The Rough Guide To The Different Types Of Mountain Bikes

The Rough Guide To The Different Types Of Mountain Bikes

Not all mountain bikes are created equal. But are there really not any difference between different mountain bike types?

Well, if you are an experienced mountain biker and you have been doing it for years, then you may not find any major differences in mountain bike types. On the other hand, there are people who are completely new to mountain biking and want to get into the sport but do not know where to start.

This is where I say it does matter what exact type of bike you are going to buy and ride. So, let’s take a deeper look into our buying guide on types of mountain bikes you need to know.

For the purpose of this guide, I have come up with five reasonably distinct categories of mountain bikes (MTBs). That being said, you should know that some types can be used for pretty much everything going due to their all-around inherent versatility.

Cross country mountain bikes

Cross Country Mountain bikes, also known by their common name XC bikes, are the most popular bikes most bike enthusiasts will come across. These are the bikes they will most often see in the shops. They are generally designed to be lightweight and very fast. They also make up most of the sub $1000 section of bike stores. Taking that into consideration, it comes as no surprise that some advanced and pro bikes can cost you anywhere up to $7500.

Basically, these XC bikes can be subdivided into 2 further subdivisions:

  • XC Trail Bikes are slightly heavier than XC race bikes, but even with that slight additional weight, they are ideal for doing pretty much everything from single-track trails to dirt roads. Most mountain bikes that you will see in standard outlets are part of this category. Nevertheless, it is useful to know the difference, and not many people will ever be able to see the difference.
  • XC Race Bikes are designed for speed and efficiency and to be as lightweight as possible. These are nimble, which is one of the main reasons why you can accelerate in no time. Typically, they will have about 80-120mm of travel in the front and rear shocks to deal with the occasional pothole or boulder. Also, they are designed for weight-forward riding positions, which allows you to go at full tilt over a fairly rough terrain. However, you should not use these for high impact jumping and landing, but for ascending and taking tight corners.
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Downhill Mountain Bikes

This type of mountain bikes is designed for high-speed and downhill riding, meaning for people having no fear or having really good health insurance. They are best used for speedy steep descents, which is why their riding style and efficiency are geared towards that end. The gears are set high and large for pedaling fast over the roughest terrain imaginable. The frame and gears are more durable and will hold up extremely well under pressure, and the tires are also wider and have wider rims. Downhill Mountain Bikes will also have a chain guard to keep the chain in place on rough descents, and finally, disc brakes come as standard.

What’s more, you should not be surprised if you come across of downhill mountain bikes with up to 170mm-254mm of travel in the suspension either. Almost all of these have full suspension setups. They will have either coil or air shocks. Despite being heavy, coil shocks tend to be able to soak up a lot more pressure.

These bikes are not that cheap. However, taking into account what kind of safety this bike needs to provide goes in favor of the price, which is around $3000.

All Mountain/Enduro Mountain Bikes

If you are having hard times deciding what bike you want or need, then this is type of mountain bike is your best choice. Enduro, or All Mountain bikes, are very similar to XC Trail bikes, but tend to come with stronger frames and a bit more travel in the suspension. Most of these bikes will be in the full suspension category, and will have around 140-160mm travel in them. This is intended to help the rider overcome rougher and more technical trail obstacles, and take on steeper and more complicated trails.

In the past few years, mountain biking trail centers have become more popular, which resulted in heavier and sturdier frames of this mountain bike type to enable riders to safely and effectively go up and come straight back down again.

Though very similar to Trail XC bikes, they are different for having wide tires for extra grip.

Basically, these are 3 most common types of mountain bikes. All other categories fall into a bit more specialized categories and niches. We are going to discuss two of these specialized bikes: Freeride Mountain Bikes and Dirt Jump Bikes.

Freeride Mountain Bikes

Freeride bikes are much similar to Downhillers. What sets them apart is the purpose. Freeriders put much less emphasis on weight. The frame is not as sturdy and is more compact, creating a very nimble and maneuvering bike. So, their main purpose is to handle a lot of jumping and technical stunts. They typically have around 160-180mm of travel in the suspension setup.

In plain terms, freeride bikes are a mixture of downhill and XC bikes, but may be a pain in the neck to push them up the hill, for their frame tubes are thick.

Dirt Jump Bikes

Like the previous type, this one also is a crossbreed. Unlike Freeride bikes, these ones are a fusion of BMX and Freeride bikes. They are also sometimes referred to as street, or urban mountain bikes. They tend to only have suspension in the front.

To put it succinctly, Dirt Jumpers are for all those spending their time in the air performing aerial stunts. Many Dirt Jumpers will have single speed gears, oversized handlebars, only one brake, small frames, and low seat posts for stunt riding. In conclusion, fearless people like them the most.

Which mountain bike would you like to have?

Sean Lockwood

Sean is a programmer with a passion for extreme sports. Favourite extreme sports discipline is biathlon. Started this blog because of the great love for nature and adrenaline which results in something extreme like Extreme Sports Lab (ESL).

  • CSGO Fps
    Posted at 3:58 pm, December 28, 2017

    Good job!

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