If you have never ridden a mountain bike before, you might be missing out on what is becoming one of the most exciting and engaging outdoor sports to participate in around the country these days. Mountain biking is the sport of riding your bike over trails and up and down mountains and woody areas in places where you would not dare take a regular road bike. Although the sport has some risks, it can be very safe when practiced responsibly and offers a great opportunity for people to bring an active change to their present sedentary lifestyles. Buying a mountain bike and riding it is a great way to get in shape without spending too much money. As a side bonus, you are also likely to lose the extra pounds you have been carrying around while you get to have a great time and enjoy a number of different outdoor paths and trails you might never have visited otherwise. Once you have decided that mountain biking is a sport you might like to get into, the next decision you will have to make involves the kind of bicycle you will want to get started with. No matter how much money you have available to spend on a new mountain bike, the kind of bike you get will ultimately depend on the kind of riding you plan on doing with your new bike and the kind of trails and terrain you are most likely to ride on. There are basically four different types of mountain bikes on the market today. While it is certainly possible to find bikes that seem to fit into multiple categories, the majority of bikes you come across will be classifiable into one of the four categories to be described in this article. Selecting the right bike for your needs will help ensure your venture into the sport starts off down the right trail.
The first kind of mountain bike you might consider is the cross country mountain bike. They typically come with 1 to about 4.5 inches of suspension and are designed to get you going up and down the mountain at a good pace. They can handle most light trails but will not have the suspension and framing to cope with extreme conditions. However, they are great for cross country races and riding up hills.
The second kind of mountain bike you might consider is the trail or all mountain bike. These bikes will come with more than 4 inches of suspension but typically cap out at 6. They can tackle rougher terrain than cross country mountain bikes but will also weigh more. They are great all around bikes like cross country bikes but are capable of tackling a wider variety of things you might come across in the brush, even though you might not want to use them when in races involving the need for top speed.
The third kind of mountain bike you might consider is the freeride mountain bike. These bikes will give you between 6 and 8 inches of suspension and are great for rougher terrain and stunts.
The fourth kind of mountain bike you might consider is the downhill mountain bike. A downhill mountain bike will come with at least 7 inches of suspension travel and up to 10 inches in some cases, and will be designed to tackle almost any kind of land, grit, and terrain you might come across while out in the wilderness. However, it might be very difficult for you to pedal up a hill with one due to their design. This is because downhill bikes are primarily meant to be used to achieve high speeds when blasting down hills; they are primarily used in downhill racing, which can get highly technical and require bikes capable of putting up with the twists, turns, and shocks without skipping a beat. You won’t often see a downhill bike anywhere else. If you believe downhill racing is a part of mountain biking you might want to get into, you will be well served with a freeride bike. If you really want to get serious about downhill racing, though, then you should consider a downhill bike for your next purchase.