Trailhardtails – the cheaper option to expensive enduro bikes

Trailhardtails – the cheaper option to expensive enduro bikes

Robust, affordable, cool. Trail hardtails allow riding fun on enduro trails at affordable prices.
Trailhardtail review
Anyone looking to buy a new mountain bike can quickly get frustrated. The numerous mountain bike types such as trail bikes, enduro MTBs or all-mountain bikes are confusing. And then, to top it all off, there is the distinction between fullys and hardtails. Not just mountain bike beginners are quickly overwhelmed by the abundance found on the market. In this article, we will not only introduce you to the best trail hardtails, but also generally clarify what a trail hardtail is. What are the strengths and weaknesses of trail hardtails and are you the right fit for a one? If you only know a little bit about mountain bikes, we have additional articles for you. Under this link we explain the different mountain bike categories from enduro to racebike. Here we deal with the general differences and advantages of mountain bike fullys and hardtails.

These features characterize a trail hardtail:

  • a minimum of 120 millimeters of suspension travel at the fork
  • tires with a grippy profile
  • progressive geometry with flat steering angle
  • downhill oriented equipment
  • telescopic support

Trailhardtails or Enduro Hardtail – what is the difference?

Honestly, there’s no real difference between a trail and an enduro hardtail. Both terms ultimately describe the same type of mountain bike. And in both cases, we’re talking about hardtails, which are mountain bikes without a suspended rear end. Unlike a normal mountain bike hardtail, however, a trail hardtail has a suspension fork with at least 120 millimeters of travel. In addition, it comes with wide tires and telescopic seatpost. Also, the geometry of trail hardtails is significantly more geared towards downhill. Classic cross country hardtails with 100 millimeters of suspension travel are somewhat more conservative on the road. Trail hardtails focus on downhill fun. A detailed article on the different hardtail types can be found here.

You should buy a trail hardtail if…

…you are looking for an affordable mountain bike with a maximum of downhill fun. Because one of the decisive advantages of trail hardtails over trail fullys is their price. While you can get good trail hardtails for just over 1000 €, you have to pay at least 3000 € for an equivalent fully trail bike. This makes trail hardtails particularly attractive for young bikers or beginners. Because not everyone wants to spend 3000 € and more on a enduro bike. Another advantage of trail hardtails is that they are relatively robust. While the rear end of fullys often needs to be maintained, relatively little can break on a trail hardtail. Even regular use on extreme enduro trails or big jumps can do little to harm a trail hardtail. But of course trail hardtails also have their disadvantages. You must not get the wrong idea. If you really step on the gas with a trail hardtail on the single trail, you will be bouncing around quiet a bit. Because even if the suspension fork, the tires and the geometry crave full throttle downhill rides, the rear of a trail hardtail remains rigid. With an unclean riding technique, it can be a handfull. It can also happen that the feet leave the pedals from time to time. A flat rear tire is also not uncommon. The Trailhardtail simply can´t substitute the speed and the comfort of a Trailfully or Enduro bike.

Advantages of Trailhardtails:

  • significantly cheaper than fullys
  • robust construction
  • can handle large jumps
  • significantly lighter than fullys

Disadvantages of Trailhardtails:

  • little comfort
  • at high speed, it requires a clean riding technique
Enduro Hardtail on the trail
In principle, there is no difference between a trail and an enduro hardtail. Both terms describe hardtails with more than 120 millimeters of suspension travel.
Racehardtail vs. Trailhardtail
Classic Racehardtails like the BMC Twostroke distinguish themselves from the Trailhardtails by a much more filigree design. The biggest difference is the shorter 100 millimeter forks, which are installed in classic Racehardtails as in the picture above. Professionals like Pauline Ferrand Prevot can also ride very well with classic race hardtails. As a normal biker, a race hardtail will make you reach your limit fairly quickly in the downhill.

Good trail hardtails are available from 1500 €

The killer argument for trail hardtails remains their attractive price compared to fullys. Of course, there are also trail hardtails for more than 3000 €. Here we move into the area of the “hardtail hardliner”. But for someone, who is willing to spend 3000 € and more on a mountain bike that´s fun in the downhill, he will usually get a fully. Our innovative test system allows us to give you a complete market overview of all trail hardtails. You can only get this service on In addition, you can use the links below to further customize the selection available and use the filters to your individual needs.  

The best trail hardtails under 1500 €

Rose, Giant and Radon set the tone in this price range. All bikes already have a telescopic post and reasonable tires. You still have to be willing to compromise on the suspension forks and gears in this price range. all trail hardtails under 1500 €

The best trail hardtails under 2000 €

Also in the price range below 2000 € Rose gives right gas. Generally, you can count in this price range with modern 1×12 circuits and reasonable braking systems. A good suspension fork is not yet a matter of course in the market segment under 2000 €. all trail hardtails under 2000 €

The best trail hardtails under 3000 €

Under 3000 € for the first time all manufacturers really good wheels and suspension forks.  The aluminum frame remains standard even in this price range. all trail hardtails under 3000 €

The best trail hardtails under 4500 €

From 4000 € most bikers buy a fully. Therefore, the offer in this price range is also extremely manageable. For the first time, there are also carbon bikes and the top chassis of Fox and Rock Shox. all trail hardtails under 4500 €

The best trail hardtails for 4500 € and more

In this price range, the trail hardtail becomes a question of principle. Because for the same money you already get adequate fullys. The two Yetis we show here still enjoy cult status. There is nothing more to say about these bikes. all trail hardtails above 4500 €   For normal hardtails under 1500 € we have a separate article with the best offers of the 2023 season. If a fully still appeals to you, we have an article that deals with the best fullys under 2000 €.  
CONCLUSION on the subject TRAILHARDTAIL TEST 2023 “Trail hardtails are already extremely fun off-road at affordable prices. Anyone who wants to spend under 2000 € and is looking for a touring bike with a knack for enduro trails, usually can not go wrong with a trailhardtail. Especially beginners or young bikers should be appealed to this concept. But you should also not get your hopes up. Comfort is significantly lower with a trail hardtail than with a fully. And at high speeds, a trailhardtail also requires good riding technique.”  
In this article, the author Ludwig Döhl has incorporated his experience from over 100,000 kilometers in the mountain bike saddle.

About the author


... has spent more than 100,000 kilometers in the saddle of over 1000 different mountain bikes. The essence of many hours on the trail: Mountain bikes are awesome when they match your personal preferences! With this realization, he founded to assist cyclists in finding their very own dream bike.

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