Mountain bike buying guide
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?
Trail riding: Trail riders use highly versatile mountain bikes that can climb and descend with equal performance. A common trail riding mantra is that you climb to the top at your own pace and race your friends on the downhill sections.
Cross Country: This riding places more emphasis on fitness and endurance than trail riding. Cross Country (XC) riding comprises of extended climbing and riding fast rolling terrain.
Downhill riding: This is a form of gravity riding with considerable emphasis on riding steep technical tracks at speed. Downhill riding is best done on a specialist downhill bike.
What mountain bike is best for you?
Hardtail bikes: Hard tail 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.
29er Hard tail bikes: 29ers are taking the hard tail market by storm and the extra three inches of wheel diameter go some way to reducing the harshness of a fully rigid rear end.
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) full suspension bikes.
29er full suspension bikes: Full suspension 29ers are now readily available in short travel modes (4 inches of front and rear suspension travel) but the latest models are now incorporating up to 5-6 inches of front and rear suspension travel.