Best Hardtail Mountain Bike (Jan. 2018) – Buyer’s Guide and Reviews
Mountain biking is, without a doubt, one of today’s most pervasive and rousing sporting endeavors across the globe. Its popularity mainly stems from the sport’s versatility- you can effectively direct mountain biking at hitting your body fat and weight-loss goals, developing your leg muscles (hamstrings, quadriceps, glutei and calves) and commuting without environmental pollution. Besides, there are several mtb sporting events that include Enduro racing, cross country and trail touring. This guide marshals all vital requirements for hardtail mtb cycling and conveys in-depth reviews to streamline your search for the best hardtail mountain bike.
Unlike full suspension mountain bikes which feature dual suspension and rigid mtbs that have no suspension whatsoever, hardtail mountain bikes are built with front suspension forks and inflexible rear forks.
Top 10 Best Hardtail Mountain Bike Reviews
Diamond Overdrive 29” Hardtail Mountain Bike
This beast is an established favorite among many hardtail mtb lovers. It’s built with proven geometric construction for the most efficient and unparalleled comfort in cycling. It features a hardtail heat-treated aluminum alloy frame with a Rockshox front suspension fork to even out bumps efficiently and keep the bike’s front steady. The bike sports 29-er wheels that provide for easy barrier clearance as well as lovable speed-gaining and retaining while its powerful hydraulic disc brakes present on-a-dime stoppage.
- The bike’s assemblage is a clear-cut undertaking
- This bike is exceptionally strong- from supporting heavyweight riders to chewing steep and technical trails seemingly effortlessly
- The bike runs extremely smoothly with near perfect gear shift and reliable disc brakes that work efficiently even in the most demanding conditions
- It's a quality, sturdy and durable bike that's guaranteed value for your money.
- The bike’s stock seat is like a torture device and usually calls for an upgrade
- It requires extensive tuning of brakes, derailleur and shifters after initial assembly.
The diamondback overdrive 29" hardtail mountain bike is the way to go for any mountain biker keen to experience 1st hand the unequaled thrill of speeding through technical trails or participating in Cross Country racing. It's also the best hardtail mountain bike regarding obstacle clearance.
Diamondback Bicycles Lux ST Women’s Hardtail Mountain Bike
Designed and built by Diamondback for hardtail a feminine cyclist, this mtb features a hydroformed lightweight and durable women-specific aluminum frame and a low-slung top tube for the best in standover clearance. It also contains an 80mm Suntour XCT front suspension fork with preload adjust for bump cushioning while its 27.5-inch wheels provide ample speeds and levitated control. In addition, the cycle contains women-specific Devine edition handlebars and their grips as well as mtb saddle. Further, this hardtail is equipped with disc brakes to avail the much-needed stopping power in a blink as well as a commendable mix of Suntour and Shimano components in its drivetrain for optimal trail exploration.
- At its price tag, it’s exceptionally fair-priced in comparison to other bikes in its class
- With a quick-release front wheel as well as almost complete per-assembly before shipping, putting together this bike is a walk in the park
- It sports knobby and wide mtb tires for improved traction in challenging terrains like loose gravel and slippery paved roads among others
- This is a solid hardtail sporting a majority of parts present in higher-end hardtails so you are assured of getting more than your investment’s worth upon purchase
- With its smooth gear shift and efficient brakes, this cycle is extraordinary in performance.
- The bike’s stock seat (saddle) is too narrow and hard for long rides especially if you have wide-spaced seat bones
- It doesn’t ship with a kickstand installed
- The bike is designed for women or teen riders in the height range of 5’7” and 5’10” so it’s a no-ride for taller or heavier-set cyclists.
The Diamondback Bicycles Lux ST Women’s Hardtail Mountain Bike is one of the most nimble female hardtail mtbs available. It not only handles averagely challenging wild trails lovably but also performs silkily on roads, parks and off-roads. With its flexible design geared at accommodating several sizes of women cyclists, it perhaps has the most appetizing hardtail mountain bike reviews for intermediate-level female bikers looking to experience the thrill of a hardtail first hand.
Diamondback Bicycles Overdrive Sport Hardtail Mountain Bike
The price of this beast is deceptive of the forest of its qualities. The bike is built with a hand-formed aluminum alloy hard tail mountain bike frame, custom-made and butted tubing and a 100mm SR Suntour front suspension fork with lockout for optimal shock sop-up. For propulsion, this 27.5-inch hardtail contains a 27-speed Shimano drivetrain while its stoppage is optimized by powerful hydraulic disc brakes on both wheels.
- Compared to the specs it presents, this bike is a definite, if not more, worthy of purchase at the stipulated cost
- Most of the bike’s parts are solid and high grade thus exceptionally durable even in the face of rough handling
- It features solidly dependable hydraulic brakes
- With its 27.5” wheels, it provides great traction in close-cut maneuvers, accelerates commendably and is a darling in handling
- Its 27-speed drivetrain provides for smooth cycling in all manner of slopes, making this bike the unrivaled best hardtail mountain bike in performance.
- The brake and gear cables are sadly low-grade
- The rear derailleur’s jock wheel is made of plastic, making it somewhat inefficient in gear shift besides lowering its durability
- It requires some intricate tune-up, especially after the first assembly and after the first few rides.
The Diamondback Bicycles Overdrive Sport Hardtail Mountain Bike is arguably the most plausible mtb choice for any mountain biker looking for a suitable hardtail tandem to serve several biking needs collectively including touring, commuting and Cross Country racing amongst others. With its efficient integrations, its shortcomings notwithstanding, you can never go wrong with this one.
#4. Diamondback Bicycles Lux Women's Hardtail Mountain Bike
This women hardtail tandem is designed with a Lux 27.5 women-specific Butted 6061-T6 Aluminum frame built with super low TT for increased clearance. The frame is mated with an 80mm soft travel spring SR Suntour front fork for lovable shock absorption in the front. Further, the bike sports SR Suntour XCT cranks and 27.5” mtb wheels composed of 32h double walled rims and 27.5 x 2.1 tires. For braking, this bike is equipped with Tektro Aries mechanical disc brakes on both wheels.
- Assembling this women’s hardtail is a walk in the park
- The bike’s Tektro Aries mechanical disc brakes provide reliable stoppage wherever, whenever
- Its alluring aesthetics are a stand-out in any hardtail collection
- Built with a women-specific frame, this bike is ideal for biking by ladies as well as short men and kids
- The bike is exceptionally light thus easy for female cyclists to handle.
- Made with a small women-specific frame, this bike can’t be comfortably ridden by heavyset and tall riders
- Its mechanical disc brakes are considerably more challenging to maintain than rim brakes.
The Diamond Lux women’s hardtail mtb is one of the most pocket-friendly hardtails available in the market today. With its colorful plethora of perks, it’s a commendably easier and smoother ride in contrast to other bikes in its range. It will doubtlessly serve any female entry-level hardtail cyclist quite commendably.
#5. 17” Sundeal M1 26” Hardtail mountain bike
Manufactured by Ideal, this hardtail mtb weighs approximately 31.75 lbs and is made with Tig welded 6061 T4/T6 heat-treated custom PG tube frame with water bottle mounts and rack mounts on the rear dropouts mated with a Sundeal 1-1/8” straight front suspension fork. It features 26” 26mm double wall Sundeal allow rims, 640mm wide cranks and a Shimano MF-TZ21 7-speed freewheel. Further, the bike contains a 3-speed Shimano Tourney ST-EF40 -7R front derailleur and a 7-speed Shimano Tourney RD-TX35 rear derailleur. In addition, this cycle is built with Sundeal 6061 alloy handlebars with rubber lock-on grips as well as a Sundeal alloy seat-post and clamp. Winzip Mechanical disc brakes equipped with 160mm rotor grips provide this bike’s reliable stopping power.
- This bike comes with a myriad of ride-complementary components including a water bottle holder and rack mounts
- Its gears shift smoothly to provide easy pedaling in any slope and numerous terrain
- The bike handles responsively owing to the sure-grip quick-response 26-nch wide wheels
- It sports extremely receptive mechanical disc brakes that provide on-the-spot- stopping
- This bike possesses out-of-the book looks which make it an easy spot amidst several other hard tail mtbs.
- The bike’s initial seat post is extremely uncomfortable thus will require an upgrade
- Unlike rim brakes, the bike’s mechanical disc brakes call for complex maintenance.
Though the 17” Sundeal M1 26” Hardtail mountain bike isn’t a high-end option, it sports a commendable number of solid benefits in gear shift, braking and aesthetics. Given, it's the best hard tail mountain bike with emphasis on affordability.
#6. Diamondback Bicycles Mason Trail Hardtail Mountain Bike
Built by Diamondback, this hardtail mtb features a low-slung and slack butted aluminum mountain frame enjoined to a 120mm front suspension fork. It derives its speeds from a 1 x 10 Shimano drivetrain while its 27.5 plus wheels offer lovable acceleration, momentum retention and easy obstacle clearance besides providing unparalleled shock soak-up. Where its wide handlebars provide for comfort in riding, its Tektro hydraulic brakes are the bike’s stopping mechanism.
- The bike’s 27.5+ wheels not only offer swift response while maneuvering tight turns and speeding but also roll over obstacles and loose roads and trail surfaces smoothly
- The Tektro hydraulic brakes are a milestone ahead in performance when compared to rim brakes
- The bike’s 120mm front suspension is commendable in shock-muzzling
- This bike is ridiculously low-priced thus is an easy purchase for many hardtail mtb enthusiasts.
- A majority of the bike’s parts are low-grade thus easily get broken or malfunction. You will have to shell out sizeable sums for repair, replacement or better, upgrade to better parts.
- Though the bike’s hydraulic brakes are exceptionally efficient than v-brakes, their maintenance is also quite arduous.
The Diamondback Bicycles Mason Trail Hardtail Mountain Bike is one of the best entry level hardtail mtbs in performance and looks. It’s not only unequaled in trail exploration where close cuts are commonplace but also ranks among the cream of hardtails with commendable Cross Country (XC) capabilities.
7. Piranha 7-speed Boy’s Hardtail Mountain Bike
Manufactured by Cycle Force Group, this boys’ hardtail features a lightweight aluminum frame joined with a front suspension fork. Its wheels are made of 24 x 1.95” Hardpack mtb tires and aluminum rims while its braking system is composed of aluminum V-brakes and levers. Further, the bike’s drivetrain is formed of a 3-piece crank, 7-speed Shimano derailleur and Microshift twist shifters. In addition, it sports a kickstand, quill stem and reflector bars as well as a quick-release seat-post clamp.
- The bike is lightweight thus ideal for light riders like boys and young females
- The small 24-inch wheels provide for epic handling in performing close-cut moves
- This boys’ hardtail is extremely low-cost thus affordable by anyone keen to acquire it for their kid
- Its Microshift twist gear shifters allow the rider to effectively transition through the 7 speeds with minimal glitches.
- The bike’s 24” wheels are an impediment to fast-paced cycling
- Sadly, this bike is only suitable for kids of up to mid-set body size
The Piranha 7-speed Boy’s Hardtail Mountain Bike is the ultimate hardtail choice for girls and boys entering the world of Hardtail Mountain biking at an early age. It can be effectively utilized as a commuter bike, tour bike or a racing bike around the block or off to off-roads and wild trails. With its rainbow of perks, it qualifies among the cream of hardtail mtbs in the kid’s category with emphasis on affordability, ease of riding and operational efficiency.
8. Steppenwolf Men’s Tundra Pro Hardtail Mountain Bike
Also a product of Cycle Force Group, this rigid-back 2-wheeler takes mountain biking to a whole new level. Formed with an 18.5-inch ultra light triple butted aluminum X6 frame linked to a Rockshox Reba rl 100mm front suspension fork, it ships 99% preassembled. While its drivetrain encompasses Alfine 8 rapid-fire shifters and a Shimano XT 175 mm crank set, its braking mechanism features front and rear rim brakes. Further, this hardtail rolls on mach 1M240 wheels featuring Schwalbe marathon tires and Shimano spokes.
- The bike comes 99% factory-assembled so you needn’t huff and puff in its assemblage
- Its powerful front suspension cushions the rider from any hard bumps and potholes
- Its sturdy Schwalbe marathon tires are designed for all-terrain biking
- Made with a steep steering angle and a short posterior end, it offers unequaled agility in hardtail mtb riding
- Its lovesome 27.5” wheels are the epitome of balance between commendable maneuverability and acceleration capabilities
- The bike’s rim brakes are a step-down from disc brakes found in other bikes in this guide
- Made with an 18.5-inch frame, the bike may not particularly seat very tall or extremely short bikers.
Regarding ease of assemblage, the Steppenwolf Men’s Tundra Pro Hardtail Mountain Bike beats all others pants down to emerge the epitome of rigid-backed mtbs. With its 99% preassembly, this tandem revels in some of the most dense hardtail mountain bike reviews across the globe.
#9. 15” Sundeal M7 26” Hardtail Mountain Bike
Weighing around 30.9lbs, this hardtail cycle is built with a Tig welded 6061 aluminum frame enriched with fender (rack) and water bottle mounts linked to a 100mm manual coil lockout Suntour XCM-HLO-26-100 front suspension fork. While its 26” wheels features 26mm (outer) Kenda Kick back clincher-tube tires with 27mm width and 26” double wall Sundeal Alloy rims, its drivetrain encompasses a Shimano Altus 3-speed front derailleur and Shimano Altus 9-speed rear derailleur. In addition, the bike boasts a Sundeal 6061 alloy handlebars as well as 620mm Sundeal 6061 alloy cranks. Further, its deceleration is served by Shimano BR/BL-M355 hydraulic disc brakes with 10mm rotor grips on both wheels.
- At 30.9 lbs, the bike is uniquely light thus conducive for riding by even small-bodied and female cyclists
- Its hydraulic disc brakes offer reliable on-a dime stopping in any ride weather or road conditions
- The bike, built with a welded aluminum frame, is extraordinarily sturdy
- Its wide wheels offer the rider unquestionable stability during close maneuvers and while riding at top speeds
- Its 3 x 9-derailleurs present the cyclist with laudably smooth pedaling in all manner of slope
- Made with a 15” frame, this bike can only comfortably serve small-bodied riders
- Its components require in-depth tuning and may even necessitate a visit to a trusty bike shop for assembly, repair and truing.
With its profusion of colorful components, the 15” Sundeal M7 26” Hardtail Mountain Bike is debatably the cream of hardtail mtbs in the market today. Also, it can be rightly employed in commuting, touring or XC competitions with alluring outcomes.
#10. Airborne Seeker 29” Hardtail Mountain Bike
Made by Airborne |Bicycles, this bike features a hydroformed 6061-T6 aluminum frame mated with a Rockshox Recon TK Gold front suspension fork with lockout. Its 29er wheels consist of Vee Tire Co XCV 29-inch x 2.25-inch tires, Weinmann Disc Bull double wall rims and disc hubs encompassing sealed cartridge bearings. Further, it lays claim to a SRAM X5 2 x 10 drivetrain and Avid Elixir 1 hydraulic brakes. In addition, the bike attests to the presence of a 2 x 10 SRAM x 5 top pull and mid-cage front and rear derailleurs respectively that are linked to trigger shifters.
- It’s utterly sturdy, thanks to the powerful hydro-formed frame and high-end parts in its structure
- This bike accelerates almost effortlessly and keeps to the established speed (momentum) until you want it to decelerate or stop- the large 29-inch wheels are responsible for this
- With its extra-large wheels, it easily rolls over loose chipping and other road blockages
- With its sealed bearings in the hubs, maintenance is a breeze as hardly any dust or water finds its way to the wheels’ movables.
- Putting this bike together for the first time calls for a professional hand to assembly and fine-tune all parts
- At 42 pounds, it’s considerably heavier than its hardtail counterparts in this list.
Armed with its smooth-operating movables, sturdy frame and efficient front suspension fork, the Airborne Seeker 29” Hardtail Mountain Bike is a very capable hardtail that will serve beginner, intermediate level and pro hardtail bikes lovably.
Why choose a hardtail over rigid or full suspension mtbs?
Though each of the aforementioned types of mountain bikes presents the rider colorful perks in their own light, hardtails are preferred by some cyclists who point out the following easily discernible advantages:
- In comparison to their dual suspension counterparts, they are noticeably simpler in make thus easier to maintain- clean, store, assemble and tune.
- Their lack of rear suspension implies they are more involving in handling than dual suspension mtbs, making them an ideal option for you to learn biking in technical trails.
- A hardtail is usually lighter than a similar full suspension 2-wheeler thus easier to ride and whisk around.
- They are comparatively more affordable than full suspension mountain bicycles thus are just right for cyclists who are freshly immersing themselves in the world of mountain biking.
- Hardtails are extremely efficient in some biking verticals like extremely steep up-hill cycling, Cross Country racing and touring as well as commuting on smooth to mildly exigent roads, off-roads and trails where full suspension is but an unneeded feature.
Chief concerns to factor in prior to hardtail mtb purchase
Purchasing a suitable hardtail can be an easy and amusing or complicated and nerve-yanking undertaking depending on your approach. Given, conducting in-depth due diligence should see you clear of the challenging aspects of such a purchase. To further, ease your process and nudge you closer to the best hardtail mountain bike, this guide has outlined all crucial factors of consideration.
Purpose of mountain biking
The first rule of thumbs when seeking a fitting hardtail bike is to first identify your riding style. What’s the predominant purpose of your bike? You could be scouring the bike market for your first hardtail tandem, looking for a plausible upgrade from your current hardtail so you can experience faster rides or seeking a reliable hardtail cycle for daily commuting. Whatever the case, coming clear regarding your cycling purpose should enable you find an apt bike choice.
Being the backbone of all bikes, the frame is the chassis onto which all other bike accessories are attached, making it one of the most important bike parts. It’s also worth noting that the frame’s dynamics is all that stands in the way of your rear and the unsympathetic bumps you hit as you cycle so you may want to settle for not only a powerful and durable from but also one which possesses commendable shock muzzling capabilities. There are several frame materials you can choose from- steel, aluminum, carbon fiber and titanium. However, most hardtails are designed with alloy or carbon frames.
Further, you must pay attention to the size and build (position/shape) of the frame if you want to find the most fitting hardtail for your needs. Long-legged riders are best served by hardtails with high men’s frames while kids, shorter men and female hardtail mtb cyclists find optimal pedaling comfort and efficiency in bikes manufactured with low-sweeping women mtb frames.
Wheel structure and size
Being the single point of contact between your bike and the ground, mtb wheels are among the most elemental parts of a hardtail mtb worthy of critical observance before purchasing. They not only influence the performance of your bike but also have a sizeable cut in determining the overall cost of purchasing it. While single-walled rims are cheap and considerably weak, their double-walled equivalents are notably more costly and, admirably, sturdier. You should also pay attention to the rim composition- aluminum rims are usually frail and ridiculously cheap whereas aluminum alloy and steel choices are brawnier and longer-lasting but pricier.
Today, most hardtail bicycles ship with either 27.5” or 29er wheels, the formerly dominant 26-inch wheels being slowly pushed into the shadows of oblivion. Where the 27.5-inch option offers exceptionally lithe maneuverability and acceleration, 29-inch wheels on the other hand present more stability, easier boundary clearance and maintain the bike’s momentum quite admirably. Although the size of the bike you settle for majorly relies on the terrain and purpose of your endeavor, your size is also a factor worthy of merit- short riders are best served by the 27.5” option whereas their taller compatriots find the larger 29-er wheels a better fit.
As aforementioned, hardtails have fixed rear forks and flexible front forks. If your ride style entails exploring off-roads and trails then you’ll need to pay keener attention to your preferential hardtail’s front suspension mechanism. Cheap low-end front suspensions feature lean stanchions, sport minimal adjustment and are oftentimes deformed by rough handling. Conversely, higher-end options contain firmer stanchions and a cornucopia of external adjustments like air springs for optimal shock-smoothing. Sadly, the latter are more costly than the former.
Speed is contagious- as you progress on your mountain biking, you’ll inevitably find yourself pushing your hardtail tandem to speeds you formerly dreaded. Soon you’ll realize speeding comes at a hefty cost if your cycle’s brakes are unreliable. There are two major types of mtb brakes- linear pull rim and disc brakes. Where the former are commonplace, exceptionally affordable and easy to maintain, the latter are rarer, more costly and considerably more involving in maintenance. Disc brakes are also more efficient than their rim counterparts especially in extreme rid conditions like during foul weather and in very aggressive trails as well as extremely steep downhill biking.
Handy tips to obtain the cream of hardtail mtbs
Are you looking to buy your first hardtail mtb, gift a loved one or purchase a commuter bike to serve as a daily physical workout? The pre-purchase tips listed below will guide you to the best hard tail mountain bike reviews where you can identify a plausible bike choice.
- Look into the bike’s assemblage before purchasing or ordering. Some bikes come partially assembled and are thus easy to put together with basic bike assembly skills and tools while others ship extensively dismantled and may require you to visit a professional bike shop for assembly and truing.
- Ensure your choice of hardtail tandem is properly insured and has a valid warranty. These will come in handy if your precious cargo gets mashed up, stolen, lost en route or if you need to replace some components.
- Look into previous reviews stenciled by past buyers, riders and owners of the hardtail mtb you have your hand on.
- If you are looking to purchase your favorite hardtail from a local bike shop, you can test-ride, dismantle and reassemble a similar cycle in preparation for your very own!
- Design a budget to demarcate your boundaries as you hunt for your preferred hardtail. This will not only keep you from reckless spur-of-the-moment purchase but also keep you from being overwhelmed by the limitless choice.
There you have it- a profound review of the top ten hardtails as ridden by several cyclists, reviewed by our bikers then compiled by our zealous authors and editors. Hopefully this guide has been the proverbial ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ in seeking the best hardtail mountain bike that will adequately serve your precise biking needs.