9 times out of 10 if I’m going out on the mountain bikes then my Santa Cruz Bronson, my full suspension bike, usually gets picked. However, on recent rides, I’ve been taking my Orange hardtail out for a spin.
I love a good looking hardtail, especially ones with a good amount of travel up front. However, because I don’t ride one much, it does take me a little bit of time to get back into the swing of how they handle. When out riding on the rough stuff, I expect the bike to bounce in the middle and soak up the smaller bumps along the trail.
When it comes to riding my hardtail, that doesn’t happen. Towards the back of the bike, you feel most, if not all, of the bumps and it doesn’t do much of the work for you if you get it wrong. However, it still puts a massive smile on my face once I get used to it.
Riding a full suspension bike can make your technique lazy. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t ride one, but certainly riding a hardtail highlights the bad techniques you may have developed. You start to take the bikes ability to smooth out the trail for granted. Hardtails don’t have that ability. You either get it right or pay for it. Either in comfort or speed. Or both.
On a hardtail, you have to be a little bit more on the ball with the trail up ahead. It makes you think about picking your lines. Trying to make the trail as smooth as possible. One thing you learn pretty quickly is to remember to use your knees to absorb the bumps.
My riding style changes too. When on the Santa Cruz I know that I can, more or less, point it in vaguely the right direction and all will be fine. Not with the hardtail. I also have to remember that it doesn’t have a dropper post. Something that, when I don’t have it, I miss greatly. It’s not that I can’t ride without one, it’s just extremely useful. Still, learning to ride with a high saddle between your legs is quite fun. After all, the XC riders still do it.
At the end of the day, I’m out riding my bike, and I always marvel at how well my hardtail copes with what I throw at it.
Who loves riding a hardtail?
Until next time.
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