Which type of mountain bike is for you?
Hardtail Mountain Bike
A mountain bike that has a rigid frame, but has suspension incorporated on the front forks. Most suspension forks operate with a duel telescopic design, consisting of a spring and damper. The Specialized Rockhopper and GT Zaskar are popular examples of hardtail mountain bikes.
Full Suspension Mountain Bike
A heavy duty mountain bike with suspension incorporated within the forks and main frame. These bikes are made to travel downhill across large drops and jumps. Full suspension mountain bikes typically have a 2 piece frames that incorporate the rear suspension. Different mountain bike brands use different pivot designs. Common designs include:
Soft tail design – Cannondale’s Scapel and Yeti has previously used this suspension design.
Unified rear triable (URT) – Schwinn’s S-10 and Trek’s Y have both used the URT design.
Single pivot – Due to its simplicity, many entry level full suspension bikes use this design.
Linkage driven single pivot – Brands such as KMS, Kona, Jamis and Diamondback commonly use this design.
High single pivot – Orange’s full line up uses this type of rear suspension technology.
Split pivot – Trek released a version of this split pivot design called “Active Braking Pivot” (ABP) in 2007.
A full list of rear bike suspension designs can be found here.
The mountain bike (also known as MTB or Mtn Bike) is a specialised ‘all terrain bicycle’. Mountain bikes have strong wheels and over engineered frames designed to withstand the harshest of terrains including rock, mud and loose gravel. The original mountain bikes were modified bicycles capable of freewheeling down steep hills. Due to the popularity of all terrain cycling as a sport, bicycle manufacturers started making mountain bikes in the late 1970s. The first production mountain bike was the Lawwill Pro Cruiser. Approximately 600 bikes were manufactured. By 1981, the first mass produced mountain bike was on the market. This was the Specialized Stumpjumper. Throughout the 1990s it became the fashion to own and ride a mountain bike over a traditional road bicycle.
A bicycle with a strong frame and thick wheels, but typically has no front or rear suspension.