Check out our quick guide to the key components and frame geometry that make a mountain bike a great mountain bike.
Mountain Bikes have suspension to smooth the rocks and roots on rough trails. Mountain bikes come in 3 main wheel sizes. 26” wheels are nimble, 29” wheels are fast rolling and 27.5” (also called 650b) wheels are a compromise between the two. MTB wheels are wrapped in knobbly tyres for confident grip on loose terrain.
Hardtail bikes with front suspension forks are great for cross-country and recreation. Full suspension mountain bikes have front and rear travel to ride more challenging trails. Trail bikes are best suited for trail centre loops as they combine climbing efficiency with descending prowess. An enduro full sus MTB or downhill mountain bike offers more capable performance on the descents. A downhill bike is a specialist machine built for stability and performance.
Mountain bikes break down into the following sub categories, and these divisions are based roughly upon the type of suspension and amount of suspension travel, although the frame geometry is very different on each type of bike, with aggressive downhill bikes having a much slacker angle for the forks (the forks slope forward more).