A mountain bike (MTC) or mountain bike is a specialized bicycle designed specifically for mountain biking. Mountain bikes share many common features with other road bicycles, but feature specific features designed to improve performance and durability in rough terrain, making them more heavy. For this reason, mountain bikes are often called “touring” bikes. The topography of mountain biking can vary greatly from terrain to terrain.
MTB (mountain bike) frames are typically long, with a flat top tube and a relatively steep drop through the seat. Most bikes that fit this description have rigid full suspension systems, with a hydraulic rear suspension unit. The drivetrain is typically a chain drive with a chain guide and a clutch system to provide power. All the components of the drivetrain are rigidly mounted, and the front wheel is supported by a rigid, reinforced fork. Some manufacturers combine a full suspension system with a rigid fork.
MTB wheels are similar to those used on road bikes, with a smooth inner ring and plastic outer rim. This creates a unique characteristic that contributes to the uniqueness of a mountain bike. MTB wheels are usually supplied with deep and wide rims, suitable for smooth treading on all types of surfaces – mud, gravel and even snow. These wide and deep rims also contribute to the deep and wide drag of the wheels, allowing them to lock into turns at high speeds. These wheels also have a tendency to mushroom when they are not being used in dry conditions, creating an “S” shape pattern. Some manufacturers create specialized designs for this characteristic.
MTB rear wheels typically feature a disc type drivetrain. The advantage of this type of suspension is the extra traction provided by the suspension arms, as well as the smoother ride. Most MTB bikes use a conventional disc system, and most riders prefer the standard disc design. A drawback is that with a conventional disc system, there is some loss of traction with greater speed. A better option for riders who do a lot of downhill or cross country riding is to select a rear suspension system that provides a twin-link or a independently adjustable rate of suspension.
Suspension on a mountain bike is usually described in terms of compression or rebound. The most common examples include front and rear shocks, a stroke bar, and a hydraulic system. A setback bar is sometimes used, and is intended to act as a guide for the foot. Shocks are examples of compression springs, which are designed to provide consistent pressure on the pedals during a ride.
Another important component on a mountain bike is its drivetrain. This includes the transmission and the derailleur. Both are essential for smooth, efficient riding, especially in off road environments. A popular type of bike drivetrain is a sealed cartridge, which is not only durable but also lightweight and highly durable. One of the drawbacks of this type of drivetrain is that it can be noisy while operating.
There are a number of popular mountain bike systems available today. These include the free ride, all terrain, dual suspension, and hybrid systems. A free ride bike is designed as a cross between a downhill trail bike and a mountain bike, and it is similar to a mountain bike in many ways, except for the fact that it does not have a front wheel braking system. Instead, the pedals drive the pedals, and a chain guides the pedals through the middle of the pedal chain. The free ride offers increased control over the bike, especially when descending.
All terrain bikes tend to offer a lighter weight, for the same frame and wheels. Many people choose these types of bikes for the increased maneuverability they offer, as well as the increased comfort and ease of coasting. Dual suspension bikes, like the Trek Enduro series, use two independent suspension systems for maximum performance. Hybrid bikes are designed with a drivetrain consisting of a freeride drivetrain and a downhill drivetrain. Mountain bikes offer the best overall combination of features for the avid biker.