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Guide to Rigid Mountain Bikes: Trail Riding and Bikepacking Adventures

Two mountain bikers look out over a bluff with snow covered mountains in the background


Bikes are a versatile transportation system that free people from the slow pace of pedestrian travel while also opening up a whole world of adventure. Most bike styles are relegated to single-use, whether that be commuting, trail-riding, or cross-country. Mountain bikes, in particular, are known as a one-trick pony—you won’t often find a full-suspension bike being used as a commuter. Many people try to use their bikes for both work and play, but the experience is usually less than ideal. 

Lately, a few bike manufacturers have been perfecting the idea of a multi-purpose bike, suitable for both the work commute and the weekend adventure. Rigid mountain bikes are at the forefront of this idea, as they combine a relatively lightweight setup with the components necessary for bikepacking, trail-riding, and any other adventures that you can throw at it. 

What is a Mountain Bike?

Road and gravel bikes—both common for commuting—are good at what they do, but they lack the ability to tackle any other terrains or situations. These bikes are usually very lightweight, giving them agility in the city’s crowded atmosphere. However, they lack the tenacity and components necessary for any off-road adventure. 

Mountain bikes add strength and safety features that make them usable in all types of conditions. Components like shock suspension, hydraulic brakes, and expanded gear systems allow riders to travel anywhere without worry. As a result, steep climbs become easier to overcome, while downhill rides, rocky terrain, and rainy days can be conquered with confidence. 

Typically, mountain bikes do not perform well in the city, as the added weight makes them harder to pedal and maneuver. However, rigid mountain bike manufacturers are attempting to change this perception with the introduction of multi-purpose bike models. 

a man rides downhill on his Hudski mountain bike

Types of Mountain Bikes: Rigid vs. Hardtail vs. Full Suspension Bikes 

Full-suspension bikes utilize front and rear shocks. This style is perfect for those who hit the trails day in and day out—the biggest drawback is the added weight. Riding a full-suspension bike around the city may become tiresome due to the weight—long-distance bikers usually avoid full-suspension bikes for the same reason. 

Hardtail bikes lose the rear shocks to lighten up the riding experience. The hardtail style allows for more speed, but the lack of full suspension leads to a rougher ride on the trails. Nevertheless, this is a good choice for someone who primarily rides mountain trails but may occasionally use the bike in other situations. 

Rigid mountain bikes opt for a suspension-free setup for a lightweight and easy-to-maintain experience. The combination of high-quality components and reduced weight allows riders to transition from the streets to the trails without blinking an eye. When compared to full-suspension and hardtail bikes, climbing strenuous hills is a breeze. Yet, the sturdy build quality of rigid bikes still allows riders to take on downhill rides with speed and comfort. 

What to Look For in a Rigid Mountain Bike

The most important consideration when choosing a bike is the fit. If you don’t feel comfortable on your bike, you probably won’t get out and ride it much. In addition, the frame and tire size should accommodate your height and reach—some bike manufacturers provide a sizing guide to help pair you up with the perfect bike size. For example, Hudski offers four sizes of their Doggler rigid mountain bike to ensure that all riders can enjoy a proper fit. 

Safety is a primary concern for most riders, especially for those who enjoy downhill rides. Hydraulic disc brakes are much more effective than the rim brakes that are common on commuters—this is especially true when riding in wet conditions, as rim brakes lose their friction and become practically useless. The quality of the components is another important consideration, as tried-and-true brands like Shimano and Maxxis will be less likely to fail under stress. 

Dropper seat posts add versatility to a bike’s seating system and are essential for mountain biking, as they allow riders to drop the seat and lean back when cruising downhill. They also provide benefits while cruising around the city, although they are less common on commuter-only bikes. For example, quick dismounts at stop signs and smoother downhill rides are both made possible by dropper posts. 

A mountain bike rider bikepacks through rocky terrain

Rigid Mountain Bike: Best Bikepacking Bike

Bikepacking is the two-wheeled version of backpacking and generally refers to any bike ride that involves an overnight stay. People have bikepacked over mountains and across continents, but most riders choose to enjoy weekend trips near their homes. While nearly any bike that has space for mount racks and storage can be used, a rigid mountain bike brings clear advantages to the bikepacking experience.  

Rigid bikes employ the best aspects of other mountain bikes while forfeiting the added weight of suspension systems. The result is a bike that can go just about anywhere, making rigid mountain bikes the perfect option for bikepacking. 

The Doggler rigid mountain bike can perform double duty, taking you on your commute to work during the week while also serving as your weekend warrior on adventurous bikepacking trips. Mounts are located on the seat stays and fork legs to accommodate more than enough gear for bikepacking trips. The 1x12 Shimano SLX drivetrain allows riders to conquer the steepest hills, while the dropper post makes it enjoyable to cruise downhill at high speeds. 

The Doggler’s frame shape, along with the short stem and compact handlebars, allows riders to stay in a comfortable position over long periods. Additionally, the stem and handlebars are set up for quick, precise maneuvering, whether down a busy highway or through a crowded city.  

The Doggler: A Do-Everything Bike

Rigid mountain bikes give riders the best of both worlds: the ability to commute around the city with relative ease, along with the adventuring capabilities that only a mountain bike can provide. While not every mountain bike is suitable for dual-use, companies like Hudski are implementing high-quality components and helpful updates that make it possible to transition from work to play effortlessly.

For the latest innovations in rigid mountain bikes, check out the Doggler from Hudksi Bikes. The model is available in three styles—City, Gravel, and Mountain—as well as four different frame sizes, allowing riders of any size to enjoy an all-purpose, custom-fit bike.