump your speed are things a fully can't ever provide with the same quality of a hardtail.
  • + 24
 @PHeller, thanks for the response. Just a reminder: The column I was responding too was advocating fully rigid--no front suspension at all. I think hardtails definitely have their place, though I'm not shy about preferring full suspension.
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns: yeah putting a dropper on my HT took me from "I'll just catch up to my buddies in a second" to "if I push a little harder I can stay on his wheel!" Complete game changer for sure. I even thought about putting a dropper on my cross bike.
  • + 4
 I've had a long line of full suss bikes over the years but now choose a ht with 140mm fork purely due to having kids so can't travel to real mountains any more. My local trails are tame and suss feels boring - the ht is way more fun. As Vernon says, it's all about the fun factor and I reckon for a lot of guys in the UK a ht is more fun.
  • + 4
 I'd like to see more lightweight hardtails with proper reach, cheap retail prices, clearance for 275x3.5 or 29x2.6. Bike that can be XC raced on Saturday and bikepacked on sandy/snowy trail on Sunday.
  • + 0
 So true. I love my hardtail, it is great for rides where the terrain isn’t technical, but you want some challenge. That said, even riding a modern geometry, steel, plus hardtail with a 120mm fork, the rear runs out of tallent, long before the front. I found with hardtails, going from 80mm to 100mm in the front made a big difference. 100-120, not so much, and the extra cush in the front is slightly unballanced from the rear, so I end up running the fork stiffer to compensate. I cannot imagine a hardtail with 150mm on the front being at all balanced.
  • + 12
 @vernonfelton: In fairness, though - that column you're responding to doesn't talk about high end bikes like that Spartan, or even anything as high-end as what we here on PB would consider entry level in need of a parts upgrade ($1800 FS trail bikes like Marin's Hawk Hill, Kona's Precept, Giant's Stance, etc.). That column talked about two issues with suspension - that (a) the me-too effect pushed all kinds of shitty FS bikes into Walmart and (b) suspension tends to make a lot of bikes unrideable landfill content when a few years down the road you can't get parts for it. (a) is spot on - I see tons of kids trying to ride Galby trails on those Walmart FS rigs and getting very frustrated, and they'd all be better off with a basic HT with a cheap fork from a proper bike store. (b) is also pretty valid - he points out that 30 year old steel frames keep being useful as commuter bikes and such, whereas those proprietary suspension parts (or, even if they're standard, high cost to fix stuff on old bikes) gets them sent to the scrap heap.

If you look at the guy's statement about how most riders on most terrain would be better suited by a rigid or HT bike than whatever FS monster they got from Walmart, then he's either an idiot if you think of "most" in the context of PB, where people participate in what we think of as mountain biking, or he's right on if you think of "most" in the context of people who think of a gravel path as being pretty adventurous. His is the Subaru argument - "most" people don't need anything more off-road capable than a Subie, as they're crawling mall parking lots rather than the Rubicon trail. Yours is the Dana front axle argument, as in your ride is not capable until you've got rock-crawler levels of axle articulation. You're both correct, within your contexts.

So do you and Bike Snob have an agreement? Because his post was well-done clickbait - an inflammatory headline, some choice quotes, all to sell what's a pretty decent think piece. Yours does the same, on the other side of the argument. You guys could probably do great things for your respective outlets' readership metrics this way, and perhaps even get some people to take in some nuance along the way.
  • + 8
 @Rucker10: I have a fully rigid Single Speed for this same reason, it makes the simple/dull trails that are close by fun and a bit of a challenge again. Sometimes it's just for a different falvour... I love my enduro bike but often it's overkill. Going back for a taste of vanilla now and then makes you appreciate the chocolate more.
  • + 4
 I own both a 160mm travel, enduro racer and an 160mm forked all mountain hardtail and I'll admit the latter isn't to everyone's liking but I genuinely enjoy the feeling of being wired to my rear end. While you really don't gain very much by going with a rigid fork a rigid rear end really suits itself well to bunnyhopping, manual-ing, and other such things. It doesn't rip down a trail quite as fast as my enduro machine but it is really, really fun due to its capabilities on small trail features, not to mention corners, which it can rail harder than any other bike I've ever owned.
  • + 1
 This comment is funnier being that I just ordered a Commencal cro-mo HT frame last night as a fun project bike. For my local trails in CT/Ma there are plenty of times my full sus bike is overkill, so a long travel HT bike will only add to the fun of it all imo.
  • + 3
 @carym: I'm on a steel 29HT with 140mm up front and 65HA. I friggin love it. If you haven't tried a 29HT I suggest you give it a go as they are fast.
  • + 3
 @g-42: I still think the Outside column's point falls apart though - it's not like anyone is clamoring to repurpose rigid Walmart Magnas any more than the the shitty FS magnas. When you're talking about bikes that are *designed to be disposable/barely fixable*, how much difference does it make whether it's FS or rigid? Hell, in grad school I'd be on campus every summer when the undergrads left the racks full of abandoned walmart bikes of all flavors - road, rigid mtb, FS mtb, cruiser, etc - all left out to rust and ultimately get scrapped/stolen.

What people buy/sell/refurbish secondhand isn't clapped out walmart junk, they buy Bridgestones, Panasonics, Raleighs, Schwinns, etc from decades ago. Were they top-tier bikes back when they were made? No, but they were at least designed to last. Cheap junk is cheap junk, and most people don't understand / aren't interested in repairing it. Full sus has nothing to do with it. Shit, I used to volunteer at our campus bike coop and I'd meet people all the time who would say shit like "the brakes weren't working right so I got rid of it".
  • + 4
 @Rucker10: I agree 100%. I'm in the same boat - having a hardtail so swap in/out of the routine helps with switching things up on trails you know intimately. Switching back/forth of clips/flats is another tactic I use.

But I still look forward to the big weekend drive-to rides and I'm in much better shape when I get there because of the weekday "meh" rides.
  • + 2
 I am about to start a 150mm hard tail project. I started out on hardtails and ride a 160mm enduro bike now. The hardtail will be used for family outings, the odd multi day event and easy enduros. Its the low maintenance, lighter weight and efficiency which appeals. Not a desire to do away with technology.
  • + 1
 @SonofBovril: good call. Plus on a rigid bike you have nothing to hide behind.
  • + 1
 The last time I rode a fully rigid bike on my local trails was maybe two years ago. I took my 24-inch BMX cruiser out for a jarring ride that ended up with a pinch flat when I hit a rock square with my back wheel. Wasn't having much fun on it before the flat, and the flat just sealed my opinion: I'd rather be out there on my full suspension.
  • + 6
 Full suspension, eh?

Part of me always held to the thought that full suspension was a fix for not landing smooth. The art of the proper nosedive at trails is just that, art. Write off BMX as "kids stuff" until you see some random sponsor less kid DESTROY a 10 pack of trails with 20 ft gaps. When dudes are "sending" it on a kick out contest on bike-squish, I hold my breath thinking someone's going to land smooth. Then, bam, flat sideways "boost" hub killin landings.

Granted most "jumps" for a big bike variety aren't transitioned landings, more like Hell Track 2017, so it's less important land smooth and maintain speed. So, full suspension is the cure.

I'm not expecting everyone to be Chase Hawk, but steering the bike into the landing like you got a pair is cool too, enough that squishy forks aren't key...
  • + 2
 @jjwillTOmaui: Oh sorry I didn't realize riding was all about the jumps.
  • + 4
 @jjwillTOmaui: but that's more a case of BMX track than BMX bike. Go to a BMX track with a hardtail and you'll still learn a lot (if you manage to not break every bone in your body) that can be applied on pretty much any trail, anywhere. If you can master the air control on a BMX bike, then huh, you'll be absolutely killing it. Some jumps on some BMX tracks look not much smaller than those on Hard Line. But... BMX is useless on trail. You will learn virtually nothing by riding trails on a BMX even though it's possible.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: very true. The word "trail" these days takes on too many meaning, forgetting even "happy trail."

So I agree the traditional root/rock ensemble is prolly not BMX no brakes pull up go high bike territory.

Still, I'll continue to preach the power and grace of the beloved nosedive. Get butterflies just thinking about it...
  • + 0
 @PHeller: uh, seriously? Get out there, and throw down. You'll like it
  • + 6
 @jjwillTOmaui: I think DH bikes mute the forces acting at you on take offs that it is very hard to learn much even though you can clear a whole A-Line without dying. Then jumps on "flow trails" are fairly easy, often well shaped. I've seen a proper BMX dirt jump site only once and there is no freaking way I will ever try to jump that stuff. Those two rogue wave shaped "things" making a jump.... brrrrr... I'm sure I'd rather hit Carbapple bits than an average BMX jump. I just started to learn to get higher on jumps and really take off smoothly without getting bumped by the take off and the rest being effectively, dead sailor management. Hips don't lie Smile
  • + 2
 @jjwillTOmaui: My point was that our discussion of rigid bikes and hardtails isn't really including BMX, MTBDJ, Road biking, Cyclocross, etc. @vernonfelton is talking about rigid MTBs, and my original comment is talking about 150mm+ front suspension hardtails. I believe that BMX bikes, road bikes, and other rigid non-MTBs have their place.
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: "dead sailor management" That is a skill I need to look into. I have two fears in mtb and one of them is big doubles (the other is spandex).
  • + 1
 @bkm303: Except for that first-gen of suspension bikes like Pro-flexes. No one wants to rebuild those for actually mountain biking on them. I remember when I wanted one of those so bad, because front suspension had made so much of a difference, even it was only a Manitou EFC. To be fair, that first gen of suspension bikes retains some popularity for being built up as townie bikes in mountain bike-centric towns like Durango, Flagstaff, etc. Sort of shows your street cred to have an old-school bike like that as your townie.
  • + 1
 @BenPea: Big doubles huh... I can happily die without trying them, considering how a table top that is big enough can mess me up. There's this fine place on a tabletop where you case it while being at certain angle, it tomahawks you straight on your face. Over jumping onto your face happens on all sorts of jumps. A dude I knew who was a good dirt jumper (360s, backflips and stuff) spent few weeks jumping and throwing the bike away. He told me that learning the right speed and eventually hitting the eject button is the only way. His ankles, if they could speak at the time, would surely say: Fuuuuuk - youuuuuuuuu. Well... big doubles... no thank you. I can hit a 2-3m one if it looks well built, doesn't have too steep take off, and the landing is big. Those BMX doubles though... i2.wp.com/canyoudigitbmx.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Garcia-Compound.jpg?fit=840%2C550
  • + 1
 @BenPea: I need to work on my dead sailor management. Riding in Phoenix in the summer quickly gets you over your fear of spandex. No need to wear two pairs of shorts when it's 105 degrees out just because you're afraid of what other people think. Pretty soon you get more concerned with just staying cool and having fun, rather than concerned about looking cool.
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: what's cool is the coveted dead sailor has no classification - big wheel, three wheel, battery no battery, bamboo, pivots and beyond... aint nothing like stiff back, arms and legs, front wheel slightly angled going nowhere fast. Some from past still give me the shakes.

Bikes are neat
  • + 0
 @WAKIdesigns: I think the thought of overjumping onto my face is the primary obstacle to progress here. Seen it happen to a mate on gravel. Wasn't pretty.
  • + 0
 @WAKIdesigns: hit a proper dirt jump only a couple of times, only sheer luck kept me alive.
  • + 0
 @TucsonDon: stop, you're making me feel ill. It gets bloody hot here too, but no retreat, no surrender.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: yrs ago a rumor (may be true actually) that the famed Push Trails in Pennsylvania were designed by building the lips first then ghost riding/launching a bike off. Wherever it landed after flying through the air, and then tumbling is... Um, where they built the landing.

In the old vid footage from back then it was all WHITE KNUCKLES and wide eyes, no tricks since clearing the sets was trick enough... The Credence dudes were raised on it...
  • + 11
 I disagree on suspension bikes outliving their usefulness. Have you ever been to a pawn-shop? Obsolete suspension bikes are the transportation of choice for deadbeats and meth-heads.
  • + 2
 @cjeder: I tried 100 times, but can only up vote this once. Hilarious.
  • + 1
 @jjwillTOmaui: THIS?! www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNnHENkiXx8
@BenPea: This spring I went to an old jump site, I saw that some guys made a jump I dared to hit bigger. So I thought, I'll just get more speed than usual. Two harder strokes. Turned out... less speed was needed. I was lucky enough to land both wheels, but my arms didn't hold it. Huck to flat from at least 2,5m. Dust seal in my Reba blew up Big Grin Had pain above my collar bone and sore ankle for two months. If I didn't pack myself on the gym, I'd surely mess up some ligaments like 3 years ago when I landed flat on road gap in Hafjell.
  • + 0
 @WAKIdesigns: yup. Exactly. All of pa has had some kind of solid trails. Dexelbrooke outside of Philly maybe the most tame but had an AMAZING 20+ pack of jumps no bigger than 3 feet tall, and insanely tight. If memory serves, i saw Bfoster during his racing days roll through that set TWICE in one run. Thanks for posting the mutiny.
  • + 0
 @WAKIdesigns: your sheer stupidity on that day is reassuring. As soon as my ankle gets better I know where I'm headed. I'm gonna do this midlife crisis properly.
  • + 3
 @jjwillTOmaui: those airs in the middle of the section, Mhy Gawd! Cheers man! It’s been great chatting with you Wink one of the most civilized comment exchanges I’ve ever had here. Got to put myself to bed
  • - 1
 @BenPea: the dumbest thing I did that day was getting up after hitting my head, and giving it another go... it was no more than 2 weeks after an article on PB about brain injuries. It went just fine and I landed it well but... idiot!

Anyways, I must say that gym is a great insurance policy for minimizing damage
  • + 0
 @WAKIdesigns: I'm waiting for e-gym. That is the future.
  • + 1
 I've got a 160mm pike on the front of my hardtail and all that travel is awesome. Just get all your weight over the front wheel and slide the back wheel around... so much fun. That extra travel really helps you when your relying almost totally on the front wheel.
  • + 1
 @nvranka: I've never seen a trail I couldn't tackle on a hardtail maybe never riding one makes you ignorant to their abilities or you think your trails are so raw that you personally couldnt do them on a hardtail.
  • + 1
 @loganflores: I couldn't ride my trails at proper pace on a HT, no one could

Certainly almost anything is ridable on a HT...but the gnarlier the track the sooner the HT is outgunned...

I feel like this is obvious?....
  • + 1
 @nvranka: I agree with you to a certain point but there are a lot off benifits of a hardtail that aren't noticed by people who don't use them. As someone who has used both I have been smoking people on full suspension bikes for over a decade. Rear Suspension allows you to hit things with less consequence hardtail forces you to pick a good line and also float over things rather than smash into them.
  • + 2
 @loganflores: it's not exactly hard to smoke people at pretty much any trail head...

if we're talking flow trail maybe, but if the riders are at the same skill level you'd be hard pressed to find any feature driven trails where HTs shine.

There are of course people who shred on HTs, but skill always outweighs equipment, so that isn't exactly a surprise
  • + 0
 @nvranka: first how would you know if they shine on "feature driven trails" If you don't ride hardtails?
Second you claim skill is the difference without acknowledging that hardtails have benifits.
Third how can you not see that floating over obstacles is faster/more efficient than smashing into them?
  • + 1
 @loganflores: Erm, I smash into sht on HT... skill is built up by deliberate practice, there are better or worse tools for the practice depending on what you want to practice. I have never seen a bunch of random dudes on a parking lot, learning to corner, bunnyhop, manual, do nose wheelies.
  • + 1
 @loganflores: By the same token, where a FS bike will float, a hardtail will smash, unless you really thread it through the rough stuff (and therefore lose speed). Hardtails are all fine and dandy, but the smaller margin for error makes things more stressful than they have to be if you're anywhere technical. But you're right, the difference isn't that huge between a HT and FS with the same geometry and front squish... if you're young, your ankles are solid and you've got massive confidence.
  • - 2
 @BenPea:rear suspension is not designed to float over rock gardens it is designed to have the rear wheel move out of the way therefore changing momentum negatively. And the young argument is fuc*ing stupid if you duck your shit up at 16 and are still riding at 26 how are your ankles or knees any better than a douche who's 35-45and started in 2013 complaining about how they could ride better if they weren't so old
  • + 1
 @loganflores: I think the word we're missing is "involved". On a FS bike the wheels might smash, but the rest of the bike floats. On a HT, if you don't get out of the way of every nasty obstacle, the back of the bike isn't going to do it for for you, so you have to be more "involved". Which is fine for a bit, but not when descending 2, 3, 4,000 ft + unless "you're young, your ankles are solid and you've got massive confidence", not just one of the three. If you're young and your ankles are weak/fubar, then you obviously have the same problem. Maybe the youth thing is not totally relevant, unless we're talking about back pain, which is another thing suspension is great for.
I have a relatively decent hardtail, but barely use it cos I like speed and don't want to f*ck myself up completely, be it through wear and tear or a big off. If I'd been riding nothing but a HT since I got my first mtb in 1990 up until the present day (rather than flipping over to the soft side in 1997), I'm pretty sure I'd be limping my ass around and in need of some serious osteopathy.
  • + 2
 @BenPea: It depends massively on your trails. The highest hill around me in southern England is 294m. Hence a HT is all I need. If I lived somewhere with mountains I would probably have a FS bike as well just ti give my body a rest.

Plus it's not youth it is strength you need to engage with a HT.
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: All true. The youth argument is more about the fact that the bodily tissue we're made of invariably weakens with age. Rigid frames don't help. Damn, you've inspired me to get on my old Da Bomb at lunchtime. I shall report back and let you know what my recovering ankle reckons.
  • + 2
 @tremeer023: Same here, living in Lincolnshire means full sus just sucks the life out of trails. I ride a 140mm Piglet with 150mm dropper. I'm 6'2" and used a medium frame. It's fantastic. Modern longer geometry means the medium feels like the large/xl frames I am used to when the seat is raised, drop the seat and it's like riding a jump bike. Every rock and root becomes a kicker and if the trail does get rowdy just get your weight over the big fork and let the back end do what it likes!
  • + 3
 @loganflores: if you're ever in socal, PM me and we can race...don't do it if you want to continue spewing nonsense like this, though
  • + 1
 @nvranka: I want a live broadcoast of that... however I think you should invite him to some neutral ground. Racing blind. Real mountain biking.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: money man, that's right i've been on my hardtail for 1 month, since my reign has been out and i just dont have the money to buy a new shock. Certainly you appreciate much more the suppleness of the double, after some HT shredding, cheers
  • + 1
 @panchocampbell: I know it's money, I've been there for my first 5 years of my mountain biking. Just like my friends. And one of them was this butthole in denial saying that hardtails are better and they make you ride better. And we all looked at him like he was a lunatic, since we were drooling at the sight of almost any FS bike. Then he landed a job, got more cash bought the best bike in the whole pack and never spoke of HTs again. He was like those students spewing bullcrap about gentrification and property prices blown by banks and the rich 1% profiteering of off everything while poor people suffer.. Then their grandma dies, they get lots of cash, get a huge loan and buy 2 cars and house in area they claimed is filled with snobs and all sorts of wrongdoers.

Back to biking and hardtails: that man was me: Big Grin
www.pinkbike.com/photo/1295976
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Val di Sol rigid!!!
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: The size of stuff "littering" the track there is so big, that it would possibly be a much better experience than what riding a rigid on MSA could be, based on footage. If you buy me a lift card, and provide me a DH bike, I could try Val Di Sole on a rigid Plus bike with 225 rotors, riding clipped in off course.
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns:

I raced DH for many years. Now due to injuries I spend nearly all my time on XC and road bikes. I happened to have come across a cheap rigid XC bike that weighs nothing and has wide range 1x gears. I pass people on the downs with it all the time during any XC adventure! It has become one of my favorite bikes even tho it's not entirely practical in most cases.
  • + 1
 @DragontalesDH: it all depends on your trails. In my area, and Scandinavian trails in general, there is no way in the world you would pass anyone on a fully who has slightest idea about "proper" riding position. There's just too many too big rocks and roots. You could easily do that on XC racing HT with lowered saddle, especially when you clip in, but on a rigid... no way. Riding a rigid with flats makes many descents barely rideable. I generally don't stay much behind my fastest blokes in town, when I ride a HT, but I was riding a rigid Fatbike with a bunch of slackers and they left me behind on downs (when I rode HT with them they were left behind).

As to injuries, my wrists don't take rigid. Even on pumptrack.
  • + 2
 I'm not sure some people here are understanding the difference between hardtail and completely rigid.
  • + 2
 There's loads of places where a hardtail shines. These modern hardtails are incredible but you've got to be fully committed. Like you've got to put all your weight over the front wheel, slide the back wheel around like a rally car and not be on anything serious long enough to slip on it. You can't phone it in like you can on a full suspension. If you're not giving it 100% it will show in your riding. I ride my hardtail way more than I ride my full suspension and they definitely make you a better rider though I don't agree when people say they're the best way to learn.
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: lunchtime ride report: I need a big bastard fork and front tyre on my HT cos even with 145 it's skittish as hell (69 degrees HA). My short tech DH run over the road is not boring with 160/170 travel and 65 HA so maybe it was a bit optimistic. Even the up wasn't as smooth. Down was decidedly sketchy. All off line and nasty. Wrong tool for the job on most local stuff. Holding back is frustrating. Bunny hopping up kerbs on the way back was good though.
  • + 1
 @BenPea: I don't think 160 would feel any different from 145 (aside from the geo change, which may or may not be good). Ultimately you still have your back wheel shaking the crap out of your hands and making the bike jump around.
  • + 1
 @bkm303: it was the feeling of having 53 percent less grip that spooked me the most. Tubes vs. Tubeless maybe? Too many variables to make a fair comparison, but I literally cannot pinpoint an advantage other than for XC and even then it's nice to sit your booty on some well designed suspension as you spin.
  • + 1
 @BenPea: the 69HA is your problem. I have 65 on my 29HT with 140mm Pikes and 1200mm WB and its plenty stable.
  • + 1
 @BenPea: nah I run tubeless 29" 2.4s (maxxis) on my hardtail, low enough pressures that I bottom out on the rim every ride. It definitely helps but hardtails at speed will always lack traction - which can be really fun! But there's no substitute for suspension if traction at speed is what you want.

If it's a smooth trail and you're Schurter/Absalon/VDP, and your performance is really affected by the weight of FS, then yeah hardtails can be the best tool for the job. But for us mortals mainly it's just something different/fun to ride. I'm glad I have one, but I'm also glad it's not my only bike... at least for the terrain around me.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns:
I wish I had such a luxury. Most of the trails in my part of East Tennessee are barely rough at best, save for the DH runs which are proper steep and rocky.

The main takeaway here is that contrary to the article, there are definitely still places a rigid can outrun anything else!
  • + 1
 @nvranka: I will same to you come on up to the northwest you will see many hardtailers smashing down our very rough wet rocky trails.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I agree lets go east coast.
  • + 3
 @vernonfelton: FWIW I've just put my rigid forks back on the HT for a giggle. Next thing to do is grow a beard and SS, then I will have reached mtb nirvana.
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: If you combine that beard with an appropriate flannel you had best lean back and prepare for coitus young man, for you will soon find the opposite sex paying you attention like never before.
  • + 1
 @Rucker10: money-back guarantee?
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: You inspired me. I've an old Marz 55 on the way. Should hoik up the front of my HT good and proper (165mm + its a marzo, so TALL). Looking forward to it (hope the fork isn't f*cked, it was pretty cheap...)
  • + 1
 @BenPea: I hope it's a 2011 or newer model, and the RC3... otherwise it will bump your level of ascethism even further. Lots of travel - No compression damping. Holy diver! you've been down too long in the midnight sea...
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Na man, it's an ATA micro from c. 2008, so it's a gamble. It's even got a big old dent in one of the stanchions. f*ck it, it was inexpensive and it's had the time to be rebuilt several times. The guy says it works, but then again Trump said he invented the word "fake", so talk is often cheap.
  • + 1
 @BenPea: The attached is an interesting read regarding hardtails... nsmb.com/articles/chromag-primer-review
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: nice one
  • + 29
 My take....after having ridden a single rigid bike for the last 14 years. Yes, that is correct, I have been on the same f'ing bike since 2003. It has gotten a few changes (discs, shorter stem, wider bars, 2.4" tires, even had gears for about a year), but I've toured on it, raced XC, CX, entered an ill-considered DH race, jumped it, ridden trails on it, shuttled trails on it and commuted on the damn thing. One bike, that I built up for ~$800 when I worked at a bike shop and 29" wheel were a new thing. I've ridden it on trails in every state that I-80 runs through, plus most of I-70 and Highway 1. I haven't hit my nuts since I don't know when and the last time anyone waited for me to clear a section was when my home-brew tubeless failed and I rode home on the rim.
In that time I've visited resorts and rented downhill bikes and shredded them to the point I scared myself. I've also grabbed a few FS bikes when I was traveling and didn't want to bring my own bike. Point is, I like suspension, I really do, but every time I consider buying a new-fangled ride I look at the miles I've put on my 14 year old ride and I think about how soon my carbon wonder-machine will be obsolete and the amount of maintenance it will require to keep it going. No thanks. I'll keep my low-carbon foot print. I'll put my money into road trips with friends, bakeries and breweries in small towns, and rental bikes at big mountains. I stopped caring about new parts and gear a decade ago. I spend my money at my LBS for the few repairs I need and I make sure to leave a six-pack for the mechanic because when I was a mechanic that was the coolest gift in the world.
I get it @vernonfelton , you get to ride sweet bikes and you can write click-bait, but nothing about this article makes any sense to me. I'm not abstaining from suspension because of some masochistic need to prove myself, I'm staying away because I found something better to spend my money on.
  • + 12
 ^ this is what mountain biking is about. It is a shame more don't share your views.
  • + 8
 It's horses for courses, basically, isn't it? I could replace my 140mm hardtail with an EWS-capable bike and all I'd actually end up doing is steamrolling all my local trails, to the point where any tech-y and fun stuff breezes under my wheels without a squeak and I get home 30 mins earlier, having had less fun.

You probably can't expect to take a rigid bike to your local enduro and still enjoy it, but even tame trails can become a lot more exciting, when you don't have that suspension safety net. I've done a lot of what is essentially CX riding recently and it's amazing what the combo of speed, a high saddle and hard-to-reach brakes does for injecting some exhilaration into the bike tracks
  • + 3
 This^^
I have two bikes, a 150mm FS 29er (Intense Tracer 29) and a fully rigid 29er. My fully rigid 29er gets more miles on it than the other ride because it's just more fun to ride, not because I like having my testicles abused (and for the record, if that's happening to you, you're doing it wrong). A 150mm FS bike in any wheel size, is complete overkill for the majority of the world's trails. The upper limit of comfort, endurance, capability and fun on the rigid SS is the entry level tech trail required for a 150mm FS bike, and there are very few trails that can't be ridden on a rigid 29er. Also applying bike handling skills you learn from a rigid SS with flat pedals to a 150mm FS with clips will improve your riding 10 fold versus plodding along on tame trails with an enduro bike
  • + 3
 @phdotd: I would argue that anyone new into the sport should get a 160mm FS bike. Once your skills get better you can move up to a HT and then again to FR which is the hardest to ride.
  • + 1
 Sorry to hear the article rubbed you the wrong way. I think it's cool that people want to ride FR still. But I think most people will take the article for what it is - an entertaining read. I appreciate having something to read in the morning that doesn't involve hate crimes, misogyny or corrupt politics. Thanks @vernonfelton for putting on a smile on my jaded face Smile
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: I don't agree completely about the beginner bike. I think the bike should be just tolerant enough (through suspension travel/behaviour and geometry) to allow the rider to get up to the safe pace where slower would actually be more dangerous. So yes if the local trails are littered with rocks, roots, bombholes and whatnot then that implies a decent amount of travel front and rear. But if the trails are smoother then I'd say that also calls for a more direct bike. More travel may allow you go faster there but a crash at a higher speed is still a crash at a higher speed, no matter how much travel the bike had just before you came off. As a rider gains experience and skill he or she will go faster but will also more gradually experience the little things that go with that. Not just crashing, also losing (and regaining) grip, regaining control after a bit of a wrong landing. And I believe this approach doesn't take away any bit of the fun. What the speedometer (for whoever has one of these mounted) tells is only one thing. It is that "on-the-edge" feeling that makes you grin. I'm riding a mountain unicycle (MUni) too. Investment is low, wear is low, crash damage is low, no injuries, speed is comparable to just trail running. But anyone who has tried it has been grinning from ear to ear when attempting to ride 1m when supported. Doesn't make for great GoPro footage but it is all giggles what counts.
  • + 3
 @bcmrider: I think the Bike Snob article scratches a little deeper than being "just and entertaining read".

Look at all the obsolescence over the last 5-10 years - 26" wheel, 135 / 142mm rear hubs, 20mm x110mm front axles, 15x100mm front axles, threaded BB, press fit BB... which have "forced" people to sell / scrap bikes because they want to have the latest bling.

Are we really having more fun than we used to 5-10 years ago? Probably not.

Maybe there are just too many bike companies out there trying to get their share of a limited pot of money that we spend each year. Therefore they all have to out do themselves to make the latest and greatest bike every year. This means small changes each year along with some of the big changes made over the last few years.

Maybe if we stop buying the weak will fall by the wayside and the strong will survive. The "enjoy your bike and ride it till it's f**ked mentality"

Maybe this is why he had a picture of what is arguable the worlds most versatile bike at the top of the article that still uses "old" standards...

That's my 2 pence worth anyway.
  • + 2
 @vinay: good points. The bike needs to be suitable to the trail. That's why winter riding is fun as its always on the edge and you feel like a muppet riding trails you normally destroy in summer. MUni sounds fun.
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: Yeah give it a shot if you have the opportunity. Even retail price for a top level complete MUni is comparable to that of a mid level suspension fork. Because of circus acts etc people have developed the perception that riding a unicycle is difficult. If walking on two legs or riding on two wheels were exclusive circus material, people would have gotten that same perception. It is fun to be at the same level as a kid learning to walk or ride a bike. You recognize the same sensation in their eyes. If you practice, you'll learn. And it is fun every step of the way. Mine is from Kris Holm. One of the founders of the sport. He's kind of a mix of Gary Fisher (for pioneering and setting up a brand), Hans Rey (for going pretty big, extreme and epic) and Ryan Leech (for his enthusiasm and skill). Actually, he and Ryan happen to be good friends and ride trials together. His current challenge though is convince people that it isn't as difficult or extreme as what he's doing. One of the biggest issues with (young) adults nowadays is that they feel they should look perfect at whatever they do. Maybe because that's what they see on social media and because someone could record their attempts and publish that to make fun of. It is limiting in a way, it is the end of progression, of learning anything at all. If toddlers would have had such a mindset, they'd be crawling for the rest of their lives.

But yeah, back to bikes. Modern full suspension bikes for beginners may compensate for an understandable lack of skill and experience. It makes you ride better, but it doesn't make you a better rider. To learn, you need sufficient feedback from the trail. If that feedback is too harsh or wild, you may want to filter that through stable geometry and abundant suspension. But if the feedback is subtle, you'll need less filter to still be aware of what your tires are doing. Then again as I mentioned elsewhere in this topic, full suspension bikes have their quirks too and one needs to learn to deal with that too. As I learned to ride on a hardtail (with suspension forks) with a powerful front brake and a poor rear brake, I'm used to pinning the front and letting the rear fly about. And that style doesn't play nicely on a full susser.
  • + 1
 @vinay: It takes a special kind of mind to consider unicycling as an option. I haven't progressed to that level yet.
  • + 1
 @BenPea: It was funny. I was browsing the Surly website once and they had their Conundrum MUni frame. Seemed like a great solution to get my kicks without the regular body and bike damage. Not as a replacement for the bike, but just something else where risk is lower. It turned out they only had a suitable frame, hub and rim (they were the odd one back then who did fat-bikes) so it was much cheaper to just get a Kris Holm complete. But yeah, maybe it is not progression perse but more being fed up with repairs and injuries but not willing to give up the thrills.

I now also have a 25m Gibbon Slackline. Again, no risk, just thrills and giggles. I'm waiting for the article where someone says it is better to walk next to the slackline because it is safer, faster hence more fun.
  • + 1
 @vinay: if it floats your boat
  • + 1
 @BenPea: Oh yeah, I'd encourage anyone who's willing to give it a go but I'm definitely not saying it is something everyone should be doing. It work for me and I like it but I absolutely understand it is not for everyone.
  • + 15
 Since Vernon missed it and the majority of readers scroll right to Pinkbike's Take: "Making shit harder than it needs to be isn't awesome, it's just...harder." As usual, a well written piece by Vernon.
  • + 1
 Agreed, great article. I had the same thoughts as Vernon when reading the original article, it was phenomenally self-righteous. I ride a rigid singlespeed, it's a bunch of fun. In a perverse way. Reminds me of my first 'real' bike. I ride my Slash a lot more often and have a heap of pure fun.
  • + 8
 Totally disagree. I've owned both for years and switch back and forth all the time. Riding a hard tail isn't just harder, sometimes it's more fun, it's quite a rush and achievement doing lines you and your friends pucker on with a FS. It widens your riding experience and teaches you new skills. I feel sorry for those who never ride one or shame them without trying one.
  • + 1
 @Rasterman: I think it depends a lot on your trails, but I agree. There are some places where you just can't push a big bike hard enough to make it fun, but a HT or cross bike will spice things up a bit. Riding isn't that fun if it isn't at least a little bit challenging. When I lived near relatively flat, relatively smooth trails I'd take my cross bike out all the time just to keep things interesting and try to hang with other riders. Now that I live near harder/longer/steeper/more interesting trails I don't get the itch to take the cross bike out much anymore.
  • + 11
 @Rasterman: hardtail is not rigid
  • + 7
 Vernon always writes good stuff. But sometimes he does occasionally succumb to the tendency to wrap shit up in soundbites that generate kudos over insight.

And my personal take is that this: "Making shit harder than it needs to be isn't awesome, it's just...harder.", is one of those. Sorry Vernon, that just doesn't wash.

Sometimes making shit harder than it needs to be is essential to the learning process. In fact, not even sometimes.

Ask anyone who opts to build up their bike(s) from component parts rather than buy "off the shelf".....
Or anyone competing in the single-handed round the world yacht race......
Or if you want unequivocal truth, ask anyone who decided to have kids rather than not......

If stuff wasn't hard, we'd still be in bed, bored.
Give someone a challenge though, and watch them rise to it.
  • - 2
 @orientdave: The kids one is interesting, I like to do hard things, but don't want kids. Life sucking dick does not equal having kids for me, it equals not having kids. I don't care about your shitty kids, or give a f*ck; should have thought ahead.
  • + 2
 @Kramz: You are entitled to your opinion, as every one does things different ways, but if you don't mind, I'd appreciate an apology or retraction for insinuating that my daughter is "shitty"; she is far from that, and if you don't mind me saying, you are assuming a hell of a lot about someone's life there.

PB should be better than that, and we the users create the environment, so if you'd retract that, it would be a nice gesture.
  • - 2
 @orientdave: I used a rubber, I don't want kids, they're a dime a dozen, could have had 100's by now.
  • - 2
 Your daughter is obviously a trooper, I'll say that, and probably smart; I'm just miserable so I don't want kids.
  • + 12
 Great article. One caveat; in the absence of good trails, a rigid gravel bike is plenty fun... on the smooth pathways and dirt roads which full sus or even hardtail mtbs are gun-at-knife-fight-y Lose the the squish, drop the bars. Thats the new rule.
  • + 12
 Swearing off suspension completely? Yeah, I agree it's just stupid not to acknowledge it's benefits, especially with how advanced bikes are getting. BUT I still feel riding rigid has it's place.

I live in Florida so the extent of our "mountain" biking isn't nearly to the standard of most of you other guys, but we still have plenty of badass manmade XC parks. Techy stuff with a lot of loose-over-hardpack with no such thing as a long climb and descent, or riding miles of fire roads to get to the trailhead. I spent 2.5 years riding and racing a 100mm travel full suspension Scott Spark, then got introduced to SS by a group of dudes who all had massive flow and style on my local trail.

Long story short, I swapped parts over from my Spark to a Surly KM, (steel is real and rides sooooo good) and in less than 5 rides, I switched back (had a race) to my Spark an noticed my flat cornering and descending was already improving. I've built up that Surly with high volume tires, wide bars, a dropper post and recently switched from clips to flats, and have been riding it for a year now on Florida trails. Don't get me wrong, I can't WAIT to get back on an FS but spending the time on the SS rigid has taught me SO much that I don't think I would've learned as quickly on FS. I've learned to be light on the bike, use my body as suspension, keep off the brakes to hold momentum, all that good stuff. I ride my rigid smoother than I did on my Spark, because before I just let the suspension do most of the work. I'm young though, and I know it's only for the select sadistic few, but I do feel riding rigid has it's place and can be an EXCELLENT training tool if you want it to be, and can only make getting back on suspension that much better.
  • + 3
 Yeah I agree, rigid riding has its place. And you know the funny thing? Somehow its usually the fastest guys you know that are riding a rigid. And its usually a singlespeed at that. I have a full quiver of bikes, and one of them is a rigid SS. I use it as a training tool, but i'd be lying if i said it wasn't MORE FUN on my local (occasionally rocky, rough) trails. IMO bicycling is about pushing your limits. It's easier to push to your limitations when you're not riding on a magic carpet. I have a Yeti SB5.5... I feel like I can ride like Richie Rude when I'm on that thing, even though I know i'm the furthest thing from that. Its a hero bike. It makes up for my lack of skill. When I ride my rigid, it forces me to hone my skills. If forces me to become better. Yeah sure, when I'm in Colorado enjoying big days on the bike, my rigid is collecting dust back home. But in the winter, for night rides on my local trails, for hooning around with my friends, for mashing some pedals, I ride rigid.
  • + 11
 I'm pretty sure you wrote this as intentional click bait. But nonetheless - rigid bikes definitely have their place in the world. On trails that are pretty smooth, why would you need full suspension?

For the record, I ride a Process 111 most of the time, but I just bought a Kona Unit and it is also a hell of a lot of fun in the right circumstances.
  • + 1
 Because it's MOAR fun
  • + 4
 @NRogers27: Fun in in the eye of the beholder. Sometimes LESS is just as much fun as MORE.
  • + 1
 I think you hit the nail on the head though - rigid bike = 2nd/3rd bike. Unless you're mainly bikepacking/touring.
  • + 3
 I will add that I have a dropper on the Unit. Try a fully rigid bike with a dropper - it makes a huge difference.
  • - 4
flag WAKIdesigns (Oct 19, 2017 at 8:46) (Below Threshold)
 Because most bikes of Process 111 kind feel a lot like hardtails. Hence unless I have a 160 bike parked in the garage as my first bike, a 100-120 trail fully makes little sense to me.
  • + 1
 @micah356: agree, dropper is a game changer, even for a rigid/cross bike.
  • + 6
 Def Clickbait article. You can't tell other people how to have fun.

I ride bmx alot, and although its rigid its a hell of a lot of fun. I ride trials. Also rigid. Also fun. What makes riding fun for me personally, is seeing what is possible. I like trying challenging things. Rigid MTB is just another fun way to make the trails fresh and challenge yourself. I've ridden Fixed Gear rigid mtb also.

It's all good. (Except Ebike. f*ck them)
  • + 2
 Ha, yes! Tell DJ who ride forks that are nearly rigid that they aren't having any fun
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: I've got a 111 as my one and only MTB. Works like a charm for how I like to ride with a 140mm Pike taking the hits and the rear suspension being in the sweet spot between taking the edge off and keeping things lively and responsive (and giving me something to push on in the turns). If I were into hucking more than carving, I'd probably go to a bigger bike - and may do so next time around (haven't ridden the new breed of long travel 29ers yet). But when I bought it, it was considerably more fun for me than, say, the Spec Enduro or the Tallboy LT of that time (smaller wheels are not my thing - I'm big/heavy/strong enough to where the wheel size doesn't penalize responsiveness for me and smaller wheels just feel needlessly nervous).
  • + 2
 @g-42: 111 is for me what XC/trail bike should be. I appreciate it greatly but in relatively traily build. As soon as I would Minions and longer fork on it the little amount of rear travel would run out of its depth. But that’s how I ride and such are my trails. It’s a cool and plenty capable bike for sure. Now Spark 29 coming in with similar geo, I fear the genre may be doomed.
  • + 5
 @BikeKayakSki:
That's what I tell my wife
  • + 1
 @kawika: Hey Oh!
  • + 1
 This is a very particular circumstance, and while yes--less is sometimes to be appreciated, this is not the case. Cross bikes are fun to rip on great trails, and they don't even have to be smooth! BMX is freaking great! Trials biking is a challenge! Rigid bikes on normal trails--even gravel paths--are still fun, but in the same circumstances a bike with suspension allows for a greater variety of choice, and that's more fun.
  • + 8
 I love a hardtail (fnar)f I go 90% as quick as i do on my fs bike and yet feel a lot more involved and just find it a lot more satisifying to ride well... tried a mates fully rigid bike expecting to be reasonably capable, since thats what i used ti ride back in the 90s... nah, it just terrified and nearly broke me. Front suspension is 100% vital, rear suspension is a pleasant luxury.
  • + 1
 This totally. I built a full rigid up last year as a winter bike, I raced full rigid XC back in the day before suspension, It was shit I sold it. For me 90% of everyday riding my Ragley Mmmbop with 150mm fork I can hit everything just as fast as my 170mm FS. People have come to think of FS as standard and required. It isn't only last year I watched an Elite rider still win a DH race overall on a Stanton.
  • + 2
 @StevieJB: I have a pair of rigid forks I can easily swop with my 140mm 29 Pikes. This article has tempted me to put the rigid fork back on and scare myself. If nothing else it will sharpen up my skills.

I ended up breaking up my 26FS bike and selling it as a 29HT is nearly as fast.
  • + 6
 Suspension doesn't always make things more fun. For a mild XC ride, my rigid cyclocross bike is more fun than the other bikes I ride on a regular basis which includes giant anthem/trance and a cannondale habit black edition. It's only 4-5 lbs lighter than the cannondale, but it's much more direct and the responsiveness to inputs and mistakes is immediate. It makes the boring, local XC trails fun again
  • + 5
 It wasn't until this article that I realized how many here are close-minded and stuck in their ways. I don't know what the real point of this article is, except to make like-minded people feel better about themselves. Interesting for a crowd who also love to hate on plus tires, which is just a barely further along the spectrum. Such insecurity!

If you don't like fully rigid, don't ride it. And rigid should not be equated to hardtail, which misses the whole point. I ride and enjoy both full suspension and fully rigid, and both have their joys. When I'm on my rigid bike in Bellingham or Squamish, I get a lot of looks. And then, 'Wow, you rip on that!' Or, 'How do you do so little pedaling?' Fully rigid is a pumping machine, and I think too many have drank the sit and spin and monster truck over whatever you feel like kool-aid. Let me spell it out for those who never gave it a fair shake: You lift up your wheels over the bumps -- both of them -- and ram them into the ground on the backsides, accelerating you. If you're smashing into rocks and roots, you're doing it all wrong. Sure, it's more input, but its no lesser form of riding. It's more precise, more bike control, more working with the trail than just squishing over it. I'm saddened to think that so many have never spent the time on a capable rigid bike to appreciate and enjoy this. It is not punishment, my wrists do not get sore, I simply exchange pedaling for some vertical pulling and pushing. A friend said it best: Riding FS is a lot like wearing a rubber. And full disclosure, I was a BMXer before I was a mountain biker. They've called our bikes robot bikes, just so you know. Don't be so proud.
  • + 5
 @vernonfelton:

Show me a bike with full-squish performance that requires rigid-esque maintenance, and I'll happily purchase a one-way ticket to your FS >>> Rigid land. Should such a bike ever exist, I'll fully commit to a FS-only stable.

p.s. Well done on another thoroughly entertaining piece!
  • + 1
 Thanks, man.
  • + 3
 there's no arguing that full suspension bikes aren't a pain to maintain. i feel like every ride there's something that needs servicing or fixing.

and yet, i keep riding FS. why? because it's TOTALLY worth it to me. god, is it worth it.

i also own a hardtail that gets a lot of use- they are still more fun on pedally, flatter singletrack, but i sold my rigid bike a while ago. most of my crashes happened on the rigid because i wasn't willing to go slow enough to be safe on it
  • + 2
 @xeren: it’s like people whining on dropper posts being unreliable... I just want to hit them in the head with one.
  • + 4
 Not you too @vernonfelton. Surely you must know BikeSnobNYC's writing is 90% satire and he lives for people to write articles such as the one you just wrote. I've been a fan of BikeSnob for several years now and his shit is awesome. Ridiculous but awesome.
  • + 4
 Full suspension is awsome
Hardtails are awsome
Rigid is awsome

There is space for all 3 in my garage
Different bikes for different needs....moods, trails and of course weather!

Any of you lot experienced an English winter...and the toll it takes on your finely tuned, carbotanium enduro wagons.

Admit E bikes are pathetic though ????
  • + 1
 Yeah, a true enthusiast, that's how I feel. As a teen all of us had a different bike, and we all rode together, made things interesting, they're an extension of your personality. Just watch "Drop In" television series, and you'll see what I mean, individual talents, all different bikes, all great to watch.
  • + 4
 I ride a rigid bike all the time. No dropper no suspension forks no gears. .. no brakes !! It's called a bmx and over the last 33 years it has taught me a huge amount of bike control.. it's still my favourite bike of all time to ride and give me a huge amount of pleasure.. but it won't go down a red trail at bike park Wales.. nor did I want to drive to the south of France in a 1965 mini.. Technology moves on and makes some things easier and more enjoyable.. pick the right tool for the job and go ride your bike...
  • + 7
 WRONG.

It's not an either/or.

N+1.

At least one squisher, one rigid and one singlespeed
  • + 4
 Where does fun derive from when riding? Vernon tells me that it is externally based - on the technology that I am using. I say it has to do with my frame of mind, what comes from within. Let's let materialism and commercialism die; it is the enemy of fun.
  • + 4
 I love technology and options. If budget were no question, I would definitely take the latest and greatest. Sadly, budget is a real constraint for me. (I don't have a davinci Spartan sitting in the corner of my desk.)

For my budget, I believe some things are worth saving up for (a good frame/fork/dropper) and other things aren't (xx1 eagle, carbon wheels, etc.). If money were no option, I'll take the best of everything please.

It's amazing the amount of bike you can enjoy for $1200. Take the recent commercial am ht. $1200. Would I rather have a carbon trail bike with the latest bling? For most trails, yes. But that $1200 goes a long way on that hardtail, and dollar for dollar, something like that brings more smiles per dollar.

I know that I would rather gave a $1200 ht and be debt free than to have a $9k pro bike that I'm still making payments on.

I realize this is a totally different argument than what Vernon was trying to make. No doubt the latest tech makes riding even more fun and capable, but there is at least one legitimate reason not to have the latest and greatest: cost.
  • + 3
 Agree 100%. If you have less than $1500 (or thereabouts) to spend on a bike, I'd go hardtail every time. A hardtail with a dropper isn't as capable as a proper full sus bike, but it's a lot closer than a lot of people might think. And way cheaper.
  • + 4
 I think it goes without saying that most of the opinions that stem from this discussion are shared with the understanding that we're just talking about bikes here, and that we're all a part of the same tribe...more or less. With that in mind: Hell yes, Vernon. I honestly look at fully rigid riding as much more a novelty than an honest to goodness approach to mountain biking. That might be just me, but I like to ride bikes in a way that celebrate the advancements of suspension design. I wouldn't go so far as to make the claim, much in the way that Outside-clickbait story did, that "fully rigid is evil and will destroy cycling," but it's awfully un-fun compared to the shit you can do on a proper bike.
  • + 5
 Simplicity isn't always "ridiculous". Maybe it is ridiculous on downhill and enduro tracks, but there's something super-awesome about rigid singlespeeding on a 1x drivetrain. Or riding a rigid fat bike without a dropper.
  • + 22
 There is nothing "super-awesome" about riding a rigid fat bike without a dropper....

Glad we cleared that up
  • + 4
 Lately most full rigid riders I come across on the trails are on full rigid single speeds with fat plus size tires. I guess they too are evolving to using some suspension in a sense with the tires being so big, but you have to be a full blown sadist to ride full rigid single speeds especially riding rocky and rooty terrain, glutton for punishment.
  • + 3
 It comes down to budget and the number of bikes you own.
- If you only have one bike, I believe you're better off with a nicely spec'ed hardtail than with a full-susp having entry-level everything.
- If you have two mountain bikes, it makes a lot of sense to have a hardtail trailbike as a backup/loaner bike.
- If you're a dentist, just by a bunch of carbon everything full-susp and don't bother with a hardtail.

Yes, you get beat up more on a hardtail, but they are really fun to ride and they are not that much slower than a full-susp. They also obviously require only very little maintenance.

I don't ride it that much, but I love my steel hardtail despite it's obsolete standards and geometry. I constantly think about upgrading it with a Chromag Surface or something else nice and modern.
  • + 3
 Now we know what the review for the Spartan will be :
"For a 160mm enduro beast, it climbed surprisingly well. It's a not a sub 12kg XC machine but I was suprised of how i cleared some techy climbs thanks to the superior grip of metric shocks.
...
Pointed downwards it becomes a trail slaying machine, it is a bike that requires full speed to show its potential. The metric shock is so smooth. "

Same review as RM Slayer, Trek Slash, Transition Patrol...
  • + 3
 This ties in nicely. Yesterday in Portland, OR I saw a hipster on a fixie with no brakes. This wouldn't have been out of the ordinary routine for a hipster in Portland except for the fact he also had no HANDLEBARS. Dude was riding using what looked to be about a 100mm stem. How's that for bike purity!
  • + 2
 I have to say that I have both sides of this argument. A full suspension for my ride anything bike and a rigid single speed fun bike. Some of the most fun I've had are on the flatter flow trails on my single speed but I'm not going to take that on all of my rides as I like to keep all my teeth in my mouth. Then again both of my bikes have 26" wheels so what do I know...
  • + 6
 Writes article about rigids. Everyone comments about hardtails...
  • + 2
 Addressing the rigid bikes make you ride better argument, I must disagree. I have ridden mountain bikes since 1983, I have gotten to ride all the technologies in that time. I find that rigid, front suspension and full suspension bikes each require a different style of riding and a different set of skills. The only real thing that really transfers is the fitness you get from all of them. With that, I do still ride all three and each bike is chosen for the needs of a specific ride/trail. Want to try real throwback, ride rigid fixxie, that is real 1920s shit.
  • + 2
 Not sure if this has been addressed in the thread yet, but I think Eben Weiss made a good point about the waste involved making low-end bikes with suspension. I'm talking about Wal Mart bikes that will never see dirt, where the suspension is pointless and just creates something that will break. I feel like a theme in his article was just how much garbage the whole bike industry creates and how a low-end rigid bike can last for so much longer than a comparable suspension bike. Anyways, I love my suspension bike for mountain biking and my rigid townie bike. I also raced mountain bikes in the non-suspension era, I do not miss the tendonitis.
  • + 5
 I love my rigid dirt jumper, but for trails yea at least front suspension for sure.
  • + 2
 Pinkbike comments are the best. You guys, he wrote an article about a very specific situation related a very specific type of rider that we have all met at some point. It was an interesting read, and it was an opinion piece. This is good to see, because otherwise you could just write one article called "There are lots of different people with different kinds of bikes and its all very situational," and that article would be lame.
  • + 2
 It's all about having fun; I got that clear. The bit where I start to ponder this topic is when I think;
riding a bike near its limit is one of the best ways to have fun on a bike;
the limit of a 160mm rig is way faster and extreme than the limit of a rigid/ht bike;
getting it wrong, which is more likely at the limit of what the bike can handle, is going to be way worse on the big rig than the ht;
so, would I actually be better off (lots of fun but safer) on a ht than a bigger bike?

This is coming from someone who's about to turn 40 and can´t recover from injuries anywhere near as quickly as before.

Of course the idea of running fully rigid is just freaking crazy!!!!
  • + 1
 Exactly. A full rigid is similar to riding a FS bike except you have no travel either end. It makes normally easy trails hard. If I was racing DH I would be training in winter on a FR or at least a HT.
  • + 2
 Wow that article is a trip. Suspension is bad because.... consumerism? Dude talks about perfectly good bikes being abandoned for the latest and greatest as if roadies, triathletes, etc aren't all throwing their 2 year old lightly used ultralight steeds up on craigslist every year too.

And then there's this:
"Watching someone riding a full-suspension bike on anything other than rocks is like watching a kid trying to walk in one of those inflatable bounce houses."

Wow... just.... has this guy been to a trail or seen an XC race in the last 15 years?? He must be a real joy to be around. And slow as shit.

THAT SAID, do I take my cross bike on mtb trails from time to time? Absolutely. It's a hoot, and it makes you look at the terrain differently, but then the ride is over and my masochistic curiosity is satisfied, and I go back to the ol' double boinger rig. A CX or rigid bike is great as a commuter, or a 2nd/3rd bike to change things up every once in a while, but I can't fathom any real defense of them being "better" as mountain bikes unless all you do is munch up miles on fire roads.

Vernon, I hope you'll be writing a rebuttal for Outside as well Smile
  • + 2
 Missing the point much?
  • + 1
 @blackthorne: I don't think I am.... from the Outside article:

"it's just that [full suspension] is the physical manifestation into bicycle form of everything that's wrong with our culture, society, and humanity in general....The result? Garbage. Basements, garages, vacant lots, and Craigslist "for sale" sections full of complete garbage. Over the long term, suspension is second only to rust in its power to render bicycles useless. Even those 1970s-era 10-speeds have found new life as fixie conversions or vintage commuters, but that first big mountain bike boom unleashed more unsalvageable crap on the planet than BP, Exxon, and Michael Bay combined. At this rate, the earth will soon be a scorched landscape of plastic shopping bags and dual-suspension department store bikes as far as the eye can see"

Seems pretty obvious that Bike Snob is conflating FS mtbs with destructive consumer culture, even while blind to the fact that roadies, triathletes, and even fixie heads can be equally consumerist and fixated on the latest and greatest. Craigslist is LOADED with sick road/tri bikes with only a year or two of use.
  • + 1
 @bkm303: Yeah, he seems to have a tenuous grasp on the sport of mountain biking. Maybe he takes the occasional fire road on his rides, but I don't get the impression that he "gets" the sport or participates much. I could be wrong, but I don't think he's one of "us" here at Pinkbike.

"Watching someone riding a full-suspension bike on anything other than rocks is like watching a kid trying to walk in one of those inflatable bounce houses."

That's kind of the whole point, dude. We're riding them on rocks.
  • + 2
 @bkm303: my bad, I did not realize you were talking about the bike snob article. I completely agree.
  • + 2
 I consider my self a somewhat experience mountain biker. I tried a hard tail for a few months. I always miss my full suspension bike when I get home! I find the full suspension excels both up hill and down with traction being the advantage. I always pin my line more accurately on a full suspension bike with a lot less soar muscles at the end of the day. That hard tail is stripped and for sale now. Good riddens! Squishy all the way!!!
  • + 2
 I'm an e-bike hater. I also love motorcycle/dirtbikes, but I think as soon as a bike gets a motor (even if it is an "assist" motor) then it is a MOTORcycle, not a bicycle, and it shouldn't be ridden on bicycle trails. Bicycles should be 100% human powered. With that I also think electric shift is cheating garbage. Sure shifting takes much less energy than pedaling up a hill, but it's still using electric motors to assist you in the physical motions of biking. If you've got electric shift on your bike, then you're riding an e-bike. I'll stick to using my leg muscles to pedal and my thumb muscles to shift.
  • + 5
 Bike Snob is, first & foremost, a commuter. And his blog is hilarious. Be he don't know MTB.
  • + 4
 I think a main point of the Snob's piece is that cheap suspension on cheap bikes is a bad thing. I agree. In those cases it's marketing and wasted weight and complexity.
  • + 1
 yes indeed, glad someone brought this up!
  • + 2
 There is a lot to be said for using simpler equipment in some hobbies, whether to provide more of a challenge or to hone skills. Take paintball for example. I played for a long time and eventually worked my way up to an awesome, bells and whistles electronic marker. Accurate, efficient, reliable and shot ropes of paint. But it was TOO good, doing most of the work for me. So I switched to a pump marker with a 10 round magazine. Now every shot counted and had to be planned. Strategy was crucial, and every player hit was a bigger success. In addition to adding a fun challenge switching to pump vastly improved my skills. So I can see why some people would prefer a HT or maybe even a fully rigid bike.

That being said I love my full squish bike and have no plans to replace it with a HT. Maybe add one for winter riding (less moving parts to care for), but I am still having a blast on my current bike and definitely have plenty of challenges left to conquer.
  • + 2
 It's all a matter of preference. To each their own. Put these things on a spectrum, then choose your weapon:
-Trail type (smooth, chunder, drops, elevation gain/loss, etc.)
-Rider skill, abilities, style, strengths & weaknesses(tech, jumps, fitness etc.)
-Budget
-Maintenance

It doesn't matter what you or I ride, but don't hate on someone else's choice, or make it seem obsolete. We don't all need to buy whatever the industry is trying to shove down our throats.
  • + 2
 i dont know. Dancing with a baby elephant might be fun. But probably not as fun as riding a full suss bike. Still i feel i need to know. Not in a kick to the balls kind of way. more like that secret ride on a E bike.
  • + 2
 Riding fully rigid 25 years ago is not the same as riding rigid today.29" wheels, wide rims, high volume tires and carbon fiber...its lovely but also enjoy my suspension bike.
  • + 1
 Got blitz’d On a climb by a guy in his mid 60’s on an e-bike, he went up a series of root steps I can only dream of doing on my lovely Devinci. Fair play to him when I’m that age that will be me. There is a time and a place for all.
Also let’s face it plenty of dickheads ride “normal” bike so why all the hate?

Chill lovely people and ride what ever u can while you can!
  • + 1
 Do Krampus' count as full rigid... Wink I love the full sussers in the fleet for sure but I have a special place in my soul for the my sweet sweet Krampus she kills it on lots of trails and in particular those god awful pain in the ass rolling terrain ones! When the zombie apocalypse happens I know which bike I'll be taking to get outta dodge... Long live the beast.
  • + 1
 Love the article. My full suspension bike lets me ride farther, faster, and more often as I have fewer stretches of medically imposed time off between rides. I also want to point out, though, that suspension can not only tame rides, but add challenge... having cooked the oil in my shock, I have very little rebound damping left which made A-Line last month as fun a try-not-to-die ride as anything I could muster on a rigid bike.
  • + 1
 AMEN Vernon!!

I'm loving every second of every ride because of NEW TECHNOLOGY!

I've been along for the ride - introduction of new technology from the beginning, and what a hell of a ride it's been...

New MTB technology = bring it on!
  • + 1
 This is the reason why I’m going FS versus aggressive hardtail. The travel up front on the hardtail is the same as the front and rear travel as the FS, but I’m not trying to have my knees knackered due to no travel out back.
  • + 1
 I'd love an fs bike. That said my rigid cost me 1200 brand new and I've spent more on replacing tires than servicing the bike in the year I've owned it. I ride every day, and servicing shocks monthly would be pretty cost prohibitive to actually getting out there.
  • + 1
 Interesting article, I read because I have a Genesis Fortitude a chromoly fully rigid quite long 29er, sadly I'm unable to afford a susser as well. Here's the thing though I can still ride with suss mates (a bit slower its true) and have fun. Yet its painful. So in an ideal world I would have a Geometron and the Genesis - the Geo for the rough stuff, the Gen for the smooth. Enjoy the rock and loam buddies...
  • + 1
 I still ride my 2001 Rocky Mtn Blizzard and I have re-invented that bike several times. When I bought it no full sus bikes seemed to make me want to put my money down on them. I take it out on non technical rides or urban mtb rides and it is fun as all hell. She still looks like new and I couldn't part with it unless the frame folded in half. But full on MTB... hell yes I'm pulling out the squishy bike. I even bought a Trek Domane, because my road bike needs to be squishy too. Why punish your body for doing what you love?
  • + 1
 Every bike has its use purpose. I use my rigid to improve my handling skills. Then I use my FS machines to improve my aerials and speed. You can spot people who only ride one or the other easily. But it doesn't really matter. The world does not depend on our ability to ride our bikes in the woods. It's far more critical to longevity in the sport to ride a bike that makes you happy.
  • + 1
 Different bikes for different days. Rigid bikes are really good for some purposes. Esp in winter. On sandy courses or muddy locations, rigid with 26” or 29” narrow knobbies is just the ticket. For street, gravel and country roads, and groomed xc trails, a full suspension bike with all the bells and whistles might be “ridiculous.”

Not everything is rocks and gnarly downhill trails.
  • + 1
 bike snobs article did hit home as far as the longevity factor. to quote: "...Yet not only were all these bikes equipped with unnecessary suspension systems, but many of them were equipped with shitty unnecessary suspension systems. The result? Garbage. Basements, garages, vacant lots, and Craigslist "for sale" sections full of complete garbage..."

rigid bikes do not become obsolete, they stay around. sure most may become commuters but they sure are still fun to ride on smoother tracks. this is not the case with outdated expensive FS bikes that you can no longer get replacements for or serviceable parts for the shocks, forks, linkages or bearings
  • + 1
 I'm one of those hard tail, no suspension guys. Life is complicated. That's not what I'm looking for in a bike. I like simple things. 1x drivetrains and no suspension make my bikes simple. For me simple = good. Complicated = bad. I also like single speeds. Even if I live to be a hundred years old I don't think I'll ever understand the mentality within the bike community that says that everyone has to like the same thing, or there's only one really good whatever, or that only the way I like to ride is fun. Like what you like, do what you want, but pull your panties out of your ass crack and stop worrying about what other people like.
  • + 1
 What amazes me is how the expansion of our riding area has driven technology. Back in the early 90s we rode deer trail for the most part in Michigan because there was nothing else to ride if you didn't live in Moab. Trails were pretty flat with lots of roots and man made technical sections were few and far between because if you built them you ran the risk of pissing off who ever owned the land you were trespassing on. Given that scenario the ridged bike made a lot of sense. I still have my 1990 Raliegh and it's a fun ride for those conditions. However as time progressed local communities, for the most part, opened up land to be devolved as actual MTB trails and things started to get interesting and challenging. All of a sudden the bike that worked fine started putting you on your ass and not surprisingly bikes evolved to accommodate those conditions. Through a Darwinian process bikes and terrain kept moving forward to the level we currently enjoy. A year ago I let my son ride my bike and I took the old 90s Raliegh out on a section of trail I ride regularly. About a mile into the trail I got off the bike, feeling beat to hell, and told him I'd meet him back at the trail head. What really made up my mind for me was looking at a downhill section I love to go bombing down and realizing that the geometry of the 90s bike pretty well guaranteed I was going to wind up on my nose.

I'll give you one counter point to this opinion that I have discovered - flow trails. Since these are remarkably like extended BMX tracks my son and I have really enjoyed riding 26" BMX bikes on these. The berms, jumps and lack of roots really make that a lot of fun. I would imagine the same situation would be true on a bike park jump line. Again, if the bike fits the conditions we are riding in it's just more fun and less painful.

Now can someone please explain that to the CX riders out there! Smile
  • + 1
 Suspension is only needed for rough trails and that's all, lots of funny comments by suspension obsessed dropper post dorks Hahaha that seem to think that the kind of riding they do is the only kind? CX fatbike and road ? Heard of those? Now the go anywhere gravel - road - trail - bike is the hottest thing, deal with that!
  • + 1
 I've been riding a rigid singlespeed bike (with disc brakes the only concession to modern MTBs) in winter, in the mud and snow for five years no. All I did in this time was to change the brake pads once, and spill a few drops of oil on the chain every month. Never even cleaned it. Try this with a full suspension bike Wink

Though, I have to admit, that if I could only own one bike, the rigid one would be the last one on the list.
  • + 1
 I think it's all about finding the right balance between affordability, reliability and fun. That's going to be different for everyone. For me a hardtail fits that balance nicely. I'm willing to spend the extra money and maintenance time on a suspension fork because it lets me ride a lot more terrain than I could with a rigid fork and have more fun doing it. For some people a rigid bike fits their needs perfectly and I can't fault them for that.
  • + 1
 Opinion from someone who tests $6000 to $10000 bikes for a living. Good for you. Let’s crap on guys who ride rigid bikes. By the way, mine’s a single speed. Maybe you can write another article about that. Just edit some of the content like everyone posting has.
  • + 1
 In 2002 I swore off mountain biking as I had just recently moved to the Rocky Mountain region and was tired of getting beat up every ride I did on my hardtail Gary Fisher. Fast forward to 2014 and bikes had changed so much that riding chunky terrain had become enjoyable! Point being...suspension brings more people to love the sport.
  • + 1
 This argument is regionally based. And not only relavent to how mountainous your trails are, primarily how rough they are. I grew up riding the most heinous, flat, twisting, un-"flowy" rake and ride trails in the 90's. A lot of that experience was on a rigid bike. I could undoubtedly crush those trails a zillion times faster today (if they still existed) on most any FS bike. However, today I live in a region with many trail centers to choose from, and all of them with the IMBA stamp of approval. There are areas built for speed; the squish bike crushes there despite the lack of tech. Other areas, however, are flatter, smoother and including more tight corners to keep speed down; honestly a couple laps are cool, but it gets boring on my MTB (but i do appreciate that green trails make the sport more accessible to green riders. Red riders still gotta have fun too though!!!). I have taken to riding my CX bike at these trail centers, and you know what, it really makes me smile!!!

So, my point being, the argument isn't so black and white as technology, suspension; good. Rigid, retro-grouch snobs; bad. Yes, get the bike that will make you faster, push your limits, whatever. If, however, you've got a little cheddar left over and there are trails around you (maybe even closer to access than the ones you need to ride to push your limits) consider building up a tough, low-maintenance rigid or HT, it could offer a new perspective. And, if you haven't ever ridden one, it WILL make you a better rider.

Old folks probably benefit from FS across the board though...
  • + 1
 @vernonfelton Love both articles and scrolling through comments, especially reading the @WAKIdesigns responses. It's like being out with a big mixed group of people with the latest FS bikes as well as those odd dudes with the rigids. A poke here and a poke there, but in the end you are all just out riding and having fun. For many of the fully rigid crowd that I know, just affording an mtb bike, keeping tires on it, and finding time to ride is the best they can do, and they are out there shredding with the rest of us. Yeah, there are those others with expensive weird rigid forks that they say are like having suspension, whatever dude. But that's really what it's about, riding and having fun. There's no way I could have dropped over a grand on a bike when I was younger, but I could sure piece together something to ride. Being fortunate enough (and old enough) to have accumulated enough bikes, wealth, and eventual spousal apathy to own more than one good bike, here's my take:

Fully rigid is silly on trails with bumps, unless that's all you've got. If you are riding a trail with no bumps, it might as well be paved. Ride whatever, a road bike, cruiser, etc. (I am partial to steel frames in these cases). Riding trails with some bumps and shorter technical sections (both up and down) can be fun on the right HT with 120mm front suspension. But there's a point at which a HT just starts ruining the fun. Even a HT with 160mm front suspension, which to me is as silly as fully rigid. It may increase the fun factor, weird factor, whatever, but big travel on the front and none on the rear? Makes no sense at all, function on that is way wacked out, like riding a crazed donkey. OK, that might be fun for a minute or two.

For me, FS has its place and HT has its place, and I choose trail and bike based on what I think I will have the most fun on at the time. So far I am faster on a local flow trail on my HT than I am on my FS, but that says nothing about fun -- the FS is definitely more fun. But fully rigid is reserved for pavement. There are reasons we invent stuff.
  • + 2
 I can imagine that there are some decent folks riding rigid because they find something valuable in it, maybe their trails are suitable for it... but then there are many folks who just cannot find another way of standing out... at some point when you suck as hell, and you feel so bad about it, you may as well find an excuse for it in form of riding a freaking slow bike, instead of putting your sht together. And the latter is often the case. There is nothing more ridiculous than fatbike with road bars... we all have different priorities in life, some just never get to this basic level. Some are just perfectly satisfied with the very fact of rolling on two wheels completely idle to the joy of speed or flight... Like most Surly owners ekhem khe kheeem... But when an editor of a major site writes such bollocks, he deserves to be called out on it.
  • + 1
 First of all, nut Kung fu is hilarious.

I ride a rigid steel 29r SS. On really rocky mountains (New Mexico)
Reasons it's awesome

1. It's super fast, you push on bike, bike pushes back, instantly.
2. Front wheels always goes exactly where you put it, tracks and picks lines like a lazer
3. 300 dollars for a 2011 kona unit. 2700 for beer, pot, nice things for the girl, or even charity. (Yes I just said 3000 dollar bikes are immoral)
4. Single speeding up mountains will get you in great shape and turn you into a monster.
5. I don't need a dropper post because I never sit down.
6. The look on people's faces when they see youre on a hardtail, then the look when they realize it's a rigid.
7. The look on people's faces when I pass them on the ups with one gear.
8. The look on people's faces when I pass them on the downs with a rigid fork.
9. It's hardcore.
  • + 1
 I've got a hardtail (with 130mm front suspension) and a fully (currently with 140mm front and rear). Yes climbing is easier on the fully (because of the traction on rough terrain) and straightlining a rough descend is easier because it just goes even if you make mistakes. But when cornering and especially when descending steep switchbacks or anywhere else with frequent changes of speed and/or direction, I feel the fully is so much harder to ride. On the hardtail, on the front compresses. On the fully, the front compresses and the rear comes up. It is so unpredictable, it makes it hard to be accurate in the tight and steep stuff.

So yeah on the rougher climbs and on those wide open rough descends the fully is easier. But the tight and tech stuff, corners, slow speed descends with lots of roots, rocks and holes, riding a hardtail is a breeze where the fully is scary as can be. It may be my bike and my riding style. People told me to sit more instead of stand up all the time. And to also drag the rear brake more instead of hit the front brake hard and short. I tried it and it indeed works a bit, but it is boring. I guess my style doesn't work well with rear suspension.

So yeah a fully works better for your style, use that. But if riding a fully is harder, more scary and more expensive than riding a good hardtail, there isn't really a point riding the fully.
  • + 1
 Rebound too quick or shocks too soft on your FS maybe? if it's dialed it should be behaving neutrally.
  • + 1
 @BenPea: Yeah maybe. I experimented a bit with settings but obviously if I unload the rear, it is going to come up sooner or later. It may not buck me off but it will still mess up my geometry when hitting corners (where I'm used to be a bit more over the front). I may need to have a ride with someone who knows about this kind of stuff. But yeah as I'm already having a good time on the hardtail, I mostly ride that and leave the fully for the more wide open stuff. On the Megavalanche Alpe d'Huez it was real easy to ride on the upper sections but on the lower switchback sections I was wishing for my hardtail. I'm actually keeping that bike when I take my girlfriend or someone new to the sport along as they appreciate the amount of travel it has.

That said, yeah maybe there are other full suspension bikes that suit my riding better. This one is a Cannondale Prophet. I once rode a bike from the Magura demo fleet in the hills around Bad Urach. It was from Focus I think, about 100mm travel front and rear. I didn't bring my own pedals so I got these grip-less Shimano pedals with SPD on one side and a sheet metal cage around it. I was on platform shoes, no SPD. Still I was surprised with what I could get away with, it indeed behaved neutrally. So yeah, maybe it is about the tuning indeed.
  • + 1
 @vinay: the Prophet can't have been that bad given the sheer numbers of them on our trails back in the day. That said, the damper in the lefty was a little dodgy iirc.
  • + 1
 @BenPea: The Prophet was considered a pretty good bike actually. And it does work great for me on the more wide open stuff, also on the rougher climbs. I got the base model back in 2007 because I was going to swap pretty much everything (Magura Wotan forks and Hugin shock). I was baffled with what I could get away with. It is just years of hardtail riding that didn't transfer nicely. I recall landing a step down perfectly only to be bucked off by the rebounding suspension. More rebound damping worked but felt boring for the rest of the ride. And yeah I could sure ride switchbacks on it, but when doing switchbacks down the Megavalanche Alpe d'Huez (the bit in the woods lower down) it got sketchy that the rear end comes up when I transfer my weight and/or decelerate. It is obvious (less weight, less sag) but it just something that you don't think about when riding hardtails. I learned that using rear brake pulls the rear back down again so that worked, but it just a different kind of riding. Not shifting my weight forwards in corners usually is sure way to wash out Wink . I'll give it another shot and experiment a bit more with suspension settings again. Maybe I'll get a slackset headset in there too, that'll shift more weight to the rear wheel.
  • + 1
 @vinay: it was considered a great bike, but it could be all about head angle as you say - 68/69 HA isn't it? Not great for it's intended purpose. If you're used to a slack hardtail then all the more so. I remember some prophets had a manitou swinger 3w, which i removed from my Reign as soon as i could. But that's not you've got i think. I don't get it, maybe you need a suspension doctor or a different bike.
  • + 1
 @BenPea: I think it is 69deg in XC mode, 67deg in "FR" mode, depending on where you mount the shock to the swingarm. Superstarcomponents has a headset that'll reduce the head tube angle by 2deg so I might do that. It may work well with my forwards weight bias. Not sure if it is the head tube angle that's bothering me. If there is a suspension setting that keeps the rear from coming up when I shift my weight I'll try that. The good reviews I've read before I bought it were with a Fox shock. I got the lower end model with the RS Pearl (preload and rebound) shock. Ridden that a few times though I had better results with the Magura Hugin (HLR and preload) shock. I later replaced that with their MX shock because it required next to no maintenance but maybe I do need more damping and I should mount the Hugin shock back on. Maybe experiment with different amounts of grease in the air chamber for progression. Not sure if it is ever going to be as easy to ride switchbacks as I can on the hardtail but yeah it could be better than it is now. I can adapt to quite a lot but it is harder when it comes unexpected. I was fine with the rebound until I bottom the rear out, then it bounces back so hard from the end stop that it bucks me off. Same with steep switchbacks. I could ride it down switchbacks but it was only on the steepest stuff that the rear end comes up that it multiplies the fear factor ten fold. Then again I do like the lively feel of a fast rebound. Maybe I need a lot of low speed rebound and less high speed rebound damping, but as far as a know only Cane Creek does that and these units aren't cheap for an old bike. Or maybe it could be adjusted internally and I need to ask Magura to do that for me.
  • + 1
 @vinay: you could try putting a Marzo 66 and 216mm dhx air on it like my mate did. Turned it into a beast. That said, I can't remember him ever going around a corner with it.
  • + 1
 @BenPea: Yeah I used to ride it with 160mm forks (Magura Wotan) and it worked great though it was slightly longer than Cannondale recommended as max. I later replaced it with Thor forks which work just fine. Not sure about the longer shock. It is designed around a 200x50mm shock though if I use a 200x57 in the XC setting I'd probably safely get some more travel out of it. I was more aiming for a slacker geometry though which a 190x50 (in FR setting) could possibly offer. Until my tire bumps the seattube. Safest (and cheapest) option probably still is the angled headset. Not sure about that 216mm shock. It probably works in the FR setting but unless he rides with a lot of sag it is going to raise the rear end massively.
  • + 1
 @vinay: the marzo upfront was so high that it more than cancelled out the extra shock length, but the BB must have been in orbit. It was a size L and I could barely even climb aboard the thing. My friend was way bigger than me and built like an Olympic gymnast, didn't seem to bother him... He didn't keep it for long, the thing was a little bit of a compromise. Replaced with a Commençal mini dh. This was all in 2009-2010...
  • + 1
 This article assumes everyone lives in the heart of the Rockies. I do not, and thus enjoy the additional challenge on my local trails, which are not smooth as glass either. I'm also on a SS and like the efficiency of a rigid fork. YMMV
  • + 1
 This is true of just about the majority of articles and comments on PinkBike. It is very centered around the kind of riding in the Rockies, Pacific North West, or Desert south west. Sure, there's an occasional feature (paid) on a ride center somewhere else, but the focus is largely on gravity and terrain at the rougher end of the spectrum.

This day to day conversation is shaping what bikes look like, and what people think they need to buy...more than even consumer feedback to the industry. Most of the bike companies feel this "conversation" is a true reflection of the entire mtb community. As a result, the articles and yes, everyone's comments are shaping what bikes will look like in two years, and that is actually a good thing....but it totally ignores a huge percentage of riders. XC, Touring, and Fat Bikers still exist in large numbers.
  • + 1
 I have a fully rigid 29er with 2.5's and 30 gears. A 68-ish HA and it's made of steel. It's a fun bike. Pushing where I shouldn't gets pretty crazy, but it's a lot of fun. It's light, almost zero maintenance, which makes it reliable. And I built it up for pennies on the dollar, compared to a FS build, $275 for the frame and fork. My only complaint, my wrists get pissed after 2 hours. I do have "real" bikes, but having that rigid is... my throw back to the old days. But with a wide bar, short stem, dropper post, clipless pedals, tubeless setup, 12 more gears, a fork that is compliant and also strong enough to last several seasons... oh wait... at the end of the day, it makes me feel like a hero, until I ride my long travel HT or the sus..
  • + 1
 In my experience, a rigid bike rides more similarly to a full suspension bike than a hardtail does. That probably sounds weird, but hear me out. When you compress into a hardtail, the front of the bike goes down, but the back doesn't (obviously) and this changes the geometry towards the steep and twitchy. On both a full sus and a rigid bike, when you hit a bump, the geo stays relatively similar, making them, in my experience feel more similar to each other than to a hardtail.
  • + 1
 Surly Karate Monkey. Most versatile bike I've ever owned. Ridden it on everything for near ten years, Singlespeed simplicity. I love suspension too, no point to make, other than those who've put solid time in on a well built/designed quality rigid bike made of full chromoly steel will know how much fun they are. Still my favourite bike ever, and fast. I still lust after a Jones Bike with truss fork. Why not have both! All bikes are rad.
  • + 1
 I have a single speed full rigid and a 170mm enduro bike. The singlespeed rigid gets ridden more. Why? I cannot get to the mountain or the more technical trails with the family (not yet anyway) or the trails that I can get to during the week are more frustrating going full enduro as the little bumps and jumps that can be pumped and jumped with the rigid get sucked up in the suspension. Maybe it is the old sckool BMXer in me but the efficiency and directness of the full rigid on tamer trails is more fun. It is a common discussion that flow trails and dumbing down of trails is indeed "a thing" to encourage growth of the sport. That is great but for anyone with experience, the combination of more capable bikes with easier trails and new riding partners (aka kids) results in a less challenging or fun experience. The full rigid singlespeed was the answer for me to keep things challenging and fun.
  • + 1
 Bike #1: CCM rigid, made in Canada, 2x5 speed, bike rack, comfort seat, comfort tires. Great for riding the bike paths, or around town.

Bike #2: Scott 26" aluminum hard tail. Bought a bare frame 2nd hand cheap, built it up. Rides great on the local trails, but don't think I'd want to ride anything big on it. I'm not at the level myself anyway.

Bike #3: 1970s Freespirit road bike. Still in the works of a rebuild. Want it for doing longer road/bike path trips.

Bike #4: Crappie Walmart FS CCM. Bought second hand just to get the feeling of trail riding. Use it as a winter beater, no matter much if it get screwed up.

Bottom line ride what you want for what you want. Nobody is right or wrong for what they ride, as weird as it may seem to others, as long as it works for them.
  • + 1
 I don't like this article and i feel it pushes some of the negative aspects of mountain biking that originally pushed me to BMX as a young rider. That problem is how extremely cost prohibitive mountain bikes are and how riders with shallow pockets are mocked regardless of skill level because they are forced to adapt their bike to their bank account. If you are looking at a $5000-10000 price range that the spartan falls into of course a high end enduro bike is the best option but what about the people that want something dependable and capable with a $1000-2000 budget? Chances are the most dependable versatile option could be a fully ridged bike but this article would suggest that rider is basing his decision on the fact he/she likes to hammer nails with his/her forehead. Just because you are given high end bikes and technology doesn't mean the rest of us are and what this article tells anyone that can't afford those options is that they are not qualified to ride aggressively and they are sadists that like to be punched in the dick. (It kinda sounds like you lean on your tech because you ride like a bitch)
  • + 1
 It hasn't been a conscious decision, just something that's happened gradually. It's made obvious by the fact that my dually has lots of cobwebs on it now....My preferred bike is a hardtail. ...The fact that it's singlespeed and the fact that I have a majestic beard are irrelevant. It's just easier.
  • + 1
 I rode a 17 pound fully rigid singlespeed 26er for three seasons. It was huge fun, a lot like riding a big BMX. Tech is great, by all means ride fully suspended, get a dropper post, go 1x12, whatever you like. In my case, it was full carbon. I had a ROTOR singlespeed chainring. So it's not like I was a snob about avoiding technology.

But boy, was that fun to ride. Sometimes it's great to forget about shock pressures, and lockouts, and what gear to spin. Sometimes it's fun to point and go. 29ers are faster, but the 26er felt like a big toy in my hands, I could flick it about. Bliss.

This article though... Strawman much? I know lots of people with a rigid singlespeed as one of their bikes. None of them are zealots cursing new technologies. None of them think that gears and suspensions are a waste. They just think that sometimes, a full rigid singlespeed is a lot of fun.

And they're too busy riding to get into Internet shouting matches about it.
  • + 1
 I think you missed the point that he's writing that piece for the crowd that looks to Outside for their bike advice. How many times have you seen a dentist on a $12k wunderbike (reviewed by Outside in their gear guide, probably a Pivot) riding a dirt sidewalk through the woods with the o-rings on the suspension barely past the sag point?
  • + 2
 My rigid single speed is the bike I have held onto the longest. It makes boring trails fun and doesn't look expensive, which makes it less likely to get jacked while going to 7-11 for beer!
  • + 1
 Good article. I read the Eben's article when it came out, and had a similar response. I've been riding mountain bikes since lugged steel frames and thumb shifters were pretty much state of the art - and it was fun and cool. But now I have a 130mm travel 29'er, and it's the most fun mountain bike I've ever ridden. And the damn thing climbs!

I'd still like to have an old rigid mountain bike (Bridgestone MB-0 if I ever find one), but it'd be a total novelty.
  • + 1
 For me, I only bike for fun, it's basically a simple machine to have fun on, and however you have fun doesn't matter to the next person. Some people have fun running, or Olympic long jump, or sewing; and none of it effects the next person.
  • + 1
 The main counter point to full suspension bikes for me is that they are made incorrectly (or not well/without much thought) a huge percentage of the time. I saw one yesterday with the bottom bracket on the chain stay, not even suspended(the entire rider's weight wasn't even suspended on the pedals). For me I literally haven't seen a perfect example of a full suspension bike in all my years, and simpler almost seems best at that point (figuring out the fundamentals with less mistakes). Put it this way, if someone can't tie their shoes, you don't show them a super complicated new way to tie them.
  • + 1
 Still an all time favourite, and a great deal new: ep1.pinkbike.org/p4pb9741442/p4pb9741442.jpg
  • + 1
 @Kramz: what kind of bike has the BB on the chainstay?
  • + 1
 @warmerdamj: a URT from when you were just a nipper
  • + 1
 What utter cods wallop! You seem to miss the point that 'Fun' is extremely subjective. Some bikes are built to be light and you can get carbon rigid forks for about £60 off Ebay and they're easily a kilo lighter than the lightest XC race forks. So getting the front wheel up and over obstacles is never an issue compared to lifting 2~ kilos of fork with 30-40mm sag too. (Of course not a problem either) but rigid forks develop your skills and line choice whereas suspension just flatters you.

Now to go and nick the Carbon exotic forks off the wife's bike and put them on one of mine to prove i'm a real man lol. ;-)
  • + 1
 Reasons i still enjoy riding my ht. No 1 in winter there is less maintenance, no.2 on some steep and tech loamy local trails i am faster on the ht than my full suspension bike and the main one no.3 the rear wheel breaks traction more readily on descents at slower speeds which makes the ride more fun.
  • + 3
 I love my rigid mountain bike. I also love my hardtail. And my carbon full suspension trail bike. Just depends on what kind of trails I feel like riding.
  • + 1
 Suspension also depends on the application and within the respect of its limits. I compete in XC, trials, bmx and the trails in my area cater to all the disciplines I am in. With that said, hell yeah I'll welcome my GT Sanction at a bike park at the same time, I'd prefer any of my smaller-to-no-travel bikes for the flowy, slope-style runs or even some of the XCs in my area where you could get away riding a cx/gravel bike up or down.

I take my GT RTS or my Bridgestone to the trails and refresh my perspective of appreciating how far technology has come for bikes and the same time laughing when I can't clean sections that I normally would on my Sanction or Zaskar. I'm a smiles per hour rider so with regard to suspension, it's "different strokes (or lack thereof) for different folks."
  • + 1
 I went back to a rigid once and loved it. I wouldn't pay money for one as mine was an abandoned huffy with no tires brakes or gears. That was before the arthritis and multiple sprained wrists required at least a suspension fork. The Kung Fu guys can actually retract their testicles like Sumo wrestlers can. Maybe there is a bicycle skill equivalent that we are missing. I got beaten down hill on my 160mm rig by the same guy who wasted me on the climb aboard an 80mm fork Ti hardtail.
  • + 1
 It's just a different kind of ride. I have good full-suspension mtn bike, and I'll ride my rigid bike in the winter. I just go a little slower, do less maintenance, and have just as much fun in most cases. It's no good for a hard-charging group ride, obviously, and I don't stand on my hitch rack in the staging area and prostheletize about how everyone should ride rigid.

I will say that I'd rather ride my rigid or "regular" hardtail than a crappy FS bike. But I won't go back to cantis. lol.
  • + 2
 Fully rigid mountain bikes are great for longer mixed terrain rides, and are way better than biting the bullet and riding a road bike. Not my first choice for every ride, but they have there place.
  • + 1
 I have a 160 FS Cube stereo, it's awesome and everything I ever wanted since starting mtb back in 1986. It's also the best I could afford in 2015.
However since a friend got the 1991 Kona cindercone I also wanted a steel hardtail and finally treated my self to a Genesis tarn 20 in 2017, it's 27.5 plus with 120 Yari.
The Tarn is for some reason the best and most favourite bike I've ever had I love it.
What is it about a hardtail that makes it special when in every other aspect of our lives we accept and crave technological advances ? I don't know but it's like wanking once you start you're never going to stop.
  • + 1
 Can't say fairer than that.
  • + 5
 Bikes don't need monogamy. Ride em all!
  • + 2
 Marzocchi XC500 fitted to my British racing green Rock Lobster. 25mm of beautiful plush travel, so much better than the USE elastomer job my buddy had. Don't miss it one bit Smile
  • + 4
 no suspension is better than bad suspension, as bad suspension is like having a pogo stick stuck to your bike.
  • + 2
 Rigid, full-suspension, 29+, steel, carbon. Whatever, they're all just people on bikes making choices of their own. Relax and don't get all uptight about what others elect to ride.
  • + 1
 I recently converted my stable to all full suspension. I had this 29er, 23#, absolute "rocket" of a bike that I brought out for XC riding/racing. I always felt fast on it, but it beat me to hell and I had to pick my way around some of local "intermediate" trails.

Long story short, I went out to one of my favorite trails (intermediate), went KOM hunting, and absolutely destroyed myself to not set a single PR. I was faster on a 30# burly trail bike. That piece of shit went on craiglist the next day and I haven't missed it since. Built up a closeout Niner Jet9 alloy, got it near 26-27#, and at least when I'm on a trail hammering and hating myself I'm faster than on the hardtail.

#hardtailsnever (OK maybe in shitty weather on smooth trails).
  • + 0
 That article from the Bike snob just annoyed the crap out of me. So narrow minded & ignorant. 1 bottle and never carry food? Suspension is the downfall of bikes? He claims he doesn't ride rigid to get noticed but I think it is the SOLE reason he does it. He's insecure and needs the constant approval to make him feel better. Obviously, he knows NOTHING about mountain biking.
  • + 1
 1x10 dropper-laden hardtail is my 2nd bike. It's super fun. Just enough fun parts, and not too many to cause serious $$ issues. Of course, I have a 2018 Smuggler on the way, too. Horses for courses.
  • + 2
 I have both types of bikes and both are awesome for different reasons. One is forgiving on your back and hands. One is forgiving on you bank account.
  • + 1
 Yep, also the rigid simglespeed bikes make easy stuff on a big bike fun again, every tree root is a challenge. Horses for courses!
  • + 0
 I don't like this article and i feel it pushes some of the negative aspects of mountain biking that originally pushed me to BMX as a young rider. That problem is how extremely cost prohibitive mountain bikes are and how riders with shallow pockets are mocked regardless of skill level because they are forced to adapt their bike to their bank account. If you are looking at a $5000-10000 price range that the spartan falls into of course a high end enduro bike is the best option but what about the people that want something dependable and capable with a $1000-2000 budget? Chances are the most dependable versatile option could be a fully ridged bike but this article would suggest that rider is basing his decision on the fact he/she likes to hammer nails with his/her forehead. Just because you are given high end bikes and technology doesn't mean the rest of us are and what this article tells anyone that can't afford those options is that they are not qualified to ride aggressively and they are sadists that like to be punched in the dick. (It kinda sounds like you lean on your tech because you ride like a puss)
  • + 2
 Spot on, that outside piece was either written by someone who is clueless, or they were just trolling everyone that mountain bikes.
  • + 2
 @mvmorten: i love how he says he's riling, not trolling, when he's clearly trolling
  • + 2
 @mvmorten: I love my bike is in the picture of the rigid bike. Although I am cheating with 140mm up front and a 2 degree slacker HA...
  • + 3
 I completely get where he is coming from. It depends on your take on riding. If you are out to smash KOMs sure get the latest carbon wonderbike. If you just like to get out in nature and turn the pedals a rigid bike will do fine. Plus it will sharpen your up skills.
  • + 0
 Rigid is gay unless you're into being gay, then rigid is totally acceptable. We all know but are afraid to admit it. This sport 10 years from now will all be about pedal assist with electronic drivetrains, electronic suspension jacked into your strava/GPS, and an electronic dropper post just because why the f*ck not? At this point on time fully rigid bikes will no longer be gay and heavily sought after.
  • + 3
 Eben Weiss is slow, a hipster roadie, and irrelevant. There, someone had to say it.
  • + 2
 But he is is often funny and I don't care if I agree with him or not.
  • + 1
 @opignonlibre: that's fair. I think Louis CK is also slow. But he's pretty damn funny as well. lol
  • + 0
 Here is a brief summary of every conversation I have ever had about riding a rigid mountain bike:

"I thinking about going rigid"
"You should, I made the change a few years ago. It was awesome"
"Yeah, its like the only pure mountain bike experience"
"Totally. You can have my rigid fork if you want to try it out. Its been sitting in my garage since I pulled it off my bike five years ago."
  • + 2
 Ride a rigid for a week, then go back to that 160mm travel rig. You will be much faster, smoother and ballsey because that 160mm suddenly feels like 300 compared to a rigid 0
  • + 1
 Ya caught me! I like the pain.... My fs just sits in the corner, disassembled with parts missing cause I put them on my HT Honzo SS...
  • + 0
 If you're going to CHOOSE to ride a rigid mountain bike that's absolutely your prerogative. However that same decision should translate to the car you drive as well—otherwise the argument falls apart very quickly.
  • + 2
 It does translate to cars. I would rather drive a crapper and get squirrelly all the time than something that handles well. If you drive something that handles well to its limits the risks are massively bigger.
  • + 2
 86 Jeeps still kick ass.
  • - 1
 Once again. Opinion from someone who tests $6000 to $10000 bikes for a living. Thanks for crapping on rigid bikes, mine is a single speed. You could rant about those by editing some content in this article like everyone else who is posting. Good day sir!
  • + 3
 Now post the same but instead of rigid say non e-bikes
  • + 2
 Exactly what I came to say. I wonder if Vernon had them in mind while he wrote this and (wisely) chose to keep it incognito. Of course you could replace “Suspension” with any of the advancements we’ve seen - disc brakes, dropper posts to name a couple. I guess we won’t see ebikes replace non-assisted bikes but the arguments are the same. As has been said many times before - it doesn’t get easier; it gets faster, it goes further, it allows you to ride trails that would previously have been unrideable.
  • + 1
 Surely as a reformed roadie you should be fully invested in the "paincave/ sufferfest" mentality? The whole point of road cycling is pain, discomfort and suffering.
  • + 2
 "What's the point of those ridiculous fat tires?" (in regards to my fat bike)
More fun.
  • + 2
 I think if Waki spent half as much time riding as he does posting comments, he might be fast.
  • + 1
 @vernonfelton The annual Bellingham Ballooner klunk race is on Oct 29th. Come get kicked in the nuts with us! We'll even give you a hot dog and a high five!
  • + 1
 I ride a rigid bike on 26", single speed, rim brakes, 680 wide bars and no dropper post. It's a trials bike. Am I still a sadist?
  • + 2
 Holy f*cken flame war!!!!
This article needs to be linked to the original article.
  • + 1
 Name me one off-road specific vehicle that DOESN'T have suspension?................. the only one I can think of is a wheelbarrow.
  • + 1
 There is one thing more dated than full rigid and that is some people's opinion on anything that they don't like or do. To each their own.
  • + 1
 Pfft, suspension is for wussies, next you're gonna start complaining that you want pneumatic tires to replace the solid rubber ones on your wooden rims.
  • + 0
 I'm a little surprised at:
1. How many commenters seem to not get that 'fully rigid' is not the same as hardtail.
2. How many 'clickbait' comments there are about an article with 'Opinion' in the headline.
  • + 0
 When you publish an opinion, it becomes a report. Most hand built bikes are Hard Tails, no doubt hand builders will be affected in some way. Thanks
  • + 1
 let's face it, one rides a hardtail only because he/she doesn't want to pay for a decent fully.
  • + 1
 Woah, do you mean hardtail or rigid?

I just bought a more XC oriented hardtail (KTM Myroon) to ride when my Nomad3 is way more bike than necessary, and to just experience my local trails in a new way. I have only a few rides on it but it is a blast.

Key point, it is a hardtail. The rigid category may well satisfy a similar itch others have, but I wanted at least a suspension fork.
  • + 1
 Nope. I’ve got nearly as much in my carbon hardtail as a new base model Yeti/Santa Cruz. Hell I even got a rigid fork (Niner carbon) for it that I swap on and off every few months. The carbon fork slacks it out to 68* from 71* with the stock rockshox fork...

Of course I’ve also got a new alloy DH bike, a cheap alloy rigid fat bike, and a steel is real road bike. Sure, a full sus trail bike is probably my next purchase, but it will also probably be the bike that requires the most maintenance and probably won’t stick around as long as the other bikes will (the roadie i bought new in 1990) and it won’t be bought until shock sizes and fork offsets calm down and settle on something long term.
  • + 3
 Nope. Sold my full suspension, went back to rigid while shopping for a new FS, and haven't purchased one in 2 years because the hardtail is so much fun. Hardtails have some benefits if you are not trying to win a race or huck 30' drops. Easier to maintain, climb, lighter, amazing traction feedback, and makes you choose lines better. It makes the same trail different. You can always ride standing up so your butt doesn't hurt, but you can't take your hands off the bars for a break if they start to feel numb, so yeah, front suspension is a given.
  • + 3
 I have triple the money in my FS bikes than I do my HT but I ride my HTs twice as much.
  • + 1
 Yet another article which makes me value your opinion less.....but I'm the fool for reading it.
  • + 1
 You can race an enduro with a cyclocross bike, but just because you can. Doesnt mean you should.
  • + 1
 But if you do, make a youtube video!
  • + 2
 Its called Cyclocross......
  • + 1
 I don't ride bikes. But I peel apples with a cleaver. So you must be right.
  • + 0
 Vernon Felton is an old man. His skeleton is creaking. So has to put together all this shit to explain for younger and fitter guys who smoke him while on hardtails. How cute.
  • + 3
 I like variety...
  • + 1
 Bike Snob only rides around NYC on cargo bikes. Honestly, what does he know about /actual/ cycling?
  • + 1
 In the other guy's defense his assessment of hell sounds pretty spot on.
  • + 1
 I'm still laughing at iron crotch man !!
  • + 1
 Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man.
  • + 1
 Goddam this article is amazing
  • + 1
 Hardtails make you harder! Period!
  • + 2
 I thought that was blondes...
  • + 1
 @Gibbersticks: That works too!
  • + 1
 Buy a Cane Creek Thudbuster and stop crying about your nuts.
  • - 3
 Reading this was like eating a bag of sweets. Fantastic. Could not agree more, but I think it goes deeper than this, I think Vernon has let hardtail vegans run away with with some crap. In general whenever I hear that this and that may be faster but it's not as fun, I want to tell him to go fk himself. The moment I jumped on my buddies Enduro 29 in the middle of riding hedonism filled day, I smiled more. Because I could see clearer where I want to be and what I want to do, and I felt less need to do brake checks which for the most part, just unsettle the bike. I felt great. It felt like a shag that came out of nowhere yet turned out Fantastic. Now to go back to telling a person to go fk himself, I meant it in best of ways. In fact masturbation has a therapeutic effect on our minds, the ability to get closer to God in an extatic culmination, without the need of dealing with short comings of female nature, is indeed mind freeing. So next time you want to school someone about virtues of certain hardships, please go clean your pipes.
  • + 5
 "Rigid isn't faster but it's more fun"

"Ok bro, we'll be sessioning some stuff you can't ride while we wait for you to clank your way down"
  • + 5
 Rigid isn't faster, but a different type of fun. Try riding a rigid for a week, then going back to that 160mm travel rig. You will be faster, smoother and more ballsey because suddenly that 160mm feels like 200 compared to a rigid 0
  • + 3
 @ibishreddin: that’s completely mistaken. A 120 fully has a different amplitude through the terrain as 160 bike. A hardtail is also much different. You don’t ride a DH bike the same way you ride an Enduro bike, if only because DH eliminates huge portion of bumps, they simply cease to exist for your attention. Each bike, when ridden on the edge of ones comfort zone, will ride through the same trail being light and heavy in different places. Reaction times, launch spots, braking spots will be different. It’s hard to translate a hardtail to a 160 bike so it’s completely impossible with rigid.
  • + 1
 @ibishreddin: I have done that... it definitely made me *feel* faster, but that doesn't really translate to speed.

Waki is right, the trail just becomes different on drastically different bikes. On a CX bike I'm looking down right in front of me to make sure I don't get hung up on small stuff. On an enduro bike I'm looking out in front of me to the next turn/feature to come at it with speed. They're different skills.

If you ride sloppy lines and just smash into things on your big bike, then yeah, changing bikes can have a positive impact... but picking my way through chunder on a cross bike never made me feel more prepared to gap over a rock garden at speed.
  • + 2
 This article isn't about hardtails.
  • + 1
 @bkm303: exactly, stuff that requires you to just lift your heels on 160 bike to make the bike light will throw you over the bars on your CX. On DH, you won't even know it was there. I think people forget about the opposite effect. Riding a long travel bike can make you faster on a "harder" bike. We simply get more confident and curious if what you've done on a bike bike will work on small one. When someone in my area finds some new feature, be it a drop or a steep shute I try it on my 160 bike and few weeks later I will maybe pass by on my hardtail with 100 fork and consider trying it. Which I have done numerous times. If I lived in Whistler, damn right I'd try lots of stuff on HT that I've done on a fully. I guess hardtails on A-Line are not that uncommon, at least before the big brake bumps start coming out. Also, if you go for a week to a bike park, you'll ride lots of properly big stuff. Then you come back home and you'll see all of those "intimidating" things as much smaller, so you may as well hit them on HT.
  • + 0
 Haha, he wrote 'fully rigid'.
Do you also use the terms 'front forks', or 'rear shock'?
  • + 1
 One that PB staff doesn’t agree with?
  • + 1
 Funny AF. I didn't even care what the article was all about.
  • + 1
 haha! @vernonfelton .. Nice!
  • + 1
 Haven't even read a word yet, just laughing at all the pictures lol
  • + 1
 Well written and funny. Thank you Vernon!
  • + 2
 Superb piece of writing
  • + 1
 Applause
  • + 1
 HARUMPH!
  • + 1
 OOOOOOOOOF
  • - 2
 When people smugly tell me that they ride rigid, i smugly respond: “thats good, the limitations of the bike keep you from riding past your skill level, its safer.”
  • + 0
 Slow news day or what? Quit trolling us PB!
  • + 2
 Count yourself lucky you're not seeing the PB e-bike articles those of us outside the US or Canada are being subjected to...
  • + 1
 @BenPea: Oh man, seriously? I guess I do feel lucky then.
  • + 0
 Don't skit hardtails man.
  • + 1
 "tools" Wink
  • + 1
 Three letters..... B M X
  • + 0
 WTF is a below threshold thread?
  • + 1
 When a comment has so many down votes it is hidden by the site software.
  • + 1
 So many tools
  • - 1
 My wife likes them rigid.
Hold on, what are we talking about?
  • + 1
 Booooo!
  • + 1
 The pool boy.
Below threshold threads are hidden

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