Category Archives: Mountain Bikes

Tips For Hill Climbing on a Mountain Bike

Mountain bike riding is a popular pastime and sport for many Americans. According to the National Bicycle Dealers Association, 28.5 percent of the bicycles sold by specialty bicycle shops in 2008 were mountain bikes. But it is a good bet that few of these riders consider actual mountain bike climbing to be their favorite part of the sport.

Climbing hills, particularly steep hills, is an activity that most riders approach with dread. They know from hard, painful, sometimes humiliating experience that mountain bike climbing leads to the agony of defeat much more often than it leads to the thrill of victory. With the right strategy, however, hill climbing can be done efficiently, without causing undue hardship to the bike or to the body.

Three Ingredients of a Successful Bike Climb

Biking enthusiast Ken Kifer says that there are three ingredients of successful mountain bike climbing:

1. Physical strength of the rider
2. Proper gear selection for the climb
3. Hill climbing strategy employed

Assuming that most people who participate in such a rugged sport as mountain biking are physically fit, the first ingredient should not pose too great an issue. If it is a problem, some rough and tumble rides up and down various hills for a few weeks should eliminate this obstacle.

Items 2 and 3, however, are not quite so easy to master. However, before these aspects are even attempted, one must choose the correct type of bike

Choosing the Correct Type of Bike

There’s a vast difference between a road bike and a mountain bike and not knowing this difference-and perhaps making the wrong choice-can make mountain bike climbing nearly impossible.

In general, one can tell the difference between a road bike and a mountain bike by considering two factors-the framing and tires of the bikes.

Framing.

Because road bikes are built for speed, they typically have lighter frames than do mountain bikes. By contrast, the heavier frames of mountain bikes house suspension systems that are built to withstand the frame-jarring shocks of rough terrains.

Tires.

Road bikes have thinner, smoother tires. The tires of mountain bikes, however, are broad with a significant amount of traction to handle rough terrains.

The Final Ingredients

The final two ingredients-proper gear selection and hill climbing strategy-are indispensable parts of each other. Both are essential ingredients of successful mountain bike climbing. Both involve strategy. And the uses of both are dependent on the different types of hills.

Mountain Bike Climbing Up Different Types of Hills

Most hills or mountains fall into three categories. Each category brings its own unique set of challenges. But each different type of hill can be conquered-with the proper strategy.

1.The concave hill is steepest as the top. Such a hill appears to get taller as the rider approaches.
2. A convex hill is steepest at the bottom. This type of a hill appears to get shorter as the rider approaches.
3. An even grade hill has a sloped, even rise.

To make mountain bike climbing even more challenging, some hills can be a combination of all three types and some can be part of a series of hills. Some can even be mountains. The strategies for climbing the different types of hills must be considered in relation to whether one is climbing an isolated hill, a series of hills, or a mountain, as the strategy is different for each.

This article will address the strategy for mountain bike climbing up an isolated hill.

Climbing an Isolated Hill

An isolated hill is one that “stands alone” without any surrounding hills. The strategy employed in climbing same will depend upon whether the hill is convex or concave.

Convex Hills.

Climbing any hill takes power and speed, two components that must gradually be increased upon approaching a hill. For a convex hill (one that is steeper at the bottom), the timing and the speed of the ascent must be nearly perfect. As odd as it may sound, the way to accelerate up a convex hill is to shift down. This provides more power for the climb. But timing is everything when using this method. Downshift too soon, and exhaustion will plague the rider even before reaching the hill. Downshift too late, and climbing the hill can be too labor intensive.

Concave Hills.

Concave hills are steeper at the apex and, as such, require a different strategy than do convex hills. Two key factors to this strategy are keeping the speed steady, thus conserving energy, at the start the climb. As the hill becomes steeper, the downshifting should begin.

Another strategy to mountain bike climbing of a concave hill is to stand up on the pedals, which creates a more powerful cycle. When standing, make sure the full body is evenly distributed on both pedals. This will create sufficient power to overcome the hill.

A Few Tips for General Technique

One’s pedaling technique is also an important factor in successful mountain bike climbing. The right placement of the feet can have a huge impact on the amount of effort expended while climbing the hill. The feet should be positioned properly and the heel should be kept parallel to the ground. (If the toes are pointed down, the muscular contractions of the leg are minimized which will affect the speed and the stamina of the rider.)

Another point to consider is the cadence of the ride. (Cadence is the number of times that the pedal is rotated, on either side, per minute of cycling.) Aiming for a steady cadence is a healthy goal, whether the surface is flat or is on a hill. Cycling at a cadence of 85 to 105 is an optimum level.

When mountain bike climbing, one’s power to climb the hill will be increased at a higher cadence while downshifting to a lower gear. The effort on the pedal, however, should remain the same on both the upstroke and the down stroke. Maintaining the same amount of pressure throughout the whole pedaling cycle will create a more even stroke, which can help to maintain the energy level needed to climb the hill.

Different Styles of Specialized Mountain Bikes

The sport of mountain biking has grown in leaps and bounds over the last few years, and has seen a major growth spurt in sales for companies that produce specialized mountain bikes.

The days of big, heavy framed lumps of metal with knobbly tires are long gone making way for sleek, light, yet incredibly strong framed, futuristic looking bikes, with dual suspension and a variety of tire types you would usually find on a formula one racing car.

These off road machines tend to come in 4 different categories, and are usually built and set up differently to handle different terrain and riding conditions.

Cross Country (XC)

Cross country bikes are lightweight fast, most of them are now built with aluminium or carbon fibre frames, are geared to go over all types of terrain and can handle some pretty severe punishment.

Downhill

Downhill bikes are specifically built to ride only down hill, they are still constructed with light weight frames come with dual suspension to handle a lot more extreme terrain, they will usually come with larger tyres than your average XC bike, with larger disc brakes which are more powerful and allows the rider greater control.

All Mountain (Trail riding)

All mountain bikes are for general riding, mountain or trail conditions. Although they are designed to be able to climb hills efficiently, they are usually a little heavier and stout than your average cross country bike. All mountain bikes are an excellent balance between efficiency, comfort and control.

Free Ride

Free ride mountain bikes are built tough to handle a lot more punishment than the other styles of bike. A free ride biker will take these bikes through hard hitting trails, drops, jumps and other crazy stunts.

These bikes are built heavy and tough, not so easy to pedal to the top of the hill, but with dual suspension and tires designed for maximum grip, to will handle anything you can throw at it on the way down.

Specialized Mountain Bikes

These 4 styles of mountain bike are just that, built and set up for a specialized style of riding.

Apart from the all mountain bike, using your bike for anything other than its intended style of riding will be difficult to do, and possibly cause damage, if not ridden under the conditions and terrain it is designed for.

Buying Tips

If you’re thinking of buying a mountain bike, I suggest doing a little homework first, check out a few different bikes in your local bike shop or read a few MTB Reviews.

Think about the type of riding you will do most often. If you have to travel long distances to a mountain or have access to off road trails you will have to think about transport to these areas as well as whether you will be able to get enough use from these types of bikes to make it worth the out lay.

If you are unsure about which direction to go, maybe start with an all mountain style bike, learn a few tricks and techniques, and get regular use from it, before upgrading or investing in any other specialized mountain bikes.

A sport like this can be expensive, but very rewarding when you get the right mix of conditions and the right gear. Do some research, try a few different styles of riding and see what suits you the best.

How to Choose the Right Mountain Bike for You

Mountain Bikes are Tough to Shop For

You love the idea of purchasing your very own mountain bike but it can become overwhelming when you begin to research which bike is best for you. Some of things you consider are price (of course), size of the bike, color and maybe even ease of use. You have been in a sporting goods store before and noticed that some mountain bikes seem harder to operate than others. But when it comes to purchasing the perfect mountain bike for you, this article has all the details you will ever need.

Things to Consider to Help You Decide

1) Determine how much you are willing to spend. As with any major new purchase, you must first come up with a price range on your new mountain bike. These bikes can cost from over $100 to as much as over $1000.

2) Never purchase from a major retailer. As good as these mountain bikes look at Wal-Mart, Sears or Target, you should purchase your bike from a smaller bike shop because they will be more knowledgeable and have better service for when something goes wrong.

3) What will you be using the bike for? There are several ways to use a bike. You may just want one to ride on the beach. You may want one to ride with your dog running alongside. You may want one to ride on dirt roads in the middle of the country. Here are some simple tips to help:

* If you just want one for an easy ride in the park, then you don’t need to spend a lot of money.
* If you plan on riding off-road, then tires become an issue. You should look into buying a bike with big treads.
* If you plan on riding in rough conditions, you will need a bike with suspension. By visiting a local bike shop, they will be able to help you find the perfect bike based on how you answer the questions above. Otherwise, you may choose the wrong bike from a major retailer.

Comfort vs. Efficiency

The question of comfort versus efficiency really leads to the question of suspension versus hardtail.

You should think about choosing a bike with suspension if your wallet can afford it. Bikes with suspension are much more comfortable and enjoyable to ride. They are also more controllable. The negative to bikes with suspension is that they weigh more and they are less efficient.

Hardtail bikes on the other hand pedal more efficiently (especially on smooth terrain). These bikes are weigh less and are easier to maintain. Hardtail bikes are popular for the dirt jumping stunt crowd and a good number of cross-country racers.

The decision between comfort and efficiency is a tough one. Full suspension mountain bikes are more expensive than their hardtail counterparts. In the end, this may be all the influence you need when choosing a hardtail. But as mentioned earlier, because of the comfort and overall control of the bike, a bike with full suspension is the way to go.

When to Find a Good Deal

As with many consumer products, bikes shift in price depending on the time of the year. Clearly, the main buying season lasts from the beginning of spring and throughout the summer. If you are patient and wait until the fall or winter, the price may drop a few hundred dollars on the bike you are interested in. And one other word of advice: Never ever be afraid of purchasing last year’s model. There is nothing wrong with that at all.

Find a Good Local Dealer

Finding a local dealer will be very beneficial. When purchasing from a local bike shop, they will be able to match you to the perfect bike based on your needs. Sure, you may run across that commission hungry salesperson who will try to talk you out of your price range but just stay on course to get the bike you want.

The good things about local dealers is that they will send you reminders for maintenance, send you information on new deals and discounts and will always know how to service your bike when something goes wrong. Let’s face it, bikes are like everything else we purchase. After a little while of use, things will start to break down. Having an experienced local bike shop take care of the repairs will be very important. You are also more likely to find discount mountain bikes at a local bike shop compared to a major retailer.

Test, Test, Test and Test Again

It is human nature to find the perfect item and want to buy it right away without testing. Maybe it’s the perfect color or it’s not too big or the price is just right. Regardless of these factors, you should always test ride all bikes in your price range.

As you are testing these discount mountain bikes, you will easily notice that some bikes “feel” better than others. Whether it be the amount of strength it takes to pedal or the amount of force it takes to stop, bikes will differ from model to model. The more bikes you test drive, the more you will start to narrow down on which bike is right for you.

Do Your Research

After you have narrowed your decision to a few bikes, now it is time to do some consumer research. The Internet is full of customer reviews, especially at Amazon.com. Find the bikes you are interested in purchasing and see what other buyers have to say.

The good thing about Amazon.com is that both positive and negative buyers will post reviews. When you visit another site and every review is negative, you really don’t learn anything. So do your research and chances are, you will find the same bike you are interested in at a lower price.

But what about all that talk about buying from a local dealer? Well, you have actually visited the dealer and you took the opportunity to test drive their bikes. So you already know which bike you would like to purchase so you are not risking anything by ordering online. But what I would recommend is that you let the local bike shop take care of the warranty and maintenance work in the future.

When choosing a mountain bike you should purchase a bike with full suspension that you have road-tested and is in your price range. In order to do road testing, you will probably have to go to a local dealer rather a huge department store. Always read consumer reviews and look for a better price online. And if you are looking for the absolute best price, purchase your bike in the fall or winter.

Three Things To Consider When You Buy A Mountain Bike

If you plan to buy a mountain bike in the near future, there are several factors you will need to take into consideration. One of the most important factors of choosing a mountain bike is what you are going to be using the mountain bike for.

For example, the most avid mountain bikers, as the name implies, like to take their mountain bikes to rugged and rocky mountain terrain. Other mountain bikers prefer unpaved roads and trails, while other mountain bike enthusiasts stick to paved roads and bike paths.

There is a direct correlation to kind of riding you will do and the type of mountain bike you should buy. Three things to pay special attention to are the mountain bike’s tires, the mountain bike’s forks, and the mountain bike’s saddle.

Mountain Bike Forks

There are different types of mountain bike forks, but the main thing you want to look for are shocks. Mountain bikes with shocks will generally be more comfortable to ride than those that do not have shocks, and will also be better equipped to go over rougher terrain. Mountain bikes without shocks will have a more rigid feel to them, but you may find that these bikes are built more for speed than mountain bikes without shocks.

Mountain Bike Saddles

Some saddles are very light weight and do not offer a lot of padding. Some saddles are heavier and offer a lot of cushioning. Generally, mountain bikes that have saddles without a lot of padding are more high performance oriented, while those that have more cushioning in the saddle are designed for leisurely riding. Some mountain bikes also have shock absorbent seat posts.

If you find that you like a higher performance mountain bike better than a mountain bike that is designed for comfort, but do not like the saddle, keep in mind that you can always switch the saddle out for a more comfortable one.

Mountain Bike Tires

When you buy a mountain bike, take a look at the tires. Do you plan to ride on very rugged terrain? Then make sure the tires are wide, a little bulky, and provides lots of traction. Do you plan on riding only on pavement? Then stick with a tire that is a little narrower and smoother, but provides a little bit of traction. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use a tire with a lot of traction on pavement, but you will get more speed with a smoother tire.

These are just a few basic things to look for in a mountain bike. Ultimately, buy a mountain bike that you enjoy riding…you will probably be riding the mountain bike you purchase for the next 5 or 10 years!

Mountain Bike For The Bike With A Difference

A mountain bike is particularly designed for riding on uneven and bumpy areas. Most mountain bikes have fat knobby tires, which ensure extra traction and appropriate shock absorption. A full front and rear suspension is becoming more common in the recent models of bikes meant to run on mountainous surfaces.

Modern bikers are less fond of handlebars and extensions though some bicycles under this particular variety are provided with end bars on the handlebars. Wheels of mountain bikes range from 26 to 29 inches. The larger wheels have better rolling capabilities and helps in rotational weight thereby making slower acceleration aptly possible.

The Best Varieties Of Mountain Bicycles

Enduro Mountain Bikes

The weight of Enduros vary between 30 to 35 pounds. These bikes feature greater suspension travel, say about 150mm of front and rear travel. They have been perfectly designed so as to ride the rough terrains with ease and satisfaction on the part of the rider.

Downhill Mountain Bikes

These bikes provide 8 or more inches of suspension traveling. The bodies of these bikes weigh less, which make them more apt for racing. Downhill mountain bicycles have tough construction and as they have provisions like large, high gears, they are aptly suited for riding down out-and-out downhill trails and racecourses. Most downhill riding requires high-speed movement for which these bikes are provided with one chain ring, a large bush guard and a chain guide. In fact, Downhill Mountain biking is the most popular form of competition biking.

Dirt Jumping Bike

Dirt jumping bikes come in two types, Urban and Street Mountain bikes. These bikes are variable combinations of trial bikes like, BMX bike and freeride bike. This specific bike variety is extremely strong and possesses 0 to 4 inches of front suspension. They are mostly without any rear suspension along with fast-rolling, slick and semi-slick tires.

Some other significant bike forms include Cross-Country Mountain Bikes, Freeride Mountain Bikes, Trials Mountain Bikes, Single-Speed Mountain Bikes and North Shore Mountain Bikes.

Mountain Bikes – Monarchs Of The Mountains

Depending on suspension, mountain bikes can be largely classified into four different varieties:

1. Soft Tail Bikes – These are bikes with negligible rear suspension. These bikes are made active by the flex of the frames rather than the pivots.

2. Fully rigid bikes – Such bikes are provided with hardtail along with firm fork system.

3. Bikes having dual or full suspension – These machines on road come with front suspension fork and rear suspension along with rear shock and linkage. Such mechanisms enable the rear wheel move smoothly on pivots.

Hardtail Bikes – These bike varieties have frames without any rear suspension. More often, such bikes are provided with front suspension forks.

The contemporary bikes for mountains are provided with stronger and lighter frame types in addition to pioneering form and design. The built of these bicycles give way to forceful riding over rocks, logs, wooden bridges and fabricated ramps.

Some of the most notable and advanced companies who have come forward to introduce the up-grading models of bikes include Manitou, Rock Shox and Fox together with other notable makers. When you ride a bike, you are likely to make mistakes and the fault may not always be yours. Accidents and disasters can happen due to equipment malfunctioning or a wrong judgment as far as the rider is concerned. To put an end to such absurdities a number of companies have appeared on the scene with protective gears also known as armors.

Such equipments have been designed in a way so as to keep you absolutely safe from physical damages. The most significant upper body protectors for expert riders include full-face helmets, spine protector and backpack hydration system. Before unleashing the beasts on the craggy lanes, the makers of mountain bikes have indeed kept in mind the present trends and demands.