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How to Choose the Right Mountain Bike?

Mountain biking, whether it’s cross country, trail riding, downhill, all-mountain, or freeride, is a sport that puts your endurance, skills, and balance to the test. But it’s fun! Maneuvering jumps or speeding down a slope sends a big rush of adrenaline into your body. Since the sport involves tackling various types of off-road trials, you must select the right bike that fulfills the purpose. Nothing less than a bike that is sturdy, durable, high on performance, and strong will do the job, as websites like will tell you. What are the different types of bikes for mountain biking, how to choose the right one, and what factors to remember when doing so? Read on to find out. 

Types of mountain bikes

Trail bikes 

Trail bikes will do the job just fine if you are new to mountain biking and are just starting to negotiate uneven terrains. The speed, weight, design, and comfort come in an equal comfortable package. There is suspension travel of about 12-14 centimeters, which is the amount of movement allowed by the front and rear suspensions.

All-mountain bikes 

If you are ascending and descending a lot, that is, pedaling uphill and downhill in rough terrain, all-mountain bikes are the right choice for you. Also known as enduro bikes, they feature a suspension of 1.4 to 17 centimeters. They are also suitable when you want to enjoy some easy cycling in a park or a similar place.

Fat tire bikes 

They are called fat-tire bikes because of the impressive width of their tires, which range between 9.3 to 12.7 centimeters approximately. The fat tires allow enhanced tractions, making it easy to ride on snowy and sandy terrain. These are suitable for beginners as their wide tire design offers sturdiness, helps them negotiate uneven terrain, and prevents them from falling. 

Cross-country bikes

Cross-country mountain bikes are made for uphill climbs and are light and high on efficiency. Their build is similar to those of road bikes. The suspension travel on these bicycles is between 8 to 10 centimeters. Opt for these when you want to cover long distances, including steep climbs.

Downhill bikes

Downhill bikes have thick tires for more excellent traction and grip since they are made for high-speed descent. Their 17 to 25 centimeters of suspension travel are built for challenging terrain, speed, jumps, and big drops. The materials used for making them are usually carbon fiber, aluminum, or steel.

Things to consider when buying a bike


Bicycle suspension is a system that suspends the bicycle and biker to protect them from shocks while landing. Mountain bikes have three main types of suspension styles: rigid, hardtail, and full suspension. It is called a stiff suspension when the cycle does not have any suspension in the front or back tires. Although these bikes cost less, they are not suitable for mountain terrain. Hardtail suspension is referred to when the cycle has suspension in the front wheels instead of the rear. They are cheap and relatively easy to maintain. It also allows for more pedaling power. When there is suspension both in the front and rear parts of the bike, it is called a full suspension. They are easy to ride and protect the rider from all kinds of shocks. 

Wheel size

The speed of the bike and the size of the wheel are interrelated. Usually, mountain bikes will come with a wheel size of 66 centimeters, allowing the rider to tackle uneven terrain easily. You can find those with 69 centimeters on both hardtails, and full-suspension bikes. They allow for more rolling and easy tackling. 

Long-distance biking is best done with wheels measuring 73 centimeters. Although acceleration takes a while, they cross the roughest grounds effortlessly. They also maintain the momentum required for long-distance rides and are very popular with cross-country cyclists. Rigid, hardtail and full-suspension bikes feature these sizes. Mountain bikes made for children have 60 centimeters wheels to fit their short legs. They are best for children between 11-14 years of age.

Frame material

The material used in the bike’s frame decides its longevity, weight, strength, price, and ride quality. Steel is strong and durable but makes the bike quite heavy, not something you want in mountain biking. Titanium is light, solid and allows the bike to withstand rough terrain. However, it can be a bit on the expensive side. Carbon fiber is found on all-mountain, fat tires, and cross-country bikes because it is light and significantly strong. Most of the bikes you will come across are likely to be made from aluminum alloy, which is sturdy, durable, and delivers optimum performance. 


Different bikes have different gear options, ranging from none to twenty. Some mountain bikes have no gears, while others have twenty. The number you need depends on your biking level and the kind of terrain you will be riding on. For rough topography, it is best to select a bike with more gears. For flat landscapes, a bike with fewer gears will work just fine. 


Mountain bikes have two types of brakes: hydraulic and cable-actuated. Hydraulic brakes provide the utmost safety and strong braking with less effort. They also adjust automatically when brake pads are worn out. Cable-actuated brakes are not as strong and have to be manually adjusted. Of these two, it is better to go with hydraulic disc brakes. 

Choosing the right mountain bike can be complex since there are so many factors involved. However, this guide can make the entire process simpler for you. Mountain biking is about performance and fun, and choosing the right bike guarantees a fair amount of both.

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