Guide to Mountain Bikes

Mountain biking is a sport that has enjoyed fad status in suburban settings, but for those people that mountain bike in the traditional sense, there are several things to know when starting out, including the types of equipment, accessories, and sportswear you’ll need. There is also a lot of variance in mountain bikes, and not all are created equal.

While some people in urban settings get mountain bikes as trendy toys, most are used for off-road cycling and are referred to by serious synonyms like mountain bicycle or all terrain bicycle. These kinds of bikes can be used on hiking paths, mountain trails, and hilly terrain whereas bikes for city streets could not. Steep inclines and declines, rugged dirt trails, rocky patches, and areas that are generally unpaved are the kinds of environments where mountain bikes are suited. Logs, branches, piles of wood, rocks, pebbles, and thickly grass-laden terrain need the resistance that a mountain bike can afford if you plan to ride over them.  

Several factors make mountain bikes engineered for these obscure purposes, which are not so obscure in areas that are basically rural. However, to most urbanites most mountain bikes may seem a little excessive. They have wide tyres with knobs that are about 26 inches total in diameter for uneven terrain and excellent shock absorption. They should be able to get good traction on wet, slippery, or imbalanced terrain. Full front and rear suspension are integrated into the design as well. Some bikes are retrofitted with bar ends for the handlebars for the little push of extra leverage when hill-climbing up steep hilly terrain. There are several varieties of mountain bikes out there for different variations on the sport. There are bikes specifically outfitted for cross-country, endurance biking, freeride biking, downhill biking, track biking, and slalom biking. The steady improvements in gearing, speed designation, and disc brakes act as catalysts for either climbing, rapid descent, or faster paced ascent. 

Types of Mountain Bikes

There are several designs of mountain bike like fully rigid, hardtail, soft tail, and dual or full suspension. In each of these cases, the suspension is slightly modified. For example, in fully rigid, the frame is fixed with a rigid fork and a rear that is fixed with no suspension whatsoever. In hardtail, the frame simply has a front suspension with no rear suspension. In soft tail, there is a minor amount of rear suspension, and dual or full suspension there is a front suspension and rear suspension with a linkage between them. 

Mountain Bike Accessories

The accessories you might need when mountain biking include several things that can make the carrying of your equipment and the ride more pleasurable. For example, bags, carrying cases, racks, storage, and tools help you to carry your gloves, helmets, liquids, foods, and cleaners and lubricants. You can also carry locks, lights, and pumps for maintenance of your bike on the road. Videos and DVDs can help you become acquainted with mountain biking before you begin doing it. All of these elements are essential for you to mountain bike to the fullest.

Kids Mountain Bikes

Mountain bikes aren’t just for adults, there are plenty of mountain bikes designed specifically for kids. Encouraging children to ride their bikes, especially during the school holidays, is a great way to get them outside and do something healthy. For more great ideas on what to do with kids during school holidays, visit the Kids Direct website.

Mountain Bike Buying Guide by Evans Cycles

Like many cyclists, I've been riding since I was very young and despite now being less-young, I love it just as much. I've done my time on road bikes, have cycled throughout the UK, including Lands End to John O' Groats (yes, uphill!) and now have fun on a mountain bike, in the hills and doing charity bike rides.