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 D8.0 Dual Suspension Mountain Bike - Medium 17.5 inch

2016 Polygon Siskiu D8.0 Dual Suspension Mountain Bike - Medium 17.5 inch

By: on 24 May 2016
So I'm a keen cyclist and have worked in several bike shops assembling, servicing and selling many brands and I generally keep my bikes for up to eight years so I am very specific in doing research before I buy. Polygon bikes had the D7 out which I test rode in Bali and was very impressed with its predictable and we'll matched suspension, that is what really made me want the up spec D8 which I have had for a few weeks now. Out and about the local trails it is different from the freeride hardtail setups I normally have which is a good thing- it can climb and the rockshox combo do a fantastic job of keeping the wheels planted and me with a big grin on my face on every flowing turn. I found the forks were set up well out of the box for my 75kg but the rear needed a few more psi and one more click of rebound for my local dry rock and gravel/dust tracks in central Qld. The tyres are a good width and work well although I have had one pinch flat from thin sidewalls at ~30psi on a climb . The geometry feels slack and begs to be pushed harder finding my limits with ease, I like the brakes I have had shimano disks before and these are just nicer everywhere I don't even feel the need for larger rotors. As for pedals the ones out of the box are not bad but I went with a set of crank brothers candy's in black and they match in well with the bikes clean lines and good looks.the slx 2x10 drive line is perfect but I would have been just as happy with the equivalent sram gear. As for changes I'll look at different tyres eventually, some thicker softer grips then just add on stuff like gps computer etc. the postage was really fast and the transaction was easy I highly recommend this bike or even the D7 which rides almost the same.
(5)

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

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

By: on 23 May 2016
The product arrived well packed and quickly. All in all I am very pleased with the bike because it handles very well and is made to take a pounding which it has done in the Adelaide Hills. I have done 400ks on it at this point. Overall the bike was assembled to a good standard but a small bump to the rear deraillier caused no damage but it came loose on the frame as a result. Removing the rear wheel I found the deraillier /frame pin had been incorrectly installed. All is now good. Overall I'm a happy fellow.
(4)

2016 Polygon Xtrada 5.0 - 27.5 inch Mountain Bike

2016 Polygon Xtrada 5.0 - 27.5 inch Mountain Bike

By: on 20 May 2016
Had the Large Xtrada5 shipped to Perth. Upon opening it discovered the small box containing pedals and other bits and pieces was open and all the contents were in the large bike box. Thankfully all the pieces were still there, even thought there were holes in the box. After assembly I noticed the gears did not work properly. Wasn't happy about that. So I took the bike to my son-in-laws bike shed put it on the rake and after watching a few YouTube clips I adjusted the deraillers so the gears all ran smoothly. I didn't know it at the time but I could have taken it to a bike shop and Bicyclesonline would have paid for the adjustments. Anyway now the bike is running great. I've ordered a shorter and upward angled stem because the 110mm bike stem was too long for me. Overall it's a good bike and good value for the price.
(5)

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