Our 7 favourite XC hardtails of 2022
In this article we have made the difficult exercise of choosing what we consider to be the 7 best hardtail XCO mountain bikes of this year 2022, but this ranking does not follow strict criteria but we have chosen them according to the options on the market and our own tests and impressions.
The 7 best hardtail mountain bikes of 2022
Hardtail XCO mountain bikes seemed to have come to a standstill in the face of the frenetic evolution of full suspension bikes, but the brands haven't forgotten them, and even less so the users, who continue to find in this type of bike the link with the most original competition mountain bike. They are the standard bearers of lightness and reactivity, and in these two aspects they will continue to be so for a few more years with respect to full suspension bikes. Here is our selection.
Cannondale Scalpel HT Hi-Mod 1
When it seemed that 2021 was going to end without any more stellar presentations, Cannondale arrived to show us a completely new model in its XCO catalogue: the Cannondale Scalpel HT. A hardtail mountain bike whose frame has been designed practically from scratch and which is committed to adapting the geometry to the new XC trends: relaxed steering angle, vertical seat tube, 110mm fork (new Lefty)... Here you can read our test with what we consider to be the first new generation hardtail. The Cannondale Scalpel HT ranges from €2,499 for the HT Carbon 4 to €6,999 for the HT Hi-Mod 1 and here you can see all the models and prices.
Orbea Alma M LTD
When we talk about the Orbea Alma, we're talking about the only hardtail MTB to have won a World Cup in 2021. It's a hardtail that was revamped for this year to adapt to new geometry trends, and it's certainly at the top of the segment's ranking. At 830g, its frame is the lightest ever made for this model, all without any loss of stiffness. The Alma M LTD is the best version in the range and is priced at €7,999 with the legendary Spirit rigid fork, but the Orbea Alma M has a great choice of set-ups starting at €1,799.
Its aluminium versions are among the most popular for those who want a quality MTB at a reasonable price.
S-Works Epic Hardtail
Specialized's quintessential hardtail was revamped in 2020 and arrived as the hardtail MTB with the lightest frame on the market. The S-Works Epic Hardtail is one of the XCO mountain bikes of 2021 for its lightness and performance. An extremely stiff and extremely light frame made of FACT 12m carbon, to which is added a RockShox SID SL Ultimate with BRAIN technology and 100mm of travel, Roval Control SL wheels weighing only 1240 grams and also SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS in its top-of-the-range version. And watch out for the price, because if its entry-level version starts at €2,999, the best-equipped model goes up to €11,500.
BH Ultimate EVO
It may be the last of this selection to hit the market and that's why this BH Ultimate EVO has adopted all the market trends. Its geometry puts it at the forefront of modern XCO and it was not in vain that David Valero took it to the podium at the last World Cup in Albstadt (it was the only hardtail on the men's podium). The 820 g weight for the frame, one of the lightest, and the level of integration of the bike, make it one of the favourites of this selection. The Ultimate EVO range starts at €3,599.9 and goes up to €7,399.9.
We keep talking about lightweight frames in this selection, but with the Mondraker Podium this feature is superlative. In size M the frame weighs 775g and with that figure we think it's still the lightest standard frame (no experiments) on the market. Little more needs to be added to convince anyone why the Podium is on this list. The price starts at €3,600 and goes up to €8,500.
BMC Twostroke 01 Two
Of all the brands Tom Pidcock could choose for MTB racing, he chose BMC, a great achievement for the Swiss brand. With this version of the BMC Twostroke he opted for an innovative and radical geometry that has proved to be a step in the right direction. Here you can read all the details of our test with one of the most original bikes on the market. The top-of-the-range model, the Twostroke 01 One, is priced at €5,499, but the entry-level model starts at €2,199.
Scott Scale RC 900 WORLD CUP AXS
One of the most highly rated hardtail mountain bikes by all enthusiasts, and with good reasons. For the 2022 range it has been updated in frames and colours. The star is still the Scale RC 900 WC AXs with HMX carbon frame, RockShox SID SL Ultimate RD3 fork with 100mm travel and RideLoc 3-position remote control, SRAM XX1 AXS Eagle, Syncros Silverton 1.0 carbon wheels and Maxxis Rekon Race Kevlar tyres. If you are inspired by the great Nino Schurter this is the bike for you. The model described now costs 7.399€, but the range starts at 2.399€. Here you can see all models and prices.
What do you think about this selection? Do you think we should include or remove any of them? We will read you on our social networks!