Is a hardtail mountain bike for you?
Most mountain bikes come with suspension to help you stay in control over rough terrain. However, not all riders need the same type and amount of suspension, which is where full suspension and hardtail bikes come in. Full suspension mountain bikes come equipped with front and rear shocks, whereas hardtail mountain bikes have them. does not come with a rear shock. Determining if a hardtail mountain bike is right for you will ultimately come down to your riding style and location. Weigh the pros and cons.
A closer look at hardtails
Hardtail mountain bikes are generally lighter than their full-suspension counterparts. They have no rear shock or suspension linkage, allowing for greater mechanical simplicity and reduced weight. That said, how do you know if a hardtail mountain bike is right for you? Full-suspension bikes are easier to ride and more forgiving on particularly rough terrain than hardtails. However, hardtails are versatile, more affordable, great for learning and – some would say – more fun to ride.
Advantages of hardtail mountain biking
Choosing between a full suspension bike and a hardtail can seem daunting – they both have their advantages. But let’s go over five reasons why a hardtail bike should be the one you choose:
1. Hardtails are good for learning
Yes, riding a hardtail mountain bike is harder, rougher, and less comfortable, but it also forces you to ride at a speed that matches your skill level. The lack of rear suspension teaches you to use your legs as suspension and ride smoother. It also teaches you line choice, as you pay it every time you choose the wrong line. Also, hardtails force you to be gentler with your bike. Since you feel every bump in your trail, you know when you’re breaking your tires, allowing you to adjust your ride. The skills you learn on this bike cannot be learned on a full suspension bike. Missing mechanical support makes you a stronger and better rider.
2. Hardtails are relatively low maintenance
Compared to full suspension bikes, hardtails are almost maintenance free. The fact that they have fewer pivots – therefore fewer moving parts and bearings – means there are fewer components to maintain. Did you know that replacing pivot bearings can cost you hundreds of dollars? That’s before factoring in the annual shock service, which can range from $150. Hardtails also don’t have linkages, so there’s no mud buildup and the bikes are easier to clean. The wiring is also easier to replace.
3. Hardtails are versatile
Hardtails are so versatile that you can convert them to meet almost any need. A hardtail mountain bike can easily be converted into a functional commuter bike. If you can’t afford to buy two bikes, a hardtail will do just fine on the asphalt – even better than a full suspension bike. All you have to do is inflate your tires with some extra air. If you want to do cross-country or gravel, lightening your tires will do the trick. Bikepackers can also use hardtails for their trips as they offer plenty of room for frame bags.
4. Hardtails are fun to ride
It’s a somewhat controversial opinion, but hardtail bikes are generally more fun to ride. They are perfect for riders who want to feel every part of the trail and hit every jump. Since they are rougher, the feeling of speed is enhanced while driving, even if you are not driving very fast. If you find a good jump track or one that isn’t too rough that needs a bit of pedaling, a hardtail will be the most fun.
5. Hardtails are relatively cheap
In addition to being cheaper to maintain, hardtails generally cost less than full suspension bikes. You can usually buy a high quality hardtail mountain bike for the same price as a low quality full suspension bike. That’s not to say there aren’t expensive hardtail bikes on the market – you can spend thousands of dollars in this department – but you don’t have to to get your money’s worth. . The Norco Torrent, for example, has an excellent steel frame and amazing specs and costs just $3,149. The Trek Remedy 8, which has less impressive wheels, brakes and fork, costs nearly $1,000 more.
Hardtail Mountain Bikes Vs. Full Suspension Bikes
Hardtail mountain bikes are cheaper to own if you live somewhere with muddy trails or have a limited maintenance budget. Cash for money, full suspension bikes are expensive – they require linkage bearing and shock replacement services, which can cost you hundreds of dollars. Hardtails are also easy to adapt for commuting and can also be configured for touring. If your hardtail has an efficient suspension shape and proper geometry, it will be a lot of fun to ride on slightly technical trails. However, this bike can take a toll on your body if you have knee, ankle, lower back, or spinal injuries. Full suspension bikes are ideal in this case as they absorb the impact when you land badly, preventing you from straining your hips and ankles. That said, even if you don’t have such injuries but want to explore rough trails, a full suspension bike will help you progress safely. A hardtail will be ideal if you need to pedal a lot as it converts energy into momentum more efficiently.
With so many build and price options, you could spend about the same amount of money on a hardtail as you would a full suspension mountain bike. The real factors that come into play when choosing the best type of suspension for you are riding style, location, and value. Full suspension bikes are easier to ride. Hardtails are tougher but also more versatile and require less maintenance. Overall, if you don’t have a back or spinal injury, you ride in the winter, frequently visit polished terrain, and use your bike to get around, a hardtail mountain bike is the solution.