Making move to full suspension

My couple of cents. Recently switched back from full suspension to Hardtail. The two bikes are comparable, AM full suspension vs. long travel AM aggressive hard tail with similar spec XT all round. Love the full suspension and its generally faster but the hardtail makes me smile more and its definitely my bike of choice.

My wheels have held up to years of abuse but they were well built. Wide rims, larger volume tires and pressures that aren’t too low and you’re on to a winner.

Some considerations. An FS will require more maintenance. If you plan on doing the work yourself the tools can be expensive so budget somewhat for that as well. Bearing presses aren’t cheap. I’ve found it to be worth periodically checking the bolts for being torqued as well.

Should you do it? Absolutely if thats what you want but maybe try and grab a test ride on a really nice hardtail build and then decide.


I had a FS Cannondale Habit that I sold because my hardtail fat bike was more fun. I now have a Middlechild from RSD as my main ride, another hardtail with 140mm travel fork. I personally can’t see myself going back to FS anytime soon.

Yeh if I had a high end hardtail i prob wouldnt be complaing but the ex cal 8 is pretty much entry level and just like the video @Drgonzo showed thats me to a tee lol. Minus picking up while biking.
I think ive made my decision to just save up for a full sus in the off season and keep beating the shit out of the x cal this season lol. Plus finding a medium full sus doesnt seem like any easy task right now with mtbing blowing up through the pandemic.
Anyways thanks for all the input fellas. Happy riding


This isn’t the first time I’ve seen this comment and as a new FS owner I’m wondering: what extra maintenance are you referring to?

Pivot bearings/bushings need to be replaced periodically, rear shocks need regular service and occasional mounting hardware replacement as these are wear items. There are various DIY ways to remove/replace the bearings/bushings without “proper” tools and it’s easier on some bike designs than others.

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My Giant Trance has 12 bearings for the suspension alone, along with the usual bottom bracket, wheel and headset bearings like every other bike.

One thing I have found with suspension bearings is spend the money on good ones, or you’ll be replacing them more often if you use cheaper ones.


So how often do bearings need replacing? I assume it’ll depend on the bearing and what sort of terrain you ride, how you ride, etc?

It will depend on the suspension design, the weather conditions you ride in, how much you weigh, what type of trails you ride, how you ride, etc. Additionally, bearings in some locations will need replacement more frequently than others. I’ve managed anywhere from about 1500 km to 3500 km between replacements on a few different bikes.

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@groddy and @Ghost are on the mark with the extra maintenance costs, I see this so much especially with people purchasing used DS bikes trying to do things (understandably) on the cheap. More often than not used bikes have never had any service done to pivot bearings or suspension. Assuming nothing is damaged beyond repair, servicing is expensive.

If you want things to function optimally into the future, forks and shocks should be serviced at every 100 hours of use (see your specific manufacturer for intervals) the basic lowers and seals on a fork usually comes in around $150 (if you don’t do it yourself) same for basic air can/seals on the rear shock. There are other services that should be done at longer intervals, that will be more expensive.

Pivot bearings are very bike dependent some last a long time others not so much but every year they should be checked by at minimum by removing the shock and feeling how the linkages move. Better is to disassemble the whole rear linkages to make sure hardware isn’t seizing and feeling the bearings. The replacement costs are variable, depending on bearings but I would bank $200 for this job especially if you aren’t going to do it yourself.

So that’s a rough annual to bi-annual cost of $500, to keep your bike in tip top shape.

Of course you could do none of this, shred it and sell it. I have seen many nice and expensive bikes practically destroyed because this maintenance has been neglected and this mess passed on to the buyer often unknown to them. Of course there is a buyer beware warning here.


OUCH that’s way higher than I would have expected but still I appreciate the info! It’s a shame that MTB can carry that much of a running cost year to year. My apologies for the thread hijack.


You can learn to do it yourself for less than half that in parts alone, but the tools will add up the first time. Bank on $100 for seal and oil kits for fork and shock, and $100-150 for a full bearing set.

You also run the risk (if you attempt deeper maintenance procedures like charging air shocks etc) that you could fuck it up and have it cost even more. I’m good at 95% of my maintenance, but I struggle with servicing my shock.