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Top 10 Hardtail Set Up and Upgrades | GMBN Hardtail Week

This week we’re celebrating hardtails on
GMBN, and one of the great things about hardtails is they can be really good value
for money. For a comparatively priced full-suspension bike, you might not get as
good a components. So let’s say you’ve got yourself your brand new hardtail, these
are our Top 10 setup and upgrade tips. ♪ [music] ♪ Because of the nature of hardtails, they
can be said to be slightly less forgiving than full-suspension bikes, and arguably,
the bike setup is more important. And one of the most important components
on the bike is tires, choice and pressure. So because of the lack of
suspension on the rear of the bike, the tire, especially the rear tire, is
actually going to get hit pretty hard, so you can start puncturing if you start
riding a hardtail really fast on gnarly terrain. So, first thing, I like to go for
a slightly heavier tire. There’s more protection on it, more rubber
in the carcass and that means you’re less likely to puncture. Also, tubeless is a
really good idea, because that is going to take away the risk of pinch puncturing.
You can still rip a tire, so you do have to bear that in mind, but
definitely less pinch punctures. One of the great things about tires is
they really, really do change the way the bike rides, so it might be a really good
idea to invest in a couple of pairs of tires. Maybe a lightweight cross-
country set for those epic rides, and a slightly heavier weight set of
tires for those gnarlier rides. Personally, I like to run about 30 psi in
the rear, so pretty hard, but then less in the front, anywhere
between 25 and 28 psi. Riding a hardtail on flat pedals can
be a really bumpy experience, and your feet can blow off them. Most of
the time if you’re buying a new bike, it won’t come with pedals, so now is your
chance to buy a good set of pedals from the off. Something with a big platform and
aggressive pins is going to be super grippy, and match that with a big, flat
sole, so either a mountain bike flat pedal shoe, or something like a skate-style shoe
will be good. If you’re a beginner, I would always recommend starting on flat
pedals, it’s going to be good for your skills in the long term. Obviously, foot
clips on there, you won’t have that problem of slipping off them, but even
with flats, good technique will make a big difference to sliding around on the
pedals, as well. Just dropping your heels slightly means that your foot’s going to
be in the pedal, so when you hit bumps, you’re not going to go forward, you’re
just going to push the bike forward. The other contact points on the bike are
the saddle and the grips, so then you might want to play around with
those so it makes that your bike comfortable for you. Grips, I always go
for lock-ons, just for the ease of use. I know they’re not going to spin around
if water gets underneath them. Then, you can play around with things like
diameter. You can get grips in slim or wide, just to suit your hand size more
than anything. Saddle, again, it’s a really personal thing. Maybe try
out the one that’s on your bike, but it might be one of those first places
where you think about getting an upgrade to make sure you’re super comfortable,
especially on longer rides. Most hardtails come with a suspension
fork, so it’s really important to get that set up correctly for your front wheel
control, grip, and for your comfort. A lot of suspension forks nowadays are
air, so that’s really easy to set that fork to your weight just using a shock
pump. Look at getting 20% sag on there. We’ve done a video on how to get this, so
check that one out if you have not seen that one already. And after that, it’s
then trying to set up your rebound. There’s normally a label on the fork that
shows you which way you need to turn that to speed it up or slow it down. Again,
play around with that a little bit, but also check out our video on how
to set up your suspension. It’s important to check your bike over
regularly. Hardtails can take a lot of abuse in heavy riding, especially on
heavy landings, so give them regular bolt checks. You go over every single bolt on
the bike and make sure they haven’t rattled loose. Also, your rear wheel
and tire can take a lot of abuse, so keep an eye on that tire tread and side
wall, and also, regularly check your spokes, make sure they’re nice and tight. Getting the correct bar and stem
combination for the style of riding you do can make a big difference to your
confidence and control on the bike. For more aggressive riding, like jumping
or riding downhill, a shorter stem, maybe 40 to 60 mill, and wider bars are
going to tip you a bit further back on a bike and should inspire more confidence.
However, for cross-country racing, you’re going to want a longer stem, so
maybe 60 millimeters plus, and narrower bars to keep some more
weight on that front tire. So there’s a few tips on how to set up
your new hardtail, but down the line, you might want to think about some
upgrades on that bike, especially if you’ve bought a bike at the lower end of
the budget. As Scotty showed us recently, wheels make a massive difference to how
that bike rides, so strength and weight are main considerations. They will
make a big difference, especially as it’s rotating weight. If they’re heavy, that
can make a really big difference to how agile that bike feels. So they’re not
cheap, but wheels are a potential upgrade that you might want to think about. Another major component that’s worth
thinking about upgrading are the brakes. They’re actually really important to how
fast you can ride that bike. If they don’t work well, then you’re not
going to be able to ride fast and brake late. Also, one-finger braking is
really important if you want to be a good rider, so make sure your brakes are
powerful enough to let you just use one finger on the very end. Finally, one of the best upgrades, in my
opinion, you can make to any bike, is to fit a dropper seat post. It’s going
to help you get that seat out of the way really easily so you can move around on
the bike, gain confidence in steep downhill sections especially, without
having to stop and use an Allen key or a quick release. So you’ve set up your bike, you’ve
upgraded it. Point number 10, the final point, is to upgrade your
skills. If you click up there, that’ll take you through to our full
skills playlist and you can learn a thing or two, hopefully. And if you click just
about there, that’ll take you through to this week’s hardtail playlist.
Click on the GMBN logo to subscribe. Give us a thumbs up if you love hardtails.

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