Tag Archives: Mountain Bikes

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:

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The Birthplace of Mountain Bikes

There is a great amount of history regarding mountain biking in California, and all over the world. It is often questioned where the birthplace of mountain bicycles. Despite the controversies, and misconceptions I believe Marin County is the birthplace of modern day mountain bicycles.

The first effective high quality bicycle was built in Marin County; California by Joe Breeze had large, wide tires. Joe Breeze acknowledged the need for this specific type of bicycle after riding the unstable ridged trails of Mount Tamalpias. In 1977 Joe built a fat- tire bike that consisted of lightweight metal tubing that was only found on particular road bikes. “It had all new, high-quality parts and 26″ x 2.125″ Uniroyal “Knobby” tires on Schwinn S2 rims and Phil Wood hubs.” Joe Breeze constructed the rest of the bike by using specific parts from his Schwinn Excelsior. Joe Breeze had constructed ten of these specific types of bicycles by 1978.

In January of 1979 Joe Breeze, and his partner Otis Guy gave a visit to Tom Ritchey. At the time Tom Ritchey was constructing the frames to many of the bikes Joe had Otis had been riding. When they paid him a visit, they brought along Joe Breeze’s current custom modified bicycle. When they visited Tom Ritchey, Peter Johnson, and another man were existent. Peter and the other man were very well known frame builders. Tom and the other men were very impressed with Joe Breeze’s custom bicycle. The modifications of the bicycle, and these various features it offered intrigued them.

Gary Fisher heard of these fat tire custom bicycles due the fact they were talk of the town within the cycling community. Gary Fisher was very interested in the bicycles and asked Tom Richey to construct one for him. Tom built one for himself, one for Gary Fisher, and one for Gary to attempt to sell. Later that year Tom began to construct more of the frames for the bicycles. Tom couldn’t find any one interested in purchasing the frames in his hometown Palo Alto, so he asked Gary Fisher to attempt to sell them a little ways away in Marin County. Gary Fisher and his colleague Charlie Kelly yielded a small amount of income, and began their first company called “MountainBike.” This company later became known as Gary Fisher which was the first solely mountain bicycle business.


Charlie Kelly above

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