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  • Having stupid ideas about hardtails…again
  • Premier Icon zezaskar
    Free Member

    Morning all,

    Once again I find myself looking at Moxies etc pics online. Also, my riding habits have been changing a little in the last couple of months. Less b@lls to the wall DH track riding, more trail rides, lots of Shotgun riding with the little girl (I reckon these are the most joyful miles I ever had on a bike) and the wife wanting to plan some bikepacking trips. Wonder if an aggressive HT wouldn’t suit this life better than my current Bird AM9.
    What are people’s thoughts around here about ditching the enduro fully and living full time with a HT? I never tried a hardtail with 160mm fork, long and slack geo and wide heavy(ish) tyres, so have no idea about the actual difference in harshness. Looking at the hardtail class times on enduro events, it seems like they are not having much of a handicap.

    Besides that, what would be the current options for a hardcore HT with good tyre clearance and sliding dropouts?
    – Pipedream Moxie
    – Kona Honzo ESD
    – ?

    Cheers

    Premier Icon abingham
    Full Member

    I did this a few years ago, going from a Mondraker Foxy XR to a Ragley Mmmbop, as it suited my riding much better, and have since gone from the Ragley to a Stooge.

    On occasion, I do still hanker for something fully bouncy, but on the whole I’m more than happy on a hardtail/rigid. Modern hardtails can get down pretty much everything a full sus can, it’s just a bit slower, so if speed isn’t your primary concern I see little reason not to make the move.

    Premier Icon mrmoofo
    Full Member

    I have kept a HT – ride it in the winter and various other times. The FS is way more comfortable – but requires more looking after.

    HTs (for me) have a sweet spot around 140 mm , and more than that the geo change as the forks compress is unruly.

    Premier Icon jamesmio
    Free Member

    Sounds exactly like all the same reasons I’ve got a Bird Forge currently being built up to run alongside my older Aeris.

    Premier Icon chiefgrooveguru
    Free Member

    I really like modern gnarly hardtails – yes they’re a little slower on rough downhills and through looser corners when you’re right on the limit but I think they’re often more fun. They are definitely more tiring though, so bear that in mind. Good reason to keep fit and strong.

    Regarding the geometry changes as the fork compresses, I think that’s a non-issue if the bike is slack enough (mine’s just under 64 deg static) – I know hardtails get 1-2 deg steeper at sag whilst full-sus bikes get a little slacker. It’s easy to set up a hardtail with the bars too low because when you sit on the saddle the bars are higher than when you stand up, especially pointing down a hill.

    When the fork dives on a full-sus under braking it steepens just the same as a hardtail and if there isn’t enough anti-rise in the suspension linkage then the back end can stand up and steepen it even more. Yes, when you fully bottom out both then the hardtail steepens whilst the full-sus stays even, but even full bottomed (150mm travel) out my hardtail has a 70 deg head angle, and that only happens with hucks to flat, the rest of the time I don’t get past 130mm travel (it ramps up a lot after that).

    Premier Icon richmtb
    Full Member

    I’ve had a full sus as my main bike for probably 15 years, but I’m always “hardtail curious” as that’s what I first rode. Tried a few and was always disappointed and pretty much abandoned them for a full sus.

    But recently i bought and On One Scandal and I love it. The key factor is the geo is pretty similar to my full sus so the fit and feel felt perfect from the off. It’s now the bike i ride the most. I wouldn’t ditch the full-sus completely, for days away, uplifts and big days I like having the option of the full sus.

    Premier Icon tomhoward
    Full Member

    Also getting the urge to build one up, not had one for 5 years now (rigid fatbike doesn’t count)

    I’m off to bespoked in October, if I can’t find something I like there, I figure they aren’t for me.

    Premier Icon abingham
    Full Member

    Might be worth adding Stanton to the list of bikes to research – a few different LLS hardtails in their line up. Maybe a Stif Squatch too.

    Premier Icon allanoleary
    Full Member

    Keep (buy) the (my) full (large) sus (Scandal) too

    Premier Icon Rickos
    Free Member

    Pace hardtails use sliding dropouts. As does Specialized Fuse, but that might not be ‘core enough for you.

    https://pacecycles.com/pages/rc529steel-hardtail
    https://pacecycles.com/pages/rc627steel-hardtail

    I love hardtails, I really do, but my last one was a Nukeproof Scout 29 and I just used to feel hammered whenever I went out on it. Sold it a couple of years ago, but still hanker after one and toy with ideas and set ups and single/dingle speed and all of that, whiling away the time type stuff, pretending I have the budget…

    Premier Icon dc1988
    Free Member

    My go to bike is always my hardtail, I think it’s way more fun and engaging than my full sus. Both are pretty modern and long low slack etc. The only time the hardtail is really let down is seated pedaling over rough ground, you just get bounced around and can’t keep momentum as easily and get more tired from having so hover over the saddle where you could stay seated on a full sus.

    My rule of thumb is that uplift or longer days are for the full sus and shorter more xc rides are more hardtail.

    Premier Icon v7fmp
    Free Member

    i fancied a hardtail for a while, despite a couple of my riding buddies telling me ‘not to waste my money’. Earlier this year i picked up a Ragley Big Al, not quite ‘hardcore’, but fairly modern trail bike geo.

    And i absolutely love riding it. It just makes it a different sort of challenge. And my strava times show that i am usually only a handful of seconds slower than my FS times. And i keep up more or less the same with my buddies.

    Would i want one as my only bike…. well maybe actually, i can certainly think of worse things!

    Although there is quite the challenge of riding the more gnarly end of trails on it and keeping things together. I lost a pedal a couple of times recently…. which is probably why so many hardcore hardtailers run clips.

    But if its an itch that needs scratching, i wouldnt hesitate!

    Premier Icon TomB
    Full Member

    I only ride my Solaris max these days- Lake District riding, but don’t tend to be out more than 3-4 hours. Love it.

    Premier Icon Rickos
    Free Member

    I think for me half the problem is that the geo of the modern hardtail is similar to a full sus, so you can go just as fast, but without any get out of jail card (aka 150mm of rear travel…). If I did end up getting another I think I’d want it small and playful rather than long and slack. The ying to the yang, but that’s with the luxury of being able to keep 2 or 3 bikes. If I had to only have one bike it would be a simple, single pivot full sus for year round reliable riding.

    Premier Icon zezaskar
    Free Member

    Thanks for all the answers, very interesting experiences.
    The main thing barring me from the HT is that I would have to sell the AM9 to build it. Can’t really justify having 2 MTBs right now.
    Would an aggro HT actually be better for bikepacking and Shotgun riding than the AM9 with lighter wheels?

    As far as a frame shortlist, I’d have these requirements:
    – sliding dropouts. Because I want it to be singlespeedable in an emergency (been there, done that in the past, if I’m letting go the rear suspension then I want this)
    – at least 2.5 tyre clearance, 2.6 would be a plus. This excludes the Pace, I believe
    – very slack HA, because dynamic geometry exists

    Premier Icon Scienceofficer
    Free Member

    Modern LLS hardtails are a paradox.

    Brilliantly stable and competent in almost every guise, but unless they’re specced carefully and thoughtfully designed, they can have all the drawbacks of a decent modern FS and none of the benefits because, well; it’s a hardtail.

    Many can be just like full-sussers on the climbs and the flats – sluggish and uninspiring – missing the pep and instant feedback that makes a good hardtail so great feeling on a climb or zipping along flat single track. IME, they’re not really any slower than more trail focussed HT, but their competent nature can make easier rated trails feel rather dull to ride and lack challenge.

    Despite this, they can be great technical ascenders due to their length and grip (for a hardtail). They can be brilliant descenders compared to hardtails of yesteryear, but they’re no way as good in the proper rough stuff as an FS bike because there is no substitute for rear travel.

    What they ARE good for IMO is for people who want to tackle harder terrain searching for a more direct and visceral (harder) experience without the insulation of full suspension. You need more skill to ride a hardtail well in chunder and it’s rewarding experience for those looking for the satisfaction of skills and the body pushing closer to the limits.

    Points to note IMO.

    Dynamic geometry changes from big forks exists. But its effects on riding are over-stated.

    LLS hardtails may mimic something similar to FS geometry, but a big fork with a slack head angle WILL NOT stop the back hooking up in chunder.

    In view of the above comment, body english needs to be accentuated to get the best of these bikes – this can make you tired quicker, depending on your fitness. RIDE IT LIKE YOU STOLE IT on the good bits.

    Because they need a bit more ‘throwing shapes’ to make them spark, those used to minimal inputs on twitchy, steep more rearward weighted bikes may not put enough in and accuse them of being dull and sluggish. Re-learning is required.

    It’s perfectly possible to still ride off the back of an LLS bike of any kind, but doing so on a HT is worse because there’s nowhere to hide back there because there’s no suspension and thus little grip. RIDE THE FORK.

    Getting a bike with wheels in different time zones won’t automatically make you pin the front for grip unless you set it up right. Old school trail riders seem to be the worst at realising this.

    You do not lean forwards more on these bikes because they are long. Your entire center of mass slides forwards from the saddle on-wards. The extra front center length is there to make sure you don’t get scrunched up by doing so.

    Premier Icon ta11pau1
    Full Member

    Definitely more tiring than a FS, after a couple of days in the Lakes on mine my legs were toast, glad I brought my 150mm FS bike too which I rode for the remaining 3 days.

    However, the HT is loads more fun and playful, and with an extra wheelset which I still need to build, it’ll do for gravel type riding too.

    Premier Icon Scienceofficer
    Free Member

    That came out a bit long. Sorry.

    Premier Icon chiefgrooveguru
    Free Member

    “ That came out a bit long. Sorry.”

    It’s an interesting read though!

    As you’ve seen on my rambling Zero AM thread, that’s not a LLS steel-framed 29er (on wide tyres) but more of an MLvLS (medium long, very low, slack) – reach is ~455mm sagged, ~440mm static, I’m 179cm – with an alloy frame and only 27.5×2.35 tyres front and rear.

    I feel like I need to ride it back to back with a longer steel 29er to see if there’s the difference I’m suspecting – because I don’t think the Zero is at all dull on easier trails despite being great at gnarly stuff.

    But the flipside is that although it’ll keep you safe-ish on the gnarly stuff and is pretty confidence inspiring, that responsive back end (short chainstays too) is absolutely brilliant at letting you know when you’re riding badly – literally from hero to zero in moments!

    Premier Icon dc1988
    Free Member

    I guess people will feel differently about a hardtail depending on what you currently and have previously ridden. Plenty of my riding buddies think I’m mad for riding a hardtail on the same trails as them but I think I am lighter on my bike and pick lines more carefully so don’t ride any slower. If you’re used to full sus then it might be a bit of a shock but a hardtail needs to be ridden like a hardtail.

    When it comes to overall weight, a hardtail isn’t going to be hugely lighter than an equivalent full sus. If you want lighter then you would probably need to have more fragile parts and might end up with more breakages.

    Premier Icon sprocker
    Full Member

    I have a bfe max which I use for night rides and winter mainly. Its really fun to ride on most stuff for a couple of hours but I find it just generally unpleasant on rough terrain. I have an ibis ripmo I use for long rides, trips etc. If I had to chose the hardtail would go but its great having both

    Premier Icon twrch
    Free Member

    I’m currently going exactly the other direction. I’ve just ordered an AM9, and an considering getting rid of one of my hardtails. I have a Solaris MAX and a Stanton Switchback – the idea was to see if I could do everything I wanted on a bike without buying a full-sus, but I’ve admitted defeat.

    It all depends on your riding though. I’m still working on harder trails, and want to go faster with less bumping around. The Stanton is beautiful downhill, although I struggle a little elsewhere on it as I’m 6’5 (and don’t have a dropper on it). I also get tired pretty quickly when doing BPW and the like. The SolarisMAX is very capable everywhere, but doesn’t quite have the zing of the Stanton.

    Premier Icon mrwhippy
    Full Member

    I’ve done exactly what you’re thinking OP and ditched the 160mm full suss for a hardtail (bFeMax) and have absolutely zero regrets. It’s a much more versatile bike for what I want it for (Local laps of the woods, bigger rides on the moors and in the Lakes and then easy laps with my daughter with the shotgun). Not found anything that I wouldn’t ride on it that I would have on the full suss even if the riding is a bit more ‘involved’ but then that’s no bad thing.

    Premier Icon kneebiscuit
    Full Member

    I’ve got a moxie with 160mm forks. I haven’t ridden my G160 since I bought it. Do it, it’s the best bike I’ve ever owned.

    Premier Icon squealer
    Free Member

    I’ve got a gen 1 moxie which I’ve had for almost 4 years which tells a story as I’m a serial bike swapper.
    I also have full sus bikes but on a lot of terrain this is equally as fast and I don’t find it more tiring than a fs either, if anything I find it way more exhilarating riding it than a fs.
    Each to their own but I love having the option in my garage, these bikes are amazing.

    Premier Icon iainc
    Full Member

    I’m selling mine as find it a bit too fast and flighty. Sensa Merano from Merlin a few months back 🙄

    Premier Icon jamesoz
    Full Member

    Looking at the hardtail class times on enduro events, it seems like they are not having much of a handicap

    I’m just as slow on my short, tall, steep hard tail as I am on my long, low, slack full suss

    It really depends where you ride/race. If there’s not much elevation and lots of tight stuff to make the trail/stage longer, then a hardtail, whatever the geometry will go well in my experience. Sure flat out rocky/rooty long descents are better/less fatigue on a full suss. But if you don’t have those on your doorstep then to me hardtail all day long.

    Premier Icon lightfighter762
    Full Member

    The Moxie Mx3 rides really well. I took it around the Golfie in the Scottish Borders and was really impressed what you can throw it down and not get that beat up. Previous HT bikes were a BFE max and a Torrent S1. They just felt a little harsher and no way as confident on the rough tracks there.

    I have a RIPMO and another steel FS both 160mm forked bikes and I think riding steeper terrain I actually prefer the Moxie. I have a 160mm dvo fork and hunt enduro wheels and it feels great. It also climbs fantastic. Most rides I will take it over the FS bikes. A long all day rough mountain ride/munro I will take a fs bike or as of late just switch to clips for that.

    View post on imgur.com

    Premier Icon TheGhost
    Full Member

    I can recommend the Banshee Paradox V3 with a 150mm Zeb up front. Very capable and fun.

    I can also recommend the RSD Middlechild Ti which is amazing. It manages to smooth the trail out beautifully but shoot forward when you drop the hammer.

    Wheel choice is very important with a hardtail. You need softer wheels.

    Premier Icon cb200
    Free Member

    (and don’t have a dropper on it)

    🤯

    Premier Icon coynie09
    Free Member

    Just done the same having had a Mondraker Crafty 27+ for the last 3 years iv’e just gone back to HT frame with a Mondraker Vantage 27+ just sold the frame (crafty) and swapped all the parts over & loving it

    Premier Icon cookeaa
    Full Member

    The main thing barring me from the HT is that I would have to sell the AM9 to build it. Can’t really justify having 2 MTBs right now.

    What (hear me out) if you go “bargain bin” for the HT (initially at least)? Can you justify an ‘A’ and a ‘B’ bike sort of arrangement?

    You’ve started off by lusting over higher priced nice, new shiny HTs but still have some (reasonable) reticence about giving up a bouncer that you like. Your major reasons for considering a HT are bike packing and riding with the kids neither of which really needs a blingy LLS, sexy new HT.

    So Why not just dip your toe with something 2nd hand and/or lower spec than your initial expectations?

    The risk is that you flog the AM9 and spend all winter assembling the ultimate HT, only to discover it’s not covering all of your riding needs next summer and there’s no easy ‘Ctrl+Z‘ at that point.

    A lot of people (just sift through STW) have faced a similar conundrum ended up keeping their FS and buying a more basic HT/Gravel/hybrid as a mile munching, bike packing, towpath trundling with the kids type option while still being able to indulge in some Gnarr if necessary…

    You’ve definitely started with the right mindset, thinking about the likely use cases rather than some idealistic idea of what you’ll be getting up to.

    Premier Icon Scienceofficer
    Free Member

    I can recommend the Banshee Paradox V3 with a 150mm Zeb up front. Very capable and fun.

    I can also recommend the RSD Middlechild Ti which is amazing. It manages to smooth the trail out beautifully but shoot forward when you drop the hammer.

    Wheel choice is very important with a hardtail. You need softer wheels.

    Posted 3 hours ago

    TheGhost is Steve from Hardtail party and I claim my £5. 😁

    Premier Icon cjr61
    Full Member

    Love my Pace RC529.

    My longest standing bike which I sold and missed so much I bought the same bike back off the chap I sold it to a year later.

    Sliding dropouts
    29
    27.5+
    Mullet (if that floats your boat)
    120-150 travel.
    Currently with rigid forks in 29+ rigid set up.
    Does a bit of everything and I love the versatility. Plus it looks good 🤩

    Premier Icon OwenP
    Full Member

    I’m now HT-only (put a Trust linkage fork on it to even out the front-end dive effect too).

    As others have said, they are more tiring. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that’s just a bit more tired at the end. Once your legs get tired, they stop absorbing as much, but keep on pedalling. So you feel every jolt. Less fit riders will find them harsher than fitter riders.

    If you ride steep, rocky terrain it’s going to be more of a shock than if your local rides are dirt and a few roots.

    I have a Macride and also tow a Weehoo kids trailer. I’m not sure the HT is actually any more practical as it still has “modern” mtb axle spacing, lacks lots of rack bolts and has a small rear triangle (short seat tube, LLS style) so I don’t think there’s automatically a benefit – will depend on what you choose though.

    Premier Icon eddd
    Full Member

    For me, the hardtail is more fun when I’ve ridden the FS for a while, then the FS is more fun when I’ve ridden the hardtail for a while.

    Ultimately, neither is actually more fun, it’s just nice to change. If I just had one, I’d probably keep the FS because it’s more capable anywhere – although emotionally I prefer my HT (Stage 5 and Soul).

    You talk about a shotgun seat too – I only use that on the FS, my 2 yo prefers it.

    Premier Icon TheGhost
    Full Member

    @Scienceofficer I’m a big fan of Hardtail Party but I’m not Steve 🙂

    Weirdly though I have just ordered an Onyx Vesper rear hub for a wheel build.

    Premier Icon Scienceofficer
    Free Member

    Damn. Looks like I wont be getting that fiver.

    You can see why I thought it though – the exact same bikes!

    Premier Icon jackal
    Free Member

    @Scienceofficer has it spot on with his first lengthy ramblings 😉

    This thing is nuts, you just got to know how to ride it..

    Premier Icon teethgrinder
    Full Member

    I would like to like hard tails, but without spunking cash on another frame it ain’t happening.

    Of 189 consecutive days on the bikes, 4 have been on the ’15 BFe. The other 185 on the HB.160.

    The FS is always the first choice. Just better everywhere and the maintenance thing is rubbish. Just under 3 years on the original bearings.

    YMMV.

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