There are many reasons to own and of course ride a hardtail.
As a second bike (assuming your first is a full suspension MTB of some description) it makes perfect sense. We all know the N+1 rule – so why not get a hardtail as your second bike?
They are very fashionable at the moment and in the UK in particular we have a particular taste for them and often in steel. Maybe its the simplicity, maybe its our riding style or maybe its the marketing!
There are a bunch of UK manufacturers making a tidy living out of hardtails – Bird Cycleworks, BTR fabrications, Stanton, Charge, On One etc all have a great line in hardtails and do well in the UK. I think the profile of XC racing and the 2012 Olympics has also raised the awareness of how capable a 29er hardtail can be and us cyclists do like a new bike.
Hardtail geometry is changing too. Longer and slacker bikes are turning what was once a tame trail machine into an aggressive trail machine and with right set up a half decent all mountain or trail centre rig. 650b wheels and 140mm forks and I think you have a very capable all year round steed that can cope with most you can throw it at.
So the landscape is changing and hard tails are getting a new lease of life – but that’s not really what I was here to discuss. But it does mean that the list of reasons to ride or even advantages of riding a hardtail is now getting longer.
Cheaper – With no rear shock, suspension linkage, bearings etc the set up become simpler and less costly.
Lighter – For the same reasons above the bike is simpler and therefore lighter.
Quicker – Yes they can be quicker. Shedding the weight and having a direct drive to the rear wheel with no suspension bobbing, acceleration and speed can be increased. They is a point where the benefits of suspension can be a drag – sucking you into berms, absorbing jumps for instance. Take a hardtail to a trail centre and watch those personal best times pop up on your popular training app – oh alright Strava!
Easier to maintain – Now we are getting close to the winter angle I was leading with. With less frame complexities you have less bearings and frame to clean and maintain.
1 by x – The growing popularity on 1x set ups combined with a hard tail means the simplicity and weight reductions just keep on coming. No front derailleur, one less cable and shifter results in less weight and a few less items you need to look after.
Combine all these benefits with Winter riding and you have a winner!
So as the UK trails get wetter and muddier you want a bike that’s easier to clean and maintain then you should consider riding a hard tail.
Mine took almost an hour to clean after Sunday’s ride around the soggy, claggy soil of Wiltshire.
I had been planning an explore of Collingbourne woods for some time. It seemed like there should be some trails present and some googling and Strava segment searching showed some potential.
Using BikeHike I plotted a route around the forest that should take in the best bits and off I went. The route worked exactly as I had hoped and my time was spent riding rather thant figuring out which way to go!
It was sloppy to say the least but though the NS Bikes Surge is steel it certainly isn’t heavy and the WTB Vigilante/TrailBoss combination actually cope quite well with a certain level of mud.
It never ceases to amaze how parts of the same forest can be dusty in one spot and sloppy in another. However, it makes for a pleasant surprise and keeps you on your toes!
Can’t wait to have another ride of these woods with MB Swindon and also give that gully a few goes!
If you find a list of “10 things a mountain biker should do“, building a bike is there among them. I honestly didn’t understand why you would do this. I had been looking for a new hard tail for some time and often came to the same conclusion most do, that “you couldn’t build that spec for that money”. The buying power of bike manufacturers means that its very hard to beat them on price if you want to go down the self build route. Continue reading “Bucket List Bike”→
Had a quick spin on my Genesis Alpitude this morning. Its a 26″ hardtail and I have thoroughly enjoyed riding it this spring/summer. When I bought it I thought the 18″ frame was a little big… After riding the Vitus quite a bit this last month with the 650b wheels (wider bars and a slightly longer wheelbase), the Alpitude simply felt small.
The On-One 45650b (catchy name!) has almost the same colour scheme as the Alpitude and the same WTB wheel and tyre set up as the Vitus Escarpe….
Maybe I could do a quick swap – no one would know would they??