A Beginner’s Guide Mountain Bikes
Not sure what kind of mountain bike you want or need?
Mtbs can be rigid (no suspension), hardtail (front suspension only), or full-suspension (front and rear).
Before suspension became a thing, all mtbs were rigid.
It’s the model that launched the niche. With no suspension to weigh it down, it’s technically the lightest of the three, but these days high-end models with some suspension can be lighter than a steel rigid bike.
Any bike with front suspension only, such as a cross-country falls under the hardtail umbrella. Full-suspension bikes, like trail downhill and enduro, have front and rear suspension.
Hardtails are best suited for terrain that isn’t ultra-rugged yet includes technical sections with roots and rocks, and small jumps. They are the lightest mtb with some form of suspension.
E-bikes offer assisted pedaling and fat bikes are great for the snow, sand, or loamy forest trails.
Downhill (DH) Bikes
Downhill bikes, made for steep technical descents, have a longer wheelbase and front and rear suspension with generous travel to absorb forces from obstacles hit at high speed, keeping the wheels in contact with the ground for improved rider control.
It’s heavier than a hardtail, but lighter than an enduro. If you’re looking for thrills, a downhill bike will deliver.
All-mountain / Enduro Bikes
All-mountain/enduro bikes are downhill bikes with a boost. They weigh the most, have the most travel, slack, and longest wheelbase of any mountain bike.
They’re strong, responsive, and fast on steep downhills. The peaks are your playground and this bike will handle any terrain you find on your ride.
Trail bikes are all-around full-suspension bikes because they manage most terrains at a good tick. This versatility makes them a great first choice for any mountain biker.
They typically come stock with a dropper seatpost, have less suspension travel than a DH or an enduro, but more than a cross-country bike.