The sport of mountain biking has grown in leaps and bounds over the last few years, and has seen a major growth spurt in sales for companies that produce specialized mountain bikes.
The days of big, heavy framed lumps of metal with knobbly tires are long gone making way for sleek, light, yet incredibly strong framed, futuristic looking bikes, with dual suspension and a variety of tire types you would usually find on a formula one racing car.
These off road machines tend to come in 4 different categories, and are usually built and set up differently to handle different terrain and riding conditions.
Cross Country (XC)
Cross country bikes are lightweight fast, most of them are now built with aluminium or carbon fibre frames, are geared to go over all types of terrain and can handle some pretty severe punishment.
Downhill bikes are specifically built to ride only down hill, they are still constructed with light weight frames come with dual suspension to handle a lot more extreme terrain, they will usually come with larger tyres than your average XC bike, with larger disc brakes which are more powerful and allows the rider greater control.
All Mountain (Trail riding)
All mountain bikes are for general riding, mountain or trail conditions. Although they are designed to be able to climb hills efficiently, they are usually a little heavier and stout than your average cross country bike. All mountain bikes are an excellent balance between efficiency, comfort and control.
Free ride mountain bikes are built tough to handle a lot more punishment than the other styles of bike. A free ride biker will take these bikes threw hard hitting trails, drops, jumps and other crazy stunts.
These bikes are built heavy and tough, not so easy to pedal to the top of the hill, but with dual suspension and tires designed for maximum grip, to will handle anything you can throw at it on the way down.
These 4 styles of mountain bike are just that, built and set up for a specialized style of riding.
Apart from the all mountain bike, using your bike for anything other than its intended style of riding will be difficult to do, and possibly cause damage, if not ridden under the conditions and terrain it is designed for.
If you’re thinking of buying a mountain bike, I suggest doing a little homework first, check out a few different bikes in your local bike shop or read a few MTB Reviews.
Think about the type of riding you will do most often. If you have to travel long distances to a mountain or have access to off road trails you will have to think about transport to these areas as well as whether you will be able to get enough use from these types of bikes to make it worth the out lay.
If you are unsure about which direction to go, maybe start with an all mountain style bike, learn a few tricks and techniques, and get regular use from it, before upgrading or investing in any other specialized mountain bikes.
A sport like this can be expensive, but very rewarding when you get the right mix of conditions and the right gear. Do some research, try a few different styles of riding and see what suits you the best.
Ride Today Like it’s Gonna Be Your Last