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Mountain Bikes

Mountain biking is still relatively new in the sporting world, with new styles of mountain biking evolving day by day. Advances in technology allow more suspension travel and faster stopping power than ever before meaning many more people are willing to give new things a try. Regardless of your style of riding there will be a mountain bike designed with you in mind, it is just knowing what you’re looking for.

What sets mountain bikes apart from the rest of the pack is their ability to scale all types of terrain. Mountain bikes are designed to take the rocks, rubble and terrain you’re used to and turn them to dust. They are designed to handle anything you can throw at them from bridleways to steep descents, from cobbled streets to rocky inclines. With large, knobbly tyres giving traction over the lesser travelled paths you can push the bike to limits previously though either too dangerous or too hard to attempt on a normal bike. Mountain bikes can be split into two groups, hard tail and full suspension. The difference between the two is that one has suspension on both front and back tyres (full suspension) whereas the other has only suspension on the front tyre. Absorbing shocks from riding over uneven terrain is what suspension is all about, as well as aiding traction over loose surfaces therefore giving you much more control over the bike.

Generally the advice when choosing a bike is to go for a hard tail bike if you’re relatively new to biking, or will not be trying anything too challenging as they provide enough suspension. However if you feel like attempting some more extreme trail riding then full-suspension bikes can offer a more comfortable ride over the more technically challenging terrain. When budgeting in your bike you need to take into account that you may be able to get a better performing and more reliable hard-tail for the price of a lesser performing full suspension bike.

Many of the sports cross-country riders prefer to ride a hard-tail bike as they insist on the lightest bike possible. However with technological advancements in all areas of biking, full suspension bikes no longer bring a weight penalty if you go for a top end bike. On the market nowadays are many full suspension bikes which are as light as their hard-tail counterparts so don’t immediately opt for the hard-tail alternative without taking into account other reasonably priced full suspension bikes.

Long distance mountain bike races are becoming more popular by the day with events springing up all over the country. These often involve varying courses with long climbs and tricky descents making you really feel the burn at the end of a day’s cycle. Another style of riding is downhill. Riders may get to the top of the hill by some means other than their bike, for example a ski-life, truck up lifts or just simply ride up. Downhill tracks are generally purposefully designed for downhill racing or trails. The bikes used are smaller for manoeuvrability and user position, giving the rider confidence on the more difficult terrain. The bikes used often have slacker head tube angles and longer wheelbases for high-speed stability at the cost of low-speed manoeuvrability. As downhill bikes do not need to worry about weight they are often made with long travel suspension to soak up the large drops.

Between the all out downhill bike and the trail bike is the Freeride and All-Mountain bike. These are bikes with more travel than a trail bike, closer to a downhill bike, but unlike a downhill bike these bikes have a riding position and gearing system that allows for a more flowing single track ride and uphill trails. Freeride bikes have shorter wheelbases and steeper head tube angles for technical stunts. Freeride is all about performing tricks and stunts, putting together combinations of challenging trail sections and getting airborne. However it is not limited by any kind of designated course, goal or rules as it is called Freeride for a reason. Challenging riders of all ages, mountain biking is proving to be popular amongst many different age ranges.

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