Mountain bikes are all the rage these days. They're the perfect choice to escape the congestion and traffic on the roads and add some adventure to your life. Unlike the more common road bikes however, mountain bikes are tailor made keeping specific terrains and riding styles in mind. This makes picking the right mountain bike for yourself a complicated task, especially when the technology and terminology surrounding them can be quite overwhelming for a beginner. This buyers guide will walk you through everything there is to know about these off-road beasts.
Top 7 Mountain Bike Under $1000 in 2019
- New Schwinn mountain frame with Schwinn suspension fork for controlled riding
- Shimano twist shifters with 21 speeds and Shimano rear derailleur for quick gear changes
- Aluminum frame is lightweight and durable
- SR Suntour suspension fork offers 120mm of travel to soak up bumps
- Ltwoo 3*10S Speed Control System
- Frame Size: 17"; Wheel Size: 26"
- Aluminum suspension frame maximizes comfort & performance
- Element Suspension fork smoothes the bumps and increases control
- GREAT FOR: Montague Paratrooper 24 Speed Folding Mountain Bike for men 26 inch, folding...
- FRAME SIZE(20"): Large - 20": For riders 5'11" - 6'4". Standover height is 29.50",...
- Aluminum frame with progressive geometry for trail riding performance
- SR Suntour XCR 120mm travel fork tackles trail obstacles
- Aluminum alloy 29er hard tail frame is tried and true
- 14g stainless steel spokes
With the sheer variety of mountain bikes to choose from, picking out the one that best suits your needs is quite troublesome. However, being equipped with the right knowledge can be a valuable tool in this regard. In this guide, you'll learn about the most popular types of mountain bikes available in the market and their unique features to make the decision easier for you.
Types of Mountain Bikes
The truth is that all mountain bikes are not made the same. In fact, there are a wide variety of mountain bikes in the market, each designed for their intended use. To help you decide the type of bike you should buy, here are the options available to you.
Cross Country Bikes
These mountain bikes, commonly known as XC bikes are one of the most light-weight and fast ones out there. With a suspension system specially designed to provide a maximum forward momentum, XC bikes are all about advancing further. Generally, these bikes have between 80mm to 120mm travel range to deal with uneven surfaces but are not built for high-impact jumping and lading. Moreover, a combination of steep head angles, long sterns, and narrow bars offer a comfortable pedaling position to the rider.
Trial bikes can be used for almost everything and anything, which makes them the most popular and versatile mountain bikes in the market. A trail bike features relaxed angle positions which make ascending and descending a lot easier while wide handlebars and short stems give more control over the speed. Trail bikes have suspension travel between 110mm and 150mm.
Enduro/ All Mountain Bikes
Designed for the rigorous enduro racing, these bikes are a step further beyond the cross country and trail bikes. To be best suited for long distance rides on technical terrains with steep ascends and descends, enduro bikes consist of tougher frames, reinforced tires and full suspensions of about 140mm to 160mm.
This category of mountain bikes is for those who want speedy downhill descend while tackling any obstructions in the way. Their slacking geometry increases stability on sharp terrains while a powerful, big-disk rotor gives a strong braking strength. Downhill bikes are typically equipped with 200mm of travel at either end. Moreover, the suspension system has air or coil shocks for better shock absorption.
Features to Look For in Mountain Bikes
When selecting the right mountain bike, it's essential that you're aware of the distinctive features and elements of the bike since even the slightest difference can alter the entire experience. Features like wheel size and suspension are some of the key attributes that determine the terrain the bike is suitable for and can help narrow down the choice for you. Let's take a look at these features in detail to have a keener understanding of what you really want in your mountain bike.
The suspension system of a mountain bike improves the degree of traction and comfort by absorbing the impact of uneven surfaces. It allows for "travel" which, in mountain biking terms, is the distance of suspension movement obtainable. Travel normally ranges from 80mm to 200mm, depending on the type of bike. In terms of suspensions, mountain bikes can be categorized as follows:
- Rigid: These are the ones that do not have any suspension system and are usually not much expansive. Nonetheless, you can still obtain some suspension due to the cushioning effect of the tires.
- Hardtail: Hardtail mountain bikes have front fork suspensions to absorb the impact on the front wheel, allowing for easier steering. Moreover, they are easier to maintain and allow for a greater power transfer between the pedal stroke and the rear tire.
- Full Suspension: Full suspension bikes are equipped with both front and rear shocks for a smoother and comfortable ride. They are generally more expensive than the other types, but covering technical terrains with more confidence is worth the money.
When it comes to the size of the wheels, the following three are the most common:
- 26 in: The 26 in wheel size has been around for the longest time but are still widely opted by riders.
- 29 in: Also known as 29er, they are the biggest wheel size available for mountain bikes. They provide a greater momentum and are easier to roll over rougher terrains, which makes them perfect for climbing. However, 29" wheels are heavier than the rest and are less maneuverable for tight trails.
- 27.5 in: The 27.5" (630 lb.) wheel offers a combination of the 26" and 29". Not only are they more agile than the 29" wheel but roll better on technical terrains as compared to the 26" ones.
Having a reliable braking system is immensely important from a safety perspective. Here are the variety of brakes generally used in mountain bikes.
- Rim Brakes: Traditionally used in mountain bikes, rim brakes consist of pads that brush against the rim of the wheels to slow down the bike. Although rim brakes are more economical and are easy to repair, they have less halting power and are less effective in wet and muddy conditions.
- Disc Brakes: In disc brakes, a disc (rotor) is connected to the center of the wheel, just like that in cars. These work well in wet and muddy conditions, have greater stopping power, and are more reliable than rim brakes. Disc brakes are further classified as hydraulic and cable-activated mechanical brakes.
Mountain bikes are a must-try if you enjoy adventurous experiences. Buying a good mountain bike for yourself can be quite tough, but with the right guidance, you can make a reasonable decision with ease. One must be aware of the features to look for in their bike and make the selection according to the intended use. We hope this guide has provided you with some valuable information in this regard.