6 Different Mountain Bike Types: Purpose, Features and Disadvantages

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BY James Roland

Contents

Updated on 12/28/2022

Contents

What is hardtail mountain bikes?

Hardtail mountain bikes are bikes that have a suspension fork on the front of the bike, but do not have any suspension on the rear of the bike. They are called “hardtails” because the rear of the bike has a solid, non-suspended frame.

What are advantages of hardtail mountain bikes?

The Strava Mountain Biking App

The Strava Mountain Biking App

The advantages of hardtail mountain bikes are listed below.

  • Weight: Hardtails are lighter than full-suspension bikes
  • Cost: Hardtails are less expensive than full-suspension bikes, making them a more budget-friendly option.
  • Simplicity: Hardtails have fewer moving parts than full-suspension bikes, which means they require less maintenance and are less likely to develop mechanical issues.
  • Efficiency: Hardtails are more efficient to ride than full-suspension bikes because they do not have the added weight and complexity of a rear suspension system.
  • Climbing ability: Hardtails are preferred by riders who enjoy climbing because they offer a more efficient power transfer to the rear wheel

What are disadvantages of hardtail mountain bikes?

The disadvantages of hardtail mountain bikes are listed below.

  • Comfort: Hardtails do not have rear suspension, which means they do not absorb bumps and vibrations as well as full-suspension bikes. This can make for a rougher ride on rough or rocky trails.
  • Handling: Hardtails can be more challenging to handle on technical trails, especially at high speeds or in rough conditions, due to their lack of rear suspension.
  • Descending: Hardtails can be more difficult to descend on than full-suspension bikes because they do not have the added traction and stability provided by rear suspension.
  • Jumping: Hardtails are not as well-suited for jumping and other high-impact activities as full-suspension bikes, as they do not have the ability to absorb the shock of landing.

What is full suspension mountain bikes?

A senior black man sprints on his moutain bike for a race.

A senior black man sprints on his moutain bike for a race.

Full suspension mountain bikes, also known as dual suspension or full-suss bikes, are bikes that have suspension on both the front and rear of the bike.

What are advantages of full suspension mountain bikes?

The advantages of full suspension mountain bikes are listed below.

  • Comfort: absorb bumps and vibrations from the trail, making for a more comfortable ride.
  • Traction: The rear suspension of a full suspension bike helps to keep the rear tire in contact with the ground, which can improve traction and stability on rough or technical terrain.
  • Handling: Full suspension bikes can be more stable and easier to handle on technical trails, especially at high speeds or in rough conditions, due to their suspension system.
  • Descending: offer more traction and stability due to the rear suspension.
  • Jumping: the suspension helps to absorb the shock of landing.

What are disadvantages of full suspension mountain bikes?

The disadvantages of full suspension mountain bikes are listed below.

  • Weight: Full suspension bikes are generally heavier than hardtails due to the additional weight of the rear suspension system
  • Cost: more expensive than hardtails due to the additional complexity of the suspension system.
  • Maintenance: Full suspension bikes have more moving parts than hardtails, which means they require more maintenance and are more prone to mechanical issues.
  • Efficiency: less efficient to ride than hardtails due to the added weight and complexity of the suspension system. This can make them less suitable for cross-country riding and racing, where speed and efficiency are important.
  • Climbing ability: less efficient when climbing due to the added weight and complexity of the suspension system, which can affect traction and power transfer to the rear wheel.

1. Cross-country (XC) bikes

What is the primary use for cross-country (XC) bikes?

The Santa Cruz Tallboy CC Mountain Bike

The Santa Cruz Tallboy CC Mountain Bike

According to Wikipedia, Cross-country (XC) bikes are primarily used for riding at high speeds on flat or slightly rolling land and can be used for short-distance racing.

What types of terrain are cross-country (XC) bikes best suited for?

Cross-country (XC) bikes are best suited for off-road cycling on trails such as fire roads, single track and technical terrain.

What is frame material for cross-country (XC) bikes?

The frame material of cross-country (XC) bikes is usually aluminium or carbon.

What is the frame size of cross-country (XC) bikes?

Cross-country (XC) bikes usually come in sizes small, medium and large.

What is the type of suspension used on cross-country (XC) bikes?

Cross-country (XC) bikes typically have a full suspension.

What is the typical range of suspension travel for cross-country (XC) bikes?

The typical range of suspension travel for nearly all cross-country (XC) bikes is 100 mm.

What is Geometry of cross-country (XC) bikes?

The geometry of cross-country (XC) bikes usually have a short wheelbase, steep head angle, low bottom bracket height, and short chainstay.

What are the types of brakes used on cross-country (XC) bikes?

The types of brakes used on cross-country (XC) bikes are usually disc brakes.

What is the wheel size of cross-country (XC) bikes?

The wheel size of cross-country (XC) bikes is typically 27.5 inches.

What is the tire width of cross-country (XC) bikes?

The tire width of cross-country (XC) bikes is usually between 1.9 to 2.2 inches in width.

What are the types of drivetrain used on cross-country (XC) bikes?

The types of drivetrain used on cross-country (XC) bikes are usually 1x or 2x configurations.

How much are cross-country (XC) bikes?

Cross-country (XC) bikes can range from $500 to $7000 depending on the components and features.

What are best cross-country (XC) bikes brands?

Best cross-country (XC) bike brands are Specialized, Trek, Cannondale and Giant.

What are the disadvantages of cross-country (XC) bikes?

The disadvantages of cross-country (XC) bikes are listed below.

  • Not suitable for extended downhill riding
  • Poor stability at low speeds
  • Low tire clearance limits options for wider tires
  • Expensive compared to other types of bikes
  • Harder to maneuver in tight turns because of the rigid frame.

2. Trail bikes

What is the primary use for trail bikes?

The Salsa Timberjack NX Eagle 29 Mountain Bike

The Salsa Timberjack NX Eagle 29 Mountain Bike

The primary use for trail bikes is to ride on moderate terrain with obstacles such as rocks, roots, and drops.

What is frame material of trail bikes?

The frame material of trail bikes is usually stell, titanium, aluminum or carbon fibre.

What is frame size of trail bikes?

Trail bikes usually come in sizes small, medium and large.

What type of suspension is used on trail bikes?

Trail bikes typically have a full suspension with between 120 and 160 mm of travel.

What is Geometry of trail bikes?

The geometry of trail bikes usually have a longer wheelbase, slacker head angles, higher bottom bracket height and longer chainstays.

What are the types of brakes used on trail bikes?

The types of brakes used on trail bikes are typically disc brakes.

What is wheel size of trail bikes?

The wheel size of trail bikes is usually between 27.5-29 inches.

What is tire width of trail bikes?

The tire width of trail bikes is usually between 2.25 to 2.4 inches in width.

What are best trail bikes brands?

Some of the best trail bike brands are Santa Cruz, Yeti, and Intense.

What are the disadvantages of trail bikes?

The disadvantages of trail bikes are listed below.

  • Not suitable for extended downhill rides
  • Low tire clearance limits options for wider tires
  • Expensive compared to other types of bikes
  • Heavy due to the full suspension system
  • Harder to maneuver in tight turns because of the rigid frame.

3. Enduro bikes

What is the primary use for Enduro bikes?

The Rocky Mountain Growler 20 Mountain Bike

The Rocky Mountain Growler 20 Mountain Bike

The primary use for Enduro bikes is to ride on challenging terrain with obstacles such as rocks, roots, drops and jumps.

What is frame material of Enduro bikes?

The frame material of Enduro bikes is usually aluminum, carbon or steel.

What is frame size of Enduro bikes?

Enduro bikes usually come in sizes, medium and large.

What is suspension of Enduro bikes?

Enduro bikes typically have a full suspension with 150 to 180 mm of travel.

What is Geometry of Enduro bikes?

The geometry of Enduro bikes usually have a longer wheelbase, 64-degree head angle, high bottom bracket height and long (or medium) chain.

What are the types of brakes used on Enduro bikes?

The types of brakes used on Enduro bikes are typically disc brakes.

What is wheel size of Enduro bikes?

The wheel size of Enduro bikes is usually between 26-29 inches.

What is tire width of Enduro bikes?

The tire width of Enduro bikes is usually between 2.3 to 2.6 inches in width.

What are the types of drivetrain used on Enduro bikes?

The type of drivetrain used on Enduro bikes is typically a 1×11 speed system.

How much are Enduro bikes?

Enduro bikes usually range in price from $1000 to over $10,000.

What are best Enduro bikes brands?

Some of the best Enduro bike brands are Specialized, Yeti, and Santa Cruz.

What are the disadvantages of Enduro bikes?

The disadvantages of Enduro bikes are listed below.

  • Expensive compared to other types of bikes
  • Heavy due to the full suspension system
  • Harder to maneuver in tight turns because of the rigid frame.
  • Not suitable for long distance riding due to their weight and size.
  • Difficult to climb due to their heavier weight.
  • Not suitable for riding on flat roads or pavement.
  • Low rolling resistance due to the large tires.
  • Not suitable for downhill racing because the frame and suspension are not designed for it.
  • May require frequent maintenance due to its complexity.
  • Not suitable for beginners, as the weight and size may be difficult to handle.

4. Downhill (DH) bikes

What is the primary use for Downhill (DH) bikes?

The Niner RIP 9 RDO Mountain Bike

The Niner RIP 9 RDO Mountain Bike

Downhill (DH) bikes are primarily used for downhill racing and freeride mountain biking.

What is frame material of Downhill (DH) bikes?

The frame material of Downhill (DH) bikes is usually aluminum or carbon fiber.

What is frame size of Downhill (DH) bikes?

The frame size of Downhill (DH) bikes is usually between 20-23 inches.

What is suspension of Downhill (DH) bikes? Hardtaill or full suspension

Downhill (DH) bikes typically have a full suspension system with between 7-10 inches of travel.

What is Geometry of Downhill (DH) bikes?

The geometry of Downhill (DH) bikes is usually designed with a long wheelbase, adjustable head tube angle and short chainstays.

What are the types of brakes used on Downhill (DH) bikes?

The types of brakes used on Downhill (DH) bikes are typically hydraulic disc brakes.

What is wheel size of Downhill (DH) bikes?

The wheel size of Downhill (DH) bikes is typically 26 inches or 27.5 inches.

What is tire width of Downhill (DH) bikes?

The tire width of Downhill (DH) bikes is typically 2.5 inches or wider, up to 3 inches.

What are the types of drivetrain used on Downhill (DH) bikes?

The types of drivetrain used on Downhill (DH) bikes are usually 1x system or 2x system with 10-12 speed cassette.

How much are Downhill (DH) bikes?

Downhill (DH) bikes prices can range from $3,000 up to $10,000 or more.

What are best Downhill (DH) bikes brands?

Some of the best Downhill (DH) bikes brands include Specialized, Trek, Santa Cruz, Giant and Cannondale.

What are the disadvantages of Downhill (DH) bikes?

The disadvantages of Downhill (DH) bikes are listed below.

  • Expensive
  • Heavy and large
  • Not suitable for everyday riding
  • Difficult to transport.

5. Fat bikes

What is the primary use for Fat bikes?

The Giant Defy Advanced Mountain Bike

The Giant Defy Advanced Mountain Bike

Fat bikes are primarily used for sand and snow riding.

What is frame material of Fat bikes?

The frame material of Fat bikes is usually steel or aluminum.

What is frame size of Fat bikes?

The frame size of Fat bikes is typically between 15-20 inches for adults.

What is the type of suspension used on Fat bikes?

The type of suspension used on Fat bikes is usually rigid with between 4-6 inches of travel.

What is Geometry of Fat bikes?

The Geometry of Fat bikes is usually designed with a slack head angle and low bottom bracket.

What are the types of brakes used on Fat bikes?

The types of brakes used on Fat bikes are typically hydraulic disc brakes or mechanical disc brakes.

What is wheel size of Fat bikes?

The wheel size of Fat bikes is typically 26 inches, 27.5 inches.

What is tire width of Fat bikes?

The tire width of Fat bikes is usually 3.8-5 inches wide.

What are the types of drivetrain used on Fat bikes?

The types of drivetrain used on Fat bikes are usually 1x system or 2x system with 10-12 speed cassette.

How much are Fat bikes?

Fat bikes prices can range from $1,200 up to $5,000 or more.

What are best Fat bikes brands?

Some of the best Fat bikes brands include Surly, Salsa, Kona, Trek and Cannondale.

What are the disadvantages of Fat bikes?

The disadvantages of Fat bikes are listed below.

  • Not suitable for everyday riding
  • Takes more energy to pedal compared to other bike types
  • Difficult to transport
  • Expensive

6. Electric mountain bike

What is the primary use for Electric mountain bikes?

Phillip Atwill (GBR) during UCI Mountain Bike

Phillip Atwill (GBR) during UCI Mountain Bike

Electric mountain bikes are primarily used for recreational riding, commuting, and touring.

What is frame material of Electric mountain bikes?

The frame material of Electric mountain bikes is usually made from aluminum, carbon or steel.

What is frame size of Electric mountain bikes?

The frame size of Electric mountain bikes is typically between 17-23+ inches for adults.

What is suspension of Electric mountain bikes?

The suspension of Electric mountain bikes is usually dual suspension or rigid with between 4-6 inches of travel.

What are the types of brakes used on Electric mountain bikes?

The types of brakes used on Electric mountain bikes are typically hydraulic disc brakes or mechanical disc brakes.

What is Geometry of Electric mountain bikes?

The Geometry of Electric mountain bikes is usually designed with a low head angle and low bottom bracket.

What are the types of brakes used on Electric mountain bikes?

The types of brakes used on Electric mountain bikes are typically hydraulic disc brakes or mechanical disc brakes.

What is wheel size of Electric mountain bikes?

The wheel size of Electric mountain bikes is usually 16 inches, 20 inches, 26 inches or 29 inches.

What is tire width of Electric mountain bikes?

The tire width of Electric mountain bikes is usually between 2.2-4 inches wide.

What are the types of drivetrain used on Electric mountain bikes?

The types of drivetrain used on Electric mountain bikes are typically single chainring, double chainring and 10-12 speed cassette.

How much are Electric mountain bikes?

Electric mountain bikes typically range in price from $2000 to upwards of $20000.

What are best Electric mountain bikes brands?

Some of the best Electric mountain bike brands include Specialized, Marin, Rad Power and Cannondale.

What are the disadvantages of Electric mountain bikes?

The disadvantages of Electric mountain bikes are listed below.

  • Expensive compared to regular mountain bikes
  • Heavier than traditional mountain bikes
  • Battery life can be limited
  • Taking on steeper terrain can be difficult
  • Noise may put off other trail users.
  • Motor can wear out over time.
  • Electrical problems can be difficult and costly to repair.
  • May require more maintenance than regular mountain bikes.

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