What is the difference between a hardtail and a swingarm? The word hardtail is slang that refers to the frame and suspension of your motorcycle. Vintage motorcycles typically had a rigid frame, where the rear wheel and axle are mounted directly to the frame, at the axle plates (also known as dropouts). When you ride over a bump, the back end of the bike will take the brunt of the impact. As motorcycles developed over time, swingarm suspension became the norm. The swingarm typically bolts to the main frame and rides on bushings or bearings. There are shock absorbers between the swingarm and the upper frame, and the rear wheel mounts to the end of the swingarm. Hit a bump, the shocks compress, the wheel travels upwards, and viola! Smoother ride.
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