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So, you've decided to get a used mountain bike, but are having trouble choosing between a hardtail or a full suspension mountain bike. Of course, the debate between hardtail and full suspension mountain bikes has raged on for a very long time, but there are some important issues to consider when it comes to buying a used bike.

In fact, buying used really does affect the way you approach the whole full suspension vs. hardtail issue. To help understand this, let's talk about the basic differences between full suspension and hardtail bikes, and then look out how buying used can change the way you look at these differences.

Let's start off with the hardtails. Hardtails, as their name suggests, have no suspension in the rear. This makes for a lighter, simpler, and cheaper bike. A hard tail, all other things being equal, will be lighter than a full suspension bike. Also, the lack of suspension allows them to be much simpler and cheaper. You always get better components for your money with a hardtail. However, does this all translate into a faster, better ride?

Advocates of full suspension bikes would say no. Although adding a rear suspension system to a bike increases the weight and complexity quite noticeably, many argument that the increased smoothness of the ride makes them slightly more efficient in the long run. Of course, efficient or not, your body will thank you for choosing a smooth riding full suspension bike! However, all this comes at the cost of increased weight, complexity, and cost. For many, though, this is worth it.

So, how does this all effect buyers of used bikes? As it turns out, looking at the used market ads a whole new wrinkle to the decision. Of course, the same differences shown above now apply, but now you have to consider different suspension technologies, how well the bike has been maintained, and more.

Think about it. A hardtail mountain bike is pretty basic, and really has not changed all that much over the years. Full suspension bikes, on the other hand, are always evolving with technology. Suspension designs change, shocks get better, and the technology all changes very fast. This makes buying an older full suspension bike unattractive to many, since you might be buying to some very old technology that will seem very outdated. On the flip side, if you buy a hardtail, this will not be much of an issue.

Another factor to consider is how well each bike has been maintained. Hardtails can take a lot of abuse, but full suspension designs need to be taken care of. Be on the lookout for this as you shop for your used mountain bike.

Most people have already made up their minds concerning which bike design they prefer, but if you're on the fence, then be sure to consider the points made above. Whichever bike you choose, though, be assured that you can still have lots and lots of fun biking, no matter what kind of suspension you have.

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Source by David C Wilson