Since their invention in the ’70’s, mountain bikes have changed a lot, going from robust multi-functional bikes to high-tech sport machines. The suspension technology in particular has opened the door to a new dimension of riding, comfort and fun. Nowadays, there are so many different bike types for so many different uses. Fabricants and special interest magazines usually divide mountain bikes into the following categories: Cross Country, Trail, All Mountain, Enduro and Freeride/DH.
WHO AM I AND WHAT DO I NEED?
If you are already an active mountain biker, you will be able to define your profile quite easily. If you are a beginner, then you should first think about what you are expecting from your bike and what brings you the most fun. Here are some features that can help you evaluate yourself.
I AM A XC RACER
You like performance and light weight. You want to ride fast and you like competition. More than 100mm of travel is secondary for you.
You need a Scale RC or a Spark RC from the Cross Country category.
Tip: HARDTAIL (SCALE) OR FULL SUSPENSION (SPARK)?
Because of its front and back suspension, a full suspension bike, or “Fully” is normally about 1 kg heavier than a comparable hardtail which only has a front suspension system. However, the comfort of a Fully will allow you to save strength, will give you more confidence and will bring you much more fun. In most cases, mountain bikers are better off with a Fully. Nevertheless, if you are planning to race Cross Country or if you have a small budget, you should go for a hardtail.
I AM A TRAIL RIDER
You like your bike light, comfortable and playful. Even if you keep an eye on racing, you are more interested about having fun than actually competing.
You need a Spark 900 or Spark 700 from the Trail category.
I AM AN ALL MOUNTAIN/ENDURO RIDER
You want to ride fast but with comfort. Above all, you want to be able to ride anywhere. You like riding downhill, especially on technical trails.
You need a Genius from the All Mountain category.
With many options available on the market, wheel sizes can be confusing. Here is how we see it, and why we spec our bikes the way we do.
We find that both 27.5” and 29” wheels have their benefits. 27.5”, compared to 29”, will accelerate more quickly, and tend to open the door to more agile bike handling. Smaller riders often prefer the 27.5” wheel size as the bike will feel more maneuverable for them.
29” wheels tend to be rollover kings, able to get over anything in their path. With modern bike geometries, these bigger wheels are faster, and more capable than ever before. Stable, efficient and consistent is what you’ll get with a 29er.