Mountain bikes are a fairly new invention, some guys in California were riding their bikes off road, the bikes were a mixture of road bike and BMX, no suspension and not many gears.
This was in the now famous Marin County and one of these men decided to make a BMX with bigger wheels and try to find tyres with more grip, the frame was a just a big BMX with more clearance for any mud that might get caught on the wheels, although this part of the world is dry and dusty.
photo credit: Gabriel Amadeus
Gears had to be taken from road bike technology until Shimano
started to make mountain bike specific equipment. So what started, as a hobby for some Californian hippy types became a serious sport that now is an Olympic event.
The Next Step Forward
For mountain bikes to move on from there simple beginnings things had to be made specially for them, such as gears, tyres, wheel rims, handle bars and stems and the biggest development, suspension.
Shimano took care of the gears, first gear leavers were made to go on straight handlebars and then the indexed leaver was made for accurate shifting.
Many different tyres with treads for all conditions can be bought to fit the standard wheel size that now many companies make. Handlebars and stems were first made in steel, then alloy and now carbon and titanium for weight saving and strength.
Mountain Bike Frames
Originally made from steel, usually in nice shinny chrome, but as technology changed with road bikes, so it also changed with mountain bikes.
Compact frame designs, lightweight alloy and now carbon fiber are the most popular materials these days.
“The Specialized Stumpjumper is a Classic and you can buy it in so many different styles, Hardtail, Full Suspension and for full Retro style, the Stumpjumper Classic. There is a lot of bike from the Stumpjumper range!”
Front Suspension forks were taken from the off-road motorbike world, they had to be lighter, but with the use of alloy this was possible.
First springs were used, and then oil or air for the suspension, these were adjustable for spring and how much rebound you got.
Downhill Mountain Bikes
Cross-country is a hard sport and is a mixture of strength and agility. Down hilling is nearly all technique and agility, with a little strength. The bikes are like motocross bikes without the engine, suspension front and back with a lot of movement and long wheelbases for comfort and of course big tires and disc brakes.
Some of these things are now to found on cross country bikes but they have to be light, cross country disc brakes are very popular, but many people stick to v-brakes for controllability and also full suspension, front and back, is popular but adds weight and is not always necessary for some terrain.
There are many different set ups you can buy, but it has to be right for you and for where you live and what you want to do.
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