I recently had an arguement with Nick Larsen of Charge Bikes about how hardtails are not the way forwards. I told him that the simple matter of fact is that if you want to ride fast off-road, you need suspension. Rally Cars have suspension, Motocross bikes have suspension- and even most budget mountain bikes now seem to have suspension.
Except Nick believes in Hardtails. He loves the simplicity. He loves the purity, and he loves the fact that they keep you on your toes.
I understand all of the above, but I just don't think it's for me- the last proper hard tail I had was a Saracen Kili Pro Elite, way back in 95, or there abouts. It was made from Prestige and had a wonderfully nimble and absorbant ride- but I soon discovered that with Full Suspension I could ride faster, for longer. I was sold.
Which is exactly why Nick has sorted me a Duster frame for longterm use, as he thinks there's something I'm missing out on. And I think he's not wrong..
Today was the maiden voyage, and I was buzzing my tits off. I've forgotten just how fast hardtails are, and how much you have to focus to stay upright on board. The weather was great today, but the wind made my Duster's fairly light 25.2lb weight seem rediculous- I could barely ride in a straight line. But already I bloody love it and feel like an old spark has been re-lit in my ongoing relationship with 26in wheeled bikes.