Hardtail Vs. Full Suspension Mountain Bike – What is Faster?

Hardtail Vs. Full Suspension Mountain Bike – What is Faster?

This is a hardtail. This is a full
suspension bike. We’re going to take them to the trails, and we’re
going to find out which is faster. This is hardtail versus full suspension. ♪ [music] ♪ We’ve got two of the lightest
cross-country bikes in the world, the Scott Spark and the Scott
Scale. They’re almost identical, wheel, same fork, same bar, same
stem, same brake, same seat post, same saddle, same rider, same drive
terrain, same tires. But one has got 100 millimeters of suspension in the rear, and
one has got none, and this is our course. It’s in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, home to
the 2015 and 2016 Cross-Country Mountain Bike World Cup. It’s got to be one of
the ultimate places to test the two bikes, full suspension versus hardtail.
It’s got challenging terrain, uphill, technical and also flat and then
technical descends where it’s really going to test the capabilities of both bikes. To
keep them fair, I’ve done pre-site lap already. I know my lines, and I
know where I’m where I’m going. Its time for the flying lap, afterwards,
we’re going to break the section to really analyze where the full suspension beat the
hardtail and vice versa. Let’s get going. ♪ [music] ♪ I’m not going to be beaten in your show
any time soon. That’s the full susp done, now it’s time to for the hardtail. ♪ [music] ♪ That was hard. That was a lot of
fun. Well, I can’t quite believe it. The time for the single lap are in,
and the hardtail won. It was faster. Who would have thought that a technical
track this, the Lenzerheide World Cup Cross-Country track would be faster in a
cross-country hardtail. We’re going to get back out on the trails and try and
understand where it was faster and why. On these flatter technical sections on
our test track, the full suspension bike really excelled. The terrain was quite
rough, rocky, roots everywhere, short little climbs into descent. To back
up, you had loads of grip with the full suspension and the hardtail was just
bouncing around and you couldn’t get quite in a straight line same way that
full suspension did. It was coming up the time I climbed that I really began to feel
that the hardtail was coming to a league of its own. Every work that I was
producing, I really felt has moved me forward. When I got to the top of the
climb, dropping into the descend in no time at all. It was this green open
pasture where hardtail really galloped forward again. There’s no problems grip,
the full suspension. When I was out of the saddle, it was fine to bob a little bit,
and you could that suspension sucking away my power. Out of the saddle in the
hardtail, every bit of power that I was putting in was moving forward, and I just
started to excel. On the technical climb, the full suspension bike definitely had
a lot more grip than traction. Getting over those roots and awkward little
moments, you could use the suspension push down on it, pull up, and you can
get an easier hop. Whereas the hardtail, it was really planted. You come
into this stuff a little bit harder. It would sort of skip and bounce. You’d
lose your traction, and it just didn’t carry the same momentum. So, there
you have it, two very fast laps. There was a lot of sprinting in that track, and
that’s probably why the hardtail actually was a little bit quicker. If you were
going for a big dare, some of those marathon races, I can definitely
imagine that full suspension bike would be a lot more comfortable and
perhaps, that’s why we saw last year, Nino Schurter riding that bike here
in the World Cup in Lenzerheide. Anyway, for more great videos on GMBN,
why don’t you click just there, then you get to “Can cross-country riders
descend?” Or if you click over here, you’ll actually get to first look at these
two bikes. As ever, don’t forget to click on the globe to subscribe, and why not
check out the shop after you’re here? Thumb up like if you enjoyed.


  1. What is faster is the moron on the bike, not the bike itself. Find you risk acceptance level and you will be the faster. Not even a debate.

  2. Truth to the matter is, no matter how much tech you put in a full suspension bike, the climb will always belong to a hard tail because there is no suspension to eat up some of the energy you put into pedaling. However, a full sus bike will always win on a downhill trail because the bounce of the bike is reduced, therefore, less impedance and more speed. Nice comparison video though! Kudos to GMBN!

  3. it really all comes down to budget and personal preference and what style of riding both are good at different things I personally go with full suspension because its a lot more comfortable on long enduro rides and is a lot more comfortable on the DH although a Higher end hardtail can smash the dh but it also comes down to how good of a rider you are.

  4. honestly, right now I'm ridin hardtail, but, I do admit there are times where a full squish would come in handy, and thats why Im investing in one. There is no winner in this fight. Also that high seat is just annoying

  5. I like grapefruit, but Im not that fond of cantelope. I used to like it growing up, but for some reason it just doesn't taste good to me anymore. Thats probably why I prefer sushi to mexican food when given the choice. Also yellow looks terrible on cars anyway.

  6. La hardtail estuvo bueníasima!!! … ademas no soy muy pesado solo peso 54kg creo que me conviene una hardtail?

  7. its okey for just 1 round with hardtail, but for entire races absolutely full sus is the best choice because of energy saving and pumping momentum directly go to tyres.

  8. Hello sir good day.. im a 100 kilo in weight. And 5'6" in height. What should i buy for a biggener? Thanks for the info.

  9. My first bike was full suspension, then I bought hardtail because whatever reasons, thing is, I was little disappointed for not having a full but when start riding it, you, I’ll never go back to full suspension. Full is better for tech and slow and very difficult trails, I rather speed trails and control with hardtail on these trails is just superior.

  10. Had a ht my first year racing, now I have a Fs and I like it a lot more. It’s not much more for weight and it makes technical downhills much more comfortable.

  11. I ride a hardtail and my friend that I mainly ride with has a full susp. we both have high quality bikes and I notice that he has a slight advantage on steppy uphill things, where I have the advantage on things like downhill single track stuff. I guess it just depends where you ride and where you want your advantage to be. Most of our riding is in Sedona Az.

  12. The hardtail won because it didn't have an extra shock to absorb speed. Also because of the hardtail doesn't have a shock in the rear, petaling is faster.

  13. fsps you cant trow them arround like hardtails i love hardtails couse you realy feel the trail underneath you fooths greetse from belgium

  14. Why is riding with his seat so far up on the downhill? Looks pretty uncomfortable to me. Am I be judgmental or is this the way you're supposed to ride downhill. I can't imagine doing big jumps like that though. I ride down with my seat as low as possible.

  15. I Think if you do a test in a raid for exemple of two or three hours. The hardtail will not be the fastest. Because with hardtail you will feel more tired in the field. It's why a lot of people which do XC marathon take full suspension. Look a the Cape Epic, they are all in fully :). Thanks for the video.

  16. I personally do downhill so I prefer the technical advantage full suspension gives because when there are big drops or when your going fast you don’t want your back wheel jumping because you won’t have as much control and it can literally be dangerous

  17. I was at the peak of my game around the year 2000 and back then it was a no brainer that hardtails ruled the roost…I have to laugh that today people are surprised that HT are good bikes. Sure you need to watch your line more closely and you don't have as much flare going downhill but more energy gets from your legs to the dirt in a HT when climbing…and that's where it matters. Now that I'm over 40 I care less about speed and more about comfort so a FS is my ride…but a HT will always beat a FS bike.

  18. I am fan of Hardtails. Hartails allow you to do everything from trail to just cruising around. Full Suspension will be a complete waste and a liability when out of technical trails.
    It's fairly easy to distinguish when to use one or the other and who should be purchasing what kind.

  19. I tried my dads full suspension bike and oh my god, my hardtail doesn't compare to the full, its so much more fun and comfy, I do feel like I have more control over my hardtail, but then its 2 sizes down from my dads fully, so maybe that why but dropping off curbs while sitting down hurts like hell on my hardtail, its so relaxing and smooth on the full sus. I don't normally sit down and go off curbs on any bike, it's just a test I do on lots of bikes I try.

  20. Hardtail feels good on a climb but shits feel on downhill , FS feel shit on a climb but feels good on downhill , end the argument

  21. I still can barely fully relate to these hardtails videos because the hardtails they use are still like 2 grand, which defeats the point of hardtails

  22. I love my hardtail because it is much less maintenance. Especially if you like riding through mud and creeks.

  23. My preference is a hardtail BUTT, my ass says differently. And my lower back thanks me. Really depends on terrain. If I'm going to expect a ton of rock gardens and drops then full suspension all day. If it's generally easy like this video than it's a no brainer a hardtail.

  24. Exactly what I expected. Hardtail wins on climbs and descents, xc wins flat. I'm excited to get a Giant Fathom 1.

  25. Would love to see you guys come out to Utah and Colorado for some big mountain riding. Our trails are much different – a few miles climbing followed by miles of descending.

  26. I love my hardtail and biking trails in general! But my knees do give me a hard time tho. Will a full sus help knee problems or does it matter?
    If it will help then I'm definitely considering the changeover but that's really my only reason for the consideration…
    What y'all think about it??

  27. I am thinking which is better GT or Trek hardtail bike, but seem i prefer GT Avalanche Comp 29R small . Am i not disappointed of what i choose?

  28. I'm going to buy a FS in the future but over the summer I've been rocking a Trek Procaliber 8 and I love it. Made some mods here and there to fit my preference and it's been a joy, much better than my first few hardtails. It's a really cool design too, made for XC, with the IsoSpeed decoupler it's definitely a little smoother than other hardtails I've had.
    Never apologize for your bike, ride what you have with confidence, and have fun!

  29. I had a felt q200 hardtail once
    Until 2 years ago when my dad threw it away for no reason whatsoever
    Triggered me and until now im still pissed at him

  30. I had the opportunity to buy a full sus bike but nah…Im not interested in it.
    It doesnt matter which is faster, but which is better!

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