You could say hardtails are making a comeback, but to a large group of devoted fans, they never went away. When you get down to brass tacks, it’s not hard to see why hardtails still have a passionate following.
1. Hardtails are less expensive
Given identical components, a hardtail version will almost always be cheaper than its full-suspension counterpart. As a result, they make great entry-level bikes, but they can also stretch an advanced rider’s dollar further. Instead of paying for a rear shock and complex linkages (and the patents that protect them), hardtails leave riders with change to spare on carbon wheels, a nicer drivetrain, or a better fork.
2. Hardtails are simple
All those pivot points on a full-suspension model will wear out eventually, and – in theory – you’re supposed to service that rear shock every 100 hours or so. For some riders I know that would amount to a monthly service interval. And riders can forget adjusting that rear shock for high-speed compression, damping, and rebound. Hardtail riders just ride.
3. Hardtails are efficient
You’ll never have to worry about battling pedal bob on long climbs. Hardtails transfer virtually all the power to the wheel. It can be a liberating feeling to stand up and hammer away.
There are other advantages too. Full-suspension bikes smooth out lines, and the rear shock will occasionally enable riders to write speed checks their riding ability can’t quite cash. A hardtail keeps mountain bikers honest, and given the chance, it will teach the rider a lot about mountain biking.
With a nod toward Aaron Chamberlain’s original list of 10 Hardcore Hardtails, here are 10 more bikes that encourage riders to turn the shred dial to 11 without the “inconvenience” of a rear shock.
No list of hardtails would be complete without an offering from the company that still hasn’t come to grips with the rear shock. All Chromag bikes are beautiful, but the Surface belongs on this list thanks to its ample 150mm fork and 66-degree head tube angle. The bike also has a long wheelbase of 1,218mm for the size large, and the frame can fit plus-sized 27.5” tires or narrower, standard 29er tires.
The Surface costs a pretty penny, and $1,650 doesn’t buy any parts besides the steel frame. If you’re going all-in, $4,250 will have you riding away on GX Eagle, while $5,150 gets you the same bird in X01 along with slightly nicer Guide RSC brakes.