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Best Hardtail Mountain Bikes – 2022

Best Hardtail MTB 2022

The death knell of the humble hardtail has been tolled many a time, with lower-cost full suspension technology and the rise of the gravel bike being listed as causes.

And yet the category is still going strong in 2022, with plenty of us still favouring the simplicity of a front fork-only setup and in many cases, the hardtail just being the right tool for the job in hand.

So whether you are looking for a beginner mountain bike or a classic thrill seeking trail muncher, we will break down the best hardtail mountain bikes for 2022!

Best Hardtail Mountain Bikes 2022

Why choose a hardtail mountain bike?

The hardtail MTB category in 2022 is a broad church, ranging from long, slack gravity fun machines to lightweight and aggressive XC racers.

  • Old 26” wheels are behind us with 27.5” and 29” wheels being the most popular
  • Hardtail MTBs are a great place to start building skills and confidence
  • They are a budget friendly alternative to full suspension bikes
  • Most hardtail mountain bikes have a minimum of 120mm travel
  • Opt for tyres in the range of 2.2-2.4” for maximum versatility

Finally, there’s the enjoyment factor: many riders enjoy the hardtails basic simplicity, the feeling of being linked to the trail, and the old-school, grin-inducing delight of tearing up the trails with a rigid rear.

Ultimately, the right mountain bike for you will come down to what kind of riding you plan on using it for, and of course your budget.

Our Best Hardtail Mountain Bikes – 2022

Our Best Hardtail Mountain Bikes

After years of riding bikes and with the knowledge of what makes a good and bad ride, we have spent time getting our hands on the best hardtail mountain bikes and putting them through the ringer so you don’t have too.

We’ve taken into consideration price, specification and that riding feel to bring you the best hardtail MTB for 2022!

Vitus Nucleus VR 29

  • Frame: 6061-T6 Aluminium
  • Fork: SR Suntour XCR32 Air LOR DS
  • Groupset: Box Four 1×8 Speed
  • Wheels: WTB i30 TCS 2.0
  • Size: M, L, XL
  • Price: £649.99

A bike that needs no introduction, the Vitus Nucleus has been voted the best Hardtail of the Year four times in a row by MBR Magazine. The no fuss bike is built to shred the trails using a lightweight aluminium frame coupled with reliable and high quality components all at a price point to suit any wallet.

Verdict: The best budget hardtail

✅ Extremely lightweight frame.
✅ Ride quality is superb.
✅ Best value for money.
🔧 Not the highest spec of components.
🔧 No dropper seat post.

Cube Analog 2022

  • Frame: Aluminium Lite
  • Fork: RockShox Judy Silver TK Coil – 100mm
  • Groupset: SRAM SX Eagle, 12 speed
  • Wheels: CUBE ZX20, Disc
  • Size: M, L, XL & XXL
  • Price: £948.99

Remodeled for 2022, the Cube Analog is a bike designed for pacing uphills and blasting the downhills. Using a lightweight yet stiff Aluminium Lite frame coupled with the 29″ Cube ZX20 wheelset which gives you the feeling of confidence that no hill is an obstacle as it climbs superbly.

For the downhills, this Cube Analog is fitted with the shock absorbing RockShox Judy, whilst the geometry may not be a progressive as other competitors it is only really felt on the really steep sections. Should you need to stop in time the Shimano BR-MT200 brakes will ensure you stop in plenty of time.

Verdict: The best hardtail under £1000

✅ Wide range of sizes available.
✅ Decent components.
✅ Excellent build quality.
🔧 Less progressive geometry than some competitors.
🔧 No dropper seat post.

Nukeproof Scout 290 Race

  • Frame: Triple Butted Hydro-Formed Alloy
  • Fork: RockShox Recon RL 130mm
  • Groupset: Shimano M5120 Deore, 10 speed
  • Wheels: Nukeproof Neutron V2
  • Size: M, L & XL
  • Price: £1299.99

The only hardtail in the Nukeproof range is one not to be missed. The Nukeproof Scout comes in both a 27.5″ and 29″ and available in three different specifications. We have chosen the Nukeproof Scout Race 290 to go into our list of the best hardtail MTB.

Featuring super modern enduro-inspired geometry, the Scout is responsive and predictable letting you ride loose and free on the singletrack in confidence. The hardtail features a low bottom bracket, slack head angle and stiff frame which provides a robust and versatile riding experience.

Coupling all the frame and geometry benefits with the excellent range of components makes this, the Nukeproof Scout, an ultimate hardtail mountain bike.

Verdict: Best Hardtail Mountain Bike under £1500

✅ Excellent and reliable components.
✅ Smooth yet solid-feeling ride.
🔧 Limited in frame size.
🔧 No dropper seat post.

Ragley Blue Pig 27.5″

  • Frame: 27.5″ 4130 Chromoly
  • Fork: RockShox YARI RC 150mm
  • Groupset: Shimano SLX/Deore, 12 speed
  • Wheels: Nukeproof Neutron 27.5″
  • Size: M & L
  • Price: £1999.99

It may be priced in the same bracket as many well-capable full suspension bikes, but the Ragley Blue Pig is a beast of a bike. Combining an almost flawless component list along with a rowdy geometry that makes the Blue Pig the ultimate trail trashing hardtail.

Ideal for all-mountain riding like enduro sessions, rough terrain and demanding singletrack the Ragley Blue Pig uses a durable steel frame, a quality Shimano drivetrain and a superbly capable RockShox Yari front fork.

Verdict: Best Hardtail Mountain Bike under £2000

✅ Great geometry for a rowdy ride.
✅ Quality drivetrain, wheels and forks.
🔧 Limited in frame size.

Ragley Big Wig

  • Frame: 29″ 4130 Chromoly
  • Fork: RockShox Lyrik Select 150mm
  • Groupset: Shimano XT SLX – 12 speed
  • Wheels: Nukeproof Horizon V2 29″
  • Size: M, L & XL
  • Price: £2499.99

Known for being a hardcore hardtail, Ragley have updated the Big Wig to become one of the rowdiest versions of the bike to date. The Race spec features a longer 150mm RockShox Lyrik RC, other upgrades to the race compared to standard model includes full SLX 12-speed and an improved wheelset.

A stiff but pleasant and dynamic ride is provided by the custom triple-butted 4130 Chromoly tubing used in its construction.

A respectable amount of shock absorption is provided by keeping the steel arrangement narrow in the middle. More assurance in challenging conditions was provided by the additional reinforcement on the rear stays, down tube, etc.

Verdict: Best 29″ Hardtail Mountain Bike

✅ Great geometry for a rowdy ride.
✅ Quality drivetrain, wheels and forks.
🔧 Limited in frame size.

Best Hardtail Mountain Bike – Round Up

Don’t have time to read the full reviews on the bikes? Don’t fear we’ve picked our best hardtail mtb’s put them into an easy table!

Vitus NucleusCube AnalogNukeproof ScoutRagley Blue Pig
Frame6061-T6 AluminiumAluminium LiteTriple Butted Alloy4130 Chromoly
ForkSR Suntour XCR32 RockShox JudyRockShox ReconRockShox YARI
GroupsetBox Four 1×8 SpeedSRAM SX Eagle, 12 speedShimano Deore, 10 speedShimano SLX/Deore, 12 speed
WheelsWTB i30 TCS 2.0CUBE ZX20, DiscNukeproof Neutron V2 Nukeproof Neutron 27.5″
SizeM, L & XLM, L, XL & XXLM, L & XLM & L

Is your hardtail MTB setup correctly?

five ways your mountain bike setup is wrong

If you’re new to cycling or aren’t sure how to set up your new mountain bike, we’ve got you covered. Here are a few simple questions to ponder…

  • Does your saddle look too high?
  • Is the saddle level?
  • Do your brake levers feel in a natural position?
  • Does your stem have loads of spacers?
  • Are your tyres pumped up?
  • Is your suspension making it feel like you are on a bouncy castle?

Do any of these examples ring true for you? Then read our article on the five ways your mountain bike setup is wrong.

Check out some of our other relevant articles!

Mountain Bike Buying Guide
How to save money buying bikes

Tom Adams

Tom is a bike enthusiast! Originally a mountain biker, Tom enjoys going fast on two wheels, whether it's on the road or on the gravel, mountain bike or commuting! Tom has been riding bikes for almost 18 years and loves nothing more than getting out on the roads or trails and testing out the newest and most innovative things on the Chain Reaction website!

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