PostHeaderIcon Different Types of Mountain Bikes

With mountain biking being a very popular sport, there are many bikes to choose from. Depending on what type of riding you like, the style of bikes you can choose from will vary. Below, you’ll find tips on the different types of bikes available.

 Mountain Bikes 1. Cross country (XC)
Cross country bikes are for rolling terrain, yet equally good at climbing and descending. They are the most popular of the mountain bikes because XC bikes can accommodate nearly all the needs of any rider. Almost all mountain bikes will fit into this category though. Cross country mountain bikes are light weight, making them easy to ride over most terrains. XC bikes come in many types: hardtail (suspension fork, rigid frame); full suspension (suspension fork, rear shock); short-travel and long-travel suspensions. They also come in many different frame materials – carbon, aluminum, titanium and steel, or combinations; geared and single speed and with wheel sizes in 26” and 29”. This is the most common mountain bike and it can be used with ease for riding on the path or even commuting.

2. Downhill
These types of bikes are for serious bikers who crave the ultimate adventure. Have you ever seen the insanity of some downhill mountain biking? Massive drops, giant opening jumps and terrible terrain over a short period of time. Downhill bikes have front and rear suspension, strong parts, and disc brakes. These bikes are rarely available off the shelf as most riders like to custom build their own. Downhill forks can have massive amounts of travel (ten inches isn’t unheard of) to allow for the strain a DH bike is put under. Downhill forks are typically coil spring to take on large hits but are also double crown forks offering double the suspension of single crown forks.

 Mountain Bikes 3. Trials
Trail mountain biking involves a great degree of skill and is classified as the precision riding of the sport. Mountain bike trials, also known as observed trials is a discipline of mountain biking in which the rider attempts to pass through an obstacle course without setting foot to ground. Trials riding is an extreme test of bicycle handling skills, over all kinds of obstacles, both natural and man-made. Similar to downhill bikes, trial riders will often build their own bikes rather than purchase one off a shelf. Generally very light and very strong, these bikes require a lot of discipline.

4. Freeride
Freeride mountain biking (freeriding) is a term coined by the bike industry to describe an extreme style of mountain biking. As its name suggests, it is a free-movement type of mountain biking. This sport has been developed just recently, making the newest addition to mountain biking. It is a fusion of downhill mountain biking and dirtjumping mountain biking. The other distinguishable difference is that the bikes of the freeride mountain biking are much lighter than the downhill bikes. The weight needs to be kept lighter because of the many stunts that bikers have to perform. The freeriding craze is largely credited as originating in Vancouver, British Colombia’s North Shore.

 Mountain Bikes 5. Jump and slalom
Slalom and jump bikes are very strong and designed for jumping, street racing, and slalom. They offer a front suspension and use very strong components dedicated to what they do. Downhill dual slalom mountain biking is a combination of BMX racing, Downhill Mountain biking, and freestyle dirt jumping. The course is like that of a slalom course for skiing, but instead of one racer racing against the best time, there are two racers who race head to head on the same course. Dual slalom is one of the fastest growing, and most watched mountain bike events today.

Even if you are new to mountain biking, the sport can be a lot of fun. As you have read mountain bikes are designed for several different riding styles and terrain. You will need to figure out what type of riding you will be doing most of the time. Unfortunately there is no absolute solution to what is ultimately best for each biker. Make sure the bikes you look at fit your riding style and not the sales staff’s. It really all boils down to what you want and need.

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