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Is it better to buy a simple full suspension (AKA dual suspension) bike or a more expensive hardtail for the same money? It’s a popular question from riders searching for a decent bike without breaking the bank, so let’s compare hardtail vs full suspension.
Full-suspension MTB bike include front and rear suspension, improving comfort and helping you to drive on more challenging landscape. They are usually more costly and weigh more. Most beginners are waiting for a more experienced mountain biker to acquire their first full suspension bike.
Simply put, if a full suspension bike costs the same as a hardtail, the rear suspended frame requires component concessions. But are the benefits of rear suspension worth the quality trade-off on the hardtail?
To find out, we pitted two motorcycles from the same brand against each other. We tested both bikes on Sydney’s trails to see where our money would go.
The 2015 Merida One-Twenty 7.500 ($1,999) and the Merida Big.Seven 7 XT Edition ($1,949) were chosen. While these bikes aren’t available in all regions (like the US), they depict the issue nicely.
As you can see, this conflict highlights the importance of considering your riding style and personal preferences when purchasing bikes or gear – rather than just comparing particular components.
A full-suspension bike is for you if:
- Starting around $1,500 for a good full suspension mountain bike. If you’re willing to spend that much (or more) and full suspension is appropriate for the terrain, it’s probably a smart decision.
- You prefer technical trails: A full-suspension mountain bike is for you if you enjoy biking through rock gardens, up and over roots, and off drops. Full-suspension bikes are made for tough terrain; the combination of front and rear suspension creates a smoother ride with superior traction and control.
- You desire a smoother ride: A full-suspension mountain bike will absorb most of the jarring bumps (and in some cases, buck you off your bike). This can assist reduce tiredness, allowing you to cycle faster, longer, and more comfortably.
- You require speed: Front and rear suspension cushion bumps so well that you can ride faster than a hardtail across tricky stretches of trail.
When compared to a hardtail mountain bike, which has simply a suspension fork up front, full-suspension mountain bikes have both a suspension fork up front and a rear shock. The type of suspension used on a mountain bike will have an impact on the bike’s control, traction, and comfort—not to mention how much fun it is to ride the bike.