Cycling in general is a great activity enjoyed by millions of people across the world for a number of reasons. Some people love the sense of freedom you get while riding a bike, some love they way it lets you interact with the environment and explore new places, for some it’s just a practical way to get around the city, others love the exercise, and of course, there are those hooked on the adrenaline rush you get from extreme cycling.
Bicycles are constantly evolving and each year manufacturers introduce new technology and new designs to increase their performance and durability. Today we have a wide range of specialized bike designs for different purposes and riding styles and my favourite one is the mountain bike, also known as MTB. And I’m not talking about extreme dirt bikes made for performing jumps, tricks, and other kinds of crazy stunts. I am talking about a recreational MTB. And despite its name, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to ride it on a mountain. The recreational MTB is a versatile man-powered vehicle suitable for all kinds of terrain. This bike is intended for off-road or cross-country cycling and it is designed to withstand the stress from tough terrains and provide maximum control and comfort, but it actually feels right at home as a mode of transport in an urban environment.
The great thing about recreational mountain bikes is that everyone can enjoy them. You don’t have to be as fit as an athlete to ride a MTB. It is up to you to decide how hard or long your ride. You can start at your own pace and gradually push the limits of your body, not like you have to, but it just comes naturally to you. After all, mountain biking is all about fun and enjoyment. I remember the first time going downhill on a bumpy dirt road with a proper mountain bike and laughing hysterically. There aren’t many activities that can give you that feeling.
Anyway, here are some basics you should know about mountain bikes. There are three main types and they mostly vary in terms of suspension. The rigid MTB has no suspension at all, the hardtail only has a suspension for at the front (hence the name), and finally there’s the full suspension MTB that has a front suspension fork and rear shock absorption. Out of the three, I have to say that the hardtail is my favourite mainly because it performs very good both on and off road. With a rigid bike your hands and feet absorb all the impacts when you are riding off-road, especially downhill while the full suspension bikes are too bouncy and you lose some of your energy when you pedal.