Hardtales 1: That's It, No More!

Am I really doing this? I think I am… if you’re reading this I certainly am. I’m going cold turkey. I’m getting back on the wagon. I’m giving up something I love to make myself a better person.

I’m giving up rear suspension…

…for 12 months.

So why would I make such a decision? It’s certainly not very Enduro. I’m sure I’ll be OTA (out the arse) on every ride for the next 12 months and I may no longer be cool enough to roll with the Wellington regulars.

I’ve used the following to justify it to myself.

  • I want to simplify. I still love the gear, but the truth is I buy more when I ride less and I’m hoping this will simplify my habit.
  • Over 90% of the time I ride the same trails. Wellington has great trail diversity, but apart from the odd section it should all still be achievable on a hardtail, but different enough to make it interesting.
  • I’m getting lazy. I’m not sure if I’m getting faster with each new bike, but my skills aren’t developing. So I’m taking it back to basics.
  • I still enjoy the ride of a good hardtail. It’s springing and poppy. Lumpy and slidy.
  • With everybody complaining about the dumbing down of trails I’m going to dumb down some of the technology to keep it even.

The decision hasn’t been easy. It has filled me with trepidation. I’m sure I agonised about having children less.  Riding is such a central part of my life and my mental sanity.

Do I run the risk of ruining everything for a lack of rear suspension? I certainly hope not.

I haven’t even told my partner yet. You know she’s going to have an opinion on it.  I can see it now:

Her. Are you going to sell your full suspension bike?

Me. Well, yeah…

Her. But you just bought that bike!

Me. It was more like 6 months ago….

Her. And didn’t you just buy some new carbon wheels for it a couple of weeks ago?

Me. That’s true. I did. But they we’re a bargain. And they’ll work on my hardtail anyway…

The conversation will continue and will end in her exasperation, a statement akin to “Do whatever you want!” (which, for uninitiated, actually means the opposite), and me taking it at face value and continuing on my merry way.

So, I’m going from one of these (my current Cannondale Trigger 2 – soon up for sale!)

To this: My Ragley Big Wig.  British designed, Asian built. Cromo long travel 29er (there’s 140 up front.)

Funny thing is, this isn’t the first time I’ve done this.  I did it about 13 years ago. The decision was easier back then; the majority of riders still rode hardtails and no one gave a shit about rim weight, let alone wheel size. Riding was simpler. Trails were fewer. I’m not sure we were slower but we were certainly younger. And braver.

I rode hardtails exclusively for the next 5 years. I began a bike love affair. A frame I’ll never sell, but may never ride again (but I’ll save that story for another time).

As of right now, this is simply my declaration.

I will only ride hardtails until the end of next summer. I’m sure there’ll be a few things to learn (or relearn) along the way. I’ll be sure to pass these learnings on.

For a bit of inspiration, here is nice Chromag edit that I’ve enjoyed a few times.