Mountain Bike Guide 2022 (Choosing the Right One)

We will break down all the essential types, factors, features, and queries to help you choose the correct mountain bike for you and your trails.

Biking is an elite sport and heaven for those who love to make the best of this activity. The biking sport has gained immense popularity, more specifically from the last few decades. There are many factors involved in making it the priority of many people since this eco-friendly, fuel-efficient, and robust machine is incredible in so many ways.

Mountain bikes are powerful and versatile machines designed to take on challenging off-road as well as on-road terrains. You may find the various options in the market varying in style and features. Which product to choose from? In which bike you should invest in getting the best out of your bucks? It sounds quite a challenging task! It is essential to know the basics of mountain bike designs, your needs, goals, and expertise.

Which Type of Mountain Bike Should you Choose?

The type of mountain bike you choose to some extent depends on your style, expertise, and budget. There are plenty of styles and designs available, while the manufacturers usually divide the mountain bikes into five basic types. So What are these types? Let’s find out here in this mountain bike guide.

1

Trail Bikes

This is the most common and easy-to-adopt, or better to call a freestyle type of mountain bike. This mountain bike type is an excellent choice for someone who is ABOUT TO START BIKING or only willing to meet up with friends at the local trailhead and ride a mixture of ups and downs on a trail.best trail bikes guide

These type of bikes usually encompasses factors such as fun, activity, and efficiency of the product. The general suspension travel of trail bikes is usually 120-140mm, and the head tube angle is commonly between 67°–69°.

2

Cross Country Bikes

Cross fits are renowned for racing as these are designed to move fast for riders who require pedaling performance as their top priority. Cross country mountain bike guide – typically focuses on climbing power, efficacy, robustness, and low weight. Cross country bikes are prone to be comfortable with climbing challenges, and distances differ from just a few miles to 25-plus.

cross country

Such bike style features make it perfect for a hard and fast ride in a competition or, more specifically, for an aggressive ride on local trials.

The usual suspension travel of cross country bikes is 80–100mm with the 70°-71° head-tube angle.

3

Fat Tire Bikes

fat tire

Bigger the tires better the grip! The fat tire mountain bikes are designed with OVERSIZED TIRES from 3.7 to 5 inches in size that provide these bikes the excellent traction in all terrains and weather. This bike style is suitable for beginners as it gives support and stability in challenging situations, mostly in climbs and descents.

4

Downhill/Park Bikes

Mountain bike guide for downhills dictates: the riding style requires a full-face safety gear code, including full-face helmets and body armor, as the bike encounters jumps, berms, rock gardens, and wooden ladders.

downhill bikes guide

Downhill bikes are big and tough machines and are mostly ridden at lift-serviced bike parks. REI doesn’t sell these bikes.
The general suspension travel is between 170–200+mm for this style with a head-tube angle ranging from 63°–65°.

5

All-Mountain Bikes

All-mountain bikes are best with all essential features for all-mountain riding as trail riding on steroids, more elongate, scarier descents, more significant leg-burning climbs, and more technical features. This type of bike style is specifically designed to PERFORM STEEP DESCENTS while also being light and quick enough to accelerate uphill.

all-mountain bikes

The suspension travel for all-mountain bikes is from 140–170mm with a head-tube angle of 65°–68°.

Mountain Bike Guide (Factors to Consider)

There are several factors to consider while shortlisting mountain bikes as per your needs and budget. However, the suspension type and wheel diameter are two key factors that will define the type of terrain that a bike can handle.

Besides these, frame material, type of brakes, and several gears are essential aspects to consider when picking one of your choices. Let’s have a glance at these attributes of mountain bikes in this mountain bike guide.

1

Suspension Types

Generally, mountain bikes come with three basic suspension types: rigid, hardtail, and full suspension.

Rigid/No suspension: These bikes are economical and easy to use but don’t feature any suspension. Most of the riders prefer the bikes with suspension to experience comfort. Most of the fat-tire bikes are rigid and responsible for stability on the road. The fat tire size and low tire pressure are enough to absorb all the trial’s ups and downs.

Hardtail/Fork Suspension: Hardtail bikes contain a suspension fork in the front to take the impact on the front wheel while there is no rear suspension. These bikes have fewer moving parts and are comparatively high in price than Rigid bikes but inexpensive than the full-suspension mountain bikes.

mounatain bike guide

The front suspension can be locked in most hardtail bikes to experience a fully rigid bike ride. This type of bike allows the more direct transfer of the power between the pedal stroke and the rear tire; that is why cross-country riders generally approach the hardtail bikes.

Easy maintenance, affordability, and all-mountain trails adaptivity make these bikes the right choice.

Full suspension: The general idea for full suspension includes a front fork and rear shock to take the trail’s impacts. There are many variations available of full-suspension. Full suspension saves the riders from instant shocks, increases the traction, and makes the ride more enjoyable and safe.

While climbing uphill, the full-suspension bike can twist slightly, and some of the energy transfer becomes low. That is why most of the full suspension gears feature lock-out rear suspension to experience an efficient uphill journey.

2

Wheel Size

The mountain bike guide for wheel size is very tricky as they vary in different styles and types of mountain bikes and is one of the essential factors to consider while deciding for the best mountain bike. Different wheel sizes are:

24 inches: Specifically for KIDS’ mountain bikes that are the cheap version with simpler adult bike components. These bikes are recommended for kids 10-13 years, but the height and weight are more considerable than the age.

best mountain bike guide

26 inches: No, so long ago, all adult mountain bikes came with 26 inches wheel size. By the time there is an upgrade, and now, along with 26”, you can also choose from 27.5” or 29” wheel size.

27.5 inches: This can be found on both full suspension and hardtail bikes. 27.5” is a standard size lying between 26 and 29ers and better to call the best solution with combined attributes. This wheel size more easily rolls over the terrain than the 26” but more controllable than the 29ers.

29ers: The bikes with this wheel size are more reluctant to accelerate, but once you start driving, you can take control of maximum terrain more efficiently. This large wheel size maintains better stability on trails and the wheel easily rolls over the trail obstructions.

Cross-country admirers popularly love this wheel size, and you can find these 29ers in all types of rigs.

27.5+ inches: This wheel size is slightly bigger than the 27” more, probably the 28” or more in width. As we quoted, “the bigger, the better” this wheel size faces less rolling resistance and provides a more comfortable and forgiving ride on the trails.

Nowadays, the bigger and wider wheel and tire size are due to the comfort and better shock-absorption on all terrains.

3

Frame Type (Steel vs Titanium vs Aluminum vs Carbon Fiber

Mountain Bike Guide for Frame Type – The mountain bikes are manufacture with a robust and strong frame to take all the resistance and weather modes. The structure determines the bikes’ weight, longevity, strength, ride quality, and price.

There are several options for frame material for mountain bikes to choose from, such as steel, titanium, aluminum, and carbon fiber.

The most common material is an ALUMINIUM ALLOY to form the frames of mountain bikes. The most expensive mountain bikes are designed with lighter aluminum material to control the weight of the product. That is why some of these mountain products are expensive as the manufacturers spend more time, effort, and investment to select the material, tubing design, and manufacturing of ultra-lightweight bike.

The STEEL FRAME is robust, cheap, and smooth to drive, but this material forms heavyweight mountain bikes.

Similarly, TITANIUM-BASED bikes are robust and light but too-expensive.

Furthermore, CARBON FIBER is a robust and low weight frame material but requires labor-intensive manufacturing, making it relatively expensive. Carbon fiber is a somewhat familiar frame material, especially among fat-tire bikes, high-end trail bikes, cross-country bikes, and all-mountain bikes.

4

Gears

The number of gears in a mountain bike is determined by the number of front chainrings multiplied by the cassette’s number of sprockets. Mountain bikes contain everything from a single speed to 30 or more gears.

mountain bikes gears guide

Brakes are essential to consider factor, but to keep it easy, you must know first your fitness level and the terrain you will be riding on (a very important point in the mountain bike guide which is missing in other ones). If you are an expert mountain biker or only conquer the flat terrain, the fewer gears are enough, but if your mostly rides are on the steep hills and climbing is hard for you, you require more gears to power up a hill. The bike is lightweight with a less number of gears.

The mountain bikes with single chainrings and a wide-range cassette with the 9. 10 or 11 gears are getting immense popularity nowadays. These bikes are lighter in weight and easy to operate because only one shifter must move through the gears on the cassette and provide the maximum gears the rider requires. The standard version of mountain bikes features two or three chainrings for various easy gears for climbing.

However, you can change your bike’s gearing system anytime you want, and that is relatively easy.

5

Brakes (Disk vs Rim)

The mountain bikes feature the two basic types of brake Disc and Rim brakes. The Disc brakes have displaced the rim brakes, and now most bikes are equipped with the disc brakes.

mountain bikes guide

Disc Brakes: This type of brake comes with brake pads that grasp onto a brake rotor mounted to the wheel hub. Disc brakes are classified into two versions: Hydraulic disc brakes and Cable activated brakes. The former provides a more progressive and more robust braking system with less human involvement and self-adjust for brake pad wear. While the Cable-activated brakes require manual adjusting as the pads wear.

Rim Brakes: Rim brakes are featured in some entry-level mountain bikes and come with pads that grasp onto the wheel rims. These brakes are inexpensive and easy to operate, but efficiency is compromised in wet or muddy terrains and requires more manual involvement.

FAQs (Mountain Bike Guide)

The queries and confusions are a part of the activities. Here is the response in this mountain bike guide to a few most commonly frequently asked questions. Take a look!

1

What are the General Rules for Mountain Bikers on Trial?

Many bikers use the mountain bike trail so, it is essential to understand your general responsibility while riding a bike on multi-rider trails.

  • Identify your trail and learn the rules to ride on a specific track.
  • Avoid overtaking another biker without any warning or signal.
  • Keep your control balanced and opt for safe behavior.

2

How To Choose a Mountain Bike That is Best For You?

Choosing a mountain bike is difficult until you have the correct mountain bike guide. If you have done proper research and considered all the essential factors, you will definitely get one right. Get the correct information about the bike size, wheel size, and handlebars adjustment. Better to Choose a bike that is good for all trails.

3

How To Choose The Proper Safety Gear for Mountain Biking? 

The code of safety gears’ mountain bike guide will save you from so many harms and obstacles. Wear a properly fitting pant, shirt, and helmet before heading out to explore the wide-open terrains. Moreover, keep the tire repair kit, first-aid kit, water, and sunscreen with yourself to ensure safe travel.

4

How to Avoid Crashing While Riding a Mountain Bike?

Biking is a fun activity, but safety should be your chief concern. So, before heading to any trail, scope it entirely, do some research on the internet, and you can watch the videos of other bikers on the same terrains to observe the trail.

Keep your first aid kit and repair kit to tackle any unwanted situation. Keep yourself focused and head and eyes straight on the trail.

Final Words

Hopefully, choosing a mountain bike will be an easy job for you as you have gone through this mountain bike guide.

The bike size varies between different brands so, don’t think that the same size by multiple brands best fits you. Many brands offer demo days for potential customers to try their entire range. Arrange a test ride if possible to see the response of the bike on multiple trails.

While in the online purchase, you might miss the option to try the product, but most of the online products come with a firm return policy and warranty. So, you can have your take on these products too.

Spend a little time, do your homework, and in the end, choose the best to experience the heavenly ride off and on the road.

Tom Fortune has been reviewing cycling products for several years from his home in the French Alps. As a freelance mountain bike wrtier, he mainly reviews mountain bike products but also reviews road cycling products independently.

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