How to Choose Mountain Bike Hardtail vs Dual Suspension

Are you looking for a new mountain bike, but you don’t know how to choose between a hardtail mountain bike or a dual suspension mountain bike? There are pros and cons to both. After reading this guide you should be able to make a choice. There’s one thing that we need to understand first though.

What is the Difference Between a Hardtail Mountain Bike and a Dual Suspension Mountain Bike?

Every mountain bike has a suspension system in the front fork. This suspension tends to start at about 4 inches of travel and, depending on the bike and what it is for, then the travel can go up to 8 inches.

A hardtail mountain bike will only have front suspension. That means there will be no suspension on the rear wheel.

A dual or full suspension mountain bike will have a second suspension on the rear wheel. The rear suspension tends to fall into the same range as the front suspension, so it will be between 4 inches and 8 inches. The rear suspension on a dual suspension mountain bike will match the front suspension. For example, if your front suspension is 6 inches, then your rear suspension will be 6 inches too.

What are the Advantages of a Hardtail Mountain Bike?

Hardtail mountain bike

• Because a hardtail mountain bike only has one suspension in it, then it is much lighter in comparison to a dual suspension bike. A lighter bike makes it easier to maneuver and to perform tricks on. When you’re climbing an incline then you’ll find it easier because of the lack of weight too.

• A hardtail mountain bike lacks the same components as a dual suspension, and this translates into the price. A hardtail mountain bike will cost you a lot less than a dual suspension mountain bike.

• Fewer parts also mean less need to repair the bicycle. This makes hardtail mountain bikes a lot easier to maintain, and also makes them a lot cheaper to run too. Another advantage of having fewer parts is that if you’re out on the trail, you have less to worry about, as there’s less of a chance of something breaking, and you need to fix it.

What are the Advantages of a Dual Suspension Mountain Bike?

Dual suspension mountain bike

• A dual suspension mountain bike can go a lot faster downhill or on uneven, difficult terrains than a hardtail mountain bike. This is because the enhanced traction means you’ve got a lot more cushioning over bumps, and also, your tires tend to keep closer to the ground.

• They are far more versatile than hardtails bikes, as there is no need to be put off by any terrain.

• They are perfect for beginners. As a first mountain bike, then a dual suspension will give you a lot more security. The double suspension will give novice mountain bikers more confidence, as you won’t feel every single bump.

• More comfortable to ride. And the handling on a dual suspension mountain bike is much easier too.

What are the Disadvantages of a Hardtail Mountain Bike?

• The lack of shock absorption at the rear of the bicycle means that racing, riding downhill, or riding on rugged, rocky terrain is a less enjoyable experience than riding a dual suspension bicycle.

• The streamlined body of the hardtail mountain bike lacks the robust, thick appearance of the dual suspension mountain bike.

What are the Disadvantages of a Dual Suspension Mountain Bike?

• The price is the biggest disadvantage of a dual suspension mountain bike. Yes, you get a lot more for the money, but you still must be willing to pay almost double what you’d pay for a hardtail mountain bike.

• The extra suspension that is on the rear of the dual suspension mountain bike translates into extra weight. In fact, dual suspension mountain bikes are a lot heavier and thicker than a hardtail mountain bike. Of course, this is for good reason, that extra weight gives you a lot more comfort when riding on the trail.

Who Should Choose a Hardtail Mountain Bike?

Even though a hardtail mountain bike lacks the extra traction and suspension of a dual suspension mountain bike, it is still a mountain bike, and that means that it has been designed for riding on rugged terrain, and for going uphill and downhill at high speeds.

More experienced mountain bikers will love the lightness of the hardtail mountain bike. Some mountain bikers also prefer to be able to feel every bump, as it can give an extra thrill to high-speed mountain biking. It also forces you to develop certain skills and finesse that isn’t necessary when you’ve got the dual suspension and can just power through all sorts of bumps and hills. Also, the lower weight also makes it easier to increase speed when climbing uphill.

One of the biggest selling points of a hardtail mountain bike, though, is its price. It is a far more affordable option than a dual suspension mountain bike, and you won’t be disappointed with the quality.

Who Should Choose a Dual Suspension Mountain Bike?

If you’re willing to invest in a dual suspension mountain bike, then you won’t be disappointed.

The rear suspension means that mountain biking is far more comfortable. This is especially useful for beginner mountain bikers. The confidence that you’ll get from the smoothness of the ride and the softening of impact when jumping or going over bumps, will make you enjoy your mountain biking experience much more.

This also means that there is no terrain that will be off-limits. Wherever you want to go biking, whatever trail, no matter how rugged or rocky it is, then you’ll be able to with the double suspension.

A dual suspension mountain bike is also a much sturdier unit with a frame that includes more complexity in design and technology than its hardtail counterpart. In fact, the dual suspension bike is just more advanced. It comes at a cost, but if you’re willing to spend the money, then almost every mountain biker will prefer to choose a dual suspension mountain bike.

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