Mountain bikes explained
Mountain bikes are incredibly versatile all terrain bikes. These bikes have design characteristics that allow them to thrive on highly technical terrain and withstand the physical demands of outdoor trail riding.
What are they made from?
Aluminium: The most common material for modern bike frame manufacture: it is reasonably light, durable and has good ride qualities; providing good all round performance characteristics.
Carbon Fibre: Superlight, vibration absorbing and strong. Carbon fibre is relatively new in the mountain biking frame market, but it offers the highest performance characteristics of all the frame materials.
Steel: A very popular and traditional material for building bikes. Steel frames are renowned for their comfort, strength and durability. Steel is quite a heavy frame material however, and therefore despite its good ride qualities it is used less commonly than other metal alloys.
Titanium: An expensive metal to use in frame manufacture, titanium has become a bespoke choice. Its unique looks and outstanding strength are the main attractions. Due to the superb durability of this material many titanium frames come with a life time warranty.
What kinds of riding can I do on a mountain bike?
A common trail riding mantra is that you climb to the top at your own pace and race your friends on the downhill sections. A good trail bike will have enough suspension to deal with fast technical descents without compromising any climbing ability. Another important feature of trail bikes is their geometry - while you don't want the super slack head angles of an all-out Enduro race bike, you will want a geometry that inspires confidence on the descents and enables you to extract 100% enjoyment from the trails you are riding. When it comes to wheel size think 27.5 inches and 29 inches as being both ideally suited for trail riding.
Cross Country (XC) riding
Cross Country riding places more emphasis on fitness and endurance than trail riding. Cross Country (XC) riding comprises of extended climbing and riding fast rolling terrain. A lightweight bike weighing under 30 pounds with quick steering and relatively minimal suspension is top of the agenda for XC style terrain. 29er mountain bikes have dominated this category for many years now, however many 27.5 inch cross country bikes are now gaining popularity.
This is one of the most popular formats in mountain biking today. Enduro is a race discipline which involves a combination of climbs and timed descents. In many ways it's the race ready version of trail riding. Enduro bikes are built with a heavy bias towards descending. Expect super slack head angles, and long wheelbases to maintain stability when riding aggressively. Another stand-out feature of Enduro mountain bikes is their reach - these bikes have long front ends that are specifically catered towards using short stubby stems. When it comes to wheel size, you will find that 27.5 inches is the most popular platform for this style of bike.
What mountain bike is best for you?
Hardtail bikes: Hardtail mountain bikes offer the rider a lightweight bike with front suspension. These bikes have a fully rigid rear end and are ideal for a wide variety of trails.
Full suspension bikes: Full suspension bikes offer the rider increased comfort and control. The front and rear suspension cushions the rider from the impacts on the trail. Wiggle now stocks the very latest in 27.5 inch (650b) and 29 inch full suspension bikes.