A Mountain Biking Primer

The first requirement for a would be mountain biker is to obtain a bicycle. Some mountain bicycles are traditional in that they feature thick rugged tires. These bikes are ideal for off road rough terrain biking. There are also mountain bikes that feature thinner less rugged tires. These bikes are really hybrids between mountain bikes and touring bikes. The advantage these bikes offer is they weigh less than traditional mountain bikes. If you are planning on biking on paved roads or paved bike trails or even on trails with light obstacles such as roots or rocks these bikes (hybrids) may be ideal for you.

For the technical mountain biker who enjoys riding over rocks, tree roots, and other natural hazards the thicker tired mountain bike will offer a safer more satisfying riding experience. As a fledgling mountain biker you should not as a general rule choose the most expensive mountain bike available. As a general rule what you are paying for is either an enhanced ride through the use of front and rear shock absorbers mounted over the front wheel and under the seat of the bicycle or a bike frame constructed of the very latest space age medals and so lighter than traditional mountain bikes. The only times I can see spending extra for an more expensive mountain bike is if you suffer from arthritis, have had a carpal tunnel or other operation such that an enhanced shock absorbing system will benefit you. Also if you enter mountain biking races than a more lightweight mountain biking frame will benefit you.

Right after selecting a mountain bicycle, I suggest you select a bicycle helmet. No one should engage in the sport of mountain biking without a helmet. Many states have passed laws requiring that both children and adults wear helmets when they ride bicycles. The natural hazards inherent in the sport of mountain biking make proper headgear a necessity. Most bike helmets today are made at least in part of hardened Styrofoam with plastic outsides and are very light in weight. Inside the biking helmet there is usually stamped the safety results that independent testing organizations have obtained in testing the helmet. These should be examined carefully.

In addition to needing a mountain bike and a helmet you will need to transport your bike to where you wish to ride. To do this, you will need a bike rack. There are 3 major types of bike racks available. These are roof racks, trunk racks, and bicycle hitches. A roof rack fits tightly on your car’s roof. The bikes are clamped tightly to the rack. A roof rack has the advantage of allowing the trunk of your vehicle to be readily accessible. This can be an important advantage on vacation trips. The two most prevalent manufacturers of roof racks seem to be Thule and Yakima. I have also seen racks with Sears Roebuck and Volvo trademarks attached to cars also. One major disadvantages of a roof rack is that carrying your bikes on top of your vehicle adds height to the vehicle. You need to be very conscious of this when you are using your vehicle with bikes attached on top and about to pass through a tunnel, park your car in a parking facility with a low roof, or even park your car in your own garage. I am ashamed to admit that I have forgotten that my bikes were attached to my roof rack as I entered my own garage on more than one occasion with expensive consequences of my absent mindedness!

Some other possible disadvantages of using roof racks are that lifting your bikes up to fasten them to the roof rack puts extra strain on your back and may cause back injuries. Another disadvantage of roof racks, is especially with today’s sport utility vehicles, you may need to carry a step stool in your vehicle when you are cycling in order to lift the bikes high enough to fasten them to your vehicle. A trunk rack as the name implies, has clamps which fasten tightly to the trunk of your car. Trunk racks are clamped to the trunk of your car before you begin your biking trip and are removed after its completion.

Trunk racks may be ideal when you are carrying bicycles for young children that are not heavy or large. As the size and weight of the bikes increases. the added size and weight may bend or dent your trunk and impede accessibility to it with a trunk rack. A hitch rack is attached to the rear of your vehicle on a more or less permanent basis. The bikes are fastened using heavy rubber clamps. A hitch rack offers the advantage of not increasing the height of your vehicle or denting your trunk. Hitch racks do increase the length of your vehicle and restrict visibility in back of your vehicle. Furthermore, a hitch rack with bikes attached makes the motion detector on my Ford Explorer useless. With all of that said, I myself use a hitch rack.

Another piece of equipment that is a necessity for mountain biking are water bottle racks. Regardless of the season, it is important to have an ample supply of water with you when you are mountain biking. Water bottle racks come in a few styles and can be easily attached to your bicycle. If you will be cycling for more than a few hours, you should take food with you as well. Food for lunch or snacks can be carried safely in many types of bike bags which can be fastened by means of velcro straps or bungies (single or double width elastic straps). If taking food in a bike bag is likely to be a part of your mountain biking experience, you should ask your bike store to attach a sturdy rack to your bike to which you can attach a thermal bag to carry your food in.

I also suggest carrying a few other things with you when you ride. A universal bike tool to allow you to raise or lower your seat, an extra inner tube for your tires, and a small bike air pump can all come in handy, help you meet your little biking emergencies, and increase your enjoyment of the sport of mountain biking.

A Look At Some Of The More Common Mountain Bike Designs

Mountain bikes are designed for off-road riding. Whether made for racing or the more leisurely rider, there are four basic frame designs for mountain bikes: rigid, hard-tail, soft-tail, and full suspension.

The rigid (also commonly known as fully rigid) mountain bikes resemble a conventional sort of bike as you would imagine it. A rigid mountain bike has neither a rear suspension nor a front suspension. These used to be the most common kind of mountain bike but they are rapidly being replaced by the more comfortable models which feature some sort of suspension system. Fully rigid bikes tend to be lower-priced than models with a suspension. Many riders still prefer rigid bikes because it’s what they’re accustomed to, and the feel that the rigid design allows them greater control.

Another common mountain bike design is the hard-tail. Hard-tail mountain bikes are so named because they have a conventional rear end without a suspension. Hard-tails differ from fully rigid bikes in that they have a front suspension. The hard-tail is perhaps the most popular mountain bike design. Many professional riders prefer the feel of a hard-tail and the comfort of a front suspension.

The next kind of mountain bike design is the soft-tail. As you probably guessed, soft-tails employ a rear suspension. Rear suspensions are a more recent innovation than front suspension due to the complexities of the design. Soft-tails are often more expensive than hard-tails, but they also tend to be more forgiving.

Finally there’s the full suspension mountain bike. Bikes with this design feature both front and rear suspensions. These bikes are the latest mountain bike design. For a long time riders avoided full suspension bikes because they were heavy and they tended to sag in the middle like an old swayback horse. It took years for engineers and riders to perfect a viable, functional full suspension mountain bike. It was in the 1990’s when these bikes finally reached a point where they were marketable.

In addition to the frame and suspension, there are other differences in mountain bike designs. One key area where bikes differ is the brakes. Mountain bikes either have some form of caliper brakes, which are the kind of brakes typically associated with bikes. This kind of brake squeezes the rims to slow and stop the bike. The other type of brake is the drum brake. Drum brakes on bikes are similar to the braking system on automobiles. Drum brakes are more expensive than caliper brakes but they’re also easier to maintain. Mountain bike braking systems have even been made which utilize hydraulic power.

Another area where you have some choice in mountain bike design is tire size. Mountain bike tires typically range in size from 24″ to 29″. Smaller tires are used when greater maneuverability is required as in stunt-riding and jumping. Larger tires are used when speed is the key.

As with any other important purchase, do your homework before buying a new mountain bike. Think about your needs and your budget. Mountain biking is a terrific past-time. It’s a fun way to get some fresh air, enjoy the outdoors, and improve your health.

Extreme Mountain Biking – The Best Of The Best

The multi-disciplined sport of mountain biking is one of the most innovative in the world. Each of the distinct categories of extreme mountain biking requires that its participants undergo ongoing training to maintain their old skills and develop new ones, and each category has a different set of regulations. But the category on mountain biking most likely to appeal to the daredevils among us is extreme mountain biking, which offers the best bikers challenges sure to get their adrenaline levels soaring!

The risks, stunts, and technically challenging courses from which extreme mountain biking gets its name make extreme mountain bikers a breed apart from the athletes in other cycling sports. Those riders who excel at extreme mountain biking have worked for years to hone their skills, and can still be surprised by the obstacles and unpredictable terrains thrown at them by the organizers of extreme mountain biking competitions. The extremely advanced techniques which these riders have mastered are a very long way indeed from basic mountain biking skills.

Categories OF Extreme Mountain Biking

Extreme mountain biking covers five distinct categories, including downhill, free riding, cross country, street riding and dirt jumping events. The competitions may take place over rough, steep, and rocky terrain or challenging tracks but extreme riding can also occur on the narrow single tracks which wind through forests, streambeds, and fields.

Good training is essential for any mountain biker who would like to become involved in extreme mountain biking. One way to begin understanding the techniques involved is by watching videos of the maneuvers executed by professional extreme mountain bikers; many of them can simply be downloaded form the Internet.

Some Internet mountain biking sites will even offer free streaming videos, and sporting goods or mountain biking retailers also have DVDs of extreme mountain biking professionals performing different stunts. Magazines, books, and Internet sites devoted to the topic of extreme mountain biking will also offer a wealth of information on the training techniques of world-class extreme mountain bikers.

Learn By Doing

But with extreme mountain biking, as with all things, experience is the best teacher. Once a biker has studied the videos, DVDs and literature on the different extreme mountain biking maneuvers, he or she should attempt them and get feedback from their friends or mountain biking club members about their technique.

Extreme mountain biking [http://www.mountainbikingreviews.com/All_About_Mountain_Biking/] is the exclusive domain of the very best mountain bikers in the world. If you think you’re ready to take your passion for mountain biking to the extreme, and are prepared for years of effort, one day you might join them!