Back to Basics – Moving from full suspension to titanium hardtail

Ok, I’ll admit it at last. I’m really not so good a rider, especially downhill, that I need a full suspension bike.

That stubby little shock might make it nice and smooth, kind and gentle on my furiously pedalling behind, but I reckon cross country trek-ability is far above downhill flow on my list of requirements, and, sadly, skills. I want a bike that I can take out and pedal for 6 hours over any terrain, and while there are a bunch of targetted, super light full-sus machines out there (Specialized Epic & Santa Cruz Superlight being great examples) the benefits of the suspension on these types of machines just doesn’t seem to justify either the cost or the increase in breakable parts.

So, back to the hardtail for me. And quite exciting it is too! Think about it – I’m now used to looking at frames that cost £1500 brand-new thanks to my brief full suspension fetish. Imagine the kind of hardtail you can get for that kind of money?! I’m slavering over carbon frames at the moment, or even, dare I say it, Titanium. Or Ti as all the cool kids call it.

I’ve been looking at the benefits and I reckon Titanium might actually be the way to go, even though it’s easily as steep as full suspension. Titanium frames are super-light, obviously. They make bits of the space shuttle out of it for god’s sake, how much of a advert is that? Plus, Titanium frames are nice and springy, smoothing out your ride somewhat, making up for the lack of a rear shock. The frames may be as expensive as my old Specialized S-Works Enduro but while the rear shock on the enduro really doesn’t give me that much advantage, the super-skinny weight of a Titanium frame will be awesome on the cross country while the springy finish will smooth out the downhills a bit anyway. Sorted.

So, Titanium it is for me, any advice on what to get? I’ve been looking at the Cove Hummer Ti, simply because the juvenile part of me secretly loves Cove’s innuendo-laced frame labels, but there’s plenty of other options around. Let me know in the comments – you could be responsible for my spending another ill-conceived grand and a half. Here we go…


Colin started mountain biking in the early 2000s and has haphazardly, and with barely increasing skill, dragged his bike around the majority of Scotland's trail centres since then. Colin has oodles of hard earned experience in how NOT to do things - listen, be warned and don't repeat his mistakes...   More about Colin... Google+ Colin

5 Responses

  1. Ask P says:

    Go for it. I myself ride a steelframe, which gives me a lot of the plusses you mention, but one of my riding buddies ride the old Hummer and he uses it for everything from 24 hour races to trips down the mountains of Europe. The new frame should ride even better, and having just assembled a bike with that frame I can only agree that it is very nicely crafted.
    Go all the way and fit a Fox Talas, and it could be the only bike you need.

  2. Colin says:

    Thanks for the feedback man, very useful. I’ve not switched frames yet but with the sun peeking out again from behind the frozen clouds I’m getting motivated to start setting up for the summer. Ebay here I come!


  3. Aide says:

    Go for a Cube Reaction with HPA 7005 Advanced Hydroform Triple Butted frame. Battered my Reaction for the last 12 months over every red and black run in Engladn and Wales, stands up to everything. Fast on the hills, light enough to pedal round for 6 or 8 hours a day. Can not fault it at all, and with everything XT spec and superb colour coordination you get top spec at a great price.

  4. Adam says:

    Hi, Colin

    I too am looking for a new frame, carbon or Ti. Have you had a look at the On-One Carbon 456? Looking loveely, and if you pre-order now its £399, think I might have to pull the trigger!

  5. Colin says:

    Thanks for the tip Adam. I never did go back to hardtail after writing that article but it’s still on my mind. I’ll check out that On-One, seems pretty cheap for a carbon frame!

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