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Mountain Biking

The History Of Mountain Biking

There is a lot of history and information out there in regards to the history and origins of mountain biking, with some being recognized and some that depend on who has the best firm of public relations

Some say that mountain biking began with the Buffalo Soldiers, which was a turn of the century infantry who customized bikes to carry gear over the rough and tough terrain. They began in August of 1896, over the course of 800 miles. Their mission was simple -to test bikes for military use in the toughest of terrain.

sport of mountain biking

Others say it was the Velo Cross Club of France, that started mountain biking. The club was comprised, of 20 young bikers from Paris, who between 1951 and,1956 developed a sport that resembles the present day, mountain biking.

It could have also been John Finley Scott, who was the first mountain biker in the U.S. In 1953 he constructed what he called a “Woodsie Bike”, using a diamond frame, balloon tires, flat handlebars, and cantilever brakes. He was more than 20 years ahead of his time. Even though he remained an off-road enthusiast, there were many at that time who didn’t share that same passion.

Today, we believe that the history of the mountain bike is most apparent in Northern California. There are a few areas that claim to be the first community for mountain biking, although each and every history book will tell you Marin County.

The sport of mountain biking has taken many twists and turns over the last several hundred years. Even though there are many that say different things about the history and the beginning, we know one thing for sure – one thing has led to another and the sport of mountain biking was born.

Sizing Mountain bikes

Along with giving you a better selection and expert advice, bike shop personnel can help you get fitted to the right size bike. You can get the bike either too big or too small, which will cause your enjoyment to suffer. Follow the tips below, and you’ll have the perfect fit for your mountain bike.

Standover height

When you check the fitting yourself, the first thing you want to check is the inseam clearance or the standover height. You want to have plenty of room between yourself and the top tube when you come to a stop. There should be around four to six inches of clearance from the top of your inseam to the top of the top tube.

Leg and feet area

There’s a nifty formula for determining the leg position for riding a mountain bike. When riding a mountain bike, the terrain constantly changes,  raising you off the seat constantly, sometimes just slightly, other times completely off.

Therefore, you’ll need to set your saddle slightly lower than you would on any other type of bike. Be sure you take this slightly lower seat height position into effect when you factor the size of the frame.

Riding compartment

The next thing you’ll want to check is the rider compartment layout (the distance between the saddle and the handlebars). Once the proper leg extension has been determined, be sure the handlebar is one to two inches below the height of the saddle. You should never have the handlebars higher than the seat unless there is some type of upper body problem.

Dual suspension bikes

With suspension being at both ends, you’ll want your weight more in the middle of the bike so that your weight is distributed evenly between the front and rear suspension units, thus allowing the front and rear suspension to work as a unit.

This can be done quite easily by using either a higher or shorter stem to raise the hand height, which will in turn move the upper body up and the weight towards the rear. The increase in rising should be no more than two inches, then the decrease in reach shouldn’t be any more than two inches.

Test ride

Once you have taken all of these steps into account, go out and test drive the bike. Make sure you wear a helmet, even if you are going to be testing for a brief period of time. Be sure that the tires are set to the right pressure, and the shop has adjusted the bike for you properly.

You should have a shop employee observe your body position and ride height while riding, to determine is any further adjustments need to be made. Ride the bike around for a bit to get used to its handling and new equipment. Start off slowly, then give the bike a bit of time to present its personality.

After a few minutes, you might notice that something isn’t working correctly or just doesn’t feel right in general. If this happens, go back to the shop and have the problem corrected before you rule out the bike.

The more you ride bikes, the easier it will be to tell the difference in the ride types. Keep in mind, it may take months and even years to appreciate the way a bike handles. Talk to those who ride, and ask them if they ride the bikes they sell. This way, you’ll learn more about the mountain bikes you love so much!

Different Types of Mountain Bikes

With mountain biking being a very popular sport, there are many bikes to choose from. Depending
on what type of riding you like, the style of bikes you can choose from will vary. Below, you’ll find tips on the different types of bikes available.

1. Cross country

Almost all mountain bikes will fit into this category. Cross country mountain bikes are lightweight, making them easy to ride over most terrains, even up and downhills. This is the most common mountain bike and it can be used with ease for riding on the path or even commuting.

2. Downhill

These types of bikes are for serious bikers who crave the ultimate adventure. Downhill bikes have front and rear suspension, strong parts, and disc brakes. Rarely available off the shelf, most riders like to custom build their own.

3. Trials

Trail mountain biking involves a great degree of skill and is classified as the precision riding of the sport. Similar to downhill bikes, trial riders will often build their own bikes rather than purchase one off a shelf. Generally very light and very strong, these bikes require a lot of discipline.

4. Jump and slalom

Slalom and jump bikes are very strong and designed for jumping, street racing, and slalom. They offer a front suspension and use very strong components dedicated to what they do. These bikes are very popular with the sport of mountain biking.

Even if you are new to mountain biking, the sport can be a lot of fun. There are several bikes to choose from, all of which depend on your style. If you are still looking for the best style for you, all you have to do is try out several bikes and see which one suits you the best.


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