Mountain biking was born on the hardtail. Riders sending jumps, smashing down fire roads and drifting in every direction as they rattled their way down the hill. It's fair to say we've grown more than accustomed to dual suspension bikes now but there was a time not long ago where riding a hardtail was a right of passage and step in your progression as a mountain biker that was taken before buying a dual suspension bike. This wasn't some dumb ritual in the process of becoming a mountain biker, it taught you valuable skills about line choice and how to control the bike. Now, we're seeing a resurgence in hardtails but, they aren't anything like the hardtails of yesteryear. They are slack, long, progressive bikes that are ready to be let loose with frightening capabilities. But, what's the appeal?
Become a Smoother Rider
Modern day dual suspension mountain bikes are great the way they allow us to point and shoot the bike through rough terrain with extreme forgiveness. However, just because it feels easy on your plush dual suspension ride to charge through the rocks it may not actually be fast. Try the same on a hardtail and you will quickly feel your speed deteriorate as the bike gets hung up on impacts. However, find a smooth line and you will see your speed greatly increase. Take it one step further, find sections you can un-weight the bike then jump over obstacles for an even smoother, faster line. With this now greater knowledge in line choice and bike control when you try the same on your dual suspension bike you'll get even faster. It won't be as extreme of an contrast when you get the line right as when you were on the hardtail but make no mistake, the advantages are there.
Learn to Accelerate The Bike, Without Pedalling
Suspension is great for taking away unwanted impacts from the trail but, it also takes away the impacts you put into the bike. When you go over a roller or sharp dip in the terrain you can actually use your body weight to greatly increase your speed. By driving the bike up and over rollers / terrain utilising your body weight / position as much as possible you will start to see these benefits. It can be awkward and first but once it clicks greatly rewarding. Once again these advantages are less noticeable on your dual suspension bike but time practising them and executing your technique and timing on the hardtail will make you a faster rider on both bikes.
It's a Damn Good Time
We all started mountain biking because its fun and a hardtail is a great way to invigorate that fun again. Trails that are dull and predictable on your dual suspension bike suddenly become thrilling and invigorating on your hardtail. The nimble bike is playful and alive as you descend, the added roughness excites you as a new challenge to over come. The sweet reward when you pump that dip to gain extra speed or nail the smoothest line in the roughest section of trail will paint a smile on your face. Personally, some of the best rides I've ever had at Gap Creek have been on a modern Enduro hardtail.
At For The Riders we're stocked to see this style of riding increase in popularity once again. The Canadians do some wild things on hardtails so its no surprise Norco have just release a killer range of hardcore hardtails for 2020. Swing by our Brisbane mountain bike store to check them out or look online here.