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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Way back when, when I started riding mountain bikes, you had just that, a MOUNTAIN BIKE. You choice was no suspension, then you could add front forks when they came out, then you could buy a front suspension bike, then you could buy a full suspension bike, which was brand new at the time (about 20 years ago), but whatever you had, it was just a mountain bike.

Now you have Trail Bikes, Cross Country bikes, All Mountain, etc. I know what the downhill bikes are, but I read the mags and they talk about how this $6K bike could be used for racing, and then they'll show a $2K race bike. Some say is designed for trail riding but could be used for cross country, and some have 3" of travel and up to 7" of travel.

Just wondering the basic differences between Trail, Cross Country, All Mountain and the big difference between suspension amount on these bikes?

Obviously, longer suspension means you can do bigger hits, but where would you use less/more suspension for the particular type of riding? Just a generic explanation is fine.

Thanks in advance. I did a search but came up with zilch, so sorry if this has been covered a zillion times.
 

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a trail bike is a normal mtb a x country bike is going to be more cut out for epic or longer rides all mountain is with a little more air and aggression and down hill speaks for itself all mountain is going to have more suspension that x country

it all depends on how long you plan to ride and what sort of rider you are ...

are you going to be unable to resist that sweet drop or are you more into a scenic ride with lots of ups and downs or are you just into a 30 to 120 min loop
 

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HIPCHIP said:
Just wondering the basic differences between Trail, Cross Country, All Mountain and the big difference between suspension amount on these bikes?
Trail- most popular category on the market today. Comes in a wide variety of configurations from hardtail to 5 - 5.5 inches (sometimes even 6 inches) of full suspension travel. The idea is a compromise between disciplines; pedaling efficiency without sacrificing the ability to tackle moderate descents.

Cross Country- Race specific, emphasis on weight shavings over comfort or versatility. Minimal suspension (if any), rigid-feeling frame structure and cockpit positioning that typically stretches the rider out over the top-tube for dropping the hammer.

All-Mountain is a recent term coined to represent the beefier side of the trail bike spectrum. Intentions are similar in that the focus is on versatility and the ability to pedal it up the mountain then to ride it back down. In fact the emphasis seem to be on descending over the average trail design and accounts for the increased weights, beefier components/ spec.

Hope this helps!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the info everyone. This definitely helps a bunch as it's sure confusing when you read the mags and they don't define what's what. Seems like they assume everybody knows all the differences, but unless you've been following it for some time it's all confusing. I just got into road bikes in May and can't believe all the differences, but I'm getting more knowledgeable every day thanks to folks like you!
:}
 

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HIPCHIP said:
Thanks for the info everyone. This definitely helps a bunch as it's sure confusing when you read the mags and they don't define what's what. Seems like they assume everybody knows all the differences, but unless you've been following it for some time it's all confusing. I just got into road bikes in May and can't believe all the differences, but I'm getting more knowledgeable every day thanks to folks like you!
:}
No sweat. There are no clear definitions as far as the bike specs go. And even the intended use isn't clearly defined. You'll see similiar bikes marketed as cross country, AM or agressive trail bikes. It really is all over the board. Every magazin and vendor uses a different system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Kaba Klaus said:
No sweat. There are no clear definitions as far as the bike specs go. And even the intended use isn't clearly defined. You'll see similiar bikes marketed as cross country, AM or agressive trail bikes. It really is all over the board. Every magazin and vendor uses a different system.
Well, that clears up a lot! (LOL):rolleyes:
 

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I have no doubt i'll get flamed for this, but the way i used when all those types of terms were thrown at me was to look at the amount of suspension travel.

My VERY general rule is:
4 inches or less = XC bike
5 inches = Trail bike
6 inches = All mountain
7 inches = Freeride/Light Downhill
8 inches plus = Downhill

Obviously there are exceptions to the rule, but it did help me work out which bike i should focus on and my 'style' of riding that the marketing people say i do ;)
 

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beenee98 said:
I have no doubt i'll get flamed for this, but the way i used when all those types of terms were thrown at me was to look at the amount of suspension travel.

My VERY general rule is:
4 inches or less = XC bike
5 inches = Trail bike
6 inches = All mountain
7 inches = Freeride/Light Downhill
8 inches plus = Downhill

Obviously there are exceptions to the rule, but it did help me work out which bike i should focus on and my 'style' of riding that the marketing people say i do ;)
Additionally, as the travel increases to handle rougher terrain and usage, so does the general strength and weight of the frame and components. Also, geometry will change as well, making for differences in steering quickness, general handling and rider position.

Generally, the rougher you want to ride, the more travel and burliness you'll likely need. There's also personal preferences. I've ridden rocky, rooty XC on a Yeti 575 (5.75 inches of travel) for a couple of years cuz I like a cushier ride. That bike could also be built and ridden for AM. Others ride the same trails on a hardtail.

Just to complicate things for you a bit more, is going 29er - big wheels. You get a smoother ride, some great handling advantages and seem to gain about an inch of perceived travel. You also gain a little weight and suffer a little on lofting the front end. Most full suss 29ers are 3" to 4.5 " travel, but remember they ride like they have more. If you want to know more about 29ers, just Google "why 29".
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I don't know if I'll be getting a new MTB soon. I have a bad back and can ride road with no problems, but last Aug I rode a local MTB on my 19 year old full suspension MTB and did OK, but the next day I was sicker than heck with a fever and two days later my back went out again (herniated disc's). I'm not certain that the MTB ride blew out the disc or if it was just time or the virus, so kind of apprehensive to spend a bunch of money only to find out after one ride I'm restricted to the road.

Gotta bug the Doc and see what he says.
 
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