Hardtail vs Dual-Suspension: Which is the Best Choice for Your Hunting Adventures

Camron Stover

In the ever-evolving world of electric mountain bikes (e-bikes), the debate between hardtail and dual-suspension models is a pivotal discussion among hunters seeking the ultimate off-road experience.  There are several different options for hunters to choose from but there are three main components that I look for when purchasing a hunting ebike.  The first component is hydraulic disc brakes.  If an e-bike isn’t equipped with hydraulic disc brakes, I’m not even considering to buying it because I need stopping power and mechanical brakes don’t cut it.  Always buy hydraulic disc brakes.

Next, is the battery size.  The larger the battery, both volts and amp hours makes a difference on the trail.  Splurge for the largest battery available for the model of bike that you’re interested in.  The only downside is whether or not it’s legal on public land in your neck of the woods.

The one feature that has provided me the most enjoyment and longevity out of an ebike is the suspension.  I swapped from a single-suspension to a full-suspension model and have gotten 10 times the enjoyment out of my new ebike.  Let’s dive into the differences between a single-suspension vs a dual-suspension ebike.

Understanding the Basics of Suspensions

1. Hardtail E-Bikes: The Rigid Backbone

Hardtail e-bikes, as the name suggests, feature a rigid rear end, lacking rear shock absorbers. The absence of rear suspension translates to a lighter weight and less maintenance, making hardtails an attractive option for riders who prioritize simplicity.  Typically, a single-suspension ebike is a cheaper option than a full suspension bikes (dual-suspension).  One thing I learned from my mountain biking days is that a hardtail will climb better than a full suspension ebike because there isn’t wasted energy being absorbed in the rear shock.

2. Dual-Suspension E-Bikes: Embracing Full Comfort

Dual-suspension (full-suspension bike) e-bikes boast shock absorbers both in the front fork and the rear, offering a smoother ride on challenging terrain. These bikes are renowned for providing comfort on extended rides and excelling in challenging technical trails.  Costs increase when you move into a dual suspension ebike as well as the weight of the bike.  The comfort level of a dual-suspension bike is far superior to a single suspension.

Navigating the Terrain: Which is Better?

1. Hardtail E-Bikes

Advantages:

  • Lighter Weight: Hardtails are generally lighter due to the absence of rear suspension components, making them a preferred choice for those who prioritize a nimble and agile riding experience.
  • Efficient Climbing: The lack of a rear shock results in better energy transfer, making hardtails more efficient climbers, especially on smoother trails.
  • More Affordable: The lack of a rear shock typically reduces the price tag on hunting-related electric bikes.
  • Faster:  Traditionally speaking from my mountain biking days, a hardtail ebike can be quicker and more nimbler in the woods, therefore faster.  The weight of an ebike, regardless of suspension negates this ideology for most riders.

Disadvantages:

  • Rough Terrain Challenges: While a hardtail emtb will perform well on smooth terrain, they’ll beat you to death on the rough ground due to the absence of rear suspension.  When it comes to bumps and jumps, this is where full-suspension mountain bikes shine!

2. Dual-Suspension E-Bikes: Trail Mastery

Advantages:

  • Enhanced Comfort: The rear shock on a full-suspension emtb absorbs trail imperfections, providing a smoother and more comfortable experience on long rides, especially on technical terrain.
  • Better Traction: The rear suspension helps maintain better traction, particularly on uneven surfaces, offering improved control.
  • Personal Preference:  I’ve gotten 10 times the amount of use out of my dual suspension ebike than I ever did my single-suspension ebike simply because it’s a more comfortable ride in the woods.  I find myself looking for excuses to bring my QuietKat Ibex along for hunting trips, shed hunts, and scouting missions, instead of leaving it parked in the garage.

Disadvantages:

  • Heavier Weight: Dual-suspension bikes tend to be heavier due to the additional components that add extra weight, potentially impacting maneuverability.
  • More Expensive:  The fancier the bike, the more money it’s going to cost.  A dual suspension ebike will typically cost you more than a similarly built single suspension ebike.
  • Maintenance Requirements: More components mean more potential points of maintenance, although advancements in technology have significantly reduced this concern.  For example, I hauled my dual suspension ebike to look at a new piece of property this season only to get there and the rear shock didn’t have any air in it, therefore I had to walk it.  Now, this is the only time it’s ever happened and I’ve owned two high-end dual-suspension mountain bikes and two dual-suspension electric hunting bikes.  If I had to guess, someone loosened the valve on the cylinder and didn’t tell me.
  • Climbing:  Traditionally speaking, a full suspension mountain bike will not climb as fast as hardtail bikes because the rear shock absorber flexes, reducing the pressure applied to the pedal, therefore not making it to the rear wheel.  However, with an electric bike, I can’t say that I’ve noticed a difference.  The electric motor compensates for the pedaling force, just keep in mind if the battery were to die and you need to pedal your way home.
best ebike for hunting

Personal Experieinces with QuietKat E-Bikes

I’ve had the pleasure of owning both a single-suspension QuietKat ebike, as well as a dual suspension ebike.  Here are my thoughts on each model.

1. QuietKat Apex – Hardtail E-Bike:

My first ebike was the QuietKat Apex, a single-suspension electric hunting bike that served its purpose.  It hauled me to and from the woods without any mechanical issues but it wasn’t fun to drive.  It felt big and bulky and I only used the bike for hunting purposes.  The rear rack was nice for hauling stuff, but at the end of the day, the bike didn’t get used much and I ended up selling it and upgrading to a dual suspension bike.

2. QuietKat Ibex –  Dual-Suspension E-Bike

The QuietKat Ibex changed my opinion of electric hunting bikes and has earned it’s place in my hunting arsenal.  It’s fast and fun to drive to and from the stand, as well as on the trial during the offseason.  In fact, I put in more miles this summer just out riding around and enjoying the mountains than I did during hunting season.  Don’t get me wrong, this bike helped me out a ton during hunting season as well, but it’s too much fun to leave in the garage and only use during hunting season.  Whether I’m taking the dogs for a run, covering open fields in search of shed antlers, blazing mountain bike trails in the summer, or slipping into the stand quickly and quietly, the QuietKat Ibex has been a blast to own and I fully recommend it.

best electric hunting bike

Choosing the Right E-bike and Battery Quality

1. High-Quality Batteries

When purchasing an e-bike, invest in one with a high-quality battery. The longevity of your battery is often directly related to its initial quality.  Cheaper ebikes often come with cheaper batteries.  Also, not all batteries are the same size,

2.  Volts vs Amp Hours

Understanding the lithium batteries is an important detail that you should know before buying an ebike.  An electrician can dive deeper into the definitions of amps, volts, and other electrical terms.  To keep things simple, remember the higher the battery voltage, the quicker power can be delivered and the faster it will accelerate.  When you see amp-hours, the higher the number, the longer the battery will last.  E-Bike batteries are designed to fit specific ebikes, so make sure you buy the correct battery.  If given an option for different battery sizes, whether amp hours or volts, always go with the bigger battery if you want to drive further and faster.  Just make sure it’s legal where you’re hunting.

3. Brand Considerations

Brands like QuietKat are known for producing reliable e-bikes with quality batteries. Consider the reputation and check out some of our e-bike reviews on HuntingGearDeals.com before making a purchase.

is the quietkat ridgerunner worth the money

Conclusion

In the hardtail vs dual-suspension debate, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Your decision should be based on your specific needs, riding preferences, and the terrains you frequent. If precision, agility, simplicity, and saving money are your priorities, a hardtail might be your best bet. On the other hand, if you crave a plush, comfortable ride on varied terrains, a full-suspension ebikes may be the perfect companion for your hunting adventures.

Consider factors such as your riding style, the type of terrain you navigate, and the overall experience you seek. Both hardtail and dual-suspension e-bikes have their merits, and the most important thing is to choose a bike that aligns with your specific needs, ensuring an enjoyable and successful hunting experience with QuietKat by your side.

For me, the benefits of a dual-suspension trumps the cost savings of a single-suspension e-bike.  I’ve had both, and I’ve gotten more use out of my dual-suspension QuietKat Ibex than I ever did my hardtail.  Not only is it more comfortable during hunting season, it’s simply fun to drive during the offseason.  In fact, I just took the dogs on a run before I finished writing the summary for this blog.

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AUTHOR BIO

Hi, I’m Camron the owner of Hunting Gear Deals. I’m an avid bowhunter with a knack for finding good deals on hunting gear and love to help you save money on hunting gear.  I’m also the owner of the popular Bucks, Bulls, & Bears email newsletter that’s built to educate and entertain hunters.  If you haven’t subscribed, you’re missing out!  Last but not least, I’m proud to say that I work for Whitetail Properties as a Land Specialist in Ohio.  If you’re in the market for hunting property, shoot me an email and I’d love to help you find your dream property.  

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