Pinkbike Poll - A Hardtail As Your Only Bike?

Mar 20, 2017 at 4:39
by Mike Levy  
The recent news of Santa Cruz's new Chameleon was a reminder that modern hardtails have a lot going for them. There are others, of course, from the Kona Honzo, Chromag's entire lineup, and bikes from Stanton, DMR, and a bunch of other brands who offer forward-thinking frames with a so-called backward-thinking lack of rear suspension. But, for a lot of us, no rear shock means nearly no interest in these days of full-suspension rigs that are somehow lighter than their simpler counterparts that are arguably more difficult to ride.


Cruising through the forest aboard the Chromag Aperture
Brad Walton photo

I don't think it's our fault that hardtails sit in the shadows for a lot of riders. I mean, just look at how freaking awesome most of today's full-suspension bikes are and what they let us do. Hell, some of them even pedal nearly as well as a bike with a welded rear-end rather than one that's designed to move up and down with the terrain, which is pretty crazy when you consider how bad some full-suspension bikes were fifteen or more years ago. I also have zero issue admitting that the technology involved in a modern, high-performance dual-suspension bike is a big reason why I'm so into this sport; chakras and flow and other deep, meaningful things aside, of course. I'm pretty sure that my chakra got beat to shit during the last time I spent a few months on a hardtail, as fun as it was most of the time.

Despite that beat down, I know that I'd have just as much fun on a reasonably priced hardtail as I do on a carbon fiber super-bike that rides like it's from the future. I'm sure of this because I've spent many years getting my ass handed to me on a hardtail, just like a lot of us have, and those were some of the best times that I've ever had on a bike. However, if you told me that I had to choose between a nice full-suspension bike and a nice hardtail, I know damn well that I'm going to grab the one with all the pivots and complication and a shock bolted to the back of it.


Cruising through the forest aboard the Chromag Aperture
Brad Walton photo

Sure, I like the completely false fantasy of me being the tough guy aboard a hardtail who creams everyone on every descent, no matter how rowdy it is, or has no problem with my worn out body after riding a hardtail on some sort of silly all-day epic that was only fun for the first six hours and not the last six hours. But that's not me. Technology has spoiled me for good and, sadly, I seriously doubt that I'd own a hardtail if my stable consisted of a single bike.

But what about you? Do you plan on forsaking pivots and shocks and leverage curves for a leaner, more punishing yet possibly more rewarding steed? Or does the idea of riding a hardtail appeal to you about as much as trading your fancy full-suspension bike in for a unicycle?



Would you give up your dual-suspension bike for a hardtail?




12 Comments

  • + 7
 Having a hardtail as your only bike is rarely a choice. It's a matter of budget. Folks talking of staying true to HTs are like those who say that monogamy is not normal. They talk as if they had a fkng option. Ride whatever suits you right, don't make up philosophies why your choice is superior.
  • + 2
 I love my hard tails, and come the winter that's all I ride. I'll always have a hard tail for the days when distance on fire roads and canal tow paths is in order, but unless I'm forced to I'll always have a full sus as the old knees are not what they are. But if hard tails were all there was, I'd be happy. Next bike, 29er or 650b+ hard tail???
  • + 2
 I've gone from a full suspension to hardtail, and the hardtail is currently my only MTB. It's been years and years since I've owned a hardtail, but with modern materials and geometry it rides amazingly well. I think I will stick with the hardtail as my only bike for a little while, but when I eventually get a new FS bike, I will never have a hardtail-less quiver again. It's just too damn fun.
  • + 4
 Just built one and loving it
  • + 4
 As long as it was a Chromag.
  • + 2
 that's cause you haven't tried a ragley. lol, you are one loyal son-of-a-gun.
  • + 1
 @conv3rt: I've pedaled a Blue Pig once. Lol

I know where my bread is battered .
  • + 1
 @THE-GUNT: Nah, I'm with you. I wish I could afford a new frame/fork/wheels. I think a BA would look excellent in the shed
  • + 2
 @conv3rt: Yeah that would be sweet.
  • + 4
 Love my Bird Zero AM!!
  • + 1
 come on pinkbike rigid is the future. i joke, but my rigid fatbike is silly fun.
  • + 2
 Missing the, "Yeah I'd do that" option

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