The sport of mountain biking has grown over the past decade and as more people join in on the cycling craze a number of new mountain biking categories became apparent in the sport. Due to that, there are many kinds of mountian bikes available today with each one offering distinct advantages to a specific mountain biking discipline.
There are three common types of mountian bikes. There is the rigid frame mountain bike which does not sport any rear or front suspension. Early mountian bikes fall into this category. The hardtail bike is relatively similar to the rigid frame bike but unlike that the fork usually sport suspension travel. The advantages of suspension design in the bikes makes riding a lot more comfortable in irregular off road terrain.
The last type of mountain bike that proved very popular among many cyclists over the past years is the full suspension mountain bike. The bikes both have suspension travel and shocks on both the rear and the front wheel frame elements. Design elements for the rear shock placement vary considerably in many of the full suspension frames particular in the pivot areas and connecting arms.
The different disciplines of mountain biking involves cross country or simply XC, downhill biking, All Mountain, Freeride, etc. Cross country cycling involves the riders to go through a track or point to point destination. The bikes in this category are relatively light, with or without suspension. All mountian bikes subject rougher terrains as such durable components are used in many of these bikes. Climbing and descending on trails are common on this category.
Downhill mountain biking is as simple as it is named. Bikes are ridden going downhill. The bikes for these category are sport both rear and front suspension, heavier overall, requires durable and specific components like dual or triple crown forks. Downhill biking is racing oriented and is usually done on steep trails. This is one of the most dangerous avenues of mountain biking thus a full face helmet and body armour is mandatory. Downhill biking is also associated with large jumps over rocks and others. Freeride encompasses varieties of all disciplines. The bikes used in this are usually designed in a sloping manner that people might associate with BMX bikes. Free ride mountain biking usually involves stunts, going airborne, going downhill fast and still be able to climb steep trails.
You can find the bikes under each category at your local bike store. A salesperson or even the mechanic can give you an insight of each bike type. All you have to do is tell them you’re riding style and your goals as in bicycling. Do not forget to size the bike appropriately too as the perfect bike fit will give you the best comfortable riding experience.