Types of Mountain Bikes Explained

Pedaling leisurely through the mountains or tackling daring trails - there's a bike for every discipline.
Pedaling leisurely through the mountains or tackling daring trails - there's a bike for every discipline.

Pedalling leisurely through the mountains or tackling daring trails—there’s a bike for every discipline. In this article, we’ll explain what the differences between the main types of mountain bikes are and help you figure out which mountain bike is best for you.

Pedaling leisurely through the mountains or tackling daring trails - there's a bike for every discipline.

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Hardtail or Full Suspension: What’s the difference?

The term hardtail or fully does not describe the bike’s frame. Rather, it describes the bike’s suspension system.

Full Suspension MTB

With the Full, the front wheel and back portion of the bike have suspension. The full suspension helps compensate for shocks in uneven terrain, and a front suspension helps the front wheel maintain contact with the ground when going uphill. Suspension also helps protect your back.

Where it fully shines:

  • high speeds
  • challenging and steep terrain
  • Jumps and drops

Disadvantages of a full-suspension bike:

  • heavy
  • expensive due to large components
  • maintenance-intensive

Hardtail (back wheel has no suspension)

With Hardtail, just the front wheel has suspension. The rear wheel does not have suspension. A hardtail is suitable if you:

The 5 different types of mountain bikes

Not all mountain bikes are created equal. Each MTB discipline is different and, therefore, has different needs. While the differences are not always crystal clear, you can mainly distinguish the types based on their suspension systems.

Cross Country Biker
CROSS COUNTRY BIKES ARE VERY TYPICAL FOR COMPETITIONS

Cross-country bikes

This bike is mainly used in cross-country races.

  • through forests
  • through fields
  • on gravel paths
  • on meadow paths
  • through paths with smaller gradients and descents

With cross-country mountain biking, agility and a sporty riding stance are the main priorities.

Frame: hard and carbon
Suspension: Hardtail
Amount of suspension given: 100 – 120 mm

All Terrain Mountain Bikes and Enduro Bikes

The All Mountain Bike has a wide range of uses, namely in the mountains. It is suitable for

  • easy and longer tours in the lowlands (at around 10–14 kg, it is considered light)
  • ascents
  • downhill descents on easy and medium-difficulty trails
  • small jumps and drops

Suspension: Fully
Amount of suspension given: 120 – 160 mm

You can reduce or lock the give on the suspension system on many models. This makes it easier for you to ride uphill.

The Enduro Bike is a mix between the all-mountain bike and the freeride mountain bike. It is designed for a wide range of uses, including:

  • faster descents than the all-mountain bike
  • higher jumps than the all-mountain bike
  • easier to ride uphill than with the freeride mountain bike

Downhill bikes are very similar to freeride bikes. That’s why the suspension was increased, and the Enduro has wider tyres.

Amount of suspension given: 140–180 mm

Touring on a enduro mountain bike
ALL MOUNTAIN BIKES OR ENDUROS ARE VERSATILE AND WORK GREAT ON ALMOST ANY TERRAIN.

Downhill Mountain Bike

The downhill mountain bike is made

  • to traverse challenging trails with steep gradients as fast as possible.

The shape of the downhill mountain bike is unmistakable: wide handlebars, thick tyres, and a low saddle for an optimal centre of gravity.

This type of mountain bike is quite heavy, at 18 kg, because the frame must withstand the stress of big jumps. The tyres are thick and have good grip. Riding uphill is virtually impossible for a downhill mountain bike.

Amount of suspension given: 180 to 250 mm

Downhill biker on the rocks
For downhill bikes, it’s all about speed.

Freeride Mountain Bikes

The bike is cross-country between a downhill and cross-country mountain bike. They are made for

  • very steep terrain
  • technical obstacles and trails
  • Long and high jumps and drops

While the freeride mountain bike is slightly lighter than its downhill counterpart, it’s still no featherweight. Very stable components are used to ensure mountain bikes can withstand extreme jumps (up to 20 metres). Therefore, mountain bikes are priced a bit higher.

Suspension: Fully

Amount of suspension given: 165 – 200 mm

Some freeride mountain bikes are also suitable for uphill riding.

Freerider in the forest
THE FREERIDE MOUNTAIN BIKE IS FOR EXTREME SLOPES AND OBSTACLES.

Fat Wheel Bikes

Fat bikes are made for tough surfaces, for example

You can recognise fat bikes by their wide tyres. At 4 to 4.8 inches, they are twice as wide as conventional mountain bike tyres.

suspension system is often not included with fat bikes. The wide tyres are kept below normal levels to absorb most of the shock.

A
FAT BIKES CAN BE RECOGNIZED BY THEIR VERY WIDE TYRES.

What is the right mountain bike for you?

Deciding which mountain bike is the right one depends on where you want to go and how much adrenaline you need.

Alpine Crossing and Tours

For a long tour in the mountains, you’ll need a mountain bike that can cope with any terrain and slope, and the bike shouldn’t weigh too much, thereby slowing you down. Perfectly suited for the task is the

  • All Mountain Bike
  • Enduro
Enduro bike rider in the Alps
FOR LONGER TOURS, THE ALL MOUNTAIN BIKE AND THE ENDURO ARE THE BEST.

Fun in the snow and sand

Before writing off sand and snow,. We recommend driving on thicker tyres. For this, we recommend a

  • Fat Bike

Going up the mountain and then down on exciting trails

If you’re planning to ascend mountains at a leisurely pace and reward yourself with an exciting downhill run, then you should opt for

  • Enduro

Adrenalin on steep and demanding trails

You’d rather do it without riding uphill. You spend your time in bike parks or on trails that you can reach with the lift. Downhill, you’re looking for the ultimate adrenaline kick.

  • If it’s all about the thrill of speed, go with the downhill mountain bike.
  • For extreme gradients and technical trails, the Freeride Mountain Bike is the right call.
Freeriding at the bike park
BIKE PARKS OR EASILY ACCESSIBLE TRAILS ARE THE HOME OF DOWNHILL BIKERS AND FREERIDERS.

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