India is a land filled with wonders, both natural and manmade. From the mountains of the Himalayas to the forests of Pondicherry, the vast and beautiful landscapes have a lot to offer for every type of traveler. For the adventure junkies who love speed and thrills, these mountain terrains provide an exhilarating challenge worthy to be conquered. Mountain roads can be tough and treacherous, as even the tiniest mistake can cause injury to life and limb. Due to this, these mountain trails have become even more popular with travel junkies. In these risky situations, all one needs is willpower and the gear to back that up. Mountain bikers are the ones who enjoy this trip the most, and they demand the best and the most reliable bicycles out there, for their own safety and enjoyment.
Mountain Bikes vs Conventional Bikes
A great question that comes to the mind of a lot of amateurs is that how is a Mountain bike any different from the plain old bicycles we see on the road or even the sleek fast machines we see on television during the Tour De France and other cycling tournaments. Obviously, as the name suggests, these bikes are better suited for mountainous terrains. This is achieved because the suspension makes the ride very cushy and bouncy, to accommodate for the undulating and uneven terrain in outdoor cycling.
Secondly, the seats are configured to provide an upright stance so that the body maintains constant balance, however, it may not be the most comfortable position for longer distances and durations. Lastly, the bikes are better suited in their construction to handle a wider variety of rougher surfaces. This is seen in their robust and beefy build quality that can take a lot of damage and abuse.
The difference is that, unlike conventional bikes, mountain bikes are harder to pedal and are usually slower on the pavement. Because of the softer suspension, the bounciness of the bike makes it difficult to pedal hard on plain roads and makes riding a little uncomfortable. Mountain bikes are also heavier and harder to carry than other road-going bikes.
Types of Mountain Bikes
- Full Suspension bikes are those that have fully capable shock absorbers on both the front and the rear wheels. Full-suss MTB is often considered to be strictly off-road bikes because their bouncy suspension makes them unfit for road cycling. These bikes are available in several suspension types. The main difference in Mountain bikes is created by the size of their suspension system, which can range from 80 mm all the way to more than 160mm. Shorter suspensions are known for providing better pedaling efficiency which is useful in uphill biking, while longer suspensions are better for downhill courses, where they can absorb the shock of falling from heights easily as pedaling speed is not necessary. High-quality full suspension bikes are harder to produce due to having more components, which results in an increased price.
- Hardtail bikes are a variation of full-suspension bikes that only have suspension on the front wheels. The name hardtail comes from the fact that the tail or rear end of a bike does not have a suspension which makes them very rigid and tough. Hardtails are more popular among beginners because their simple construction makes them cheaper and they have better all-purpose usability for various bikers.
- Hardtail bikes are available in many kinds of builds such as lightweight aluminum, expensive carbon fiber, or even steel and titanium builds. Hardtails can be adapted to several specific disciplines, but are also generally suitable to most conditions. Because they are cheaper to build, a hardtail can be expected to have better brakes and tires than similarly costing full-suspension counterparts.
- Race Bikes are hardtails bikes that are suited for Cross Country racing, and long-distance marathon events. Their front suspension usually is of 80-100 mm lengths, which makes them comfortable to ride, and optimizes their speed and performance over the aspects of safety and shock absorbing. The steep seat location makes a more comfortable pedaling position for uphill climbing and long-range acceleration.
- Trail Tamers are cycles with longer suspension lengths of over 140 mm that are made in order to attack bumpy and rough terrains. Mountain bikes of this kind are built on the principle that being able to tackle terrain without rolling over and breaking down is more important than just speed and pedaling efficiency.
- Street and Dirt Bikes are often hybrids of mountain bikes and road bikes. These are hardtails that aren’t built with speed in mind. However, unlike other mountain bikes, these aren’t meant for outdoor terrain. Rather, these bikes are more useful for those who want to perform stunts or jumps on streets or dirt roads. Due to having more acrobatic uses, they need robust bikes that can handle the shock and abuse of trick jumps.
Buying Mountain Bikes
For those seeking to buy mountain bikes online, there are several options available both for retailers and brands. Popular online retailers such as Amazon, eBay, Flipkart, and Ubuy all offer mountain bikes of various budgets. Brands such as Hero, Atlas, BTWIN, Firefox, Decathlon and Leopard also sell online through their own proprietary websites. Budget options start all the way from Rs. 5000, but premium brands such as Cannondale can also be purchased for lakhs of rupees. Expensive bike brands are built with better and stronger components for their frames and also feature more reliable and stopping power brakes.
Now that you know all the relevant information about mountain bikes, you too can buy your favorite one and zip through the mountains. Buying can be a tough decision, but this article has all the information that you need. All that you need to keep in mind now is that mountain biking can be a risky sport. Hence, your gear should be safe and reliable. However, even the best and safest mountain ranges!