Mountain Biking | Getting Started Guide

Mountain biking is a popular hobby that inspires connection with the outdoors and promotes exercise. The standout characteristics of a mountain bike is:

  • Larger tires that can withstand unpaved obstacles that trails may throw at you

  • Upright seating position that allows for comforting hill climbs and descents

  • Suspension that enhances rider comfort on rugged terrain

There is a huge world of mountain biking out there for all skill levels or ride types. You can take a nice ride off of the beaten trail all the way to descending your states largest mountain while taking natural log jumps along the way.

In this guide we will basics of what you need to know getting into the hobby. Versed with knowledge of trail types and bike types you will know if this will be a one time deal for you or your next passion. It will also help pick the best gear for the terrain you plan to ride.

Common Types of Terrain

There is terrain that is relatively smooth and flat like a hiking trail up to elevation changes and obstacles. This allows you to progress is the sport and always have a new challenge as you gain skill. To add to the safety element, most trails are maintained or improves so obstacles are even in the best positioning possible.

Single Track: These are the style of track you will see most often. They allow for one mountain bike to comfortably navigate through the trail. sometimes the track will have barely enough room for a second mountain bike to navigate along side.

Double Track: Double track is typically double the width of a single track trail. It offers enough room for two mountain bikes to travel alongside. These types of trails are typically designed for vehicles to pass though but now are used as mountain bike trails. Since they are designed for vehicles they are typically more smooth and have less technical features.

Mountain Bike Parks: Here is where the adrenaline really starts pumping. The trail is purposely designed for mountain bikes to show their utility. Sometimes these parks are designed at ski resorts and take a ski lift to get to. You will get the most unique features at mountain bike parks to challenge your experience.

Types of Mountain Bikes

There are a few type of bikes, it helps to pick one that is suited for where you will be riding. Suspension type, brake type, and wheel size are the key features that you want to look for. There are a plethora of customization beyond the 3 but for the beginning guide, we will stick to those.

Suspension Type

Rigid: This type of mountain bike is not normally sought after. The main benefit of this bike is that it is the lowest cost and has little to maintain. Rigid means that there is no suspension, therefore the comfort while riding is not great.

Hardtail: Once you get into hardtail, we have suspension in the front front but no suspension in the rear. This is the reason it is named hardtail. Hardtails are less cost and maintenance than full suspension mountain bikes. You get a more direct power pedal feel when you do not have suspension in the rear.

Full Suspension: The most comforting ride. Suspension on both ends of the bike will absorb most of the impact and impurities in the trail. This increases traction and makes for a more enjoyable ride for the rider. The only downside is when you are climbing hills, you will lose some power through the rear suspension. To combat this many full suspension mountain bikes will allow you to lock out the rear suspension for hillclimbs.

Brake Type

Disk Brake: You are most likely familiar with this brake because of your car. Disk brakes are powerful and largely impervious to mud and moisture which makes them great for mountain bikes. They do add a component of maintenance and larger upfront cost.

V Brake or Caliper Brake: This is the most common brake that you will see on bike. They are less expensive and require less maintenance. They do a good overall job of stopping the bike when needed.

Wheel Size

26": Smaller wheel size that is praised for its lightweight responsiveness and maneuverability. the challenge comes when riding over rough or large obstacles

29": This wheel size makes the mountain bike heavier and decreases acceleration speed. The true benefit of the wheel size is shown once you get to speed and need to plow right over imperfection in the trail

Now that you are equipped with knowledge on mountain bikes, rent yours today with Charged Squad. You can do a daily rental or choose to subscribe to the membership and always have access to a mountain bike along with an abundance of other outdoor equipment.

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