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Mountain Bike Dual Suspension vs Hardtail

Mountain terrain can be rough most of the time, this is where suspension comes into play, this article discusses the difference between mountain bike dual suspension and hardtail.

Hardtail mountain bike and a water bottle.

Mountain biking is a fun and vigorous sport that has many different styles and variations. One of the biggest decisions a mountain biker has to make is choosing between a hardtail and dual suspension bike.

In this article, we will explore the differences between these two types of mountain bikes in terms of features, materials, design, durability, cost, and more.

What’s the difference between mountain bike dual suspension and hardtail? And which is best for you? Read more to find out.

What Is Mountain Bike Dual Suspension?

Mountain bike with dual suspension.

Mountain bike dual suspension, also known as full suspension, is a type of mountain bike that features both front and rear suspension. That means there are two shock absorbers on the bike, one in the front and one in the back.

The front suspension is typically a fork set, while the rear suspension is usually a frame shock.

Dual suspension mountain bikes are designed to handle more difficult terrain and provide a smoother ride than their hardtail counterparts.

What Is Mountain Bike Hardtail?

A hardtail mountain bike is a type of mountain bike that only has front suspension. That means there is only one shock absorber on the bike, and it’s located in the front fork.

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Hardtail mountain bikes are typically lighter and less expensive than their dual suspension counterparts.

However, they are also not as capable of handling rough terrain and providing a smooth ride.

How Are They Different?

A person biking on a rocky terrain.

There are a few key ways in which mountain bike dual suspension and hardtail differ.

Shock Absorbers

One of the most notable differences is in the number of shock absorbers.

As we mentioned, dual suspension bikes have two shocks while hardtail mountain bikes only have one.

Why Use Shock Absorbers on a bike? Such absorbers serve an important purpose in mountain biking. They help to absorb the impact of bumps and obstacles on the trail, providing a smoother ride for the rider.

They also help to keep the wheels in contact with the ground, which is important for traction and control.

Weight

If you prefer a lighter bike, opt for a hardtail mountain bike.

Dual suspension bikes tend to be heavier due to the extra shock absorber and other components.

However, the weight difference is not usually significant, so it’s not a major factor to consider unless you’re a competitive rider.

Design Features

Another significant difference is in the overall design. Dual suspension bikes are designed with more complex suspension systems that allow them to handle more difficult terrain.

Hardtail mountain bikes, on the other hand, are typically simpler in design and not as capable of handling rough terrain.

Pedals

Dual suspension mountain bikes usually have platform pedals, while hardtail mountain bikes often have clipless pedals.

Material Differences

There are also some differences in the materials used to make these two types of mountain bikes.

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Dual suspension mountain bikes typically have aluminum frames, while hardtail mountain bikes often have steel frames.

The difference between such materials is that aluminum is lighter but also more expensive, while steel is heavier but cheaper.

Tires

The tires on dual suspension and hardtail mountain bikes also differ slightly. Dual suspension bikes usually have wider tires that are designed for tackling more difficult terrain.

Hardtail mountain bikes typically have narrower tires that are better suited for less challenging trails.

Tires size may average around 2.3 to 2.5 inches for a dual suspension bike and 1.9 to 2.1 inches for a hardtail mountain bike.

Cost

One of the main factors that people consider when choosing between a hardtail and dual suspension bike is cost. Generally speaking, dual suspension bikes are more expensive than hardtail mountain bikes.

However, there are a wide range of prices for both types of bikes, so it’s important to shop around to find the best deal.

You may pay as little as $476 for a hardtail bike while high-end dealers with the best bikes will sell them for almost $14000.

A decent entry level dual suspension bike may cost around $780 but prices can vary greatly.

Benefits of Mountain Bike Dual Suspension

Mountain bikers on a dirt road.

are a few key benefits that come with choosing a mountain bike dual suspension over a hardtail.

Smoother Ride

One of the biggest benefits is that you’ll enjoy a smoother ride.

This is due to the fact that dual-suspension bikes have two shock absorbers that help to absorb the impact of bumps and obstacles.

This means that you won’t feel every little bump in the trail, making for a more comfortable ride.

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Better Control

Another benefit of mountain bike dual suspension is that it provides better control. This is because the shocks help to keep the wheels in contact with the ground, providing more traction.

This is especially beneficial when riding on rough terrain where it’s easy to lose control.

Better Suspension

As we mentioned earlier, dual suspension bikes have more complex suspension systems that are designed to handle more difficult terrain.

This means that you’ll be able to take on more challenging trails without losing comfort.

Benefits of Mountain Bike Hardtail

A biker with blue jersey near a creek.

Some benefits come with choosing a mountain bike hardtail over a dual suspension.

Cheaper

One of the main benefits of hardtail mountain bikes is that they are typically cheaper than dual suspension bikes.

This is because they have a simpler design and don’t have as many features.

If you’re on a budget, a hardtail mountain bike is a great option.

Lighter Weight

Another benefit of hardtail mountain bikes is that they are usually lighter in weight.

Despite having a steel frame, hardtail mountain bikes are typically lighter than their dual suspension counterparts.

The lack of complex features is one of the reasons why they are lighter in weight. It can be beneficial if you’re planning on doing a lot of climbing.

This is because it will be easier to carry your bike when you’re not riding.

Greater Efficiency

One final benefit of hardtail mountain bikes is that they are more efficient.

This is because all of the power from your pedaling goes directly to the wheels.

There is no energy lost in the suspension system, making hardtail mountain bikes more efficient.

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This can be beneficial if you’re looking to ride fast and cover a lot of ground.

Final Thoughts About Hardtail Vs Dual Suspension

A man choosing mountain bike in the store.

In conclusion, both types of bikes have benefits. So, what’s the best option for you? It really depends on your personal preferences and needs. Riders that are looking for a bike that can handle more difficult trails should opt for a dual suspension.

On the other hand, those that are on a budget or looking for a lighter weight bike should consider a hardtail mountain bike.

No matter which type of bike you choose, you’re sure to enjoy the trails. Just be sure to do your research before making a purchase.