Best Hardtail Mountain Bikes for 2022: Do Read Before Buying

We are a massive fan of a Hardtail Mountain bike. They are great value for money, extremely capable on a trail, and so easy to maintain.

Hardtails are for everyone from beginners to experts, and in this article, we want to tell you about 8 of the best currently on the market that you need to know about. We’re going to tell you not just about the bike as a whole, but we’re going to break it down to tell you about the good, the bad, and everything you need to know. Let’s get looking at some bikes!

8 Of The Best Hardtail Mountain Bikes

1. Marin Pine Mountain 2

Image Credits: JensonUSA

Key Specifications:

  • Chrome Steel Frame
  • Fork: 120 mm Travel
  • Wheel Size: 29”
  • Shimano SLX Groupset
  • MTB Type: Hardtail Trail Bike

Marin has an absolutely epic history when it comes to off-road bikes, and the Pine is a range they have had running for quite a while. Not only does it look amazing, but it can also back it up with performance and has some great features.

Let’s start with the frame and forks. It’s a series 3 double-butted Cromo frame, and this is going to be very strong and flexible. It comes in a lovely creamy brown with light detailing and is covered in mounts for bikepacking gear and water bottles. The fork is the excellent Rockshox F35 and gives you 120mm travel.

The gearing is the Shimano SLX 12 speed, and it is going to give you a huge range to get you up any hill or mountain if you’re feeling like a real challenge. It will shift silky smooth, and it does feel epic when using it. The brakes are hydraulic and made by Shimano.

The wheels are 29” and will be excellent at rolling over obstacles and good for high speed. They are equipped with Vee Tire Flow Snap 29” x 2.6” tires, and these are huge, perfect for the rough stuff.

Overall the Marin is an excellent bike, it’s not the cheapest on the list, but it is going to be a capable bike for any rider, from a beginner to an expert.


2. Niner Air 2-Star Bike 2022

Image Credits: JensonUSA

Key Specifications:

  • Fork: 120 mm Travel
  • Frame Aluminum
  • Wheel Size: 29”
  • SRAM SX Eagle
  • MTB Type: Hardtail Trail Bike

Niner makes an entertaining bike, and you will often see them at your local bike park being ripped about on trails. They are well thought through designs and designed by people that are on the trails all weekend.

The frame is lightweight aluminum, and it is hydroformed 6061 so expect a high-quality standard here. The forks it is paired up with are the Marzocchi Bomber Z2 Rail, which will give you 120mm travel and an excellent rebound speed.

It has a SRAM SX Groupset with a 32T on the front and 11-50T on the rear. It will give you a considerable range, and SRAM doesn’t mess about when it comes to off-road gears. They can take the rough and give you smooth. It’s got the SRAM Level brakes, so expect excellent stopping power here.

The wheels are a 29” set, and they have Schwable Nobby Nic Evo 2.6” tires on for maximum grip and control. You also have Race Face handlebars and stem, which is a nice finishing touch.

The Niner Air 2-Star bike is excellent. As far as a hardtail goes, this is going to take some serious trails on and come out fast at the bottom. The only way I think this could have been improved is a more extensive travel fork, but that would massively spike the price.


3. Norco Charger HT VLT

Image Credits: JensonUSA

Key Specifications:

  • Frame Aluminum
  • Fork: 120 mm Travel
  • Wheel Size: 29”
  • Shimano Altus Groupset
  • Electric Motor and Dropper Post
  • MTB Type: Hardtail Trail Bike

We are huge fans of E-MTBs, and they open up mountain biking to so many more people and can take you further than ever before. The Norco Charger HT VLT is incredible, and we can’t wait to tell you about it.

It has an aluminum frame for strength and to house that powerful motor. It is equipped with a set of the Suntour XCM32 E-Bikes forks giving the bike 120mm of travel. Although it may be heavier, they have made an incredible design and kept all the weight low down to help the handling.

The Groupset is a basic Shimano Altus 9 speed. It’s a 1X system, and you will need a bit of motor power on a really steep hill. The brakes are Tektro Hydraulic brakes, and they have excellent stopping power, which you will need with a powerful bike like this.

The wheels are 29”, equipped with the excellent WTB Ranger 2.25” tires. Now the motor it’s a Shimano Steps E7000, which is one of the best on the market and very powerful with a decent range. Another great thing about this mountain bike is that they also equip it with a dropper post.


4. Marin El Roy

Image Credits: Simple Bike Store

Key Specifications:

  • Fork: 140 mm Travel
  • Wheel Size: 29”
  • Frame Size: S M, L, XL
  • Frame Material: Cromoly Steel
  • MTB Type: Hardtail Trail Bike

The Marin El Roy is among the newest additions to Marin’s lineup. The hardtail bike is designed to hit trails and race downhill, enduro, and shine in the bike park.

Don’t be cheated that a hardtail can’t do what full suspension bikes do, but it will be slower. The El Roy is named after a spot in Marin County, but that’s not what will interest you with this bike.

The bike is quite ridable and enjoyable to cruise on from the top of the hill. The bike is built with properly treated butted cromoly to prevent it from corrosion.

For the geometry, the Marin El Roy features long, low, and slack geometry to make your ride most comfortable. They also come in different lengths, namely, Regular and Grande. Regular gets a 150 mm dropper post, while the Grande gets a 170 mm one.

As for the drivetrain, the bike comes with Shimano Deore 12 speed cassette, rear derailleur, shifter, an FSA crank, and a KMC chain. The brake-set is all-Shimano based. On the front, you get a Marzocchi Z1 air-sprung fork with 140 mm travel with a lockout on the crown.

This is the best trail bike for you if you are looking for a unique bike. It’s the bike to ride whenever you feel the Mexican vibes and desire some tacos.

Why buy three bikes when you can have one for three activities?

The El Roy is the most versatile bike on the list. One disadvantage, though, is it’s slightly heavy even though it’s something you can ignore. It also has some little drag.


5. Marin San Quentin

Image Credits: Marin Bikes

Key Specifications:

  • Fork: 130 mm Travel
  • Wheel Size: 27.5”
  • Frame Size: S, M, L, XL
  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • MTB Type: Hardtail Trail/XC Bike

Yet another Marin going by the name of San Quentin. This hardtail is a fantastic bike that you won’t help but fall for immediately you set your eyes on it.

There are three Marin San Quentin options to choose from. The lowest budget option is the San Quentin 1. Sant Quentin 3 sits on top of the pyramid as the most expensive option available. San Quentin looks like a dirt jump bike.

As much as it can jump, it’s a trail bike. Marin combined the elements of modern geometry from various bikes and put some 27.5” wheels on the bike to make it unique, and it’s indeed a crossbreed of several disciplines.

The San Quentin 1 comes with a 1×9 MicroShift drivetrain, San Quentin 2 comes with Shimano Deore 1×11 wide-range drivetrain, and San Quentin 3 comes with a Shimano Deore 1×12 drivetrain.

For the forks, the first San Quentin comes with Suntour XCM forks, while the second and third bikes get Rockshox Recon and Revelation RC, respectively.

The forks park 130 mm of travel. With all that squish, you can shine in the pump track and chase glory on the singletrack.

This is the type of ride to buy if you want to save money. Wondering how? Well, this is not an expensive bike, and it can be used for dirt jumping, trail, and XC riding. You can also ride it to town.

How many bikes would you have bought for all that? Besides, it’s a great climber and fast on smooth and flat terrain.

Also, you have three options available. Your money will determine which San Quentin will come out of the box.

Also Read: Best MTBs For Your Money in 2022


6. Specialized Rockhopper Sport 27.5”

Image Credits: JensonUSA

Key Specifications:

  • Fork: 100 mm Travel
  • Frame Aluminum
  • Wheel Size: 27.5”
  • Microshift Groupset
  • MTB Type: Hardtail Trail Bike

If you have been looking for a mountain bike for a while, you probably would have come across the Specialized Rockhopper before. They are an incredible bike, and they come in at such a fantastic low cost.

The frame is aluminum, and it’s built to be agile and strong. It is not the lightest of bikes, but it does handle well, and you don’t ever have to worry about it breaking. The fork it’s paired up with is the SR Suntour XCM that will give you 100mm of travel.

The Groupset is an interesting one and a new player to the game. They use a Microshift 9 Speed groupset. It will work well and offer a really high range of options on a 2X system. The brakes are hydraulic disc brakes, and they are Shimano using large 180mm discs.

They use 27.5” wheels on the Rockhopper, and it’s going to feel very agile because of this. The tires are 2.35” in width, and it’s going to do well on a choppy trail. The bike is basic, yes, but as far as value for money goes, it is an incredible value.


7. Yeti Arc

Image Credits: MTB Mag

Key Specifications:

  • Fork: 130 mm Travel
  • Wheel Size: 29”
  • Frame Size: S, M, L, XL
  • Frame Material: Carbon
  • MTB Type: Hardtail XC Bike

Yeti is a legendary MTB manufacturer. Much credit goes to them, and their Yeti Arc is one of the most trustworthy hardtails in the world right now.

The model is excelling as a high-quality mid-range hardtail MTB today. The ARC was first produced in the 90s, and it has been evolving over the years.

Even though the bike wasn’t built to race at the world cup, any rider who feels like pushing it to its limits can do that. It’s just the kind of bike that will roll as fast as you want it to.

Yeti Arc comes with a 1×12 SRAM GX Eagle found in most high-end bikes. This system provides smooth shifting as you push your bike uphill.

When it comes to the forks, you don’t get anything lower than a FOX Performance 34 fork to cushion all vibrations that would otherwise end in your hands.

In addition, the bike comes with a free Fox Transfer dropper post so that you don’t have to come off your bike to lower or heighten your bike.

Yeti Arc is suitable for you if you love fun riding and can race against your friends if they dare you. It’s also an excellent bike for bike packing.

Arc is not just an XC bike but also an adventure bike that can withstand the most challenging trails to get you to your destination. It’s an epic bike that you’ll enjoy owning.


8. Trek Procaliber 9.7

Image Credits: Trek

Key Specifications:

  • Fork: 100 mm Travel
  • Wheel Size: 29”
  • Frame Size: S, M, L, XL
  • Frame Material: Carbon
  • MTB Type: Hardtail XC Bike

The Trek Procaliber 9.7 is for those riders who ride cross-country and do it fast. The bike is unique in the way it’s built. Even though it’s a hardtail, the bike has minimal vibrations, unlike other hardtails during an off-road ride.

The IsoSpeed decoupler at the bike’s junction of the top tube and the seat tube is the trick to providing a smooth ride.

The bike also features an OCLV carbon frame which is still to withstand the worst punishment. Procaliber is a race-ready rig that will ask for more power.

It’s also a bike that can hit the trails with the same speed it clocks on a cross country race.

Packed with 100 mm of travel in the front, Procaliber 9.7 comes with a RockShox Reba RL fork, making your rides smoother. The bike only weighs 23.05 lbs. This lightness in weight is contributed by the carbon rims and carbon seat post.

The slacker, longer, and steeper geometry of this Trek model are suitable for technical riding and racing. It’s capable of running over obstacles and taking sharp corners. For the drivetrain, the bike gets a 12-speed SRAM GX Eagle option.

The Trek Procaliber 9.7 is the most suited XC bike for you if you’re searching for a lightweight carbon hardtail bike with unlimited capabilities.

It’s a bike that can perform many tasks, including bike-packing and a ride at the bike park. You will never regret getting this bike as it’s excellent on climbs and descends too.

What you need to know about buying a Hardtail Mountain Bike

How Heavy are Hardtail Mountain Bikes?

There are a lot of factors that contribute to the weight of a bike. If you’re using budget components, they are heavier. In return, high-end components are much lighter. Also, if you have more capable components like an enduro fork, it will hold more weight than an XC fork. Typically you will find hardtail mountain bikes to weigh between 10kg and 14kg.

Does the tire size make on a Hardtail Mountain Bike?

Typically you will find that tires range from 2.25” to 2.6”. The larger tires will be better off-road as they can give the bike better grip and have a larger contact patch on the floor. They will be laggier on the road though, and heavier. The smaller tires will have less grip but are much better on the road and for all-terrain.

Are Hardtail Mountain Bikes suitable for Beginners?

They are perfect for beginners. They are capable of riding on-road and off-road, and you can get them at a great entry-level price. The geometry is very comfortable, and they are a tremendous amount of fun to ride.

What kind of Mountain Biking can you do on a Hardtail?

There are lots of different types of Mountain biking, such as Cross Country, All Mountain, Enduro, and Downhill. A hardtail mountain bike will best suit Cross Country and All Mountain. You could give it a go on a Downhill course, but it will be very challenging and require a lot of skill.

Conclusion

I started with a budget hardtail, and I look back and remember those unforgettable moments. I still ride a hardtail more than I ride a full suspension bike.

If your favorite bike is not listed here, talk to us, and we’ll try to review it in the next article.

Photo of author
Written By Robert Gibbons
From riding to school since the age of 13, attending BMX races and events with his dad to himself conquering 50+ trails across the globe. For Rob, his Giant Stance 29 2 2020 is the friend that makes everything better. He is also a proud member of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA).

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