Best Hardtail Mountain Bikes for 2019

by Daniel T
by Daniel T
Last Updated: 09/09/2019

If you’re a fan of hardtail mountain bikes then you’re in the right place. Not only will we reveal why we love MTBs with no back-suspension, we’ll also list our top 10 favourite hardtail bikes.

Regardless of your budget, there will be a bike for you. Our team of expert reviewers have trialled and tested the best bikes in 2019. Find our ultimate guide on buying the perfect mountain bike, to suit your riding style.

Rejoice, as you find celebrated models and our honest opinion. We have tested them outside and unravel what we enjoyed as well as their weaknesses. Beginners and experts alike, will be able to find a hardtail specifically for them, as we take all aspects into account.

What is the Best Hardtail Mountain Bike?

IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS
Vitus Sentier VRS Mountain Bike
  • Weight: 12.58kg (27.5lbs)
  • Frame: 6061-T6 Alloy Long Slack Reach
  • Fork Travel: 140mm
Click for Best Price
Specialized Rockhopper Pro 2019 Mountain Bike
  • Weight: 12.58kg (27.5lbs)
  • Frame: 6061-T6 Alloy Long Slack Reach
  • Wheel Size & Weight: 27.5
  • Fork Travel:
Click for Best Price
Vitus Nucleus 275 VRX Mountain Bike
  • Weight: 14.03kg
  • Alloy Frame, long, low slack frame.
  • Wheel Size: 27.5
  • Fork Travel: Suntour 120mm
Click for Best Price

Top 10 Hardtail Mountain Bikes: Our Picks

1.
Vitus Sentier VRS Mountain Bike

Specifications

  • Weight: 12.58kg (27.5lbs)
  • Frame: 6061-T6 Alloy Long Slack Reach
  • Fork Travel: 140mm

Excited to test out some adventurous descents?

We have picked out the best hardtail bike to do exactly that. It isn’t the first time that we have highlighted the Vitus Sentier VRS, as we believe it to be not only the best hardtail but also the best mountain bike, period.

Taking into account, its price, reach, seat angle, tyres and overall performance- we rate this is our number one.

Although it was a closely contested battle, the performance during our test spoke for itself. The Vitus Sentier VRS doesn’t just look sleek and beautifully designed, it also provides a performance to match.

RockShox Boost Fork with 140mm travel, plus-sized tyres and SRAN BX Eagle 1×12 gearing.

You can read our full review here.

Reasons to Buy

  • Has been designed for extreme trails
  • Rides uphill at speed with comfort
  • It is lightweight
  • Seat tube at 73-degrees to make inclines comfortable
  • Aggressive geometry

Reasons to Avoid

  • No dropper seatpost

2.
Specialized Rockhopper Pro 2019 Mountain Bike

Specifications

  • Weight: 12.58kg (27.5lbs)
  • Frame: 6061-T6 Alloy Long Slack Reach
  • Wheel Size & Weight: 27.5
  • Fork Travel:

Specialized Rockhopper by name, and by nature. This ingenious creation may be free of back suspension, but it rides bumps and hard terrain effortlessly.

A combination of 29” wheels and a lightweight frame, you can guarantee that you’ll have fun. It proves to be an exciting exhibition.

This is the best hardtail mountain bike under £1000. We were surprised to see so much bike, for such little cost.

We couldn’t help but snoop around, looking for reasons that it’s been priced this low. Fortunately, it was to no avail. There’s no dropper post, some of the components aren’t the most bespoke and there isn’t a folding tyre option.

But that’s as bad as it got. We loved this hardtail MTB and for the price, it had to make it in our top two. It is best for cross country trail riding, as it takes most terrain in its stride and perfectly lands jumps.

You will also find that it is a versatile addition. It doesn’t discriminate between single track gravel routes or off-road adventures. Lightweight with nimble geometry, you can enjoy pushing this bike to its limits.

Reasons to Buy

  • Has been designed for extreme trails
  • Rides uphill at speed with comfort
  • It is lightweight
  • Seat tube at 73-degrees to make inclines comfortable
  • Aggressive geometry

Reasons to Avoid

  • No dropper seatpost

3.
Vitus Nucleus 275 VRX Mountain Bike

Vitus Nucleus 275 VRX Mountain Bike

Specifications

  • Weight: 14.03kg
  • Alloy Frame, long, low slack frame.
  • Wheel Size: 27.5
  • Fork Travel: Suntour 120mm

Why not keep up the theme of awesome hardtails for less than £1,000?

This is another version of our number one pick. It lacks some of the parts that the top rated, Sentier packs but it a replica that has been made affordable.

Despite many labelling it as a cheaper version of the Sentier, it deserves its own credit. It is a bike that can be bought on a budget and still boasts quality parts and skilled engineering.

With low, slack and long geometry, it is suited to inclines. It is versatile enough to take on all terrain and it easily dampens the vibrations of bumps thanks to the 120mm travel SunTour front forks.

Reasons to Buy

  • Bespoke bike for under £1,000
  • It adapts to all trails
  • Large tyres
  • Fork and travel to dampen bumps

Reasons to Avoid

  • There are better Vitus versions available such as the Sentier

4.
Diamondback Heist 3.0

Diamondback Heist 3.0

Specifications

  • Alloy Butted
  • Wheel Size: 27.5
  • Fork Travel: 120mm

You will get away with daylight robbery, buying this Diamond.

It is lightweight, adaptable, comfortable and has stiff forks. It is everything you want in a hardtail bike yet it’s available for less than £1,000.

We feel as though this bike lacks geometry for those really hoping to beat their trail time.

However, if you are simply enjoying the off road tracks then this bike is perfect. It is great on all terrain and has been made easy to ride. Their experts have made gear changes seamless with the toggles.

It is value for money and even offers wide tyres, giving you all the advantages despite the low price.

Reasons to Buy

  • Wide tyres with lots of grip
  • Easy to ride with innovative components
  • Climbs up hills fast
  • Value for money

Reasons to Avoid

  • Tyres aren’t tubeless ready

5.
Ragley Mmmbop Hardtail Mountain Bike

Ragley Mmmbop Hardtail Mountain Bike

Specifications

  • Wheel Size: 27.5
  • Fork Travel: 150mm
  • Alloy Frame

Innovation at its finest. Despite its odd name.

We weren’t fans of the name but that didn’t stop us checking out the prestigious Ragley hardtail.

It has been made to precision, with a lightweight frame, lots of fork travel and advanced geometry. You can ‘red-line’ this bike on the most extreme of tracks.

Regardless of the terrain, it’s able to match it with supple forks and a slack head angle. What does that mean? Well, you can now tackle all trails to your best potential. Thanks for the slack head angle and adjustable forks allowing you to easily accelerate uphill.

You can downhill just as well, the quality build enables you to enjoy pushing the bike and in-turn, you will get to improve on trail times.

Interchangeable dropouts give you the chance to change the dropper post to your preference. Another facet that stood out to us, was the celebrated Manitou’s 150mm fork. It is supple and rides beautifully on climbs.

Provides a great marriage of stiffness and supple components. Even though it’s lightweight and easy to move through choppy trails, it can get stiff on the back end. A little too much, yet it is a great reminder to tone down the abrasive riding during tough routes.

Reasons to Buy

  • Advanced geometry capable of the most extreme trails
  • Fast acceleration on flat or incline
  • Updated components
  • High quality hydraulic brakes
  • You can adjust the drop post

Reasons to Avoid

  • Back end can be too stiff when pushing the bike

6.
Ragley Big Wig Hardtail Bike

Ragley Big Wig Hardtail Bike

Specifications

  • Alloy Frame
  • Wheel Size: 29
  • Forks: 130mm Yari

Let’s put price tags aside- the Ragley Big Wig is arguably the best hardtail bike of all.

When simply assessing the performance alone, it is a force to be reckoned with, thanks to its bespoke parts and expert engineering.

The Ragley Big Wig is as good as it sounds and it excelled during our trial. It transfers power to the rear wheel ensuring you can climb without hassle. That is why it is perfect for bumpy trails.

Ideal for enduro, cross-country and touring. They have perfectly mixed the 29in wheels with advanced geometry.

Comes with 130mm travel fork, a 44mm headtube, an 11-speed SRAM NX transmission and Shimano SLX M7000. It has been built with top spec’s parts and overall design.

If you are tall, then we are sad to say that this isn’t the biggest of bikes. Find out more in our full review.

Reasons to Buy

  • Combination of 29in wheels and advanced geometry
  • Climbs hills without hassle
  • Top spec’s parts throughout
  • Quality Shimano brakes

Reasons to Avoid

  • Not big enough for tall riders

7.
Marin Trail 7 Hardtail- 27.5 & 29

Marin Trail 7 Hardtail- 27.5 & 29

Specifications

  • Alloy Butted
  • Wheel Size: 27.5” or 29
  • Forks: 120mm RockShox Revelation RC

There are two options of the Marin Trail 7, the 27.5” & 29” wheels.

It is great to have the choice. It can take on a variety of trails and that is thanks to the 120mm RockShox fork. They haven’t cut any corners, meaning that you’ll be able to.

They have ensured the finest quality on the entire bike. You can enjoy quality parts for all treks.

With a robust alloy butted frame and lightweight design, you can enjoy this bike during fast trails.

It is easy to assemble and just as easy to ride. We recommend this bike, it can be taken on leisurely rides as well as hitting trails with aggression. That is due to its geometry and solid drivetrain.

Kitted with hydraulic brakes, boost-sized thru axles and an 11-speed drivetrain, you can choose a route of your choice.

We like both versions of this bike- but we’d opt for the 29er. Simply because it is so much fun. It can travel through exciting tracks with fast-rolling wheels.

Reasons to Buy

  • Option for both 27.5in and 29in
  • Dampens vibrations from bumps
  • Quality components throughout
  • Lightweight & fast

Reasons to Avoid

  • Maybe too fast during winter weather

8.
Niner AIR 9 RDO 2 Star Hardtail Bike

Niner AIR 9 RDO 2 Star Hardtail Bike

Specifications

  • Flat Top Alloy
  • Wheel Size: 29”
  • Forks: Rockshox Reba RL Solo Air, 100mm

The robust frame and aggressive geometry makes this hardtail desirable for enthralling trajectories.

If you don’t want to scrimp on quality then you will want to check out the Niner AIR. Many have rated this as one of the best hardtails on the market.

In-fact, it is classed as one of the best MTBs overall. We can certainly see why. Although we wouldn’t put it any higher than eighth, we understand the argument to do so. Because of the cost, we have rated it this low.

It’s not cheap for newcomers, but Niner aren’t too fussed about that. This MTB is aimed at seasoned MTB riders.

Beautifully designed, it is complete with a carbon frame, RockShox Reba RL Solo Air fork and SRAM Guide R brakes. If you’re experienced, you’ll understand, the aforementioned parts are all there to create a smoothness.

Not only that, they are all-round bespoke, meaning durability, dampening and versatility for different terrain.

 

Reasons to Buy

  • Comfortable and smooth ride
  • Super lightweight, with a carbon frame
  • Geometry is super responsive
  • Robust frame
  • Mesmerising design

Reasons to Avoid

  • Tube angle isn’t to everybody’s preference

9.
Commencal Meta HT AM 29 Race Bike

Commencal Meta HT AM 29 Race Bike

Specifications

  • Aluminium 6061 triple butted
  • Wheel Size: 29”
  • Fork Travel: 150mm

The prestigious Commencal Meta HT is a 29er for enduro racing.

Built with a 6061 triple-butted alloy frame, it has been developed with quality parts.

Commencal advocates have labelled this model as the best aluminium hardtail MTB. It is hard to deny, as it is still reasonably priced.

What’s great about hardtails, is you get a lot for your money. Due to them being light and without rear suspension.

Nonetheless, this hardtail is ideal for going hard on your favourite trails. Ride the descents and climb faster than ever. Its pedals are efficient, and the fork travel is 150mm.

We love the NX Eagle 12-speed. The dropper post works brilliantly and you can adjust to your requirements.

Equipped with SRAM-T brakes, we’d have expected they would be more responsive with a bike of this specification. Still up to the job and modified, but with how good the other parts perform, we couldn’t help but see a hole in their brakes.

Reasons to Buy

  • Perfect for Enduro Racing
  • Robust yet lightweight with aluminium frame
  • Aggressive geometry perfect for downhill
  • Tubeless ready

Reasons to Avoid

  • Brakes don’t match quality of other specs

10.
Cube Reaction TM Pro 27.5 Hardtail Bike

Cube Reaction TM Pro 27.5 Hardtail Bike

We can’t lie, it was tough to choose the tenth best hardtail.

Eventually, our team of experts decided on the Cube Reaction. For a number of reasons, its price, durability, adaptability and all-round design.

Available as 27.5” and 29” it is a fast bike sure to tackle all tracks seamlessly. You can now enjoy all of the best trails in Britain whether they are uphill, downhill or an extreme version of both.

What goes up, must come down. Thankfully, the Cube Reaction can do both just as capably.

It has been named after its ability to respond to all types of routes.

The 11-speed drivetrain by Shimano ensures easy gear shifting, for fast acceleration when you need it. It is also tubeless ready with  Rodi TRYP 35 rims, in Kenda Kujo. This provides speed and it is heavy duty for all terrains that come your way!

Reasons to Buy

  • Ideal for cross-country and hard mountain routes
  • Stiffness to dampen bumps
  • Nimble geometry
  • Tubeless ready
  • Lightweight
  • Tailored for experienced riders

Reasons to Avoid

  • There are cheaper options for beginners

Essential Buying Guide

How to Choose the Right Size?

Choosing the right size hardtail bike is imperative. Pretty obvious, right? Yet, it is an easy mistake to make. You will need to take various factors into account when buying your hardtail- including the frame, pedals, handlebars and standover.

The following things need to be looked at, when getting the right size hardtail mountain bike:

  • Frame
  • Standover
  • Pedals
  • Handlebars

Frame Size

A frame that’s too big will result in pain, aches and also adds danger to your rides. If you can’t put your feet down then this could impact trail riding.

Too small and you could have a problem with your toe clipping the front wheel.

Standover

Another aspect of the frame- the standover. This is referring to when you stand over the frame. You should be able to touch the floor when standing, and taking yourself off the seat.

This enables more control. If you don’t get the standover size of the frame correct, then you are more prone to accidents.

Pedals & Handlebars

There are numerous elements that the pedals can affect. You will want great pedal efficiency to get the most out of your trails. This will subsequently change the speed, comfort and more. You will want the right distance between your frame, saddle, handlebars and pedals. Test-ride your bikes to figure out your preference, you can then check our reviews for more information on what sizs are available and how the bike rides.

Seat Angle

Getting sizing right isn’t all about safety and whether or not the bike is the correct size. Seat angle is something that is subjective, it is down to what you favour and the type of trails you’re looking to tackle.

Find a seat angle that matches your favourite trails. We have highlighted seat angles in each review, which will help you understand what the particular hardtail has been especially made for. Many MTB riders are currently going for angles of around 70-degrees, to ensure ultimate comfort and control during incline.

Find out more on the best seat angle for mountain biking.

Best Wheel Size for MTB

It’s rare that you see 26” wheels on modern releases. The general options are 27.5”(650b) or 29”.

If you are looking for grip over bumpy, big inclines then you may favour the 29” options, that also work well for tall riders. They manoeuvre well and can attack angles perfectly.

On the other hand if you want 27.5” are the lighter choice, attack angles well and are generally quicker at taking off from the stationary position.

How to Find the Best Hardtail Bike

MTB Britain have been around the community for decades, we have plenty of experience and we have been helping people like yourself for some time.  We have learned a lot, along the way.

If you are wondering how to find the best hardtail bike, then follow us.

Firstly, you can find the top hardtail mountain bikes on this page. We have compiled a list of the best 10. That saves you a job, all that is left is picking one that matches your riding style. If you haven’t got a preference, then there are many all-rounders too.

Take a good read of the bikes available and find one that you love. Be sure that you have done the checks we have emphasised. This includes sizing up the frames, the seat angle and other differences.

Other little clues, when checking out various MTB’s, is to look at the brand. That doesn’t say everything about a bike, a good brand will not necessarily create the best mountain bike. We test each bike on their individual grounds. But it’s worth bearing in mind brands; some of the best includes Nukeproof, Santa Cruz, Diamondback, Vitus, Ragley and Trek.

FAQs

What is a Hardtail Bike Best For?

Hardtail bikes offer a lot of bang for your buck. That is because they are lighter and more minimalistic. More is less, as they boast a lightweight design that is perfect for tough trails.

There is no back suspension and there are other parts that aren’t required. Ultimately making the bike cheaper and more accessible. You can get a comprehensive hardtail for under £1,000.

Scroll to Top