What Is a Hardtail Mountain Bike? What It Is and How It Work

The hardtail mountain bike is one of the most popular types of mountain bike due to its versatility and affordability. We all know about hardtail mountain bikes. But what is a hardtail mountain bike?

A hardtail mountain bike is a type of mountain bike that is built without suspension. Though they are not made with suspension, they are created to sustain most obstacles and terrains you might find while mountain biking. They can also handle fast trails and speed.

In this article, I will cover the basics that you need to know when choosing a hardtail mountain bike. Let’s take a look at where the hardtail mountain bike originated, who made it famous, and why so many people love riding these bikes!

What is a hardtail mountain bike?

What is a hardtail mountain bike

So, how to tell what is a hardtail mountain bike? A hardtail mountain bike is the oldest and the most popular type of mountain bike.

The name “hardtail” refers to the fact that the rear suspension does not have shocks like a full-suspension mountain bike.

It is also known as a rigid mountain bike or a rigid frame. A hardtail mountain bike can be used for all types of riding, including downhill riding.

The first hardtail mountain bikes were invented in the late 1970s by Gary Fisher. He wanted to create a bike that was simple and easy to ride but still had all of the features of a full-suspension mountain bicycle.

Hardtail mountain bikes became popular for their simplicity and affordability, as well as their durability and ease of maintenance.

Thus, the first hardtail mountain bike was introduced by Gary Fisher in 1971, when the first prototype was created.

The modern hardtail mountain bikes that we see today have been refined and improved over the years, but retain the same basic characteristics: they are lightweight and agile, with good handling and traction on trails.

Hardtail bikes were originally used by cross-country racers, but they have become more popular with recreational riders as well as trail rides.

They are popular because they are lightweight and easy to maneuver through rough terrain.

Hardtail bikes today are used for everything from casual riding to downhill racing.

They are popular among beginners and experienced riders alike because they are easier to control than full-suspension models and don’t require as much maintenance.

What does hardtail mean on a mountain bike?

Many people are wondering what does hardtail mean on a mountain bike? The answer is simple: hardtail mountain bikes are those that have a frame that has no rear suspension.

A hardtail mountain bike has a single-pivot suspension or doesn’t have a front suspension at all. It is also sometimes called a rigid bike, as it lacks any sort of rear suspension system.

The lack of rear suspension means that the bike is more efficient on downhill trails, but it also means that the rider must be careful when they are riding uphill.

The rider can still feel every bump on the trail, and if they go over a rock or log, they will feel it on their muscles and bones.

What are hardtail mountain bikes good for?

Hardtail mountain bikes are a great option for those who want to get into mountain biking. They’re relatively inexpensive, and they can be used on any terrain.

They have a shorter wheelbase and usually more suspension than their dual-suspension counterparts, which makes them great for tackling rougher trails and jumps.

They’re a good choice if you want to build up your skills before moving on to a full-suspension bike.

You’ll be able to build up your strength and endurance while still getting the feel for riding on rough terrain.

Hardtail mountain bikes are also great for riding around town.

While they don’t have the same shock absorption as full-suspension bikes, they still handle bumps and cracks in the road well, making them a good choice for commuting or getting around on rough city streets.

How to ride a hardtail mountain bike?

Riding a mountain bike is a great way to have fun, get some exercise, and enjoy the outdoors. But it’s not always easy for beginners to master the art of mountain biking.

Are there any secrets about how to ride a mountain bike? Well, there are no secrets, but you have to get introduced to them.

Before you hop on your bike, make sure you’re ready for the ride. Here are some tips to get started:

  • Wear cycling shorts or tights and a jersey, which will help keep you cool and comfortable on the trail. You may also want to wear padded shorts or chamois cream because hardtail mountain bike riding can be physically demanding.
  • Learn how to shift gears while keeping your balance. This will help you maintain control of your bike while going uphill or downhill at high speeds.
  • When riding in wet conditions, use extra caution so as not to slip off curbs or rocks along the trail.
  • Be aware of other riders around you when hardtail mountain biking. If someone falls behind or gets ahead of you on the trail, wait for them before continuing onward so that no one gets lost or injured along the way.

How to set up a hardtail mountain bike?

So, how to set up a hardtail mountain bike? The first step in setting up a hardtail mountain bike is to make sure that you have the right size bike.

The geometry of a hardtail mountain bike is different from other types of bikes, so you must get the right size.

You should also check the tire pressure and make sure that the chain is properly adjusted. You can use a chain checker to find out whether or not your chain is too loose.

If it’s too loose, then it can cause damage to your drivetrain and also cause potential safety issues.

The next step in setting up a hardtail mountain bike is to adjust the gear and brakes.

If you don’t know how to do this, then you should ask for help from someone who does know how to do it or look up instructions online.

The last step in setting up a hardtail mountain bike is adjusting any other parts on your bike that may need adjusting such as brake pads or even headset bearings if they’re squeaking or making noises when riding over bumps in the road.

How to jump a hardtail mountain bike?

Mountain bikers often practice on dirt jumps or other obstacles that can help them improve their skills on the trail.

If you’re just starting out, this can be a great way of learning how to jump a hardtail mountain bike and building your confidence while having fun.

The easiest way to learn how to jump a hardtail mountain bike is by starting with basic jumps and then progressing on to more difficult things.

There are many different types of jumps, ranging from small rollers to big doubles and even wall rides.

The first step in learning how to jump a hardtail mountain bike is getting your confidence up. Start by going down a section that has some rollers in it.

This will allow you to get used to the feeling of dropping off a lip and landing again on the other side of it.

Once you’ve got used to this, you can move on to bigger drops and bigger rolls. Try a step-down or step-up, as this will give you more speed as well as more air time.

If you’re feeling brave enough then try hitting a tabletop or even attempting a 180-degree turn-off one!

Pros and Cons of Hardtail vs Full-suspension mountain bike

As a mountain biker, you have to choose your weapon carefully. It has to be sturdy, maneuverable, and comfortable, with the right suspension for your needs.

As you know, bikes come in different designs, each one better suited for specific riding situations.

If you’re looking for a bike that will keep you upright on any terrain and won’t cost a fortune, then hardtail is the way to go.

With no rear suspension at all, a hardtail will give you more control over the bike when riding downhill or over rough terrain.

On the other hand, if you want more comfort while pedaling uphill or over bumpy trails, then the full suspension is what you need.

So, when it comes to choice: Hardtail vs Full suspension bikes, which is the best option?

The answer to this question will depend on your riding style and terrain.

There are many reasons why you may choose one over the other, but here we look at some of the pros and cons of hardtails and full-suspension mountain bikes.

HardtailFull suspension
Cheaper than full-suspension bikes
Better climbing ability
Lighter than full-suspension bikes
Easier to maintain;
Increased stability
More capability and versatility
Maximum comfort
The better choice on rough terrains

Why buy a hardtail mountain bike?

So, why buy a hardtail mountain bike? A hardtail mountain bike is the best choice for a beginner or casual rider.

They are simple to ride and much less expensive than full-suspension bikes. They are lighter weight than full-suspension bikes, which makes them easier to carry up hills.

The geometry of hardtail mountain bikes is more aggressive than that of other types of bikes, which makes them more maneuverable when you’re descending steep trails.

Hardtails don’t have rear suspension, but they still do an excellent job absorbing bumps on rough terrain.

The lack of rear suspension makes them lighter weight and easier to handle on technical terrain.

Where to ride a hardtail mountain bike?

Mountain biking is one of the most popular activities in the world. This type of sport has its own unique culture, which includes a wide selection of mountain bikes and accessories.

There are a lot of people who love to use hardtail mountain bikes when they ride on different trails.

These types of bikes are designed for off-road use and they offer great performance on rough terrains.

If you want to know where to ride a hardtail mountain bike, there are many different places where you can do it.

It all depends on what kind of trails you want to ride and how much experience you have as a rider. If you want to explore new places, then here is where to go:

  • Off-road trails – Mountain bikers usually spend their time exploring off-road trails in national parks or other protected areas. These areas are usually located near cities or towns, so they can be accessed by anyone with a bike. Some parks even have special areas for mountain bikers only, so they will not have any problems while riding in them.
  • Single-track trails – The single-track trails and the backcountry trails are the best place for riding a hardtail mountain bike because it provides challenging terrain with many obstacles like rocks and roots. The riders can take their bikes in any direction they want.
  • Dirt jumps – If you want to practice tricks and jumps, a dirt jump park is a perfect place to ride. There are many parks all over the world with jumps ranging from small to large depending on your ability level and experience. Dirt jumps give you plenty of room to practice your skills without fear of injury or damage to your bike if something goes wrong.
  • Downhill trails – Downhill trails are great fun if they’re not too steep or difficult for beginners. Downhill trails tend to be longer than other types of trails because they’re designed for speed rather than technical riding skills or obstacles like rocks or roots that might slow you down while riding uphill.

Are hardtail mountain bikes good for downhill?

Are hardtail mountain bikes good for downhill? Hardtail mountain bikes are great for downhill. In fact, they’re the most popular type of bike for downhill racing.

The reason is that they have fewer moving parts than full-suspension bikes, so they are more reliable and durable.

They also weigh less than full-suspension mountain bikes because there is no rear shock absorber or fork.

Hardtail mountain bikes also give you a better sense of control over your bike as compared to full-suspension models.

This makes them better suited for beginners who are just learning how to ride down hills safely and comfortably. Plus, they’re much cheaper than their full-suspension counterparts!

That being said, there are some downsides to riding a hardtail downhill.

One of those is that they can feel harsh when descending over rough terrain because there’s no shock absorption from the front fork.

Another issue is that your rear wheel has less traction than on a dual-suspension mountain bike because it doesn’t have any extra support from the front end during steep sections of the trail.

And finally, a hardtail can also be less comfortable during long rides due to no suspension in the rear end – even if it does have suspension up front – which means you’re more likely to feel sore after a few hours of riding compared with an FS bike or even an XC bike with rigid forks!

How to build a hardtail mountain bike?

Building a hardtail mountain bike is a great way to get into the sport of mountain biking. It’s also a lot less expensive than buying a pre-built bike from your local bike shop.

The first step in building your own hardtail mountain bike is to get the right components for the job.

Here are some tips on how to build a hardtail mountain bike from scratch:

Choose the perfect frame

The most important step when building a hardtail mountain bike is choosing the right frame.

There are many different brands and styles available on the market today, but we recommend choosing one that has been designed specifically for off-roading purposes.

A good quality frame is going to be made from high-end materials such as aluminum or titanium, which have been tested extensively by professionals over time.

This ensures that it will be able to withstand any type of terrain without breaking down or losing its shape over time.

Find appropriate wheels

Hardtail mountain bikes come with either 26-inch or 29-inch wheels. They also come in several wheel sizes, ranging from 20 inches to 26 inches.

The best wheel size for you depends on your height and weight.

A taller person will need larger wheels for better stability at high speeds, while smaller wheels will be more agile for short riders who want to ride down narrow trails.

Select gear

Hardtail mountain bikes have gears that allow you to shift between low-gear ratios and high-gear ratios depending on the terrain you are riding on.

Choose gears based on your experience level and what type of riding you want to do with your bike.

Higher gears allow riders to climb steep hills more easily, while lower gears allow riders to go fast downhill without having to pedal so hard or shift as often.

Get your pedals

Pedals come in all shapes and sizes, but they all serve the same purpose: getting you moving forward or backward as quickly as possible.

Look for pedals with replaceable pins so they won’t wear out as quickly as others do over time; this also makes it easier to replace them when necessary.

Don’t forget the handlebar

Handlebars are another important component of any bicycle because they determine how much control you have over the bicycle while riding it.

If you want more control over your ride then consider getting some handlebars that help you steer more easily than others.

How to upgrade a hardtail mountain bike?

If you’re on a budget, it can be tempting to buy a cheap hardtail mountain bike and use it for your dirt jumping and trail riding.

But if you’re serious about riding, a better bike will make all the difference. Here are some tips about how to upgrade a hardtail mountain bike:

1. Preliminary check

First, make sure that the frame is compatible with the parts you want to buy. A good place to start is by checking out the manufacturer’s website.

There will be a list of compatible components and frames.

Second, make sure that your bike has enough space for the new parts. If it doesn’t, then you’ll either need to buy a new frame or get some custom work done to make room for them.

Third, choose the right type of upgrade for your bike.

For example, if your bike has an alloy frame and you want to upgrade it with carbon fiber parts then this will not go well together because of differences in weight and stiffness between these materials.

Lastly, make sure that the parts will fit together properly before buying them because this way it will save you time and money since you won’t have to send them back because they don’t fit properly.

2. Upgrade your wheelset

The wheelset is one of the most important components of any bike because they affect its overall weight as well as its handling and performance on different terrains.

You can upgrade your wheelset by opting for lightweight aluminum rims instead of steel rims or upgrading from 26-inch wheels to 29″ or even larger wheels if your budget allows such upgrades.

3. Upgrade your pedals

If your pedals are plastic or metal, try upgrading them to clipless pedals.

These pedals allow you to clip into the pedal with special shoes and use your feet like they were attached to the pedals.

Clipless pedals allow you to transfer more power from your legs into the bike, which will help you climb hills faster and descend faster as well.

4. Saddle upgrade

The saddle is another component that can be upgraded fairly easily and inexpensively.

The saddle on your hardtail mountain bike may not be the right size for you, so replacing it with one that fits will make a big difference in how much comfort you get from your bike ride.

5. Handlebars

If your handlebars are straight or curved metal bars, try upgrading them to drop bars that have multiple hand positions so you can shift more easily when climbing hills or going downhill at high speeds (which is what most mountain bikers do).

Drop bars also give you more control over steering when riding off-road trails.

What to look for in a hardtail mountain bike?

One of the main questions for every MTB enthusiast is what to look for in a hardtail mountain bike.

The first thing you want to do is figure out what type of riding you’ll be doing. Are you looking for a trail bike or a cross-country race bike?

The type of riding will dictate the kind of frame geometry, components, and suspension setup that’s best for you.

Frame type

Hardtails come in various frame types, from alloy to carbon fiber.

Each has its own pros and cons, but generally speaking, aluminum frames are the most cost-effective while carbon fiber is the lightest option available.

You’ll also find steel frames in this category, but they’re typically heavier than aluminum or carbon fiber options.


If you want to race down steep hills at high speeds or scale tall climbs quickly and efficiently then gears are important – especially if you live in an area with steep terrain (or just want more control).

Most modern hardtails use either 27 or 29-speed drivetrains with either one or two chainrings up front and nine or 10 rear cogs depending on whether it’s a single-speed or double-speed setup (with most dual-crown designs only having nine rear gears).


If you’re just getting started riding off-road and want an affordable bike that will take you from beginner to intermediate skill levels, then brakes are probably the least important thing to consider when looking at different hardtails.

The most common brakes used on hardtails are mechanical disc brakes (also called cantilever brakes) or hydraulic disc brakes (also called disc calipers).

Mechanical discs are more affordable but may require more maintenance than hydraulic discs.

Hydraulic discs have better stopping power than mechanical discs but cost more money upfront and require more maintenance later on down the road.


In this section, I put the list of frequently asked questions about hardtail mountain bikes. Please read it, it could be helpful to you.

Are hardtail mountain bikes good?

Yes, Hardtails are great for beginners and experienced riders because they’re more stable and easier to control on the trail than full-suspension bikes. They also tend to have a lower price tag than full-suspension bikes.

What is the lightest hardtail mountain bike?

The lightest hardtail mountain bike is the Specialized S-Works Epic Carbon 29er. It weighs only 22.5 pounds, which is a full pound lighter than the next lightest bike.

How much does a hardtail mountain bike weigh?

The weight limit for hardtail bikes varies by manufacturer but typically falls between 25 and 35 pounds for most adult riders.

Final word

Hardtail bikes are one of the go-to bike types when it comes to intermediate riders.

These bikes possess a lot of great things that may make them more practical than full-suspension bikes.

Among all of these, the best hardtail bike is the one that fits your size. Your needs and personality are essential in choosing the right fit for you.

In conclusion, any mountain bike will be great for you but you need to know that a hardtail bike is a perfect option for you and I hope this article was helpful to you.

Still, if you have any additional questions, feel free to ask and I’ll gladly respond.

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