Hardtail Vs. Full Suspension E-MTB | Do You Need A Top-Of-The-Range E-Bike?

Hardtail Vs. Full Suspension E-MTB | Do You Need A Top-Of-The-Range E-Bike?


– Chris, why on earth would you choose a hardtail over a full suspension bike? – Why on earth would you
choose a full suspension over a hardtail, eh Steve? – Because you like the performance. – No, it’s about the
cost of money, come on. – No, it’s about the performance. – No.
– I tell you what, five tracks, five up, five
down, let’s sort it out. – Let’s get it done. (lively music) – So Steve, let’s talk about
cash, money for these bikes. What are we talking? – No, no, no, Chris. Performance. It’s all about performance. – No, money, come on. Hardtail versus full suspension, come on. – Alright, what have you got there? – 4399 euros for this fine machine. – Okay, and this fine
machine is 5699 euros, so it’s not that much more. – Well, 1200 pounds more. – Okay, 1200 euros more, you mean. – Yeah, exactly. – Alright, what about weight? – 21.4 kilograms for this featherweight. – 22.6, that’s hardly
any difference at all. – So an extra kilo. What exactly are you
getting for the extra kilo? – Well I get a damper, shock
absorber, for starters. – Yeah, a linkage plate
and a few bearings. So 1200 pounds more, is that thing 23% more capable out in
the trails than this? – Look, the only way we’re gonna find out we’re gonna do a test. We’re gonna do a road
test, a fire road test, a single track test, and a downhill test to find out the nitty gritty
between these two bikes. (action music) You really do seem to be a
strong advocate for the hardtail Christopher, I have to say. – For sure this thing was gonna
cost a lot less than that. – I mean, it depends on the
specifications for starters. – Less maintenance, winter. – What, one shock absorber? (laughter) – Skills. You know, this thing is the best thing for teaching basic skills. That thing you just sit
on and roll down the hill like you’re sat in an armchair. – No, you say they’re better
for the teaching basic skills. They just teach you different
skills to this bike. – And if I wanna go commuting, touring, things like that on this bike, I can fit everything on it.
– Chris, Chris we’re mountain biking,
not touring or commuting. Surely, these two bikes
are gonna be pretty equal, I can just stick my lockout on, and they’re exactly the same weight, the same motors, same tires. They’re gonna be equally the same commuting hardtail or full suspension. Let’s get our times in. (lively music Right, we’re off road. – Yeah, this is mountain biking for a lot of people though, Steve. – Yeah, how is it feeling? – Yeah really good, super efficient, every down trick on these
pedals I can feel that delivery and straight to the back wheel, rather than bobbing around. – One thing, you can’t
confuse efficiency feeling versus fact and I reckon this
bike is equally as efficient as that bike with it locked out. – You reckon? – Yeah totally, but do you know what? I think it’s time to take this
double track to single track. That’s where mountain
biking really begins. – Let’s do it. (lively music) – [Chris] You still there Steve? – [Steve] Yep, I’m still here. – [Chris] That 180 mil travel sofa certainly isn’t helping you on this single track climb is it? – [Steve] Well, I’ll give you that. That bike does seem to be very capable on this type of single track, but I think it’s gonna be on
this tougher stuff where this bike comes into its own. However, at this point,
it looks like I’m gonna be buying the lunch. – [Chris] Yep, you are. (action music) – Time to ramp things up. Time to go even further off the road more rocks, more roots. – Yeah, but what about if
you don’t even ride this tech like single-track trails,
climbs, and things like that? – Look, if you don’t do that if you ride just roads
and fire roads all day then you can get a
sub-thousand pound hardtail with a hub drive motor, job done. Give you immense pleasure. – Yeah, exactly that immense pleasure and do you remember that
immense pleasure you had riding up the Snowden on that hub drive, hub gear thing? That wasn’t much fun was it? – Yeah the problem with hub drive bikes is they just bounce everywhere, don’t they?
– Yeah. – All that weight is in the rear wheel. – Not good when you’re riding
technical off road situations, those bikes, at all.
– Yeah I mean, I guess a mid-drive
motor is gonna be way better even compared to a hub drive
bike on stuff like this, right. – Definitely, yeah. Hardtail or full
suspension, doesn’t matter. (lively music) – [Steve] So after the first
three tests on the road, on the fire road, and on
the smooth single track, I think it’s pretty even or
maybe you slightly ahead, but now we’ve got on to
the more technical stuff, I think we’re getting to
like a transition phase. – Definitely yeah, I can see
the pluses coming in on that slowly, not quite there, but – But actually you just said it. We’re not quite there because
we’re going one stage further to a crazy, steep climb. Right, so we’ve done four types of riding. We’ve done the road,
we’ve done the fire road, we’ve done the single track and the really rough single track. Now if we take that to the next level, it takes us to places like the slab – The rock. – And the rock which
are pretty challenging environments, right?
– (name) Big stuff, yeah. – And it brings me back to
the point of suspension. The point of suspension is
there so the tires maintain traction with the terrain. If you think about the bigger picture, the big absorption of the terrain, that comes through your
arms and legs, right. – Definitely yeah. – When you’re going at speed. However, when it comes to
climbs, really difficult climbs, you don’t want that
back tire to be bouncing at all off the ground, right? – Exactly, I think I’m
struggling with the hardtail just every little rock and root, feeling that back end just
picking up, skipping around disturbing that pedal stroke as wel I think that’s something
that really matters. You get bounced around, your
feet come off the pedals and you’re riding in a different position to you do a full suspension bike. – It brings me back to Snowden. That was just no fun. We got up there, but it was
so much fun on the canyon wasn’t it
– Definitely yeah. – I mean it was actually a
pleasurable experience with that. – [Chris] Not as much– didn’t look as much fun on the hardtail? – Its horrible, anyway here is our last hill climb challenge behind us. Which is a little difficult, – Looks pretty hardcore to me – yeah kind of quite complex. (lively music) – [Chris] Technical volume number one. Oh my God, not near there. Let’s go again. (bleep) Nah. (lively music) – Oh boy, these bikes are
not made for commuting and riding on roads. – No, for sure. – These are mountain
bikes, but you know what? There’s still a 25k restrictor, limiter so they both weigh about
the same, same tires, They’re about the same speeds right? – Yeah I think it’s ultimately just gonna come down to fitness, I think
we’re both above that 25k both working pretty hard, the
bikes absolutely no different on the road so far. (lively music) – [Steve] First downhill
test is a fire road – [Chris] Yeah there’s a
lot of reason why the big cross country pro’s have
always rode a hardtail – [Steve] What, so nice, steep and short? You cannot argue the
slackhead angle 65 degrees long wheel base is
gonna be way more stable than that steep thing. Hey look, this ain’t getting
anywhere these two bikes are really evenly matched. What we need to do now is get onto some really cool single track, let’s do it. (lively music) You go pretty fast down there,
I gotta– do you know what? I don’t think that the full
suspension was any quicker down there
– [Chris] Right. – [Steve] Than your hard tail. – [Chris] Yeah it felt pretty good. – [Steve] You were belting it down there. – [Chris] Could feel every
rock, little jump, everything. It felt real energetic y’know
I don’t expect you even felt that on your big
sofa down there did you? – Not at all. – Keeps me alive, feeling fresh. – However I will say one
thing, now full suspension is there for one reason. – What’s that? – And that is for the
tire to maintain contact and grip with the ground. – Yeah, a bit slippy.
– And we have to point to Exhibit A seems to be like a 40 foot slider – [Chris] Into the hedge
– [Steve] this culminates in the bracken. Any comments? – [Chris] Yeah maybe you
had a little more grip round that corner than what I did. Think I got a bit disturbed by that rock and then just slid the
whole way round the corner. – I think you were disturbed
full stop. (laughing) Sliding aside
– [Chris] Yeah – [Steve] Do you know what,
I think you were really fast down there and I think that
bike of yours is super capable – [Chris] Yeah that’s what
I like about the hardtails y’know it makes every
downhill feel a lot more alive thing about full suspension
stuff is you just sit back, plow through everything, not
pick a line, just sit back. Whereas that you gotta be on
your line, enjoying the ride, feeling those rocks and jumps. – Okay, so after the three
downhill stages after lunch I think your bike is actually
slightly in the lead. – I’m feeling that way too Steve. (lively music) – Let’s get into some
more demanding terrain. Loads of roots, loads of rocks, now and it’s a place like
this I think you’re gonna have far less grip on the hardtail
– [Chris] Yep. – [Steve] you’re gonna
have more fatigue because of all those impacts
– [Chris] Yep. – [Steve] I think when
it comes to line choice you’re gonna probably
be going round things where I’m just gonna go
straight through the middle of it all
– [Chris] Yeah. – [Steve] and of course,
because you’ve just got a fork in the front and
a hardtail on the back I’ve got suspension front
and rear I would suggest there’s more parity in the
bike, more balance in the bike, than the hardtail. – [Chris] Agree with you yeah,
I think with this sorta stuff your feet are gonna get bounced
around a hell of a lot more so you don’t feel as confident with your contact points as well a change of body position
and tryna ride a bit more rear wheel on the bike
purely because tryna get that fork active but not get bucked around by the rear so– – Do you think this is
the tipping point then between smooth single track
and really quite technical, difficult single track – Yeah it’s definitely not
possible but I don’t think it’s as easy to carry the same speed
– [Steve] Yeah – [Chris] or the same lines– – [Steve] look it’s possible
to ride it, we’re not saying it’s impossible to ride it
but I think when it comes to pushing yourself and
the bike to its limits I think y’know there’s more
to go in a place like this with a full suspension bike, right?
– [Chris] yeah. – [Steve] you can push yourself
to the limit on a hardtail – [Chris] Yeah, but it gets scary – [Steve] It does, but I think
you can push a lot further on a full suspension
– [Chris] I think if you had the same scales on a full suspension bike you would be a faster
rider than you would be on the hardtail. – Do you think this teaches
you, gives you more confidence as well when you’re
riding a full suspension on this type of terrain. – Confidence, yeah definitely
but then it is nice to sometimes pick those
lines on a hardtail and think about it before
you get there as well sometimes I think on the
full sus it can just become a bit of a blur whereas on
the hardtail you really– – A blur, because you’re going so fast – True (laughs)
– Come on let’s get downhill (lively action music) ooh! (bleep) Do you know what, this is
the last downhill challenge I don’t actually want you to go into this because I think there’s a
ceiling for what hardtails can do – Nah
– But they can do loads of things really well granted that is for sure
but on a place like this I’m not so sure, I mean ’cause
back to what we discussed at the beginning, you said
that hardtails teach you really good basic skills
– Yeah. – I’d argue they teach
you different skills because there’s no way
you can take a hardtail down this section like you
can a full suspension bike. – [Chris] true, I definitely
agree with you there Steve, but I will make it to
the bottom of that hill but I’m not gonna be
having as much fun as you I’m not gonna be getting
the wheels off the ground I’m gonna be holding on
for dear life I imagine, feet bouncing all over the place but I will make it to the
– Yeah. – to the bottom. – What about like some basics
like weight distribution, you can’t learn weight
distribution when you’ve got a fork on the front
– Yeah – and a hardtail on the back.
– Definitely yeah. – What about cornering, you’ve proved – [Chris] yeah (laughing)
– [Steve] You’ve proved earlier. – I think it’s just as capable
but any minor disruption y’know a bump or a little
drop on that corner is just gonna interrupt
that grip level as you saw, you went round the corner
I slid off in the bush. – And what about breaking,
the breaking difference between the hardtail and
full suspension bike? – Again, as soon as you hit
those bumps that backwheel’s gonna be chattering around,
losing grip, losing breaking whereas on the full
suspension obviously that gets suppled up and just lets that
backwheel bite into the ground can maintain that composure
on the bike as well you’re not just getting bounced around all over the place
– [Steve] Exactly – [Other] Always rattling in your head – [Steve] I think you
said it there, composure when you’re going down through
ridiculously hard terrain on a full suspension, it
lets you pick your lines – Yep, yeah. – So it teaches you how
to pick lines correctly whereas when you’re holding
it like this, you’re like– – Yeah.
– So when people say hardtails easier to pick
lines, I don’t think they do – If they’re, yeah
– Just different lines – different lines, yeah totally. (lively music) – And the conclusion,
what about the hardtail? We’re talking fire roads, single track, that bike is really really capable. – Yeah definitely. – Let’s get one thing clear
though, it’s a mid-drive hardtail bike
– Yeah not a hub-drive bike – Yeah so I think, good value for money, engaging,
– Yep. – and as a first mountain bike? – Hell of a lot of fun and
a real good price point to get into the sport of e-biking. – ’cause I think those
bikes start at around 1500, 1600 pounds?
– Yeah. – I mean, that’s good right? – Yeah compared to the
full suspension stuff. – Full suspension bike,
they start probably at about 2500 pounds, so
there is a price difference however, the confidence you can get riding a full suspension bike is second to none and I don’t think you can
learn full suspension skills on the hardtail. – No I think when it comes
to skill on the hardtail you have to be a lot higher
skill level to ride a hardtail in the same places that you
can on a full suspension bike whereas on the full
suspension bike you can have a lower skill level and get a
way with a hell of a lot more on that bike
– yeah, yeah. – than what you can on a hardtail. – And I think, that
other basic skill again is generating speed out of the terrain – Yeah. – That is great down a
pump track, that is good in a natural environment, right? – Yeah, two different worlds. – So there you go, hope
you liked this video I’m sure there’ll be a ton
of comments about hardtail versus full suspension.
– Yeah. – For some more out there
adventures check out the video that me and Chris did on the rock. What else have we got Chris? – We’ve got Steve’s big
adventure up in Scotland, up in Knoydart where he showed
that full suspension bike being used to limits up here as well. Don’t forget to give us a thumbs up if you enjoyed today’s video,
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comments in the box below. We’ll see ya next one.