What should I buy - Hardtail or full suspension???

cruro02

New Member
Region
Australia
So - I'm sure this has been asked many times before and I have read most (if not all) threads on the subject), but I have some specific questions. I am looking to buy a couple of e-bikes - one for my wife and one for me. I have my wife's sorted (Cube NuRide 2021 - she's only likely to use it on rail trails and paved bike paths). For me I'm in two minds - I'm 62 and a reasonably regular road rider (Felt VR5) but want to start rinding rail trails (there is a stack of them here in Victoria, Australia) and also looking at riding fire access roads and some rougher roads and tracks as well. So - do I go hardtail or full suspension - (essentially a choice between the Cube Stereo Hybrid 120 Pro 500 or Cube Reaction Hybrid Pro 500)
 

Catalyzt

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
I faced the same choice, as I've been riding a lightweight, low-range, front hub drive kit bike with a front suspension stem and suspension seat post on badly cracked pavement with lots of deep potholes, fire roads and occasional single track, but I was on a much smaller budget. I do feel like I'm feeling a lot of vibration, and once or twice I've hit bad potholes or cracks that almost caused me to dump it.

Very inexperienced here, and almost impossible to find any bikes to ride and test in Los Angeles. Eventually, for my second bike, I decided to make a lot of trade-offs -- live with Class 1, and 250W mid drive motor that's only got about 40 Nm of torque-- in a full suspension bike that I hope is going to be just under 50 pounds (it's the bottom end of the Motobecane HAL line). My budget is about half of yours, so that definitely impacted my choice. I'm a lightweight rider, only 150 pounds, and pretty fit, so hopefully the motor will be enough.

My thing is, I'm on blood thinners, and I really, really don't want to crash-- ever-- and I want the option to do a bit more off-road. What I was finding was that the hard tails were not any lighter or cheaper-- at least nothing that was readily available with a motor that had a good track record-- and I always wanted to try a full suspension, really live with it a while. Bike should be assembled in five or six days.

I think I'm going to like it... but that it I stick with this-- and I probably will-- there could be a Class III in my future in a few years, and it will probably be a hard tail.
 

Johnny

Well-Known Member
but want to start rinding rail trails (there is a stack of them here in Victoria, Australia) and also looking at riding fire access roads and some rougher roads and tracks as well.
Definitely full suspension. It will be a day and night difference for that kind of riding.
 

RandallS

Well-Known Member
Region
Canada
City
Calgary
I went Hardtail, with a Giant Fathom E+ Pro, and I find that it's an excellent compromise.
I have added 2 more seatposts (and a saddle) - one post is a Suntour NCX Suspension type, and one is a PNW Coast (externally wired Dropper) which has a minimal bit of suspension built in.

Most of the time and always for trail/singletrack riding, I use the dropper but when mainly riding roads, paths, etc... I will often swap out the dropper for the more plush Suntour.

I am very happy with the Hardtail but do recognize that it's a compromise. I think that if I were riding more technical terrain, I may see a little more value in a full suspension bike, but to be honest, there wasn't a lot of choice last July. I'd like to try riding some local trails with both my Hardtail and then a Full Suspension bike and see exactly if I want one or not when I next upgrade. Note - no mention of "need" just "want".

In closing, it sounds to me like you are also recognizing the value of a compromise and as such, I'd recommend a Hardtail for you.
Ride it for a year and if you feel you need the FS - change it up. Bikes are retaining more value these days.

My $0.02
 

RandallS

Well-Known Member
Region
Canada
City
Calgary
Definitely full suspension. It will be a day and night difference for that kind of riding.
I'm not sure if the word "definitely" is necessarily appropriate in this case, but you are certainly welcome to your opinion.
Access roads, rail trails, and similar aren't really FS "required" in my view.
Rocks and tree roots on technical singletrack is where I think the requirements/desires change.

But that's just my opinion, and to be honest, I have limited experience with suspension.
Most of my MTB days (late 80's through the early 2000's) were on fully rigid bikes...

I'm sure one of the more serious MTB members may pipe in, hopefully one from that part of the world.
Someone like... @PDoz perhaps? ;)
 

Bigal1463

Well-Known Member
As one man’s opinion, I purchased a hard tail and I ride mostly paved roads and rail trails. One would think that would suffice and for the most part it does. I’m 75 and in descent shape, but my age has an affect on my joints. I purchased an aftermarket seat post and it made a big difference (well worth it). I’ve put over 1500 miles on it and when you’re riding more than 30 miles at a given time, that’s a lot of time on a bike. Let’s face it, whether rail trails, paved trails or street, nothing is super smooth. At my age, looking back, I wish I had gotten a bike with a good front suspension, because going over rough terrain whether it be a pothole, an uneven surface or roots on a paved surface can jar your wrists.
Afterthoughts mean aftermarket price and usually more in costs.
Give it some thought and good luck whatever you decide.
 

Johnny

Well-Known Member
I'm not sure if the word "definitely" is necessarily appropriate in this case, but you are certainly welcome to your opinion.
Access roads, rail trails, and similar aren't really FS "required" in my view.
Rocks and tree roots on technical singletrack is where I think the requirements/desires change.

But that's just my opinion, and to be honest, I have limited experience with suspension.
Most of my MTB days (late 80's through the early 2000's) were on fully rigid bikes...

I'm sure one of the more serious MTB members may pipe in, hopefully one from that part of the world.
Someone like... @PDoz perhaps? ;)

He also mentioned rougher roads, that was what I was referring to.

If it is smooth fire roads and gravel only, yes a hardtail with wider tires will probably do. But still going for FS give you the flexibility when you want to do more or the terrain gets uneven. I find the difference significant. Also if you need to have the seatpost suspension then getting the FS and having the additional handling benefit is a big plus.
 

RandallS

Well-Known Member
Region
Canada
City
Calgary
As one man’s opinion, I purchased a hard tail and I ride mostly paved roads and rail trails. One would think that would suffice and for the most part it does. I’m 75 and in descent shape, but my age has an affect on my joints. I purchased an aftermarket seat post and it made a big difference (well worth it). I’ve put over 1500 miles on it and when you’re riding more than 30 miles at a given time, that’s a lot of time on a bike. Let’s face it, whether rail trails, paved trails or street, nothing is super smooth. At my age, looking back, I wish I had gotten a bike with a good front suspension, because going over rough terrain whether it be a pothole, an uneven surface or roots on a paved surface can jar your wrists.
Afterthoughts mean aftermarket price and usually more in costs.
Give it some thought and good luck whatever you decide.
Good feedback, but In this case, the OP is actually asking about whether or not he needs REAR suspension.
A front suspension fork is already is play.

Ride on!
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Good feedback, but In this case, the OP is actually asking about whether or not he needs REAR suspension.
A front suspension fork is already is play.

Ride on!
A full suspension is less efficient, heavier and has a lot of expensive moving parts to service and repair. Some of your pedaling bounces the bike instead of moving it forward. If you are taking your bike up a ski lift in the Summer to ride down, great, than you need a full suspension bike. Some people think it looks cool. If you can get a chromoly frame and fork then it is nice to ride over broken pavement. Much nicer than carbon or aluminum. Tires like the Super Moto X smooth out the ride too. It is also harder to install a secondary brace on the motor with a full suspension. A rack cannot be used on a FSB making the bike less practical in town or as a commuter. Here is a FSB I worked on yesterday. The guy thought it looked cool so I put on the basket.
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
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cruro02

New Member
Region
Australia
Thank you to all who replied - I think I have settled on full suspension, but as is always the way when I start down this sort of path I am now thinking I might upgrade and go with the Cube Stereo Hybrid 140 HPC race 625. Bigger battery, better components and it will mean I'm not looking to upgrade in a year or so (not an easy thing to get past the CFO who expects many years of use out of things :) ) - again thanks for all the feedback...