Mountain Bikes

 

Which Mountain Bike should I buy?

 


Mountain bikes have a very wide range of uses, depending on the type of terrain that you are riding in. This includes Cross Country (XC), Trail, Enduro, Freeride, Downhill and Dirt Jump. Mountain bikes are the most popular type of bicycle sold in Australia and for good reason too. Whilst designed for off road riding can also be versatile enough to be used on road. They are designed with durability in mind, as they have to withstand much greater wear and tear whilst off road. 

The most common are hard tail mountain bikes, this means that they only have suspension at the front of the bike, and the rear wheel is fixed solidly to the frame.  As the trail gets rockier, however you then need dual suspension, which is suspension at the front and the back of the bike. This allows the bike to soak up the bumps and to maintain traction. The more difficult the terrain the more travel in the suspension you will need whilst descending . This allows for more variations in the trail, and bigger jumps. 

More suspension travel is not necessarily better. In fact you want as little travel as possible for your riding style. Cross country bikes typically run 100mm to 120mm of travel, Trail and Enduro bikes typically run 140mm to 160mm of travel and  Long travel bikes such as downhill and freeride normally run between 180mm and 200mm of travel. The trade off with more travel is usually the weight which makes it harder to pedal the bike up hill. 

Within all these disciplines, there are different wheel sizes, 26 inch, 27.5 inch (650b) and 29 inch (29er). The larger the wheel the easier it is to roll over obstacles, but the wheel also becomes heavier and less agile. Typically people will choose according to their height, riding style and of course – cost. 

Sizes are measured in inches, or sizes such as Small, Medium and Large. They are not as precise as road bikes, because you are often out of the saddle as you manoeuvre through corners and around obstacles so there is typically more adjustability within the size options.

 

Comparison

CATEGORIES
MODEL
ADVANTAGES
DISADVANTAGES
IDEAL FOR
Hardtail 27.5 inch

Hardtail 27.5 inch

  • Perfect entry to intermediate level bike
  • Very good value
  • Lightweight Hydroformed 6061 Aluminium frame
  • New 27.5 inch wheel size
  • Very versatile. Can be used for weekend rides on the trail or even as dependable commuter bike
  • Slightly slower on roads when compared to 29 inch wheel size
  • Rider getting into Mountain Biking and looking for a good value bike with decent components
  • A commuter rider looking for a bike to ride to work, but also take off road on cross country trails
  • Rider who prefers a more agile bike (when compared to the 29er)
Hardtail 29 inch

Hardtail 29 inch

  • Lower rolling resistance as well as a better "angle of attack" allowing the rider to roll over obstacles more easily than on a smaller wheels size
  • Lightweight Hydroformed 6061 Aluminium frame
  • Performance orientated
  • More comfort and speed from 29 inch wheels
  • Bigger wheels accelarate slower
  • Less nimble on tight singletracks
  • Slightly higher starting price when compared to 27.5 inch
  • Taller riders
  • Riders likely to do more on-road or even fire trail riding
  • A commuter rider looking for a bike to ride to work, but also take off road on cross country trails
Racing Carbon 29 inch

Hardtail Carbon 29 inch

  • Super lightweight racing carbon frame
  • Added comfort from 29 inch wheels and carbon frame
  • Thru axle front and rear for extra stiffness and responsiveness
  • Internal routed gear and brake cables
  • Oversize downtube and bottom bracket for less flex and greater power transfer
  • Bigger wheels accelarate slower
  • Carbon frame not as durable as aluminium frame
  • Racing geometry is slightly more aggressive than the aluminium version
  • Rider looking for a lightweight and preformance oriented racing bike
  • Added comfort from the carbon frame
XC Dual Suspension

XC Dual Suspension

  • Perfect for bumpy off road trails
  • Simple rear suspension system adds little weight to the frame
  • Lockable front and rear suspension
  • Improved control and comfort
  • Heavier than a hardtail bike
  • Slower on uphills and flat roads than a hardtail bike
  • Beginner and intermediate riders, riding on bumpy trails, with lots of rocks, roots and technical sections 
  • Riders upgrading from a hardtail to a dual suspension
Trail/ Enduro

Trail/ Enduro

  • Longer suspension travel bikes for more aggressive trails and riders
  • Full carbon frame or half carbon/half alloy frame
  • Advanced rear suspension system designed to eliminate pedal-bob and brake jolt
  • Internal routed brake and rear cables for clean looks
  • Fox front suspension with TALAS system allows to change the fork size mid ride
  • Dropper seatpost helps on steeper descents 
  • Higher starting price point
  • Carbon frame not as durable as alloy frames
  • Climbing performance
  • Geometry too slack to ride on roads
  • More experienced riders that want to hit bigger jumps, faster descents and bumpier trails
  • Enduro riders looking for a great pedalling bike
  • Fast and technical trail riding
  • Performance orientated enduro bike
Downhill

Downhill

  • Full downhill frame with alloy front triangle and carbon rear
  • Front alloy triangle adds control on difficult trails
  • Carbon rear triangle reduces weight and improves suspension performance
  • Stable pedalling bike = little pedal bob
  • Very specific and only to be used on downhill trails
  • Heavy and difficult to pedal uphill
  • Experienced riders looking for a downhill specific bike to hit big jumps, drops and berms
  • Downhill racers looking for a good value Downhill bike
Dirt Jump

Dirt Jump

  • Compact frame ideal for jumping and tricks
  • Alloy frame keeps the bike light
  • Extra reinforcement adds durability to the frame
  • Single speed and horizontal dropouts eliminate dropped chains
  • Very specific bike
  • Mainly to be used at skate parks and dirt jump parks
  • Intermediate to advanced riders looking for a dirt jump bike to do big jumps on and learn tricks

 

Latest Mountain Bikes Reviews
2016 Polygon Siskiu D6.0 - Dual Suspension Cross Country Bike - Large 19.5 inch

2016 Polygon Siskiu D6.0 - Dual Suspension Cross Country Bike - Large 19.5 inch

By: on 23 July 2016
A very good entry level dual mountain bike for anyone looking to go further in their mountain biking. I had a hardtail before I got the Polygon Siskiu D6.0 and I will never go back. Fast through all the technical sections and excellent for pumping through berms. The group set is not the best being near the bottom end of quality but defiently still great in terms of how cheap this bike is.
(4)

2016 Polygon Xtrada 5.0 - Grey - Small 16 inch

2016 Polygon Xtrada 5.0 - Grey - Small 16 inch

By: on 10 July 2016
Excellent features. Very comfortable. Great for outdoor activities. Lovely colour and the weight is perfect
(5)

2016 Polygon Bend RV - Gravel/Cyclocross Disc Bike - Medium 52cm

2016 Polygon Bend RV - Gravel/Cyclocross Disc Bike - Medium 52cm

By: on 7 July 2016
This is the first bike I've purchased for a few years, after researching a few bikes on the market, I couldn't move past BOL. I was hesitant at the start but the communication was great and they were always available to answer questions. When I received bend RV it was more that I expected a great bike. The specs are awesome and the quality of this bike is great. I'm one happy rider!!
(5)

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