Video: How hard can you ride on a hardtail

Is it capable? Is it fun?


Riders always ask, “what can I ride on my hardtail MTB? Dirt jumps? Enduro? Freeride? Downhill? Is it only good for XC?” Well, they’ve been listening, so here’s GMBN to demonstrate exactly what a hardtail can do!

Note that these are aggressive hardtails, not the ones we got introduced to 20-30 years ago. Head angles are slack, very slack and dropper posts are highly desired. The upside is cost and simplicity. These hardtails cost about a half or third of what comparable full suspension bikes will set you back. $1000 will get you going and $3000 will get you a very nice rig. The entry point to a nice full suspension rig is considerably higher.

The other upside is simplicity. Choices are simpler without a having to understand leverage ratios, axle paths, and kinematics. The buying experience is simpler and so is the setup and riding experience. And finally, maintenance and clean up is quite a bit simpler as well so there’s more time to focus on the ride.

Here are some of the best hardtails today for aggressive riding.

Skill is required as well since the bike is not there to cover one’s mistakes. And the body needs to be honed in to take the beating and live to tell the tale. The body and joints can act as suspension so the rider has to be in the ready and neutral position to take on the hits and keep on ticking.

Here are some tips on how to ride aggressively. Master these tricks and it’ll help you ride your capable full suspension bike as well since all these hardtail skills transfer over to bikes with front and rear shocks.

About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.

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  • Alot harder than people ride their full squish couches

  • Shark says:

    I took my hardtail fatty 907 to the downhill park a few times, lots of fun!

  • peper says:

    There are usually only a few trails that call for full squish at the level promoted by the industry but the Whole Enchilada is hard riding even on a FS. I would not recommend it on a full rigid.

  • Dennis says:

    Didn’t most of us (at least us “old guys” ride hardtails and ride them HARD? My 1994-ish Mongoos IBOC Comp was my only mountain bike for many years. This bike did it all, from trail rides, XC races, even lift-access blasts down the DH run at Mount Snow. Yes, I’ve “upgraded” a couple of times with full-suspension, but I miss my hardtail and look forward to building one up soon. Point is, we rode a lot of tough trails then on what was available. Maybe guys were not hucking or doing gap jumps like they are today, but… I remember going all out downhill and passing riders on Proflex and Trek Y-bikes. Still have that ‘Goose frame hanging in my basement.

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