Mountain bikes come in all shapes and sizes to suit the different disciplines. Here are some tips to help you figure it all out...
This article was originally published here.
You should choose your mountain bike based on how long your rides are and the type of slopes you are tackling.
The amount of time you spend in the saddle is a key factor when choosing your mountain bike.
FOR RIDES OF LESS THAN AN HOUR
If your rides aren't very steep and are on easy ground, without too many obstacles, you want a bike with:
- An 80 mm suspension fork, for comfort and safety,
- Knobby tyres, for more grip,
- Gears, for adapting to the steepness and tackling both climbs and descents.
FOR RIDES OF BETWEEN 1 AND 3 HOURS
On winding, rolling terrain, your bike will need:
- Disc brakes that are effective in all weather conditions,
- Suspension with an 80 to 100 mm travel.
FOR RIDES OF MORE THAN 3 HOURS
On trickier terrain, go for a bike with:
- An aluminium frame with variable thicknesses or a carbon frame to optimise the bike's weight and rigidity and, therefore, performance
- Air suspension, to improve shock absorption and for more accurate adjustment,
- A single chain ring system for faster and more effective gear shifts.
Cross-Country or All Mountain?
Two disciplines with very different needs.
Cross-country requires intense effort to cover rolling, steep trails. The frame geometry, suspension and materials make XC mountain bikes light, responsive, precise and optimised for improving your time on a race or marathon (XC ride of more than 80 km).
ALL MOUNTAIN MTB
The aim of an All Mountain bike is to climb and descend anywhere, tiring yourself out on the uphills and enjoying an adrenaline rush on the downhills.
If comfort and an enjoyable ride are more important to you than performance, opt for a bike with front AND rear suspension for these long rides.