Why Start?

The main reason people ride is for fun. Some ride because it is good exercise. I ride to get to remote fishing locations and get out into nature away from city.

Even if there are no mountains where you live, it can make sense to buy a mountain bike, just because of the security they provide, even in urban areas. And there’s always the chance of a weekend ride in the country.

If you’re a bicycle enthusiast but have only tried cycling on the road, it’s time you gave mountain biking a try. By mountain biking, I mean more than heading down an actual mountain – although that what most people think about when they hear the phrase “Mountain biking.”

However, mountain bikes – light bikes with fat tires and front suspension – make it easy to go cross country riding as well.

So even if you live in an area that has no mountains – get yourself a mountain bike anyway! Those fat tires make for a nice ride – and as long as they’re properly inflated they can go almost as fast as the thinner tires of road bikes, but you don’t need to worry about going up curbs or down curbs.

There are three styles of mountain biking – the one everyone thinks of which is downhill riding, free riding, and cross country. If you’re a professional cyclist or a dedicated amateur, you’ll want to buy a bike specifically designed for each style, but if you’re a casual cyclist who’ll want to try one style one weekend and a different style the next, any good mountain bike will do.

Most people will buy a brand new tool whenever they take up a brand new hobby. This is a mistake. Examine yourself. Have you done this in the past – decided on a hobby, bought all the equipment, used it once – then stored it in your garage and never used it again?

So, if possible, rent a bike first – indeed, in so doing you’ll be able to try out quite a few bikes and decide on which one you’d like to buy. Make sure that the people renting you the bikes have taken proper care of them, of course, and that they’re not just “beaters.”

 

Are you a beginner?

If there’s any mountain biking in your area, chances are there’ll be a club or two, which will cater to beginners. The best thing to do is seek out your local bike shop. Anyone there can tell you what goes on in your area. Also, most bike shops will have racks featuring the brochures of local clubs, and bike maps of the local trails, for free.

 

Practice makes perfect

If you’re not in shape – you can get in shape with mountain biking… if you make a concentrated effort to do so. Set yourself goals of miles to ride each day. If you don’t have the time to ride an hour or so every day, but if you have a steep hill near your home, you can always spend ten minutes or so doing wind sprints up and down that hill. This will increase your stamina and strengthen your leg muscles no end. (Make sure you check with your doctor to make sure you have no health problems that would limit vigorous exercise.)

Don’t get on a bike and then find the toughest trail and through yourself down it. Start with beginning trails and work on your skills for a while.

 

Staying safe

Riders fall. Face it – it’s going to happen. So the essential piece of equipment you have, after a good bike – is a good helmet. Never buy a used helmet – you don’t know what’s happened to it. Also of use to the mountain biker are goggles or other eye protection, elbow and knee pads, and good shoes. Always carry a few dollars and some change in a pocket so you can call for help if need be, and make sure you have identification on you at all times. (That last bit of advice is good for any biking, or jogging, come to that!) Always be prepared for the worst to happen, and then it [probably] never will.

 

The most commonly used Mountain Bikes are:

Downhill Bikes: Most prominently used for competition in which one goes down the hill. So with that speed, bikes need to be with tough frames and with heavy-duty brakes such as disc or hydraulic brakes.

XC Bikes: This is another kind of bike which is highly used for competition in which one can go both down and climb hills. So its frame should be light but reasonably sturdy. Brakes used in this particular bike are v-brakes and light disc brakes.

Hybrid Bikes: This category of bikes is a good option for those who want to ride on both mountains and road.

These bikes either run on front suspension or on full suspension (which is a combination of both front and back suspensions). Various kinds of brakes employed on these bikes are:-

Rim Brakes: They are both light and powerful, but their power decreases in muddy terrain where they become slippery.

Disc Brakes: They are light and powerful and are not affected by weather.

Hydraulic Brakes: They are very powerful and don’t need much maintenance, but are expensive than other brakes.

Frame Materials: The bikes can be made of aluminum, steel or titanium. These are very important elements of the bike as their composition determines the weight, strength, responsiveness, and life of the bike.

Size: Like conventional bikes, mountain bikes come in small, medium and large sizes. But different manufacturers use different reference point of measurement therefore sizing is not always consistent.

 

Latest Trends:

All Mountain Bikes: The “All Mountain Bikes” are characterized by 5-6 inch (125-150 mm) rims to take on very rough conditions.

29er Bike: This uses 700cc-sized rims and is suited for tires of 2 inches (50mm) width or more so that it can roll over the obstacles.

Singlespeed: This is a blend of simplicity with innovation in suspension design.

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