Defining Your Mountain Bike Riding Style

Robert Rankin has owned and managed the historic Snowbird Mountain Lodge in Robbinsville, NC, since 1995. When he is not running the lodge, Robert Rankin enjoys riding his mountain bike throughout the Robbinsville, NC, area.

Before an individual begins shopping for a new mountain bike, he or she should first define his or her riding style, or what kind of riding they plan to do. The first thing to assess is the motivation for buying a mountain bike. A person who wants to take a few casual weekend rides with the family, for example, needs to prioritize different features compared to an individual interested in competitive or extreme mountain biking. The former could opt for a basic model, while the latter would do better with an advanced, specialized type of bike.

The second step toward defining a riding style requires a physical overview. Again, an individual who views riding as a means of enjoying local trails now and then should consider a full-suspension bike, as it provides added support and a smoother ride at low speeds. Individuals in good health who enjoy mountain biking as a form of regular exercise might prefer a hard-tail model.

Third, a person must identify what kind of trails he or she intends to ride most frequently. Some riders may stick to flat, relatively smooth paths, while others might seek out more extreme trails with changes in terrain and incline. Whereas hard-tail bikes perform well on paved paths and dirt roads, more durable models are suggested for tougher conditions.

Taking a test ride is always recommended before making a buying decision.


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