1Up USA Quik Rack heavy duty with add on's to carry 4 bikes

Types of Mountain Bikes

While there are many styles and even sub-styles, there are mainly six primary types of mountain bikes commonly available:

  • Dirt Jumper
  • Downhill
  • Enduro
  • Fat Bike
  • Freeride
  • XC

dirt-jumper

Dirt Jumper

Dirt jumping is nothing new, many riders have been doing this for years with BMX bikes. It was one of my favorite pasttimes growing up. What is relatively new, is using a mountain bike for dirt jumping.

These bikes are designed for acrobatics, fun, and showmanship. Not time, speed down a hill, or endurance. It’s all about style.

Dirt Jump mountain bikes look simpler to a mountain bike, with some also looking like bigger BMX bikes.

Typical characteristics are:

  • Lower standover height (compared to a typical mountain bike)
  • Rigid frame (no front or rear suspension)
  • Frame is usually smaller than a typical mountain bike
  • Most are single speed
  • Most run with only a rear brake
  • Wheels are typicall 24″ or 26″

Dirt Jump Bike Build

Typical setup of a Dirt Jump mountain bike include:

  • Suspension: rigid in front and rear. There are some making a limited travel rear suspension.
  • Suspension Travel
    • Front: 0″, rigid fork. It’s becoming more common to see a limited travel suspension fork.
    • Rear: 0″, rigid rear. A few frame builders are incorporating limited travel rear suspension.
  • Brakes: Single V-Brake in rear is common. Some are running dual disc brakes nowadays.
  • Tubing: Super strong, usually using heavier metals, with a longtime favorite being cromoly steel
  • Weight: 24 to 27 lbs is a typical range

mountain bike downhill

Downhill Mountain Bike

The name says it all, this style of riding is for those that mainly ride down hills. Fast. Jumping over things at speed.

The bikes are normally too heavy to ride up desirable hills, so usually some other form of transportation is used to get to the top of the hill (ski lift chair, car, and oftentimes just legs pushing the bike up the hill).

This style is one of the most extreme and dangerous form of mountain biking one can do. And some of the most fun one will ever have on a mountain bike.

Downhill Mountain Bike Build

Typical setup of a downhill mountain bike include:

  • Suspension: both front and rear
  • Suspension Travel
    • Front: 7.9″ (approx) of travel with a dual-crown fork
    • Rear: 6.7″ to 9.8″ of travel
  • Brakes: Yes, big disc brakes. Both front and rear.
  • Tubing: Super strong, usually using heavier metals
  • Weight: 35 – 44 lbs is a typical range

Mountain Bike Enduro

Enduro Mountain Bike

This style of riding is adapted from mountain bike Enduro racing. The lines blur between Enduro and all-mountain, where today most people refer to them as one and the same. Enduro is where you pedal up mountains  and bomb them fast downhill. A big thing to note, the goal is to pedal up the mountain as fast as possible. It’s most closely associated with what most casual mountain bikers do if they ride hills.

If you’re looking for a do-all type of mountain bike, an Enduro mountain bike is for the every man and woman. And if you’d like to compete in local races, Enduro is the one you can compete in and have the most fun in as an amateur.

For Enduro, you’re ideally looking for a bike that is stable, highly manueverable, has gears that are suitable for downhill and most importantly uphill climbs. And most importantly, have plenty of suspension travel. One would also want to keep the weight low, but have strong durability.

Enduro Mountain Bike Build

Typical setup of an Enduro mountain bike include:

  • Suspension: both front and rear
  • Suspension Travel
    • Front: 6.3″ to 6.7″ of travel with a single-crown fork
    • Rear: 5.9″ to 6.1″ of travel
  • Brakes: Recommended front and rear
  • Tubing: Stronger frame materials with a focus on reducing weight. Aluminum and carbon fiber are favorites.
  • Weight: 29 to 35 lbs is a typical range. Since the goal is to pedal uphill, lighter is better.

Fatbike Mountain Bike

Fatbike, also known as Fat Bike or Fat-Tire Bike or Snow Bike, is a mountain bike that has been equipped to ride on soft unstable terrain. such as snow, sand, bogs, and mud.

The telltale sign of a Fatbike is the oversized tires with extra wide rims.

Fatbikes have limited terrains they are designed to ride on, but they have become extremely popular due to their look and appeal to the average mountain biker. They look different, have alot of swagger, and look very cool. Many folks are buying these bikes as their only mountain bike for casual trails and all around pavement riding due to their looks.

Fatbike Mountain Bike Build

Typical setup of a downhill mountain bike include:

  • Suspension: Most have a hardtail in back and a standard fork up front. But it’s not uncommon to see a shock fork up front nowadays.
  • Suspension Travel
    • Front: Usually no front suspension, but we are seeing more suspension forks now
    • Rear: hardtail, usually no rear suspension
  • Brakes: Disc brakes are best. There’s lots of rolling mass with the wide rims and big tires.
  • Tubing: Aluminum frames are common as well as cromoly steel.
  • Weight: 28 lbs to 34 lbs is the typical weight range.

Check out our collection of Fatbike mountain bikes. Most of which are made right here in America.


Mountain-Bike-Freeride

Freeride Mountain Bike

Freeride mountain biking is closely associated with Downhill mountain biking and dirt jumping mountain biking. Like BMX bikes, it is popular to use these types of mountain bikes for tricks, jumps, style, and technical trail manuevers.

Freeride mountain biking is has become one of the most popular forms of mountain biking in America.

Freeride first caught on as a movement of riding a mountain bike on natural terrain, trail-less, without a pre-defined set of rules on direction, distance, or goal. As a Freeride rider, most look at the terrain, dynamically pick a creative line that showcases style, height, control, and if possible, a showy move. Freeride doesn’t focus on being the faster to a destination, instead their goal is to perform the best manuevers on their way to someplace, wherever it may be.

Most Freeride bikes have less suspension travel than other mountain bikes and focus on lighter weight. They exhibit shorter wheelbases than Downhill mountain bikes.

Freeride Mountain Bike Build

Typical setup of a Freeride mountain bike include:

  • Suspension: both front and rear
  • Suspension Travel
    • Front: 7.9″ (approx) of travel with a single-crown or dual-crown fork
    • Rear: 6.7″ to 9.8″ of travel
  • Brakes: Disc brakes, both front and rear.
  • Gearing: Unlike most other Mountain Bikes, it’s common to see a Freeride mountain bike with 3 different types of gearing
    • Single: Equipped with a single chainring up fron and a single cog in rear. Much like a BMX bike.
    • Shortrange: Outfitted with a single chainring up front and a cassette hub in rear containg 7-10 cogs.
    • Longrange: Similar to the Shortrange with a single chainring up front, but containing 10-11 cogs in rear
  • Tubing: Strong but light, with aluminum and steel alloys common.
  • Weight: 30 to 35 lbs is a typical range

Mountain Bike XC

XC Mountain Bike

XC, also known as cross country, mountain bikes have a focus on climbing speed and endurance. Overall bike builds aim for light weight that are efficient.

Historically they were built with a hardtail and suspension fork. But nowadays, many XC mountain bikes are equipped with a front and rear suspension.

This series of bike has become very popular with the 29″ wheel crowd and many racers are running 29″ wheels.

To characterize the use case for these bikes, most think of using the XC for 80% hills and 20% flat riding.

XC Mountain Bike Build

Typical setup of a Freeride mountain bike include:

  • Suspension: Front suspension hardtail in rear. And full-suspension in front and rear.
  • Suspension Travel
    • Front: 3.9″ to 5.9″ (approx) of travel with a single-crown or dual-crown fork
    • Rear: 3.9″ to 5.9″ of travel
  • Brakes: Disc brakes, both front and rear.
  • -Tubing: Light weight is the focus. The lighter the better.
  • -Weight: 15 to 35 lbs is a typical range

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