james-o wrote:Not very, or not as much as some would suggest, unless you define mountain biking by the speed across technically demanding trails.
Most (almost all?) MTBs are designed to use a sus fork so they may feel more jarring at the front than they need to when a rigid for is fitted.
http://www.jonesbikes.com/bike_design.html - An example of how to design a comfy rigid bike - these bikes may not be that readily available or a practical option for all, but from experience I'd say the ideas work and the design is sound. Better than sound really. Worth a read for perspective anyway.
Basically, get your weight back and away from the front wheel, use bigger width and diameter tyres and consider adjusting your hand/wrist angle by using different bars to help adapt to the different demands.
Suspension is great but it's not essential, I don't use it for most of my riding these days.
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