Hardtails for Trail Riding & Cross Country Comparison

Bottom Line
29 & MX Models
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Buy at Mike’s Bikes
Bottom Line
With the Santa Cruz Chameleon, you’ll be able to choose between mixed wheel (MX) or 29 inch depending on riding preference.
Equipped with 3-bolt cargo cage mount
29 Inch or MX choices available
All trail capability
A tad pricey
Aluminum 29/MX Hardtail
RockShox Recon RL, 130mm
SRAM NX Eagle, 12spd
good price
Marin Bobcat Trail 3
Marin Bobcat Trail 3
Hardtail Trail Bike
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Buy at Bikes Online
Bottom Line
Great bike for those who enjoy riding the trails on a reasonably priced & well equipped bike with modern geometry. Overall, the Bobcat will provide an adaptable riding experience for all.
Serviceable spec
Reasonably priced
Internal cable routing
Tires are somewhat thin
Series 2 6061 Aluminum
Front Suspension
MTB, 27.5/29×2.25″
Rocky Mountain Growler 20
Rocky Mountain Growler 20
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Buy at Moosejaw
Bottom Line
The ideal use for this bike is trail riding. It has a 6061 aluminum frame and able to make room for 2.6″ tires which will offer greater grip on the terrain.
Tubeless-ready rims and tires
Dropper post compatible
130mm or 140mm
Long wheelbase
Rocky Mountain 6061 Alloy
Shimano MT201 2 Piston
S – M – L – XL
Cannondale Men's Trail
Cannondale Men’s Trail
27.5/29 Mountain Bike
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Buy at Sun and Ski
Bottom Line
Available in Graphite and Rally RED, this hardtail bike has received praise for its lightweight frame providing an enjoyable ride. It also sports a remote shock lockout which will help on pavement.
Remote Lockout
microSHIFT Advent X 10-speed shifting
SmartForm C3 Alloy frame
Only 100mm travel on front suspension
Prowheel, Charm 30T
Semi Integrated, 1-1/8″
WTB Ranger Comp, 27.5/29 x 2.25″


Chameleon Hardtail Mountain Bike
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The Santa Cruz Chameleon is a mixed wheel (MX) bike that also has an all 29er version designed for use both as a mountain bike as well as for trail riding. The user can easily switch between the two options whenever required. The latest 2022 edition of the bike which is available for sale soon incorporates the latest design features to make the bike more powerful and comfortable to use compared to the earlier versions. The bicycle is available in a golden yellow color & navy blue. Some of the features of the bike are listed below for reference.

  • Mountain bike has an Aluminium frame, which is light weight and durable, designed with concealed cable routing
  • Large bike wheelbase 1207 mm for greater stability while riding uphill and downhill
  • Hard tail suspension of mountain bikes with fewer moving parts for greater durability

The crank set used is SRAM X1 Eagle, the brakeset ranges from SRAM level and SRAM G2 R and the drive train also uses the best SRAM components available. Most of the other components like the chain are sourced from SRAM, one of the top rated manufacturers of quality bike components. The Front travel of the bicycle is 130 mm and it uses four piston hydraulic brakes (on the R & S versions).

All versions of this bike have 180 mm brake rotors. The stem and handlebar of the bike are supplied by Raceface for the basic version with the R & S versions equipped with Burgtec. The grips used for the handles of the bike are manufactured in house. WTB Silverado comp saddles are fitted on the bike for greater comfort the SDG tellis dropper seat post has a length of 31.6 mm which the buyer can adjust to maximize his comfort

The wheel set uses 29 inches front wheels and 27.5 inches rear wheels on the MX model. The front hub uses MTH716 and rear hub MTH746 hubs from SRAM (DT Swiss 370 for the S level build). Front axle size is 15 mm X 110 mm while rear axle has dimensions 12 mm X 148 mm. Maxxis minion tires recommended for front wheel, and Maxxis aggressor tires for rear wheel of the bike.

Tire width is two and half inches for better grip on all surfaces, especially wet surfaces and mountain trails. Pedals are not included in the bike, should be purchased separately. The manufacturer is so confident of the quality of the bike that they are offering a lifetime warranty on the bike, which few other bike manufacturers are offering at present. Though the bike is more expensive compared to most other bikes, the excellent features, quality and design will compensate for the additional cost.


Marin Bobcat Trail 3

Hardtail Trail Bike
Marin Bobcat Trail 3
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8.5Expert Score
Affordably priced hardtail

Experts appreciate the solid build and economical disc brakes. The tires also do well when trekking on ascending terrain. However, this bike may not perform as well on technical trails.

  • Adaptable bike
  • Economical
  • Internal cable routing
  • Tires might be a tad thin

This hard tail bike is designed for those who enjoy mountain biking, want a bike with all the features, yet cannot afford to pay a high price. A list of the features of this well designed, yet reasonably priced mountain bike compiled from the online sources are documented below.

There are five different sizes of the mountain bike available according to sellers, extra small, Small, medium, large and extra large and users should select the right bike based on their height. Shorter persons should use the extra small, small version of the hardtail bike, while taller persons will find the larger bike sizes more suitable.

For the smaller bike sizes, the wheel and tire sizes are also smaller at 27.5 inches, while large sizes use 29 inches wheels, tires. The bicycle frame is manufactured by hydroforming 6061 grade aluminum, so that it’s light in weight, durable & won’t get corroded. The travel fork is designed for 120 mm making it comfortable to ride on all terrains. The bike has the classic mountain bike design with a long reach, low standout. The seat tube angle is steep, while the head tube is slack. The seat stay is designed for greater comfort, better power transfer while riding and easy adjusting

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16 speed drive train from Shimano mostly uses Shimano components like derailleurs, shifters. Shimano is another extremely reputed manufacturer of high quality components for mountain bikes and other bikes. For halting the bike quickly, whenever required, the bike design incorporates Tektro disk type hydraulic brakes, model M275 with rotors of 180 mm in front and 160 mm in the rear. The wheel set is made from marin grade aluminum with thickness 2,5 mm to keep the weight low.

Marin handlebar of width 780 mm, thickness 31.8 mm and rise of 12 mm. Seat post is also made from Marin alloy. Stem width is also 31.8 mm , rise of 45 mm. Front tires are of size 29″ width 2.25″. Rear tires are smaller at 27″, width 2.25″. Bike uses nylon platform pedals. The Marin MTB saddle and seat clamp are of the highest quality. The rims have wide double walls for greater stability. Detailed dimensions for each model are provided for reference so that the buyer can check suitability before taking a decision


Rocky Mountain Growler 20

My custom subheading
rockymountaingrowler20 Hardtails for Trail Riding & Cross Country Comparison
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The Rocky Mountain Growler 20 bike is designed for riding difficult trails and mountains. Some features of this bike manufactured in Canada, yet only available for sale in the United States are listed below for reference so that potential buyers can review them to take a decision

Aluminum frame of the bike manufactured from 6061 grade aluminum alloy with a tapered head tube. The bike frame also includes a dropper post, so that the user can adjust the seat height as required for greater comfort while riding uphill or downhill. This mountain bike is available in four different sizes, small, medium, large and extra large(XL). The user should choose the right size based on his height, weight and other factors, the seller will provide detailed specifications, especially dimensions of the bike, so that he can check whether it will fit him. Usually taller people above six feet in height, should opt for the large or extra large size of the bike while short men and women should choose the small size

The Suntour fork is designed for a front travel of 130 mm.

In addition to the Rocky Mountain stem, the grips are also lock on light models from Rocky Mountain.

The 780 mm bike handlebar is specifically designed for the bike by Rocky Mountain.

The 9 speed Shimano drive train uses other Shimano components like shifters and rear derailleur.

The two piston Shimano MT201 brakes also use Shimano levers. The chain ring and cranks used are the 28T micro drive from Rocky Mountain. The platform pedals are manufactured from a metal alloy for greater durability. Both the front and rear hub incorporate the Shimano MT400. The wheels have stainless steel spokes. The bike has tires of size 2.6 inches wide and 29 inches diameter from trail boss for excellent grip on all surfaces. The Rocky Mountain seat post in the bike is 30.9 mm thick. Volt bike saddle supplied with the bike. For bikes purchased online, some tuning will be required to ensure that it works properly based on the height, weight and riding style of the user.

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Cannondale Men’s Trail

27.5/29 Mountain Bike ’22
cannondale mens trail 5 2 Hardtails for Trail Riding & Cross Country Comparison
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The Cannondale Men’s Trail 5 Mountain Bike is designed to make riding on mountains, trails a pleasure and can also be used elsewhere. Some of the features of this bike which make it a popular choice for hard tail bike buyers are listed below

Available in 5 different sizes ranging from XS, extra small to XL, right bike size should be selected checking the height of the user, dimensions of each bike model which are provided by the seller. Buyers can choose from different colors like red and graphite based on their personal preferences. Sophisticated and simple design ensures that it performs well under all terrains.

[Related post: All Terrain Bike Comparisons]

Aluminum alloy frame smartform c3 used in the mountain bike is light in weight, durable and functions well under all conditions, does not get distorted easily. The micro-suspension save incorporated in the design ensures that the cyclist has a smooth ride on all terrains. Additionally the rear triangle of the bike frame has flex zones which are engineered into it for a smooth ride.

The slack head angle ensures that the bike remains extremely stable even if the bicycle is descending. All the cables used in the mountain bike are routed internally, to give the bike a sleek look, reduce maintenance and damage. The SR suntour suspension fork has a 100 mm travel for comfortable riding on all surfaces

high quality Shimano ten speed drive train, so the cyclist can easily adjust the speed as required. Here are a few more details:

  • Cannondale handlebar made from 6061 alloy, 720 mm length
  • Seat post made has a 35 cm stem, also fabricated from 6061 aluminum alloy
  • Tire size varies depending on the model, for XS and S size, tires of 27.5″ are used
  • For Medium, L and XL sizes of the bike 29″ tires are used.
  • The routing of the rear brake line is from outside the frame

Is 100mm Travel Enough for Trail Riding?

There are so many different things that you need to consider when shopping for a new mountain bike. Depending on the type of ground you are planning to ride over you may need more suspension travel.

The Importance of Good Suspension

Mountain bikes are designed to ride over rough terrain. You must have a bike with a very good suspension to smooth out all the bumps in the track. Without good suspension, riding over rough trails will be very uncomfortable. Take the time to choose a bike with plenty of suspension travel.

The more experienced you are, the faster you’ll be riding around these trails. This means that a more experienced mountain bike rider will need a bike with better suspension.

What is Suspension Travel?

A mountain bike’s suspension system uses springs to absorb any shocks from riding over bumps in the track. The suspension travel is the distance that the wheel can rise to absorb the bumps as you ride over them.

Standard Suspension Travel

Most of the modern mountain bikes that you can buy will have suspension travel of around 100 to 170mm. This makes 100mm towards the low end of suspension travel available on a mountain bike. It’s also possible to choose some extreme mountain bikes with even greater suspension travel. Up to 180mm suspension travel is available.

Is 100mm Travel Enough?

100mm of suspension travel on a mountain bike will probably be plenty for children or beginners. However, if you’re serious about off-road mountain biking then you’ll want as comfortable a ride as possible. This means that 100mm of suspension travel isn’t really enough for an experienced rider.

Experienced mountain bike riders will ideally want to buy a bike with as much suspension travel as possible. A minimum of 120mm of travel is advisable for most trails. However, it’d be even better to go for a 140 or 150mm suspension travel.

By choosing a mountain bike with as much suspension travel as possible, you won’t outgrow it. Even a beginner will benefit from having a mountain bike with as much suspension travel as possible. You’ll then be able to keep this bike even when you become more experienced.

100mm or 10cm of suspension travel sounds like a lot. But with some extreme courses, it’s really not enough. If you’re planning to ride only on asphalt roads or smooth trails then it might be enough.

What Else is Important?

As well as suspension travel, there are also several other things that you should consider for a smoother ride. You need to also consider wheel size and tires. The shock absorbers are also important to think about as these will help to dampen the springs and stop the bike from bouncing and being too difficult to control.

So as for whether or not 100mm of suspension travel is enough for a mountain bike. It is fine for a beginner, however, it’s always worth getting a slightly better bike with more suspension travel will be a much better investment. Good luck choosing your next mountain bike.

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Hardtail Mountain Bike Components
An all-terrain bike without a rear shock is known as a Hardtail. These are a step-up from rigid bikes with no suspension on either the front or the rear. The nicest thing about it is that it’s a great option for any level of cyclist, from the novice to the expert, and it’s also less expensive and lighter than a bike with full suspension. Below are some common components to hardtails.
Disc Brakes
It’s possible to slow down or stop your bike using disc brakes, which are powerful and progressive braking systems that use hydraulic or cable-operated calipers. Almost all mountain bike disc brakes are hydraulically actuated; the fluid in the caliper drives the caliper to apply pressure to the rotor via the brake pads. Stopping power is generated by friction between the brake pads and rotors. Stronger and more reliable hydraulic disc brakes outweigh cable-actuated disc brakes in every way.

Benefits of using Disc Brake

Cantilever and V brakes can’t compete with the stopping power of disc brakes.

A – It’s possible to benefit from robust braking performance without sacrificing control when riding a bike with progressive braking.

B – Power, advancement, and versatility in all-weather situations can all lead to greater trail confidence when used together as a combo. As a result, you’ll be able to handle any technological difficulties that may develop with greater ease.

C – Additionally, Disc brakes are more versatile than rim brakes, which might suffer from rim wear and variable performance when it’s wet. This makes them stand out from the rim versions.

There are three types of Disc Brake Pads:

i. Sintered:
The most popular disc brake pad compound is sintered, which is the hardest-wearing and most durable. However, they take a bit longer to bed-in, they still offer exceptional performance and lifespan.

ii. Resin: For the quietest choice, these pads are constructed of organic ingredients. They’ll produce less noise but are more susceptible to breakdown.

iii. Semi-Metallic: Some aftermarket brake pads don’t come with semi-organic pads, but they’re a good compromise between performance and longevity.
A crankset, also known as a chainset, is the heart of your drivetrain and is comprised of a number of components. To put it simply, the crankset serves as a link between the chain and the bike’s drive wheel (the rear wheel). The bottom bracket serves as both a support and a shelter for the chainset. The cranks must be turned to get the wheels moving. Cyclists are able to move forward when the chainset rotates counter-clockwise.

The Crankset is composed of two major components which are:

i. Crank Arms:

As a group, the two crank arms are referred to as cranks. The axle connects the two crank arms on either side of each other, at a right angle to each other. The axle is housed inside the bottom bracket. Materials for crank arms include steel, aluminum, and carbon-fiber composites. Cyclists with steel cranks are more popular on earlier and simpler models. Many low- to mid-range road and mountain bike cranksets use aluminum. It’s not uncommon to find carbon fiber cranks in high-end racing cranks.

ii. Chainrings:

Chainrings are the huge sprockets in front of the bike. In order to drive the back wheel, they allow the chain to fit between the teeth on each chainring’s outer edge. The small and middle rings of mid-range cranksets are commonly constructed of less expensive steel, although they can also be made of lighter aluminum. The spider is a four- or five-arm component that holds these rings in place. It is common for most road bikes to have a ‘double’ chainring at the front of the bike. Triple chainrings can be found on some touring bikes and even the most basic bicycles. There is only one chainring on track and single-speed bikes. If you ride a road bike, you’ll have more teeth on the largest ring in the front so that you can use it in conjunction with the smallest ring at the back for maximum speed.
Bike Derailleurs
The instrument that adjusts the chain between the rear sprockets called the rear derailleur. Many versions exist, but they all have the same central look and operation. A mounting bolt in the derailleur hanger on the frame attaches the derailleurs to the bike. The derailleur’s top and bottom pivots are connected to each other which allows them to work seamlessly.

A cage with two pulleys is used for the rear derailleur. Using the bottom pulley, the lower piece of the chain is strained. The ‘T’ pulley, or tension pulley, is the name given to this component. Sprockets are attached to the upper pulley. The guide pulley, or ‘G’ pulley, is the name given to this piece of equipment.

A pinch bolt is used to attach a cable on mechanical-type derailleurs. The cage is moved closer to the user by pulling the cable. When the cable is let go, a return spring in the linkage causes the derailleur to travel in the other direction.
 Hardtail Mountain Bike Frames
A wide range of MTB frame options are available, from super light carbon options to more sturdy frames that can take on the toughest terrain, to fit every riding discipline and style. In the first place, MTB frames are divided into hardtail and suspension models.

i. Hardtail: Rear suspension is absent from hardtail (HT) MTBs in favor of a completely stiff frame. Full-suspension bikes are heavier and more expensive, therefore they’re often utilized as the basis for entry- or mid-level bikes, as well as for lightweight high-end racers. While some people enjoy to ride a hardtail, there are others who do not.

ii. Suspension: MTB frames with full-suspension use a shock absorber to allow the back wheel to move freely and minimize rocky paths.
Bottom Bracket
The bearing operation between the cranks is known as the bottom bracket. In the frame, the bottom bracket shell is where this device is located. An adapter holds the bearings in place within the housing. It serves as a link between the two cranks and the bearings.
The type of bottom bracket system needs to be identified before it can be serviced. A standard for bottom brackets can be tough to find out. There are a slew of models and specifications to choose from.

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