Evans Cycles
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Mountain Bikes
Mountain biking is still a relatively new sport and new styles of mountain biking are still evolving - particularly as advances in technology allow more suspension travel and faster stopping power than ever before encouraging riders to push the boundaries of what it is possible to ride on a bike. Whatever your style of riding there will be a mountain bike designed to suit it.
Ollie Jones races in NPS round 6
Mountain bikes are designed to handle anything you can throw at them from towpaths and bridle ways to big rocky descents. A triple chainset is used to give a wide range of gears to cope with steep climbs and fast pedalling descents. Fat, knobbly tyres give traction over the mud, rocks and dust (if you are lucky) that you'll encounter in your ride. Mountain bikes can be split into two groups – hard tails that only have suspension at the front and full-suspension bikes that have suspension at the rear as well. Mountain bike suspension has been designed to absorb the shocks from riding over uneven terrain. It aids traction over difficult loose surfaces and helps you to control the bike.

If you aren’t trying anything too challenging a hard tail bike will provide enough suspension. If you fancy venturing into some slightly more extreme trail riding then full-suspension can make the experience more comfortable and more exciting allowing you to ride technically challenging terrain. However be careful if you are on a strict budget, cheaper full suspension bikes can be unreliable and you may get a better bike for your money by looking at a hard tail.
Many cross-country racers still favour hard tails as they insist on the lightest bike possible for maximum gains on the climbs but with advances in technology having dual suspension no longer brings a weight penalty if you go for a top end bike. There are now several full-suspension bikes on the market as light as hard tails. Whether you opt for front or full suspension XC race bikes have slightly less travel than the trail bikes as the emphasis is on speed not comfort. Cross-country bikes tend to have steeper head angles than trail bikes and cross-country riders still favour flat bars and bar ends for more efficient climbing and flat sprint speed.
Mountain bike enduro’s - long distance mountain bike races - are becoming increasingly popular as is the all-day epic and long challenging off-road rides such as the non-competitive Evans Cycles Ride It! organised off-road rides. Riders will need to be able to conquer long climbs but also handle tricky descents. On a trail bike the head angle may be slightly slacker than a cross-country race bike for better handling, riders favour shorter stems and riser bars for a more upright position. This helps riders keep their weight back and balanced for technical descending. Light-weight trail bikes, with lots of travel and a comfortable position have been designed specifically with this style of riding in mind.

Ollie Jones races in NPS round 6Another style of riding all together is down hill. Riders use ski lifts, truck “up-lifts” or push their bikes to the top of a mountain for a fast, technically challenging descent. These are generally on purpose designed downhill tracks. These bikes are smaller for rider manoeuvrability with a position designed to give rider confidence on steep and difficult terrain. Downhill bikes have slacker head tube angles and longer wheelbases for absolute high-speed stability at the cost of low-speed manoeuvrability. Downhill bikes are equipped with long travel suspension to soak up the big drops and heavy as weight is not an issue. These bikes are only suitable for riding downhill.

Somewhere between an out and out downhill bike and trail bike is the Freeride and All-Mountain bike. These have more travel than a trail bike, closer to that of a DH bike, but unlike a downhill bike these bikes have a riding position and gearing that allows you to ride flowing single track and up hill trails. Freeride bikes have a steeper head tube angles and shorter wheelbases for low-speed stability on technical stunts, Freeride is also about performing tricks and stunts, putting together challenging trail sections and getting airborne. It isn't limited by any kind of designated course, goal or rules - hence the term Freeride.

This Buying Guide gives our customers general advice on Mountain Bikes. It is a guide only and we always recommend visiting one of our stores or contacting one of the experts in our sales team on +44(0)1293 574 900 if in doubt about your needs.
This story was last updated on 26/03/2014