Oooh, Oooh. FS v's HT debate
I own two bikes. Both high end. One is a steel hardtail. The other is a steel rigid. Both Konas. Both 24lbs. Love 'em both. I think FS bikes are great and may get one in the future, but I don't feel I need FS at this time.
With that said, 5 or 6 years ago I would have rightly argued that FS bikes are heavy and sucked going uphill. "climbs like a HT" was an empty promise. But today things have changed. FS bikes do climb well and are worth a look, but as a previous poster has noted the racer boys/girls still prefer the HT. The HT IMHO is still the best deal out there. They were fine for all day epics 5 years ago and nothing has changed.
So with that said.2: I say that both types are good choices. depends what you want and what your riding conditions and goals are. In my earlier post I noted that the serious biker will spend $2000 for a HT or $3000 for FS Therin lies the difference.You can have a 24lbs HT for $2000 or a 27lbs FS or $3000.
For the first time/newbie MTBer this translates to spending say $700 for a good quality HT or $1000 for a heavy, but servicable FS. For some (or many), cost is an issue, thus the HT will offer the better bike at a given price point below $3000. Better bike=better biking experience. Personally, I'd rather see the newbie on the $700 HT. It appears that this thread is aimed at the newbie. Another factor is maintenance. Most riders do a poor job of taking care of their bikes. FS require more care. But if you ride in rougher conditions the FS is a good bet.
Thought: Funny how 15 years ago people rode rigid in the roughest of conditions just fine. Now people can't handle the rocky road without a plush bike. Is America getting soft?
Just so you know my next bike will be a Santa Cruz Blur with a target weight of 27lbs, Est. cost of $3500.
BTW did I mention that I love my 24lbs. rigid? Razor sharp handling on singletrack. Works for 25 milers. Makes 25 miles feel like 40. Impresses the h*ll out of the 20 somethings on their FS bikes. Gives new meaning to the term "beater bike". I love the bike.