Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Riding Style and it's Role in Mountain Bike Selection

Most people understand that certain bikes are designed for a particular type or subset of terrain. The engineers and designers started with a a particular type of trail or race track in mind.

We have seen all the current popular labels like: Enduro, Trail, All-Mountain, Downhill, Cross Country, Freeride, Dirtjump, and the list goes on. These labels can be helpful in ruling out certain bikes on the opposite end of the spectrum that might not work, but when it comes down to it, what exactly separates a "Trail" bike from an "All-Mountain" bike or "Cross-Country" from "Trail"?

The answer in most cases: 20-30mm of suspension

Does that mean that you can't ride an all-mountain bike on an cross-country trail? Or vice-versa? Of course not! In fact, you may prefer having more suspension for a given type of trail.

I'm not trying to confuse you. I just want you to understand that you shouldn't rule out or get stuck on a particular bike because of the label given to it.

In my opinion, finding a bike that matches your riding style is far more important than finding a bike that supposedly matches the terrain you typically ride.

Many riders prefer the added challenge, control, and efficiency that often comes with riding shorter travel suspension. Still others prefer the comfort of plush suspension, even while riding relatively smooth trails.

  • Do you do a lot of hopping over small obstacles or do you just plow on through?
  • Do you sit down or stand up while climbing?
  • Do you ride socially and stop often to adjust suspension and seat height or are you always racing against yourself and others?
  • Where do you want the most help from a bike? On the uphill climb or downhill ride?
Answering these questions and many others can give you some extra insight that can help you get past the general labels that may or may not be helpful.

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