The best MTB hardtails for 2016

October 2nd, 2015

By Andrew Dodd in Bikes,Features

Hardtails for serious trail hammering

Now that it’s coming to the wet part of the year, we drag our hard tails out for some loving before winter kicks in – it’s the best time of year to ride one as the simplicity is far easier to maintain through the wet and muddy months, and slippery conditions mean even the most basic off road ride will keep you on your toes.

Below are a selection of hard tails we’ve seen over the year at various shows that really caught our eyes.

Check our 10 best MTB hardtails for 2016…

Nukeproof Scout 290 Comp

Nukeproof Scout 290 Comp

Retailing for under £1600, the Scout 290 Comp is a serious trail ripper and looks amazing. The frame design looks more like a jump bike, than a bike you can winch up climbs and rail descents. Accordingly the handling is lively and aggressive – it’s no XC hardtail!

The Scout 290 Comp is on the top of our must ride list right now – 29er hardtails like this really do it for us.

Marin Pine Mountain 1

Marin Pine Mountain 1

With a distinct nod to the original two-tone paint job, the Pine Mountain at a glance looks like the retro classic, but with a modern twist.

Made from 4130 Chromoly, the Pine Mountain comes with 27.5 Plus Size wheels – which also means you can comfortably run 29in wheels in it too, making it a versatile frameset. We really like the simplicity of it and the multiple bottle cage mounts – meaning it could also be a prime frame to gear up for touring or bike packing.

It’s nice to see Marin retaining the original kudos they earnt from the early days in the sport.

Mondraker Vantage RR+

Mondraker Vantage RR

This thing is a weapon, plain and simple. It’s a forward geometry hardtail that comes with 27.5 Plus Size wheels, can accept 29in wheels and has the killer ride quality that Mondraker have consistently been serving up for a few years now.

For the taller folk out there, the Mondraker Vantage is one of the best hard tails available. It’s on the wish list!

Orange P7

Orange P7

Retaining the classic P7 name, this steel hard tail from Halifax based Orange Bikes is back for 2016 after a four year break, and it looks brilliant.

Made from Reynolds 525 tubing, it has fully modernised geometry for a long travel fork, and looks ready for some heavy duty trail riding. As with other Orange bikes, geometry is great, and they make a decent sized XL for the lofty folk out there. It’s surely set to be a modern classic.

DMR Trailstar

DMR Trailstar 2016

Looks who’s back! The most iconic hard tail frame in British mountain biking has been given a new lease of life for 2016 to celebrate the company’s 20th year on the scene.

Previously, the Trailstar was a dedicated jump frame, and was one of the first frames designed specifically for purpose when many riders were using compact XC frames. It certainly kickstarted the dirt jump movement on the British mountain bike scene, and helped the company go from strength to strength.

The new Trailstar frame is designed as a trail friendly hardtail, to be ridden with a dropper post and your choice of 27.5 or 27.5 Plus Size wheels with a switch of drop outs.

If it’s even half as much fun as the original was – DMR are on a winner here. And we love the original paint job and decals!

GT Zaskar

GT Zaskar

Celebrating it’s 25th year as a frame, the Zaskar has been ridden by all sorts of riders for different things over the years. Legendary GT rider Hans Rey made the Zaskar famous with his combination of Trials riding and more extreme mountain biking – but it’s also been a winner in major XC races and even DH races too.

Over the last decade, the Zaskar  morphed to an XC race  bike, but now thankfully it’s back in the aggressive trail market where it belongs.

We’ll be doing something on the Zaskar soon…

Cannondale Beast of The East

Cannondale Beast of the East

Another welcome return for 2016 is the Cannondale Beast of the East – a hard hitting trail hard trail.

Originally, the high bottom bracket of the bike became popular with Trials riders like Martyn Ashton who needed ground clearance for the technical riding they did, and the bike frame became a highly sought after model – reaching cult status amongst the Trials riders of the era.

For 2016 it’s back as a 27.5 Plus Size trail bomber – and it looks mean. We’ll take one in the menacing Wolf Blood Red paint job.


Kona Honzo AL

Kona Honzo AL

Although the original Honzo frame was a steel number, this alloy model just looks right to us. It strikes the perfect balance of light and stiff with aggressive geometry. Look how short the back end is!
At last it’s great to see Kona firing on all cylinders once more – pumping out some truly great bikes.

It’s nice to see they’ve not lost their sense of humour either

Trek Stache

Trek Stache

On paper, a 29in Plus Size bike sounds like the absolute worst possible bike we can imagine. But somehow, Trek have churned out the Stache and changed the minds of everyone that’s ridden one.

Tight back end, light weight, monster truck roll-ability, loves to jump. Apparently.

The jury is still out on this one, but we have one coming in – and we think our minds might well change judging by what our friends have said about them. We’ll let you know!

Nicolai Argon Pinion Custom

Nicolai Custom!

Nicolai make bloody brilliant bikes. And some slightly mental ones too thanks to the customising service offered by the German brand.

This custom Argon Pinion hardtail houses a Pinion gearbox; the Gates belt drive system; 27.5 Plus Size tyres and and insanely slack head angle! How much fun does this beast look?

With the radical geometry though, it does make us wonder if the front end will be writing cheques the back end can’t cash though…

These are just our favourites that we’ve seen over the year – are there other hard tails you like the look of?

Which one of our 10 best hardtails list is your favourite and why?

Let us know in the comments below…






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