Hardtail vs Full Suspension, which one should I go to?
All mountain bikes have suspension. Suspension is designed to keep you in control over rough ground. New mountain bikers often think, “I’m just getting into mountain biking; I don’t need a full suspension bike.” However, that really depends on how and where you’ll be riding. So let’s look at the differences between hardtails and full suspension. And figure out what’s right for you.
If you’ll be riding on smooth trails such as gravel or smooth single track, a hardtail could make a lot of sense. If you’ll be riding on rougher trails with more obstacles (more typical “mountain biking”) you will be appreciate the ability of a full suspension bike to get through rough stuff while you stay in control.
Hardtails are more prone to getting knocked off line on rougher trails.
A full suspension bike uses its rear suspension to keep you in control over rough terrain. A by-product of that is that a full suspension bike will take the edge off of rough trails and be more comfortable.
Hard tails can be very comfortable on smooth terrain. However, on rougher terrain they won’t be as forgiving as full suspension bikes.
If you are just getting into mountain biking for the adventure and excitement of it, consider a full suspension bike. It will reward daring riders and you’ll really appreciate it while descending.
If you are getting into mountain biking for aerobic exercise, a hardtail will be fantastic. Hardtails are great for big efforts and climbing. What are other differences?
In general, a full suspension bike will be heavier because of the addition of the rear shock and the extra frame material that add weight. Why does that matter?
A lighter bike will be easier riding uphill and over long distance. So if weight is the deciding factor, choose a hardtail
If you prefer an all-round more capable and more comfortable ride, then choose the slightly heavier full suspension bike.
For similar quality bikes, hardtails are less expensive than full suspension because they’re simpler. So if you have a set budget, you could get better quality components on a hardtail for the same price as a full suspension bike.
However, a full suspension bike will give you a frame that you’re able to progress on, and you can upgrade components as you get better.
Hardtails are simpler because there is no rear shock and fewer frame pivots; less to work on, less to go wrong
However, full suspension bikes usually offer more features, such as suspension lockouts, that make them more versatile
How Professionals choose?
It’s all about which bike will be the fastest on the terrain.
When racing a relatively smooth course with lots of climbing, hardtail is a better choice. If there are more rock gardens, drops and jumps, full suspension is what they often go for.