The Pinkbike Podcast: Episode 19 - The Hardtail Episode

Aug 19, 2020 at 14:50
by Mike Levy  
Art by Taj Mihelich

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 the hardtails we've ridden and cut our teeth on, the pros and cons of that hardtail life, and give a few more whiny reasons why you don't see more reviews of them on the website.

Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, or wherever else you get your podcasts.




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 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?


276 Comments

  • 44 5
 I still don't get the "sore ankles" stigma with hardtails.... I ride rowdy PNW trails/DH courses on a hardtail (yes slower than on my FS bike), but riding chunky gnar and taking decent sized drops. Never once have I had ankle pains. Oh, and in my mid 40's, so youthfulness doesn't count. My average ride has 3,000' of climb/descending. Am i riding wrong? Bionic ankles? And for what it's worth I switch between a modern FS bike and modern "hardcore hardtail" depending on which way the wind blows, I like them both.
  • 10 0
 Agree with this. Never have sore ankles going between the FS bike and modern hardtail - Commencal Meta AM HT 29. Did have some sore wrists for a few days after I sent my other fully rigid hard tail w/carbon fork (older Surly Karate Monkey) down a local super rocky 1500' descent a couple of winters ago. Fun, but not exactly fast.
  • 5 0
 Maybe it's from people like me whose only experience is on a borrowed hardtail. My ankles and most of the rest of my body hurt after one run on a steep-ish rocky, rooty, dusty downhill trail. I can imagine if you own one you learn to brake in the right spots and things would get smoother
  • 1 0
 I’ve never had sore ankles either. I think it might be for people that go back and forth between a FS and a HT. Maybe...
  • 6 0
 @mikelevy does too many hucks to flat.
  • 2 0
 I never got sore ankles, just a sore lower back even though I am relatively experienced and stand most of the time.
  • 4 1
 Recently built up a carbon hardtail with ridged fork and been riding it more than my full suspension and loving it! A little hard on my 58 year body but it sure is fun and gives you a different perspective on the same trails.
  • 5 0
 @mkul7r4: stretching/yoga before and after bicycle rides is a must! Perhaps some core strengthening is past due
  • 1 5
flag ceecee (Aug 22, 2020 at 20:05) (Below Threshold)
 PNW is generally softer due to rainfall and vegetal rot, and you're not as butch as you think you are? I can hurt my feet casing one landing, that's how tough I am. Is there anything bike-related that might not be a great idea to purchase?
  • 1 0
 I agree. I dont get sore ankles ever but but my legs do feel more tired after a longer descent than on my FS bike. If you ride the HT a lot you soon HTFU.
  • 1 0
 @bicycle019: Please could you tell me how tall are you and what size do you have I want to get one but the reach looks good really small on them
  • 4 0
 How you stand on your pedals is definitely more important on a hardtail. Some people ride with their foot too far back on the pedals, which is bad in eithwe case in my opinion, but much worse on a hardtail as you are putting more force on your ankles and lower legs and you have no suspension to take the edge off. Pedals under the mid foot will help avoid issues with sort ankles and calves and (so they say) give you more power than under the ball of your foot.
  • 3 0
 @privateer-wheels: Just a good way to ride flats in general! IMO
  • 3 0
 @mybaben: not just flats - any pedal, clip or flat! Agree, this is how everyone should be riding.

Lots of people still pedaling with the pedal more forward though. Sore ankles mainly due to pilot error I figure.
  • 1 1
 @ceecee: I’ll add my 2 cents as a pnw hardtail rider, eastern Washington state.

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.
  • 1 0
 @aks2017: pardon. I meant Cascades west. Though the Mazama eruption affected the entire area, according to soil scientists. Rode hardtails in Tucson for three years, flats, midfoot positioning. They're best for tech climbing. Hucks to chunk--not so much. I'm old.
  • 3 0
 @brianpark: I suspect the real difference is that PB reviewers aren't "conditioned" for hardtails (specifically referring to the mysterious "sore ankles"). Sure, they can ride them competently, but if not riding hardtails on a regular basis their body isn't conditioned for it. It would be comparable to hands cramping on long descents, for someone not used to long descents or even a newbie getting a sore butt on a bike ride cause they aren't used to sitting on a bike saddle. In other words, Levy and Kaz are too soft. Which isn't their fault cause they mostly ride/test full suspension bikes.
  • 2 0
 @bicycle019: Rigid HT and Modern FS bike is a great combo. They complement each other really well. One teaches you how to go fast, the other lets you go fast. I'm on a Krampus / Murmur combo. The Krampus reminds me how much your body and bike can take and how loose you can get.
  • 1 0
 I end up with more sore...everything (including ankles) riding my 170mm bike than my HT. I send it WAY harder on my big bike.
  • 2 0
 I've been riding my FS an hour a day for three days straight and I hurt everywhere. What am I doing wrong?
  • 1 0
 @JSTootell: then it's not a fair comparison
  • 2 0
 @JDFF: I agree. It takes more than one hour to get back into riding a hardtail proper, not just technique but conditioning and tempering.

I weight 100kg and have bad knees and ankles and a hardtail doesn't give me any additional discomfort.
  • 1 0
 @fartymarty: Agreed. I really like riding my rigid Karate Monkey a lot. Currently running Rekon 2.6" front and Icon 2.4" on new Arch Mk3 rims for it's only suspension. Did try a dropper on it which really made it fun, but all the 27.2 droppers kinda suck so I went back to rigid post. It's perfect for trails that are too tame for the FS bike which happen to be closer to home and dry all year long.

Paired with a Yeti SB130LR (and that Commencal HT) I've got a good quiver to chose from for all rides.
  • 38 3
 A sexy steel hardtail is something everyone lusts after, but very few fully embrace hardtail living.
  • 64 1
 Everybody wanna be a body builder, but nobody wants to lift heavy ass weights
  • 7 0
 @RonSauce: Gotta love Ronnie Coleman
  • 3 0
 @Longtravel: was on JRE
  • 3 2
 “Everybody wanna be famous - nobody wanna do the work.” - Kevin Hart
  • 9 0
 @cuban-b: Everyone want heaven but no one want dead.
  • 5 0
 Has anybody seen any Hardtail Party reviews? More drawn out than necessary but very informative. He observed that many steel HTs are too stiff, and a few aluminum HTs can be plenty supple. Definitely worth the time investment if you are HT curious. PB should bring that guy up for some co-testing.
  • 2 0
 @NotAUsername: Thanks for the kind words. I love hardtails.

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...
  • 1 0
 Sorry for the typos above, that's embarassing.
Dpack = pack
Reciews = reviews
Waiting = editing
  • 2 0
 @hardtailparty: I just found your channel a week ago. Loving it, the wide range of info is great. Starting Dusty Betty's next!
  • 22 0
 Make sure to include a janky rock garden section for hardtail field tests.
  • 18 1
 If I only had a hard tail, I'm pretty certain I wouldn't appreciate it as much as I do. As part of a quiver, it shines, because it balances out the mtb equation. Hard tails and duallies are the yin and yang of mountain biking.
  • 16 2
 Why I bought a hardtail.

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.
  • 18 1
 Hell yes! Like I said in the podcast, the $1K hardtail is a super important.
  • 2 0
 I probably ride my 2k Nukeproof Scout more than my 10k Santa Cruz 5010. Partly because despite it being a hardtail the ride position seems to hurt my back less.
  • 17 5
 This seems backwards. Maybe a few of us who don't live in BC should do a podcast on hard tails for the Pinkbike crew?
  • 19 1
 BC knows their HTs, it's just PB crew trust me...
  • 2 0
 @kanasasa: fair point!
  • 10 0
 @kanasasa: Yup. It's like asking a bunch of vegans what's the point of prime rib. Wink
  • 9 0
 I have a steel hardtail, Transition TransAm 27.5, because it makes the mellow trails in the off season more enjoyable. Would be too lame on a full squish. Makes me appreciate the suspension that much more in the spring too.
  • 10 0
 This podcast needs video to see all your reactions to each other. Pinkbike podcast is getting me thru this pandemic
  • 7 0
 Kaz may recall a brand named Rhygin sold in his old CT bike shop Pig Iron. It was a steel hardtail built by some guys in Massachusetts. I bought one from Pig Iron with my first suspension fork, a Mag 21. That frame basically had road bike geometry, and was by far the scariest mountain bike I ever had. It would go sideways in the rough stuff if you as much as twitched wrong. Sadly, to answer his question from an earlier podcast, Pig Iron was absorbed by a bigger bike shop and is no longer around. For your future hardtail group test, I’d nominate a Trek Stache. Very popular ride around here.
  • 3 0
 They were sweet bikes, they had Rasta colored fade paint jobs from what I remember. Those along with Indy Fab and Ted Wojcik frames were super popular custom steel hard tail options back in the 90's New England MTB scene.
  • 2 0
 @bicycle019: Mine was a pretty metallic burgundy, but I wish I got the rasta version. I recall Chris King made a rasta mix headset to match. Don't forget Fat Chance when mentioning New England hardtails of that era.
  • 6 0
 Ah, I do remember those bikes, thanks for jogging my memory. The hardtail scene was so strong back then - bikes from Waterford, Indy Fab, Seven, Spooky, Fat Chance, and Dean all regularly rolled through the shop.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: can you please get a Kingdom Vendetta HT for a review...not only it is one of the most beautiful bikes you can get, it is super fun with awesome geometry and very good price for a titanium frame.
  • 9 1
 Riding my hardtail effectively doubles my trail network, makes me stronger and overall a better rider. Winner winner chicken dinner.
  • 5 3
 Weird. I'm the opposite. I ride longer and faster on a full suspension bike than I do on a hardtail. So does that make me weaker and worse?
  • 1 0
 @ChazzMichaelMichaels: if you ride the same trail or for the same time, you get more feedback on a hardtail and you get a more physical workout. You oten have to pick your line better so your skills improve. I might only have a 60 or 90 minute window for a ride, it which case I always take the hardtail.
  • 1 0
 @MattInNZ: yes hardtails definitely help to improve skills during the first wee while of ridong but there's a stage when you need a fs to really start progressing further
  • 6 0
 My 180/160 frame crapped the bed and it's taking forever for warranty to get sorted out. In the meantime I needed a bike to ride so I picked up a Chromag Rootdown frame and swapped parts over.

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.
  • 6 0
 One overlooked benefit of hardtails is that they make decent in-town / commuter bikes. So, even if they are a 2nd bike, you can use them a ton. I’ve got a full suspension bike and hardtail bike, and overall I ride the hardtail more because of in-town use. And it rips on smoother trails.
  • 6 0
 Please review the RSD Middlechild! It’s on that line between hardcore-hardtail and practical-modern trail bike. I need you to either validate my purchase or give me a reason to start looking for my next bike which I will undoubtably purchase at 4 in the morning.
  • 2 0
 The rsd middle child is my main bike. Incredibly versatile, and the ti one has a fantastic ride. I've bikepacked mine, climbed tech, descended steep tech, and taken it to the skatepark and pump track and it is very versatile.
  • 5 0
 I fully enjoy my hardtail, I have a full suspension bike, and have had a Stanton Switchback and now have a custom Marino, Unless I'm doing straight up downhill or serious rocks, I often reach for mt HT than my fully. I also like doing new things on it since I often don't as much speed to clear the same thing.
  • 5 0
 Also try a hardtail that is slacked out with a shorter travel fork (140) (i.e. BTR Ranger) My HT has a static 62 HA with a 140 mm fork, rides amazing
  • 2 0
 @Chvless956c: this guy knows, BTR love. Short fork is key IMO
  • 1 0
 @Chvless956c: Yes, agreed! PB, please include the BTR Ranger in the field test, it's one of the absolute classics of the genre. @brianpark
  • 1 0
 @Rusettipasta: Is the BTR Ranger test bike still available for reviews then? They had one and it had been tested by several magazines but I think they eventually sold it off as obviously everyone who wanted to tested, already had done that. Plus the components aren't the latest generation anymore either (pre-Fox Marzocchi fork, previous generation XT groupset etc). And even though this shouldn't matter for a frame review, you still find it still seeps through in these articles. So yeah, I think they sold the bike and for a smaller company like BTR, that frees up a lot of money. That's the clever way to do it. Everyone who wanted to test it already have done so (and these reviews are still available online for you to read). If Pinkbike (or one of their British editors) hadn't bothered to test it by now, Pinkbike apparently wasn't interested.

I love my BTR Ranger too. 120mm travel fork, 63deg static head angle. Feels perfect for me.
  • 4 1
 @Rusettipasta @vinay we'll keep the BTR in mind for a HT test—they're definitely a classic, be rude to at least not give them the opportunity.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: But, do they still have one available for reviews? Or are you going to borrow someones bike? Unfortunately you can't borrow mine. It is my only mountainbike, can't really live without it for a week!
  • 2 0
 @brianpark: make sure you get a stanton switch9er with a 140mm fork. If I could onlymhave 1 bike it would be that one.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: please include a Kingdom Vendetta! The very original hardcore titanium HT!
  • 1 0
 @gbcarmona: You can always argue about what would be the "very original" of anything. Sure the Kindom is cool, but if there has been a titanium On One 456 before that, you could say they may have been earlier. Depends on what you'd call "hardcore". I recall even Van Nicholas had a medium-core hardtail. Complete with union jack, even though they're not British.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: The very first Vendetta is probably 13-15 year old and even for the time, it already had quite forward-thinking being developed with the Yeti DJ in mind...I know the Ti On One 456 well, and I'm sure its not as old, is it? Van Nicholas have never really done anything I would call "core" that's for sure...I made a huge mistake of buying one once before I bought a Vendetta.
  • 1 0
 @gbcarmona: Alright, wasn't aware they're already that old. I think I learned about them five years ago or so and have seriously considered their hardtail.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: yeah...I think the Vendetta X2 came out to commemorate the 10th anniversary and give people the chance to buy a more cost-effective Ti frame...that came out 2-3 years ago I believe.
  • 1 0
 @gbcarmona: Yeah, I already knew them by then but had already decided on a different frame. Not saying I wouldn't have been happy with the Kingdom, just that I'm super happy with what I have now.

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.
  • 5 0
 I definitely support commissioning Marino to build a realistic non-grim doughnut-esque modern geo hardtail trail bike to include in the hardtail fieldtest.

Brian, from one Asian to another, you’ve made us all proud with your boggle success
  • 9 1
 Looool my proudest achievement. And despite having the most Korean name ever, I'm Latvian and Scottish.

And actually we've been chatting with Marino about doing a bike. "Indochino for bikes" is a very cool way forward.
  • 2 0
 ????
  • 2 0
 @brianpark: what... brian?
  • 2 1
 @theunknowncustodian: yes?
  • 4 0
 Recently sold my dually. Fun time trail hardtail is what I want right now. Nukeproof Scout, Specialized Fuse, Merida big.trail etc.
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.
  • 2 0
 Check out Bird bikes. Zero 29. Yes it’s Alu so you have to hang on like a big boy - but geo is dialled and it’s decent value for the frame and really good fun.
  • 2 0
 @Molesdigmyjumps: Thanks will do that ????
  • 2 0
 @Molesdigmyjumps: Thanks will do that Smile
  • 1 0
 Check out ragley's bikes, the banshee paradox v3, and a titanium rsd middle child. Those are some of my all time favorite hardtails.
  • 5 0
 Levy, should I trust my therapist? He has a Gary Fisher PhD with a manitou black fork in?! his Subaru baja.

Please review a Calfee bamboo hardtail in the field test.
  • 3 0
 @sarahmoore @mikelevy Is there any cross country course where you think that the down country bikes would be faster than the pure race bikes? One that is entirely up for the first half and then downhill and super technical for the back half? Some sort of one way marathon course with a net descent?

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.
  • 3 0
 I spent 4 seasons riding a Chromag Surface and my skills and speed improved greatly. I still have it, but also have 160/170mm bike. I ride them on the same trails and enjoy them both. The hardtail makes the same trails I ride seem like different trails. I enjoy the full suspension a lot, but I can't see not having a hardtail too.
  • 3 0
 Suggestion for the hardtail field test. Which hardtail can bring the most joy on sleepy trails? What is the funnest hardtail, elicits the most grins per mile? The field test would be conducted on notoriously boring terrain and for rides of less than 90 minutes.
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?
  • 3 0
 @ Brian Park, I think you guys would be onto something here. Test a group of hardtails, tape them up. Use that camo tape they use on cars for development. Cover all the joints too and don't tell them if its steel or carbon or aluminum (no flicking the frame!). Only identifier is a number on the bike. Ride them hard and tell us their thoughts, how they compare. Also, maybe ride some terrain that is more suited to where HT buyers are riding (midwest?). Obviously a 100mm hardtail isn't the best choice for Squamish or PNW riding but they make a lot of sense for riders who are not graced with the rocky mountains in their back yards.
  • 3 0
 I added a hardtail back into the stable after a decade plus of only full squish and am so happy I did.

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.
  • 3 0
 I have a steel honzo and I love it. I'm faster on that one on quite a few trails than I am on my Process. But, once the going gets chunky, the Honzo does slow down compared to the Process.
  • 2 0
 Question for the next podcast? Levy has talked briefly about mashing up and mixing drivetrain components.
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?!
  • 2 0
 I have a question for you all. I would like to hear if you have any opinions on if the french re doing something differently in their youth development for downhill racing. Currently France seems to be by far the best at gravity with flo, pierron, bruni, nicole, and a ton of depth. How were they able to accomplish this? What is their youth racing culture like?
  • 2 0
 Currently on a Why Cycles Wayward V2 titanium frame. This is my first Ti bike and being a steel connoisseur I have to say there is some "magic" to Ti, if done right, using high grade tubes. I think Why hit it right with this one. A beautiful bike too that gets compliments all the time.
  • 3 0
 Question for the gang to peel back the curtain a bit: What's the review process like for bikes? How are they allocated between everyone and how do you know when you're ready to write the review itself?
  • 3 0
 Question for the podcast: Have any of you accidentally broken an NDA by revealing something early? It seems like you ride stuff early CONSTANTLY, any big slip ups of note (that you can discuss, obviously)?
  • 5 0
 You should interview hardtail party, the YouTuber, for your next hardtail episode.
  • 5 0
 Interview? Just hire him for the hardtail field test! He & I probably don't eye to eye on slack hardtails, but he's the only YouTuber I've seen focusing on hardtails.
  • 7 0
 @PAmtbiker: thanks for the kind words guys. Man, I'd love to be involved in the field test. I live hardtails and I've ridden more than a few lately. It's amazing how each one has a totally different personality.
  • 3 0
 @PAmtbiker: Agreed. Steve does a good review, he just needs a bit bigger organization behind him so he gets a bit more industry attention so he gets more bikes to review. PB would be a perfect collaboration.
  • 2 0
 @hardtailparty: I recently picked up an mmmbop in part due to your review. Keep up the good work!
  • 1 0
 @TheSherpa12: Right on! Congrats on a killer bike. I love the mmmbop. Pure fun.
  • 2 0
 My unnecessary quarantine purchase was a 2007 or 2008 (or 2009?) Eastern Woods Research OWB29er off eBay that I built up with garage parts. It's a bike I always wanted to own back then, but I was in college & didn't have any money. Now it's basically my lunch ride bike that I take on the less steep trailers on the CO Front Range. I love it, but would I make it my only bike? No. But I love that I have it. I definitely agree with @brianpark and co that I don't get the hardcore hardtail thing. If you like it, then great. But it doesn't make sense to me.
  • 1 0
 I should really buy some of the bikes I couldn't afford as a kid. I love seeing 1990s hardtails repurposed with slicks, front racks, and new drivetrains as beer-run bikes.
  • 2 0
 There's a common misconception often displayed on marketing videos too, that ht's are only for smooth trails or and flow/jump lines. Plenty of us enjoy riding our ht's on technical terrain, exploring natural trails etc. I just had a blast the other day exploring a hiking trail network on the rockiest terrain ever. True, a common mortal would never win a gravity race on one, but today's aggro ht's can go up or down almost anything. Some people find using their legs fun, others just feel being beaten up.
  • 2 0
 @brianpark I'd like to recommend the Nukeproof Scout. It's an affordable option and very capable trail bike. I picked up a used frame for €100. The reason was because I sold my 2016 Stumpjumper and I needed a temporary bike while I shop for a new fully. It's been such a great bike I'm having trouble justifying throwing down my money for a fully when this Scout is fine most of the time. I will eventually buy a new fully but it makes me think how great it would have been if hardtails were this great when I was a beginner. I could dive down rough trails without feeling I'm going to go otb, of course I lose speed right away when the rear end starts to get bounced around but I would highly recommend this bike for beginners and people who can't afford a modern fully.
  • 2 0
 I'll second that. I've had a Nukeproof Scout 27.5 since late 2017 and it's been fantastic and has never let me down. I ride it with a 140mm fork and have taken it down the hardest trails that I have around me that I also ride on a full suspension bike. For me it's not my only bike, one of a quiver, and I personally love jumping back and forth between hardtail and full suspension. I feel like they compliment each other. Now that I know the Scout can basically handle anything I can throw at it, I like it best for places with really steep climbs.
  • 2 0
 Yo, u guys praise the sh out of those superlightweight xc frames but dont test their limits, gtfo with hucktoaflat with 17kg steel hardtail. Thats like introducing your family a new hot girlfriend whos made of roadkills and trashcans. Fk im angry.
  • 11 0
 I've read this like 15 times and I'm still not sure what it means.
  • 2 0
 @brianpark: you don’t remember the first time you tried beer?
  • 4 0
 @tomhoward379: more like magic mushrooms.
  • 2 0
 the analogy is certainly imaginative, perhaps too imaginative for my simple brain
  • 2 0
 Is there a hardtail that would work as a park/dj bike in summer and then come winter time it's saddle up, off road tyres and can be used as a single speed winter hack? That would be my ideal second bike; cheap to buy and maintain, fun and does the stuff my full sus can't. Please help PB geo gods?
  • 1 0
 You mean skatepark, not bike park, right?

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.
  • 1 0
 I've been toying with this idea. I'm considering a custom frame that mimics 26" dirt jumper geometry (main inspiration Transition PBJ) but a little longer and 78 degree seat tube and set up for gears.

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.
  • 2 0
 NS Surge Evo seems like the one that is most like that.

Otherwise maybe custom frame from Marino?
  • 1 0
 @vapidoscar: Yeah something along this concept, but the winter trails near me are quite flat and gravelly so I would be aiming to save swapping over too many parts and just run a 100mm fork year round. I would want to swap the tyres, put on a longer seatpost and Brian's angleset idea is good too. It would be 80% DJ and 20% trail singlespeed. Bear in mind in winter time I would be mainly riding after work, in the dark and probably the rain and only for a couple of hours at a time just for fitness so definitely would favour something thats best for the skatepark / dirt jumps for 9 months of the year.
  • 2 0
 The PB hardtail discussion tends to focus on the extreme ends of the spectrum -- either "hardcore" hardtails that are purpose built for terrain that not everybody rides often or XC bikes that are meant for fast rather than fun.

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.
  • 2 0
 I would wanna see a similar situation to the XC/DC Field Test. Do a trail version and an average hardcore version (but not like the new new Honzo ESD, that's the extreme). With a "boutique" option in each category, 8 bikes total. Thinking for the trail side; GT Zaskar, Specialized Fuse, NS Eccentric Alu 29, Stanton Sherpa. Hardcore; Chromag Stylus or Rootdown, Cotic BFe Max, Pipedream Moxie, Kingdom Vendetta.
  • 2 0
 Been loving the series!

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.
  • 4 0
 I wonder if Levy snapped the Grim Donut and PinkBike is desperately trying to get a new one made. Hmmm???
  • 11 0
 You’re going to enjoy the XC Field Test Huck To Flat video.
  • 2 0
 @brianpark: Oooooh...
  • 5 1
 I'd love to see a titanium trail HT in the field test. Is titanium worth the cash for those hard-core HT riders?
  • 3 5
 I personally wouldn't go with titanium for a trail bike that I planned on riding rough. Ti bikes need to get squared up once in a while.
  • 7 0
 I've been enjoying the titanium Moots Womble I've been riding, but I am not convinced that I'd like it less if it was 853 steel and a 1/2 lb heavier.
  • 4 0
 @RonSauce: after 4 years of riding N shore on the same Ti frame (3rd wheelset tho Wink not quite sure what exactly should I get squared up?
  • 1 0
 @kanasasa: check it out, they do it at moots for gravel bikes. I'm sure real mountain bikes are built stiffer, and really being able to place it in a jig and square a twisted frame is more of a pro than a con, so I retract my previous statement.
  • 1 0
 My Cove Hummer is the stuff dreams are made of.
  • 2 0
 They are great bikes, but if I blindfolded myself and tried my Steel and Ti bike back to back, I probably won’t be able to tell the difference(same bike, different material).

Regardless, they are sexy to look at and that’s enough of a reason for me.
  • 2 0
 For those of us that cut our teeth mountain biking in the 90's, we all lusted after the titanium HT. Ti was our dream bike, not full suspension, which was too hit-or-miss back then.
  • 2 0
 @cuban-b: titanium is still very relevant for hardtails. A good ti bike feels like a good steel bike, and doesn't rust or need paint. One of the best mtb investments I've made is my titanium hardtails
  • 2 0
 Being in the PNW I break the hardtail out from the end of September till about the first of May just to save my FS bike from the rain season, bonus is I feel like a rockstar when I jump back on the FS.
  • 1 0
 +1 on that from PDX. Wink
  • 4 0
 Sorry a short lunch time ride a hardtail is great. At least you feel like you've had a ride!
  • 5 0
 @hardtailparty YouTube and IG for good hardtail content.
  • 3 0
 Thanks for the kind words. I love hardtails.
  • 5 0
 I agree that pinkbike needs a hardtail reviewer who actually likes hardtails. I don't trust hardtail reviews from people who have ridden 2 hardtails in the past 8 years.
  • 1 0
 My go to bike is a Guerilla Gravity Trail Pistol that I bought, in large part, because of Pinkbike and Levy. Then my local trails seemed dumbed down. So I spent a ton of money building up a Soma Riff 100mm 27.5 no plus steel hardtail. I find the Soma terrifying! OK that's an exaggeration but still I find it sketchy in the corners and when it gets rough. Also I don't like the slack seat tube angle.
  • 1 0
 A question related to not getting enough questions to fill your podcast. How the hell do you break the bead off of the new carbon wheels when you’re on the trail if you get a flat? I’m an older dude who started Mountain biking in the early 80s. My hands strength is not what it used to be anymore. Do I use sticks and rocks?
  • 1 0
 @cuban-b: step on it with your heel
  • 1 0
 I was able to get a new nimble 9 frame. It is a great trail bike. Surprisingly comfortable! Its nimble too.... I have a nice full suspension also. It feels like a different sport almost, or at a minimum its a different fun. Bikes Rule!
  • 1 0
 Review the Chromag Doctawk and then take it to the next level, put as many parts made in Canada or America on it. For non-NA made parts use the ones that have the most NA assemble or manufactured parts. Oynx Vesper rear, King front, WeAreOne rims, Chromag stem, WeAreOne bars, Raceface cranks.......
  • 1 0
 Wait till your in your mid 50's to bitch about age and hardtails....I am currently thinking about not having a hardtail in the shed.....I hardly ever grab the hardtail
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.
  • 1 0
 Tech question: why are new clamps designed so you bottom out one end then tension the other end, instead of the classic balance every bolt to achieve a uniform gap for all clamp sides? I’ve seen it on brake levers and stem face plates.
  • 1 0
 I think they could have focused on terrain a bit more. BC is mountainous and rocky and clearly suits full sus bikes but people in flat areas ride mtb too.
A lot of mtb'ers are adrenaline junkies and the risk:thrill ratio is much more favourable on a hardtail.
  • 1 0
 I moved from an aluminum Kona blast to a steel on one 456, and ended up moving up from a 120 fork to a 150 for the better geometry/handling. Then I made the fork super progressive to keep it riding high because under full compression the handling completely changed at the worst time. Steel vs aluminum, the steel bike felt way hasher and stiffer, definitely didn't mute the chatter. I will say the Kona was more of an intro xc bike vs a heavy trail bike.

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.
  • 1 0
 Let’s talk about buying and selling used bikes. Do’s, do not’s and “horror” stories.

Also, how about an episode on rear suspension designs of the common systems. History, behind the designer, ride impressing, progression comparisons, etc.
  • 2 0
 I'm so glad Levy mentioned the different ways the geo reacts on a hardtail vs full squish. I also don't think someone who has only ridden full squish their whole life can ride a hardtail well on in hour.
  • 1 0
 I've only ever owned hardtails and so have only ridden full sus bikes that others owned / rentals, but as I've experienced it seems that you'd need to hit a significantly higher price point for a full sus to be more efficient climbing on rough terrain. To be clear I'm young, have a healthy back, and have never found I have a hard time keeping up with the folks I ride with on the descents. Rather, climbing, especially super choppy anaerobic climbing, is my weakness, and looking at full sus bikes that would reputably balance out those strengths/weaknesses the price goes WAY up. For instance at the $3k price point talked about in the podcast I'd almost certainly go for a hardtail. And yes I ride rough chunky trails with steep climbs in the actual mountains. Am I wrong and just only ridden crappy duallies?
  • 1 0
 You will have to pay way more for a good climbing FS bike. Especially compared to a HT. I still race a HT XC bike (even though my primary bike is 170mm FS) because the added weight/complexity/cost of a FS XC bike isn't worth it. And everyone thinks their trails are harder than everyone else's, which is how they justify the FS bike.

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!
  • 2 0
 @JSTootell: That's hilarious about your wheel, but thanks for the comments!

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.
  • 2 0
 A customer has been asking when some work i said id do foc as a non priority is going to be done due to covid. I said roughly when the next instalment of the grim doughnut comes out.
  • 1 0
 Question/ comment. Like a lot of us on here I bike as a hobby. I big part of that hobby for me is working on my own bike, especially when it comes to installing new parts. Learning how said parts work, comparing them to the old part etc. but the best part is when you install an upgrade and then get to find out how it change the bike. Nothing did more to change my bike then installing a link from cascade components. Very impressive.

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?
  • 1 0
 Hardtails have their place and at the lower price range they make total sense and perfect for people getting into sport. Something like Marin San Quintin is great. Or if you have fairly smooth trails they also great. I don't get them if all you ride is rough stuff and are on one with a sub 65 HTA and huge reach. Also once you spening just as much on a HCHT and good full suspesnsion it really doesn't make sense when then full suspension is more versitile.
  • 1 0
 Do you NEED to learn in a hardtail? No. But my personal experience has been that it made me a better rider and appreciate my full sus bikes more. Having ridden everything from rigid carbon single speed to full sus ebikes, I think they all have there place. Something about riding a good hardtail on nice flowy trail helps me appreciate the simple pleasure and privilege of riding Mtb. Even better if you have a quiet hub.
  • 1 0
 Never owned a FS bike. I’ve wanted one, but it’s never been in the budget. Been in the same 26er hard tail for 20 years, and just update a few parts every year. Commuter is a steel rad bike too. Reluctant hard tail lifer here!
  • 1 0
 Question:
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!)
  • 1 0
 My two bike quiver consists of a commuter bike and a hardtail (Fuse 27.5) yet to feel wanting.
  • 1 0
 Worked at a bike shop, now I do home garage repairs. Can confirm, most people would not replace their own pivot bearings. Buying tools is almost as expensive as a full hardcore hardtail. Without the knowledge, from the previous experience, id be buying even more tools/replacement parts, or dragging it into a bike shop after f*cking it up. (cost x2 at that point) Will continue to wreck my hardtail with cheaper wheelset, on wet days rather than my full sus, due to laziness/cost/time. I keep a hardtail around so if I am waiting on parts, for my full sus, I still have a bike to ride. Am tempted swapping the hardtail for a spur. The uphill traction of full sus, can not be doubted. I ride an optic and carbon chameleon and live in Oregon. It would way a pound more than my hardtail or so. But do I really need 2 120 bikes? One for uphill days, one for downhill days. A degree slacker diffrence, and 4lbs to boot. I'm spoiled but every time I slip out my rear tire on the hardtail on techy root bit... I get closer to thinking maybeeee..... and a second job to boot.
  • 1 0
 I am a hardtail fan despite also owning a Ripmo V1, which I love. I especially enjoy the challenge on our smoother sandier trails here in Boise, ID and save the Ripmo for travel and big days. Been riding a custom 26" steel hardtail with progressive geo and a 150mm Pike for several years. Fun bike, but getting a bit long in the tooth, so I am strongly considering a Banshee Paradox V3 with a 130mm fork. I agree that over-forking a HT can be problematic, so I wanted to dial back the travel a bit. I was also impressed by the Orbea Laufey which I got a chance to ride, but feel like the Banshee might be a bit more compliant in the rear. I'd love to see these bikes included in your review, and think they fit the "trail' criteria quite well. No Spandex required, but you can also leave the goggles at home.
  • 1 0
 When is the Mullet episode...Bike Mullets?
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.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy asked us for questions, so here is one for @mikekazimer

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!
  • 1 0
 Hardtails are the entry to the sport. Yes you can buy a Calibre for a grand, but that is still a lot of money for the entry level (well, its a lot of a money full stop). You can buy a football for a fiver, you can go running for free. Personally I wouldn't ride a hardtail out of choice nowadays, but that's after years of riding full suss on trails that are fun on a full suss. When I first started I bought a £300 hardtail. It would have been mental for me to buy a £1000 full suss having only even been on a couple of trail rides. If the hardtail is the entry to the sport, then they better be really good, because riding a rubbish hardtail with no dropper post and a coil sprung fork that can only be adjusted by adding preload or disassembling the entire f*cking thing is a sure fire way to make people hate mountain biking.
  • 1 0
 A question that I would like to hear your thoughts on in the podcast. I am trying to decide on a new bike. Need a trail bike more to the enduro side, that feels a little safer on occasional downhills (steep sketchy single track, but likely no drop over 3 feet). Since I am fairly tall, 6ft3, I will be looking at large sizes. My question: How much different could the characteristics of a bike be between size S and XL, when all sizes of a model have the same travel. For example, a bike with travel 150 mm, should feel more enduroish in size S, and more like a trail bike in size XL? Since the smaller size has more travel relative to rider height/weight. Would you consider this or not, when considering a bike. (I am currently looking at Nukeproof Reactor, Commencal Meta, YT Jeffsy, etc...)
  • 2 0
 Review one of the hardtails that claims to be compatible with 29 or 27+ wheels and let us know if it really works for both size wheels or if this is just marketing hoopla. Chromag Rootdown perhaps?
  • 1 0
 I would argue the steel vs aluminium is a huge difference. Find a Nimble 9 and a Yelli Screami from Canfield and ride them back to back, the Nimble is way more compliant. I think carbon is another option that rides different and CAN ride like either steel or alu or a mix of the 2.
  • 1 0
 As question for the next episode, what does the PB staff think will happen to parts and bikes availability in the coming months? Right now, things are so badly out of stock that I could sell my 4 year old bike for more than what I paid for it. However, there are no bikes to replace it with. Any thoughts?
  • 1 0
 Question for podcast: How do you deal with testing full bikes vs testing components? Are you "allowed" to put a test component on a test bike? I imagine brand X wants you to review their bike the way they sent it to you and not with a different fork, shock, tire, etc. I'm especially curious about this regarding long-term tests.
Also
@mikelevy how often do you wash your dogs (lake dips don't count)?
@mikekazimer What's your favorite kind of pie?
  • 1 0
 A question for the next podcast: What products cost more than they should simply because of trends?

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?
  • 1 0
 I sold my gravel bike and replaced it with a trail hardtail and it was such a great decision. Commuting on it half pavement/half trail, running errands, smashing fire roads, etc is so much more fun. Plus it makes riding slower more fun. If that’s because you only have mellow trails in your area, riding with friends that are new to the sport, or a parent with kids that are just starting out.

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.
  • 1 0
 I'm wondering how good a titanium frame hardtail is vs. steel vs aluminum - maybe try the Sonder Signal, comes in both Steel and Ti. Your opinions would be interesting, especially with how relatively cheap some TI frames are from UK manufacturers.

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.
  • 1 0
 Guys why don’t you try a plus size hardtail with expensive light wheels and XC light tires plus size on a mellow XC loop.Put a Canyon VCLS 2.0 seatpost for more comfort and ride it like most of us ride for just for fun not to split the second every time.
  • 2 0
 Plus tires are fantastic on hardtails.
  • 1 0
 Question about the XC/.DC field test. Why were the control tires in the DC category the same as the XC category, why not burlier like most people would spec? It would be interesting to use a gripper control tire on the DC bikes to see how much more capable they are than their XC race counterparts. Especially given the downgrade on tires on bikes like the Spur.
  • 1 0
 I would also recommend the @RSDBikes Middle Child, I am currently on the Ti version, they definitely deserve a place in your upcoming review.

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.
  • 1 0
 Not a lot of love for the aggressive hardtail by the Pinkbike crew, more or less calling them terrible? I bought the new Norco torrent a few months ago and I've had so much fun on it. Don't get me wrong, I love FS, but think HT has their place and for many people can be a better option for their local terrain and their wallet.
  • 1 0
 A question for an upcoming podcast: a couple of episodes ago Levy and Kazimer (I think) we’re commenting on how important tire pressure is and how they check it with a digital meter before each ride. Assuming a tubeless setup, I am wondering if you can tell us what pressure you guys normally run, but more importantly, for what factors would you adjust your pressure, why and how much? Thanks guys, love the podcasts!
  • 1 0
 Test the Octane One Prone hardtail. Probably the cheapest frame on the market, but my build with 140mm travel and enduro level parts handles downhills very well. Ragley Mmmbop is another good one, and the build spec for the full bike is very good. And the geometry is spot on
  • 1 0
 I live in Vancouver, am old, ride frequently (Fromme and Seymour mostly ), have 2 arthritic ankles and worn cart-ledge in one knee. I only own two bikes, a commuter and a Hard-tail. I have yet to experience sore ankles, or knees after riding my hard tail on trails. Nor have i experienced a pain in my back, shoulders, or wrists after riding. The only times I have experienced any pain after a ride was from crashing. I am not the smoothest of riders or fantastically gifted as a rider and tend to ride rough. Given my experience, i just don't understand how riding a hardtail leaves one feeling beat up.

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.
  • 5 1
 Episode 20-The Grim Donut Episode.
  • 15 2
 yo maybe episode 2030
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: better at trolling than delivering on the grim donut!
  • 1 0
 On the topic of "are certain hardtails more vertically compliant than others" it would be great Production Privee Shan GT field tested. Are they on to something with their KTP Flex System or is it just fancy looking?
  • 1 0
 The PP has a sweet ride. The difference is subtle, but ride a few familiar rock gardens and you will feel less beaten up at the end. Like square edge hits are a tiny bit more blunt. Nowhere close to rear suspension of course, just takes some sting off.
  • 2 0
 Chromag rootdown or primer please. Great value, modern geo and very versatile being able to run 27.5+ or even 29+ (2.6 on a 35mm wheel for me on the 29er)
  • 1 0
 I love my hardtail. Prefer it over my SC Bronson in most cases. Seriously considering selling the Bronson frame and using the parts off the Bronson to make a supreme hardtail.
  • 1 1
 Modern trail, Banshee Paradox, RSD middle child, nukeproof scout 290 ragley big wig etc Talk about tire chioces etc. Like the steel vs alu real world. Love the podcast, i'm in the covid shop working on my Smuggler....keep it up!
  • 1 0
 It took me many years (maybe 10) to adjust going from rigid frame riding bike style over to hard tail and then finally FS. But I had been riding a rigid frame 25yrs before I bought the first HT.
  • 3 0
 the new Canfiield Nimble Nine! My buddy just got one, rowdy hardtail, include one in the next test!!!
  • 1 0
 I'm trying to reduce the rolling weight of my stock Scout 275. Was thinking some carbon rims, but am hearing mixed reviews of carbon rims on a hardtail.
Any thoughts or experience?
  • 1 0
 It’s great. I’ve been riding PLUS HT for a couple years now with carbon wheels and it’s just fine. I’ve noticed that lightweight alloy rims feel good on a hardtail actually It gives some forgiveness on the whole package.
  • 2 0
 Depends on the rims. Some carbon rims are fantastic on a hardtail (ZIPP30Moto, Knight Composites plus) and some are too stiff/rigid (NOX, SC Reserve). It'd be nice if we could lump all carbon wheels into the same category, but they're so different. In my opinion, the frame stiffness, trail conditions will play into it, but I like a softer, more compliant carbon wheel over a stiffer one. Same thing goes with aluminum wheels. Some feel great and some rattle your fillings out.
  • 1 0
 Thanks for the replies, folks.
  • 1 0
 Question for a podcast. Are after market suspension upgrades a good thing. Why dont rockshox/fox make a fork with something like a PUSH coil upgrade in it. Is an Ext storia worth the moneys?
  • 1 0
 Would be cool to throw in the hardtail test a small custom steel frame or 2. Or even have one builder make 2 bikes on different ends of the stiffness and/or geometry spectrum.
  • 2 0
 I'm with Brian - hardtails make crappy trails better. Got a Spot Rocker earlier this year and it has made my local loop fun again.
  • 1 0
 Do you think the skills of the average rider has gone down with the adoption of slacked out 29rs? Do you think the average rider would be significantly slower on a 26" bike with the same travel?
  • 1 0
 I would love to see a Gen3 Stanton Sherpa on the test. It's a very reasonable trail hardtail in the travel range you talked about and the rear end takes all kinds of spacing options. Every garage needs one hardtail!
  • 1 0
 I love hardtails for the simplicity, but I'm yet to find an affordable pedal & shoe combination that feels planted enough for some of the rockier trails I ride
  • 8 0
 Try clips,
  • 1 0
 Deity Black Kats and 5 Tens. Otherwise...like Marty says use clips.
  • 1 0
 Stanton make a nice frame, certainly worthy in a field test. Im currently riding a switchback, but would love to build up a switch9er.
  • 3 0
 Ride a hard tail. It’s fast. A lot of trails aren’t the x games.
  • 2 0
 Drive the fork and let the rear track. Steer head forward. Winter is for hard tails.
  • 1 0
 I would like to know what Kaz wears instead of chamois ?? Under layer? Cream? Over layer? I need to know. I’ve tried on under layer but that didn’t work.
  • 2 0
 Just a good boxer brief does the trick - something like the Saxx Kinetic. Having a comfortable saddle is the crucial part of the equation.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: No way Kaz, I need something that's going hold my boys a lot snugger than that, for those surprise root/rock bounces! LOL. Proper bike shorts under my baggies 24/7. Wink
  • 2 0
 @mybaben: I have some under armor boxer briefs. There is no jiggle, they are just as tight as full padded bike shorts. But they are much thinner material, which is less hot when its hot, and less like a wet diaper when wet.
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: I can attest that saxx boxer briefs are awesome for riding..I've done 60 miles on the merino ones.
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: thanks Mike!!
  • 2 0
 @AyJayDoubleyou: Intriguing...I'm def not a fan of the wet diaper situation in summertime...or rain. I'll investigate. Wink
  • 1 0
 Question - what was @brianpark what was your highest scoring game and highest scoring word in scrabble tourney or Rec play, it’s up to you.
  • 1 0
 @49thbiker I found it pretty hard to score over 400 pts per game against actually good competition. I also preferred a shorter 15 min/person limit over on ISC.

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.
  • 1 0
 I ride a V10 for lift access and a Guerilla Gravity Pedalhead for everything else. I use Cushcore front and back, and a Minion SS DH casing out back. Hardtailin' is good fun.
  • 1 0
 I think for somebody who doesn't wanna spend a hell lot of money for mtb and is intrested in agressive riding is cube reaction TM or radon cragger good choice
  • 1 0
 @brianpark i will send all the hardtails! Drops to flat, bike park, xc epics and eveything else. I will destroy myself for pinkbike....hire me!

-kale
  • 1 0
 NS Bikes Eccentric is a great value type hardtail. I did a frame up build paired with a Ohlins RXF 36 with 150mm travel. Super fun bike.
  • 1 0
 Why not have a Honzo shootout?
Steel, titanium, aluminum and carbon?
I know I tried the TI and the AL and had quite a different experience.
  • 1 0
 if you’re looking for some young guns as new employees to sacrifice themselves on hardtails, I’d happily be paid to ride nice bikes and talk about them on camera!
  • 1 0
 What are your favorite trail tire combos? Not full on XC, not Enduro but reasonably fast rolling with decent durability somewhere in the 750 to 900 ish gram range?
  • 1 0
 (for 29" tires)
  • 1 0
 I thought the Specialized Fuse Expert looked pretty sick. Might be a good one to put in the field test. Although I think you guys did a review on it already?
  • 4 2
 I user to ride hardtails Then I took an arrow to the knee
  • 2 0
 Maybe field test from the Ragley range. mmmbop or piglet
  • 1 0
 A question: Is the time of the Mullet almost upon us? Do you see it becoming mainstream?
  • 2 0
 Test a Sick! Bike!?

Oh, no, wait...
  • 2 0
 Please test a Chromag Surface, and Cotic BFE Max
  • 2 0
 what about the doctahawk?
  • 1 0
 Make Jason Lucas destroy the hardtails. He's still young, right? You guys haven't ruined him yet?
  • 2 0
 Review the Guerilla Gravity Pedalhead.....or let me do it.
  • 1 0
 And then the Banshee Paradox
  • 1 0
 Who would win on a WC DH course: @mikekazimer on a DH race rig vs. a top ten WC rider on a hardtail?
  • 2 0
 Oooh which course? MSA or Fort William?
  • 1 0
 On a proper WC DH course?? Hell at least give the poor guy a full susp XC rig.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer @mikekazimer, You guys comment on the hardcore hardtails being too much, what's your limit on fork travel?
  • 3 0
 Kaz doesn't agree with our reasoning, but IMO there's just too much variation in HTA and reach if you get much above 130mm.

I'm putting my money where my mouth is and building up a 63° 120mm "XC" hardtail for the winter. We'll see...
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: I'm comfortable on my Surface with a 150mm fork. The amount of time you are full compression is very small, or even half travel for that matter.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: Did they make a Monster T with 130mm....
  • 2 0
 @als802: yep not that often, just the times when you really want the bike to be slacker, not steeper.
  • 1 0
 I want to see a review of the Ribble HT Ti. Actual dream bike right there. One day.
  • 2 0
 Driving a Mini is a hardtail of cars kind of thing @mikelevy Smile
  • 1 0
 I’d like to see the Specialized Fuse included in a test. Looks like and affordable “trail” oriented hartail.
  • 1 0
 How about a Pilot Locum Pinion 27.5+ or Nordest Lacrau Ti. Because gearbox.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy why don't you ride 27.5 bikes?
  • 2 0
 Every garage needs a hardtail.
  • 1 0
 question for the podcast...I have $3500 CAD to spend on a trail bike for North Shore, Squamish and Whistler...used or new?
  • 2 0
 Can you work on bikes and do you know what you want?
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: basic maintenance I can...servicing forks/shock no...brake bleed yes
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
  • 1 0
 My Cotic BFe Max is my bike of choice for riding most of the trails in Squamish.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy Please include Pässilä Hamari or Pässilä Rämäkkä to a HT field test Big Grin
  • 1 0
 Would like to see the Pipedream Moxie, BTR Ranger/Belter & Shand Shug in the test Smile
  • 1 0
 A hartail test without a Chromag and you guys deserve to get run out of Canada
  • 1 0
 Make sure to include a diamondback sync'r carbon in the field test.
  • 1 0
 Review the Chromag Arcturian please!
  • 1 0
 After listening to this podcast I listed my chromag on Buysell.
  • 1 2
 No doubt the hardtail is the back destroyer. I loved them when my body could handle it, but short travel full suspension all the way post 40 years old.
  • 2 0
 Bird Zero
  • 1 0
 Review the new full rigid alma!
  • 1 0
 This podcast made me dust off the old hardtail for a session
  • 1 0
 Chromag Root Down and the Spot Rocker!
  • 2 0
 Marin San Quentin
  • 2 0
 They already reviewed it with another bike though. Wicked good looking bike.
  • 1 0
 @alexhyland: They reviewed the San Quentin and Specialized Fuse. Review took them into the WPB , both faired well. I bought a Fuse, and the review of it was spot on. Very capable, fun bike,
  • 2 0
 Hardtail all day long
  • 1 0
 Guerrilla Gravity Pedalhead
  • 1 0
 Do hardtails go through more rims and spokes compared to full suspensions?
  • 1 0
 Easily, I got to the point where I just had much stronger rear wheels built up.
  • 1 0
 It depends on how stiff your frame is, where you ride, and how you ride. My ZIPP 3zeromotos have been flawless on my hardtail. But on a super stiff bike worth super soft aluminum rims, I have to true them a lot more.
  • 1 0
 Another vote for including the Trek Stache in the next test.
  • 1 0
 Can't wait for the hardtail field test hucks to flat video
  • 1 0
 Include the On One Hello Dave in your hardtail test next year.
  • 1 0
 Need the same episode for DH bikes...
  • 1 0
 ...18 Bikes №9 Frameset too
  • 1 0
 Ghost Lector SF for review. Does the rear "leaf spring" design help?
  • 1 1
 ????????????????????????????
  • 1 0
 Banshee Paradox V3
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