There isn’t a ton of hardtail content on Pinkbike, but that doesn't mean we've completely forgotten about them, especially as we're aiming to put more time and effort towards value-minded bikes and products in the future. After all, ditching rear-suspension is a sure-fire way to save some big coin. Of course, there are more reasons to ride a hardtail than the price tag, as anyone who spends all their time on one might tell you...
Episode 19 sees the crew banter about all things hardtail.
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THE PINKBIKE PODCAST // EPISODE 19 - THE HARDTAIL EPISODE
August 21st, 2020
Is my shock locked out?
Hosted by Mike Levy (usually) and featuring a rotating cast of the editorial team and other guests, the Pinkbike Podcast is a weekly update on all the latest stories from around the world of mountain biking, as well as some frank discussion about tech, racing, and everything in between.Previous Pinkbike PodcastsEpisode 1 - Why Are Bikes So Expensive?Episode 2 - Where the Hell is the Grim Donut?Episode 3 - Pond Beaver TechEpisode 4 - Why is Every Bike a Trail Bike?Episode 5 - Can You Trust Bike Reviews?Episode 6 - Over Biked Or Under Biked?Episode 7 - Wild Project BikesEpisode 8 - Do We Need an Even Larger Wheel Size?Episode 9 - Why Are We Doing a Cross-Country Field Test?Episode 10 - Getting Nerdy About Bike SetupEpisode 11 - Are We Going Racing This Year?Episode 12 - What's the Future of Bike Shops?Episode 13 - Are Bikes Too Regular Now?Episode 14 - What Bikes Would Pinkbike Editors Buy?Episode 15 - What's Holding Mountain Biking Back?Episode 16 - Who's Your Mountain Biking Hero?Episode 17 - XC Field Test Insider Episode 18 - Electronics on your Mountain Bike: Good or Bad?
Lots of people still pedaling with the pedal more forward though. Sore ankles mainly due to pilot error I figure.
It’s a literal desert.
No soft, squishy, vegetal rot filled trails for us over here, unless you travel to the surrounding areas.
I only have hardtails at the moment, i’m not some pro rider, and my body hasn’t failed yet.
I weight 100kg and have bad knees and ankles and a hardtail doesn't give me any additional discomfort.
Paired with a Yeti SB130LR (and that Commencal HT) I've got a good quiver to chose from for all rides.
I intentionally dpack as much info into my reciews as I can. There's such a limited amount of info on the bikes I review that I figure a little more can only help. I've been that shopper before, reading every scrap of info published and reviewed about a bike, only to find I still have questions. The waiting process is always a tough call to decide what to cut and what to keep. I probably do leave too much info in my videos...
It's my desire to educate as well as review, which makes them longer. Maybe I should look into cutting out some of the info to keep them shorter in the future...
Dpack = pack
Reciews = reviews
Waiting = editing
I'd like to try mountain biking! I don't know if I'm going to like it.
NOS 2019 growler out the door $750cdn plus tax
similar spec rocky mountain FS $2500 plus tax.
Yes, let's spend nearly 3k to see if I'll like doing this. No thanks
5 months later, the growler has a 11spd xt that was $200cdn, a used fox 34 that cost me $400, a Chinese dropper that was $105 and a set of carbon bars that were $150.
Im 39 years old, ride it almost everyday and feel great. If it wasn't for hardtails I wouldn't be mountain biking. As it sits I don't plan to buy a FS bike. Now this has a lot to do with where I live, I do proper trail rides and everything here is really rooty but there are not a lot of long decents. The only time the HT gets to me is pedaling along between trails but that coast post could be the solution once they have a version with more travel.
It's been a ton of fun (and a beat down) learning how it works. Every ride is memorable because it has at least one "Holy shit - I can't believe I survived that!" moment.
I love my BTR Ranger too. 120mm travel fork, 63deg static head angle. Feels perfect for me.
Either way, a hardtail group test is a bit of a silly one. It is like Pinkbike would do a "full suspension group test" and would include everthing from XC, slopestyle right down to downhill in one single group test. There is just as much variety in hardtails and with all these models being suggested here it may turn into a nice feature on hardtail bikes (as if hardtails are a niche and can all be covered in a single article) but a group test is pretty pointless. It is a bit like the "hardtail edition" from Dirt magazine. The last one before they told Billy "Trailstar" Thackray to shut up and got him on a full suspension bike. But at least that one was properly done, a full magazine. Not a group test.
Brian, from one Asian to another, you’ve made us all proud with your boggle success
And actually we've been chatting with Marino about doing a bike. "Indochino for bikes" is a very cool way forward.
I came across the 2020/2021 Norco Fluid HT. Good geo would be great with a better fork and brakes, Yet I cannot find a single review of this bike on google or youtube. Weird.
All the norco hardtail reviews are the Steel Torrent.
Please review a Calfee bamboo hardtail in the field test.
As sort of a chicken-and-egg spin off on that, do you think cross country bikes would have gotten as progressive as they have without the race courses becoming more technical? Or did bikes become more progressive and race organizers adjust the courses to match? Who pushed who?
I've been super impressed with the podcast - everybody comes across as very well spoken and thoughtful. Kudos.
I still love my hardtail.
Most of us live in places where there are no mountains and we’re pleased to get a short ride squeezed into a busy weekend.
Consider the Trek Stache and Santa Cruz Chameleon perhaps?
I live in the Colorado front range so long, steep rides with plenty of square edge hits are the norm. Added a Kingdom Vendetta X2 LE, so pretty modern/ aggressive set up. Its has made my local trails feel new again (particularly nice in COVID times), reminded me how to be a way more active rider even when I don't "need" to be on the full squish, and most importantly just puts a smile on my face. Everything is immediate and tangible like the volume has been tuned up. And when I get back on the full squish it feels like I've entered the cheat code. For me there's definitely something about a hardtail that keep the skills sharp.
I'm currently switching from SRAM to Shimano and I'm wondering what the panels do's and don'ts are? Hopeing to use my GX shifter with deore dérailleur, how bad will this go?!
I wonder if a 1° angleset would help shorten and steepen for summer DJ mode, and lengthen and slacken for winter.
Seems like it might work, I need to chuck it into bikecad and see what the numbers look like.
With 100mm fork is a dirt jumper. With 130mm is trail bike.
Manitou makes the Circus in 130mm. Not sure if it can be lowered to 100mm or if that is a completely different model.
Otherwise maybe custom frame from Marino?
The right hardtail is a good match for a lot of the trails where I live. Honzo CR with a dropper and a wide bar, 30mm rims -- basically has a lot of the characteristics that people like in modern trail bikes, FS or otherwise.
Let's also give the whining about hardtail riders and their "holier than thou" attitude a rest. Spend some time on one. Maybe use one as a testbed for wheels, droppers, pedals, or other components. Or just keep giving us content where FS riders caricature hardtail riders and complain about a type of bike that they rarely ride.
Here's a question that might involve getting in touch with some expert sources:
What kind of work goes into engineering the massive features at fest-style events? With smaller jumps, I know a lot of things are based on builder/rider intuition, but I can't imagine there isn't at least some physics work factored into such high-consequence gaps and features.
Trail speed, takeoff/landing pitch, rolling friction coefficient of the dirt, and typical suspension setups would all be driving variables in how these are designed. I could be wrong, but I'd imagine the riders guinea-pigging these jumps would be provided, at least, ball-park entry speeds in order for things to be hit safely.
Otherwise, RSD Middlechild, Cotic, Stanton, Ferrum Bikes (USA), Sonders, the new Kona Honzo ESD in comparison to those, and any slacked out carbon frames, which seem hard to come by in a hardtail form.
Also another topic to possibly cover is overcoming injuries due to crashes. How do you deal with the injury and also getting back on the bike regaining confidence and fitness. I recently broke my pelvis in a crash, and it has been quite a road back to my fitness level, and still dealing with gaining my confidence back.
Regardless, they are sexy to look at and that’s enough of a reason for me.
Riding a SS Chameleon (26") taught me how to grow into the rider I get to be today...
You should smack that kid that had the Creepy old men comment.
A lot of mtb'ers are adrenaline junkies and the risk:thrill ratio is much more favourable on a hardtail.
I have since moved to the carbon frame, still stupid stiff, and a rattling cable is far more eco-y so it feels even more rattley, I've since swapped from a 26 to a 27.5 fork, lowered to 130 for the geo but not as dramatic of a geo change.
I love to take out the hardtail and have set some PRs on some hard tech trails, as you could get it up to speed and traverse much faster than a 135mm hefty aluminum full squish. However I can feel myself on the brakes more and going slower through more technical trails.
Also, how about an episode on rear suspension designs of the common systems. History, behind the designer, ride impressing, progression comparisons, etc.
Yes, you probably have just ridden crappy FS bikes. But the HT probably isn't holding you back NEARLY as much as you would be lead to believe.
Oh, I also break my FS bike way more than anything else I ride. My last rear wheel lasted 7 months. A new record for this frame!
That's an interesting point about XC FS bikes. When I look at bikes and see 4" or less travel FS's I definitely have a "not worth it" feeling in my gut. That feeling goes away at about the 120mil travel mark, and the good bikes in the category kind of nuke my bank account at the moment (for the next years).
I figure until I own a FS, I'll never care about what I'm missing riding a hardtail.
Do you think there is room in the market for more companies like that: developing products that traditional haven’t been after market, and have a drastic effect on the bike. Whether that be links, after market rear triangles or something you all can think of; Or do you think Cascade Components have found themselves a nice niche in the market?
What would you pick for a 2 bikes quiver (i live in Revelstoke BC)
I currently have a 27.5 devinci troy (140mm/160mm) and a DH bike but...
Only use the DH bike for shuttling and the odd bike park days (silver star, whistler ...) so i think it's overkill!
But don't wanna f*ck up components on my Troy by doing big jumps and rowdy trails (not that I do really big jumps but I case regularly!)
Love the Troy but Levy messed up my brain by saying all the time less travel is better (why do I even listen to Levy in the first place!)
Would love a discussion regarding DIY mullet bikes, as well as current offerings from bike manufacturers.
Experiences, Impressions, and crystal-ball predictions would be appreciated.
Can you explain the differences between the Whyte S120 and the transition spur. I’m wondering because both bikes have very similar geo and suspension layout.
Thanks in advance!
@mikelevy how often do you wash your dogs (lake dips don't count)?
@mikekazimer What's your favorite kind of pie?
Historically air forks have been more expensive than their coil siblings but the new Z1 coil costs $50 more than the air version. Am I missing something?
As for hardtail to add to the field test, I vote the Vitus Sentier 29 VR. 1300$ delivered with a Marzocchi fork, eagle drivetrain, a dropper, good brakes and tires can’t be beat.
I rode a FS for years prior to this past year when i switched to a hardtail and have not noticed an appreciable difference in discomfort.
Definitely get the Canfield Nimble 9 v5 in your field test. It's proper!
regarding input on class of hardtails to review, i think the crew made a fair point on avoiding the uber light XC rigs. on the inverse, there are also endless bulky hardtails in the market that are pushing weight ranges towards FS rigs and to me that starts to not make sense, either. i get this all subjective, but i'm thinking HTs with updated geos (67-ish HT totally fair), decently light to make it worthwhile to consider, would all make sense in the review criteria. a few bikes that come to mind that are closely looked at - DV9, ARC, Spot Rocker. Those would be nice ones to include. Throw in a steel Honzo, and that makes a nice quad review.
Any thoughts or experience?
In terms of word scores I've hit bingos connecting 2 triple-words a few times (need something in between to connect them), but never against good players. TBH for the most part I thought of it more as a territory game than a creative word game.
Fun fact, Brandon Semenuk is pretty good at Scrabble too.
Steel, titanium, aluminum and carbon?
I know I tried the TI and the AL and had quite a different experience.
Oh, no, wait...
I'm putting my money where my mouth is and building up a 63° 120mm "XC" hardtail for the winter. We'll see...
So far on my list of new bikes Giant Reign 29, Commencal Meta AM & Norco Sight...depending on the pricing possibly the specialized status.
Broken down my wants to 140-160 travel rear, 150-170 Front...aluminum alloy, 65 or lower HTA.
I have a DH for the park...need something for everything else
Nordest - if you can get hold one !