Types of Mountain Bikes

Mountain Biking is a recreation activity that offers various experiences. There are various types of mountain bikes that are necessary various types of riding. Although, it is truly up to the rider to decide what type of bicycle they plan to endeavor.

Bicycles that do not contain rear suspension are commonly known as a hard-tail. Suspension is used to absorb the impact of whatever thetrail has to offer. As you probably assumed, they are called hard tails because they do not have rear suspension. A dual suspension bike has both front suspension, and rear suspension. I ride a bicycle that only has front suspension, myself. I am a very big fan of riding at skateparks, and the local dirt jump trails so this type of bicycle is necessary. Considering I live in San Francisco, a hard-tail style bicycle is very convenient as well.


Cross county bikes have similar characteristics as Hard-tail bikes. Cross-country bicycles are often referred to as XC bicycles. Cross-country bicycles are known to come with both front, and rear suspension. Cross-country bicycles are generally lightweight, ridged, and have the ability to climb hills without difficulty. Cross-country bicycles are designed for riders who want to achieve great distances, so they are built to be extremely light. Cross Country Bicycles are often used in long distance mountain bicycle races. People use their light weight as an advantage to win competitions.


Trail bicycles are engineered for stable descents when venturing down trails. Trail bicycles are built to have more suspension than your average bike. Trail bicycles generally are built to have more suspension than cross country bikes. These bicycles are designed to have a relaxed downslope on the frame, and are built to be light. Trail bicycles have similar aesthetics as cross-country bicycles, but they are built to take more of an impact.

Freeride bicycles are heavy-duty bicycles that are often dual suspension. Freeride bicycles are generally not used to climb up hills. These types of bicycles are constructed to absorb impacts from downhill style mountain biking


Downhill mountain bikes are constructed to go down hills, fast. Downhill mountain bikes have a large chain ring, and are usually dualsuspension. Downhill bikes have large amounts of travel, to absorb large impacts.These bicycles usually have hydraulic disc brakes, with large metal rotors. The larger the rotor, the more stopping power the bicycle is capable of. It is important that downhill style bicycles have great stopping abilities. Such brakes are necessary in order to stop when traveling down large hills at such speeds.Downhill bicycles are often very heavy, due to all the various parts they contain. Many people dislike downhill bikes for this particular reason, and choose to ride cross country bikes instead.

There are numerous wheel sizes that will be found on bicycles. On adult mountain bikes there are a few basic sizes that are standard. 26-inch bicycle wheels are very common. I personally have a 26-inch wheel mountain bike that is custom made for dirt jumps. 26-inch wheel bicycles are dominant in the free ride styles, and downhill style mountain bikes. The smaller wheel size makes it possible for the bicycle to maneuver properly. 29-inch bicycles wheels are fairly common as well. 29-inch wheels are usually found on cross-country bicycles. A 29-inch wheel provides various benefits. Larger wheels climb mountains easier, and provide more balance to the rider. “29-inch wheels climb better, one because of traction of the bigger contact patch, and secondly it’s easier to stay in the balance sweet spot on steeper climbs.” I personally find 29-inch well bicycles awkward to ride because I have been riding a 26-inch wheel bicycle all of my life.

These videos display, and discuss various mountain bikes:

This blog post was made possible thanks to the following sources:



1 thought on “Types of Mountain Bikes

  1. troyhthtran

    Although I am not an avid mountain biker and have little experiences when it comes to mountain biking, this post teaches inexperienced people, like myself, to tell the difference between the many types of bikes. The way you described the many variations of mountain bikes was very clear and straightforward. Also nice job incorporating the images to show the difference and similarities of the bikes.


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