When Is A Mountain Bike Not A Mountain Bike?
Turns out there are many different types of mountain bikes. Some of the differences are huge. Some of the differences, not so much.
In the next few paragraphs I’m going to explain exactly what you need to know, what you should look out for and how being informed can help you get the best deal.
Box Store vs. Bike Shop
You are shopping along at Academy Sports and you see a sweet mountain bike. “Hey, I should take up mountain biking,” you think.
So you snag your favorite color, pay for it, and ride it around the block a few times. It rusts/gets/stolen/breaks and you tell yourself that you are “too old to ride a bike.”
At least, that’s how it usually plays out.
Buying a bicycle is a lot like buying a shirt.
- Quality – Box stores are big on carrying the cheapest bikes. The frames are pretty durable, but heavy. Where you really end up paying the price is in your drivetrain and wheels. Made of cheap, flimsy material, the entire apparatus flexes too much to ever get it to shift properly. I often talk to customers who are dejectedly bringing their “mountain bike” in for repairs following their first real off-road experience. They are shocked to discover that a new wheel costs more than their entire bike did.
- Fit – Box stores often only carry one size, and even commit the cardinal sin of selling bikes based on TIRE size instead of FRAME size. This means you get an uncomfortable ride that is miserable to ride.
You won’t believe if you’ve never ridden a true, quality bike. But the difference in a bike that is made to go off-road and on that looks like is is made to go off-road is huge. And the second you ride one from a bike shop, you’ll understand the difference.
Brands to stay away from include: Mongoose, GNC, Denali, Takura,
Mountain Bike Categories: XC vs Trail vs All Mountain vs Enduro vs Free Ride vs DH…
You’re shopping along and someone says “that mountain bike is good for ‘XC'”.
Suddenly you discover that “trail riding” isn’t just “trail riding”. It’s a specific category of riding.
And your entire world just got way more confusing than it should be.
The 5 Types Of Mountain Bikes:
Partially out of convenience, and partially because mountain bikes know that good marketing starts by customizing your message for your audience, we’ve managed to create about five major categories of bikes:
- Cross Country (Or ‘XC’) – Designed for speed, racing and cardio fitness
- Trail / All Mountain – Designed for a wide variety of terrain from flat to challenging. Speed is not as important as completing the ride.
- Enduro – A series of mountain bike racing days that are typically more technically challenging than a cross country race.
- Freeride –
- Downhill –
Let’s break that down a little more: