How do I choose the right hardtail mountain bike

Theses bikes will be competing for the podium this season!

Table of Contents

Soon after getting bitten by the XC (cross-country) mountain biking bug, you will want to get a new bike. Here is our guide to be an informed buyer with realistic expectations:

Establish Your Budget

Unless you are one of the lucky few without budgetary constraints, you need to realistically decide what you can- and want to spend on a bike. For someone entering a new sport it may be an expensive start up cost so you want to get the right bike for your riding goals. Remember to allow for riding equipment if you don’t already own these. A helmet, pedals, shoes, gloves, a water bottle/cage, some basic tools and a pair of cycling shorts are a good place to start.

Do some research into what a bike cost so that you are not blindsided. You ultimately get what you pay for – and advice as well as expertise will vary from shop to shop. If you go to a supermarket, chances are the staff will not be well informed and the products will be of substandard quality not suited to the type of riding you would like to do.

Your Skill Level

If you are brand new to the sport, your needs will ultimately be different from someone entering the Cape Epic. Understanding the bike’s attributes could greatly influence your buying decision and save you money!

What type of riding do you want to do? and what is your riding goal.

Wheel Size

26″ – The 26 incher is lighter than the 27.5 or 29 inch, largely because, well, there’s less of it. Being smaller, lighter and more agile, bikes with 26” wheels offer much better acceleration than their larger counterparts, making it great for short, steep climbs and fast-flowing, quick-turning trails.

27.5″ – The 27.5” wheels don’t bend as much as the big 29ers and handle a lot better in terms of manoeuvrability and durability. They’re faster, stronger and more agile than the bigger wheels and also ride much more fluently than the smaller.

29″ – The bigger the wheel, the smoother the ride and the easier it’ll be for your bike to flow over whatever you come across on the trails. This means the rider has a much steadier feel on the bike.

Carbon or Alloy Frame

If you looking to save some grams as a XCO rider then carbon would be recommended. Carbon is also more expensive than alloy. However, if you are a downhill racer you may need more weight to keep the bike grounded and in control for such fast speeds.

The more accurately you can assess your priorities and decide what you actually want to do with the bike, the easier it will be to find a bike that checks all of your particular boxes.

Take a look at our 4 picks:


If you considering a lot of natural singletrack, with roots and rocks and technical features then the Silverback Superspeed SBC is the way to go.

It’s our flagship race-ready 29er carbon performance hardtail. With Monoburst technology has the seat status joining the top tube with out connecting to the seat tube.

So consider what kind of rides you’ll use the bicycle for.

Mountain Bike - Superspeed 1 - Silverback Bikes


One of the biggest releases for 2020, we have the SOLA 2 Eagle NX.

The Sola Range has always been a favourite. It is performance-orientated with modern germotry for an XC bike. The SOLA 2 Eagle NX is designed for the weight conscious rider and we updated the gears to Eagle NX to make it a winning combo. Also, carefully designed tubing profiles resulting in great stiffness and comfort in key areas.

How to choose the best mtb bike for cross country.


The Stride SX has been bothering the front of the XC races ever since it dropped last year.

This platform a major R&D and has been completely reinvited. The hardtail is race ready, with top-spec builds featuring our POP geometry as piloyed on the Slade. The lightweight frame comes with a 12-speed Eagle drivetrain, internal routing & tubless ready.It is unseen in this class making Stride 29 SX.

How to choose the best mtb bike for cross country.


The simplistically designed hardtail that can really do some damage to the competition.

The Slade Trail Features our new sweet spot geometry to bring uncompromised climbing and descending prowess to trail bikes. Tyre compatibility is 27.5×2.8″ or 29″ up to 2.6″ wide, giving plenty of setup options and creating our most versatile hardtail ever. 2.6″ Tyres are rapidly becoming the final word in trail tyres, offering noticeably improved comfort and grip over 2.3″ tyres, but without the weight, rolling resistance and thin carcasses of 2.8″. 2019 brings a brand new Slade.

How to choose the best mtb bike for cross country.

So, if you are looking for a new bicycle, we hope our top 4 has helped you in your decision that you will make, and the criteria you should judge a bike on.

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