The Differences Between a Full Suspension Mountain Bike and Hardtail Mountain Bike

I. Review of 3 of the Best Commuter Bikes


A Dual Full Suspension Mountain Bike

When you are new to the world of mountain biking, terms like full suspension, hardtail, dropper posts and lockouts can all be a bit confusing. So, in this article, we will explain what exactly a full suspension mountain bike is, outline what the main differences are between a full suspension mountain bike and a hardtail mountain bike, and tell you about two of the best full suspension mountain bikes that are on the market today.

We will discuss the differences between a hardtail and a full suspension mountain bike later on in this article, but as the names imply, the main difference lies in the bike’s suspension. A hardtail bike has suspension on the front fork only, whereas, a full suspension bike has suspension on both the front and the rear.


A Hardtail Mountain Bike

To accommodate that dual suspension system and to make it effective, the frames of the two styles of mountain bikes are different as well. The frame of a hardtail bike is one, solid piece. The frame of a full suspension bike, on the other hand, consists of two separate pieces that pivot and the movement of the two parts are regulated by a shock absorber.

II. What are the differences between a Full Suspension Mountain Bike and Hardtail Mountain Bike?

The addition of full suspension to a mountain bike brings some distinct advantages, not least of which is the added comfort of the rider, but there are some drawbacks too. To help you choose whether a full suspension bike will be the best mountain bike for you or a hardtail might suit you better, here are some of the main differences between the two.

Ride quality

The dual suspension of a full suspension mountain bike will provide a smoother and easier ride than a hardtail, especially over very difficult terrain. Because the rear of the bike can absorb the shock of bumps in the trail as well the front, both wheels will stay planted on the ground, making the ride more stable, as well as a lot more comfortable.

The fun of the ride

Fans of the full suspension bike will tell you that the extra traction and stability that the rear suspension provides will make riding over tricky terrain a lot more fun and far more exhilarating. This will depend on the type of riding that you intend to do, though, because the rigidity of hardtail will make it more responsive than a full suspension bike on smooth tracks or on the road.


Full suspension will absorb the bumps better and keep you more stable through tight bends and that means you will be able to reach higher speeds on your bike, especially in downhill sections, and you’ll be able to do it more safely. On the other hand, most people agree that hardtails are faster on the tarmac and on steep inclines.


One of the potential drawbacks of a full suspension mountain bike is that, with the added complexity of the pivoting frame, dual suspension, and other additional parts of the bike, it will need more maintenance and parts will need replacing on a regular basis. Even the cleaning of a full suspension bike after a ride is more time consuming than it is to clean a hardtail bike.


The extra material in the dual frame the bike and the addition of extra shock absorbers all add up to a full suspension bike usually weighing more than a hardtail. Depending on the price you are prepared to pay for your best full suspension mountain bike, that extra weight can be fairly significant.

Paula R. Buckland

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