Mountain

 

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, Dirt Jump, Slopestyle, BMX and Downhill mountain bikes. 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 Hardtail 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, you then need a Dual Suspension Mountain Bike, which has suspension at the front and at the back. 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 uphill. 

Within all these disciplines, there are different wheel sizes, 27.5 inch (650b), 27.5 Plus 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. 

Dirt Jump, Slopestyle and BMX bikes are designed to hit jumps and perform tricks on skate parks and dirt jumps. These bikes are not designed to be pedalled around town as the saddle is positioned as low as possible on the frame to allow for extra movement whilst performing tricks in the air.

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. Kids mountain bikes are also available with wheel size of 20 inch and 24 inch.

Comparison

Hardtail - 27.5" & 29"

Advantages
+ New 27.5" & 29" Wheel Fit Size System - Better fits the rider and sets them up for optimal efficiency and power transfer + Perfect entry to advanced level bike + Amazing value + Lightweight Hydroformed 6061 Aluminium frame + Very versatile. Can be used for weekend rides on the trail or even as dependable commuter bike
Disadvantages
- Not as comfortable as a Dual Suspension Bike when riding on rougher trails
Ideal For
+ More experienced rider looking for a high-end Hardtail + 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

Hardtail 27.5" Plus

Advantages
+ Improved grip with the larger Plus Tyres + Better cornering + Simple fun bike for trail riding + As comfortable and confidence inspiring as a dual suspension + Can fit 29 inch wheels for road riding
Disadvantages
- Heavier wheels - Slow acceleration - Correct tyre pressure is crucial for optimal performance
Ideal For
+ Beginner to intermediate rider who wants to venture into more adventurous tracks but doesn’t want to spend Dual + Suspension money + A rider who is looking for an extremely versatile bike, capable of handling most on and off trail conditions

Polygon

XC Dual Suspension

Advantages
+ 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
Disadvantages
- Heavier than a hardtail bike - Slower on uphills and flat roads than a hardtail bike
Ideal For
+ 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

Advantages
+ 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 + Internally routed brake and rear cables for clean looks + Fox front suspension with TALAS system allows changing the fork size mid-ride + Dropper seatpost helps on steeper descents
Disadvantages
- Higher starting price point - Carbon frame not as durable as alloy frames - Climbing performance - Geometry too slack to ride on roads
Ideal For
+ 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

Trail / Enduro / Downhill

Advantages
+ Revolutionary design allows you to climb like a short travel dual suspension bike and descend like a downhill bike + Can be ridden in a wide range of trails, making this a true "1 bike to rule them all" + Full carbon frame + Lightweight considering the suspension travel available + Top of the line everything + Internally routed brake and gear cables + Looks different from any other bike on the trail and will set you apart from the crowd
Disadvantages
- High price will only entice experienced riders - Might make you sell all your other bikes ;)
Ideal For
+ Experienced riders that want the utmost advanced bike in the market + Trail, Enduro, All Mountain and Downhill trails + Fast and technical trail riding + Riders who want to downhill like a rocket and climb like a mountain goat

Downhill

Advantages
+ 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
Disadvantages
- Very specific and only to be used on downhill trails - Heavy and difficult to pedal uphill
Ideal For
+ 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 / Slopestyle / BMX

Advantages
+ 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
Disadvantages
- Very specific bike - Mainly to be used at skate parks and dirt jump parks
Ideal For
+ Beginner to advanced riders looking for a dirt jump or BMX bike to do big jumps and tricks
Latest Mountain Reviews
Featured Blog Posts
Building upon a decade of competing at the highest level of freeride and slopestyle competitions around the world, Anthony Messere’s riding ...
view post
How much suspension travel do you need? Deciding on the correct amount of travel can make or break a ride. Too much and your bike makes your ...
view post
Mountain bike technology has improved exponentially in recent years. It is no longer as simple as finding a bike with fat tyres and some front su...
view post
Navigating your way through the world of Mountain bikes is more challenging than ever, thanks to so many options. The first one you are going...
view post
“ Fools you into thinking it's pricier. — Pinkbike Pinkbike have just finished up their “Budget Friendly Field Test Review” and of c...
view post
Basics 125-millimeter rear travel, 130 front 29-inch wheels Aluminum frame Pros Unbeatable value Smart spec Forgiving but familiar geometry...
view post
Verdict On paper there isn’t much to complain about with the Siskiu T8, the geometry is dialed, it’s got the right amount of travel for a ‘do it ...
view post
Check out The Shredist top 10 tips on what to do before you take your new bike on to the trail! ...
view post