Mountain biking on a full suspension electric mountain bike has become very popular. We look at why you should pursue this hobby.
- Part 1: Overview of Mountain Bike Riding
- Part 2: Advantages and Disadvantages of Mountain Bike Riding
- Part 3: Precautions for Mountain Bike Riding
Part 1: Overview of Mountain Bike Riding
What is Mountain Biking
Mountain biking is the activity of riding a bicycle on off-road trails. It’s an activity that requires speed, endurance, balance, reaction time, and technical skills. You navigate through varied types of terrain. This terrain can include dessert, mountains, rocks, forest, and more.
There are many different types of mountain biking. These types can include downhill, cross country, dirt jumping, and more. Mountain biking can be a racing sport. Riders can race down varied terrain at medium to high speeds. The first racer across the finish line is declared the winner. Mountain biking can also be a fun and casual recreational activity. Whatever level of mountain biking you are at, trails that fit your skills and ability are easy to find. If you are new to mountain biking, going out with a guide is a recommended way to familiarize yourself with the activity.
Mountain biking is a serious, total body workout. Long climbs uphill take great lower body strength and cardiovascular endurance. Your reaction time and upper body will be under test when maneuvering during descents. You’re going to learn balance, coordination, and stability doing this activity.
Mountain baking originated in California during the 1970s. The first proper mountain bike was in 1978. These early bikes were road bicycles outfitted to take on the rough terrain of off-road trails. This involved making the bicycles out of lightweight material. Wider frames and tires were also introduced, along with a straight, narrow handlebar.
Mountain biking gained massive popularity throughout the 1990s and 2000s. It is now a mainstream sport and activity enjoyed by many across the globe.
Types of Mountain Biking
There are several styles of mountain biking that you can participate in.
Trail: This is among the most common styles of mountain biking. Participants of this style mostly see it as a recreational activity. If you are interested in going to a local trail with friends to do a combo of climbs and descent, then this is for you. Bikes in the trail category often place emphasis on ideal weight, efficiency, and overall fun factor.
Cross-country: This style places emphasis on speed and the ability to take on difficult climbs. Distances can range from just a short ride to 25-plus miles. Bikes for these types of treks place emphasis on light weight and efficiency. If you would like a more competitive flair for mountain biking, consider this style.
All-mountain/enduro: This style is like trail riding but with a higher degree of difficulty. This style features difficult climbs and long descents. Bikes for this style tend to be built around light weight for those uphill climbs and maneuverable and stable enough to take on steep descents.
“Enduro” is the more competitive, racing-based aspect of this style. It involves uphill climbs and timed downhill portions. The winner is the participant with the fastest combined time on the downhill portions.
Downhill/park: This type of mountain biking is done at lift-serviced bike parks. This requires specialized bikes and gear. The bikes are large and tough, and you wear an armored body suit and a full-face helmet. These bikes are intended to be more durable to take on tough descents. These features allow to you take on very treacherous terrain and man-made features of the park. Since it’s mostly downhill, there is not much need for peddling. But the activity is very challenging on your upper body strength and reaction time.
Types of Mountain Bikes
The type of bike you buy should be based on what style of mountain biking you plan to participate in. The terrain of where you plan to ride matters as well. Wheel diameter and suspension type are two important factors that determine what type of terrain the bike is capable of riding.
Full suspension: A full suspension e mtb has both a suspension fork up front and a rear shock. This absorbs the impacts and bumps of the trail. These shocks would otherwise be sent to the rider’s body, possibly throwing them off the bike. Full suspension electric bicycles increase traction and allow for a smoother ride downhill.
While a full suspension mountain ebike absorbs a lot of the trail bumps, they are a disadvantage when it comes to riding uphill. Most full suspension electric mountain bicycleshave the ability to lock the rear suspension to offer better power when riding uphill. Of course, getting a full suspension electric mountain bike will aid in pedaling uphill as well.
Hardtail: Hardtail bikes have a suspension fork in the front to help absorb blows on the front wheel. Since only one part of the bike has a suspension fork, they are usually less expensive than a full suspension bike and require less maintenance.
The primary disadvantage with Hardtails is that they suffer in downhill performance due to the lack of full suspension. Hardtails are usually for people involved in cross country riding and more casual approaches to mountain biking. If you plan to use smoother trails most of the time or have a smaller budget, consider a hardtail.
Which One is Right for Me
A full suspension bike is right for you if you want to dive heavily into mountain biking. Full suspension bikes are more expensive than most other bikes. Entry-level bikes start at around $1,500. But if you want the thrill experience of riding rough, technical trails, a full suspension bike is right for you.
They are also perfect for you if you want a smoother ride going downhill. The full suspension components found at both the back and the front allow for the bikes to absorb the bumps and bruises of rough trails. This also helps if you want the thrill of going downhill at top speeds. The smooth rides allow you to glide downhill.
For many people though, a hardtail bike is the right fit. The simple design and components of a hardtail make them easier and cheaper to produce. Therefore, most hardtails are more budget friendly and more easy to upgrade. With less and simpler components, hardtails are also much easier and more inexpensive to maintain.
Overall, if you look at mountain biking as a leisurely recreational activity, hardtails are your best bet. If you are mostly riding smooth trails without the need to absorb many rough bumps, then hardtails are the option for you.
Part 2: Advantages and Disadvantages of Mountain Bike Riding
If you plan to start participating in mountain biking, there are certain advantages and disadvantages to consider. We’ll outline a few here.
A Great Workout
One of the common reasons cited why people enjoy mountain biking is the fantastic exercise and health benefits they get from it. Mountain biking challenges your entire body. Your legs and cardiovascular conditioning are under test when you climb up hill. When you descend, manuevering your bike and absorbing shocks places strain on your arms and upper body. However, unlike running or other aerobic activities, mountain biking isn’t load bearing and is easy on your joints. This allows mountain biking to be an activity you can enjoy throughout your life.
Mountain biking is also great for balance, stability, and coordination. Unlike running, mountain biking is a dynamic activity that requires constant adjustment to the evolving terrain. It strengthens your brain and muscle memory, even improving reaction time. This improves your balance and coordination, which can have life-long health benefits.
And once again, mountain biking is a total body workout. The uphill climbs strengthen and tone your legs, calves, thighs, and butt. The balance to stay upright strengthens your midsection and core muscles. Climbing and manuevering downhill strengthens your arms, back, and shoulders. Mountain biking could easily replace running or going to the gym.
It Can be Expensive
One of the primary disadvantages of mountain climbing is the amount of money it takes participating in it. The price of buying and maintaining a bike is among the many barriers to entry of the sport. Full suspension bikes start at around $1,500. Further gear purchases could put you back a total of about $2,500 . That is a considerable investment, especially if you are just starting out in the sport.
This doesn’t even involve the cost of maintaining the bike. With the amount of wear a mountain bike is going to take, it will certainly require repairs over time. And as you become more involved with the sport, you want to spend more. New bikes, upgraded equipment, and new apparel add up over time.
It Has Great Mental And Social Benefits
Mountain biking can provide several benefits too your social life and mental well-being. The physical demands of mountain biking release endorphins in your body, making you feel good and boosting your natural energy. It can be a great serotonin booster, helping to prevent anxiety and depression. The challenge of mountain biking can also motivate you to learn new skills and build your confidence and self-esteem. All this can go a long way in reducing stress and improving your mood.
There is also evidence that Mountain Biking can improve your brain power. The high mental demand of mountain biking improves the part of your brain responsible for building memories. Mountain biking also is shown to decrease cortisol. Cortisol is the hormone responsible for stress and keeping you awake. Being an outdoor activity makes mountain biking great for getting Vitamin D from the sun. It will also help regulate you sleep cycle. The full body workout of mountain biking will also surely wear you out and help you sleep better.
Mountain biking can also be a great way to build friendships. Mountain biking is an activity often enjoyed in a social setting. Many clubs and groups regularly go for rides together. It’s also a great activity to do with your friend, children, or significant other. Check for local mountain biking groups in your area. They may also be helpful in getting started!
Lastly, Mountain Biking is an overall very fun activity. It allows you to enjoy the majesty of nature. It allows you take on the earth’s natural obstacles going up and downhill. It’s an activity that can happen for a variety of reasons and benefits. It builds your fitness and confidence. It’s an enjoyable activity that can happensocially or alone.
Part 3: Precautions for Mountain Bike Riding
Many might assume that mountain biking is dangerous sport. However, when you ride responsibly and take the right precautions, mountain biking can be very safe. Mountain biking has a lower injury rate than many popular team sports. While the incidence of injury may be lower, Accidents on the trail could be quite severe.
Mountain bikers injure themselves in a number of ways. Rider error can be surprisingly high even among some of the most experienced bikers. Make sure to always stay vigilant when you ride to avoid an accident. The varied terrain could also contribute to a severe injury. Rocks, trees, and other hard earth can cause harm if you fall from your bike. Mechanical issues and inexperience can also lead to injuries. However, advanced mountain bike riders suffer the most injuries due to the combo of high speed and challenging terrain.
Taking the right precautions can make your rides much safer. Start with the appropriate safety gear. A helmet, knee pads, shoulder pads, and gloves will provide better protection in the case of a fall. Knowing the risks and the ways that make mountain biking more dangerous will also go far. Stay hydrated and eat something before and during your rides. Don’t ride to close to sunset and ride with a friend if you can. All these precautions will mitigate the risks of injury.