The Pinkbike Podcast: Episode 65 - The Hardtail Episode

Jun 3, 2021
by Mike Levy  
Pinkbike Podcast
Art by Taj Mihelich


If you scroll the homepage right now, there's a good chance you'll spot a whole bunch of trail and enduro bikes, maybe a few downhill bikes, and probably a couple of cross-country rigs if it's a World Cup weekend. But there's also a reasonable chance that not a single one of them is a hardtail. Despite reviewing some budget-minded examples a few months ago for the Field Trip, our hardtail-to-full-suspension content ratio is definitely skewed far more towards the latter.

To (partly) address that imbalance, episode 65 sees us talk about the pros and cons of riding without rear-suspension, why there aren't many hardtails reviewed on Pinkbike, and how to get the most out of your hardtail. We've also got Pinkbike presenter Tom Bradshaw on today's show to tell us what it's been like riding his hardtail all over Squamish and Whistler for the last ninety days.





THE PINKBIKE PODCAST // EPISODE 65 - THE HARDTAIL EPISODE
June 3rd, 2021

No back shox, no cares.


Levy
Levy
Levy riding his terrible Club Roost hardtail long before digital cameras and rear-suspension were invented.

Fruita CO 2001.
Mike Kazimer riding his hardtail in Fruita, Colorado, circa 2001.

Views: 2,059    Faves: 1    Comments: 0

Brian Park successfully lands the always tricky hardtail-to-scorpion.


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 Podcasts
Episode 1 - Why Are Bikes So Expensive?
Episode 2 - Where the Hell is the Grim Donut?
Episode 3 - Pond Beaver Tech
Episode 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 Bikes
Episode 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 Setup
Episode 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?
Episode 19 - The Hardtail Episode
Episode 20 - MTB Conspiracy Theories
Episode 21 - Stuff We Were Wrong About
Episode 22 - Does Your Riding Style Match Your Personality?
Episode 23 - Grim Donut 2 is Live!
Episode 24 - Why Even Buy a DH Bike?
Episode 25 - Fall Field Test Preview
Episode 26 - The Three Most Important Mountain Bikes
Episode 27 - The World Champs Special
Episode 28 - All About Women's Bikes
Episode 29 - Freeride or Die
Episode 30 - Would You Rather?
Episode 31 - Wet Weather Riding Tips & Tricks
Episode 32 - What Needs to Change in the Bike Industry?
Episode 33 - Behind the Scenes at Pinkbike Academy
Episode 34 - Grilling Levy About Field Test Trail Bikes (and His Bonspiel)
Episode 35 - Story Time - Stranger Than Fiction
Episode 36 - Grilling Kazimer about Field Test Enduro Bikes
Episode 37 - The 2020 Privateer Season with Ben Cathro
Episode 38 - Editors Defend Their 2020 Best-Of Picks
Episode 39 - Predicting the Future of Mountain Biking
Episode 40 - The Pinkbike Awards!
Episode 41 - Racing Rumours and Team Changes
Episode 42 - Mountain Biking's Guilty Pleasures
Episode 43 - Dangerholm's Wildest Custom Mountain Bikes
Episode 44 - Mountain Bike Suspension Decoded
Episode 45 - What Makes a Good Riding Buddy
Episode 46 - The RockShox Zeb vs Fox 38 Deep Dive
Episode 47 - High Pivot Bikes: The Good, The Bad, and The Why?
Episode 48 - Rides That Went Horribly Wrong... & Why That Made Them So Good
Episode 49 - What's the Best DH Bike?
Episode 50 - Are Bikes Actually Getting Less Expensive? (Value Bike Field Test Preview)
Episode 51 - Should MTB Media Post Spy Shots?
Episode 52 - Our Most Embarrassing MTB Moments
Episode 53 - Should Climbers Still Have the Right of Way?
Episode 54 - Best and Worst MTB Product Marketing
Episode 55 - Big Dumb Rides & Staying Motivated
Episode 56 - What Were the Most Important Inventions in Mountain Biking?
Episode 57 - What Were the Best (and Worst) Trends in Mountain Biking?
Episode 58 - Debunking Mountain Biking's Biggest Myths
Episode 59 - Value Bike Field Trip Surprises & Spoilers
Episode 60 - What Kind of Mountain Biker Do You Want to Be?
Episode 61 - Athlete Pay, Lycra, Equality and More from the State of the Sport Survey
Episode 62 - Editor Preferences and Why They Matter
Episode 63 - Our Best (And Worst) Bike Buying Advice
Episode 64 - Who's On Your MTB Mount Rushmore?


198 Comments

  • 91 2
 I think if most people had the chance to ride a really good hardtail they'd be surprised at how much fun it is.
  • 25 0
 Username checks out Wink
  • 3 0
 I love my NS Eccentric that I built with a 150mm Öhlins RFX36. Handles all the lines my Stumpjumper Evo or Salsa Cassidy does with the same "confidence".
  • 5 0
 I agree
  • 2 0
 Truth.
  • 1 0
 @eplanajr: I built my son a 27.5 Eccentric with a 140 Z2 Bomber. He loves it. I love it. Hardtails rock!
  • 3 1
 I used to crap on hard tails so hard until I rode my brothers Nukeproof Scout with a 150mm lyric. I almost gave up full suspension... almost. On the easier trails that my wife can have fun on I enjoy so much more with a hard tail were they are just boring with a full sus. the "eduro hardtails" are a must have.
  • 2 0
 2021 polygon with a 120mm crap suntour fork, but she sends!
  • 3 0
 agreed. in my opinion, similar to others i would think, it's an absolute blast to ride a familiar trail on a good hardtail. the whole trail becomes an entirely different animal. love it.
  • 12 2
 Exactly, but I also think that having a hardtail mindset can be a big factor. Hardtails aren't the ideal bike in most settings if you're talking only about pure performance, so I think that willingly setting that aside is also part of the picture for some riders.
  • 6 0
 @mikelevy: What is "pure performance"? Speed? Style? Fun? Efficiency? This isn't Golf. there is no "par".
  • 5 1
 @djjazzynick: I think what mean is that, generally speaking, hardtails offer the rider less advantages compared to a full-suspension bike.
  • 26 0
 @mikelevy: I think it's easy to forget that most people don't have access to the world-class trails of squamish in their backyard. So many people in this sport only have access to flat, rolling, green and blue trails without having to drive several hours. In many (but not all) cases, I'd argue that a hardtail is often the more sensible, fun, and enjoyable selection for them. To be clear, I don't think a hardtail is always going to be the best solution (I ride both FS and hardtails), but hardtails get a bad rap in the industry, and so few people take them seriously. I am amazed at how few people have actually ridden a modern, quality hardtail. So many of my friends say "I'm having so much fun on my hardtail that I sold my FS bikes." The industry doesn't want to talk about that, and I think there's a compelling narrative to be told there.
  • 4 0
 It's good that this podcast made the distinction between a dedicated XC race hardtail, an old out dated hardtail (what Kaz had back in '02) and a modern trail/enduro hardtail (what Tom has been on for 90 days). This is a big step, and I feel that in the past this distinction hasn't been clear to most listeners. And stereotyping all hardtails into one category gets old. Modern hardtails in the hands of a competent rider can do all the things.....just slower at times.
  • 1 0
 @JDFF: LOL @ your comment regarding the lumping together of hardtails. It's like saying a Celica and a Supra are the same thing, a two door car made by Toyota.
  • 6 0
 @hardtailparty: For sure, I agree and always say the same thing about short-travel bikes. It doesn't matter what anyone's riding, of course, but I see so many people who would be better off (have more fun, go faster, etc) on a bike with less travel, or even a hardtail if the trails suit it.
  • 3 0
 @heatproofgenie: *YouTube channel checks out
  • 1 0
 I agree. I am reviewing our first HT and the transition wasn't as painful as I thought. It gives a new perspective on the same old trails.
  • 5 0
 @mikelevy: Agree with your point about the supposed "pure performance" mindset. The hardtail mindset is not "having the fastest time by smashing your monster truck over stuff", but instead it's; having the most fun, finding the best line, overcoming that tough obstacle, Smoothest cleanest technique.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: I think a lot of people enjoy riding a hardtail for probably the same reasons that you own that daft Mini Wink I own a Chromag with 29 x 3" tires and Cushcore front and rear. It weighs 36lbs and on paper it's a really dumb bike. It makes no sense for most people. But I've owned loads of 'enduro / trail' full suspension bikes and the Chromag puts the biggest grin on my face. Well....maybe not going uphill but whatever Smile
  • 4 0
 @mikelevy: Agreed. If your idea of going through a rock garden is always the monster truck line, you probably won’t enjoy a hardtail. But as you yourself have advocated with the whole downcountry thing, taking a well made but less capable machine to its limits can be pretty fun. And you can do it without crazy speed. Think Miata vs 911GT3 on the street. Never mind money, the Miata is much more entertaining at reasonable street speeds.
  • 3 1
 @wallheater: if you have a grin on your face going uphill there's something wrong with you.
  • 2 0
 About the monster truck thing.
Some times ago in Sardinia, I plunged waaay too fast into a gnarly rock garden aboard my Dartmoor Hornet.
It was totally my fault, I never rode that trail before and I obviously braced for impact.
Well, to my surprise the bike just skipped over the nastiness and kept speeding.
That Is to say: with the right skills, the delta between hardtails and full-sussers is smaller than most guys think.
  • 2 0
 There is a lot of talk about hardtails being good for beginners or people new to the sport which I wouldn't disagree with, but the sport is maturing now with a load of very experienced riders growing older. I grew up on a bmx, raced dh in my 20's and now mid forties and consciously choose a nice quality hardtail instead for a better thrill to risk ratio. My local trails are quite flat and smooth.
  • 3 0
 @tremeer023: I completely agree. They also let you ride your bigger bike faster due to line choice, pumping and that your body is used to taking a beating.
  • 3 0
 @heatproofgenie: and he knows hardtails - his Youtube channel is worth checking out if you are hardtail curious.
  • 3 0
 @mikelevy: forget about the hard tails, let’s focus in on that outfit Mike Kaz is wearing. A whole podcast could be dedicated to that.
  • 3 0
 @mikelevy: 100% agree about the right bike for the job. I appreciate you guys continuing to teach people about the joys of not being overbiked.
  • 1 0
 I love my Hardtails for making me get up and RIDE my bike more instead of couching around on my FS, love my FS too.
  • 1 0
 I don't doubt it's fun, but I'm seating 98% of the time and appreciate having suspension on the rear.
  • 6 0
 @njcbps: Well that's no problem. Ride a hardtail and you'll find yourself sitting a lot less.
  • 1 0
 @ABhardtail: No thanks. I've spent enough years standing and pedaling. Smile
  • 2 0
 @njcbps: so are you seated 98% of your ride, including descending? Even on flat trails I often stand for various reasons. This is very interesting. And yeah, if sitting that often, I wouldn't want a hardtail either.
  • 1 0
 Couldn't agree more. Living in the alps - have just been riding enduros like the Reign SX, Slash etc. I am currently on the Specialized Enduro and still believe that this is the best bike I have ever thrown a leg over. But I bought a Yeti Arc for my wife and winter rides and more times than not I want to ride the Arc instead of the Enduro. It is so much fun for such big portions of the ride. I happily take the slower lines for those 5% of the trails that demand some real squish.

btw: The villain of MTB must be Leo Kokkonen. He seems to be this somwhat genius, overconfident, insane and unconventional mastermind. The allegedly broken frames and poor customer service don't help.
  • 2 0
 Was just suggesting they watch your channel. Great stuff, has me considering one for my second bike.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: i think that those little kids who go straight from a balance bike to a full squish 20 inch actually ride worse than a kid who has only ridder hardtails. The hardtail kid would beat the other kid in a hardtail race and a full suspension race
  • 1 0
 @njcbps: yeah, being seated 98% is just couching around, zzzzzzzzzz.
  • 2 0
 @JDFF: It's hover at 0% for downhill. I should have been more specific, 98% of my climbs are seated.
  • 3 0
 @njcbps: oh, thank goodness!
  • 1 0
 @JDFF: I'm not that old to be sitting on the downhill ... lol.

I see you're in beautiful Port Angeles. I was born across the pond in Victoria.
  • 25 0
 Would love a discussion with some pro XC-racers on when a hardtail is preferred to a full suspension.
  • 3 0
 Yes, excellent. not sure if we'll have a guest on, but we've talked with many of them about this. We'll touch on it.
  • 17 0
 Question for the Pod:

I remember back in the day there were some cool PB shirts, one of which I owned but no longer fits and who knows where it ended up (18 years later). Shirts that said "Ride it like it's stolen", or the teenager's favorite, "I love 7 inches in the rear" with a picture of an old RockShox Deluxe Coil on the back. Retro looks are all the rage these days. Any chance that the oldies will make their way back to the Merch section? Also, what is your favorite PB Merch you have and why?
  • 8 0
 “Support your local freerider” was another good one they had, I think that one of mine disintegrated back in 2003 or so. Would definitely buy another for old times sake.
  • 1 0
 @TypicalCanadian: I'd buy that
  • 2 0
 @Warburrito: Yeah it matched my super badass free ride shin pads, and it made me feel pretty cool as I got on my hardtail with a 100mm manitou xvert dual crown fork and hucked a bunch of drops to flat.
  • 3 0
 Still have my "I love 7 inches in the rear" "hard-core hardtail" shirts
  • 4 1
 would the *downcountry* version of the shirt say "i love 4 inches in the rear"?
  • 15 1
 Pro: feeling badass hitting freeride lines on your hardtail.

Con: Feeling your balls shrivel after watching a bmx edit of some guy landing 10ft from a rooftop to flat pavement with no suspension and 90 psi in his tires.
  • 13 0
 Some of us happen to live near trails that aren't super rowdy, so riding a modern hardtail (not XC, not hardcore) makes these trails a lot more fun. I can take it on the flat twisty pedally green trails with the family, then ride our blown out poorly designed (but super fun) rooty black diamond trails confidently with just the right level of sketch. If I lived in Squamish sure a Canfield Nimble 9 might not make sense, but where I'm at in the Midwest it's a ton of fun.
  • 4 0
 Oh also Cushcore front and back is a cheat code, I swear!
  • 5 0
 @steelispossiblyreal: exactly! I bought a Santa Cruz chameleon for this very reason. Great to ride with my fam, and beyond that I have rediscovered easy trails that I had grown bored off. Much more challenging through rough stuff, and twisty rolling trails are a blast now.

I will say, I get beat up more by a hardtail now than I did back 15-20 years ago, but the fun is still there!
  • 1 0
 @TypicalCanadian: that’s what I did but ended up riding it down way gnarlier trails than I’d ever ridden in a bike park on my dh bike which I soon put up for sale.
  • 2 0
 @TypicalCanadian: "I will say, I get beat up more by a hardtail" This. I love my Chameleon, too, but it's more of a pump track and commuter bike now I have a full suspension. My ankles like the suspension.
  • 11 1
 Its so hard listening to you guys talk about hardtails. So much bias. I don't want to write a novel so here is one points that you constantly miss when talking about hardtails. The reason I choose to ride a Hardtail is the trail feedback. The control and response even slight shifts in body movement can create, the heightened engagement of senses required to be smooth and safe. The added challenge of reading a trail and developing and maintaining the skills to tackle it. Constant weighting and unweighting, pumping, boosting every little feature. Just the feeling of control. NOT the feeling of being in control as in, composed. Control as in I'm the one running the show. I tell the bike how and where to go and I find that hardtails listen and respond the best/quickest. If I make a mistake, its all me, no bail out from the bike and not help from it either. I've had a few full sussers in the past, and while they were quicker, I felt the trail was dumbed down, subsequently I felt dumbed down riding it. I do love that Tom mentioned it was his arms that were what would get tired. I don't know where the idea that hardtails hurt knees and ankles come from.
  • 6 0
 Definitely touched on "trail feedback" in the podcast, but I think we worded it differently. I'm a huge fan of relatively short-travel bikes for this very reason, and I often talk about how the actual speed isn't what matters, but what the bike is doing under you... It's those little moments when the tires lose traction for a split second in a corner when a full-suspension bike (or more traction via whatever) won't give you those moments unless you're pushing past your 100%. I once wrote a thing about exactly this a long time ago: www.pinkbike.com/news/The-Argument-For-Short-Travel-Bikes-Opinion-2012.html

"I don't know where the idea that hardtails hurt knees and ankles come from." - That comes from me spending many, many years on hardtails, as well as still testing them every now and then. Point being that they do take more out of your body, even if it's not YOUR knees and ankles that hurt. Just a general comment Wink
  • 1 0
 All valid points for sure. More engagement with the trail definitely makes for a more pure experience. Where do you ride, though? This makes sense for smoother stuff, but there are definitely plenty of trails out here that would be a deathwish without ample braking traction out back.

Tools for the job, of course.
  • 1 0
 @erikvehmeyer: I ride a hardtail and I do it on some renowned janky trails. IMO riding difficult trails is more about rider ability than it is having FS or HT. The only trails I don't ride on my HT are ones I wouldn't ride on a FS.

A deathwish is reserved those that ride beyond their ability and not because they chose a HT over a FS.
  • 12 2
 You're so wrong about hardtails not being right over 120mm. 160mm hardtails are really fun.
  • 10 3
 Yup, there's certainly a place for big fork'd hardtails, but the geo change can feel pretty massive as the fork goes through its travel. I don't think it's crazy to choose less travel and more consistent handling over maximum fork travel, though. Skillz > suspension Smile
  • 1 0
 I confirm. Riding a Stanton Switchback for years with a 160mm fork reduced to 150mm with 30% SAG provides such a versatile and fun machine... except for very rought destroyed rooty rocky terrains where you quickly find its limits.
  • 6 0
 @mikelevy: A 160 at full compression is no steeper than a 120 at full compression on the same frame.
  • 2 0
 @Explodo: For sure but I'm not referencing the steepest angle, but the total angle change.
  • 8 0
 I agree that 160mm hardtails are fun, and if that's what you can afford then rad. But if you're riding terrain that suits a 160mm hardtail, in general I do think a comparable full suspension trail bike is probably even MORE fun.

IIRC @hardtailparty is with me on this one too. If all the angles are the same between a 120mm bike and a 160mm bike, the 160mm forked bike has more travel to get "worse" (reach pulls you forward, headtube steepens).

As for running a 160mm fork on a frame designed around 120mm, you'll end up with a pretty high BB. Which might be what you want, I guess.

I've been enjoying my hardtail that I shortforked down to 120mm, slackened out to 63° HTA with an angle headset, and ride on the more XCish stuff around here. Perfect application for a hardtail in my mind.
  • 1 0
 What I like about my frame is that it is designed for a 120mm travel fork and has a 150mm headtube. Headangle is 63deg when unsprung. So geometry may be comparable to a frame with a 160mm travel fork and a 110mm headtube, I'm just not getting into those last 40mm where I don't want to be.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: exactly the way I like to build my own frames. Consistency is key in a hardtail imo. The one I’m riding now is pretty close to yours - 130mm fork (no sag), tall head tube, 62°. It’s a mullet but running a normal tyre up front with a squishier 2.6 in the back and it feels quite balanced, softer tyre at the back and the firmer fork seem to be well matched.
Obviously it’ll never be a full sus but it works well this way and hardtails can do a lot of tricks full squish can’t.
If I change anything it’d probably be a shorter fork, there’s at least an inch of travel I don’t need.
  • 4 4
 @mikelevy: have you got any idea what the geo change is on a fully bottomed out FS when the chainring is on the floor and both wheels are almost touching or when you bottom your fork out as the rear is rebounding to full extension? A 160mm hardtail nodding in is nothing compared to how inconsistent full suspension bikes are.
  • 10 0
 @brianpark: 100% with you. I'll take an aggressive 120mm hardtail over a 160mm "hardcore" hardtail any day. The geo change is super noticeable with those big forks. Imagine a FS DH race rig with a 160mm more travel up front. It would ride ridiculous.

And I agree that if you need 160mm on your hardtail, a fs trail bike is the better tool for the job. That said, if someone loves their 160mm travel hardtail, more power to them, but in my experience, they ride worse. I think most people like the taller stack even more than the increased travel.
  • 2 0
 @brianpark: it is not an issue you can be so dogmatic on. If the fork is setup correctly (it will be different for a HT) more that 120 can be fun. I ride a 140mm. Around 120 of that is my standard trail travel. The last 20 is for bigger hits. I go through it maybe twice a ride. On those hits the geo change is minimal and only a split second.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: I agree with you Mike. Having been riding only hardtails while I wait for my Meta TR to show up I've found it pretty hard to use up any more than 140mm even when hitting heavy stuff. I'm pretty sure if I squished 160mm of travel out of a hard tail fork I'd go over the handle bars. 130mm-140mm seems to be plenty for me.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: I agree with you Mike. Having been riding only hardtails while I wait for my Meta TR to show up I've found it pretty hard to use up any more than 140mm even when hitting heavy stuff. I'm pretty sure if I squished 160mm of travel out of a hard tail fork I'd go over the handle bars. 130mm-140mm seems to be plenty for me.
  • 1 0
 @MaverickAM: Terrain can be very rough and rocky without being so steep that non-stop worries of going over the front end are an issue. I put a Z1 160 on my Timberjack hardtail and it was wonderful for bombing rocks, but I never felt like I was going to go over the front, and I certainly used all the travel.
  • 1 0
 @hardtailparty: I could not agree more.
  • 3 0
 @thenotoriousmic: dude go back to geometry school before you ask any more stupid questions lol. also maybe bottom out a hardtail for yourself see how it compares to fs. id guess most if not all folks who ride serious hardtail also have or have had serious fs too. we know our shit.
  • 4 0
 @thenotoriousmic: Hard disagree on that.
  • 1 1
 @a-d-e: I ride a 160mm hardtail exclusively for 6 months every year and a full suspension (180mm/150mm) exclusively for the other 6 months, I am speaking from experience. Bottom out a full suspension and the chainring is millimetres away from the deck and the wheelbase is tiny. Yes your head angle changes as you go through the travel of your fork but but the exact same thing happens with a full suspension but only worse due to the fork and shock compressing and rebounding at different times due to you normally hitting stuff with your front wheel first.
  • 2 0
 @Explodo: That sounds like a killer hardtail for sure. Z1 forks are so sweet. I hear what your saying and if your using up all 160 then sounds like your a guy I'd like to ride with haha. Its just that my experience on the aggressive hardtails has been that when I'm getting 150 of squish out of the front and 0 out of the back the bike tips forward a lot and I don't much care for it. I haven't been over the handle bars yet but I sure don't care for bottoming out 150. My point was just that there is some validity to capping travel on hardtail forks to a rather modest travel. Then again I'm also 6'7" and 265lbs so that might have something to do with it even XL bikes are on the smaller size for me.
  • 1 0
 I can see both sides to the argument. I am enjoying my Honzo ESD with a 150 Z1 up front. I don’t believe anyone has pointed put that there is more than 1 way to use most of your travel. It is not necessary to always dive into your full travel headfirst so the hta increases drastically. You can lean back as front wheel is about to run into a rock you can’t avoid (padding for bad line choice or too high speed). Let the long travel soak up the front wheel hit and use the rebound to pop off and clear your rear wheel over the obstacle.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: I'm also on a 120mm HT jut have the Pikes stuffed with tokens and quite firm. I barely use the last 1/2" of travel and am happy to keep that for the "OH SH!T" moments. I'm thinking 130-140mm would be the max on a frame that has a suitably steep STA.

How are you and @hardtailparty running your forks.
  • 2 0
 Gear "solving" the small stuff for you so that you can focus on the big picture is one thing that allows you to ride rough terrain. But even more important is to be confident of what it does and what is left for you to do. And that you aren't fighting each other! I think that's what @thenotoriousmic is aiming at too. I think we can all relate to how modern disc brakes allow us to ride tricky terrain. We know how hard they brake when and at what point we pull the lever and we're confident that they'll release instantly when we release the brake to avoid losing traction. I understand some people prefer riding with their feet clipped and if it works for them, great. But found it hard to commit because when and where they locked and released also depended on the amount of gunk in the mechanism, under my shoe, whether they were lubed or not, the moon phase... Platform pedals don't lock my feet better in place than a clip system. Of course not. However, I can do what it takes to maintain grip and take my foot off instantly. I'm in charge. I know the effect of my actions and that is what gives the confidence to do more than when in doubt what the other captain on deck is up to.
I think with suspension it is just a bit more difficult as both bike and body do their part in series. I've still got a Cannondale Prophet full suspension bike (160/140mm travel) which I rarely ride. I mainly keep it to lend to my girlfriend or friends who come over and want to ride with me. Straightlining rough alpine rubble is much easier on that one. And obviously climbing with active rear suspension is much easier too as the rear wheel simply tracks the obstacles as you stomp on the pedals. But whereas when landing a drop on a hardtail I know what's for me to soak up, bottoming out rear suspension always threw some nasty surprises up. I could cope fairly well with the main part of the stroke, but it was like the bottom out bumper bounced back hard and flipped me over. Thing is, it is hard to anticipate whether and how hard you're going to bottom out. So I felt much more comfortable hitting drops on my hardtail than on the fully. Similarly when descending steep switchbacks. Yes the fork will dive but that isn't too hard to deal with. Get things wrong though (and only if you get things wrong) and rear will extend as @thenotoriousmic pointed out. Maybe not, but at least the hardtail rear end will never do that. So again, I feel it is just easier to commit on the hardtail.

I understand part of the solution (to ride a full suspension bike well) is to adapt your riding style and learn how to set up the suspension properly. The deal is, I can imagine a seasoned bikejourno/-tester has not only learned to adapt to diffent bikes. He/she also doesn't ride the same bike long and exclusively enough to become locked in how it behaves. As a hardtail rider I've developed a style of riding a bit more over the front, maintaining traction where it matters and allowing the rear end to skip about. It just doesn't work that well when you rear suspension that wants to extend when unloaded. Similarly I've developed the habit of quickly recovering/extending after absorbing a landing. It just isn't a good match when rear suspension wants to extend simultaneously. Could I adapt eventually? Surely. The question is, should I even bother when my hardtail already works so well for me?

TL;DR: Long travel suspension and rear suspension may help you out at times, but you can only take full advantage of that if you're confident of what it will do and what's left for you to deal with.
  • 1 0
 @thenotoriousmic: 180/150??? there is your problem... try matching f/r travel a little closer (also ht travel ie less than 160) you mention geo intricacies NOT shock/fork characteristics. fs = little change in geo as suspension compress. ht = huge change in geo as the suspension compress. such an expert like yourself im sure you understand deep down.. ;-)
  • 1 0
 @a-d-e: Not sure. I think it might matter more if stiffness front and rear match than than the absolute amount of travel. After all, you're only going to notice the latter when you bottom out both. The first Specialized Demo (the Demo9) had 9" travel, the Santa Cruz V10 did indeed have 10", both typically ran with 8" travel forks. The DMR Bolt Long has 115mm rear travel but happily runs a 160mm fork. Obviously a hardtail with a 120mm travel fork still has 120mm more travel up front than rear. I'd say geometry is king. If a bike is designed properly to run with matching f/r travel then that's probably how it is run best. It is just that not all bikes are designed to run matching f/r travel. So it'd be hard to judge without looking at which bike it is.
  • 11 0
 Biggest villain? how about the guy who coined the term "down country"
  • 1 0
 Agreed.
  • 2 0
 I didn't invent the term, I only forced it upon everyone at Pinkbike Wink
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: Are you willing to disclose who it was? Or does he/she already live in a secret location under a new name and with a fake mustache?
  • 2 0
 @vinay: Ha, no I'm pretty sure Dre Hestler from Rocky Mountain gave me the silly down-country term 7+ years ago.
  • 3 0
 @mikelevy: Get out the pitch forks and torches.

(sorry Andreas just a bit of fun) although you may go a bit faster on that next climb being chased.
  • 3 0
 @mikelevy: And the Pinkbike crew act like they forgot about Dre
  • 10 0
 That is one snazzy outfit Kaz! It burns my retinas.
  • 2 0
 POY material right there.
  • 1 0
 Podcast Episode 69 needs to be the PB staff fashion episode
  • 5 0
 @boozed: Pretty sure we're going to let Levy talk about UFOs and hollow earth theory for the entire episode.
  • 5 0
 I nominate the following villains (in no particular order):

1. Brian Lopes - so many things

2. Mike Sinyard - for always suing the little guy
www.cyclingnews.com/news/sinyard-takes-responsibility-and-apologises-to-cafe-roubaix-owner

3. Tineke Kraal : That crazy lady on the North Shore arrested for sabotaging trails
nsmb.com/articles/tineke-kraal-sentenced-sabotage-case

4. Sick Bicycles

5. UCI - nuff said.

And finally, did Greg Herbold cut the course in 1990? Enquiring minds want to know.
  • 2 0
 Fabien Barel gets a pass, as the inventor of the French Line?
  • 7 0
 You guys should add a full time bike mechanic for some real deal salty view of current bike products.
  • 1 0
 We're told by manufacturers that 12 speed stuff is as strong, if not stronger than older products. I strongly disagree. An SX derailleur can be broken with a dirty look.
  • 2 0
 @LeeMcGee: I think says more about the SX derailleur than the number of cogs it moves the chain across Smile
  • 5 0
 Question: I'm really excited to work at my LBS this summer. I'm 15 and this will be my first behind-the-scenes experience at a bike shop and working experience overall. What should I know coming into the job?
  • 6 0
 You'll probably be told to find the left-handed hammer or end up with a hot dog in your seat tube, which is perfect. We'll answer this one on next week's show Smile
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: Wow thanks so much for that it's really cool to be able to interact with you guys! Thanks for being awesome everyone at Pinkbike!
  • 3 0
 Bought a Chromag Rootdown this winter, and my other mountain bike is a Firebird 29. Got it thinking it would be great for winter and on some of the more smooth local trails while still handling and rowdy or aggressive riding I could do. Winter is past and I’m still riding the hardtail more than 50% of the time.

First, I can run a 210mm dropper that gets all the way out of my way vs 180 on the Firebird. It makes the bike really fun to ride and encourages a full range of motion and leg compression. Second it’s just plan fun to ride and on most trails I’m never more than 10% slower. You can actually haul on a proper hardtail. Finally while it does beat you up a bit more it’s also generally really fun to ride. It’s gone from a great low maintenance winter bike to practically my first choice bike now just because it’s fun and way more capable than you’d expect.
  • 3 0
 I propose that you guys might find that you are loosing audience due to what you spotlight in the Podcast title. When I first saw "Hard Tails," I thought to myself, "ah, skip that episode...not really interested in hard tails." But, then on reconsideration I thought perhaps I'll listen because I enjoy the personalities on the podcast and the news, etc. Maybe you would gain audience by highlighting a pithy teaser about a particularly creative or energetic exchange on the show...that would at least be a more effective teaser for me. I find myself picking and choosing whether I listen to the PB Podcast based on the main topic...but, there's a lot of other great stuff on each Podcast. Also, also, I find Richard Cunningham's participation to be at times the best part of the show. Can you have him on every podcast?
  • 6 1
 We need more RC for sure. For titles I don’t wanna get too clickbaity but we can probably be a little more engaging with them. Maybe not full on… “This Guy Rode A Hardtail For 30 Days And Doctors Are SHOCKED At What It Did To His Spine!”
  • 3 0
 On the topic of aluminium, I think James should be mandated to lead any aluminium-related podcast discussions, because when it comes to aluminium he's the one who tells it like it is. As a an ex-pat Brit living in the states it gives me the warm & fuzzies to hear someone saying aluminium in the proper way.

ps. aluminium aluminium aluminium

pps. please ask James to read out my comment on the next pod. Cheers.
  • 2 0
 I'd like to hear the PB podcast crew talk about why they think competition is or isn't important in mountain biking. Where do different disciplines of mtb sit on a spectrum between the top levels of the sport being the top of a pyramid of participants who are regional pros or semi-pro or amateur competitors with riders who do pretty much the same riding non-competitively in the base, versus a top level of competitors who are making content that will be engaged with mostly by people who don't ride anything like what the pros are doing, but relate in other (totally valid) ways? For example there are stick and ball sport superfans who don't even toss a ball in the yard, let alone compete, and that's just how it is. How do mountain bike media and marketing folks think about participation in mtb and its relationship to competition?
  • 2 0
 Most action sports cater to fans that are participants. Look at the PB home page "new tires.........check out this bike......brand new X-something drivetrain" go look at NFL its "beer......buy a car....don't you want a pizza". They don't try to sell you mitts when you watch a baseball game.

Thats why a healthy culture is so important for sports like mtb. If its lame to participate, its lame to watch.
  • 1 0
 Maybe, as mtb is so diverse, there is this huge middle ground where people watching DH racing may not ride DH themselves, but do learn and take elements of what they see into their own trail riding. And top level racing is the billboard. Brands may not retrieve the money they invested in the development through the sales of those particular products (like DH and top level XC stuff), but the exposure does attract certain customers to those brands and they will sell them the more general purpose stuff. Funny enough, I now have the feeling that most of these strong DH brakes actually end up as OEM gear on heavy commuter e-bikes. Which doesn't hurt anyone, of course Smile .
  • 2 0
 About Tom wanting a 4X resurgence:
4X was already dead when UCI dropped it.
Sure it was fun to watch most of the time,but it didn't appeal to most racers,neither to the industry,and it really looked more like BMX than MTB.
And as Brian said,any time something about 4X gets posted here,almost nobody gives a sh__.
  • 2 0
 Thanks for the episode and I especially like the badass photos.

Could you please consider making a podcast on what a “lifetime warranty” is in the mountain bike industry. It seems to mean different things from a consumer and manufacturer point of view. Having said that, in my experience, warranty issues have been hassle free for the giant bikes I’ve owned.
  • 2 0
 This is a good one. Adding it to the list. LOTS to talk about with warranties.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: thanks Brian looking forward to it
  • 2 0
 My over-forked 21 Norco Fluid HT with a 130mm short-offset fork is so much fun. Replaced an old-geo 120mm XC/trail dually.
I've learnt a few things:
- Slacker geometry > rear travel for most real world "trail" terrain (except super rocky square edge stuff)
- You may be slower on very rough rocky terrain, but the fun level is dialled up. Clearing it gives you a huge buzz.
- Its worth spending extra on your front suspension and tyres, they are all the squish you've got.
- It's more about you - stance, posture, technique and line choice are everything.
- Old trails will become interesting and fun again as technique becomes more important than just monster trucking over obstacles.
- I feel 130mm and 75 degrees head angle is probably a sweet spot for trail hardtail. YMMV.
  • 1 0
 correction - I feel 130mm and 65 degrees head angle is probably a sweet spot for trail hardtail. YMMV.
  • 2 0
 I find my Pipedream Moxie hardtail just as fun and capable as my Norco Range
Both are set at 64* head angle
Both have 170 Lyric forks but the Pipedream has the Smashpot coil conversion.
I run a insert in the rear tire of the hardtail with 4psi (19psi) less than the Norco
I regularly ride the same black trails on both with no apparent fatigue differences.
Being middle aged (if I live to 130) I don't jump or do big drops but I do like to just plow through
everything on the trails.
I prefer riding the Pipedream just for it's ability to climb like a goat.
As Tom said you just need to be a little more precise on the descents.
  • 1 0
 I'll second that. My Moxie with 150mm fork and Cushcore in the rear is not much less comfy than my previous 140/150mm trail bike.
  • 2 0
 I've been riding a Chromag Rootdown for the past few years....mostly because I have broken every full suspension bike I have ever ridden (except the OG Transition Dirtbag...lol)....so every 10 or so years I go back onto a HT because I'm tired of replacing frames.

I gotta say the Rootdown is a shitton of fun...but I can't lie..I have been eye-f*cking a Pivot Switchblade pretty hard this year... Gorgeous bike.
  • 5 0
 Excellent. Just bought a new hardtail.
  • 1 0
 Question for the podcast crew:

What do you guys do after you get a large puncture? Lets say you're out on a trail when suddenly a sharp rock slices open your tire. The hole is too big for your sealant to plug it, so you plug it with a rubber strip, pump your tire back up and continue your ride. But what after you come home? Do you do any further repairs or do you leave the tire as is? I've seen people online suggest all kinds of things, including leaving the rubber strip as is, vulcanizing the rubber plug, sticking a patch onto the inside of the tire casing or even outright throwing the tire away because it will apparently never be as reliable again. What is your preferred method? Any tips, tricks, suggestions?
  • 2 0
 I've had pretty good luck just leaving the bacon in. I do trim the ends on the plug so it doesn't catch on anything but I've then multiple times done significant riding on the tire to use it up with good results. It is a little worrying but in my experience if a plug is going to fail it is is going to happen pretty quickly after application.
  • 1 0
 Ive had luck so far with a park tool patch(the clear small ones) I then jammed some bacon strip into the gash from the tread side to prevent dirt from getting to the patch. Seems to be pretty solid thus far with about 80 miles on it
  • 2 0
 I just use a traditional patch on the inside. If you can get the vulcanizing glue into the hole it does a much better job holding it together than sealant. The biggest issue is cleaning all the sealant off before putting a patch on, my preferred method is to clean it, let it sit over night then install the patch after the tire has time to dry. A trick I learned this week is if you pinch a tire and dent your rim, rotate the tire so the pinch and the dent don't line up and it makes for a much better seal.
  • 3 0
 I've often just left the original plugs in the tire and keep on rolling until it's worn out. Haven't had an issue yet. That said, if it's a big cut in a near-new time, I'll sometimes cut a small square of casing from an old tire, shave most of the rubber off so it's just a piece of thin, flexible casing, then super glue it over the hole. I was going to do an Explainer video showing how to do that but didn't Razz
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: should definitely do the video
  • 1 0
 I've once sewn a gap in my tire. I already patched it from the inside but didn't trust that it would keep the gap closed so I've sewn it close after that with nylon wire and then applied glue to the wire to keep it from slipping. I kept riding it until it was worn. That said, it was a good while ago and I was running a heavy Kenda DH tube so the tire didn't need to hold air. Nowadays the bacon strips do the trick for me. Personally I prefer to use two short thin strips (or actually, a thin one cut in half) rather than one thick one.
  • 1 0
 I think the bike industry seems to be embracing hardtails in the modern era, say about at 25-30 "embrace points" to give a generic measure... I think there might be some wisdom in bringing this promotional focus up to maybe 40-45 points of embracement.... Like if hardtails were made even better and more big companies put lots of focus on them, it would bring more people into the world of having an impeccable bike at the entry level, and yes easy to maintain/ set-and-forget qualities... These riders would then buy full suspensions despite the unprecedented quality of their hardtail, due to the obvious advantages of full suspension. In summary, higher points of embracement (POE) for hardtails please
  • 2 1
 If I had to own one bike and it had to be a hardtail... something like a 29er Stanton, Chumba Sendero, Chromag Surface, 140mm fork, light rotating weight, you guys touched on stack height/bar height (that's why the 140 fork helps in my opinion)... Seb Scott = totally agree with this article
  • 2 1
 Question for the Pink Pod:

A few episodes ago, I believe it was RC who mentioned that bash guards were made obsolete because of 1x drivetrains. The explanation being that the chain protects the teeth of the chainring. So... does this mean I can regularly scrape and smash my 1x chainring into granite obstacles and expect no ill consequences? If I had license to lightly bash my chainring into rock, it would change the way I approach a few features.
  • 1 0
 I'd probably disagree with RC on that one - those 1x chainrings are pricey!
  • 1 0
 Currently I ride with a taco for chainring protection but before that I used a serrated bash ring. It could indeed be smashed into logs etc and then be used to crawl over them a little, but just using your pedal or foot is much more effective. I think it is more of a trials thing where riders aren't allowed to touch the obstacle with their feet so that's where this becomes handy. But if your frame has ISCG05 tabs I'd just use a taco for protection. Not sure whether it is actually true but it seems to me like it is easier on your bottom bracket bearings.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: my brother had a bash ring like that, it went through his leg like a saw blade.
  • 1 0
 @RonSauce: Sounds painful! Never happened to me, luckily. Mine was from DMR. I've seen some trials brands make them more aggressive but for instance the one from Straitline is more mellow instead. Either way, it seems to me like if you can hurt yourself on your bashring, you can hurt yourself on your chainring too. Especially if you drop the chain (which isn't unlikely to cause a slipped pedal).
  • 3 0
 @vinay:
It's actially the opposite, the power is the rider's mass, with a bashring on the spider the force only go in as far as the axle between the bash and the rider, with a taco it goes through the bortom bearing.
  • 1 0
 @Der-Kaiser: Well yeah, you're correct indeed!
  • 1 0
 Anyone have hardtail recommendations for me? I ride a V3 Bronson around Utah so that's what I'm used to but would love a 120mm-150mm Hardtail to have fun on. Maybe something a touch more balanced than the Honzo ESD? I'm primarily looking at used and am welcome to any reccs people have for frames/years. Thanks!
  • 2 0
 If you don't mind paying a bit for the service you can head over to the Hardtail Party Patreon and Steve will give you some very solid recommendations specifically for your trails and riding style.

(No affiliation, I'm just impressed by his videos)
  • 2 0
 Honzo ESD with lowered fork if you like that bike
  • 1 0
 @Shred-BC: why ESD with a lowered fork vs. a frame built around this resulting angles? Maybe Honzo DL?
  • 2 0
 First thing that comes to mind is an NS Eccentric Alu 29, short forked, angleset, short cranks. Or the same with a BC Originals Podsol. Or a Growler. Etc. Honestly right now you might be pretty limited with what’s actually available.
  • 1 0
 @Roughnecknine0: It's parts spec and price is killer. By lowering the fork you'll steepen the head angle making it feel more reactive, and the geo is still there if you want to try out the long travel hardtail thing.
  • 1 0
 Specialized Fuse with a 130 mm of travel. I have been riding one since last May here in Vancouver and it handles the local trails with ease. Only stuff I don't ride, I wouldn't ride on a FS. I have the 27.5 wheel version and haven't been left wanting at all. I would venture the 2.8 wide wheels provide so much stability. Just an absolute blast to ride. I did upgrade the brakes and cranks after mashing them in separate crashes.
  • 2 0
 One of the biggest reasons why I bought my Chromag Rootdown was having kids, knowing I’d be spending a lot of time pulling around a chariot. So much better than F/S for towing, and still fun when it’s unhooked.
  • 1 0
 Random thought leading to a question ( @mikelevy ): Are bike companies being disingenuous about travel amounts when they do not include sag in the specs? I was thinking about this during a ride. I ride a 110mm rear travel bike. Set to around 25% sag, I am left with ~83mm of travel. With 2.8s and the Mid Atlantic terrain I ride (roots, mud, punchy climbs and small drops), this has never left me wanting. Very rarely am I using all of the shocks full travel (full extension to full compression) as a lot of my riding is seated climbing or standing on pedals, meaning my travel is probably going to be starting at sag and compressing through the remaining travel. I get that if I unweight the bike (i.e. a jump or drop), I would then extend the shock to get the full travel but that full travel amount seems to very rarely be used. Should bike companies list two numbers or do they already do this and I have not noticed it?
  • 2 0
 Not disingenuous, just accurate. Apples to apples comparisons to other bikes. And lots of brands do publish a recommended sag, so you can figure out what you're looking for.

However, brands often ARE disingenuous about travel in general. Got a flip chip for longer chainstays? Pretty likely the long setting adds 5-10mm travel. Got a link based flip chip that slackens the bike out a bunch? Pretty likely that the slack setting actually has significantly less travel than the steep setting.
  • 2 0
 Listening to my first PB podcast, because I love hardtails, and JFC, the discussion doesn't start for more than half an hour. I would much prefer you split the news/reader questions into a separate podcast.
  • 1 0
 Considering this is your first listen, I don't think they give a shit what you think.
  • 1 0
 @Elstoner13 hah I actually do care what people think on this. We go back and forth on whether we should split the news into its own thing. Honestly I'm pretty happy with the mix these days, it feels pretty natural for us.

@jimsmart most of our podcasts have a news/reader questions/etc bit to start and then hone in on the discussion. So if you see a topic you're interested in for the future you can jump ahead.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: Keep it mixed. News spawns conversation and jokes at Kaz's expense.
  • 3 0
 I post some time codes in future podcasts so you can jump forward to the discussion Smile
  • 2 0
 @brianpark: I understand wanting to here some feedback but the ego of some people is crazy. "I've never been here before but let me tell you how to do it better" just speaks to the level of catering people feel they deserve.
  • 1 0
 Question for the Pod:

I like switching between flats and clipless pedals. I prefer flats normally, but love some of the clipless advantages. One that comes up among riding buddies is the ability to lift the rear end quickly and directly. I learned how to bunny hop in flats in a bmx bike (I always thought it was called a j-hop), so I don't really struggle with lifting the rear for jumping. I can scoop my pedals and lift the rear on flats, though it is easier with clipless. Buuuuut whenever I bring up the convenience of lifting the rear here and there with the clipless pedals I am met with a chorus of "Bad Habit Bro..." Should I be avoiding lifting altogether on clipless pedals? Seems like there is more nuance to it then "never lift with the pedals"
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy Why do DH bikes seem to adapt new tire trends later than other types of bikes?

Are wheel size differences hidden by more layers of tech (e.g. suspension)?

Do DH riders assume they're more CORE if they ride smaller (typically older) wheelers, so they're harder to market to?

Is the market just so small that there's a bigger risk involved for developing the fixtures/molds required vs the lack of motivation for the low% total bucks to be made (given the low market share)?
  • 2 0
 You guys gotta check out the Hardtail Party YouTube channel. Not only is he a great guy with great reviews, he's a good rider too. I've always been full sus, but he has me wanting to try a hardtail as my second bike.
  • 1 0
 yo Levy, Are or when are you going to start selling grim donuts, I know I would buy one. if you need more bike designs I am sure Brian could share his super slack hardtail with you and have 2 bikes. your bikes are freaken sick and I bet a lot of people would buy them.
  • 1 0
 I went from riding FS to hardtail for primarily two reasons:

1) less cost
2) less maintenance

HT is most fun I have had on a bike since I started 20 odd years ago. Always grinning after every ride.

I also ride more often than I did on my FS, I ride primarily in North Van.

Other advantage, can take bike for a spin around neighborhood without feeling like a bike dork/nerd.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy- I'm not sure if you want to ride a Mantra, there is no standing up, ever. I rode one for seven years and loved it.
I think the hardtail/ full suspension maintenance debate is almost a wash. Some pivot work is inconsequential in comparison to drivetrain, brakes and wheels.
  • 1 0
 For sure, pivots don't give me much trouble, but brakes? Ugh.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: I went from BB7's to Curas last winter and could never get them to work, went back to BB7's. The Level T's have been working on my Hobgoblin so far.
I have enjoyed the 'casts, especially the old references. What ever happened to chainsuck?
  • 1 0
 I enjoyed listening to the podcast while doing trail work today.

I got a new very high end single speed hardtail with 66hta and 120mm fork about 6 months ago. It was going to be my winter bike. It has wide rims, wide bars, a short stem and a 185mm dropper (although I do stand 95% of the time). The transition from my enduro bike to single speed was very tough. Our trails are steep and rough. But it was worth the hard work.

This single speed is the most fun I have ever had on a bike. Now I only want to ride my single speed. I was surprised the way you guys dismissed hardtails. I liked the quick comment that you might as well go single speed. I agree.

Im in great shape from pedaling this bike up the mountain and it makes me very strong shredding down the mountain. Most importantly, I’m having the most fun on a bike in my life. There is a place in my heart for fun hardtails. Thanks for putting in some hardtail content.
  • 1 0
 Question for @mikelevy and @mikekazimer regarding suspension.
I am worried that this will turn into an argument between Kaz and Levy about over/under/correct biked BUT (cost aside) would a high end fork/shock with shorter travel provide the same or better level of performances and ride quality than a lower end fork/shock with longer travel? I appreciate there many variables that would need to be accounted for. I love going uphill as fast as I can then race down and repeat. I am not a dentist nor am I a Pinkbike tech editor, so I only have one bike to spec correctly.
  • 2 0
 Oh man I've got some photos from Moab circa 94 -96 that are even cringier than the Kaz photo. Good job putting it out there Kaz.
  • 4 0
 Swapped the stumpy evo for a chromag this season. No looking back.
  • 6 0
 I have the new stumpy Evo and a Chromag. I ride both equally. Super fun combo.
  • 4 0
 Levy: I am your father.
Tom: Ohhrrrrr Nooooorrrr!
  • 2 2
 The new breed of aggressive hardtail eg: The Growler, Torrent, Doctahawk, ESD are unreal and for most would allow you to ride 95% of what you are riding on any enduro and definitely any trail bike without any negatives. Steel is the way to go for and paired with 150mm+ travel fork makes for a nearly unbeatable combo.
  • 1 0
 Question for the pod:

One thing you didn't touch much on is the heightened importance of a fork on a hardtal (vs full-suspension bike). Should people invest more in higher-quality forks for their hardtails?
  • 1 0
 A hardtail certainly drives the fork more than it would on a full-suspension bike, but I think I'd say that one should nail their (decent) fork's setup before buying something pricier. Generally speaking, a hardtail's fork will require a firmer spring rate than if it was on the front of a full-suspension bike.
  • 1 0
 I put a quality fork wag higher in importance on hardtails AND on full suspension bikes.
  • 1 0
 I'm not crazy! I put the new Debonaire airpring on my FS and did not like it at all. Moved it over to the RSD Middlechild and that initial firmness is better suited to that bike.
  • 1 0
 Not directly related to this podcast but the Mike’s keep talking about racing one another. I think it should happen BUT they should pick the bike the other will be racing on, can this happen?
  • 2 0
 There's a guy in Nelson BC who made it his goal to ride every trail on a fully rigid single speed- you should get him on here
  • 1 0
 psycho or power move?
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy I ve been testing that new transfer for almost a year, and in xc pedaly trails, the 100mm has been fine. The 80mm was not enough tho, and some downhills got sketchy
  • 1 0
 Been watching alot of dropin on you tube lately, when are we going to get an episode interviewing the dropin crew? A part of mountain biking/pinkbike history I miss dearly.
  • 1 0
 Or just make another season and maybe Chuck in a few guest appearances from the old cast when they’re in town?
  • 1 2
 Villian - Shimano for another freehub body 'standard' with micro spline. XD was already around and could accommodate a 10 tooth (or smaller) gear. Bad on Shimano unless the issue was SRAM not letting them license the XD driver?
  • 1 0
 As an owner of a Pole Stamina (which I think is a gorgeous bike) - I can attest that that new Pole with the crazy rear-end is fugly.
  • 1 0
 I live in southeast Michigan (flat) and a hardtail is perfect here, to get the "edge of control" feeling that Levy is so fond of I go with my full rigid.
  • 1 0
 In all fairness to Kaz & his safe predictions, maybe the new year predictions articles should be retitled "Wild Speculations for 2022"
  • 1 0
 Question for the podcast - What is your opinion on mullet Hardtails? Have you ridden one? Didi you like it? Why does Kaz think its impractical?
  • 1 0
 Question for the next pod: If thrash metal/Megadeath are the stereotypical genre/band for freeride, what are the stereotypical genres/bands for other disciplines?
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy it appears that the eco-warriors in the UK have been taking inspiration from the Mount Rushmore podcast.

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cornwall-57406136
  • 1 0
 PB Crew: "welcome to the episode on hardtails!"


PB Crew: *Proceeds to talk about a bunch of new Full sus bikes for 30-45 minutes*
  • 1 0
 AKA "the news" that we do every single episode. There's too much hardtail talk afterward.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: Very much a joke, listened to every podcast and i understand the news is the news. didnt mean to piss in your timbits
  • 1 0
 Rogatkin is the best mountain bike villain. The joker to Brandon’s / Bretts Batman.
  • 2 0
 Yes! Excellent nomination.
  • 2 0
 kazs out fit might be one of the funniest things ive seen
  • 2 0
 I can't unsee that pic of yours, Kaz. those were the days.....
  • 4 1
 more Bradshaw
  • 2 0
 Yaaa, that outfit on Kaz though... so fire
  • 1 0
 @brianpark - I reserve no judgement for the 360 ... in fact props for giving a solid effort.

How was gravel-rash aftermath?
  • 2 0
 Still annoyed I kicked out of that one. Don't remember any gravel rash but I do know I got a mouthful of sand.
  • 1 0
 I got the Rocky Moutain Growler 40 while waiting for my pivot trail 429 and this bike is very fun to ride.
  • 1 0
 Podcast Question - Do you think enduro bikes will evolve to a point were DH bikes are no longer manufactured?
  • 1 0
 It's not a prediction if it's already happened haha
  • 1 0
 Exactly.

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