Top 5 hardtail mountain bikes for 2021

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The humble hardtail looks like it’s going through a mini-renaissance, with a series of cross-country, downcountry, trail and potentially even radder stiff frames introduced for 2021.

The advantages are clear. When uphill speed matters, connecting the crank directly to the axle, without a low-power suspension spoiling the fun, is the fastest way to get up to speed.

Riding rough trails on a hardtail can beat you a bit more, but there is something almost Zen about being able to choose the smoothest line between the chunder, while pumping through the rollers to generate speed. free.

RIBs can also be lighter, easier to maintain, and less expensive, as there are simply fewer moving parts that add weight, a requirement for maintenance, and have to be built in the first place.

So we decided to pick five remarkable bikes with a stiff rear that we saw recently, ready for all your mountain biking adventures in 2021. We’ve got everything from World Cup racers to alloy sleds to make the descents so mind-blowing. as possible.

1. Yeti ARC

The anniversary edition of the Yeti ARC.

Back in the good old days, when a disc wheel, drop bars and questionable lycra were all you needed to become one of the most famous riders in history (we’re talking about John Tomac, of course). ), Yeti ARC’s 35th anniversary is remarkable for several reasons.

The first is the Anniversary Edition itself, a complete throwback to Yeti’s vintage racing years, with the aforementioned Tomac, as well as Juli Furtado and Missy Giove, ripping races around the world to countless victories.

Yeti’s signature turquoise and yellow paintwork is sure to stand out from the crowd, if you are one of the lucky 100 people who managed to purchase the limited edition anniversary model at £ 8,999.

Next comes the frame. The ARC has progressed from its XC roots and is now firmly a trail hardtail. The carbon wishbones are built around 130mm forks and 29 x 2.6 inch anti-bump rubber on wide 30mm rims.

The geometry is contemporary, with a 67-degree head angle, 76-degree seat angle, lowered bottom bracket, mid-length 433mm chainstays, and 420-490mm reach in all four sizes.

The six-bike range starts at £ 3,799 for a bike with a Fox 34 performance level and Shimano SLX gearing, and goes up to £ 8,999 for the all-sing-and-dance anniversary model, with suspension. factory-level and wireless gateway from SRAM.

Our only problem? For some reason, the iconic curved profile of the seat-base junction appears to have been lost, in place of a much more conventional rear triangle. Too bad!

2. Mondraker Podium Carbon

Mondraker Carbon Podium

The Mondraker Podium Carbon is very light with a medium frame weighing a claimed weight 775g.

The Mondraker Podium Carbon is remarkable for a very good reason, it is really very light.

This summer we have seen many new XC bikes, including a number with zero millimeter rear suspension. The Orbea Alma and Canyon Exceed are fresh this year and join the Specialized S-Works Epic hardtail in the realm of World Cup-ready race bikes.

They’re all super light, but none as light as the Mondraker Podium, with a claimed frame weight, on average, of 775g, which is 15g lighter than the S-Works Epic.

Will 15g make the difference between the first and the second, maybe not, but we think there will be plenty of riders willing to stop at nothing to make sure they have the most bike. light, and why not?

Mondraker has achieved this lightness despite the frame sill with its signature Forward Geometry. This design means that the front end of the bike is relatively long compared to the competition – so there has to be some extra hardware to make that top tube so long!

Even though that 15g barely makes a scratch when you point the bike up a hill, we still think companies pushing the boundaries of frame materials and construction are a great thing because that knowledge will eventually end up on the bikes you and I ride on during the day. , daytime.

3. BMC two-stroke

BMC two stroke

BMC’s Twostroke is a beautiful bike for the trails.

When Swiss brand BMC announced a new XC hardtail mountain bike for 2021, we figured it would be a super high-end, super-sharp weapon of a racing bike. looks like it’ll be an absolute hoot on the track.

Appearance wise, it also has to be one of the prettiest bikes launched this year, with its design engineers citing the Lockheed Martin X-35 fighter jet as aesthetic inspiration.

BMC says it wasn’t looking for grams either. In fact, he’s almost portly at the claimed 1,037g for a mid-frame, and that’s because BMC says he wanted to build a frame that has a lot of durability, as well as a lot of stiffness to keep it from sagging. smells like a wet noodle.

The geometry is, if you still think of this as an XC bike, pretty wide, with 465mm reach in a tall, 67-degree head angle, and super slammed 425mm chainstays.

There are some racy features, however: A D-shaped seatpost is there to improve compliance and looks distinctly like some airfoils we’ve seen on curly bar bikes in recent years (an adapter is available to fit to a 27.2mm round dropper, if desired), and it’s still built around 100mm forks.

Prices are distinctly non-Swiss, with alloy bikes starting at € 1,199 and the high-end carbon model fetching € 3,999.

So, could this be one of the first “downcountry” RIBs? We are certainly looking forward to putting a leg over one and working out on the trails soon with it.

4. GT Zaskar LT

GT Zaskar

GT’s Zaskar is an aluminum frame and features the brand’s iconic triple triangle design.

Like the ARC, the Zaskar has been around for a long time and started life as a jack-of-all-trades mountain bike, which at the time meant it was perfectly placed between the bands.

However, it has also evolved and represents the hardcore aluminum trail hardtail of modern times.

The hydroformed aluminum frame features GT’s iconic triple-wishbone design, with the seatstays extending past the seat tube into the top tube. This floating design not only means this is a GT, but is also said to improve comfort in the rear, with a 50% increase in frame compliance, apparently.

The two-bike Zaskar LT range starts at £ 1,000 and comes with a 130mm travel fork, although they gladly accept a 140mm fork if you want a little more to give up front.

The range caps at just £ 1,300 with the GT Zaskar LT Expert, which we got four out of five stars when we reviewed it recently. We found the bike to be bursting with confidence on fast, rough, and steep trails, thanks to its long, low, and loose geometry, and sturdy tires that added both grip and a bit more comfort.

If you want a modern take on a classic ’90s mountain bike, but can’t quite hit a nearly £ 9,000 Yeti, the Zaskar LT might be right for you.

5. Giant Greenhouse and Liv Temptation

Giant greenhouse and temptation Liv

Liv’s temptation

RIBs have long been the entry point for mountain bikers, thanks to their lower price and ease of use. While it’s easy to get carbon swayed by this and conform to that, the reality is that the majority of people who want to mountain biking will be looking for entry-level bikes from some of the bigger brands.

Giant and Liv have just released updated lines of their entry-level ‘decent’ mountain bikes, the Talon and Tempt.

Giant, and by extension Liv, is one of the largest bicycle manufacturers in the world, also offering their frame building services to a wide range of other brands. So they know a thing or two about large-scale bicycle building. This leads to competitive prices and high quality frames for the money.

Bikes from both brands feature 100mm of travel up front, with the women’s-specific geometry of the Tempt designed from collected data on body dimensions.

While mountain biking is at the heart of their business, Giant and Liv have realized that these entry-level mountain bikes often fill many roles, so expect to see rack and guard racks – mud to increase versatility.

Prices for the Talon and Tempt start at £ 399 and top off at £ 850, for which you get a Shimano 12-speed groupset and air suspension fork – not bad!

So here is our list of the best RIBs for 2021. It’s a wide mix, which we hope will have something to tempt riders of all disciplines. There are plenty of RIBs out there though, so leave a note in the comments if there are any bikes you think we missed.


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