This ThinkPad X1 Carbon deal will save you $1800 (seriously!)

By | 09/09/2022

Gear-obsessed editors choose every product we review. We may earn committee if you buy from a link. How we exam gear.

“Hardtail” is the proper name given to bikes that feature front pause simply no rear suspension. Lighter, simpler, less expensive, more durable, and more reliable than a frame with rear suspension, the hardtail is the workhorse of the mountain cycle world.

Meet our top picks below, or scroll deeper for more than in-depth reviews of these bikes and other great options, as well as helpful buying tips and advice.

All-time VALUE XC BIKE

Trek Procaliber 9.7

Trek Procaliber 9.7

BEST Ninety RACE Cycle

Cannondale F-Si Carbon 2

Cannondale F-Si Carbon 2

BEST FOR BIKEPACKING

Santa Cruz Chameleon Carbon

Santa Cruz Chameleon Carbon

Best WOMEN’S TRAIL Wheel

Trek Roscoe 7 Women's

equipment Expedition Roscoe seven Women’s

Nearly COOL Gene

Kona Honzo DL

Kona Honzo DL

If you’re looking for an efficient race machine, a carbon cobweb hardtail might be the wheel for you. Hardtails also brand great adventure bikes for bikepacking and other long-ride shenanigans. Build a hardtail with a longer-travel fork and plus-size tires and y’all’ll have a fun ripper for romping around your local trails—and y’all’ll save a few hundred bucks or more compared to a full-pause pick.

Join Bicycling All Admission for more gear reviews and features!

Hardtails continue to appeal to riders for their simplicity and for the infinite ways you can build them. Here’due south what you need to know about hardtail mount bikes.

Land vehicle, Bicycle, Bicycle wheel, Bicycle part, Vehicle, Bicycle tire, Spoke, Bicycle frame, Mountain bike, Bicycle fork,

A hardtail (left) volition tend to be lighter and require less maintenance than a full-intermission wheel (right).

Staff

Hardtails Toll Less

Yous tin can near always become more than bang for your buck with a hardtail. The simpler design allows manufacturers to either reduce the bike’south overall price or include better components than you would notice on a comparably priced full-pause bicycle.

Y’all Can Save Weight Too

Without pivots, linkages, and a shock, a hardtail frame is generally lighter than a comparable full-suspension frame. For riders who practise lots of climbing or spend lots of time in the saddle, the weight saving tin can make a difference for your rides. Carbon fiber frames have the best force-to-weight ratio of any material, merely are as well the most expensive. Despite this, there are desirable characteristics in all frame materials.

Find the Correct Fork

Aside from the frame, the fork is arguably the most of import part of the build. You’ll find pause forks with as petty equally 80mm of travel on some cantankerous-land bikes while trail hardtails, like the Salsa Timberjack NX Hawkeye 29, may take forks with 130mm of travel or more.

Cycle Size

Hardtails come in many wheel sizes and gearing options. You lot’ll find wheel sizes of 29 or 27.5 inches, standard tire widths (up to 2.six inches), plus-size offerings (well-nigh ii.7 inches wide or more), and fat tires (more than 3 inches broad). Some hardtails are designed to accept several wheel and tire sizes so y’all tin bandy out options to arrange your ride.

Dissimilar almost total-pause bikes, hardtails tin can easily be converted to singlespeed setups. If the simplicity of that blueprint appeals to you, expect for models that employ adjustable dropouts or eccentric lesser brackets to tension the chain without a derailleur. An adjustable dropout also allows you to conform the length of the wheelbase on geared bikes.

Bicycle wheel, Bicycle part, Bicycle, Bicycle drivetrain part, Bicycle tire, Spoke, Vehicle, Wheel, Groupset, Derailleur gears,

An adjustable dropout allows a geared bike to exist converted to a singlespeed. Considering singlespeeds are awesome.

Salsa

Maintenance and Immovability

Fewer moving parts means fewer things that could potentially get incorrect, and college-quality parts ways those parts are less probable to need fixing. The simplicity of not having a shock and rear suspension mechanism increases the immovability of the bicycle equally information technology requires less maintenance and fewer replacement parts.

Ride Quality

A hardtail can feel more responsive than a dual-break wheel when pedaling. The lack of rear intermission creates a more efficient-feeling pedaling platform, so acceleration feels more than immediate. Climbers especially volition appreciate the extra responsiveness, though you lose some traction (specially under braking) without the rear suspension. Even so, for a fast, brutally efficient ride, nothing beats a hardtail.

Hardtail Testing

Trevor Raab

Why Information technology May Be Harder to Detect a Bicycle Right At present

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the bicycle industry has experienced an exponential boom in sales, partially due to public transit restrictions and also because people are looking for a fun, healthy way to get outside. Information technology has also experienced a shortage of bikes due to mill restrictions and delays. Because of this, many bike shops and online brands are nearly sold out of bikes. If a bike on this list is sold out, yous might still take the option to pre-order information technology or bring together a waiting list. Or, it might still be bachelor at a bike store most y’all, so check the dealers and retailers listed on the site.

How We Tested

These bikes have been ridden, and ridden difficult, past our squad of test editors. We built a mountain cycle test runway with most of the trail elements that you’re likely to encounter and rode dorsum-to-back laps on multiple bikes to tease out subtle and not-so-subtle differences. We pushed these bikes hard over flow trails, up and down steep climbs and crease-worthy rocky descents, and through gnarly rock gardens. Our editors rode these bikes on the terrain best suited for each bike, as well equally terrain entirely unsuitable, just to see how far we can push the limits. Most models accept been tested past our staff and those that haven’t have been carefully chosen based on their value, quality of parts (most of which we’ve tested separately), our feel riding like models, and how the overall packet meets the needs of the intended rider.

Hither are 15 hardtails we recommend. The last four on our list cost less than $1,050.


―All-time WOMEN’S TRAIL BIKE―

Expedition Roscoe 7 Women’south

Trek Roscoe vii Women’s

Roscoe 7 Women's

Trek Roscoe 7 Women’s
Credit: Expedition

Pros
  • 120mm RockShox Judy Argent fork (100mm for size XS)
  • SRAM SX Eagle drivetrain
Cons
  • 32 pounds is on the heavy side for a hardtail

There is so much to love about this wheel, information technology’south hard to decide where to start. The SRAM SX Hawkeye drivetrain, with a 30t chainring and 10-50 cassette, provides a massive range of gears and enough of low-range options for easing the pain of climbing steep hills. Its 27.five-inch wheels are maneuverable in tight, technical terrain, and the 2.8-inch tubeless-gear up tires offering keen traction and a costly ride. The RockShox Judy Silver fork has plenty of travel for getting rowdy (1oomm for the actress-small frame size, 120mm for modest through large) and tin be locked out for more than-efficient, off-trail riding. And speaking of rowdy, a 100mm dropper post is a very cool improver to a bike at this price.


Specialized Rockhopper Expert

$1,250 Rockhopper Good 29

Rockhopper Expert 29

$1,250 Rockhopper Expert 29
Credit: Specialized

Pros
  • Incredible value for this level of capability
Cons
  • SRAM SX Eagle doesn’t shift equally crisply as higher-priced drivetrains

The unicorn of affordable mountain bikes, the Rockhopper Skilful boasts three key components—tubeless-ready wheels and tires, a 1 x 12-speed drivetrain, and an air-spring fork—so rare in this category that the presence of just ane would be plenty to set a rig apart from the $ane,000 pack. Factor in the wheels and drivetrain, and you lot have a special cycle on your hands. Although it tin handle extremely rocky and technical trails, that kind of terrain isn’t the Rockhopper’due south forté. Simply that’s the dazzler of this bike. It’south about at home on flow trails and moderately technical terrain, yet it has the chops to go you through the rugged stuff.

READ FULL REVIEW More than IMAGES


Specialized Epic Hardtail Pro

Specialized Epic Hardtail Pro

Epic Hardtail Pro

Specialized Ballsy Hardtail Pro
Credit: Courtesy of Specialized

Pros
  • Slacker head bending and longer accomplish than previous version
  • Roval Control carbon hoops
  • SRAM X01 Eagle drivetrain
Cons

    Redesigned and relaunched in 2019, the new Epic Hardtail boasts ameliorate vertical compliance than its predecessor thanks to trimmed-down seatstays. You also get a larger-diameter seat tube, which is now uniform with almost dropper posts. Information technology’s an insanely low-cal and lively bike that’s surprisingly forgiving when bashing through crude trails. Rolling on Roval Control Carbon hoops and hung with a SRAM X01 Hawkeye drivetrain, our size XL exam bike tipped the calibration at merely 21.3 pounds. Cistron in the unrivaled pedaling efficiency of a hardtail and y’all get a bike that, similar a thoroughbred in the start gate, gives the impression that it wants to leap out from under you with each pedal stroke.

    READ Full REVIEW VIEW 28 IMAGES


    ―WOMEN-SPECIFIC XC RIPPER―

    Scott Contessa Scale 930

    Scott Contessa Scale 930

    Contessa Scale 930

    Scott Contessa Scale 930
    Credit: scott

    Pros
    • Carbon frame
    • 100mm RockShox Judy Silvery TK Solo Air fork
    Cons
    • 26 pounds is on the heavy side for a carbon hardtail

    The Contessa Calibration 930 is perfectly appointed for moderately technical, high-speed, fitness-forward mountain biking. It starts with Scott’due south HMF carbon frame, which uses what the company calls EvoLap engineering science to make the frame strong where it needs to exist and more than compliant where y’all need some requite. A reliable RockShox Judy Silverish TK Solo Air fork with 100mm of break takes the edge off the rough stuff and tin can be adjusted on-the-fly via the RideLoc switch on the bar. Lock it out on smoothen service roads, set it midway for the stuttery stuff, and open it up when you’re on more technical tracks. The wide-range, wall-scaling SRAM SX Hawkeye 12-speed drivetrain with an 11-50t cassette keeps yous pedaling when the going gets steep.


    ―VERSATILE AND Budget-FRIENDLY―

    Salsa Timberjack NX Eagle 29

    salsa Timberjack NX Eagle 29

    Timberjack NX Eagle 29

    salsa Timberjack NX Eagle 29
    Credit: courtesy

    Pros
    • Copious mounts and adjustable dropouts
    • 12-speed SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain climbs similar a goat
    Cons

      The Timberjack is a fun, adventure-set up aluminum hardtail that’ll run 29-inch or plus-sized 27.5-inch wheels. Curt chainstays proceed information technology nimble in tight situations, while a longer superlative tube provides stability. For the NX build, Salsa gives you lot a RockShox Sektor RL fork with 130mm of travel—enough for nearly trail rides. SRAM’southward NX drivetrain components provide crisp shifting, and the bike comes with SRAM’southward powerful Level hydraulic brakes. The Timberjack has internal cablevision routing and mounts for a rear rack for calorie-free bikepacking or whatever adventures y’all plan. Salsa’s Alternator dropouts make it possible to run the Timberjack as a singlespeed, too.

      READ Total REVIEW More IMAGES


      ―Best Cross-Land RACE BIKE―

      Cannondale F-Si Carbon 2

      Cannondale F-Si Carbon ii

      F-Si Carbon 2

      Cannondale F-Si Carbon 2
      Credit: cannondale

      Pros
      • 100mm Lefty Ocho fork
      • Tubeless-prepare Hollowgram 23 carbon wheels
      Cons
      • Proprietary front end hub and rear bicycle spacing means you tin simply use Cannondale-specific wheels

      Cannondale’s F-Si Carbon 2 hardtail has everything you need to blow past the competition on your way to the podium. Its full-carbon frame, all-new Lefty Ocho fork, Shimano XT 12-speed drivetrain with an XTR derailleur, and carbon wheels brand it ideal for cross-country and endurance racing. At $5,550, this wheel ain’t inexpensive, merely you get a level of components that typically come on even higher-priced bikes. That makes this a solid bargain for racers who want the best.

      READ Total REVIEW MORE IMAGES


      Expedition Procaliber nine.vii

      Trek Procaliber 9.7

      Procaliber 9.7

      Trek Procaliber 9.7
      Credit: Expedition

      Pros
      • Bontrager Kovee Elite 23 Carbon, tubeless-ready wheels
      • Lightweight carbon frame with IsoSpeed decoupler
      • 100mm RockShox Reba RL fork with remote lockout
      Cons
      • 720mm handlebar is on the narrow side

      Trek did a masterful task with this bike, skimping in the right places to save money and splurging in the areas that count for performance. The carbon frame is extremely lightweight; our size Twoscore test bike weighed in at only 21.6 pounds. The IsoSpeed decoupler at the junction of the seat tube and top tube offers then much vertical compliance you tin can actually run across the seat tube moving if yous bounciness on the saddle. Tubeless-ready Bontrager Kovee Elite 23 carbon wheels also keep weight in check and roll very chop-chop when wrapped in (stock) 2.ii-inch Bontrager XR2 Team Issue tires. Be warned, though, these are race twenty-four hours tires for dry out conditions and non well suited to daily trail riding or dirty courses. SRAM’s NX Eagle drivetrain and blend Truvativ Stylo creepo keep cost in check and can stand up to plenty of hard riding and corruption. They do add significant weight, though, which makes this bike’due south lightness all the more impressive. Our tester was surprised, however, to detect a narrow 720mm handlebar on this bike. He said it felt strange at get-go but admitted after a few minutes of riding he didn’t find it anymore.

      READ FULL REVIEW MORE IMAGES


      Specialized Fuse Comp 29

      $1,675 Specialized Fuse Comp 29

      Specialized Fuse Comp 29

      $1,675 Specialized Fuse Comp 29
      Credit: Courtesy Specialized

      Pros
      • Dropper post
      • 130mm fork
      Cons

        Come up for the 130mm fork, stay for the slack front end end and long-travel dropper post (100mm for XS/Southward, 120mm for M, 150mm for L/XL). The Fuse Comp 29 is a mid-fat hardtail with the suds to go big. The grippy ii.6-inch tubeless-set tires deliver excellent traction on rocks, snowfall, and slick clay. Our tester also appreciated the steep seat angle and long reach when climbing. She noted that the rear wheel maintained good traction on steep trails and she was still able to proceed enough weight over the front end wheel to steer. SRAM’s SX Eagle keeps cost in cheque while still providing a wide range of gears. The broad, 780mm handlebar is slap-up for stability through the most technical trails. Whether you’re new to mount biking or a veteran trail rider, the fun-loving Fuse can turn every ride into a party.

        READ Total REVIEW MORE IMAGES


        Giant XTC Avant-garde 29 3

        Giant XTC Avant-garde 29 three

        XTC Advanced 29 3

        Giant XTC Advanced 29 3
        Credit: giant

        Pros
        • Shimano Deore 12-speed drivetrain
        • Lightweight and tubeless ready Xc race tires
        Cons
        • Some may want tires wider than 2.25-inches

        With its blended frame and 29-inch wheels, Giant’southward XTC Avant-garde is ready to rip your local cantankerous-country rail or aid you win your adjacent weekend ride. For 2021 the Avant-garde iii gets a RockShox Recon Silver RL fork with 100mm of travel to smooth out the bumps. Shimano’due south Deore 12-speed drivetrain offers reliable shifting for the x-51t cassette. The XTC Advanced 29 3 besides gets the 2.25-inch Maxxis Rekon Race EXO tubeless tires, which save weight and permit for trail-gripping low tire pressures, although many riders might adopt wider rubber.


        ―FOR BIKEPACKING AND RIPPING THE PUMP Track―

        Santa Cruz Chameleon Carbon

        Santa Cruz Chameleon Carbon

        Chameleon Carbon

        Santa Cruz Chameleon Carbon
        Credit: competitive cyclist

        Pros
        • Compatible with 29- and 27.v-inch wheels
        • Adjustable chainstay length
        • 150mm dropper mail
        Cons

          The Chameleon trail hardtail is Santa Cruz’s nigh versatile frame. It is compatible with both 29- and 27.5-inch bike sizes, with clearance for tires upward to ii.six inches wide and 3 inches wide, respectively. It also has an adjustable chainstay length, then it tin can exist converted to a singlespeed. It can rip rocky singletrack or be loaded up for backpacking, making it ideal for backwoods adventures. The new carbon model should satisfy riders who desire all the shreddy attitude of the Chameleon just pass up to compromise on weight. The new frame is stiffer and more responsive than the aluminum choice, according to Santa Cruz representatives, and besides 250 grams lighter (size big). The carbon Chameleon has several build kit options, all anchored by a SRAM drivetrain. The top model is the SE Reserve build, which includes Santa Cruz Reserve Carbon rims built to blue Hope hubs and a matching Promise headset.


          Kona Honzo DL

          $2,399 Kona Honzo DL

          Kona Honzo DL

          $2,399 Kona Honzo DL
          Credit: Kona

          Pros
          • 140mm RockShox Revelation RC DebonAir fork
          Cons
          • Simply 1 water canteen mount

          Kona deserves some credit for making hardtails absurd over again. The original Honzo was a unicorn. In a time when all hardtails were for beginners or elite racers, Kona brought forth a rigid beast meant for having fun on whatsoever type of trail. It had the geometry and components of an all-mount model, simply the simple reliability (and more than attainable cost) of a hardtail. Now, Kona has eight models, including a few with carbon frames. We similar the DL considering the aluminum frame keeps the price down, but the parts won’t hold you back.



          4 Bikes Under $1,000


          Expedition Marlin 7

          Trek Marlin vii

          Marlin 7

          Trek Marlin 7
          Credit: Trek

          Pros
          • 1×10-speed drivetrain
          Cons
          • Wheels aren’t tubeless-fix

          One of the cheapest bikes on this list, the Trek Marlin 7, which as well comes in a women’s version, is platonic for aspiring racers, everyday trail riders, and coincidental commuters akin. Riders who like to pedal fast will capeesh its steep, aggressive head and seat angles, and a high bottom bracket that offers decent pedal clearance on the trail. Its cables are internally routed, too, which is not common on bikes at this price. Information technology has a 1×10-speed Shimano drivetrain that provides plenty of gearing options. And even though the RockShox Judy 100mm coil-spring fork is heavier than some comparable air-jump models, it does a surprisingly good chore on super-rocky trails. Add together to that the ii.2-inch-wide Bontrager tires on 29-inch Bontrager Connection rims, which never squirmed too much on sketchy terrain, and you take a bicycle that non just looks fast merely also offers the kind of abrupt handling and precise steering you lot’d expect from higher-priced racing models.

          READ Total REVIEW More IMAGES Buy WOMEN’S


          ―CHEAPEST RACE–READY HARDTAIL―

          Behemothic Talon 29 2

          Behemothic Talon 1

          Talon 1

          Giant Talon 1
          Credit: giant

          Pros
          • 1×10-speed drivetrain
          • 100mm fork
          Cons
          • Modulation on Tektro brakes isn’t as adept every bit Shimano or SRAM

          This hardtail is an first-class choice for both the dirt-curious wanting to explore singletrack and riders wanting to try their manus at racing. This nearly recent model has numerous upgrades, including Giant’s ain SXC32-2 RL suspension fork (100mm), a 1×10-speed drivetrain, wider and more rugged tires, and updated geometry with a slacker head angle. The new frame is also uniform with internally routed dropper posts. Like the Expedition Marlin seven, this bike is equally well suited to entry-level racing as it is to recreational rides. It shares many of the aforementioned attributes as the Marlin, but a shorter attain and lower stack make it a good alternative for riders who want a more upright and comfortable riding position. Possibly the Talon’s best characteristic, and a big perk on a bicycle at this toll, are the tubeless-set up aluminum rims (although you’ll demand new tires, sealant, and valves).

          READ Full REVIEW MORE IMAGES


          ―Dandy VALUE AND PERFORMANCE―

          Kona Mahuna

          Kona Mahuna

          Mahuna

          Pros
          • Maxxis Forekaster tires offering a adept residue between speed and grip
          Cons
          • Wheels aren’t tubeless-set up

          The Mahuna is an aluminum-framed hardtail with a RockShox Judy Silvery TK Solo Air fork that masterfully handled all simply the most technical of trails. Given the way information technology rides, we were surprised to learn that the bicycle weighs 31 pounds. The 29-inch wheels roll fast and smoothen out bumps better than the 27.5-inch kind, and the 2.25-inch tires are light and quick with enough tread to really bite into the trail. Plus-size tires have their identify, and they work really well on bikes like the Trek Roscoe vii Women’south and the Rocky Mountain Growler, but nosotros appreciated the faster tires on this bike. A 1×10-speed drivetrain simplifies shifting decisions and offers enough of gearing choices at both the low and high finish. And the Mahuna comes with flat pedals, then information technology’s ready to go right out of the box.

          READ FULL REVIEW MORE IMAGES


          Expedition Roscoe 24

          Expedition Roscoe 24

          Roscoe 24

          Expedition Roscoe 24
          Credit: Trek

          Pros
          • 8-speed drivetrain
          • Wide 2.8-inch tires
          Cons
          • Not suitable for kids under iv’2″

          The Roscoe 24 is a corking bicycle for older children who want to take their riding skills off route. Designed to adapt riders between 4-foot-2 and five-foot-3, this bike comes with 24-inch wheels, two.8-inch tires, a 1×8-speed Shimano groupset, and Tektro mechanical disc brakes, making it a well-equipped bicycle for younger riders as they learn how to navigate trails.

          Source: https://www.bicycling.com/bikes-gear/a30213327/best-hardtail-mountain-bike/