Over the course of the past few decades the bicycle has gone through several developments and one of them in particular is the introduction of what has become known as the mountain bike. Just what is it in particular that separates this relatively newer type of bicycle from other types of more conventional bicycles that are available on the market? The most basic answer to that question is that this particular type of bicycle is configured to be ridden off-road; off paved roads in more rugged terrain such as dirt trails, rocky paths, steep inclines and riverbeds, etc.
So whilst other types of bicycles tend to have low profile tread patterns on their tires for better traction on paved services, a mountain bike will always have a heavier tread on their tires that’s typically referred to as “knobby tread”. They also tend to have smaller wheels that allow the rider to more readily reach the ground with his or her feet for better control in rougher terrain.
Front end suspension is another common feature on this type of bicycle and it allows for better shock absorption. However, in more recent years, both front and back suspension has become more popular for even better shock absorption and control.
Another feature of this specialised bike is a wide padded seat for maximum comfort during the jarring rides. Then while multiple gears are an optional feature on bicycles that are designed for road use, they’re a must-have feature option when riding off roads. The reason here is the abruptly changing terrain that can go quickly from a level riding surface to a steep upgrade. So in general a quality mountain bike will have between 5 to 10 gears, but in more recent times some manufacturers have begun to produce models that feature up to 30 gears.
Frames that are manufactured from metal and metal alloys are also a relatively new adaptation. Due to the higher cost of the metal itself and also the added labour that goes into forming and welding them, this alone can considerably run up the cost.
Disc brakes are yet one more specialised feature that today’s serious off-road rider can opt for. Disc brakes allow for faster stops and also require less hand-grip tension when stopping.
Competitive Mountain biking as a spectator sport has become increasingly popular since its advent in the 70s and this alone has had a profound effect on the development of bikes that the competitors use. Ever increasing amounts of money and lucrative manufacturing endorsement deals means that far more is at stake for the competitor than just the glory of winning.
The companies that produce mountain bikes have responded in kind by designing specific types of bicycles with features that are tailored for the different categories of competitions. There are bikes that are built specifically for cross-country riding, downhill trail racing and trick riding; where each contestant is judged on his or her skills and showmanship while performing stunts.
All this has come at a cost though, whilst in the early years a rider could expect to spend hundreds of dollars on a top quality high-performance bicycle, today it’s not uncommon to find models with price tags that run into thousands of dollars.
Stephen James Cycles is a brand new bike store in Enfield, North London, bringing Stephen James’ commitment to excellence in products and services to your cycling experience.