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Mountain Bikes

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So, what exactly is a mountain bike anyway?

Well, it’s a bike with a smaller stronger frame, fork and wheels to withstand the pounding of rugged terrain. The wheel diameter is smaller (26”) than a road bike to give added strength and to also lower the center of gravity of the rider. The tires are wide and knobby for greater shock-absorption and improved traction. Braking, such as modern disc brake systems, is strong for quick stopping, even during steep descents and under wet or muddy conditions. The number of gears ranges from 18 to 27 speeds. Why so many? So the rider can maintain a constant pedal rotation under a wide range of terrain. The extremely low gears combined with some good knobby tires allow you to handle those near-vertical climbs. Other features include a more upright riding position with riser handlebars, easy-to-use shifting controls and front suspension. Modern suspension is designed to smooth out today’s technical, rugged trail networks while remaining ‘stable’ and efficient while pedaling uphill or along trails.

Types of Mountain Bikes

Mountain bikes are broken up into various categories based on their intended use.

  1. Cross-country mountain bikes are lighter weight (21 to 26lbs); incorporate steeper geometry and more aerodynamic riding positions to allow the rider to be the fastest and most efficient that they can be.
  2. All mountain bikes are generally mid weight (27 to 32lbs), slacker geometry, longer travel (suspension) versions of cross-country bikes. They allow the rider to tackle more technical terrain confidently, but do add a ‘penalty’ to the climb up to the added weight and slacker angles.
  3. Downhill mountain bikes and big travel freeride mountain bikes are heavier (36 to 45lbs), much slacker geometry, long travel suspension bikes. They are built strong and incorporate larger brakes to allow the rider to tackle steep, rugged downhill terrain and big jumps. These bikes are much more difficult to climb with and are generally used at lift access ski areas or in shuttle assisted riding areas.
  4. Dirtjump or park bikes are smaller, more durable mountain bikes, generally with only front suspension and very strong components. Designed like large BMX bikes, they allow the rider to tackle urban terrain and sculpted jumps confidently while they perform tricks.
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