Which Hardtail Is Best For You?

Built for speed or built for fun. How do you hardtail?

Many mountain bikers value the simplicity of a hardtail, but not all want the same ride. There’s the traditional cross-country crowd, who want to cover the most ground in the least time. And then there’s the rowdy good-times trail crew, who care more about having fun and tackling tricky sections of singletrack. So, which hardtail is right for you? First, let’s work out what type of rider you are:

Cross-country hardtail

• Fast and efficient
• Weight-conscious and quick
• Traditional Lycra XC style
• Bagging big miles
• Strava over Instagram

Trail hardtail

• Versatile and capable
• Confidence-inspiring and fun
• Looser-fit trail style bags
• Tackling big features
• Instagram over Strava

Cross-country hardtails

Cross-country hardtails feature quick-handling geometry with 100 mm-travel suspension forks that take the edge off bumps. Smart Wheel Size gives these riders the fastest wheel that fits: the fastest-rolling 29˝ wheels on sizes 17.5˝ and larger, and more proportional 27.5˝ wheels on 15.5˝ and smaller sizes. These bikes feature 2x10 or 2x11 drivetrains for the right gear and cadence in any situation, and a weight-conscious spec, including narrower handlebars and rigid seat posts. These models are the right choice for riders with a racing pedigree, as well as for those who dream of covering epic distances on the trail.

Trail hardtails

Trail hardtails feature a geometry that’s slacker and lower than their cross-country counterparts. This means that these bikes feel more stable on the trail, especially at higher speeds or on steep terrain. These bikes provide a little more cushioning on the trail with longer 120 mm-travel forks and plus-sized tyres. Plus-sized tyres are much wider than standard tyres. Their larger size helps to absorb bumps and provides amazing traction. Trail hardtails are equipped with simple, easy-to-use 1x drivetrains along with wider handlebars for added control. Most models come supplied with a dropper seat post that can be lowered while riding, so it’s out of the way on steep or tricky descents. All in all, these models make an excellent choice for new riders who value a confidence-inspiring ride, and for more experienced riders who measure the success of their rides in smiles over miles.