Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I am new to that site and must thank everyone for the quality information dispensed here. Even if it sometimes is a bit of an overlaod for me ...

I have not been on a bike for about 15 years and feel ready to get back - so that I started looking at bikes and have gathered a bit of info on them.

It may sound stupid (actually I am sure it does) - but with all I have seen, I have not been able to really understand the difference between types of bikes. People talk about Hard Tails and Full Suspension - which I understand, and then make the difference between XC, Full Mountain, Dirt, Freeride, DH .... I am lost.

What's the difference between all of these? What's a good thing to start with to use in mixed environments? I was thinking Hardtail Cross Country (I even have it down to a couple of models: Rockhopper and Trek 6500) - but that is mainly an uninformed default decision based on what I have seen people start with.

Thanks for your help!
Marc
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
462 Posts
Hey it's great that your gonna start riding again.:thumbsup: Your on the right track. There are diferent styles of riding therefore diffrent bikes for each kind. Freeriding is a style that involves jumps, hucks, and drops. The bikes for this style are hevy and durable. if you want adrinaline thats your style. XC is more of an endurance style. your not trying to get air but you are trying to just ride the trail. the bikes made for this style are light. All mountain or AM is in between XC and Freeride. lets say your riding along a trail and see a dificult feature of the trail you want to go eat it up. these bikes are moderate weight.(around 30 lbs.) If I forgot to cover something than ask a more piticular question.(im trying to avoid writing a book;)) You have a couple of choices to make between all of them: Disk brakes (mechanical or hydrolic) or rim brakes, dual suspention or hardtail, Clipples or platform pedals. If you are still confused go to your local bike shop and ask all about this stuff Im sure he would also be glad to go into a little more depth than I did. I hope this helps because I wrote a lot.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
Marc

Welcome. Most of the terms are fairly loose with lots of equipement gear and riding types crossing over from one to the next but here goes my attempt at explaining them from my point of view:

XC - What people used to refer to as mountain biking. A mix of trails with nothing too crazy or extreme. Generally the bikes are set up with an eye towards performance, speed, and lighter weights over durability. Forks will be 80 to 100mm in travel (but this figure keeps going up). Frames can be hardtails or full suspension but the full suspension models tend to have a little less travel than some other categories. Generally tire size will be 1.9 to 2.25 in width to keep the weight and rolling resistance down.

Full Mountain or All mountain. Take an XC bike and increase the travel a touch. Spec it out with an eye towards durability. Forks tend to be more stout and able to take more abuse. Some drops and jumps can be ok just don't get too crazy. Full suspension bikes are pretty much the norm but there are some good hardtails too. Tire size is usually 2.1 to 2.4 to increase traction in tougher conditions. Many All mountain bikes cross over to XC on the light side, or Freeride on the heavy side.

Dirt - I am not sure on this one. What comes to mind is the Specialized P1 or the Santa Cruz Cameleon. Think over sized BMX bike with a suspension fork.

Freeride - lots of travel and everything built to be bombproof. Stout everything you can think of but guys still break things. Similar tires to all mountain but usually a tougher construction. Classic freeride is find something that looks un-rideable and ride it. It is more cool than that though. Riders good at freeride can pull off some amazing things that most of us would not dream of doing. Bikes can be heavy as they are built to take a beating.

DH- Down Hill. Long Travel suspension bikes with big beefy tires. At the extreme end they literally look like motorcycles without engines. Down hill is all about getting from the top to the bottom - fast. Lots of intense pedaling, lots of using your body and terrain to coax the last bit of speed, lots of picking the right line. DH riders tend to wear more protective equipment than other riders as crashes when they happen can be brutal.

These are mostly my point of veiw but I don't think they are too far off. I am sure someone will help me out on them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,597 Posts
mp_gue,

The other guys pretty much got the bike types correct. If you want a decent pictorial description with pictures go to a bookstore and find the book called "Mastering Mountain Bike Skills". There is a whole section on it with pictures.

Specifically when you ask what to start with in "mixed environments". What is your idea of mixed environments? Pavement and XC trails, or bombing extreme DH and XC. My guess since you are just starting out, you are thinking more along the tame side. In this case I would suggest an XC Hardtail. The bikes you list fit the bill. Just try different bikes until you find one that fits you well. Quality between all bike shop brands will be comparable. You will pay a little more for Trek, Specialized and Cannondale because of name. You can't go wrong with these, but don't be afraid to try out other brands which could give you more bang for your buck. Couple of brands I can think of that offer high quality with good value is Jamis and IronHorse. Anyway good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
309 Posts
Congrats on your decision to dive back into mountain biking! And double congrats on your decision not to test the depth of the water with both feet!

The previous posters hit all the high points, but if I'm understanding what I'm reading (increasingly a matter of chance), it sounds like you'll be best suited with a Hard Tail Cross Country (XC) rig. I wouldn't say that the XC rides aren't build for durability, but the focus there is more about saving weight and speed than it would be about being able to survive a 60-ft drop off a boulder. Of the two you listed, I would recommend the RockHopper. Not that there aren't other great choices out there, but in my experience, Specialized offers a good value and a very durable product.

One last thing. As I understand it, Dirt is short for Dirt Jumping, which are typically single-speed tanks that are designed to be luanched high into the air, causing their riders to either soar to new heights of cool-ness in the eyes of their peers and/or fans, or crash to the ground and require several months of traction just to get a person walking again. Oh well...

Anyway, ride as many different bikes as you can, and buy the one that fits you the best, not necessarily the one that was recommended to you by someone on an internet forum (even if it was my recommendation).

Best of luck, and keep us updated!

Ross
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you all for your responses.

Went to my LBS last night and tried two XC hardtails - will try a couple more this week-end before making the jump. This seems to fit what I am looking for (indeed pavement and XC trails).

BTW, I also saw a couple of DH bikes - they look frightening ...
 

·
local trails rider
Joined
·
12,294 Posts
I was pretty much in your position earlier last year. I read magazines and surfed the net for information.

I was not quite sure what exactly I was going to do with the bike but I had two starting points: I am on the heavy side and I have no ambitions towards racing. I figured I should get a sturdy hardtail and fell in love with the Banshee Scirocco frame. That left me money for a budget build and a friendly LBS did a functional but very non-bling setup for me.

I am not riding the bike (or frame) to its full potential, yet, but that also means that I am not causing it any damage. When parts wear out (they will) I can re-spec the bike, based on my experiences on it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,597 Posts
dogonfr said:
Does that steep drop in leed to the sweet looking rock garden :confused: :thumbsup::thumbsup:
Actually the opposite. The rockgarden leads to the drop in. At the end of a the rockgarden you cross the road and then head straight down. That drop in dumps you into the middle of a stream which is full of rocks.

Sorry this is off the topic of the thread.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top