Question about a bike purchase

Hi all,

Looking to get a bit of advice on a new bike. A little background - I’m getting close to 50 and haven’t done much real mountain biking in about 20 years. However, in my teens and early 20s I was a national caliber BMX racer who transitioned into some aggressive mountain biking. Then the lull.

I’m currently considering a couple of things. First, an aggressive hardtail like the Devinci Kobain. The other option is to get an entry level FS (Marshall, Fluid, Trance, etc.). I figure most of my riding will be near Halifax, with the occasional trip to Bonshaw/Brookvale on PEI.

I guess the question is would the Kobain be enough bike for this, or should I bite the bullet and go to FS? Have also considered just getting the Kobain, and if it ends up underbiked for what I end up doing selling it and getting the FS.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

1 Like

I had a Chromag Rootdown, and still desired full sus. I went with the Fluid and upgraded it over time.

Hardtails are fun and good but full sus opens you up to more challenging areas, and longer rides in my opinion. I have bad hips and I can ride 2x as long comfortably on my full sus and not feel beat up after.


Thanks! Part of my concern as well is wear and tear on my body. Not getting any younger…


Full suspension. Your back with thank you.


You want to have fun and feel good to ride most days full sus is the way to go.

I love my fluid now that it’s upgraded but the marshal seems a solid bike as well. I rode the trance a bit and never fell in love with it, they missed the opportunity to go with a steep Seat tube angle so I always felt like I was riding a chopper. The fluid has dialed geo but Norco has iffy support during the pandemic.


Just my 2¢, but I’d say it depends on what you want to do.

I bought a Growler earlier this year and I can ride anything around here. I like to challenge my skills so I regularly ride the most difficult trails.
HOWEVER I am not chasing KOM’s, I’m not jumping off every rise or doing manuals off drops. I ride at my own pace, I don’t push myself and I ride within my means. Point being is if you just want to get out and have a good time, a Kobain is probably a capable bike. If you want to get back into the aggressive riding you might find it’s not enough.

BTW, I’m “North of 40” so I too was concerned about the impact on my body but I felt I wanted to go to a hardtail for the benefits of a lighter bike, better climbing (my biggest weakness) and honestly a lower pricepoint.
My top 3 choices were the Kobain, Growler and Fuse. Ended up with a Growler and I’m very happy with it. The only ‘impact’ on my body initially was numb wrists which I solved by tweaking the cockpit setup and upgrading the grips. Other than that I rarely have any pain other than the usual tightness in my legs.


Another vote for hardtail. I’m mid-40’s and understand the abuse a body takes, but I ride better and enjoy trails more when riding a hardtail versus a full suspension rig. With your background, bike handling skills shouldn’t be an issue and I think you’ll enjoy honing your skills again. Unless you’re doing serious downhill, then a newer HT should be plenty of bike to handle all the trails you’ve mentioned.

1 Like

Good point, a lot has changed in mountain bike technology in the past 20 years.

Slightly off topic but in my opinion but I think we’re going to see the hardtail make a huge comeback in the next few years.

1 Like

I’m north of 30 but south of 40 :wink:
That said…I got back into biking during COVID which started with BMX which is also my background. After bruising ribs and getting a hairline fracture in my radius…decided my body was too old and went full squish with an old school DH bike. Hard tails are fun, but with my riding style a hardtail just wouldn’t do.

Look to the future, what do you want to be riding in 5 years time, and will the bike you buy tomorrow, get you there?

1 Like

Hi all, thanks so much for all the feedback. I’m currently riding a 23 year old hardtail. It was a great bike in 1998, and it still rides pretty well, although I’ve heard tons of stuff about how a modern hardtail is so much more competent on the trails (and a modern FS even more so!). So I have a soft spot for HTs, but I also think a FS will be a bit more forgiving if I decide to do something stupid! Part of my concern is if I don’t get back into it as much as I’d hope that there is a resale market for either. I’m guessing, though, with the supply chain the way it is either the Kobain or the Marshall would move pretty quickly. And Jeremy makes a good point too - I sort of figure the Kobain might only be a temporary thing. Either I don’t ride as much as I’d like and I sell it, or I ride a lot and end up with a FS anyway. Sorry for bothering you all with my mid-life existential crisis!

1 Like

Whatever you decide I think you’ll be happy. With a modern bike and the newer trails at MacRun you’re gonna have fun.

Although, from what I hear about mid-life crisis’ aren’t you supposed to go all out?



49 here and ride my FS 95% of the time. The HT is fun to ride but I rarely choose it. FS is just more capable for me.

1 Like

Just getting out on the trails on a new bike is going to change everything for you compared to a bike as old as the one you are riding.
Having said that as I am weeks away from notching up 55 years I can’t imagine riding a hardtail at this point in my life. Back and overall body fatigue are a big factor for me.
Perhaps you should come out to a few club rides on Tuesday and see if you can jump on a couple folks bikes for a second to ride some f/s rigs and see how you feel about it after that.


I’m 56 and very much in favor of FS for trails around here.

That being said, the hardtails of today will be way different than the pre-millenials. My first mountain bike is a 1998 Raleigh Serengeti. I’ve handed it off to a relative so it still gets ridden - 3" fork, narrow handlebars, limited to about 2.1" (26" diam.) tires, stretched out geometry, steep head angle, sharp handling… although it is steel. :slight_smile: .

A modern hardtail will have a more forgiving frame, 4-5" of damped front suspension, slacker geometry, so not as scary on steeps, wider bars for more control and less twitchy steering, bigger wheels which will roll over stuff better, room for bigger tires (2.4-2.8"?) which allow lower tire pressure for more grip and comfort, disk brakes for actual braking in wet conditions.

Also, we have more sanctioned trail that is being professionally built to a higher standard than back in the day, so a lot of the trails are smoother and flowier than they used to be, and there’s a lot less hucking to flat.

So a newer hardtail will handle many of our trails very well. But, for the old school stuff - Whopper Flipside, Spider Lake, Gorge, parts of MacRun, etc. etc., FS will be more forgiving on the body, give better grip, be more mistake-friendly, and probably less crash-prone… at the cost of a higher purchase price and more maintenance.

Thanks for all the advice. And Rockhopper essentially described my current bike!

Right now I’m leaning toward the hardtail. I figure I’ve got 23 years out of my Oryx, so I can surely get a year out of a modern HT. And, if I find it can’t handle the stuff I’m riding, or if it beats me up too much, I can sell it in the current market for a decent price and put the money toward a FS next year. The types of trails I’m interested in are fast, flowy ones, which I think a modern HT would handle nicely, while still being able to handle the occasional more difficult terrain.

And I’d love to come out to a Tuesday ride to see what a FS is like (have never ridden one!). However, I have a medically vulnerable young daughter so am not doing social things until she’s vaccinated.


Rock Growler, Norco Torrent are really good options for aggressive builds, the Marin Team Marin is somewhere between XC and Trail and is in stock at Royal Distribution, if you have a hard time to find anything. If I wasn’t getting a gravel bike I’d get one of those.

As much as I’d prefer a FS bike, I’ve found that I can make do on my 29er hardtail with the addition of a suspension seatpost to take the edge off. Dunno if they still make them or not, ebay might help. I was lucky to have one kicking around from the olden days.

PS, love it when stuff I bought new and continue to use is referred to as vintage.

1 Like

At the risk of thread tangentialism- these exist!