Hardtail or Full Suspension E-MTB?

If you’re thinking of buying an electric mountain bike, there are two main types you can buy: full suspension (FS) or hardtail. This is the same choice you’d face if you were buying a regular MTB, so what are they?

A full suspension mountain bike includes rear suspension shock absorbers as well as the suspension fork on the front. This explains the “full” part in the name, because a hardtail only includes a front suspension fork and has no suspension at the rear.

In e-bikes, the usual performance considerations such as bike weight and riding position are nullified to a large degree, because you’re not relying solely on human efficiency to go fast. E-MTB bikes are mostly about just having fun, but you’ll still want to choose a bike that suits the riding you do.

Hardtail

Having explained that a hardtail bike does not include rear suspension, what are its benefits? For a start, it’s cheaper, because a hardtail is less complicated to make.

Pedaling efficiency is slightly superior in a hardtail MTB because the power you put through the pedals is more directly transferred to the rear wheel. Obviously with a pedal-assist bike this benefit is less cut and dried, but you still must pedal. The more efficiently power is transferred through the pedals, the less energy is needed to travel at any given speed.

Hardtail MTBs are best for riding on smoother, less technical trails and are a good choice if you also want to ride your bike on the road. They’re easier to clean than an FS mountain bike, too.

Full Suspension

Full suspension mountain bikes, as you’ll have gathered, are more expensive than hardtails. They’re also heavier, but that’s only really a consideration if your battery power runs out.

The main benefit of an FS mountain bike is the extra comfort and improved handling you’ll enjoy when tackling technical, bumpy trails or flying downhill on tricky descents. Anything that absorbs shock when cycling also reduces fatigue in the rider, so there’s also that.

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