Mountain Bikes | Now Is The Time For You To Know The Truth About Mountain Bikes

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Mountain Bikes | Now Is The Time For You To Know The Truth About Mountain Bikes

Choosing Mountain Bikes

Are you attempting to decide which mountain bikes is best for you? How to approach the query is as follows:

  • The place and the way you want to ride should be your first consideration when choosing a bike since various riding styles demand different bikes.
  • The most important characteristics are brakes, gears, wheel size, suspension, and frame materials.
  • Last but not least, make sure your bicycle fits you comfortably. At a bike store like REI, it is better to do this in person.
  • Note: This page discusses mountain bike fundamentals. (A short dictionary of words used in this article is provided below.) Consult the bike experts at your local REI shop for a more in-depth discussion.

Mountain bike types

Mountain bikes

Considering that the category doesn’t have a foundation in any one kind of racing, this is perhaps the most popular mountain biking style. This is the riding style for you if you want to meet up with buddies at a nearby trailhead and ride a variety of peaks and descents. The focus on pleasure, efficiency, and reasonable total weight is equal on bikes in this category.

Standard specifications include 67-69° head-tube angle and suspension travel of 120-140mm.

(Suspension travel is the range of motion that the front and rear suspensions of the bike provide. The head-tube angle is the inclination of the head tube with respect to the ground. A bike will often turn quicker and climb better if the head-tube angle is higher. A slacker (lower) angle often denotes a bike’s ability to climb effectively yet provide superior stability at high speeds.)

Bike Cross-Country

This kind of riding often involves moving quickly and placing a premium on climbing ability. Few miles to over 25 miles may be covered, and bikes are often made to be lightweight and efficient. If you’re interested in competing or want a faster ride for your local trails, these bikes may be ideal.

Standard specifications include 80-100mm of suspension travel and a 70-71° head-tube angle.

Disc Brake Mountain Bikes

These bikes have outstanding grip because to their broad tires, which range in size from 3.7 inches to 5 inches or more. Because of how comfortingly tolerant the broad tires are when a rider takes a course through challenging terrain, fat-tire bikes are excellent for novices.

Mountain Bikes Overall

Imagine all-mountain riding as trail riding on steroids, complete with more technical aspects that are both man-made and natural, longer, more nerve-wracking descents, and larger, leg-burning climbs. All-mountain bikes are designed to be fast and agile enough to ride uphill as well as perform well on steep descents.

Regular specifications include 140–170mm of suspension travel and a 65–68° head-tube angle.

Park/Downhill Bikes

These bikes aren’t sold by REI and are mostly used in lift-serviced bike parks. When riding downhill, motorcyclists experience jumps, berms, rock gardens, and wooden ladders while wearing full-face helmets and body armor.

Standard specifications include suspension travel of 170-200mm and a head-tube angle of 63-65°.

Features of Mountain Bikes

The kind of suspension and wheel diameter are two essential characteristics that define the kind of terrain a bike can handle. As you narrow down your bike options, keep factors like frame material, gear count, and brake type in mind.

Types of Mountain Bike Suspension

Mountain bike that is rigid

Mountain bikes classified as “rigid” lack suspension, making them less popular. Although they are often less costly and easier to maintain, most riders prefer motorcycles with suspension because they are more comfortable. Since wide tires and low tire pressure provide all the squish required to absorb trail bumps, most fat-tire bikes are inflexible.

Hardtail:

These motorcycles feature a front suspension fork to assist the front wheel absorb impacts, but the back suspension is absent, making the bike a hardtail. In general, hardtails are less costly and have fewer moving parts than full-suspension bikes (which often translates into less maintenance). The front fork of the majority of hardtails may be locked out for situations when a totally rigid bike is needed.

Because they enable a more direct power transfer from the pedal stroke to the rear tire, hardtail bikes are more well-liked by cross-country bikers. Hardtails may also be used on all-mountain trails, and they are a good alternative to major lift-serviced downhill routes anywhere else due to their reduced cost and simpler maintenance requirements.

complete suspension

Full-suspension bikes come in a variety of configurations, but the front fork and rear shock serve as the primary shock absorbers for trail impacts. As a result, the rider is far less likely to be injured, traction is improved, and the ride is more pleasant and forgiving.

Full-suspension bikes can absorb a lot of trail chatter and bumps, but they may also “bob” a little bit and reduce your ability to transmit energy while ascending. Because of this, the majority of full-suspension rigs can lock out the rear suspension to provide greater power transmission and more effective climbing.

Size of a Mountain Bike Wheel

26-inch mountain bike wheels were standard on all adult mountain bikes in the not-too-distant past. Although it is still a wheel size that is available, when asking about mountain bikes at a bike store, you are now more likely to be asked, “26 in., 27.5 in., or 29 in.”

27.5 in. (650b): These wheels provide a compromise between regular 26 in. wheels and 29ers, giving riders the “best of both worlds” experience. They are more agile than 26s but more readily roll over terrain. Both hardtail and full-suspension setups use 27.5-inch wheels.

29ers: These bikes have 29-inch wheels, which are somewhat slower to accelerate but allow you to cover far more ground than a bike with 26-inch wheels once you get rolling. They are more effective for longer rides because they maintain momentum and have a greater “attack angle,” which makes it simpler for the wheel to roll over trail hazards. The cross-country community has grown to love these bikes in droves. There are rigid, hardtail, and full-suspension setups for 29ers.

Which Mountain Bike is Right for Me? might help you decide between 27.5- and 29-inch wheels.

The plus sign merely denotes extra-wide wheels and tires, which are generally 2.8 inches wide or wider. 27.5+ in. Wider tires provide a smoother, more forgiving ride. Bikes are increasingly being made with bigger wheels and tires because they experience less rolling resistance.

To suit kids’ shorter legs, kids’ mountain bikes often use 24 in. wheels. The majority are more affordable, simpler versions of adult bikes. These are suitable for children between the ages of 10 and 13, however size is more important than age in this case. Mountain bikes with 20-inch wheels are suitable for younger or smaller youngsters to learn on.

Materials for mountain bike frames

The frame has an impact on a bike’s weight, durability, riding quality, and cost.

The most typical substance utilized to make mountain bike frames is aluminum alloy. Due to the manufacturer investing more money and time in the material selection, tube design, and manufacturing process, some more costly models feature lighter aluminum frames.

Steel, titanium, and carbon fiber are some more frame materials. Although rather hefty for a mountain bike, steel is durable, affordable, and provides a smooth ride. Only high-end mountain bikes can afford titanium, despite material being both lightweight and sturdy. Carbon fiber is often used in cross-country bikes, fat-tire bikes, and high-end trail and all-mountain bikes because to its strength and low weight. However, due to its labor-intensive production process, carbon fiber is very costly.

Materials for mountain bike frames

The frame has an impact on a bike’s weight, durability, riding quality, and cost.

The most typical substance utilized to make mountain bike frames is aluminum alloy. Due to the manufacturer investing more money and time in the material selection, tube design, and manufacturing process, some more costly models feature lighter aluminum frames.

Steel, titanium, and carbon fiber are some more frame materials. Although rather hefty for a mountain bike, steel is durable, affordable, and provides a smooth ride. Only high-end mountain bikes can afford titanium, despite material being both lightweight and sturdy. Cross-country bikes, fat-tire bikes, and high-end trail and all-mountain bikes are often made of carbon fiber because of its strength and low weight. However, due to its labor-intensive production process, carbon fiber is very costly.

Understanding Bike Frame Materials, an REI Expert Advice article, provides further details.

Mountain Bike Equipment

By dividing the quantity of cassette sprockets by the quantity of front chainrings, one may calculate the number of gears on a bicycle. There are mountain bikes available with a single speed and up to 30 or more gears. Things may get complicated when you take into account the various combinations of chainrings, cogs, and the amount of teeth on each.

To keep things simple, your degree of fitness and the terrain you’ll be riding on should be your top priorities. You should choose higher gears if you plan to ride a lot of steep hills and you have trouble ascending. If you’re an adept mountain biker or just ride on flat terrain, you can get away with fewer gears and make your bike lighter since you won’t need as many low gears to climb a hill.

Mountain bikes often feature two or three chainrings to provide a choice of simple climbing gears. However, single chainring mountain bikes with a wide-range cassette with 9, 10, or 11 gears are currently highly well-liked. Since there is only one shifter required to change the ratios on the cassette, bikes with only one chainring are lighter and easier to ride. They also provide the majority of the speeds you’ll need.

Remember that changing a bike’s gearing after purchase is rather simple, so this shouldn’t be your first priority when selecting a bike.

 Read our article, “Bike Gears and Shifting Basics,” to learn more about bicycle gears.

Brakes for mountain bikes

Except for entry-level mountain bikes, disc brakes have taken the role of rim brakes.

Disc brakes are brakes with brake pads that attach to braking rotors that are fixed to the wheel hubs. There are two types of disc brakes: With less finger effort, hydraulic disc brakes provide more progressive and powerful braking and self-adjust for brake pad wear. Mechanical (cable-activated) brakes need manual tweaking when the pads deteriorate.

In comparison to rim brakes, benefits include more constant braking under all circumstances, the ability to repair a damaged rotor much more affordably than a whole wheel, and improved performance in slippery and steep terrain.
Advantages over rim brakes: More difficult to examine and replace worn-out brake pads. Service for hydraulic brakes is more costly.
Rim BrakesSome beginner mountain bikes are equipped with rim brakes. Rim brakes have pads that adhere to the rims of the wheels.

Benefits over disc brakes include cost-effectiveness and ease of replacement of worn brake pads.
Comparative disc brake disadvantages less effective in muddy or rainy conditions; requires greater finger pressure on the levers to brake firmly; reduced stopping power; eventually destroys the wheel rim, requiring replacement of the wheel.

Mtn Bike Fitness

Fit mountain biker

You’ll enjoy riding a bike that is comfortable and appropriate for your height, flexibility, and riding style. A correctly fitted bike may increase your trail confidence and control so you can take on more difficult and complicated rides.

Mountain bikes come in conventional sizes (S, M, and L) and are often proportioned similarly across manufacturers. Sizes often match your height. A height range is included for each bike size in many sizing charts that are provided by bike manufacturers. If you’re unsure of your size, it’s recommended to choose smaller since a smaller frame may accommodate more sizing adjustments than a larger one.

See our post on Mountain Bike Fitting Basics for additional information on fitting a mountain bike.

Visit a bike shop to get the best fit: Now is a good time to visit REI or another specialty bike outlet armed with a broad idea of the kind of bike you’re looking for to identify some acceptable models and test out a few bikes. For the best fit, do it that way.

Take a test drive. Request to ride several motorcycles. You should be able to reduce your options to two or three motorcycles with the aid of a salesperson. Despite having comparable costs and parts, each will ride differently. Ride each of them for five to ten minutes through a variety of terrain, including a little hill. Most of the time, one bike will just feel more comfortable for you than the others. A bike should complement your body like a natural extension.

Maintenance of Mountain Bikes

Before you wheel your bike out the door, any REI bike store will perform one last mechanical safety examination on it. Additionally, request that the suspension settings be modified to accommodate your weight.

A spare tube, patch kit, tire levers, a pump, a multi-tool, chain lubrication, and a container to keep everything should be at the very least in your kit. Also, remember to wear a helmet.

Numerous stores, like REI, provide a free first tune-up. Make sure to use that deal by bringing your brand-new bike back.

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