Best Hardtail Mountain Bike? Top 6 Reviewed

Get out on the trails and let the freedom of the ride take over with a new hardtail mountain bike.

The best hardtail mountain bikes will keep your ride smooth while absorbing bumps and keeping you comfortable. This review and buying guide will leave you feeling confident in your new hardtail mountain bike choice.

Products Reviewed in This Guide

Our best hardtail mountain bike is the BEIOU Carbon Fiber

Last update on 2020-09-26 at 02:24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Hardtail Mountain Bikes – Things You Need To Know

Deciding to get a new bike is the easy part. Now you will need to consider bike features that suit you and your goals. Key considerations are listed below to help you make an informed decision.

Frame Material

The frame is essentially the skeleton of the bike. It provides support and holds up the other parts of the bike. Bike materials come in a variety of materials, each providing a different type of support and benefit.

Aluminum frames are often the most affordable option. They are lightweight, responsive, and, therefore, accelerate quickly. Bumpy roads and long-distance riding can be uncomfortable due to the material’s inability to absorb the bumps.

Carbon fiber is the preferred material amongst most cyclists; however, it comes at a hefty price. High-end bikes have carbon fiber frames due to its light weight and stiffness. It is like a superior version of aluminum. Swift speed, tight turns, and great shock absorption also add to its appeal.

Steel is another common bike material and is the heaviest of them all. This mid-price material creates a smooth ride and is more durable than aluminum. If damaged, steel is also relatively easy to repair. Unlike aluminum, steel is susceptible to corrosion.

Titanium is a common choice for custom bike builders due to its improved similarities to steel. It is resistant to corrosion, yet maintains the strength that attracts some to steel. Perhaps the most versatile of the materials, titanium, is relatively lightweight and durable. Titanium is the best material for the average user who wants the versatility and freedom of traversing a variety of distances and terrains.

Wheels

There are a variety of wheel options available for hardtails. Hardtails can be customized, however, and it is not uncommon to have a bike that allows you to swap out these options to suit your needs.

The most common option you will find is 29-inch models. Mountain bikes are often fitted with this option, but this tends to be changing as people get wheels that are more suited to their height. If you are on the shorter side, you will likely do better with the 27.5-inch option.

Another common size that you will find is 27.5-inches, which is the preferred choice for shorter individuals. It is taller than 26-inch wheels, so it is a nice middle ground. Since the wheel circumference is smaller, the wheel itself is strengthened and reinforced.

Some other options include plus-size that are about 2.7-inches or wider or even fat tires that are over 3-inches. Wider tires tend to do well on rough terrain as they spread more over the ground for better traction and stability.

Brakes

The brakes are vitally important to your safety when hardtail biking. When you are speeding through mountain trails, taking sharp turns, or cruising the streets, the ability to slow down and stop relies on good brakes. The more powerful the brake, the faster they can slow you down.

Mechanical brakes are outdated, and most professionals will recommend getting a bike with hydraulic disc brakes.

The design of the brakes is important, but rotor size also helps determine the power of the brakes. The most common diameter size for rotors are as follows: 160mm, 180mm, 200mm, and 203mm. Different bikes use different rotor sizes, so this will vary based on the bike you choose.

Brake pads that are made from good material also work to prevent the build-up of heat. On long descents, this will prevent your brakes from fading.

Keep an eye on your brakes as you use them for natural wear and tear. Get them replaced at the earliest sign of deterioration.

Gears

If you are not biking savvy, the gears involve the chains and the spinning cogs. Some bikes will have two chains, while others just have a single one. Along the back, there can be as many as 12 cogs.

Shopping online or even looking at specifications on cards in a store, they may use terminology that you are not family with to describe the number of chains and cogs. These are usually represented by two numbers. The first digit is the number of chains and the second number is the cogs. For example, a bike with one chain and eleven cogs will be represented with this number: 1×11.

The cogs will determine how many gears you can shift while traveling. Setups with 1×11 are quite common since this provides you with more gears that you can use to navigate mountain terrains.

Suspension

One of the classic features of a hardtail bike is the suspension fork. This allows for traveling over greater distances and aids in keeping you comfortable. This is important to understand before making your purchase so you get a bike that will fit your needs and lifestyle.

Most hardtail bikes have a suspension fork between 100mm and 140mm of travel. The more aggressive the bike, the longer the fork will be to absorb more impacts.

For those traveling on mountain trails, longer forks will handle this terrain smoothly. However, some people prefer shorter forks because this allows you to feel more feedback. Knowing your bike and how it handles terrain is vital to your safety since you can anticipate how the rear will react and what you need to do to keep going.

Full suspension bikes allow even greater travel ability. The behavior between the front and rear end of the bike will differ based on what you choose.

Along with several other aspects of your bike’s overall durability and your safety, you should take it to a professional shop to get it serviced on a regular basis.

Best Hardtail Mountain Bikes Reviewed

1. BEIOU Carbon Fiber 27.5 Mountain Bike

This mountain bike is something unlike you’ve ever seen at your local bike store. The carbon fiber frame makes it much lighter than other bikes, even those with aluminum frames (which are widely considered some of the most lightweight bikes available).

That makes it even easier to pick up if you need to bring it inside. If you’re someone that really likes to ride off the beaten path, you’ll love being able to lift this bike up onto the rack on your car to get to the trails.

It has a great, standout design. The paint seems to hold up really well too, even after taking it on a ton of rides in rough terrain and bad weather.

It’s designed to cover all the riding capability that pros need in a mountain bike, but it’s also user-friendly enough for a new or casual rider. All around, this bike is the total package; it’s high quality and performs well, without busting the bank.

Key Features:

  • Lightweight and durable carbon fiber frame 
  • Includes internal cable routing and hidden disc brake 
  • Built with 27 ½” air suspension fork 
  • Hardtail mountain bike design 
  • Arrives mostly assembled (seat post, handlebars, and front wheel only need to be assembled)

Pros:

  • Budget-friendly, more affordable than most carbon fiber bikes 
  • Assembly is easy, no tools or expertise needed 
  • Surprisingly lightweight, one person can easily lift it onto a bike rack 
  • Handles off-road terrain (including gravel and mud) and steep inclines well 

Cons:

  • The seat isn’t super comfortable (but it’s easy to switch out if needed) 

Last update on 2020-09-26 at 02:24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

2. Raleigh Bicycles Tokul 2 Hardtail Mountain Bike

The Raleigh hardtail mountain bike is one that you can ride anywhere; it’s smooth on streets and park trails and keeps you steady when you take it on rough trails too. It’s easy to handle, and the steering is nice and precise. That’s a huge asset when you’re riding on uneven terrain, especially loose gravel and pitted nature trails. 

Another thing we loved was how affordably it’s priced. Hardtail mountain bikes get expensive very quickly, and thankfully this one stays in a livable price range. That said, don’t think just because it skimps on the price that it skimps on quality too. It’s a bike you can use for years without any change in performance. 

You can fully adjust the front fork as needed, so it’s a more dynamic model too. The tires are good for different types of riding, but you can really feel the grip when you need it. Whether you’re new to hardtail bikes or a longtime fan, this is one of the best hardtail mountain bikes around. 

Key Features:

  • Hydraulic disc brakes come pre-assembled and oiled 
  • Frame constructed of durable, but lightweight aluminum 
  • Includes front fork lockout to facilitate uphill riding 
  • Comes with pedals and grips included 
  • The manufacturer provides limited lifetime frame warranty 

Pros:

  • Handles bumps and drops well (even drops from a few feet) 
  • Tough and durable enough for use on very rugged trails 
  • Brakes provide excellent control for sudden stops 
  • Front fork lockout is ideal for riding uphill on steep terrain

Cons:

  • Pedals could be improved; some riders may prefer to switch out for aftermarket pedals 
  • Lifetime fork warranty is only valid for the original retail purchaser 

Last update on 2020-09-26 at 02:24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

3. Diamondback Bicycles Hook 27.5 Hardtail Mountain Bike

Once you take a spin on this bike, you’ll realize what quality maneuvering really is. The design is definitely lower-slung than a lot of mountain bikes, but that’s one of the parts that you’ll come to value most. When testing it out, we quickly realized how much easier it is to make tight turns with the lower profile build.

So if you’re an MTB explorer that likes to go on unfamiliar trails, you’ll love the extra control and precision you have when a trail makes a hard turn or drops off. The brakes are easy to control, and respond instantly, which is a big bonus when you’re mountain bike riding. 

The Diamondback Hook is also surprisingly smooth, even when you’re going over rocky trails. The frame does a good job of absorbing the majority of shock and vibration, which helps reduce your muscle strain throughout the ride. The 1×8 drivetrain is a great addition since trails often slope both ways, and you need the extra control the drivetrain gives you. 

Key Features: 

  • Low slung frame is hand built for quality
  • High quality, durable aluminum construction 
  • Designed to handle more precise turns and obstacles
  • Includes 1×8 drivetrain for shifting and riding on slopes 
  • Uses Tetra Aries disc brakes for better control  

Pros:

  • Does a good job of absorbing jolts and vibration, so muscles don’t get sore and tired 
  • The low design makes it easy to turn and change course rapidly 
  • Assembly is really easy, even for beginners (takes about 30 minutes or less) 
  • Feels really solid and smooth even on rough trails 

Cons:

  • Logo tends to raise over time instead of staying flat 

Last update on 2020-09-26 at 02:24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

4. Huffy Bicycle Company Huffy Hardtail Mountain Bike

This Huffy hardtail mountain bike is ideal for getting young or new riders out on the trails. The frame is a lot sturdier than most hardtail bikes, especially those that are designed for younger riders.

It has a steel frame, where most others are aluminum. While that does add a little extra weight, it’s not enough to really notice, and it’s worth the extra durability that makes the bike so long-lived.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that it has a really cool, sporty design either. The handlebars are another piece you’ll appreciate, especially if you go on all day rides. Since they have a slight rise, it’s easier to keep a good hold on them without making your back and arms sore. 

It really covers everything you need from a solid, high-quality mountain bike. The tires are knobby and grip rough trails well, which is a huge bonus. Another winning feature is the combo of derailleur and shifter. It allows for up to 21 different speeds, so you get the exact speed and traction you need to get through any trail.

Key Features:

  • Durable steel constructed frame
  • Includes micro shift twister: allows for 21 speeds  
  • Handlebars are slightly elevated to reduce muscle strain 
  • Tires measure 26” x 1.95”, with knobby texture for grip 
  • Includes limited lifetime warranty on the frame 

Pros:

  • Very comfortable to ride, prevents sore muscles and joints after long rides 
  • Includes more speed choices than most other mountain bikes (up to 21) 
  • Reduces shock and feedback from trail 
  • Gives a smooth ride, with very precise response and shifting 

Cons:

  • The seat is uncomfortable, better to switch out for one with more padding 

Last update on 2020-09-26 at 02:24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

5. BEIOU Carbon Fiber Mountain Bike Hardtail MTB 

We won’t fault you for noticing the design and appearance of this hardtail bike before anything else. It does look great. The matte black frame has just enough texture with the shiny detailed lettering, and of course, the yellow and red accents that run through the wheels and suspension are real head turners. 

However, it’s more than a great looking bike. It’s a high performing, high-quality bike that can take any trail you throw its way. Since the frame is made of carbon fiber, you’ll notice a huge difference in the weight. Namely how lightweight it is compared to other mountain bikes you’ve ridden.

While it is lightweight, it’s also extremely solid. Don’t worry; this bike can handle any level of rough riding and use. We were surprised at how many premium features it includes, and they’re ones we wouldn’t want to ride without again. For example, it’s a 30-speed hardtail MTB, and that alone is hard to beat. You can hit high speeds and maintain precise control, even if you hit a pretty big jump.

Key Features:

  • Uses hidden disc brake for better stopping control 
  • Carbon fiber frame is lightweight and weighs about 10.65 kg 
  • Matte black finish and design 
  • Shifter allows for 30 speeds 
  • Arrives partially assembled for faster, easier setup  (with instructional materials)

Pros:

  • Assembly is easy and takes only about 20 to 30 minutes 
  • We could easily reach about 25 mph with the shifters
  • Gears change quickly and shifting is very precise 
  • The brakes are responsive and overall flawless 

Cons:

  • Pedals could be improved in terms of grip and construction 

Last update on 2020-09-26 at 02:24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Overall Winner 

First, we have to say that all the hardtail mountain bikes on our list are great picks.

We only included high-quality bikes that are tough wearing, smooth-riding, and all around good investments. However, one of the bikes we’ve reviewed really stands out: the BEIOU Carbon Fiber Mountain bike that we reviewed as our fifth pick. 

What makes it so special? Well, it’s incredibly lightweight and has outstanding durability. It gets up to high speeds and eats up jumps and bumps. If that’s not enough to sway you, then all the advanced features it packs in certainly will.

Last update on 2020-09-26 at 02:24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Perry
Perry
Hello, my names Perry and I've been a freelance writer for the past 5 years and a cycling enthusiastic since I can remember. I love the road, but my main passion is mountain biking.