Encyclingpedia: Mountain Bikes

Evan Plews catches air on the Burma trail

Mountain bikes are made for traversing technical, uneven terrain and feature specific characteristics for a unique type of competition. Mountain bikes are typically made of steel, aluminum, titanium, carbon fiber or a mixture of materials. Notable components on a mountain bike include wide, knobby tires, suspension systems and shock absorbers, disc brakes, clipless pedals and a multitude of gears. Riders generally customize their tires for specific terrain and conditions in order to achieve maximum traction, whether they’re climbing a wide, dusty logging road or descending down a wet, slippery singletrack trail full of rocks and roots.

Most cross-country mountain bikes are equipped with front suspension systems that absorb shock and help make for a smooth ride when racing over uneven ground.

Because mountain bikers usually race in muddy and dirty conditions, disc brakes are typically favored over traditional brake pads and calipers, which can malfunction in wet and adverse conditions.

One of the most unique attributes of a mountain bike is the wide, knobby tires that give a rider additional traction when riding over rocks, roots, loose gravel and other obstacles. The added surface area and tire patterns give a rider more stability as he or she navigates the off-road conditions.

Rear suspension comes in especially handy for technical descents, but the configuration can be a hindrance on long or steep climbs. Riders often choose between a dual suspension system or a front suspension setup know as a ‘hardtail’ depending upon the race course.

Because of the amount of climbing and the steep grades mountain bikers ascend in a typical race, a triple chainring allows for a rider to choose from 30 gears. Other options include a double or single chainring, as well as a singlespeed bike.

Clipless pedals keep a rider’s feet locked in at all times. It also allows for a rider to pull up on the pedal stroke with one foot while pushing down with the other.




This Article Published 2008-07-30 13:16:34 For more information contact:

 
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