Mountain biking, like many sports, has a variety of equipment to choose from. The question is, “How do you know what kind of bike you should buy?”
In order to make the right choice, you need to know what the different types of mountain bikes are, what they are designed for, and how these match your own needs.
1. Cross Country.
When most people think of mountain bikes, this is usually the model they are thinking of. This bike is the most well-rounded and versatile type of bike. They usually have a wide range of gears, and are therefore very adept at going uphill as well as downhill.
They generally come in all three different types of suspension: rigid (no suspension at all), hardtail (front, but no rear, suspension) and full suspension (suspension on front and back).
For the average mountain biker, who wants to be able to go off-road without too many trade-offs, this is generally the bike to choose.
These bikes are for hardcore bikers. Built with full suspension, they are designed to handle virtually anything, including plummeting downhill at speeds that would terrify most people, and landing jumps that would damage the frames of inferior bikes.
This ruggedness does not come without a price. The bikes are mainly designed for going downhill. Therefore, these bikes usually have a fairly limited gear set, and are ill suited for going uphill.
3. All Mountain.
If you are looking for a cross between Cross Country and Freeride, this is the bike for you. Like the Freeride bike, the All Mountain variety comes with a sturdier frame and more suspension than the Cross Country, allowing it to traverse more rugged terrain than the Cross Country.
However, like the Cross Country, the All Mountain can be ridden both uphill and downhill. If you are looking to do a little more off-road than a Cross Country, but without giving up the ability to go uphill, this may be the bike for you. Bear in mind that different manufacturers may refer to this design by different names. In each case though, it is a cross between the two other types of mountain bikes.
The above list is by no means exhaustive. In addition to these basic types, there are a number of specialty bikes. However, the three types of mountain bikes listed here will fill the needs of the vast majority of bikers.