Back to the origins: life on a hardtail


Since all the enduro madness started, everybody seems to have forgotten all about hardtails, these wild bikes, very hard to control downhill, but extremely fun. Of course, a hardtail bike becomes interesting on extreme trails and not so much on nice and smooth paths. Unfortunately, people choose more often the full-suspension type of bikes. Play it safe, as they say a motto people choose more often, no matter of the domain we are talking about. So, for a few weeks I decided to change the full suspension bike for a hardtail one, thus travelling a few years back in time, somewhere in my teenage.

I somehow managed to get my hands on a Ghost Asket LC3 hardtail, the basic version, at not such a small price, but with a few interesting characteristics: carbon frame, Fox Float fork with a travel of 130mm, 34mm upper tubes, 50mm stem, a handlebar of 760 mm width and a 35mm grip, a head tube placed at 65.7 degrees and a 423mm long chainstay. For me, these characteristics are more than enough. As it is said, if only the brakes would hold, the shifters to shift and the wheels to spin. The people from Ghost were inspired enough to install a dropper seatpost with handlebar command, Kind Shock Cruxi, so they score some points at this chapter.

The fun part of this bike is of course the control it offers. Leaving aside the fact that I feel at ease on a hardtail, the bike allows you to play as you wish and to apply the moves you want, even in the air, without giving you a “fine” at landings or turnings not even on downhills. The bike weighs a little over 11.5 kilos, but the frame is surprisingly light and rigid (1.2 kilos) so it efficiently transmits the energy to the back wheel. Of course, I dismantled the bike and measured the rigidity of the frame and the result was amazing: 88.3 Nm/degree, a much better result than that of a highly rated Cross Country bike. We thus have an STW report (Stifness-to-weight) of 73.6 Nm/degree/kg (by comparison Ghost Lector has an STW of 54.4 Nm/degree/kg).

Thick tires and even though they are produced by Schwalbe and are not the greatest ones (Nobby Nic Evo), they are shipped in 2.35 format and this can only mean one thing: extra control. So, good shocks at landings, decent adherence on dry land and very close to limit on wet trails, but without all of these where would the fun be? This version that Ghost created for Asket seems to be a great full suspension replacement. Anyway, this type of bikes will soon be very much looked for and in short time they will have a market of their own. These bikes are cheaper that the full suspension ones, quicker and better handled, in short a lot more fun on difficult trails. Even more, it is better on uphills, at least the model I’m talking about which is lighter. Of course, it is not something that we discovered just now, we used this configuration with a 140mm fork on a hardtail bike a long time ago, but the producers felt only now, it is room for this on the market. The same goes for the 1x transmission, that many of us used 6 to 8 years ago, when there was not even the 1x marketing name. But this is a good thing, because bike producers are starting to bring fun to people. Asket is a good example, a bike that I practically really enjoyed and which I would take downhill everyday, at least two rounds, just for fitness.

Relevant data:
Frame weight: 1.250 grams
Rigidity: 88.3 Nm/degree
Total weight: 11.7 kilos