Are you thinking about buying a mountain bike but can’t decide whether to buy hardtail or a full suspension?
At the most basic level the difference between hardtail and full suspension bikes is that the latter has rear suspension shock absorbers fitted over the back wheel. A ‘hardtail’, as the name suggests, only features a suspension fork at the front. But they will also differ greatly in geometry and feel as they are designed for different purposes.
Here we are looking at typical aspects to consider when deciding between a hardtail and a full suspension mountain bike.
Weight: In general, a full suspension bike will be heavier because of the addition of the rear shock and the extra tubes and pivots that all unavoidably add weight.But if you spend more you can buy a bike that is as light or lighter than hardtail bikes. Remember that you tend to pay more for lighter bikes.
The terrain: There are mountain bikes, both hardtail and full-suspension, to suit all terrains including cross-country, trails centres, single track and enduro (usually referred to as a trail or enduro bikes).But there are those that argue that if you can ride any terrain on a hardtail then you will be technically superior. Then again, full suspension bikes tend to offer better traction and handling so if you want an easier and more comfortable ride, they are the best choice.Full suspension fans will tell you that if you are tackling tricky trails it’s far more fun to have the traction and comfort of rear suspension.
Easy to handle: Suspension, like fat fires, helps to give the bike and the wheels better traction on trails. This makes it easier to ride corners, steep climbs, and descents and to control the bike in muddy, rocky and rooty sections. So a full suspension bike tends to be easier to handle than a hardtail.
For comfort: Rear suspension absorbs more of the back end bumps. Which means you will have a more comfortable ride especially over longer, technical distances.
Speed: On a full suss bike you can push the limits of speed more, certainly going downhill, because the extra suspension will absorb more of the corners and bumps.
Looks: Some people prefer the simpler look of a hardtail, others love the more aggressive looking full suspension. The choice is entirely yours…
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