29er hardtail vs. suspension?

Hey Lee,
Love your book, I have question, I am looking to buy a new bike next year I want a 29 er, should I go with a full suspension or a hard tail?

I have Gary fisher sugar 3 never been real jazzed with it ( too small). I was looking at the Cannondale caffine 29 but also have entertained the Gary fisher full suspension 29 ers. I see Kona as has a full suspension 29 er. I ride a lot of single track nothing too crazy and some paved bike paths. I am kind of gun shy about fisher products only because of my sugar.

I am 5’11 214 lbs. What do you suggest I know it comes down to what I like best, but would love your thoughts on the subject.


Michael was RIPPING his single speed 29er hardtail at last week’s clinic.

Hey Bill,

If you want to traverse trails as efficiently as possible, a 29er is a smart choice. The larger wheels roll over roughness about six percent easier than 26ers.

The hardtail vs. suspension debate is identical for 29ers as 26ers, except:

One benefit of short-travel suspension is that is rolls over small bumps more efficiently than a hardtail.

On mellow trails, a 29er hardtail will give you a similar benefit — while reducing cost, weight and moving parts.

A 29er hardtail will give you a smoother ride with none of those drawbacks of suspension.

Ergo …

I think a 29er hardtail is the bike for you. You get a light, quick, inexpensive bike that will feel smooth on your local singletracks.

And you can still say braaap!

— Lee