School’s out ; the kids will play, but shouldn’t the adults as well? How about a radical change of a traditional pastime? Whether you are an inner bohemian or a daredevil stuntman you never forget how to ride a bike.Mountain bicycles are not your standard two-wheeled pedal vehicles. These are for people who want to increase their endurance, reveal in the beauty of nature trails, or have an ambition to compete professionally. There are some people who may even enjoy all of the aforementioned activities and even more!With all the variations between designs among mountain bikes, selecting one may seem like a perplexing task, involving more real-world applications of physics than you may have expected. The following article guides prospective buyers into how they should select a model that will be reliable, cost-efficient, versatile, and most importantly, enjoyable.
Best Mountain Bike? These are our top 5 picks
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Mountain Bike Review: Learn More About These Bikes
Schwinn Women’s High Timber Mountain Bike, Silver, Small
The Schwinn Timber Mountain Bike has a release saddle for easy height adjustments making it comfortable for shorter women, from about 5’0” to 5’6”. Taller women of around 5’10” and over may want to search for an alternative as the Schwinn would cause discomfort due to the amount of time they would be hunched over while riding. The manufacturer ships the Schwinn in two boxes, the outer box serves as protection. The seats have been said to be too hard , but cushioned seat replacements can be purchased. As an added bonus, a child’s bicycle trailer may be attached. It is a bit heavy at about 40 lbs., but it supports over 200 pounds.
Mongoose Impasse Dual Full Suspension Bicycle (29-Inch)
The Owner’s Manual applies to all Mongoose models; the generalization complicates the assembly process. Problems were reported about parts, such as not being of adequate quality or missing; although customer service has been highly rated, due in part, because it has sent replacements of parts for free and in an expedient manner . The seat is surprisingly comfortable, but there is no place for a water bottle. The Mongoose is made of an aluminum silver and black frame, which attributes to its weight of 46 lbs. The brakes are small as is the kickstand (kickstands are not common on mountain bikes). The Impasse rides easy on dirt trails, recommended for a casual or light rider. Not suitable for taller rider, those over 5’9”, because of limited seat adjustments.
Diamondback Bicycles 2014 Axis Mountain Bike
The Diamondback Bicycle is suitable for use on light trails and bike paths , possibly even for occasional use on gravel roads. This bicycle is not recommended for constant off-road use, especially for heavier riders. This Diamondback is available in a grey, hardtail performance model. The bike may make more noise than one is accustomed to, but it is normal. Frequently reported as being too complicated for those who do not have experience setting up bicycles, many who had issues were forced to go to a local bike shop for assembly. Customer satisfied with the product overall, rated the Diamondback at 4/5 or 5/5 stars , after the assembly issues were resolved.
Schwinn Protocol 1.0 Men’s Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike (26-Inch Wheels)
The Schwinn Protocol is great for beginners because it provides an easy transition from standard commercial types to mountain bike quality. The structure prevents from a water holder being installed. Consistently stated as being difficult to assemble due to vague instructions, you may have to go to local bike shop for assembly and tuning. The Protocol is reported as being heavier than expected, yet this is to be expected of people who are not familiar with the weight of a mountain bike. The Schwinn Protocol can withstand a weight of around 200 lbs. to possibly a weight of 250 lbs. , when it is not used off-road. The seat may be uncomfortable; purchasing a gel seat cover and a small hand-pump is recommended. The metal pedals are designed with rugged metal rims to prevent from slipping, even in the rain. Overall, great performance and satisfaction ; most of the cons are characteristics present in most mountain bikes.
Kawasaki DX226FS Dual Suspension Bike (Silver/Black, 26 X 19-Inch)
Do not be mislead by the Kawasaki name. This is not a BMX; do not expect to this to the bicycle equivalent of what you would see at the X games. The Kawasaki DX226FS is of an aluminum frame recommended for people over 5’9” to be used for recreational purposes like city use and on light trails. The DX226FS is similar to many mountain bikes with a weight of about 40 lbs. This bicycle comes “mostly assembled”, although there seems to be a great disparity regarding the facility with which it is assembled. If you are not handy or not patient, some reported to spending an hour assembling it, than it may be likely that you would need to take it a local bike shop to have it assembled, re-assembled, or tuned. The overall impression of the Kawasaki DX226FS is that it is of fair quality for the price, despite some of its disadvantages.
All Mountain vs. All Traditional
Mountain biking has come a long way from being a modified cruiser bike used for mountain trails in the sixties to becoming an extreme sport essential to international competitions, such as the X-games, in the last two decades.Standard bikes are highly unsuitable, not only for extreme sports, but for easy trails through a state park, because they lack the equipment essential to the design of mountain bikes. Main distinctive features include off-road heavy-duty tires that provide additional traction due to knobs (knobby tires) , brakes with more power, inclusion of suspension, etc.
Types, Sub-types, All Types
Before you explore designs, first we need to define some vocabulary.Placed on the frame and fork, suspension refers to the system that serves to insulate the rider and bicycle from the terrain. Suspension is the trait that is used to categorize types, although mountain bikes take their names from the terrain they are associated with and designed for. The four types are rigid, hard tail, soft tail, and dual (full) suspension.
- Hard : Suspension only at the front, reducing exhaustion in upper body and increasing control and steering. Lower cost and maintenance than full.
- Rigid: No suspension ; uncommon and outdated .
- Soft : Simple, requiring little maintenance, but structurally disadvantageous ; uncommon as well.
- Full (Dual) suspension : More control on rough terrain at high speeds, increasing comfort. Higher cost and maintenance than hard.
Defined by Terrain
The following lists the most common designs according to their uses.
Casual: For lighter or everyday use.
Cross-country (XC) are mainly for cross-country racing. These bicycles place an emphasis on climbing, speed, and endurance. Despite this, they are not designed for the severest terrain, or for the impact of jumps and landing, due to their lightweight build, usually weighing less than 22 lbs. (10 kg) Older models of the 1980’s were made with hard tails, although full suspension types are more prevalent now.Trail bikes are designed for nature or off road trails. Cross-country riding is only so if the trail is deemed easy to moderate, terrain is either smooth or of an even, earthy path. If you are considering riding on terrain that is more difficult, then the trail bike is the better option due to the ability to descend with greater stability than the XC. Typical weight is between 24-33 lbs. (10.5 kg ) and is available in hard or full suspension.
Downhill cycling : are for steep, rocky trails; usually at high-speed descents. They are durable and stable.
Downhill bicycles are of strong frames, but light because they are built with costlier alloys. Limited terrain options; they are ideal only for downhill tracks and racecourses that should be performed by intermediate or advanced cyclist.Freeride bicycles are similar to downhill, but weight more and have more strength. They are difficult to maneuver uphill or at low speeds, yet maneuver efficiently around small object on downhill trails.
Hybrids: crosses between models.
All Mountains (AM) are a cross between cross-country and freeride designs. They can climb and descend well, withstand small jumps, and can be ridden all-day on technical trails. Typical weight is between 28- 25 lbs. (13-16 kg.) Most are full suspension.
Trial mountain bicycles consists of an obstacle course riders pass though without touching the ground with their feet. Trials come in two types; 26” wheels called ‘stock’ or 20” wheels called ‘mod’. They typically have no suspension and most have no seat due to the minimal amount of time the rider sits while riding.
Competition / Performance
- BMX bikes come in models for dirt , street, race , park , freestyle, etc. The cheaper versions are made of steel as opposed to chromoly or high-tensile steel.
- Mountain cross (4X) are used for tracks where four riders race down a descent where the objective is to reach the end the fastest.
- North shore stunt bikes are designed for large drops and high-speed descents. Often more light weight and more nimble than downhill cycles, although they have about the same amount of travel distance.
How to select?
The first step to selecting is to identify the primary purpose your bicycle will fulfill and what terrain it is to be ridden on most often. The “Types ” section gives details as to what designs are suitable for what activities.
When you have decided upon a specific design you must be prepared to look into different models that are compatible with your body dimensions. Those that are stated as being powerful require more torque, the force necessary for the wheel to rotate about the axis. You will be required to exert more force to maintain the amount of inertia.
Most mountain bikes, in general, weigh more than standard ones most people are accustomed to. A bike that weighs too much for a certain individual, ridden up a steep incline will prove to be a difficult task, resulting either in an unpleasant experience or injury. Know your limitations in order to avoid overexerting yourself.
Bigger wheels are heavier and more difficult to accelerate , but the amount of momentum is greater, resulting in more movement for less force. Taller riders should consider larger wheels as they are proportional to their body dimensions.Wheel come in three standard sizes: 26 inch (ISO 559mm) , 27.5 inch / (ISO 584mm / 650B) , 29 inch (ISO 622mm / 700C) ; 20 inch (ISO 406 mm) are available for BMX bikes and younger/smaller riders. Twenty-six inches are the standard whereas twenty-nine are the larger versions; twenty-seven point five have only recently become used, less amount of options for this particular size.
The price you are willing to pay will be a deciding factor in the quality of the bike you get. Traits such as material of the frame, the size of the wheels, types of suspension, and a specific brand can cause the price to fluctuate. Steel and aluminum alloys are among the cheapest; while titanium, carbon fiber , and lightweight aluminum frames are more expensive. Leading brand include Raleigh, Marin, Scott, Cannondale, among others. Remember that maintenance such as repair services, customized parts, etc. for certain models should also be taken into consideration.
Although you may know with certainty what you want now, can you anticipate what you might want in the future? Will your bicycle serve for multiple purposes ? Can it be modified in order to meet those needs in a cost effective manner? It generally cost more money to upgrade a less versatile bike than purchasing its more expensive counterpart. After identifying your primary need, identify if it will be your sole need.
Get Ready For The Next Adventure
The selection of a mountain bicycle may have presented it share of confusing nuances before; but now you can go onto the World Wide Web and purchase the bike of your dreams. Refer back to this guide when searching in order to ensure you select the right one. After all no one likes buying the wrong gift, especially not for themselves. Don’t forget to pick up a helmet as well!