So you’ve decided you want to buy a mountain bike. Great! Now the next question, where to start? With so many different styles of bikes to choose from at so many different price points, it can be hard to narrow down exactly what you want. Let’s take a look at some of the different styles of mountain bikes and see what each has to offer.
Unlike many other types of mountain bikes, trail bikes aren’t built specifically for racing. They tend to be fairly average in terms of build, weight, and suspension, and are designed primarily for recreational riders on off-road bike trails.
All-mountain bikes (also called Enduro bikes or AM bikes) are designed to be used for all-day, endurance trail rides. They generally have greater suspension than other types of mountain bikes, are angled to enhance performance on steep descents, and are lightweight to help with uphill climbs. Here is an overview of mountain bikes.
Cross Country (XC) Bikes
Cross Country bikes are built for efficiency over long distances. They are designed with angles tailored to slow uphill climbs. While these bikes are designed to be used on off-road trails, they’re meant to ride fast over relatively flat terrain and are not well-suited to steep trails or big elevation changes.
Downhill bikes (sometimes called Park bikes) are designed only for downhill riding, and are intended to be carried (often by ski lift) to the top of a downhill racing course. They have a large amount of suspension and are designed with a frame and seat angled for downhill riding only. Because of this, trying to ride uphill on one of these bikes can be next to impossible.
Fat bikes are bikes with wide, over-sized tires. Tire width can vary from bike to bike, but fat bikes are generally defined as bikes with tires measuring 3.7 inches or wider. Fat bikes were originally designed for increased stability on soft terrain like snow and sand, but are also used on more traditional mountain biking trails. Due to their large tire size, fat bikes tend to give a smoother ride than other types of mountain bikes, but are less maneuverable. Their stability makes them a good choice for beginners looking for an introduction to rougher terrain.
Mountain bikes come in all shapes and sizes, built for a wide range of different functions. Whatever your mountain biking goals are, be sure to spend some time researching different bike types and features before you buy.