4 types of mountain bikes: a breakdown

When looking to buy your first mountain bike, you may very well be overwhelmed by the different brands available. Even more so, the different types of mountain bikes available might have you stumped.

Here is a quick guide to the different types of mountain bikes available on the market today, and guidelines as to what would suit you best.

Cross-country mountain bikes

Also known as XC bikes, these two-wheelers are built for speed and agility. They are made from lightweight materials and designed to get you through the trail at the quickest possible speed. Most XC race bikes will have forward riding positions to help with acceleration over moderately rough terrain, and to navigate tight corners with ease.

XC trail bikes, on the other hand, may be slightly heavier than their racing counterparts, and will carry you over everything from single-track trails to dirt roads.

The Trek Top Fuel 9.9 SL is a full-suspension XC mountain bike.

The Trek Top Fuel 9.9 SL is a full-suspension XC mountain bike.

All Mountain/ Enduro mountain bikes

If you have your sights set on more complicated technical trails, this is probably your go-to bike. Although enduro bikes are very similar to XC bikes, they differ in that they are generally heavier, with a sturdier frame and tyres that are wider for added grip.

The Santa Cruz Bronson Carbon S 2019 is a good example of an enduro bike.

The Santa Cruz Bronson Carbon S 2019 is a good example of an enduro bike.

Downhill mountain bikes

Do you consider yourself fast, furious and fearless? If you like to traverse downhills at lightning speed and are an experienced rider who likes the rush of adrenaline, you might go for something like this. Downhill bikes are built for steep and speedy descents, with wider tyres and rims, durable gears and frames, and disk brakes and chain guards as standard features. Air or coil shocks help these bikes take the beating they are designed to take, and most downhill bikes have full-suspension set-ups.

The Commencal Supreme DH 27 is one of the world’s best downhill mountain bikes.

The Commencal Supreme DH 27 is one of the world’s best downhill mountain bikes.

Freeride mountain bikes

These bikes are for the tricksters among us, and are commonly described as a cross between XC and downhill bikes. In many respects they are quite similar to downhill bikes, save their weight, which is less due to a more compact frame for easy manoeuvres. If you like doing technical stunts and jumps (and know how to) this is the bike for you.

The Yeti SB150 TURQ X01 Eagle Race is considered a premium freeride mountain bike.

The Yeti SB150 TURQ X01 Eagle Race is considered a premium freeride mountain bike.

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