Your mountain bike can take you through many kinds of terrain, going up or down – jut there where the trail takes you. Mountain biking is a sport that has been growing lately – and there is a reason for that! There are lots of different mountain bikes to choose from, they differ in size, material, in the way they are built: the suspension and parts such as gearing and brakes. In our shop we offer selection of mountain bikes from Bergamont, Centurion and Ghost, which are versatile and can be used in variable trerrains and whatever mountain you want to go up on.
Fully vs. Hard-Tail – Your mountain bike’s suspension
Generally, mountain bikes can be put into two categories: ones with full suspension and those who only have front suspension. Both have their pros and cons:
Fully: The full-suspension bike has a suspension both in the front and the back. This suspension can be adapted to the terrain and the rider, meaning it can be adjusted to absorb more or less. Also, the suspension can be locked entirely. The advantage of such a bike is the comfort, because the suspension can absorb more bumps on the trail. Also, the full-suspension means that you will get more control in rough terrain. The suspension leads to an improved riding dynamic because the back wheel has more contact with the ground. Many mountain bikers use these bicycles when they leave the paved roads and head to more natural trails. These bikes are heavier and also more expensive than hard-tail bicycles. The suspension travel also makes a difference. It starts at around 110mm, going up to around 230mm. The larger the suspension, the more downhill oriented the bike is.
Hard-Tail: As the name already tells, the rear part of the bike is hard, meaning it does not have a suspension. Only the front part does. These bikes require more skill or less speed while riding on uneven terrain, since they only absorb shocks in their back wheel itself but do not have any additional shock absorption. These bikes are perfect for mountain bikers who tend to stick to paved trails, gravel roads or flowy trails. They offer a more direct transfer of power, which many bikers prefer! And hard-tails weigh less and due to only one suspension are easier to maintain.
The suspension is certainly not everything when it comes to the choosing a mountain bike
Another essential part is the size of a mountain bike. On one hand it is he size of the bike frame. All mountain bike producers offer bikes in different sizes, be it in form of frame size in inches or in regular EU sizes (XS-XL). There are also women’s specific bikes available on the market. These are adapted to the female specific body geometry, giving a apart from other features more compact seating position and a different handlebar position.
On the other hand, you have different wheel sizes. 26 inches was the standard for a very long time. Then, 29 inches took over, giving more stability while carrying higher speed. But 26 inches is more agile. That is why there is now an in-between size, the 27.5 inches. This is especially popular because of the connection of the two sizes, offering better roll resistance and easier handling.
Mountain bike brakes: When it comes to safety, brakes are certainly one of the most important aspects! For riders who prefer downhill oriented riding style, it is especially important to chose this feature wisely. Most mountain bikes and endure bikes are equipped with disc brakes. With these, brake pistons are pushing a brake pad onto the brake discs, just like in a car. The advantages are more precision and a better brake power during wet conditions and higher speed. Here as well, you have some differences. There are mechanic and hydraulic disk brakes. While the hydraulic ones are a bit more precise and less work to maintain, they are more complicated to repair when broken. The mechanic one can be fixed on the road if you have the right know-how and equipment.
Then there is the gear shifter. Different gears allow to you go uphill with as little effort as possible. The gear-ratio is what makes this possible: on flat parts, a high ratio is needed, enabling high speeds with little pedaling. When you go uphill, you want a lower ratio. The ratio refers to the amount of rotations of the back wheel as a result of a crank motion in the front. Also here, there are different rear derailleurs, different cassettes, different front derailleurs and different chains.
When biking, especially when going uphill, the weight of the bike is another important factor. Because even though you are sitting on a bike, you still need to get it up there, and of course the weight becomes relevant. To a large part, the weight depends on the materials used and bike components. By the way, we also have a selection of mountain bike e-bikes which can make the uphill part easier!
What else is there to consider when purchasing a mountain bike?
Well, there is some equipment that you need: first of all, a helmet. And especially when doing mountain biking, you should consider additional protectors. Also, headlamp or light for riding during dawn and night, as well as a bike lock and some tools are always good to have with you!
And before you put your bike away after your ride, make sure you clean it properly. Easiest if you do it right away before the dirt dries up. Use a water hoe and a sponge. Never take a high-pressure or a steam cleaner, because those might clog the bearings and sealings. Also, regular service is needed, and we at Sport Conrad will gladly help you with our bike service!