Hardtail vs. Full Suspension Mountain Bikes – A Detailed Comparison

A mountain bike or an MTB is a kind of bicycle made for rough, uneven roads or mountains. These are bikes for all the off-roading enthusiasts. It has a powerful body frame, which gives it the strength to endure all the hard surfaces.

These bikes contain many gears for climbing up the steep slopes. Mountain bikes are of three types – rigid, hardtail, and full suspension. The most common confusion arises between choosing a hardtail bike or a full suspension to get a cheap and suitable one according to your biking experience. Thus, the following article on hardtail vs. full suspension mountain bikes.

To get a better understanding of the best mountain bike suitable for you, before learning about hardtail vs. full suspension mountain bikes, we shall first understand some things about both products in detail.

hardtail vs. full suspension mountain bikes

What is a Hardtail Mountain Bike?

These bikes are adaptable to all kinds of riding turfs and are lightweight. Hardtail bikes are more suited for novice riders. It contains tight forks and a front suspension, but it doesn’t come with a rear shock. These kinds of bikes are all undemanding of any maintenance. These come in two different body frames of steel and aluminum with narrow tires that require fidelity while off-roading.

There are two variants of brakes in the bikes: The first variant is mechanical disc brakes, which are economical, waterproof, and do not require any special maintenance. The second variant is the hydraulic brakes, which are automated and provide a guided braking system as they have a stronghold.

Hardtail mountain bikes come in three different types: 1. XC Hardtails; 2. Trail; 3. Enduro Electric.

What is a Full Suspension Mountain Bike?

Full suspension is the kind of mountain bike that provides you with both front and rear suspension. This results in you having a better ride. As the name suggests, it is perfect for terrain regions and not-so-good roads. The control and comfort provided by the full suspension mountain bike make your journey fun and easy.

With a full-suspension mountain bike, you never have to worry about a cross country ride. The tires of this kind of bike are big and uneven. Full suspension mountain bikes are best if you are a bike enthusiast and want to become a skillful rider.

Now let’s look at the hardtail vs. full suspension mountain bikes comparison. This further information would surely help you when you are confused amongst the two mountain bikes to look for and purchase the most suitable one with all the needful elements you want to have in your very own mountain bike!

Comparison Hardtail VS Full Suspension Mountain Bikes

Following are the points you can compare about both of the bike categories to get a better understanding and make a suitable choice:

  • What are the Components?
  • How does the framework help?
  • Is there a Bottle carrier?
  • The faster one wins
  • While climbing the hills
  • Which one is lightweight/easy to carry around?
  • Let’s talk about the cost.
  • What about maintenance?

These 8 points must have surely come to your mind as you started to think about the comparison between these two. Let’s have a closer look at all of them, in brief, to find out the winner of the comparison of the hardtail vs. full suspension mountain bikes:

What are the Components?

When looking to buy a mountain bike, the most important component of any mountain bike is the front fork, which is present in both of these classified bikes, and they provide a better hold of the bike when going off-road. The bike’s body frame defines the weight and the flexibility of the bike, which in comparison to these two bikes, is known to be better in the hardtail due course of its lightweight steel body frame.

The next factor is the handlebar, which is a broad one in the full suspension MTB. The wheels of the bike also impact the performance. On having a more detailed inspection of the wheels, it was concluded that hardtails have a lightweight rim, which is more long-lasting.

Gears help control the speed and riding uphill; hardtails provide a smoother gear transmission than the full suspension MTBs providing a better suspension.


To summarize the bikes’ comparison based on components, we can have hardtails as the better option. The hardtail provides a better framework, lightweight body, long-lasting wheel rims, better braking, and suspension.

Winner: Hardtail

How does the framework help?

The frame game is one of the important aspects of the bike, and it lays the major foundation of the performance. The comparison between the hardtail and the full suspension mountain bikes in terms of the framework gives information about the expensive yet more built to last functioning frame of the full suspension. In contrast, the hardtail can’t take up the fight because of the lightweight and the absence of the rear shock, which comes in hand with the full suspension.


It is very clear to go with the full suspension when looking for the framework. The full suspension is the game changer with the rear shock and the rich frame.

Winner: Full suspension

Is there a Bottle carrier?

A long ride on your bike would surely stop you for a sip of energy, and this facility can be seen in the hardtails as they come with a bottle holder with them.


Hardtails take the lead here with the storing capacity of a sipper.

Winner: Hardtail

The faster one wins.

An old saying is that “slow and steady wins the race.” But in today’s world, who would like to be slow? The front and rear suspension of the full suspension mountain bike plays a great role in providing you with the speed you need. Both its suspension absorbs all the bumps on your roadway and make you fast.


Hardtail is not that much of a speed provider when it comes to the comparison of full-suspension mountain bikes.

Winner: Full suspension

While climbing the hills!

When riding uphill, the lightweight factor about the hardtail helps a lot. But the front tire is always kept to stick with the ground with the best in the class suspension of the full suspension. Although a bit of extra strength is needed but the grip is to be considered more.


For this segment, both bikes are fine, but for better safety measures, you must consider full suspension.

Winner: Full suspension

Which one is lightweight/easy to carry around?

Lightweight bikes are easy to carry around. If your ride consists of lots of traveling and climbing, then a bike having less weight is what you need. A lightweight bike can be carried around anywhere. You can carry it for long ways or even in your car.

Hardtail bikes have a simple design. They have few parts which make them light in weight. While, on the other hand, full-suspension mountain bikes have a framework of heavy parts, including the front and rear suspension. The complicated design of full suspension mountain bikes makes them heavy.


Hardtails, because of their simple design, is lightweight in comparison to the full-suspension mountain bike, which is many times heavier than hardtails. Clearly, our winner in this feature is a hardtail

Winner: Hardtail

Let’s talk about the cost.

Low cost and durability are what we look for in any product. The design of the hardtail costs much less than the full-suspension mountain bike. The components used in it are of low cost, and thus its manufacturing is not much costly.

Therefore, you get to avail yourself of a hardtail bike at a much lower cost than the full suspension mountain bike. You can get a used full suspension mountain bike at the same price as a new hardtail. But riding a new one has its fun, right?


If you are looking for a low-cost bike with high durability, then no doubt, hardtail is the winner of this feature.

Winner: Hardtail

What about maintenance?

As you know, the full-suspension mountain bike’s manufacturing cost is higher, making it high in maintenance. The less costly framework and components make it less expensive as well as low maintenance.


The moving parts in the hardtail are less, making it low in maintenance. Hardtail is the winner here.

Winner: Hardtail


Considering the whole hardtail vs. full suspension mountain bikes, the conclusion can be made upon choosing the full suspension MTB as the winner for providing the rear suspension and traction provided for climbing up the hills safely. The speedy full-suspension wins it all. Still, hardtails should be considered for those who don’t want to go that rough as a professional rider and stay within the budget.

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