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Are Hardtails dead?


T_Boss
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I have been wondering for a while now why it seems hardtails are so unpopular in SA. I mean you hardly see a hard tail anywhere outside of a high school bike shed these days.

 

Seemingly a full sus trail bike has become the entry point to being able to ride even a mild Jeep track.

 

Now sure, I’m exaggerating a bit above, but it would seem locally that hardtails are not really selling anymore. I was in the specialized shop in Stellenbosch over the weekend to see some of the new bikes, and I was surprised not to see any decent hardtails. They only had the really entry level rock hopper hardtails.

 

When I asked a young sales guy if they didn’t have any more serious hardtails in stock, he sheepishly showed me a top of the line S-Works Epic, that was retailing at R140k. Nothing else. When I asked him where all the bikes in between are, he said they don’t carry hardtails anymore, because no one buys them.

 

This is in stark contrast to what we see in the overseas forums, and especially on channels like GMBN, where they seem to absolutely love hardtails, especially for longer rides across the countryside, or just some fun on a trail park.

 

Now I know full sus is awesome, especially on multi day stage races, and especially with lots of long corrugated gravel or very bumpy track....... but for blasting on some flows single track, nothing on earth beats a hardtail.

 

The XCO guys on the international scene also seem to chop and change between there full sus and hardtails depending on the terrain.

 

So why on earth are hardtails basically dead here. Specially in a place like Stellenbosch, that is blessed with loads of amazing trail riding?

 

If I was on a tight budget, I would far rather buy the best hardtails I could, rather than an entry level full sus. I mean bikes of R25 to 30k are being sold with sun tour and x-fusion suspensions, and SLX if you lucky. In these price range I much rather buy something with a REBA fork and full XT groupset.......

 

If I was told I had to choose one bike now, and I could never have another, it would definately be something with pretty slack geometry, 130 mil travel up front, and nice wide 27,5 tires, and a hardtails.

 

I do how ever hope the day never comes where one needs to be married to one type of bike for life......

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I bought a Specialized Chisel Expert 1X hardtail from Bell's Cycling in Nelspruit (they are a Concept store) two years ago. I see they are still selling them. The only difference is that the new model now has NX components, where mine has GX, and the new one is 1x12 where mine is 1x11.

 

If you look at the specs, this is a good bit of bike for the price: https://www.bellscycling.co.za/product/2019-mens-chisel-expert/

 

After two years, mine is still going strong.

 

If you get to that Spez store again, ask them if they can get you a Chisel Expert 1X :devil:

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I would love to pretend that hardtails are the bomb and make you far more manly, however, as a completely slow overweight weekend warrior, a dual sus just makes so much sense. I can ride longer, more comfortably, and not have to worry about my technical abilities as much on trails, particularly those that are unfamiliar.

 

And yes, there is a cost to both initial purchase and maintenance, but as I went used, I have a lovely anthem with every upgrade I wanted, for far less than the price of a high spec hardtail off the shelf. And I love it.

 

I'm not going to win anything other than an eating competition, so a hardtail just doesn't add up for me, and likely 90% of the riders in SA at the moment.

 

Hardtails aren't dead. They're just turning into a low demand bike in their higher spec guises. It is what it is.

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Didn't read your whole post, but no, most certrainly not dead. As an XC bike they don't make sense to me - they are uncomfortable, and slower than dual suspensions on everything except for smooth climbs.

 

But as a hooligan trail bike, nothing is more fun. Of all my bikes I reach for my trail hardtail more than anything else just because it is so dam fun. Long, low and slack HTs are very capable, low maintenance, and make even mellower trails more lively. They have a next to cult following - but you are right, they are not as poppular as they once were, and the reason for that is simple - full suspension bikes are faster (whether that is climbing or descending) and more comfortable.

 

Although my HT is my favourite bike, it would not be the bike I would choose if I could have only one bike.

Edited by Grease_Monkey
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No

I agree but only a select few in SA ride them and those that do love them.It's all about marketing from the big companies and they are pushing dual suspensions at the moment.A while back it was fat bikes and how many of them are still around.

Ride what you like and what suites your riding style.

In the UK.USA and Europe 130-140mm hardtails are very popular and see them in many shops.

Id rather ride a well designed and build hardtail over a crappy dual susser.

I still have a 26er hardtail and ride it every now and then but far to little.

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If I buy a MTB again then I will probably buy a Hardtail and ride like a real man   :P

 

So when you going back to a fully rigid bike?

 

You can’t stop progress and technology

 

I started racing XC in the 90’s on a full rigid bike with rim brakes.. there was no suspension or disc brakes on XC bikes in those days, my first dual susser disc brake bike came in 2012.

 

It’s night and day difference now compared to then, but I do miss my hardtail.... sadly it was consigned to the scrap heap

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I have been wondering for a while now why it seems hardtails are so unpopular in SA. I mean you hardly see a hard tail anywhere outside of a high school bike shed these days.

 

Seemingly a full sus trail bike has become the entry point to being able to ride even a mild Jeep track.

 

Now sure, I’m exaggerating a bit above, but it would seem locally that hardtails are not really selling anymore. I was in the specialized shop in Stellenbosch over the weekend to see some of the new bikes, and I was surprised not to see any decent hardtails. They only had the really entry level rock hopper hardtails.

 

When I asked a young sales guy if they didn’t have any more serious hardtails in stock, he sheepishly showed me a top of the line S-Works Epic, that was retailing at R140k. Nothing else. When I asked him where all the bikes in between are, he said they don’t carry hardtails anymore, because no one buys them.

 

This is in stark contrast to what we see in the overseas forums, and especially on channels like GMBN, where they seem to absolutely love hardtails, especially for longer rides across the countryside, or just some fun on a trail park.

 

Now I know full sus is awesome, especially on multi day stage races, and especially with lots of long corrugated gravel or very bumpy track....... but for blasting on some flows single track, nothing on earth beats a hardtail.

 

The XCO guys on the international scene also seem to chop and change between there full sus and hardtails depending on the terrain.

 

So why on earth are hardtails basically dead here. Specially in a place like Stellenbosch, that is blessed with loads of amazing trail riding?

 

If I was on a tight budget, I would far rather buy the best hardtails I could, rather than an entry level full sus. I mean bikes of R25 to 30k are being sold with sun tour and x-fusion suspensions, and SLX if you lucky. In these price range I much rather buy something with a REBA fork and full XT groupset.......

 

If I was told I had to choose one bike now, and I could never have another, it would definately be something with pretty slack geometry, 130 mil travel up front, and nice wide 27,5 tires, and a hardtails.

 

I do how ever hope the day never comes where one needs to be married to one type of bike for life......

Buck the trend and get a steel 29er hardtail  :thumbup:

 

frame_ultra_blue_side_4.jpg

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No...

 

Currently spend more time on my Pyga Zero than my Max. Hardtails force you to learn to look where you are riding! (Well at least that's my experience)

 

Ribble HT 725. My next hardtail..

 

https://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/ribble-ht-725/

 

Tom

Hardtails force you to learn to ride your lines better and dont compensate for bad riding.A bit more work but so my more fun.

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