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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    100

    Question Soft tail? New to mountain biking...Help...

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    Hi, everyone - I'm new to the mountain biking scene - I purchased a Trek 4300 last year with the intention of just riding the neighborhood with my kids or a nature trail or two. I never knew it could be so addicting : ) My BF and I have riden a few of the mountain bike trails in the area and I love it, but some of the obstacles and uphills are a bit hard still. I mostly attribute this to my lack of experience, and sometimes blame the bike LOL.

    I was looking at a Trek WSD Fuel EX 5.5 - Trek's entry level soft tail, I was also looking at the Santa Cruz Julianna (but have no idea where I could test ride one), and maybe Specialized or Cannondale - so as you see I haven't really narrowed down my search yet.

    I used to ride motocross until I had a bad wreck almost 4 years ago (broke my neck in 3 places and half my jaw is titanium) - never did I think I would ever get on anything with two wheels again - but here I am.

    Thanks in advance, Ladies. Any advice/support/etc will be greatly appreciated.

    Last edited by milkbone; 05-05-2008 at 02:07 PM. Reason: can't spell LOL

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Longmont, CO
    Posts
    545
    If at all possible, demo a few and take notes on what you notice.

    A lot of shops will charge for the demo, but deduct the demo fees from any bike you end up buying. Also, in the spring you may find "demo days" where a shop may make several bikes available at a local trail.
    monique

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Asheville, NC
    Posts
    680

    Santa Cruz Demo Day

    This is a shop in Asheville...not sure where you are in NC but it may be worth a drive to try it out...

    http://carolinafatz.blogspot.com/200...ride-tour.html

    I rode a Santa Cruz Julianna for 4 years...absolutely loved it!!! It was time for a new bike and a Yeti was a better fit for my body...but I would not give up my time on my SC Julianna for anything
    I am a nobody; nobody is perfect, and therefore I am perfect.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    100
    I'm hesitant, believe me - I'm no where near as crazy on a bike as I used to be, and before I had a motor underneath me, now my legs are the motor : ) I'm just getting started and taking it slow but my Trek hard-tail I have I don't think is the bike I really need for what I want to do.

    Thanks for the replies ladies : ) Have a good weekend.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    9
    Hey...wow, good for you getting back onto two wheels. Mtb is great fun, I hope you really have fun with it.

    I had the Trek you speak of...and honestly, hated it. It just did not fit my body at all, I think it was a lemon, chain suck every time I rode, poor clearance for thick mud w the frame...too short a top tube for stand over height.

    Every one is different, so it's important to test ride as many as you can. I bought a Titus, and the first one was too big (XS), I couldn't really control it and felt very timid on it. I sold that, and bought the XXS, and LOVE that bike! I ride more than I hike now, and it climbs great, and I can ride most of the local World Cup Downhill course on it (never could I do that on the TREK!!)

    Lots of folks really love the Julianne...a lot of my buddies have them, and they ride great. I'd love to try the Specialized, lots of the guys I ride with like theirs!

    Good Luck..
    Ride with Passion,
    bgh

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    foothills of the Ozarks aka Tornado Alley
    Posts
    4,193
    Quote Originally Posted by milkbone View Post
    I'm just getting started and taking it slow but my Trek hard-tail I have I don't think is the bike I really need for what I want to do.
    I really like my hardtail as I can feel the trail better. With that being said, I have learned that my joints would prefer a FSR so I started shopping for one. My lbs was very gracious in allowing me to borrow a couple bikes and test ride it on a trail. I was able to determine which mountain bike fit me. I found the FSR offers better traction and will allow me to feel more confident on different terrain. Perhaps your lbs will let you test ride different bikes?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Bendemonium
    Posts
    9,673
    milkbone, why are you considering a soft tail over a FS? The soft tail will not have any ride difference from a hard tail unless you are sitting down and then there are pros and cons. The ST can provide some nice cush when climbing and the back wheel does roll ever stuff a bit more easily than a HT BUT it will not provide any suspension once you are out of the saddle. A FS will absorb some bangs even when you are standing, so shock absorption can take place in the frame rather than in your knees and hips. Also, a soft tail can pogo on level bumpy trails when a good FS won't. Example, you see a lovely nice level trail curving out through a meadow of wildflowers and you just want to cruise through in an idyllic flowerdy daydream. You can't because the *$%^* squirrel and gopher holes in the trail are popping up the back end of the bike and the soft tail bounces you skyward with every *$% hole.

    I had all 3 and I love my Litespeed Unicoi for the glorious flowing singletrack in Central Oregon but it comes with some drawbacks. My Titus Racer X climbs better than the Stumpjumper HT and the Unicoi ST and provides more shock absorbtion in all terrains. FS also provides a much larger margin of error over obstacles.

    If you are looking to protect your neck, you need cush -- and you need to make sure that the fork and rear shock can be fine-tuned to your weight or they won't activate properly to provide that cush.
    Frends know gud humors when dey is hear it. ~ Da Crockydiles of ZZE.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    S. Lake Tahoe CA and Marion Mass
    Posts
    359

    ride it like you stole it

    I can say that I know about that addiction!

    I rode my Specialized Hardrock until it basically fell apart. I could do almost everything with that bike that I can do with my new one. I rode it for probably 3 years until I just made the leap. And leap I did. I got a FS but there was a learning curve to it, definately with the shocks (read: over the handlebars). I think with your accident a FS would be easier on you, but to me, I would just go for broke and buy the bike of your dreams if you know you are going to stick with it. But try them out too. I rode a couple of different bikes, and found the Ellsworth but never test drove it. Which is pure luck on my part that I liked it. But it rides like a dream, and the guys at Wrench Science really know how to fit a bike.

    Good luck! Best addiction I ever picked up!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Flagstaff AZ
    Posts
    2,516
    Quote Originally Posted by sundial View Post
    I really like my hardtail as I can feel the trail better. With that being said, I have learned that my joints would prefer a FSR so I started shopping for one. My lbs was very gracious in allowing me to borrow a couple bikes and test ride it on a trail. I was able to determine which mountain bike fit me. I found the FSR offers better traction and will allow me to feel more confident on different terrain. Perhaps your lbs will let you test ride different bikes?
    Wow, Sundial - that is the first time I've ever heard anyone say "so I can feel the trail better". The last thing I want to do is FEEL the trail either on the bike or off! Love my full suspension bike and as you said above so does my old body!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    100
    Ok, rookie question I'm sure but what is "FS"? Thanks, ladies.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Bendemonium
    Posts
    9,673
    HT = hard tail
    ST = soft tail
    FS = full suspension
    Frends know gud humors when dey is hear it. ~ Da Crockydiles of ZZE.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    foothills of the Ozarks aka Tornado Alley
    Posts
    4,193
    Quote Originally Posted by spokewench View Post
    Wow, Sundial - that is the first time I've ever heard anyone say "so I can feel the trail better". The last thing I want to do is FEEL the trail either on the bike or off! Love my full suspension bike and as you said above so does my old body!
    I consider it braille riding.

 

 

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