Hardtail vs. Fully: The Mountain Bike Comparison for Beginners

Welcome to the fascinating world of mountain biking! There are countless MTB models on the market - the challenge is finding the bike that suits you and your riding style. The first question you should ask yourself is: Do you need an MTB Fully or an MTB Hardtail? And what exactly is the difference between the two types of mountain bikes? We explain the characteristics, riding properties, prices, and applications of mountain bikes.

What is a Hardtail Mountain Bike?

First, we look at the Hardtail Mountain Bike. "Hardtail" means that the bike is only sprung on the front axle. This makes Hardtails light, agile, and ideal for MTB beginners. Due to the lower weight compared to the Fully, riders who are less practiced on the trail don't tire as quickly. Furthermore, a Hardtail allows you to train and greatly improve your technical skills. Because the bikes are generally lighter and easier to maneuver. Since Hardtails give the rider more direct feedback from the ground, they help to learn and refine techniques like weight shifting and line choice.

The price also makes Hardtails the choice for beginners compared to full-suspension mountain bikes. Due to the lack of rear suspension and fewer components, Hardtails generally cost significantly less. They also require less maintenance – saving you time and money.

Check out our GHOST Hardtail models. They are designed to make getting started as easy as possible, yet allowing you to tap into your full performance potential.

Which trails and terrains are suitable for Hardtails?

Hardtail Mountain Bikes are very versatile and suitable for a variety of trails and terrains. Their specific suitability depends on the type of Hardtail, but in general, they are good for the following scenarios:

  1. Cross-Country Trails: Hardtails are excellent for cross-country rides. These trails are often well-maintained and less technically challenging, so the extra suspension of a Fully is not necessarily required. Moreover, Hardtails are generally lighter and more efficient, which is an advantage on longer routes.

  2. Singletrack Trails: These narrow, winding paths can be steep and technical, but Hardtails can handle them due to their agility and direct transfer of rider input. The direct feedback a Hardtail offers can be an advantage here.

  3. Climbing Routes: When the trail contains steep ascents, a Hardtail can often be the better choice. The direct power transfer and the lower weight of Hardtails can offer an advantage on hilly terrain.

  4. Maintained Trails and Forest Roads: For less challenging paths and trails that are well-maintained and don't have large obstacles or rough surfaces, Hardtails are an excellent option. They are efficient and fun on such paths.

  5. Dirt Jump and Pump Tracks: For jumps, drops, and pumping movements, Hardtail mountain bikes are often the preferred choice. Their lighter weight and straightforward construction make them agile and precise. Overall, Hardtails are an excellent choice for a variety of trails and terrains, especially when efficiency, agility, and technique are priorities.

What types of Hardtail MTBs are there?

Hardtails come in many different shapes and sizes. Some of the common types are:

Cross-Country Hardtails: Perfect for fast trails and races.

TRAIL Hardtails: Ideal for more challenging off-road routes.

Tour Hardtails: Perfect for a combination of everyday and forest and meadow paths.

Dirt-Jump Hardtails: Designed for jumps and stunts.

Hardtail Bikes and e Bikes

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What is a Fully Mountain Bike?

Now, onto the Fully Mountain Bikes, also fondly referred to as full-suspension mountain bikes or Fullsuspension MTBs. As the name suggests, these bikes have suspension at both the front and rear, making them more comfortable on rough terrain. The GHOST Fully Bikes are designed for performance and riding pleasure. Because of the suspension at the front and rear, Fullys are more comfortable, even on rough terrain. They absorb shocks and bumps better, which means less strain on your body. Furthermore, Fullys often offer better control in difficult terrains. The rear suspension keeps the rear wheel better on the ground, which provides more traction during fast descents or technical trails.

Moreover, Fullsuspension Bikes are extremely versatile. Fully MTBs can ride well on a wide range of terrains and trails, from smooth cross-country tracks to technically demanding downhill paths. Speed is also in the foreground. Because of the increased traction and control that Fullys provide, they can often be ridden faster, especially on uneven terrain. Fullys also come as a e Fully version. And for those who like their mountain bikes lightweighted - there are also light e mtbs available.

Fullys are generally more expensive than their less-suspended counterparts. They are also heavier and thus not as lightweight. Therefore, it's important for you to know what your goal is with mountain biking. A Hardtail might be suitable for beginners, but if you're more experienced and want to head straight for racing and full performance with a lot of leeway, then the Fully is the right choice for you.

Which trails and terrains are suitable for Fullys?

  1. Downhill and Enduro Trails: These types of trails are often filled with large obstacles such as rocks, roots, drops, and jumps. A Fully can help manage these obstacles better by dampening the impacts and increasing control.

  2. Technically Demanding Trails: On very rough, uneven, or rocky paths, the additional rear suspension of a Fully offers more comfort and control.

  3. All-Mountain and Big Mountain Trails: If you're riding in high alpine terrain or on long, challenging routes, a Fully provides the necessary versatility and endurance.

  4. Fast Descents: Fullys often offer more stability and control at high speeds, making them an excellent choice for riders who love speed.

  5. Uneven or Loose Ground: On muddy, sandy, or loose trails, a Fully can assist with better traction and stability.

  6. Long-distance Rides: Fullys can score points for long-distance rides due to their increased comfort. Their ability to absorb shocks and vibrations can help reduce fatigue on longer rides.

What types of Fully MTBs are there?

Just like Hardtails, there are different types here too:

Cross-Country Fullys: For smooth riding on rough paths.

All-Mountain Fullys: Perfect for technically demanding trails.

Trail Fullys: Performance-oriented for challenging terrain or the bike park.

Enduro Bikes: Ideal for fast trails and the best downhill performance.


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Fully or Hardtail? Which mountain bike is right for me?

When wondering which bike is right for you, think about your riding goals:

Hardtail MTBs are perfect if you want to focus on light to medium-difficult trails. They are also ideal for beginners looking to improve their technique. Fully MTBs are better suited if you want to ride on rough terrain or increase your speed. They are more comfortable and offer more control.

Buying a Hardtail MTB - how do I find the right model?

Buying a Hardtail MTB can be confusing at first glance. Here are some tips:

  1. Consider the trails you mainly want to ride.

  2. Ensure the bike is the right size for you.

  3. Learn about different GHOST Hardtail models and decide which one best fits your needs.

Buying a Fully MTB - how do I find the right model?

The same principles apply when buying a Fully MTB. Think about your riding level, your goals, and the type of trails you want to ride.

E-Fully and E-Hardtail: The Special Features

For those looking for an extra performance boost, there are E-Fully and E-Hardtail models. They come with an electric motor that supports your pedaling - ideal for going further, mastering tougher trails, or simply making the way home easier after a long day in the field. With the added power of our E-Bikes, you can explore more and push your limits.

Hardtail vs. Fully: Riding characteristics on the trail

The major difference between Hardtail and Fully becomes evident in the riding characteristics on the trail.

  • Hardtail MTBs are agile and responsive. They offer a more direct riding feel and promote better technique, as they give you more feedback from the ground. They are perfect for flat to medium-difficult trails and offer high efficiency on climbs.

  • Fully MTBs are more comfortable and forgiving. They offer more control on rough or technically demanding terrain and allow for higher speeds on descents. They are ideal if you want to tackle rough terrain or go on long tours with varying conditions.

Which is better: Hardtail or Fully?

If you are a beginner, want to improve your technique, or mainly ride on smooth trails or cross-country routes, the Hardtail MTB is an excellent choice.

If you ride on varied, technically demanding terrain, like to race downhill, or simply appreciate the additional comfort, then the Fully MTB is your perfect companion.

"The million-dollar question: Is the Hardtail or the Fully better? The answer is: It depends on you!"


Regardless of your choice, whether Hardtail or Fully, GHOST MTB offers a wide range of models tailored to your individual needs and preferences. So you can be sure to find the right bike for your next adventure ride!

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