Hardtail vs. Full Suspension Mountain Bikes

Hardtail vs. Full Suspension: How to Choose the Mountain Bike that’s Best for You

If you’re shopping for a new mountain bike and wondering what’s best for you, the biggest choice you’ll face is hardtail vs. a full suspension mountain bike. Be sure to check out our full guide, How to Choose a Mountain Bike.

A full suspension mountain bike features both a suspension fork and a rear shock, whereas a hardtail bike has only a suspension fork. The type of suspension a mountain bike has will affect the bike’s control, traction, comfort, and fun factor.

So, which type of mountain bike is right for you? The answer depends on how much money you’re willing to spend and the terrain you like to ride. But there are other factors, too.

A hardtail mountain bike is right for you if:

You’re on a budget:

You will usually get more bike for your buck with a hardtail, especially if your budget is $1,500 or less. Because hardtails have a simpler design, they’re less expensive to manufacture. Bike makers can include higher-end components than are typically found on similarly priced full suspension bikes.

You mostly ride smooth trails:

A hardtail is perfect if you spend the majority of your time riding smoother trails. Examples of smoother local trails includ Riverbend Park and the Bluegill Trail (also known as the C-18 canal). Even if you hit the blue and green trails at Jonathan Dickinson State Park, a hardtail bike can offer you a fast and fun ride that will soak up moderate bumps with its front suspension fork.

You want a lightweight bike:

Hardtail bikes generally weigh less than full-suspension bikes because their simpler design has fewer parts. Less weight can be a good thing if your ride will include climbing or covering long distances. With that said, higher-end full suspension bikes can be quite light, so if you’re willing to spend the money, the weight difference can be minimal.

A full suspension bike is right for you if:

You’re willing to spend a bit more:

Entry-level full suspension mountain bikes start at about $2,000. If your budget allows it, then it’s a great choice and gets you a more versatile bike.

You mostly ride technical trails:

If rock gardens, roots, and drops is your idea of a fun ride, go with a full suspension mountain bike. Full suspension bikes feature a combination of front and rear suspension, creating a smoother ride with better traction and handling. This translates to more fun on rough terrain.

You want a more comfortable ride:

A full suspension mountain bike vs. a hardtail will absorb most of the jarring bumps instead of leaving that important work to your body. This can help reduce fatigue, which in turn can allow you to ride faster, for longer, with greater comfort.

You have a need for speed:

Front and rear suspension absorbs bumps, which allows you to carry momentum through technical sections of trail. A hardtail can be faster on the smoother sections, but can lose speed through technical sections.

Whether you end up choosing a hardtail mountain bike or a full suspension mountain bike, Bikes Palm Beach is here to help you find the perfect bike. So give us a call today!

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