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BUYERS GUIDE TO HARDTAIL MOUNTAIN BIKES

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BUYERS GUIDE TO HARDTAIL MOUNTAIN BIKES

Introduction
This guide hopefully answers some of the questions we regularly get asked and also guides you through the 2016 Hardtail Mountain Bikes we are stocking.

 

Types of Mountain Bike

There are primarily two types of mountain bike - Hardtail and Full Suspension - although there are a couple of other types, rigid MTB’s tend to be at the bottom end of the market using a rigid fork rather than a suspension fork, and there are very few soft tail MTB’s around, as they are a little pointless.

As such all the MTB’s we stock are either Hardtail or Full Suspension. These two categories will cater for a variety of riding; the bike you bomb around Shotover on is unlikely to be the one you want to use descending in Morzine.

 

Which to Buy: Hardtail or Full Suspension?

This very much depends on the type of riding you are planning, and on your budget. Full Suspension prices start around £1500, you can pick up Full Sussers cheaper elsewhere, but these tend to be heavy, or have a poor suspension design.

The entry level Hardtails such as the Specialized Hardrock are suitable for off road riding and for everyday general riding.

Thereafter the bikes start to improve their off road capabilities, increasing components and in some cases the level of aluminium used. Above £1000 the Hardtails tend to fall into two camps, XC Race performance bikes or Trail Hardtails, with longer forks for more playfulness and capable of handling bigger hits.

 

Which Wheel Size?

Once upon a time there was one wheel size: 26 inch. However things progress and first the 29er wheel was introduced, and now the 650b wheel too which have by and large replaced 26" wheels.

The 650b wheel size which offers a similar level of control to the 26" providing handling and playfulness, but rolls faster and clears obstacles with a bit more ease.

The 29er is the primary choice of riders racing XC, as it rolls the fastest of all wheel sizes and clears obstacles with greatest ease. The downside is that it is not quite as nimble as the smaller wheel size.

 

 

Entry Level Hardtails
: Price Range: £350 - £499


Bikes around these price points are ideal for beginners and novice Mountain Bikers, and those wanting an MTB for everyday use and to get around on.

Our range starts with the Specialized Hardrock V 650b at £350, which as the name suggests, is equipped with V-Brakes and uses 650b wheels with Shimano 7 speed shifting for 21 gears.

The Trek range starts at £385 with the Marlin 5. This uses Trek’s Smart Wheel Sizing, fitted with 650b wheels on the two smallest sizes (13.5 & 15.5), and a 29” wheel on the remaining sizes.

The Marlin 5 is equipped with cable disc brakes and Shimano 7 speed shifters for 21 gears with a 10mm travel suspension fork. The next model in the Marlin range is the Marlin 6 (£450) which upgrades to 8 speed shifting, 100mm travel fork and hydraulic discs.

The Specialized Pitch range start with the Pitch (£425) features 8 speed shifting, 100mm suspension fork and cable disc brakes. The Pitch Sport (£500) upgrades to hydraulic disc brakes.

 

Mid Range Hardtails: Price Range: £500 - £1000 

Bikes in this price range get more advanced for recreational off road riding.

The Marlin 7 (£525) is the top of the Marlin range, upgrading to 9 speed shifting with lockout fork and hydraulic discs.

British company Whyte begin their MTB range with the 603 (£525), which uses a 6061 aluminium frame and 650b wheels with 8 speed Shimano shifting and a lockout fork.

Trek’s X-Caliber range uses a lighter weight aluminium than the Marlin range, starting with the X-Caliber 7 (£650), equipped with a RockShox fork, Shimano 9 speed shifting and Shimano hydraulic discs. The X-Caliber 8 (£750) – upgrades to a Sram 2x10 drivetrain and an upgraded fork.

The Specialized Rockhopper Sport 29 (£550) is the first model in the Rockhopper range using 29 inch wheels with hydraulics and a 3x9 drivetrain. The model up from this in the Rockhopper range is the Comp (£700) which has a 2x9 drivetrain and upgrades to a lockout fork.

The Whyte 801 (£750) is a good looking bike using 650b wheels, with 9 speed Shimano shifting and a RockShox 30 Silver Fork. Whyte also offer a 29er at £799, the 529. This is specced like the 801, but with 29er wheels. The Whyte 805 upgrades to a Sram 2x10 drivetrain with fork and brake upgrades too.

 

 

High End Hardtails: Price Range: £1000 +

 

Trek’s Superfly 5 (£1000) uses lighter weight aluminium than the X-Caliber models, with a RockShox Recon Silver Fork and a 2x10 drivetrain for a great bike. The Superfly 9.6 (£1600) uses and OCLV carbon frame for a light, fast and compliant ride with a RockShox Reba fork.

The Whyte 901 (£1199) is different to any of the bikes mentioned so far, as it has a 130mm travel fork for a Trail Hardtail. This bike uses 650b wheels and has a 2x10 drivetrain. The 905 (£1599) is the model up from the 901, with upgraded components and a RockShox Revelation fork.

The Fuse 6Fattie range is designed around a 650b + wheel, using the 650b wheels and tyres with a 3.0 width tyres. These will eat up any terrain! The range starts with the Fuse Comp (£1400) uses an M4 aluminium frame and is equipped with a Shimano 2x10 drivetrain. The Fuse Expert (£1800)  upgrades to a Manitou Magnum Comp fork and a 1x10 drivetrain. The range tops out with the Fuse Pro (£2200) with a RockShox Reba fork and a Sram X1 1x11 drivtrain.

Trek's ProCaliber SL 9.7 features an OCLV carbon frame and the Iso Speed decoupler as pioneered on Trek’s Domane road bikes for a smooth and compliant ride. It features a RockShox Reba RL fork and Sram GX 1x11 drivetrain.

 

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