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Trying to buy a mountain bike can be somewhat overwhelming, seeing as there are quite a number of options to choose from, and this can make the buying process complicated. Some come with suspension, some are without suspension, we have different wheel sizes and different frame materials, duallys, hardtails, fatties. The options are endless.
In this article, we will try to help guide you (as much as we can) through the process, and try to explain certain things, but it wouldn’t hurt if you did some more research in this topic.
Let us briefly give you the types of mountain bikes that are available.
- Dual suspension/Full suspension: These have suspensions connected to the front and rear wheels of the bike.
- Hardtail: This type of bike has its suspensions only in front of the bike and has none in the rear, giving it a hard tail.
- Rigid: These bikes come with no suspensions at all.
There are three basic mountain bike wheel sizes that can be found on the majority of new mountain bikes. These wheels are indicated by the use of numbers.
- 26 inches: These were the original wheel sizes of mountain bikes, but they are hardly ever used today even though they are nimble and light.
- 5 inches: These are also known as 650B wheels and they basically have come in as replacement of the 26 inches wheels. It is considered the ‘norm’ today. It offers a slightly improved roll-over ability, traction and air volume than the 26 inches wheels does. It is lighter, stronger, and is more nimble than the 29 inches wheel.
- 29 inches: These wheels are also called the 29ers, they have more traction, give smoother rides, have great roll-over ability. The 29 inches wheels are the most popular among those in the mountain bike disciplines. They are good on descents because of their increased stability. But these wheels weigh more than the other small sized wheels and these can make it difficult when they come in small frames, which makes them limited in the amount of suspensions that can be used around them.
Types of Riding
- Trail: This is a non-racing aspect of cross country riding, and covers trail with higher technical difficulty.
- Cross country: This is considered the main form of mountain bike riding, and it is done on naturally occurring trails or trails built for the purpose of bike riding.
- Enduro/All mountain: In enduro riding, downhill sections are timed, while uphill sections are not. In enduro, the jumps are more challenging, the drops are bigger, and the trails probably are black level.
- Downhill: Here, you need a bike that smoothly descends, and also, it should have a front and rear suspension that travels between 170mm – 210mm.
Mountain bikes generally start from as little as $300 to over $7,000. Spending more money on a bike usually results in a weight reduction, better suspension, improved shift quality, increased durability, and greater comfort. It is up to you to know which bike has any of the above listed, and how much you’ll be willing to drop for it.